Rewind: March 1, 2021 – “The Evolution of Warren County”
This is the second part of a two-column series to look at the development of Warren County. The first column looked at the land grants that resulted in this place called Warren County, New York. This column looks at the formation of the towns that make up the county.
Before maps, Warren County was important to the Native Americans who followed the waterways and abundant forests to fish and hunt here. The area started out on the earliest maps as part of the ‘British Province of New York,’ and forts were established between the Hudson River and Lake Champlain. As early as 1759, Jeffrey Cowper (also seen written as Cooper) is given the distinction of the first ‘permanent’ white settler to the area. Sir Jeffrey Amherst indicated that Cowper was to ‘inhabit the Post at Half-way Brook’ to preserve the buildings erected there by the military.
The first ‘name’ given to the area indicated it was part Albany County, which covered much of eastern New York; and later it was part of the newly formed ‘Charlotte County’ – which included much of northern New York – named after King George III’s consort, Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburgh-Strelitz. After the Revolutionary War, Charlotte County was renamed Washington County in honor of General George Washington.
On March 12, 1813 the Legislature split off the western part of Washington County and the area became Warren County, named after General Joseph Warren, a colonial leader who was killed in action at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Thirteen other states have a Warren County, named after Joseph Warren, but New York was the first to honor General Warren in this manner.
Warren County, New York is made up of eleven towns, two villages, and one city. Here is how we became unique:
The Evolution of Warren County
Mid-1700s the British claimed the land and defended it from outsiders (a.k.a. the French in Canada) – the area made part of Albany County
1762 Queensbury Patent opens up the area and a large part is sold to a group of Quakers from Dutchess County
1763 Abraham Wing and his son-in-law arrive in Queensbury to survey the land he and others purchased
1772 The area was made part of the newly formed Charlotte County
1774 King George III opens the Hyde Township to 39 investors, one of whom was John Thurman
1788 John Thurman purchases land from the other investors – about 25,000 acres
1792 Town of Thurman formed
1792 Town of Fairfield formed, taken from Town of Queensbury (later named Luzerne – 1808; still later named Lake Luzerne – 1963)
1799 Town of Bolton formed, taken from Town of Thurman
1799 Town of Chester formed, taken from Town of Thurman
1805 Town of Johnsburg formed, taken from Town of Thurman
1807 Town of Rochester formed, taken from Town of Bolton (later named Hague – 1808)
1810 Town of Caldwell formed (later named Lake George – 1962)
1813 Town of Warrensburgh formed, Taken from Town of Thurman
1813 What was left of Town of Thurman was given the name Athol
1838 Town of Horicon formed, taken from Towns of Hague and Bolton
1839 Village of Glens Falls incorporated
1852 Town of Athol name changed back to Town of Thurman
1903 Village of Caldwell incorporated
1908 City of Glens Falls incorporated
Today Warren County covers approximately 870 square miles and has a population of 65,707 according to Wikipedia.
History of Warren County, Edited by H. P. Smith (1885)
Warren County, New York, A Commemorative bicentennial magazine (2013)
Wikipedia: Counties of New York State
Column prepared by Stan Cianfarano, Co-President of Warren County Historical Society and Warren County Historian