Troop 174

Citizenship in the Community


Citizenship In The Community Requirements
1. Describe your community to your counselor giving
2. Mark or point out on a map of your community the following:
3. Do the following:
    Organizational Structure of Yorktown, Cortlandt, Putnam Valley
        Town of Yorktown
        Town of Cortlandt
        Town of Putnam Valley
Organizational Structure of Peekskill
City Of Peekskill Leadership
4. Attend ONE of the following:
5. After visiting the governmental meeting
6. List the services your community
7. Select an issue
8. List and describe the work of five volunteer organizations
10. List five ways you can demonstrate good citizenship
Appendix 1 – Yorktown
    Yorktown Facts
    Town Board
        About the Town Board
        Regular Meetings Held:
    Quick History Of Yorktown: Early Beginnings
    Presenting Historic Yorktown
        Indians and Early Settlers
        Nineteenth Century
        Twentieth Century
Appendix 2 – History of Yorktown Police
Appendix 3 – Cortlandt
    Cortlandt Facts
    About Cortlandt
    Cortlandt Town Board
    Cortlandt Proposed Budget for 2004
    History Of Cortlandt
        The Village of Croton
        Philip Van Cortlandt
        A Short History of Verplanck's Point
Appendix 4 – Peekskill
    City Facts
    About Peekskill
    Peekskill Common Council
    Peekskill's Origins, Development and Highlights
        European Discovery and Settlement
        Peekskill Was An Important Location During the War of Independence
        The River Gave a Boost to Early Industrialization
        Business Was Good After the Civil War
        Peekskill as a City
        Peekskill Was Active During World War 2
        Peekskill Still Making Firsts
Appendix 5 - Putnam Valley
    About Putnam Valley
    Putnam Valley History
        Before the Europeans
        The Europeans
        Putnam Valley Historical Facts
Appendix 6 – Cultures and Ethnic Groups
Appendix 7 – Types of Employment
Appendix 8 – Merit Badge Work Sheet


This guide has been developed for the “Citizenship in the Community” Scouting Merit Badge.  This is the Scout’s manual that accompanies the Leader’s Guide.

Troop 174, in Yorktown New York, has collected this material from the Web for use with the merit badge class.  Any copyright infringement is purely accidental.  Where possible, material has been referenced using the originating website address.

If you would like to make use of this manual, please contact the Scout Master or Webmaster for further information.  Email addresses for contact are provided on the Troop’s Web page.  There is no fee for use of this material by other Scouting organizations.

Version 11/10

Citizenship In The Community Requirements

1. Describe your community to your counselor giving
(a) A short history
(b) Cultures and ethnic groups
(c) Major places of employment
What is the future of your community?

2. Mark or point out on a map of your community the following:
(a) Chief government buildings such as your city hall, county courthouse, and public
works/services facility
(b) Fire station, police station, and hospital nearest your home
(c) Schools, churches, and synagogues near your house
(d) Main highways to neighboring cities and towns
(e) Nearest railroads and bus stations and airport, if any
(f) Chief industries or other major places of employment
(g) Historical and other interesting points

3. Do the following:
(a) Chart the organization of your local or state government. Show the top offices and tell which are elected or appointed.
(b) Name the political parties in your community government and list four persons active in the politics of your community and what position they hold.

4. Attend ONE of the following:
(a) County or parish board meeting
(b) City council meeting
(c) School board meeting
(d) Municipal, county, or state court session

5. After visiting the governmental meeting, obtain a copy of that body's published budget. Review the major sources of income and expenses for its operation with your counselor.

6. List the services your community provides to the citizens in return for the taxes paid by you and your parents.

7. Select a city, county, or school problem or issue under consideration from the local newspaper or news broadcast and write a letter expressing your views to the mayor, administrator, or school board president. Show this letter and any response to your counselor.

8. List and describe the work of five volunteer organizations through which people in your community work together for the good of your community.

9. Tell how to report an accident or an emergency in your community.

10. List five ways you can demonstrate good citizenship in your community, religious institution, school, or Scouting unit.


What is a Community?

What is it that makes a Community?

 Could a community be a group of towns or is it one town?
 Are we a community?
 What is it that forms our Community here as Scouts?

 Is the community only about towns?
 How should we define our community?

Why do people form communities?

What is being a Citizen?

 What rights do you have as a citizen in you town?
 What responsibilities do you have?
 Is being a citizen make you a member of the community?
 Is being a member of the community make you a citizen?

1. Describe your community to your counselor giving

A short history

Review the history of the community in the appendices of this document.

Cultures and ethnic groups

What is a Culture?
What is an Ethnic Group?
Is it good to have multiple cultures within a community?

Major places of employment

Where do people work in your community?  Why is that important?
Why would a community want to build new places of employment?  Why Not?

What is the future of your community?

Where do people work in your community?  Why is that important?

Why would a community want to build new places of employment?  Why Not?

2. Mark or point out on a map of your community the following:

(a) Chief government buildings such as your city hall, county courthouse, and public
     works/services facility

(b) Fire station, police station, and hospital nearest your home

(c) Schools, churches, and synagogues near your house

(d) Main highways to neighboring cities and towns

(e) Nearest railroads and bus stations and airport, if any

(f) Chief industries or other major places of employment

(g) Historical and other interesting points

3. Do the following:

(a) Chart the organization of your local or state government. Show the top offices and tell which are elected or appointed.

What is a “Government”?

Why do we care about the government?

Why do we care about the organization of the town?

Does a town really have a government?

What is a law and are there parts to it?

Organizational Structure of Yorktown, Cortlandt, Putnam Valley

The Yorktown town government is comprised of the following working groups:


Boards Offices Committees

In addition, the Town of Yorktown as a Town Court and operates as a part of the local government.  The Town Board appoints the judges to handle Town matters.  In the County, Judges are elected by the people to maintain the will of the people.


Town of Yorktown
Linda G. Cooper  Supervisor
Floyd Braun  Councilman
Gregory Bernard  Councilman
Nicholas J. Bianco  Councilman
James Martorano  Councilman

Town of Cortlandt
Joseph D. Cerreto   Town Board Member
Francis X. Farrell   Town Board Member
Ann Lindau    Town Board Member
John E. Sloan   Town Board Member
Linda D. Puglisi   Supervisor

Town of Putnam Valley
SUPERVISOR       Carmelo J. Santos  Rep  2yr  11/6/01  12/31/03
TOWN CLERK     Carole P. Hughes  Dem  4yr  11/2/99  12/31/03
TOWN JUSTICE   Gina Capone         Dem  4yr  11/6/01  12/31/05
                               Louis DiCarlo        Blk    4yr  11/2/99  12/31/03

 Daniel T. Ricci     Rep   4yr  11/2/99  12/31/03
 Stephen Johnson  Dem  4yr  11/6/01  12/31/05
 Robert V. Tendy  Rep   4yr  11/6/01  12/31/05

Appointed to fill an unexpired term appt 12/2002 must run in 2003
 Robert Cesark     Con  4yr  11/2/99  12/31/0

 Earl C. Smith        Rep  2yr  11/6/01  12/31/03

Organizational Structure of Peekskill

City Of Peekskill Leadership

John G. Testa          Mayor
Cathy Pisani             Deputy Mayor
William Schmidt       Council Member
Melvin Bolden          Council Member
Milagros Martinez    Council Member
Drew Claxton           Council Member
Christopher Hanzlik  Council Member

(b) Name the political parties in your community government and list four persons active in the politics of your community and what position they hold.

What is a political party?

What is governance?

What are social ideals?
What form of governance do we use here?
Why do we need political parties?

How many political parties are there?

There are many national political parties that most people and most of the you may have heard of.  In our area some of them are:
 The Democratic Party
 The Republican Party
 The Conservative Party
 The Independent Party
 The Right To Life Party
 The Liberal Party
 The Family Workers Party
The two that the US is known for are The Democratic Party and The Republican Party.  One is more liberal minded and the other is more conservatively minded.  However, you can talk to many members of both parties and hear the same thing.
Why might this be true?

4. Attend ONE of the following:

(a) County or parish board meeting
(b) City council meeting
(c) School board meeting
(d) Municipal, county, or state court session

5. After visiting the governmental meeting

Obtain a copy of that body's published budget.
What is a budget?
Why do people care about budgets?
What are income and expenses?
Where is the money coming from?
Who gets to say how they spend it?
Review the major sources of income and expenses for its operation with your counselor.

What are taxes?

 Why do we need taxes?
 How do taxes help?
 How do taxes work?
 Where do we pay our taxes?
City Income Tax
Water and Sewer payments
Parking Tickets
Property Tax
Traffic Fines

6. List the services your community

List the services your community provides to the citizens in return for the taxes paid by you and your parents.

What the does your town provide?
Why is it important?

Fire and Rescue protection
Law Enforcement
Town Water
Town Sewer
Garbage Collection
Snow Removal
Road Repair
Parks / Park Maintenance
Communal Enforcement

Are schools a part of the town?  How do schools work?

What about the Court System?

7. Select an issue

Select a city, county, or school problem or issue under consideration from the local newspaper or news broadcast and write a letter expressing your views to the mayor, administrator, or school board president. Show this letter and any response to your counselor.

What issue do you think exist within our community?

8. List and describe the work of five volunteer organizations

List and describe the work of five volunteer organizations through which people in your community work together for the good of your community.

Community churches and religious organizations – what do they do to help the community?

9. Tell how to report an accident

Tell how to report an accident or an emergency in your community.

911 – the best way to report an accident
What information should you give?

 How do you start? – they get lots of calls that are not emergencies!
 Your Name (you can tell them you’re a Scout)
 Accident location
 Type of problem
 How many people
 An honest assessment of the problem, if you are asked!
 What help is needed – Medical, fire, police
 Your Location if not at the accident

 When you call, always speak clearly and calmly.

10. List five ways you can demonstrate good citizenship

List five ways you can demonstrate good citizenship in your community, religious institution, school, or Scouting unit.

Be constructive.

Be involved!


The following are excerpts of Web pages that discuss the above requirements.  These pages were collected and place within this booklet to assist Scouts working on the badge.

Appendix 1 – Yorktown

Members of the Town Board (L to R) Nick Bianco, Linda Cooper (Supervisor), Jim Martarano, Lou Campisi , Matt Metz.

Yorktown Facts
Town Population 2000:  36,318
Metro area:                    New York
Latitude:                         41.295N
Longitude:                      -73.808W
Time zone:                      Eastern Standard

Named for the American victory in the Revolutionary War battle at Yorktown, VA

Well-known residents have included:

Nearby parks and recreation: North County Trailway, Teatown Lake Reservation, Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park

Town Board

Linda G. Cooper,   Supervisor
Floyd Braun,          Councilman
Gregory Bernard,   Councilman
Nicholas J. Bianco, Councilman
James Martorano,   Councilman

Yorktown Municipal Offices
363 Underhill Ave., Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
Tel: (914) 962-5722    Fax: (914) 962-1731

About the Town Board

The Town Board is the governing and legislative body of the Town. It determines policy and is the branch of government that appropriates funds for governmental functions and services. The Board is comprised of four Council members, who are elected for a four year term, and the Supervisor who is elected for a two year term. Terms are staggered. Two Council positions are elected at each biennial election.

The authority and powers of the Town government are granted and defined under the provisions of State law. The Town Board is the governing and legislative body of the Town. It determines policy and is the branch of government that appropriates funds for governmental functions and services.

Among the many powers granted to the Town Board are the right to adopt a budget, levy taxes and authorize bond issues, fill appointive positions, determine the salary and hours of town employees through negotiations with its two unions, manage, contrac t, and have custody of Town property, establish non-salaried advisory boards, establish special improvement districts, enact ordinances for the public safety, well-being, health and protection of town residents.

The presence of a majority of the Town Board constitutes a quorum for the transaction of official business. Each member of the Board has one vote. A resolution of law is carried by the affirmative vote of the majority of the Board.

Regular Meetings Held:

All town board meetings, work sessions and regular business meetings are open to the community. The regular town board business meetings take place in the Board Room at Town Hall, or other advertised locations, on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 8 p.m. An opportunity is provided for residents to speak on any matter during the "courtesy of the floor" period of the meetings. Town Board meetings are televised on the local cable access channel 72. Please contact the Yorktown Town Hall, (914) 962-5722 X209, for more information.

In the event a Regular Meeting date falls on a holiday, then the meeting will be held the next day or as may be determined. Work Session dates which would fall on a holiday will not be held or will be rescheduled. Call Town Hall for information.

First and third Tuesdays of each month at 8:00 PM
and a Work Session the second Wednesday at 5:00 PM PM

Yorktown Town Hall:
363 Underhill Avenue
Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
(914) 962-5722

Regular meetings of the Town Board are usually held on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 7:30pm, unless there is a holiday. Meeting dates in 2003 are:

January 7 and 21,
February 4 and 18,
March 4 and 18,
April 1 and 15,
May 6 and 20,
June 3 and 17,
July 1 and 15,
August 5 and 19,
September 2 and 16,
October 7and 21,
November 18 ,
December 2 and 16.

Public Work Sessions of the Town Board are usually held on the second Wednesday and fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:30pm. Work Session dates in 2003 are:

January 8 and 28,
February 12 and 25,
March 12 and 25,
April 9 and 22,
May 14 and 27,
June 11 and 24,
July 9 and 22,
August 13 and 26,
September 23,
October 8 and 28,
November 12 and 25,
December 10.

Quick History Of Yorktown: Early Beginnings

The Town of Yorktown has a rich historical heritage beginning with the earliest known inhabitants -- Mohegan, Osceola, Amwalk, Kitchawan and Mohansic -- all familiar names of local places. The Mohegans of the Algonquin Nation had habitations within the boundary of Yorktown.

In 1683, Stephanus Van Cortlandt, with a license issued by the Royal Governor of New York, made his first purchase of land from the Indians. By 1697, when he confirmed his patent with the authorities, he had acquired roughly 80,000 acres. A patent for the Manor of Cortlandt was granted by the British King, William the Third, June 17, 1697. The Manor house was located north of the confluence of the Hudson and Croton Rivers.

After the Revolutionary War and at the time of its incoporation in 1788, the township was officially designated as Yorktown in commemoration of the American's decisive victory at Yorktown, Virginia in October 19, 1781.

During the town's bicentennial in 1988, Yorktowners took stock of their historic heritage including that of the 19th and 20th centuries and commemorated their community's participation in events that led up to the birth and growth of the United States. A Bicentennial Committee reviewed the Town's still remaining historic sites and determined which were to be preserved as a reminder of that past and a link betwee the Yorktown of yesterday and the Yorktown of tomorrow.

To learn more about the history of the Town of Yorktown, you are invited to link to the Yorktown Historical Society web site using the menu to the left. Historic Hudson Valley, a nonprofit organization that maintains the Van Cortlandt Manor as well as other historical sites in the region, also offers a web site you may wish to visit. For general information on the Hudson Valley Region, including historical information and cultural events, visit the Hudson Valley Network.

Presenting Historic Yorktown

Published courtesy of The New Yorktown Chamber of Commerce.

Indians and Early Settlers

Mohegan, Osceola, Amawalk, Kitchawan and Mohansic - all familiar names of local places - remind us that the Indians were the earliest people we have knowledge of in Yorktown.

The Mohegans of the Algonquin nation had habitations within the boundaries of the approximately 40 square miles that is the Town of Yorktown. Archaeological digs in both the 19th and 20th centuries have brought a few of their sites to light.

The last Indian settlement in the County of Westchester was supposedly located near Indian Hill in Jefferson Valley. An Indian burial ground was discovered on the south slope of the hill and along the shore of Lake Osceola. Amawalk, anglicized from Appamaghapogh, was another Indian site. There was also an Indian village in the area of modern day Kitchawan.

In 1683, Stephanus Van Cortlandt, with a license issued by the Royal Governor of New York, made his first purchase of land from the Indians. By 1697, when he confirmed his patent with the authorities, he had acquired roughly 80,000 acres. On June 17 of that year, a patent for the Manor of Cortlandt was granted by the British King William the Third. The Manor house was located north of the confluence of the Hudson and Croton Rivers.

Stephanus Van Cortlandt died at the turn of the century, but it was not until 1730 that his manor lands were divided among his heirs and some of the Great Lots, as they were called, were put up for sale. In 1712, there were only 91 people living on the entire manor, and they lived close to the Hudson. After 1730, settlers from the southern part of the colony and from Connecticut migrated to the Manor, many settling in what later became the Middle Ward of the Manor known as Hanover. Although mostly of English extraction, settlers also included French Huguenots and blacks.

The main hamlet in the Hanover area was at the junction of what is now Crompond Road and Old Yorktown Road and was known as Crompond. In 1788, after the Revolutionary War, however, the township was officially designated as Yorktown in commemoration of the Americans' decisive victory at Yorktown, Virginia on October 19, 1781.

Nineteenth Century

Crompond Corners, where Old Yorktown Road meets Route 202, was the business center of town from colonial days until the railroad was built.The corner looks today something as it did in the 19th century. The Presbyterian Church is on one corner, and the house on the other side of the road was an inn. Buildings across the street on Route 202 housed the post office, tannery, slaughter house and cobbler shop. There was a large house where the Yorktown Civil War recruits drilled. Their guns and supplies were stored in the barn that is still standing on the site. Yorktown's quota during the Civil War was 281 soldiers, but only 133 recruits were actual residents, since it was possible to buy a replacement.

Some of Crompond Road's traffic was ox carts taking milk and product to Croton Point for river shipping to New York City, horse drawn mail wagons going between the river dock and the post office stage coaches between Danbury and Peekskill.

When the railroad was built in 1881, business began to concentrate at the railroad plaza. Local farmers began shipping their milk by rail. The post office near the station was first called Underhill, later Yorktown Station and finally Yorktown Heights. The railroad shut down in 1958, except for a very few freight runs. A year's commutation, 1890 style, cost $90.

New York City was growing too in the 19th century and needed a large water supply. Residents of Westchester fought a proposal to dam the Croton River, but despite their objections the dam was built. By June of 1842, New York City was celebrating the arrival of water from the 400 acre Croton Reservoir. The original dam and pump house are still partly visible when the reservoir is very low. (Click here for pictures of the dam during construction.)

In 1892, 1,750 more acres were acquired by New York City to enlarge the system, a new dam begun and additional bridges built. In 1905, the Croton Dam was completed and tourists came to view one of the wonders of man's handiwork.

Twentieth Century

Yorktown changed gradually from 1900 to 1945. Starting as a popular summer place around 1900, Mohegan still attracts many summer visitors. In those days, farming was the major industry, but two noteworthy concerns were the Amawalk Nursery, the largest tree nursery in the country which supplied the first living Christmas tree to the White House (click here for an illustrated feature about the nursery) and the Mohegan Quarry, out of which came the granite for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. The Taconic Parkway was built and Mohansic Park developed, further changing the character of Yorktown.

"How you going to keep 'em down on the farm" were World War I lyrics that could have been named "Yorktown". Population dropped to 1,500 - half of what it had been before the war.

After World War II, a new era, in many ways our era, began. The building boom started and the population of Yorktown began to increase significantly. Census figures illustrate the rapid growth: 1950 - 4,731; 1957 - 11,804; 1960 - 21,235; 1974 - 32,000. The peak year for construction starts was 1955, when 564 new building permits were issued. The years of 1973 and 1974 saw a dramatic slow down in the amount of new construction due to economic conditions and the limited sewer facilities in certain portions of the Town.

Yorktown's population is still increasing, but at a slower rate than it did a decade ago. Town officials and concerned citizens are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of carefully planning the future development of our remaining undeveloped land so as to insure a sound and healthy environment for all Yorktowners.

Yorktown today is primarily a suburban community within the Greater New York City Metropolitan area. Its character is predominantly residential, with a major portion of its work force commuting daily to jobs in New York City, White Plains and other locations in Westchester County. The Town's major industry is IBM, which has two laboratories within the Town. Smaller industrial businesses are situated in industrial parks located in various parts of Yorktown. Commercial businesses are concentrated in the five hamlet areas that make up the Town - Yorktown Heights, Shrub Oak, Jefferson Valley, Crompond and Mohegan. The number and variety of commercial enterprises has grown with the increased population of the Town so that the community has become self sufficient to most of its needs.

During the Town's Bicentennial in 1988, Yorktowners took stock of their historic heritage and commemorated their community's participation in the events that lead up to the birth of our nation. A Bicentennial Committee reviewed the Town's still remaining historic sites and determined which were to be preserved as a reminder of that past and as a link between the Yorktown of yesterday and the Yorktown of tomorrow. (Select the Landmark Preservation button at the left for more information about our remaining historic sites.)

Appendix 2 – History of Yorktown Police

The History of the Yorktown Police Department

"Yorktown's Finest"

Before Yorktown had a police force, it had sheriffs, constables, truant officers, and "special officers". Like other small communities, it relied heavily on the State Police, as well as other larger communities like Peekskill, which had a police force, to help keep crime in check. In 1902, there was even a private organization established for communal protection called the "Yorktown and Somers Vigilant Protective Association of Yorktown Heights, NY" which declared in Article I "its object shall be the pursuit, arrest, and conviction of such person or persons as shall steal property from any of its members exceeding in value ten dollars ($10.00) or who shall commit arson on any member." The first officers were Dr. E. Schollderfer, C.G. Roake, George J. Purdy, and M.L. Peet. A reward of $100 was offered by the Association for the arrest and conviction of any thief, and another variable reward for return of stolen property (with the exception of dogs!).

The railroad, while responsible for economic growth in Yorktown after 1880, no doubt had something to do with the rise in crime in the area. The many lakes of the region turned Yorktown and neighboring communities into popular summer resorts for New York City folk, pushing up the population of this quiet farming town during the warmer months.

By 1924, Yorktown had churches, schools, parks, a library, hotels, dancehalls, country clubs, factories, electric lights, train station, trolley, military school, two volunteer fire departments, landscape architect, historian, and conservation commission, but it didn't have a police force.

The following article appeared in the local paper on January 14, 1927: "Another problem of importance has to do with the curbing or reckless motorists who during the tourist season constitute a serious menace to the community. In addition to jeopardizing life and property these visitors from foreign communities are guilty of depredations on private property that amount to thousands of dollars annually. The problem of patrolling the roads now rests exclusively with the State Police and we shall insist upon proper protection from that augmented body."

In the minutes of the town board, September 16, 1924 it was moved that the "Supervisor was instructed to investigate the possibilities of securing a policeman for the Town of Yorktown." The supervisor was H. Field Horne. However, it wasn't until May 31, 1927 under the administration of James N. Strang that the Police Department was created. "In accordance with a petition of the Taxpayers of the Town of Yorktown ...containing more than twenty-five names as prescribed by law, petitioning the Town Board to take action toward creating a Police Department for the Town of Yorktown ...the following resolution was adopted...that the Town Board enter into an agreement to employ Ernest Myatt for a police officer for the above named district at a salary of $2000.00 per year..."

At the Town Board meeting of June 14th, it was announced that the approval came from the State Civil Service Department to transfer Officer Ernest Myatt of New Castle to the Town of Yorktown. The Supervisor was instructed to have a telephone installed in Officer Myatt's home, and to purchase uniforms, a motorcycle and equipment. At the same board meeting, signs were ordered to be placed around town notifying the public that it was a misdemeanor to destroy traffic-warning signs and that anyone apprehended will be prosecuted. Officer Myatt had his first assignment!

On May 8, 1928 the Board agreed to purchase a siren, and police regulations were finally drawn up on January 8, 1929. Until May of 1929, Officer Myatt used a motorcycle, but at the meeting of May 15th the Board agreed to purchase a new Ford touring car for his use! In the meantime, constables, truant officers and special officers continued to carry out their individual functions.

Previously, special officers were sworn in by the Town Board and appointed, by request, for three-month terms to guard specific private property without pay from the town. However, the swell of summer people finally forced the town to actually hire special officers for Sundays and holidays during the summer months, providing them with uniforms and paying all expenses. In spite of that action, people in the lake areas continued to complain about protection. Another petition was offered to the Town Board in August of 1929 asking for the hire of an additional full-time policeman.

Over the next several months, the following men submitted applications for the position of Police Officer to the Town Board: Earl Hawk, Arnold Hermann, Douglas Heady, Elmore Fay (a patrolman in Pleasantville), Henry Artus, Harold White, and Charles Kuchenmeister. A special meeting of the Town Board was called on February 10, 1930 to interview all the candidates and on February 15th Earl Hawk was appointed Town Peace Officer to commence duty on April 1st at a salary of $2000. He was instructed to "get measured for a new uniform, equipment, badge etc., and practice on motorcycle".

In the meantime, on December 12th, the Town Board appointed a committee to "look into the activity or inactivity of the Police Officer (Myatt), and hire counsel and stenographer and necessary hire". On December 21st the committee reported it "finds several cases where charges can be made against Officer Myatt, and...that the services of Officer Ernest Myatt be dispensed with December 31, 1929, and return his equipment to the Police Commissioner ..." Ernest Myatt handed his resignation to the Board on Dec. 30th, but then was rehired to serve until April 1, 1930 under a loose agreement that allowed the Board to release him at any time if necessary.

Back to one officer again, the Town Board continued to accept applications for a Police Officer while pressure mounted for more protection from the community. Schools were asking for a policeman to patrol at noon time, residents complained of commotion at dance clubs, like the Old Dutch Mill on Route 202, which required an officer after midnight, and holidays such as July 4th and Halloween required extra coverage, as well as "Pheasant Week". By June of 1930, Henry Artus was hired part-time and a new motorcycle was purchased that August. A new Ford touring car was purchased for Officer Hawk in October.

In May of 1931, Police Officers were required to have target practice and that "Police Officer (Hawk) be authorized to purchase a revolver, price not to exceed - $30". Officer Earl Hawk was appointed Acting Chief of Police that year.

Still, the complaints from the community poured in! A petition from residents of Mohegan Lake requested that Henry Artus be appointed full time and complained of nudity in the streets (nudity being defined as improper dress, like bathing suits), the Osceola Athletic Club asked for "police attendance at Shrub Oak school Saturday nights for the Winter season, at dances etc.", and peddlers in vehicles needed to be kept from interfering with traffic. The Town Board's answer was to allow Officer Hawk to hire more constables and special officers when needed.

The 1932 town budget was increased by $1000 to pay for an additional half-time officer, but it was not used, nor was it renewed in the budgets of 1933 and 1934. The town did, however, purchase a new police car in 1932, trading in their old 1930 Ford. It was a new "Chevrolet Standard Phaeton, fully equipped, equipment consisting of bumpers front and rear, spare tire and tube, tire lock, top boot, windshield wiper and radiator cap". Nothing was too good for Yorktown's Police Department!

Things changed in 1934 when the NYS Senate introduced a bill prohibiting police officers over age 35 from taking the mandatory Civil Service test. The Town Board adopted by resolution on March 13, 1934 essentially a protest to the bill, stating "...this bill in the opinion of this board, may be properly disregarded as 'ripper' legislation." However, on March 27th they conceded that "Whereas doubt has arisen as to the authority of the Town to employ Police Officers under Civil Service, Resolved that dispensing with services of the Police Officers temporarily pending a decision or ruling..."

This suspension of the Police Department continued until December of that year. Meanwhile, Earl Hawk continued to perform police duties for the Town without compensation, other than payment of bills he submitted to the board for his "...duties as watchman and messenger and other non-police duties..." (as it was OFFICIALLY being called).

Finally in December, the Department of Civil Service gave the certification of Earl Hawk as Police Officer candidate on the Civil Service list. Three names were submitted to the Town and it chose Earl Hawk, by resolution on December 24th, as patrolman for the Town of Yorktown at a salary of $1900. It also re-instated the Police Department, since Earl Hawk WAS the department prior to that time.

Nothing more was mentioned about Henry Artus. The department continued with Officer Hawk and part-time special officers and constables until 1941. That January Earl Hawk passed the Civil Service test for Chief of the Police Department, and in December the Board requested the eligible list from which to hire two more patrolmen. Earl W. Brown and George I. Anderson were hired on January 13, 1942. Both of these men had served as special officers of the Town for several years. A second police car was finally purchased in November of 1943!

In 1959, the Town sold the house it had used for a Police Station, and moved its growing force to the added space in Town Hall. Chief Earl Hawk remained in charge of the Yorktown Police Department until 1961, when he was replaced by Charles H. Valentine (who joined the force in 1946). At that time, they had 13 officers: the chief, Sgt. Sam Levy, George Anderson, Damian Gaultiere, N.J.C. Marschhauser, Allen See, Ronald Boerner, Arthur Anderson, George Calcagnini, Charles Ferrara, William Herzog, Frank Brescia, and William Wolf.

In 1973, George Calcagnini became Chief of Police the same year the department dedicated its new (and present) headquarters. Paul Ferrara replaced Calcagnini in 1980, who was replaced by James Morgan about 1985. Morgan was replaced in 1995 by Robert Arruda, our current Chief of Police who commands a force of 51 officers.

Written by Linda L. Kiederer*
Photos courtesy of the Town Clerk's Office

This article is dedicated to the memory of my father, the late Howard C. Lane, a police officer with the City of Mt. Vernon, NY from 1939 to 1966.

Appendix 3 – Cortlandt


Cortlandt Facts

2000 Census Results

Area (Sq. Mi.)               40.9
Density (No./Sq. Mi.)    952
Median Family Income  $ 71, 954
Households                   14,103
Town Budget                                 $27,366,960
Average Assessed Valuation           $ 7,500
Tax Per $1,000 of Assessed Value $155.90

About Cortlandt

One of the largest municipalities in Westchester County, The Town of Cortlandt encompasses two incorporated villages, several hamlets and even more neighborhoods. Each has distinctive characteristics, but they are united by their magnificent common heritage. The town, boasting almost 15 miles of Hudson River shoreline, extends from the Bear Mountain Bridge in the north to the Croton River -- with the exception of the City of Peekskill, wrapped in the center.  However, its attractions go inland from the Hudson River, into rural sections, combining sophistication with the natural, the tranquil with the cultural.

The town experienced some of the most memorable Revolutionary War events, with "Washington's Hill" marking the site of the review of the French and American troops at the conclusion of the hostilities. Upper Van Cortlandt Manor featured in the Benedict Arnold/Major John André treason plot, Lent's Cove proved a safe harbor for British forces, and one of the houses was a haven for the young Alexander Hamilton when he fell seriously ill in the service of his country. Washington definitely "slept here," in a number of locations.

Eighteenth and nineteenth century industry contributed to development during those periods - as some of the names attest. "Furnace Dock Road," was an unsuccessful attempt to process iron ore; "Georges' Island" is thought to be named after the employees at the brick factory; and "Steamboat Dock" is obvious. Lake Meahagh did not become the "Knickerbocker Ice Company Lake."

Three of the bigger features in the town are the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Veteran's Memorial Hospital with its waterfront park and Patriot's Trail, the awesome Croton Dam and Gorge, and Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant.

Recreational opportunities abound and are currently expanding with the town's commitment to preserving open space. Trails include Camp Smith, Oscawana Island, the Peekskill - Briarcliff Trailway, Charles Cook Park and parts of Blue Mountain Reservation.

Cortlandt does not ignore the hearty appetites stimulated by outdoor activity. There are a variety of excellent restaurants - as well as some of the best pizza in HRTW.

Cortlandt Town Board

The Town Council, also known as the Town Board is comprised is of four council members, who are elected for a four year term, and the Supervisor who is elected for a two year term.

The Town Board is the governing and legislative body of the Town. It determines policy and is the branch of government that appropriates funds and adopts the annual Budget of the Town.  Some additional Town Board responsibilities include:

Town Board Meetings require the presence of a majority of the Town Board which constitutes a quorum for the transaction of official business. Each member of the Board, including the Supervisor, has one vote. A resolution of law is carried by the affirmative vote of the majority of the Board.

All town board meetings work sessions and regular business meetings are open to the public.

The Town Board holds it monthly meetings on Tuesday in the Vincent F. Nyberg General Meeting room at the Town Hall at 7:30 pm.  They also have three work sessions a month, meeting on Mondays.  Special meetings are held as necessary.  All meetings are open to the public.  For more information, contact the Supervisors Office at 734-1002.

The current members of the Board are:
Joseph D. Cerreto –  Town Board Member
Francis X. Farrell –    Town Board Member
Ann Lindau –             Town Board Member
John E. Sloan –          Town Board Member
Linda D. Puglisi –       Supervisor

Upcoming Meetings & Agendas
     Tue, Nov 18 @ 7:30 PM Vincent F. Nyberg General Meeting Room, Town Hall
December, 2003
     Tue, Dec 9 @ 7:30 PM Vincent F. Nyberg General Meeting Room, Town Hall

The Town of Cortlandt has the following departments:

Cortlandt Proposed Budget for 2004

Proposed Budget for 2004
Release Date: October 27, 2003
Town of Cortlandt
Supervisor Linda D. Puglisi

Tax Increase for 2004 is 1.5% (TOV – town outside Villages – 75% of Town property owners)  Note:  (equals $24 a year, $2 a month, .50 cents a week)

Tax Increase for 2004 is 0% for Village property owners (Croton-on-Hudson and Buchanan – 25% of Town property owners)

Total dollar amount of 2004 Budget - $30,749,211. – (Spending amount increase is 4.57% [due to increases in N.Y. State pension contributions paid by Town (an unfunded mandate) of 155% increase costs, insurance, health benefit increases (15% increase), supplies, vehicles, heavy equipment, salaries, fuel, electricity, etc.]

Tax rate (per 1,000 of assessment – based on an average assessed home of 7,500.) =

TOV = $183.35
Croton-on-Hudson = $22.73
Buchanan = $28.83

Reserve and fund balance accounts and surplus equals approximately $12 million dollars (use of fund balance to keep low tax increase for 2004 = $1.6 million dollars)

  1. Revenue Projections for 2004:
  2. Sales Tax - $2.8 million
  3. Mortgage Tax - $1.25 million
  4. State Revenue Sharing - $155,823. – (same – has not risen over past decade)
  5. Interest on accounts - $420,000
  6. Property taxes = 56% of total Revenue
Additional Monies (in 2003) that assisted the 2004 budget – (low tax increase)
  1. In Rem Sale of properties and taxes paid and collected due to sales  = $2 million (actual sale of properties = $250,000 to date)
  2. Grant monies = $1 million
  3. FEMA monies reimbursed = $163,600 (for weather related events)
  4. Recreation fund - $91,000 (can only be used for recreational projects)
  5. Additional fees from private projects = $250,000 – (for example, golf course)
  6. Brownfield monies - $107,000.
Number of New Vehicles – 6 ($464,000)

$1.6 million dollars spent on paving and drainage projects in 2003
$1.3 million dollars projected for 2004

Number of positions – (increase of 1.6) NO LAYOFFs

Town-wide Indebtedness total:

$15 million dollars (paid off $1 million dollars in 2003, will pay off $1.8 million dollars in 2004).

Note:  $9 million dollars of this total is for the important water project of the Northern Westchester Joint Waterworks to filter our water.  The other $6 million is for other water projects and for the $1.5 million dollars to renovate our Town pool.

Due to equalization rates – Countywide we experienced multi family dwellings grievances (tax certiorari).  Therefore for the first time we did not generate additional tax roll revenue.

In 2003 the Town completed $2.5 million dollars in capital improvement projects (waterline replacements, recreational projects, paving, drainage, sidewalks, etc.)  Many projects projected for 2004.  ALL without raising taxes in 2003.

We established a Cortlandt Homeland Security and Safety Coordinator position in 2003 – to assist with all safety issues (Indian Point monitoring, Health Issues, etc.)

Libraries – a separate budget will have an increase of 5% to support our library systems = $3.00 per year per average assessed property owner.

Contractual Salary Increases - ? (to be negotiated – in 2003, salary increases were 3.5%, monies are available in our contingency funds in the 2004 budget to cover any increase).

10% of Annual Surplus is set-aside for Open Space Acquisitions (in current fund:  $200,000.)  Note:  Town paid $1 million dollars in cash for our share of the 352 acre Hillpoint Property.


  1. Tax Record:
  2. $12 million dollars in our “Savings Account” (reserve accounts, fund balance, annual surplus monies)
  3. $50 million dollars of Capital Improvements Projects have been completed in this administration.

Linda D. Puglisi – Supervisor

History Of Cortlandt

Town Profile

The Town of Cortlandt, New York is located in the northwestern corner of Westchester County.  The Town is bounded on the west by the Hudson River, the north by Putnam County, the east by the Town of Yorktown and on the south by the Towns of New Castle and Ossining. Cortlandt includes two incorporated villages, Croton-on-Hudson and Buchanan and several hamlets including Montrose, Crugers and Verplanck.  The Hudson River, the New York City Watershed Lands, numerous wooded hills and steep slopes, wetland areas and streams define the rural character of the Town.

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.

With a total area of 34.5 square miles and an estimated 1998 population of about 28,672 persons, the unincorporated Town of Cortlandt composition in relation to the County remained constant from 1990 to 1998 with about 7.8 per­cent of the County's total area and 3.2 percent of its population.  This percentage remained constant from 1990 to 1998.  Although much less densely populated than the county as a whole, Cortlandt's population density is slightly higher than the average for the North County communities.

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.  Today, many residents of the Town commute to the major employment centers of New York City and White Plains.

The Town has a total area of 34.5 square miles with an estimated 1998 population of 29,000, not including the Villages of Croton-on-Hudson and Buchanan.  Over 94% of the Town's land is zoned for residential or open space while only approximately 6% is zoned commercial or industrial.  13% of the Town’s land area, approxi­mately 2,100 acres, is public parkland.  Another approximately 550 acres of land are owned by various environmental organizations such as Brinton Brook Sanctuary, Teatown Reservation, Mcgregor Preserve and the lands of the New York City Watershed.  In order to help preserve this residential character and balance the protection of the environment with economic development the Town Board created a professionally staffed Planning Department in 1974.   In addition the Town has undertaken various studies and plans including the North Cortlandt Study of 1981, the Central and Southern Cortlandt Study of 1987 and the Comprehensive Master Plan of 1991. Currently, the Master Plan Update is a continuation of this long range, comprehensive planning effort.

The Village of Croton

"The village of Croton is situated about a mile and half north of the southern boundary of the town, and in 1880 contained eight hundred and eighty inhabitants. It contains two brick-yards, the northerly and smaller one being operated by Schuyler Hamilton of Sing Sing, and employing about thirty men, and the lower by George D. Arthur & Co., (Francis Larkin and Marcus L. Cobb of Sing Sing, being the company), employing about fifty hands. The latter yard was started about 1830 by John W. Frost, the father of Cyrus and Orrin Frost." [Source: Excerpt from Scharf's History of Westchester County,..., Volume 2, Chapter V, Cortlandt, pages 419; published in 1886.]

Philip Van Cortlandt

Philip Van Cortlandt, a prominent soldier, who like many Revolutionary War veterans of the time drew a tract of land in the form of lots as payment for service to his country. Mr. Van Cortlandt visited other war compatriots in the area including Abner Treman who was 12 years younger and had served under him. Philip Van Cortlandt was born in New York City August 21, 1749. He pursued classical studies and attended Coldenham Academy and was later engaged as a civil engineer. He was a member of the Provincial Congress in 1775 and during the Revolutionary War served as lieutenant colonel. Philip was mustered out of the service with the rank of brigadier general for gallant conduct at the siege of Yorktown under General Lafayette and was delegate to the State ratification convention in 1788.  He was a member of the State assembly from 1788-1790 and served in the State senate from 1791-1793. He was elected to the Third Congress and reelected as a Republican to the seven succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1793-March 3, 1809) and was engaged in agricultural pursuits. He died at Van Cortlandt Manor, Croton on Hudson, Westchester County, N.Y., on November 21, 1831; interment in Hillside Cemetery, Peekskill, N.Y.

A striking portrait of Philip Van Cortlandt by Ezra Ames may be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ezra Ames had studied the "Stuart" style in Hudson and painted many of the elite families of the time. Included in the 500 portraits of Ezra's tenure were Philips brother Pierre and his sister Anne which are part of the Van Cortlandt collection at VanCortlandt Manor.

A Short History of Verplanck's Point

The history of Verplanck's Point is described in the Rand McNally Hudson River Guide to Places of Interest to the Tourist & Excursionist from 1919:

"Verplanck's Point, on the opposite side (from Stony Point) is the next place of historic interest after Stony Point. Between the two, in colonial times, ran the boats of the King's Ferry, on the main highway between New England and the West. The plain here was the scene, in 1778, of animated and earnest evolutions of soldiers of the American army, gaining efficiency under Baron Steuben (later Major-General), the German nobleman who offered his services to General Washington. In the Revolution it was occupied by military works to assist Stony Point in covering the ferry. It changed flags as often as Stony Point did. Additional interest is given to this point by the fact that Henry Hudson's ship, the Half Moon, dropped anchor in these waters on September 14, 1609. "

Appendix 4 – Peekskill


City Facts

Population:            22,441 ('00)
State Ranking:       38
Natl. Ranking:       1384
County:                 Westchester
Avg. Temp:           Jan 31°F, Jul 67°F
Elevation:               0 ft
School District:       Peekskill City School District
Area Code(s):        914,845
Time Zone:             Eastern
Central ZIP Code:  10566
US Representative:  Kelly
Total population      22,441
Square miles (land) 4.32
Population / sq mile 5,189.72

About Peekskill

The glorious views of the Hudson Highlands from the City of Peekskill emphasize its strong relationship with the history of the nation. George Washington considered the area a strategic key to the defense of the nation. He established headquarters at the Birdsall House and there, against his better judgment, signed Benedict Arnold's command of West Point. Peekskill was razed twice by the British during the Revolutionary War, and some of the notable sites from that period can still be identified today.
From the late 1600s, when Jan Peeck established a trading post on Annsville Creek, Peekskill relied on the Hudson River for its business needs. During the 19th century it became a manufacturing center for stoves, hats, and - even - underwear. Boats of all descriptions stopped for passengers and cargo as they plied the river from New York to Albany. There are several locations thought to have been associated with the Underground Railroad.

Now in the midst of revitalization, with emphasis shifting to the arts and state of the art technology, Peekskill is fortunate to have reclaimed and retain much of the architecture and open space that defined its elegant past.

An artists' district in the downtown, a Business Improvement District, and renovation and innovative reuse of several sizable buildings are breathing new life into the central business district. Pleasant restaurants, galleries, boutique shopping, and a weekly farmers' market entice residents and visitors. The Paramount Center for the Arts provides headline live entertainment and art movies for the entire region.

Peekskill Common Council

The Common Council is the legislative body of the City Of Peekskill and is comprised of seven members: six councilpersons and the Mayor. The Mayor is the presiding officer of the Common Council and if absent the presiding officer shall be the Deputy Mayor or a council member designated to act as Mayor in his/her absence or emergency. The Common Council designates the order of precedence among its members to serve as Mayor in the event of absences or emergencies.

All Council members, with the exception of the Mayor, are elected to serve a term of four years. The Mayor is elected to serve a two-year term. A simple majority of the Common Council, including the Mayor or his designee, shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. The Common Council meets every Monday for Committee of the Whole work sessions. Common Council Meetings are held on succeeding Monday following the Committee of the Whole work session. During summer hours the Common Council will hold at least one Committee of the Whole work session and Common Council meeting during the months of July and August. Special meetings may occur, as the Common Council deems necessary.

John G. Testa – Mayor
Cathy Pisani – Deputy Mayor
William Schmidt – Council Member
Melvin Bolden  – Council Member
Milagros Martinez  – Council Member
Drew Claxton  – Council Member
Christopher Hanzlik – Council Member

Peekskill's Origins, Development and Highlights

European Discovery and Settlement

Peekskill was established as a distinct locale by travelers from the Hudson River in the 1600s. Henry Hudson, the English sea captain and explorer, sailed up and down the river in the autumn of 1609 onboard the Dutch ship Half Moon. This voyage of exploration began the land claims made by the countries of Holland and England to the river valley.

The first European person recorded to set foot on this territory was Jan Peeck. He was a New Amsterdam resident (later renamed New York City), and lived in the east Wall Street section of Manhattan, just south of the current Brooklyn Bridge. On various sloop journeys to this region at about 1650, Peeck exchanged various manufactured items with native tribal people located along Peekskill Bay, or what is now Annsville Creek, and possibly some distance up Peekskill Hollow Brook. The resident people identified themselves as "Sackhoes," according to the phonetic transcription from their language.

Jan Peeck was a reputable citizen of the New Amsterdam settlement. He was appointed to work as an official translator between the Dutch and English merchants in Manhattan. He served with the local militia in one of the four companies that protected Fort Amsterdam. Peeck also donated money towards the building the wall around that community, from which the name "Wall Street" has endured. Jan and his wife Marie de Trieux had ten children altogether. Jan Peeck died in early 1660.

The Peekskill region, and specifically what is now Annsville, was first identified by European immigrants as "Peeck's Kill." This name was adapted from the explorer and fur businessman Jan Peeck. Thus, Mr. Peeck, or Peak, or Peek (according to various spellings), and the Dutch word for stream or creek, (which is "kill" or "kil") were combined as this place name. The area was known to the Dutch as "Jan Peeck's kill," and to the English as "John Peak's Creek."

While once unofficially known as Jan Peeck's Creek, it was the formal transfer of itemized useful products by the Europeans to the Sachoes and their tribal representatives in 1685 that created Peek's Kill as a distinct geographic location, recognized as a land deed. Among the items given to the Sachoes by the six Dutchmen were: eight brass kettles, one thousand fish hooks, fifty-two knives, two swords, eight muskets, 40 bars of lead and five bullet molds, 15 pounds of gun powder, three pistols, two hundred needles, 15 axes, 15 hoes, 100 tobacco pipes, rum, beer and tobacco.

The written deed transfer of land for these items was the Ryck's Patent. The document was signed with appropriate marks by four members of the Sachoes tribe, and the English governor at that time. In return, six New Amsterdam residents representing three families were given title to 1,800 acres. Peekskill then became a territory distinct from the surrounding Van Cortlandt lands.

Another section of territory was added to Peekskill with a land grant given to Hugh Magregere (original spelling) in 1691 by the King of England. A local landmark, McGregory's Brook marks a boundary line of that real estate transaction. These first entrepreneurs later resold the total land area land of Peekskill to buyers in smaller sections, mostly for commercial purposes.

The original settlers in the mid 1700s were members of the Lent, Cronkite, Johnson, Hall, Hawes, Travis, and Brown families. Other early settlers in Peekskill before the Revolutionary War were Birdsall, Conklin, Horton, Depew, and Weeks. Their primary activities were agriculture, river transport, various domestic and commercial industries.

It is interesting to note that religion was very important to these first settlers. Nathaniel and his son Stephen Brown were active Quakers in the mid-1700s. Caleb Hall helped form a local Baptist Church in 1772.

The Hudson River passageway between New York City and Albany allowed enterprising people to establish commercial docks, wharves, warehouses, industries, farms, trades and businesses before the time of the American Revolution. Those commercial and industrial activities marked early Peekskill's distinctive style.

Annsville Creek and McGregory Brook were recognized as ideal locations for using water transport, and water power. Sawmills and grinding mills were located on these streams, convenient to river shipping. Industrial processes were set up to turn wheat and corn into flour, tallow into candles, leather into shoes, and rags into paper. Docks and wharves allowed sloops and other vessels to carry flour, leather, and manufactured material to other locations while importing necessary supplies. The years between 1685 to 1776 saw a steady increase in the settlement and industries of Peekskill.

African-Americans have had experiences with Peekskill from its earliest days. There is some evidence indicating the use of Negro slavery from about 1750 through 1825. By the time the Revolution in 1776, blacks could serve in the Continental Army as a condition of their freedom. Peekskill saw several free blacks well established before the end of the Civil War.

Peekskill Was An Important Location During the War of Independence

Peekskill was a significant Revolutionary War military base, and at times used as a headquarters for American army officers in the Hudson Valley from 1776 through 1782. The area was important for its hilly defensive location, its views of the bay, and its industries applied to military purposes. The overlook locale, now identified as "Fort Hill" in Peekskill, was the site of five large barracks buildings and two redoubts. An average of 1,000 Continental soldiers were stationed at Camp Peekskill on and off through the eight years of war.

Gen. Washington established Peekskill as the regional command center for the Hudson Valley following a personal inspection tour here in November 1776, immediately aftter the battle at White Plains. Officers used the former Birdsall house on Main Street as their headquarters. Among the Continental Army generals based at Peekskill were William Heath, Alexander McDougall and Israel Putnam. These officers commanded the regional Hudson Valley military activities.

Americans established a series of river fortifications along the Highlands. These were Fort Clinton and Fort Montgomery at Bear Mountain, Fort Lafayette at Verplanck's Point, Fort Independence in Annsville, Fort Putnam at West Point, Fort Constitution and Stony Point. Those forts were garrisoned by New England soldiers dispersed mostly from Camp Peekskill. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine and New York soldiers were stationed at the Peekskill camp for transfer to other forts and military locations.

The locally raised 2nd New York Regiment of Continental soldiers was commanded by Colonel Philip Van Cortlandt. This unit saw action in battles at Saratoga, New York in 1777 and Yorktown, Virginia in 1781.

To Peekskill's immediate south was the vital King's Ferry river passageway at Verplanck. Directly to the north was the military camp at Continental Village.

Peekskill was by 1777 an important and vulnerable military location for the Hudson Valley. Arriving with a warship and several support vessels, 500 British infantry and a contingent of sailors bombarded the Peekskill camp with artillery in the early springtime of 1777. More than full day of destruction resulted in burning the barracks and accommodations for 1,200 soldiers, a few mills, and considerable amounts of vital American war supplies. Portions of two Continental regiments temporarily withdrew further north to Continental Village, until an American counter attack was staged the following evening.

Another enemy attack force arrived at the Hudson Highlands in the fall of 1777. Due to the easy access of attack from the Hudson River, Peekskill was replaced in its role as regional command center by the West Point garrison in the spring of 1778.

Peekskill also became significant for the Benedict Arnold conspiracy events in 1780. Gen. Arnold had received the official command of West Point and other river fortifications from Gen. Washington while both were present at the Birdsall house on Main Street in Peekskill.

The area also became significant in foiling the conspiracy between Arnold and the British officer John Andre. The British warship Vulture, that delivered Andre on a secret mission to consult with Arnold at Haverstraw, came under rifle and cannon attack by John Peterson and Moses Sherwood from Croton Point. Peterson was an African-American, with descendants in Peekskill. The cannon believed to have been involved in that action is now mounted on an inscribed base outdoors at the Peekskill Museum.

John Paulding, who later lived just outside Peekskill, had interrogated and captured the spy Andre at Tarrytown.

The River Gave a Boost to Early Industrialization

Beginning with Peekskill's first legal incorporation as a Village in 1816, industrial, commercial and civic activities continued to grow. This New York State legislative act established Peekskill's working government as a Village within the Town of Cortlandt. The 1816 law allowed Peekskill to elect five Trustees, have elections and to raise taxes. Also authorized was the appointment of four fire wardens with a company of 18 firemen.

It took a few years for the village to vitalize this incorporation. The first village president elected was Samuel Strang in 1827. A further 1839 Act of Incorporation affirmed, expanded and clarified the previous powers and responsibilities. By this time, there 231 buildings and about 1,300 residents in the village.

Even in those early days, steamships and sloops made numerous stops at the three available riverfront docks. Various foods, lumber and processed materials were exchanged and transported. The appearance of the railroad and telegraph in Peekskill assisted this development and indicated the beginning of the modern age.

Vibrant and growing, the village attracted President Martin Van Buren for a visit in 1839. Starting with Steven Gregory's small iron casting foundry in 1829, plow and stove making factories begin to flourish in number, capacity and revenues. The Annsville Wire Company became active in 1833.

In days before any government planning and zoning regulations, or any environmental concerns, factories were located throughout the small village, on Main and Division Streets, and down Central Avenue. The waterfront area was completely covered with business structures, and the foundries would discharge black smoke day and night. The Peekskill Iron Molders Union No.6 was formed in 1858, one year before the National Molders Union was established. By the year 1895, seven Peekskill foundries were producing and selling more than 200,000 heating and cooking stoves of all sizes and models.

The Hudson River Railroad appeared at Peekskill in 1849 and by 1850 was connected between New York City and Albany. Some of the steamboat passenger and freight services continued into the 1900s. Peekskill was developing in an industrial style similar to other Hudson River communities such as Yonkers, Nyack, Haverstraw. Ossining, Cold Spring and Newburgh.

Transportation and commerce were enhanced by the convenience of the Albany Post Road passing through the village in a North-South route. Main Street reached directly from Travis Dock on the waterfront, and stretched westward into Danbury Connecticut along what is now Route 6, and was originally a paid toll road as the Five Mile Turnpike.

Several of Peekskill's distinguished fire companies were organized during this era. Columbian Engine Company began in 1826, the Peekskill and later Cortlandt Hook & Ladder in 1831. In addition, the Peekskill Military Academy was organized in 1833 and remained in continuous operation as private school until 1968. Westchester County's first bank of 1833 was organized at Peekskill village.

President Lincoln and the Underground Railroad

President-elect Abraham Lincoln made a stop at the old Peekskill train station on Water Street, and delivered a short speech on February 19, 1861. A memorial marker on South Street, named the Lincoln Exedra, overlooks the site of that original railroad depot. The stop at Peekskill was Lincoln's only living appearance in Westchester County. That event is still commemorated by the Lincoln Society of Peekskill.

Peekskill also served as an "Underground Railroad" station in the system that helped refugees from slavery. Spearheaded by Harriet Tubman, the African Methodist Episcopal {A.M.E.} Zion Church on Park Street was established in 1852. Prominent African-American property owners before the time of the Civil War, Hawley and Harriet Green were active residents active in the Abolitionist cause, and allowed their house at 1112 Main Street to be used as an Underground Railroad safehouse.

The prominent abolitionist preacher, Henry Ward Beecher, lived at his East Main Street mansion. His sister, Harriet Beecher Stowe, who certainly was in Peekskill at some time, wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin," a tremendously powerful anti-slavery work.

Moses Beach, publisher of the New York Sun newspaper, shared Beecher's views, and settled on an adjacent East Main Street property in the 1860s.

Peter Cooper, who spent 17 years of his childhood in Peekskill, invited the Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln to speak in New York City in 1860. Lincoln's address at the Cooper Union provided his first popular forum as a presidential candidate in the east.

Lawyer and former Congressman William Nelson of the village invited President-elect Lincoln to stop at the Peekskill train station in 1861.

Peekskill's own Chauncey M. Depew, as New York's Secretary of State, persuaded the War Department in Washington to allow New York's soldiers then stationed in other states to vote. This action helped re-elect Lincoln as president in 1864. William Seward, Lincoln's Secretary of State, once lived in nearby Montrose.

The participation by residents from the village of Peekskill and town of Cortlandt in the Civil War is notable for their wholehearted service to the Union cause. Of a total resident population of 4,000 people, 690 saw military service. About two dozen African-American residents served with the Union Army. Reunions by the Grand Army of the Potomac, and the Harris Light Cavalry Regiment are held locally for many years afterwards.

Business Was Good After the Civil War

Peekskill Village in the era after the Civil War saw an economic and population expansion. The Peekskill Iron Company at Annsville was sold to Cooper, Hewitt Co. of New York City in 1887. That factory then produced about 30 tons of pig iron daily.

The primary industry was the fashioning of cast iron cooking and heating stoves. Peekskill in 1895 had seven foundries and manufactured 200,000 stoves in the one year. There were also lumber yards, nickel plating works, boat builders, a hat factory, a shirt and underwear factory.

Peekskill is notable for bearing the name of the first factory that later developed into the international CRAYOLA Company. The Peekskill Chemical Works was formed by Joseph Binney in 1864 as an early maker of inks, dyes and paints. The factory was located in a former tobacco warehouse at Annsville. This company created the first "Crayola" product after 1900, when operations had relocated to Easton, Pennsylvania as Binney and Smith Co.

By 1900 the large Fleischmann Company yeast and yeast by-products industrial complex was established at Charles Point. This factory innovated several yeast and yeast by-products, and became the largest maker of such products in the world, helping to improve the quality of American breads.

The Fleischmann vinegar operations also became quite large. Fleischmann's merged with Standard Brands in the 1920s and expanded the brand names manufactured. During World War II, the factory laboratories innovated a dry packaged yeast recognized by the U.S. Army and Navy with five "E" for Excellence awards.

Fleischmann's brand gin and whiskey can still be found for sale, but are no longer processed at Peekskill, as the company totally vacated its former Charles Point site in 1977. Generations of local men and women had relied on unionized jobs with the Peekskill branch of Standard Brands. Its departure was a severe setback to the economic base Peekskill had previously enjoyed.

Just after the civil war a young man named Lyman Frank Baum was sent by his family as a student at the Peekskill Military Academy. This student found adjusting to strict military schooling difficult, and instead indulged his imagination during his two years here, between 1868 and 1870. It is possible that several elements in the fanciful stories and books created by Mr. Baum, including the Wizard of Oz, were inspired by some of his experiences here in Peekskill. As several downtown streets were surfaced with white or yellow brick, or that sensational air balloon races passed overhead, or perhaps some of the personalities he encountered were incorporated into the popular writings.

Peekskill first telegraph office was located in the corner brick building at Main Street and Nelson Avenue, variously known as Dramatic Hall, Durrin Brothers and Kurzhals hardware storein 1849. The first local telegraph operator was Alonzo Cornell, related to the famous family associated with Cornell University, became a New York State Governor.

After rising to become President of the New York Central Railroad Company, Chauncey M. Depew served 12 years as a United States Senator (1899-1911). A local banker, Cornelius Pugsley served one term as U.S. Congressman (1901-1903). Both of these individuals were local philanthropists, donating private land for public park purposes which bear their names as Depew Park and Pugsley Park.

Peekskill's political influence was also significant in Albany, with James W. Husted's 12 years as Speaker of the New York State Assembly, and 44 years altogether in that Albany legislature.

During this era, the Peekskill water supply and distribution system was established with operations independent of the Catskill and Croton watersheds.

Electric trolley service began towards the end of the 1800s, with service and connecting lines into Mohegan Lane, Putnam Valley, Buchanan, Verplanck and Annsville. The low fare and regular schedules allowed workers to commute from outlying areas to Peekskill's factories.

The Saint Joseph's Home began during this era for orphaned boys and girls by the Franciscan Missionary Sisters, who still operate the Assumption School.

Several Peekskill businesses begun in the 1800s continue on into the 2000's, such as Dain's Lumber Company, J.J. Dorsey Funeral Home, and Weeks Jewelers.

Peekskill as a City

Peekskill officially became an incorporated City on July 29, 1940. Two years of difficult legal wrangling had finally settled the issue, and a legal separation from the Town of Cortlandt. The local government would consist of a two-year term elected Mayor, six Councilmen each elected to four-year terms. The City Charter was revised in 1967 to allow for a City Manager form of government.

The first Peekskill City Mayor was James MacKay, followed by William Horton. The following mayor was Ralph Hopkins. As a professional architect, Mr. Hopkins had previously designed the City Hall in 1937, the former Masonic Building on Brown Street and the former Genung's Department Store building.

The Beach Shopping Center opened for business in 1958. Beginning in the 1950s and early 1960s, Peekskill welcomed participation in the federally funded Urban Renewal Program, which transformed much of the downtown throughout the 1970s.

During this era, the former commercial busy waterfront was acquired by the City and developed into the Riverfront Green Park.

Peekskill Was Active During World War 2

The people of Peekskill were well represented in all branches of military service during World War 2 against Germany and Japan, from 1941 into 1945. There were a total of 2,354 resident men and women in the armed force uniforms throughout those years. The numbers were 1,627 in the Army, 603 with in Navy, 93 Marines, and 31 with the Coast Guard. Of these, forty-seven died in service.

The local Fleischmann's Company (which was a branch of Standard Brands) received several U.S. Army-Navy "E" Awards for the production of dry yeast used by the American and allied soldiers. The "E" was for Excellence.

The locally raised war bonds were used to build four B-17 bombers. These were named the "Peekskill Avenger," "Peekskill War Eagle," "City of Peekskill," and "Peekskill American Legion."

Women on the home front took over many factory jobs. Rose Bonavita Hickey, and partner Jennie Florio, drilled 900 holes and placed 3,300 rivets in an airplane tail end within six hours at the former General Motors Eastern Aircraft Division in North Tarrytown. Mrs. Hickey was recognized with personal letter from President Roosevelt, and became afterwards identified as our own "Rosie the Riveter."

Peekskill Still Making Firsts

Peekskill was the first community in New York State to have an African-American mayor. The former Councilman was appointed to serve the unfinished term of George Pataki. After serving eight years as mayor, Richard E. Jackson was later selected as New York State's Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. The city elected its first woman to the Council in 1983, and its first female mayor in 1994.

With the 1994 election and 1998 re-election of George E. Pataki of Peekskill as Governor of New York State, Peekskill continues to contribute outstanding individuals as leaders in American events. Gov. Pataki established the Hudson River as a National Heritage River in 1999.

The newly formed New York Jets football team trained in Peekskill from 1963 to 1968. The annual Jan Peek Road Race has taken place on Peekskill streets since 1978. The modern technology of trash incineration and recycling has been on on-going operation at Charles Point since 1984.

The National Maritime Historical Society has published their magazine Sea History at Charles Point since 1991.

Among other recent accomplishments was the celebration of 15 years of continuous operation by the Paramount Center for the Arts in 1996. The downtown Business Improvement District [B.I.D.] has been in operation since 1996.

The completion and occupancy of the High Tech Art Loft complex in 2002 is structural fulfillment to the City's commitment to an Arts District. Complementing these efforts was the creation of a Downtown Historic District in year 2001.


Appendix 5 – Putnam Valley

"Our priority is to ensure the town's natural resources and pastoral beauty are protected, while improving services in a cost effective way for our citizens."
Carmelo J. Santos, Supervisor

Town Population 2000:  10,686
Metro area:                    New York
Latitude:                        41.335N
Longitude:                     -73.874W
Time zone:                    Eastern Standard

About Putnam Valley

This historic community, nestled in the Hudson Highlands, is less than an hour from midtown Manhattan by car, but centuries away from New York's hectic lifestyle.  Putnam Valley, with a population of approximately 10,000 people, includes several lovely lakeside communities, the renowned Clarence Fahenstock State Park and many miles of hiking and riding trails.

Town Hall
625 Oscawana Lake Road
Putnam Valley, NY 10579
Phone: 845-526-3280

Putnam Valley History

Before the Europeans

Before the Europeans came, the people who lived in this area belonged to the Canopus group of the Nochpeem band of the "Wappinger Indian Confederacy". As part of the Mohican nation, they spoke the Algonkian language.

In 1600 an estimated 4,700 members of this confederacy ranged over an area that spread from Manhattan to Poughkeepsie, along the Hudson River and extending eastward toward Connecticut.

The footpaths made by the Native Americans usually followed the stream valleys.  The first settlers followed these footpaths and in the course of time, they became the roads we know today as Peekskill Hollow, Canopus Hollow and Oscawana Lake roads.

Native American villages were usually positioned on the side hill, facing south, and within easy access to water.  The principal settlement in Putnam Valley is thought to have been in the hollow at Canopus Hill and one of the largest villages in the entire region.  Other campsites might have been located at Roaring Brook, Tompkins Corners and Adam Corners.

The Native Americans left us a legacy of their names. The name Oscawana seems to have been a Native American personal name.  One of the signers of the deed dated 1682 at Croton was a Native American named "Askawanes".  In 1683, one "Oskewana" sold a tract of land to the Van Cortlandt family.  Wiccopee is said to mean "house by the water".

The Europeans

In 1697, Adolph Philipse (sometimes spelled Flypsen or Flipse) was granted a patent for a large tract of land called the Highland Patent, that would later become Putnam Valley County.   In 1717 this land became the South Ward of Dutchess County, one of the original twelve counties in New York established in 1683.

A Dutchess County census taken in 1714 tallied just 18 heads of households in what became the South Ward.  The Philipse family made little attempt to divide their land or encourage settlement.  By 1737 there were only 161 heads of households in the entire ward.

The tract passed through the Philipse family, was divided into lots in 1751 and eventually lot #4, which included the area of Putnam Valley, was left to Colonel Beverly and Susannah Philipse Robinson.  As a result of their British loyalty during the Revolutionary War, the State of New York confiscated their property in 1779.  Most of the land was sold in 1781 to tenant farmers already living and farming in this area.

It was not until 1812 that Putnam County was separated from Dutchess. The area that became Putnam Valley was part of Philipstown, established in 1788.  On March 14, 1839, the independent town of Quincy was incorporated.  It is thought that the residents, being largely Democrats, took a skeptical view of John Quincy Adams' political views, and therefore, changed the name to the Town of Putnam Valley in February of 1840.

A small section of the town of Carmel, which lay northwest of Peekskill Hollow Creek and east of what is now the Taconic State Parkway, was annexed to Putnam Valley on April 13, 1861.  The residents of that area, having felt completely isolated from the rest of Carmel but close to the settlement at Tompkins Corners, petitioned for this change.

Putnam Valley Historical Facts

 March 14, 1839  Town of Quincy was established.

 February 13, 1840  The name was changed from Quincy to Putnam Valley.

 Mid 1850s  Oscawana Lake House opened - the first summer resort in town.

 November 23, 1897   Putnam Valley Grange No. 841 was organized: building was erected 1900.

 April 28, 1931  Ground was broken for the Taconic Parkway to cut through Putnam Valley. The ceremony took place where Bryant Pond Rd. crosses the Taconic.

 January 11, 1933  Lake Peekskill Post Office was established.

 June 9, 1934  Putnam Valley Central School district was created.

 About 1935  A CCC camp was established in what is now Fahenstock Park; the men from the camp constructed Stillwater Pond, Canopus Lake, their dams and other projects in the area.

 December 14, 1935  Putnam Valley Central School was dedicated.

 March 28, 1936  Putnam Valley acquired its own town hall building.

 July 30, 1937  Putnam Valley Free Library obtained a provisional charter; it actually started in 1929 in the summer home of Rhea K. Johnson.

 1942 - 1945  The CCC camp was converted to a rest station for British sailors who saw active duty and whose ships were being repaired at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

 August, 1946  Putnam Valley Volunteer Fire Department was established.

 June 2, 1947  Putnam Valley Post Office was established at Oregon Corners.

 April 2, 1950  Ground was broken for St. Lukes church. The original building was dismantled at its site in the Bronx, brought here in 3 foot sections and reassembled.

 May 31, 1957  The first Civil Service Chief of Police was appointed.

 April 26, 1968  Putnam Valley Historical Society was created.

 March 31, 1983  Tompkins Corners Methodist Church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Appendix 6 – Cultures and Ethnic Groups

Geographic Area: New York -- Place and County Subdivision
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000 Summary File 1, Matrices P17, P18, P23, and P33.


Appendix 7 – Types of Employment


Appendix 8 – Merit Badge Work Sheet

Print out from


Peter H.

Boy Scout Troop 174, Yorktown, NY.