CHARLOTTE COUNTY, NEW YORK

County Information: Charlotte County is no longer in existence, its name having been changed to Washington County in 1784. A brief history of Charlotte County appears below and we hope you will find it useful in understanding the reason for the name change. The Washington County page serves as the query location and information page for Charlotte County, NY.


County History: Text taken from "History of Washington County, New York" by Crisfield Johnson, originally published in 1878.

...on the 12th day of March 1772, a county was formed from Albany by the Legislature of New York, to which the name "Charlotte" was given, in honor of Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George the Third. This was the actual beginning of the county of Washington; the organization having been retained from that time down, though both name and boundaries have been changed.

"On the east of the Hudson, the south line of the new county began at the mouth of Stony creek; ran thence east three miles and three-sixteenths; thence south to the Batten Kill; thence along that stream to the south line of Princetown; and thence east to the west line of Cumberland county, which was the summit of the Green mountains. From this point to Canada those mountains formed the eastern boundary of Charlotte county. From the mouth of Stony creek, the western and southwestern line followed the windings of the Hudson up to the northwest corner of the present town of Luzerne, in Warren county, ran thence west along the present north line of Saratoga county to its northwestern corner, and thence northwardly along the present west line of Warren county extended to Canada. The north line of Charlotte was of course the south line of Canada, or the forty-fifth parallel of north latitude.

"It will be seen that the present towns of Easton, Cambridge, Jackson, White Creek, and the southwest part of Greenwich, remained in Albany county. On the other hand, Charlotte county contained all that part of the present State of Vermont west of the Green mountains and north of the northwest corner of Jackson, the whole of the present counties of Warren, Essex, and Clinton in this State, and the eastern part of Franklin county.

"Some of our readers may have thought we devoted more space to the troubles between New York and Vermont than belonged to them in a strictly local history of Washington county. But, in fact, that imbroglio affected even the internal affairs of Charlotte county, and in 1781 some very curious movements took place in several of the towns of that and Albany counties, which have seldom or never been treated in national histories, but which might have had a serious effect on the welfare of the whole country.

"As has been stated, the county of Charlotte and that part of Albany county now included in Washington were principally settled by New Englanders, and by Scotch and others of foreign birth. The former had almost all adhered to the American cause, which many (though by no means all) of the latter were friendly to the king. As the Americans were most of the time in possession of the territory in question, the New Englanders were largely in the majority among the dominant class.

"These had generally sympathized more or less with their compatriots who were striving to set up an independent government in Vermont. The Vermonters, too, although they had openly claimed only to the present east line of that State, had kept up a kind of faint half-claim to the territory between that line and the Hudson, or even farther west, on the ground that it had been included in Skene's new province of Ticonderoga, of which they deemed their State in some way to be the political heir.

"...The intrigue for the annexation of the territory before mentioned was going forward at the same time. Not liking to rest their claim on no higher authority than the supposed organization of the province of Ticonderoga, the Vermonters also resorted to the secession doctrine. In April the Legislature of that State directed that a convention be held at Cambridge the following month, composed of delegates elceted by the people of the various districts of Charlotte county of that part of Albany county lying north of the south line of Vermont prolonged to the Hudson, which convention should decide whether, and on what terms, those districts should be united to the State of Vermont.

"The long and deadly struggle of the Revolution, with its accompaniments of invasion, house-burning, and Indian outrage, had naturally developed a very bitter feeling among the people, especially on the frontiers, against everything of English name or origin. Even the name of Queen Charlotte was not agreeable to the inhabitants of Charlotte county, whose farms had been devastated by the troops of Queen Charlotte's husband. Still more unpleasant was the name of Tryon county, derived from the last British governor of New York, to the people of the Mohawk valley, where the work of burning and massacre had been carried on year after year by Tories and Indians in British employ,.

"Accordingly, on the second day of April, 1784, the Legislature passed an act changing the two names just mentioned. It was a model of brevity and precision, and, after the enacting clause, read as follows:

'From and after the passage of this act the county of Tryon shall be known by the name of Montgomery, and the county of Charlotte by the name of Washington.'

"Thus the most honored appellation known to Americans was conferred upon this county. The name was not as common then as now, and we believe this is the oldest 'Washington county' in the United States,--a venerable patriarch with nearly forty namesakes among counties, besides an almost countless host of towns, villages, and post-offices."


The Charlotte County web page is a part of NYGenWeb which is a part of the The USGenWeb Project. If you would like to contribute your data or create a county page within New York State, please contact the NYGenWeb State Coordinator Holly Timm. Coordinator for the Washington County page is Debbie Barrett.


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