Westchester County in History, New York
VOLUME I - Manual of Westchester County, New York
The compilation and presentation of this work is largely due to the urgent solicitation and support of prominent officials and residents of Westchester County. Recognizing the necessity of securing, while data is yet available, as complete a record as possible of officials connected with the County's history, and estimating that the preservation of such record, in convenient book form, will be of practical value, in the future as well as at the present time, the author and compiler, at great expense, has completed the work. He trusts that as a book of reference it will be found invaluable.
An effort has been made to secure all names, with residence, of persons entitled to a place in the County's civil list. These have been arranged in such a manner as to enable those who consult the book to trace the official history of every person at any time connected with the County government or with its local branches. As far as possible the development of each department has been shown.
Special articles, relative to matters deemed of public importance, have been recorded in the hope that they may prove interesting and instructive.
In the preparation of biographies, it has been the desire to indulge in no undeserved praise, or fulsome laudation. Every man has been accorded the credit he honestly deserves, and it has been the author's sincere purpose to bring to public recognition the characteristics and traits of each official who has been deemed worthy of biographical consideration.
The aim of the author has been to make the work authentic in facts and dates. A great amount of tedious and exacting labor has been found necessary to render it so, partly owing to the fact that the compilation of such a work has never before been attempted in this county. In the absence of authenticated records, in many cases dependence had to be placed upon the memory of old residents. It is therefore possible, that despite most conscientious and indefatigable labor, an occasional error may be found.
The author takes this occasion to publicly tender his thanks to all who have rendered assistance to him, assuring them that but for such invaluable aid his labor might have been more than disproportionably increased.
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VOLUME II - 1683-1912
In offering additional volumes of the Westchester County Manual and Civil List, the author considers that no special or formal words of introduction are necessary.
The first volume, published in 1898, had a circulation greater than anticipated by the publisher, and the issuing of a second edition was required to meet the demand.
Numerous books relative to the history of historic Westchester County have been written; and, while they possess a peculiar sameness, they have many meritorious features. The author of this history has endeavored to get out of the "beaten path," and give his book an individuality of its own. That it may fulfill the mission intended is greatly desired.
Recognizing the necessity of securing, while data is yet available, as complete a record as possible of officials connected with the County's history, and estimating that the preservation of such record, in convenient book form, will be of practical value in the future, as well as at the present time, the author, in the year 1890, commenced the compilation of this work; and the greeting it received on the presentation to the public of the first volume has encouraged him to offer additional volumes, after the lapse of a due number of years.
As this historical publication is the first and the only one of its kind ever undertaken relative to Westchester County, and particularly to its civic life, it will be readily understood that years of research and labor had to be devoted to bring about desired results. The book, in its several volumes, is the out- come of efforts to preserve in ready reference form the names and history of the men who, at different periods dating back over two hundred years, have rendered honorable and meritorious service to Westchester County, making them worthy of having their names preserved in connection with its history.
In order to make the several volumes of this book of general interest to all readers, efforts are made to present, in attractive form, thrilling and absorbing incidents relating to remarkable facts in the County's history.
The biographical annals of the County, a feature of the book, deal only with "people of affairs;" they who have been conspicuous in the County's life during the many years; they who have "done things" toward the making of its history that something which entitles them to be remembered in years to come, after they have passed into the "Beyond," when memories are cherished by beloved ones remaining.
By a careful reading of the biographies of those who assisted in its success and development much can be learned of the County's history.
In the preparation of biographies, it has been the desire to indulge in no undeserved praise, or fulsome laudation. Every one has been accorded the credit honestly deserved, and it has been the author's sincere purpose to bring to public recognition the characteristics and traits of each who has been deemed worthy of biographical consideration.
Many of the men whose biographies appear in the first volume of this book, who were active in public affairs and directing matters of State at that time, have since passed over the line into the land of "the great majority." Twelve years or more, the time lapsing between the dates of publishing the two volumes, have worked great changes within our County. No man knoweth what time hath in store for him. In several instances, those who aided in obtaining necessary information, and who watched eagerly for the publication of this volume, are not here to be among its readers.
In dealing with the past and present in the civic life of our County, as much pleasure has been experienced in giving the photographs and sketches of office-holders conspicuous in years gone by, as in doing like service for men-of-affairs of the present day. We all realize that our country is better owing to the loyal public service rendered by all good citizens in their day. We are inclined that is, the most of us are to have too little respect and veneration for the things of antiquity, despite the fact that we talk a great deal about the good old times of long ago, about the noble acts and heroic deeds of the fathers. In the hustle and bustle of modern life we are apt to bowl over with sacrilege and disdain some of the most ancient and respected landmarks of the past. We have our eyes fixed upon the goal in mirage ahead, and we are wont to forget the objects of reality in the rear. We do not remember at all times that it is better to be a "Has-Been" than a "Never-Was-At-All."
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VOLUME III - 1683-1914
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Westchester County has the proud distinction of being one of the twelve original counties of the State of New York, under the English rule. It was erected by the act of 1683. The twelve counties were, Albany, Cornwall, Dukes, Dutchess, Kings, New York, Orange, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester. Two of these, Cornwall and Dukes counties, were subsequently attached to other States.