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Rare Historic Maps of Rhinebeck and Red Hook now available from Dutchess County Clerk

Published: 4/30/2021

For More Information Contact:

William P. Tatum III, Ph.D., Dutchess County Historian, 845-486-2381   

Poughkeepsie, NY: Dutchess County Clerk Bradford H. Kendall announced today that a rare book of early maps of properties in Rhinebeck and Red Hook is now available to the public. A Field Book of a Number of Maps of Farms in the Town of Rhinebeck the Property of the Honourable John Armstrong, was filed in the County Clerk’s Office on December 26, 1842, as Field Book 89. The 48 maps included in the field book cover parcels ranging from small farms to a lot map of the modern village of Red Hook, dating back to 1795.

“Prior to 1812, the modern Town of Red Hook was part of the Town of Rhinebeck, hence the title of the book, even though most of the maps included seem to cover Red Hook,” said Dutchess County Historian William P. Tatum III, “It is impossible to overstate the importance of this field book for understanding the evolution of Red Hook’s landscape.”

Though the properties covered initially belonged to Armstrong, the notations accompanying each plat detail the subsequent owner, frequently accompanied by information on adjoining parcels. In addition to the lot map of the village, the field book contains extensive information and a detailed map of the parcels surrounding Schuyler’s Vly. Taken from the Dutch word for “marshy meadow,” Schuyler’s Vly was a major landmark during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The index at the rear of the book supplements the information accompanying the maps with details of Armstrong’s tenants, listing the acreage they rented, the length of their rent, how much rent paid in-kind or the monetary value of their rent. Maps do not appear for all of the tenants listed in the index, increasing the list’s importance as an indicator of Armstrong’s far-flung holdings.

“Field Book 89 is one of many resources in the county archives detailing life in Dutchess over the past 300 years.” said County Clerk Brad Kendall, “Conserving and imaging the original book is the latest installment in our ongoing program of preserving our history for future generations and increasing accessibility for researchers.”

The original field book is available for review at the County Clerk’s Office on the second floor of the Dutchess County Office Building at 22 Market Street in Poughkeepsie. A complete digitized version of the map book is available online through the County Clerk Document Search at Enter code “1111” in the year field and “89” in the number field to bring up the book. High resolution digital copies of each page are available for online ordering.