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Population, 1,500 - Square Acres, 17,230

Beekman was formed as a town by act of March 7 1788, and embraced land granted to Col. Henry Beekman. The Precinct of that name was formed December 15, 1737, and Pawling Precinct was set off in 1768, A part of "Freedom" (now Lagrange) was taken off in 1821, and the greater portion of Union Vale in 1827. It derives its name from the Beekman family.** At the death of Col.Henry Beekman, the tract was divided into lots one mile wide running from the Rombout Patent to the Oblong, and the lots divided among his heirs.

Beekman contains some of the finest farming land in the county. Its surface is a broken and hilly upland. Limestone and slate crop out at the summits and declivities of the hills.The Streams are small creeks and brooks, tributaries of the Fishkill, and are bordered by wide, fertile intervales. The soil is productive, gravelly loam. Sylvan Lake is a fine body of water near the west line. The Indian name for this lake is A-po-qua-que, signifying round lake, from which "Poughquag" is derived.

**Note at bottom: The derivation of this name is thus given by noted writer: "This great dignitary was called Mynhor Beekmah, who derived his surname, as did Ovidius Nase of yore, from the lordly dimensions of his nose, which projected from the centre of his countenance like the beak of a parrot. He was a great progenitor of the tribe of Beekmans, one of the most ancient and honorable families of the province, the members of which do gratefully commemorate the origin of their dignity, not as your noble families in England would do, by having a glowing proboseis emblazoned on their escutchcon, but by one and all wearing a right goodly nose stuck in the very middle of their faces (Irving's Knickerbacker list, NY)

From: General History of Duchess County, From 1609 to 1876, Inclusive,
Philip H. Smith, Pawling, NY, Published by the Author, 1877.


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September 24, 1999

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