Place name origins are varied across the Hudson Valley & Catskill Mountains. Have you ever wondered, “how did that place get its name?” I know I have, and curiosity got the better of me so I started researching some of the name origins for Hudson Valley and Catskills locations. Quite the undertaking since there are a rather large number of locations. Nonetheless, here is the starting list that will be added to over time until such a time as I go bonkers from doing it.
Hudson Valley & Catskill Mountains Places & Names
A Delaware and Hudson Canal town originally named Port Jackson, it is thought that the name “Accord” resulted from a petition of the townspeople to the Capitol in Albany for a new name. The response was that the authorities could not come to an accord about a new name so the name “Accord” was chosen.
Albany was named after the Duke of York’s Scottish title, “Duke of Albany” in 1664 when the English took control of the area.
The name is derived from the Latin word, amoena, which means “pleasant to the eye.”
The name was derived from the Livingston homestead in Anchoram, Scotland.
A joke suggestion by Daniel H. Burr, who seeing that the new town was to include one of the hilliest sections of the county, said it ought to be called Andes.
Derived its name from an incident involving one of its oldest houses. During a river overflowing this old house was the only one that was not damaged by the water that came through the valley. Hence “Ark” as in Noah’s Ark.
Originally proposed to call the new town “New Ulm.” When the bill erecting it passed the Legislature, however, Martin Van Buren, then a State Senator, and who, being an ardent admirer of the great Napoleon, was somewhat incensed at one of his political opponents, who had succeeded in having a town in Seneca County christened “Waterloo,” leaped to his feet and moved to amend by calling the new town “Austerlitz.” Having carried his point, he retired to his seat, saying “There’s an Austerlitz for your Waterloo.”
Beacon was named to commemorate the historic beacon fires that were lit at the summit of the Fishkill Mountains to alert the Continental Army of British troop movements.
Named for German peddler and storekeeper Christian Baehr, who built a store on the Sawkill Creek in 1839.
BIG INDIAN NY
The hamlet of Big Indian takes its name from an 18th century Native American named “Winnisook,” who was said to be over seven feet in height, strong, well-built, and fearless.
Boiceville was named for Lemuel Boice (born in Shokan in 1819, died in Boiceville, 1899), who established a tannery in the town. … Boiceville was relocated due to the construction of the Ashokan Reservoir.
The village of Brewster derives its name from that of the landowner, Walter Brewster.
Callicoon got its name from Dutch hunters who settled the location in the 17th century. Because of the population of wild turkeys in the area, they named the community Kollikoonkill which translates into Wild Turkey Creek.
CAMPBELL HALL NY
Campbell Hall was named for Colonel Campbell who was a Scotchman, had two sons, and when the war of the Revolution commenced, one sided with England; the other with his adopted country.
The name Circleville was given to the Church and Village by Mrs. Mary Bull who thought Circleville, in Ohio, was a very pleasant name.
The name is derived from “Cushetunk,” a local Native American word meaning “low land” (alluding to the town’s location in the upper Delaware Valley).
The name Cohoes is believed to be derived from a Mohawk term, Ga-ha-oose, referring to the Cohoes Falls and meaning “Place of the Falling Canoe.”
Congers, named after Abraham B. Conger, was settled in the late 17th century by Dutch, German and English settlers and was known as Cedar Grove Corner and then Waldberg, which in German means “forest mountain”.
The village name comes from the native word mak-kachs-hack-ing. When the land was purchased by the Dutch settlers, the name was written as Koxhackung. It is generally translated as “Hoot-owl place” or “place of many owls”.
Cuddebackville is named for William Cuddeback, a colonel in the War of 1812 and a descendant of one of the first families.
The town name was derived from the deposits of logs made by lumbermen, prior to forming rafts to float down the Delaware River.
DOBBS FERRY NY
Dobbs Ferry was named after Jeremiah Dobbs, a descendant of William Dobbs, of Swedish and Dutch ancestry whose family ran a ferry service that traversed the Hudson River at this location.
In 1875, the postmaster C . P. Eldred renamed the post office in memory of his father, James Eldred. The inhabitants of Yulan originally wanted to name their hamlet “Laurel” or “Mountain Laurel”.
Named after the Fleischmann family (of Fleischmann’s Yeast), longtime summer residents and benefactors of the area. The family had a 160-acre property consisting of multiple mansions and numerous outbuildings.
GARRISON NY (Garrison’s Landing)
Named after 2nd Lieutenant Isaac Garrison, owned property on the Hudson River across from West Point and ran a ferry service across the Hudson River between the two hamlets.
GLEN SPEY NY
The name “Glen Spey” comes from the Scottish “glen” for valley and “spey” for spa or healthy spring.
Originally named Colchester, on March 8th, 1806, the name was changed in honor of John Hancock, president of the first Congress of the United States.
The name comes from the Dutch word Haverstroo meaning “oats straw”, referring to the grasslands along the river. The town contains three villages, one of which is also known as Haverstraw.
In 1785, to honor the name of the Dutch explorer Henry Hudson, the town was incorporated as the city of Hudson.
Hurleyville was originally settled by William Hurley. … Due to mail getting mixed in with that of Hurley, New York, Hurleyville was temporarily renamed “Luzon Station”. This name was chosen because the postmaster had a son stationed at Luzon Island in the Philippines.
Katonah is named for Chief Katonah, an American Indian from whom the land of Bedford was purchased by a group of English colonists.
The name of the town means “Children’s Corner” in the language of the original Dutch settlers (Kinderhoek). The name “Kinderhook” has its root in the landing of Henry Hudson in the area around present-day Stuyvesant, where he was greeted by Native Americans with many children.
The town was originally established in 1821 as “Freedom” and later changed to LaGrange after the ancestral estate of Marie Adrienne Françoise de Noailles, the wife of the Marquis de Lafayette,
The hamlet was known first under the name of Yearsley’s Corners and years afterward as Van Vrankens Corners in the 1850s. The name changed to Latham when William Latham became owner of the local hotel.
Loidis, from which Leeds derives its name, was anciently a forested area of the Celtic kingdom of Elmet.
A Native American name translated as “the place where the sweet waters fall into the sea,”
In 1850, the village was named in honor of Margaret Lewis (Livingston’s granddaughter). Until then, it had been known as “Middletown Center”, which took its name from its location, equidistant from the Hudson, Delaware and Susquehanna rivers.
MIDDLETOWN NY (Orange County)
Due to its location between other settlements, residents adopted the name of Middletown,
During the Industrial Revolution, major population centers needed food and materials from outlying areas. Railroads were built to accommodate the need. Sidney Miller, a civil engineer, brought the railroad to Millerton in 1851. Town fathers named the village, Millerton, in his honor.
The area was first settled in the late 17th century and was originally called “Clark’s Corner”. The name was changed to Modena in 1829, and the hamlet most likely was named for the Italian city of Modena.
MT. KISCO NY
Kisco is derived from an Indian word –either kiskamenahook meaning “settlement near a brook” or cisqua meaning “a muddy place.” Mount comes from the 623-foot hill northwest of town.
The name “Nanuet” derives from Chief Nannawitt from the Munsee Indian tribe.
First known as Homans’ Eddy until Mr. Homan left the area. It was then renamed Big Eddy by the raftsmen on the Delaware River because it is located on one of the broadest and deepest parts of the river. The name was changed to Narrowsburg about 1840, to identify it with the narrows just above the big eddy.
In 1752, the land was surveyed by Cadwallader Colden and named “Newburgh” after Newburgh in his native Scotland.
According to Tompkins History, the name Nyack came from a tribe of Indians on Long Island.
Palenville takes its name from the Palen family, who built and operated tanneries throughout the Catskills starting in the 1820s.
The town is named after Catherine Pauling, the daughter of Henry Beekman, who held the second largest land patent in the county. A misprint caused the U to change to a W and the name stuck.
Jan Peek was Peekskill’s earliest European resident. The name “Peekskill” derives from a combination of Jan Peek’s last name and the Dutch word for stream “kill.”
Pomona takes its name from the Roman goddess of fruit, because of the many apple orchards and farms that dotted the countryside until about 30 years ago.
PORT JERVIS NY
Named in 1827 for John B. Jervis, the chief engineer of the Delaware and Hudson Canal.
It was settled by the Dutch in 1683; its name, of Wappinger Indian origin, means “reed-covered lodge by the little water place.”
RED HOOK NY
The name is supposedly derived from the red foliage on trees on a small strip of land on the Hudson River.
The name Rhinebeck is a combination of the name of the man who founded the town.
Named after former New York State Senator Roscoe Conklin (1867-1881), is also considered the gateway to the Catskill Park.
The first settlement of this town was made about 1700. It received its name from the old “Rosendale Farm” where an inn was kept in 1711.
The name Saugerties derives from “Zagertje”, which means “Little Sawyer” in Dutch.
It undoubtedly took its name from the nationality of the early settlers, McVey, McWhorter, McInnis, McLaughlin and McCord.
The name is believed to be from an Esopus phrase for “land of rapid waters.”
SLEEPY HOLLOW NY
In 1655 Adriaen Van der Donck, a Dutch colonist, first published a work which referred to the Pocantico River as Slapershaven or, literally, Sleepers’ Haven. Sleepy Hollow appears to be a later, Anglicized version of this name.
Named after early settlers, brothers Jacob and Rupert Storm.
In consideration for the right-of-way given it by Judge Edward Suffern, son of founder John, to lay track across his 6 miles (10 km) of land, the Erie Railroad named their depot “Suffern’s Station.” The village became known as Suffern, not New Antrim, as it had been called by John Suffern.
SUGAR LOAF NY
The most plausible tale is that Elizabeth Dobbin, during her first winter here [circa 1738], gazed up at that huge bald uplifted fault block, shrouded in heavy morning mist, so frosty at the summit yet so greenish-brown at the base, and was reminded of the hard loaves of sugar she and all colonial housewives made.
Tannersville’s 200-year history involved numerous small hemlock-tree tanneries (hence, the name) which created many forest related jobs.
“Tappan” is derived from the Lenape word “tuphanne” thought to mean “cold water.” … The first school house in Rockland County was built in 1711 in Tappan.
The name Troy (after the legendary city of Troy, made famous in Homer’s Iliad) was adopted in 1789, before which it had been known as Ashley’s Ferry.
Originally a Native American settlement, the name Tuckahoe referred to the root of a plant that was roasted by the Indians and eaten as bread.
TUXEDO PARK NY
The name is derived from a Native American word of the Lenape language, tucsedo or p’tuxseepu, which is said to mean ‘crooked water’ or ‘crooked river’.
Valatie, from the Dutch Vaaltje meaning “Little Falls,”
The Village of Walton is named after William Walton Jr., a King’s patentee and a founder of the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York.
WHITE PLAINS NY
in 1683, Men from nearby Rye, New York purchased 4,435 acres of land from the Weckquaeskeck Indians. They dubbed the place “White Plains”, translating the Indian “Quarropas” or white marshes or plains.
In July 1645, the area was granted to Adriaen van der Donck, the patroon of Colendonck. Van der Donck was known locally as the Jonkheer or Jonker (etymologically, “young gentleman”, derivation of old Dutch jong (young) and heer (“lord”); in effect, “Esquire”), a word from which the name “Yonkers” is directly derived.
Hudson Valley & Catskill Mountain Place Names & Origins