Home > Uncategorized > The Migration of a Connecticut Family to Eastern New York

The Migration of a Connecticut Family to Eastern New York

Source: Paul E. Huey and Ralph D. Phillips, “The Migration of a Connecticut Family to Eastern New York
in the Eighteenth Century,” Connecticut Nutmegger 13[1980]:390.

The migration of New Englanders into the “Hampshire Grants” (present-day Vermont) east of Lake Champlain, especially in the extensive fertile area drained by Otter Creek, was a movement of major significance that profoundly influenced life in the neighboring areas of New York in the 1760s and early 1770s.  The New Englanders openly and violently challenged colonial British land claims east of Lake Champlain held by New Yorkers and by retired British soldiers.  Conflict also developed between New York and these New Englanders over title to the land claimed by New York east of the Hudson River.  At one time, Vermont claimed south and west so far as to include Lansingburgh within its jurisdiction.

As New England, particularly coastal Connecticut, steadily sought to gain influence on the Hudson River – Lake Champlain trade route, it is possible to understand some of the means for the rapid influx of Connecticut people to the east side of the Hudson Valley as well as to Otter Creek and the east shores of Lake Champlain prior to the Revolution.  Between Norwalk and New Haven, the Connecticut coast on Long Island Sound is broken by several river tributaries which form a series of valley transportation routes merging inland with the Housatonic River.  This valley system, in addition, is separated near Danbury by only a short pass between mountains from the headquarters of the Croton River, flowing southwest to the Hudson River.

From the Connecticut shore, however, the Housatonic River forms a remarkable valley route running northward parallel with the Hudson River, through the Berkshires as far as Pittsfield.  From Pittsfield there is but a short land pass to the Hoosic River which can be followed northward to above Bennington, Vermont.  From this point a short land passage leads directly to the Batten Kill which can be followed northward past Arlington and Manchester to Otter Creek.  This completes the linkage of streams and valleys that must have provided an important direct northward migration route to and between the valleys of the Hudson and Connecticut Rivers in the colonial period.  From this migration route, families often settled in the immediately adjoining westward areas of New York and the Hudson Valley…

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