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Home: Regional: U.S. States: Connecticut: Fairfield County

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Re: 1700's Fairfield County/Dutchess County NY
Posted by: Alson D. Braley (ID *****7473) Date: July 23, 2002 at 12:24:55
In Reply to: 1700's Fairfield County/Dutchess County NY by Carol Sturdevant of 974

I, and few thousand others, live in the area that was once Connecticut, but is now the eastern edge of Dutchess, Putnam and some of Westchester Counties of New York. Many thousands more live in the area that was supposed to be New York but is now Connecticut.

The "Equivalent Land" or "The Oblong" was the name given to an approximately 2 mile wide swath of Connecticut land along the Connecticut-New York border that was given to New York in exchange for land along the Long Island Sound that had been settled by Connecticut colonists in the early 1600s. That "panhandle" was New York land, but the settlers claimed that location of the boundry was not clear and they wanted to be in Connecticut. This dispute between the two colonies lasted for many years and there were several attemps to work out a land swap. The exchange of land that made the Oblong part of New York, was essentially completed by order of King George II in 1731. However, both the Colonial Government of New York and the British Crown granted land patents in the territory and the resulting dispute was only settled by the Revolutionary War. The availability of lands for sale in the Oblong was announced in the Quaker Meeting Houses throughout New England and, about 1732, people started to settle in the Oblong. The land swap was not officially ratified by the New York Legislature until the 1860's.

Birth records and land records for this area since 1731 are found in New York. Records of activity in this area prior to 1731, might be found in Connecticut. But, not much was going on hereabouts until after 1731, because the governments knew the land ownership was unclear. Persons who lived in the western two miles of Fairfield & Litchfield Cos. of Connecticut before 1731, would have become residents of New York in 1731, if they did not move east.

By 1790 Connecticut had given up this land and they would not have counted people living here in their census. In my search for former owners of my home, I have found that the New York towns that had this territory as part of their town, often did not count the residents of this area in the 1790 census. Starting with the 1800 census the New York towns did count the people living in this area.

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