Other New York, The
The American Revolution beyond New York City, 1763-1787
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: State University of New York Press
The Other New York
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We began this project after we had read Beyond Philadelphia: The American Revolution in the Pennsylvania Hinterland(1998). Our first thought was to bemoan the fact that there was no such work for New York State. Our second thought was that we should tackle the problem ourselves. New York historians were in the same quandary as were Pennsylvania historians; we knew so much more about the capi-...
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Studies of the Revolution in the northern colonies typically emphasize the demonstrations, crowd actions, and political intrigues that took place in the leading port cities, especially Boston, Newport, Philadelphia, and New York City.1 These studies have imparted an urban ambiance to the historical literature and have rendered the rural areas as little more than appendages to these colonial...
Part I. The Revolution in Downstate New York
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1. Kings County
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In the first half of the eighteenth century, despite its proximity to Manhattan, Kings County grew more slowly than any other in the province. Between 1698 and 1771, its population rose from 2,017 to 3,623 (an 80 percent increase); during the same period, the population of New York County, just across the East River, climbed from 4,937 to 21,863 (a 343 percent increase), while that of the...
2. Queens County
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Revolutionary Queens County constituted what is today the Borough of Queens and the adjacent County of Nassau. Situated on the western end of Long Island, it contained 410 square miles and was bordered on the north by the Long Island Sound, on the east by Suffolk County, on the south by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the west by Kings County and the East River. In 1776 the county...
3. Suffolk County
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Just days before the Continental Congress declared independence in July 1776, the British army landed on Staten Island in New York harbor. When General Washington heard the grim news, he wrote from his headquarters in New York City: “The Time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves; whether they are to have any...
4. Richmond County, Staten Island
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Richmond County, which comprises the present Borough of Staten Island, is thirteen miles long and eight miles wide; located near the entrance to New York harbor, it is approximately ten miles southwest of Manhattan. The Narrows separates the county from what is today the Borough of Brooklyn on Long Island. Dividing Richmond from New Jersey to the west and south are the Kill van Kull,...
Part II. The Revolution in the Hudson Valley
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5. Westchester County
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A publication prepared as part of New York’s celebration of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the American Revolution sought to summarize the results of that conflict. “When all the factors are taken into account the American Revolution was on the whole not an extremely radical movement. Except for the sundering of political ties with the British Empire, old usages...
6. The Central Hudson Valley: Dutchess, Orange, and Ulster Counties
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The central Hudson Valley was one of the most contested battlegrounds in the War for American Independence, for the Hudson River separated the ardently revolutionary New England from the rest of the states and also linked Canada to New York City. In 1777 the Burgoyne campaign, which began in Canada and was defeated in Saratoga, drew men and resources from the central Hudson...
7. Albany County
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Historians have referred to Albany County as “the crossroads of the American Revolution.”1 Although Albanians had always lived at a geographical juncture, after 1763 they were also at a crossroads in their own lives. They were torn between a heritage of living off the fruits of subsistence agriculture and of now being able to exploit farm and forest for profit. At the same time, new immigrants further...
Part III. The Revolution on the Frontier
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8. Tryon County
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Tryon County was established in 1772 as a separate political entity within the British colony of New York, although the first white settlement in the area had begun in 1689 as part of Albany County. Tryon included all the lands claimed by the colony of New York west of the counties of Ulster, Albany, and Charlotte. The county’s western border was the boundary line established by the Iroquois...
9. Charlotte County
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Colonial Charlotte County was created on March 12, 1772, out of northern Albany County. In 1786, without what is now Vermont, it had a population of 4,456 persons. The story of this county is one of constant hostility among a few people in a large region. The new county included all of Lakes George and Champlain, the eastern Adirondack Mountains, the headwaters of the Hudson...
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The Other New York, the people of the rural counties examined in this book, endured wartime experiences and conditions that were significantly different from those of the metropolis. Some of these counties survived similar ordeals, such as their occupation by the British army from 1776 to 1783. Others had different experiences; for example, the British army never occupied the...
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Page Count: 258
Illustrations: 3 maps, 3 tables
Publication Year: 2005