History of Patterson

Putnam County, New York

West Patterson


Akins Corners

Field Corners

Haines Corners

Steinbeck Corners

Haviland Hollow

Putnam Lake

Barnum Corners


1691 – the area which makes up the western part of Putnam County was purchased from the Wappinger Indians by two Dutch speculators.

1697 – the Dutch traders sold the land to Adolph Philipse, the son of an extremely wealthy merchant, and the land became known as the Philipse Patent. The patent included all the land to the Connecticut border.

Adolph Philipse died childless. His property was inherited by his nephew's children - Philip, Susannah, and Mary Philipse. The patent was divided into nine "lots" and each heir received three nearly equal lots of the same type - one "water lot" on the Hudson River, one "long lot" in the center of the patent and one "lot" on the Connecticut border.

1752 – Matthew Paterson came to American from his native Scotland.  

French and Indian War – Matthew Paterson served as an officer in the war under General Abercrombie.

Post-French and Indian War – Matthew Paterson settled in New York City and became a businessman.

1770 – Matthew Paterson re-settled in Fredericksburg to be closer to his grandson, James Patterson Esq., and became a tenant farmer.

1775-1782 – the American Revolutionary War.

During the War of Independence both Mary and Susannah's husbands remained loyal to the British Crown and therefore their lands were forfeited to the State of New York. Over the years the land owned by Philip Philipse was sold privately to his tenants.

1775 -- house built in Haviland Hollow. 

1775  --  organization of the Patterson Presbyterian Congregation church.

c. 1780 – Matthew Paterson built a home off Cornwall Hill Road and became a prominent and influential citizen. He was a state legislator for nine years and a county justice of the peace for several years.

1782-1789 – Matthew Paterson was a member of the Assembly for Dutchess County.

1784  --  Sybil Ludington got married in the Patterson Presbyterian Congregation. 

The boundary between the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam (New York) and the English colony of Connecticut was a matter of contention.

Post - Revolutionary War – the settlement of the boundary dispute led to a strip of land in eastern Putnam County one mile, three quarters and twenty rods wide. This strip is a portion of what is known as the "Oblong" or "Equivalent Lands" which was not part of the Philipse Patent.

Post - Revolutionary War – the Town of Franklin, in honor of Benjamin Franklin (present day Patterson), was established by Scotch families from Westchester and New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

1792 & early 1800s  --  Matthew Paterson started petitions to drain the swamps of the Great Swamp.   

Haviland Hollow established at Haviland Hollow Road.

"Four Corners" (later re-named Towners after James Towners who kept a public house there) established.

Patterson Village, located near the present site of Routes 311 and 292, established.

before the 1795 realignment.– most of the town had previously been part of the Town of Southeast

1795  --  the future town of Patterson established as the town of Franklin in honor of Benjamin Franklin. 

late 1700s  --  the Old Peck homestead built. (Located on the old Mulberry Freight Line Railroad overpass on Route 311.)   

1800 – the population of Patterson was 1506.

start of the 19th century  --  a one room schoolhouse in Aikin's Corners on Route 22 built.  It is now home to the Patterson Historical Society's museum.  (It was moved to South Street.)

1808 – the name of Franklin changed to the Town of "Paterson", named after State Legislator Matthew Paterson.

1812 – Putnam County created out of southern Dutchess County.

The availability of water power along the many streams led to a healthy milling industry.

1817 – Matthew Paterson died at age 85.

1836  --  the Patterson Presbyterian Congregation church built. 

c. 1850 –the original name of the town was spelled "Paterson", but was changed to its current spelling because of continuing confusion in the mail system with Paterson, New Jersey.

c. 1861 – the railroads came to Patterson.

1866-1910 – the acquisition of more than 8,000 acres of choice farmland by New York City for the Croton Water Supply System led to the decline of agriculture and the shift of population from farm to the village

1875 – the population of Patterson was 1523.

World War I, 1914-1918  --  during WWI, a train wreck and explosion occurred on the old Mulberry Freight Line Railroad, blowing out the windows of the Old Peck homestead.  

by the early 20th century – Putnam County was now home to country estates, suburban homes, seasonal dwellings and residential developments.

up until 1930 – the major economic activity within Putnam County was agriculture, especially meat and milk.

1930 – creation of the Putnam Lake community. The State Line Golf and Country Club, Inc. and the New York Daily Mirror Holding Co., a land development company run by the Smadbeck brothers, purchased five Putnam farms along with some land in New Fairfield, Connecticut to form the 200 acre Putnam Lake out of the damming of Morlock Brook. The community grew around it – an assemblage of summer cottages, general stores, restaurants, gas stations, dance pavilions, and taverns.

1930s – the Putnam Lake area developed as a place of summer homes.

1941-1945 – during World War II, many of the families that made their winter residence in New York City become full time inhabitants of Patterson.

1949 photograph  -- of the Penny farm on Route 164 near the Old Patterson Town Hall, illustrating that cattle and dairy farming lasted into the 1940s.  

1940s photograph  --  of the Patterson Farm Service building which sold farm machinery, feed, paint and hardware. 

1940s  --  train wreck at the Patterson railway station. 

by 1944 –  880 buildings in Putnam Lake. Today the summer cottages have been converted to year-round houses, and Putnam Lake is Patterson's most densely populated neighborhood.

1960s & early 1970s  --  the Birch Hill Game Farm was a popular tourist attraction in Patterson. The attractions were a petting zoo, other animals on display, and a miniature railroad that wound its way up the mountain.  (The Game Farm land is now home to Thunder Ridge Ski area.)


The Town of Patterson, New York.  http://www.pattersonny.org/index.htm?TownHistory1.htm

Guy Cheli.  2004.  Images of America: Putnam County.  Arcadia: Charleston, South Carolina.