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WASHINGTON COUNTY, NY

Above is a map of Washington County showing the townships within the county.

The ancestry of many Gillettes was centered in and around the Jackson and Cambridge areas shown on the map.

Following is information on the shifting boundaries of the towns and counties in the Washington County region:

Please Note - Vital Statistics (in school district reports), for 1847-1849 only; New York State did not begin to keep vital statistic records until 1880/81. Vital records must be obtained from the clerk/registrar of the city, town or village where the birth, death or marriage occurred. There is a fee and vital records are not open to the public. Also, present-day Washington County was a part of Albany County until 1772, when a portion of Albany County became Charlotte County embracing an area extending to the Canadian border and including disputed areas of Vermont. In 1784, Charlotte County was renamed Washington County, and included all but the very southern part of today's Washington County, which remained in Albany County. With the settlement of the border with Vermont in 1791, those lands became a part of the county. In 1813, present day Warren County split from Washington County. Therefore deeds and many other documents relating to large sections of upper New York State can be found among this county's early records. Furthermore, as with every county, towns were divided, and new towns with different names were carved out of existing townships.

Washington County: "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." (Text quoted from "History of Washington County, NY" by Crisfield Johnson, originally published 1878).

Washington County, New York, 1791: "In 1791.... the town of CAMBRIDGE, comprising also the present towns of JACKSON and White Creek, was transferred to Washington county." (Text quoted from "History of Washington County, New York" by Crisfield Johnson, originally published in 1878).

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Washington County, New York, 1786

"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."

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

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Washington County, New York, 1781

"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."

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

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Washington County, New York, 1791

"In 1791, Vermont was admitted to the Union as a State, thus putting the seal of Federal authority on the settlement arrived at this year. Washington county thus became permanently a border county along all of its enormous length. In this year also the counties of RENSSELAER and Saratoga were formed from Albany. By the same act the town of CAMBRIDGE, comprising also the present towns of JACKSON and White Creek, was transferred to Washington county, and that part of the towns of Saratoga and Stillwater lying east of the Hudson was formed into a new town, by the name of Easton, and also annexed to Washington. We do not know, but we imagine very strongly, that these transfers were managed by General John Williams, of Salem, then an influential member of the State Senate, so as to strengthen the south end of the county, and get the county-seat permanently fixed at Salem."

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

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Washington County, New York, 1813

"On the 12th day of March, 1813, the county of Warren was erected. This reduced the area of Washington county to the limits which it has ever since retained. It also brought the eastern county-seat, at Sandy Hill, within a mile of the county line; but, as the court-house was already built, the location has been able to hold its ground against all rivals ever since."

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


MAPS OF HOW THESE COUNTY BORDERS CHANGED:

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