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On This Day in 1783

March 23, 2006

On March 23, 1783, news arrived in Croton-on-Hudson that said the British Government had agreed to a cease-fire in the American Revolutionary War.

This Croton-on-Hudson “Moment and Memory” comes from our copy of the Friends of History 2006 calendar. To get a calendar of your own, please read “Make a Date with History” for ordering information and a list local spots around town of where it is available.

On March 24, 2006 6:51 PM, oldtimer said:

I thank Leo Wiegman for knowledgably correcting the Dutch transliteration of the word “kaal” in my excerpt from Richard Lederer’s speculations about the origin of the word “Colabugh.” It seems obvious that Mr. Lederer simply misread “bold” for “bald” in his notes. A Scarsdale resident, the late Richard Lederer had many hobbies, one of which was tracing the origins of Westchester County names. He compiled a gazetteer of the origins of 2200 place names and natural features, now unfortunately out of print. I have borrowed many books on local history through the Interlibrary Loan service of the Westchester Library System to find Mr. Lederer’s bookplate in them, marking his thoughtful gift to researchers following in his footsteps.

Apropos Leo Wiegman’s speculation on other possible origins of Colabaugh, it is interesting to note that the sheltered bay stretching eastward from Enoch’s Neck (the northern tip of Croton Point) to the shore at the latter-day settlement of Croton was colorfully called “Mother’s Lap” by the Indians. It is still a preferred, protected anchorage for boaters, as compared to the exposed southerly Croton Bay side of the Point. Senasqua was the Indian name for Croton Point, so it is perhaps more appropiate that this natural cove be called Senasqua Bay rather than Haverstraw Bay, the name applied to it on many maps.

The English occupation of the former Dutch colony after 1664 and subsequent Anglicization of many names tended to obscure information the Dutch had acquired about this unique tidewater river valley and embodied by them in their descriptive names for its features. —Robert Scott

On March 24, 2006 2:14 PM, Leo Wiegman said:

Bob:

I enjoyed the history of names in the blog article of 1783. One very small correction to the section in your comment beginning, “The earliest spelling, Callberg, dates from a 1751 map of Cortlandt Manor….”

In Dutch, “kaal’ means ‘bald or naked.’ Also Callenberg or Caldenbach are fairly common Dutch surnames. Another possible root exists.

“Kaale bocht” would translate into an exposed turn along a rivershore, e.g. a natural landing site. Dutch /ch/ is a voiceless fricative, similar to German /ch/, as in “Bach.”

Being big boaters, the early colonists may have used that label for the Croton River estuary shoreline where Van Cortlandt Manor’s boat ramp lies.

Such old Dutch mariner terms abound in the Hudson Valley. For example, along the west shore of the Hudson River is a stretch of river below the plunging Palisade escarpment called “Het Verdrietige Hoek” near to the colonial Tappan meadows. This name translates into “the miserable spot.” The velocity of the river makes sailing tedious there by the rocky cliffs, whose height would create downdrafts close to shore out of the prevailing westerly winds. The steep underwater canyon below the Palisades waterline at that spot would make recovering shipwreck very difficult. Just speculating!

— Leo Wiegman

On March 23, 2006 12:20 PM, TeaDrinker said:

The following is posted by on behalf of reader Robert Scott.

For readers unfamiliar with the succession of names applied to Croton-on-Hudson, at the time of the Revolution what is Croton today was little more than the Van Cortlandt Manor House and a few tenant farms nearby. As a settlement grew north of the junction of the Croton River with the Hudson, it became known as Collabaugh Landing. Called Cortlandt Town from 1818 to 1848 and Croton Landing from 1848 to 1891, the community did not officially become Croton-on-Hudson until its incorporation as a village in 1898.

The name Collabaugh or Colabaugh, also applied to the pond east of Colabaugh Pond Road and East Mt. Airy Road, is believed to be of Dutch origin. Variously spelled over the years, the name is fairly common in the Hudson Valley. The earliest spelling, Callberg, dates from a 1751 map of Cortlandt Manor. Historian Richard M. Lederer, Jr., speculated that it may have been derived from kaal, “bold” and berg, “mountain,” or from kolk, “pool” and bergen, “to hold or contain.”

— Robert Scott



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