The Town of Cortlandt is located in the northwestern corner of Westchester County, NY. It includes two incorporated villages, Croton-on-Hudson and Buchanan. Cortlandt also includes several hamlets: Cortlandt Manor, Crompond, Crugers, Montrose and Verplanck, Lake Peekskill and a section of Mohegan Lake. The rural character of the town is defined by the Hudson River, New York City Watershed Lands, numerous wooded hills and steep slopes, wetland areas and beautiful streams.
Hendrick Hudson discovered the Hudson River in 1609, sailing his ship the Half Moon north anchoring at Verplanck’s Point. Cortlandt derived its name from the Van Cortlandt family who began purchasing land in 1677 from the Croton River north to Anthony’s Nose and east to Connecticut. Cortlandt was the site of many skirmishes during the Revolutionary War. Local Roads, such as Watch Hill and Furnace Dock Road, where the furnaces that made ammunition for the war effort were located, bear names reflecting the Revolutionary time.
In 1788 under the Township Act, Cortlandt became one of 20 townships in Westchester County with Philip Van Cortlandt as the first Supervisor. During the 19th century the railroad was extended to the area and industrialization began to occur with the hamlet of Verplanck becoming an important brickmaking center. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries the Town of Cortlandt was predominantly a rural, agricultural community with seasonal bungalow colonies serving the residents of New York City. By the 1950's Federal housing programs, combined with improvements to the road network and the railroad, led to the suburbanization of the Town, which was typical throughout New York State.
During the Revolutionary War, Lieutenant Colonel Cortlandt commanded the 2nd New York Regiment in the Continental Army. He was awarded the rank of brigadier general for gallant conduct at the siege of Yorktown under General Lafayette.
He served in both houses of the New York State Legislature and represented New York in the United States House of Representatives from 1793 until 1809. He died November 21, 1831 at Van Cortlandt Manor House in Croton in November of 1831 at the age of eighty-two. Van Cortlandt is buried at th Hillside Cemetery in Cortlandt.
Point of Interest: Philip Van Cortlandt, born August 21, 1749 was a land surveyor, land-owner and politician from Westchester County, New York. He pursued classical studies; attended Coldenham Academy and was graduated from King's College (now known as Columbia University) in 1768.
History And Antiquities
The following covers "History and Antiquities", a general collection of interesting facts, traditions, biographical sketches, and anecdotes about Westchester County and its towns. When reading the following, remember to keep in mind that this information has been written about two hundred years ago. Population statistics and events have not been revised to reflect current events and perspective. We think this adds to the historical flavor and interest of the writings, giving a different perspective on much of this information and written in an "older world" writing style.
"Historical Collections of the State of New York
, Published by S. Tuttle, 194 Chatham-Square, 1841
Cortland - Now known as Cortlandt
The surface of this town on the north is covered by the highlands, and has some lofty summits, the principal of which is the Kleberg and Anthony's nose. The town has a considerable portion of arable land. Pop. 5,592. Croton and Cortland town are small post villages.