Answered By: Darren Chase
Last Updated: Oct 17, 2014     Views: 47

Most of the colonial land grants are listed by name of patent and date of grant in John H. French, Gazetteer of the State of New York (New York: 1860), pp. 49-52. The best maps of patents and their subdivisions (statewide and county-level) are found in Julius Bien, comp., Atlas of the State of New York (New York: 1895). This atlas is scarce and has never been reprinted, but it is available in some libraries around the state. A smaller-scale map of patents is found in Robert J. Rayback, comp., Richards Atlas of New York State (Phoenix, N.Y.: 1965).
 
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The first land grants were made by governors Richard Nicolls (1665-1667) and Francis Lovelace (1667-1674). They show a distinct geographical pattern, being concentrated on eastern Long Island and in Westchester County. They were clearly intended both to reward friends and supporters, and to serve as political counterweights to the independent communities of settlers from New England in these areas. Another function of these early manors appears to have been to provide a form of government for English settlers that did not live in established townships. They also served to fend off land claims by Connecticut to parts of both Westchester County and Long Island. Most of these early land grants were relatively small. Nicolls granted manorial rights to Gardiner's Island, Fisher's Island, and Shelter Island off eastern Long Island; and to Pelham Manor in Westchester County. Lovelace created Fordham Manor in Westchester County and Fox Hall near Kingston.

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