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About the project

In 1971 my wife and I purchased the Buck farm in the Town of LaGrange, Dutchess County and I wanted to find out what I could about the history of the property.

We bought the house and farm from John L. Buck, the first husband of Pearl Buck, the writer, and knew that it was originally built in the 18th century. John L. Buck had remarried and the house had been redecorated; and our aim was to restore it and in doing so we studied other, similar, homes in our area. Some of the information we located was the impetus for my work.

I found that the area where we purchased was part of an original land grant (Patent) given to Col. Henry Beekman in 1697 by the English Crown and was the 2nd largest Patent in present Dutchess County. Henry Beekman and his heirs, two of them Livingstons, were landlords and only rented the land, and the lack of deeds and mortgages had resulted in almost no information about the land in the Patent and the people who settled there. I was able to locate rent ledgers for most of the Patent, some dating as early as 1710, maps, tax lists, volumes of previously unpublished and (some) unknown Revolutionary War information, and started to put it all together.

In the Bicentennial year of 1976 I gave a number of talks on my findings and since then I have written several articles for major historic/genealogical publications and addressed a National Genealogical Convention, spoke at meetings in MA & RI, etc. I am recognized as an authority on Dutchess County history and its founding settlers. I am a past President of the LaGrange Historical Society and former Trustee of the County Historical Society.

In 1988 I decided to compile the materials I had accumulated and in 1990 I published the first volume in my series, The Settlers of the Beekman Patent, Dutchess County, New York, An Historical and Genealogical Study of all the 18th Century Settlers in the Patent, Volume I, Historical Records. This book contained all the records I could find for the towns in the Patent; Beekman, Dover, LaGrange (part) Pawling, (including Quaker Hill), and Union Vale. I included over 250 pages of mostly new material about the Revolutionary War in Dutchess County, including the Muster Rolls of nine Companies of Minute Men who went to New York City in 1776 under Col. Jacobus Swartwout to repel the invading British.

I was the first to locate these previously unfound rolls in the National Archives. This volume also contains important information found in the two newspapers that were published in the County during the Revolution after their publishers were chased out of New York when the British invaded. These papers have never been cited before to my knowledge. This volume is now in hundreds of public and university libraries as well as in private homes.

In 1992 I began the second phase of the work, compiling the genealogies of all the 18th century residents of the Patent. I have just published the 13th of these volumes ending with the Swift families. I expect to publish an additional volume every two years.

My books are hard cover and produced to the highest standards and now CDs are available as well.