This county was formed Nov. 1, 1683.1 It was provisionally an¬
nexed to Ulster co., and was first represented separately in the
General Assembly in 1713. Livingston Manor was taken off, and
annexed to Albany co., in 1717; and Putnam co. was taken off in
1812. It lies on tbe e. bank of the Hudson, about midway between
New York and Albany, is centrally distant 60 mi. from Albany,
and contains 810 sq. mi. Its surface is principally a rolling and
billy upland broken by tbe deep valleys of tbe streams. Tbe Tagb-
kanick Mts., extending along tbe e. border of tbe co., are 300 to
500 ft. above the valleys and 1000 to 1200 ft. above tide. Their
declivities are generally steep, and in some places rocky. A wide
valley skirts the w. foot of this range, bounded on the w. by tbe
Matteawan or Fishkill Mts., a high, broad range which extends n. and s. and occupies the whole
central part of the co. A spur from this range extends eastward along tbe s. border to the Hudson,
forming the n. extremity of The Highlands. This range has an average elevation of about
1000 ft. above tide, the highest peaks along the s. border attaining an elevation of 1500 to 1700 ft.2
In the s. part of the co. the declivities of these mountains are steep and in many places rocky, but
toward the n. they become more gradual, and the country assumes a rolling character, broken by
rounded hills. West of this range the surface is a rolling upland, occasionally broken by deep
ravines and isolated hills, and terminating upon the Hudson River Yalley in a series of bluffs 100
to 180 ft. high. The greater part of the streams that drain the co. are tributaries of the Hudson.
They mostly flow in a s. w. direction, and have worn deep valleys through the bluffs that border
upon the river. The principal of these streams, commencing upon the n., are the Sawkil, Landi-
mans, Crum Elbow, Fall, Wappinger-s, and Fishkill Creeks. Sprout Creek is a considerable branch
of the Fishkill. The wide valley extending n. and s. through the co., separating the Taghkanick
M ts. from The Highlands farther w., is drained by several streams. Ten Mile River flows s. in this
valley through Amenia to near the s. line of Dover, where it turns e. and discharges its waters into
the Housatonic River, in Conn. It receives Swamp River from the s. Croton River takes its rise
in the s. part of the valley. Roeliff Jansens Kil flows through a small portion of the extreme n.
part of the co. Among the highlands in the central and e. parts are numerous beautiful little
lakes, noted for the purity of their waters and the beauty of the scenery immediately about them.
The principal rock formation in the co. is the Hudson River slate, which crops out upon the hills
and along the courses of the streams. The rock has been quarried at Red Hook for flagging, and
in various places for roofing slate.3
A low ridge of metamorphic limestone extends longitudinally through near the center of the
valley, which lies at the base of the Taghkanick Mts. and along its course are numerous quarries,
from which is obtained a fair quality of marble.4 Hematitic iron ore is found in almost inex
haustible quantities along the e. and s. parts of the co., and it has been extensively mined in
several places.5 Thin veins of galena, combined with silver, have also been found, but none
have been worked since the Revolution until recently.6 Mineral springs are found in several
parts of the co.7 Marl and peat beds are scattered over the whole co. The soil is generally a
5 This ore is generally compact, but in some places it is fibrous
Its cavities are lined with a glossy black surface, and often con
tain stalactital and botryoidal concretions of the ore.
_ 6 Considerable excavations were made in Northeast in colonial
times—it is said as early as 1740—by a company of Germans,
who sent the ore to Bristol, Eng. The mines were re-opened
during the Revolution, and a few tons of ore were obtained.
Traces of lead ore have been also observed in Rhinebeck and
Amenia.—Geol., 1st Dist., pp. 46, 47. Among the other useful
minerals that have been observed in the co. are, graphite, for¬
merly worked to some extent in the Fishkill Mts., oxyd of man¬
ganese, and the sulphurets of copper and iron, &c. Besides these
are found calcite, asbestus, gibbsite, garnet, staurotide, epidote,
feldspar, and tourmaline.
i Inflammable ca'rburetted hydrogen gas is emitted from the
bottom of a lake in Northeast, and from a locality | of a mi.
from Ameniaville on the road to Poughkeepsie. A sulphur
spring is situated 1^ mi. x. IV. of Ameniaville.—Deck’s Mineraloqy
The act by which this co. was formed defines its original
boundaries as follows:—“The Dutchess co. to be from the
bounds of the co. of Westchester, on the s. side of the High¬
lands, along the e. side as far as Roeliff Jansens Creek, and e.
into the woods 20 miles.”
Old Beacon, 2 mi. e. of Matteawan Village, is 1470 ft. above
tide; and New Beacon, or Grand Sachem, a i mi. s. of the same
place, is 1680 ft. above tide.
8 A company, styled the “IV. T. Slate Co.” was incorp. March
23,1810, to continue 15 years; and another, styled the “Dutchess
Co. Slate Co.,” June 8,1812, to continue 21 years. The operations
of the latter co. were to he confined to Northeast.
* This marble is of the variety called dolomite, and yields upon
analysis about 39-J per cent, of carbonate of magnesia; but the
proportion is not uniform. The principal workings have been in
Dover, where a portion of the marble is pnre white, fine grained,
and capable of receiving a good but not a high polish. Clouded
varieties are found in Amenia and Northeast— Qeol., ls< Dist.,