Ulster and Delaware Turnpike

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United States go to Migration go to Trails and Roads Gotoarrow.png New York Gotoarrow.png Ulster and Delaware Turnpike

Did an ancestor travel the Ulster and Delaware Turnpike of New York? Learn about this settler migration route, its transportation history, and find related genealogy sources.

Lehigh and Lackawanna Paths and Minsi Path map.png

History

Two branches join a trunk route. The Ulster and Delaware Turnpike opened in 1802, and was also known as the Jericho Turnpike  or the Esopus Turnpike. It was a south branch route that went west about 135 miles (217 kilometers) from Millerton, NY (Salisbury, CT) through Rhinebeck, NY, used a ferry to cross the Hudson River to Kingston, NY, and then continued on to connect at the east end of the important main trunk Catskill Turnpike at Bainbridge, NY.[1] [2] [3] [4]

An alternate north branch route which also connected to the east end of the Catskill Turnpike was known as the Ancram Turnpike  or the Catskill Road.[5] From Millerton, NY (Salisbury, CT) it went northwest 30 miles (48 kilometers) to Catskill, NY. From Catskill this route was called the Susquehanna Turnpike (aka Catskill and Susquehanna Turnpike [6] or the Catskill Turnpike [7]) which opened as a turnpike in 1800 and continued from Catskill, NY by traversing west about 94 miles (151 kilometers) to Unadilla, NY on the Susquehanna River. [8]

Both branches joined with the main trunk Catskill Turnpike, also known as the Susquehanna and Bath Turnpike, [6] [7] opened in 1804 on its way from Unadilla, NY (on the Susquehanna River) west about 10 miles (16 kilometers) to Bainbridge, NY (junction with the Ulster and Delaware Turnpike) and then west about 130 more miles (209 kilometers) to Bath, NY.

Both the north Susquehanna Turnpike,[5] [6] and south Ulster and Delaware Turnpike [9] were sometimes identified as a part of the Catskill Road or Catskill Turnpike. Sometimes, even feeder routes in Massachusetts and Connecticut were also identified as part of the Catskill Road.[5] [10]

Pre-turnpike era. New England residents gradually began moving into central New York on foot or horseback by 1753. In 1790 the opening of the Military Tract in modern Cayuga, Cortland, Onondaga, and Seneca counties began attracting Revolutionary War veterans, their families, and other New Englanders into central New York. In 1792 a mail route (and probably a stage line) was established just to the north on the Catskill Road.[11] The Ulster and Delaware Turnpike route was already a pioneer pathway, and probably was a wagon road before that mail service was started just to the north.

Stages. Stagecoaches generally began regular transport of mail and passengers on long trips in the American colonies in the 1760s.[12] They made regular trips between stages  or stations where travelers were provided food and rest.[13] Where available, stagecoaches became a preferred way for settlers to travel to a new home.

Toll roads. As traffic increased along a roadway American political leaders turned to toll roads (turnpikes) to raise money to improve, clear, and repair their local highways.[14] Toll revenue from stagecoaches, drovers, and other travelers was used to maintain the roadbeds and bridges, and, if there was enough left over (rarely happened), to pay a turnpike stockholder dividend. If turnpike revenue decreased too much, the roadway maintenance was typically turned over to the state, and the path was made a free public road.

The Ulster and Delaware Turnpike was a gateway route into central New York when it opened all the way from Kingston to Bainbridge in 1804. Moreover, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts all approved an important network of feeder  turnpike routes leading toward the Ulster and Delaware Turnpike and Catskill Turnpike combination—all of which eventually became associated with the Catskill name.

Railroad competition. The heyday of wagon roads into central New York was the early 1800s before the coming of the railroads in the 1830s and 1840s.[15] Railroads were faster, less expensive, and safer to use than overland wagon roads. As railroads entered an area, the long distance overland wagon roads (especially the toll roads) normally became less used. Railroads like the following began moving settlers and replaced much of the wagon road traffic in the area:

Route

The Ulster and Delaware Turnpike connected the Salibury and Canaan Turnpike at Salisbury to Kingston to the Catskill Turnpike at Bainbridge through the following places:

NY MA CT.png
Eastern New York and western Massachusetts/Connecticut had a network of interconnected roads that helped the people of New England and New York City to reach central New York.

New York main routes west moving New Englanders into central New York (listed north to south)

  • New York feeders from Massachusetts / Connecticut connected to NY main routes west
  • Rensselaer and Columbia Turnpike  from Massachusetts 10th Turnpike  at New Lebanon, NY (Pittsfield, MA) to Rensselaer, NY (Albany, NY); opened 1799; now US-20.
  • Hillsdale and Chatham Turnpike  from the Alford and Egremont Turnpike  at Alford, MA to Albany, NY; opened 1805. [24]
  • Columbia Turnpike  from the Massachusetts 12th Turnpike  and Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike  at Hillsdale, NY (Egremont, MA) to Hudson, NY (Catskill, NY); opened 1799; now NY-23.
  • Ancram Turnpike  from the Salisbury and Canaan Turnpike  at Millerton, NY to Catskill, NY; opened 1805; now NY-82.[25]
  • Ulster_and_Delaware_Turnpike  from the Salisbury and Canaan Turnpike  at Millerton, NY (Salisbury, CT) to Rhinebeck, NY (Kingston, NY), continuing west to the Catskill Turnpike at Bainbridge, NY; opened 1802; now NY-199. [25]
  • Massachusetts feeders connected to New York feeders
  • Massachusetts 10th Turnpike  from Connecticut Turnpike  at Sandisfield, MA to the Rensselaer and Columbia Turnpike  at Hancock, MA (New Lebanon, NY); toll booths open 1800 to 1854; now US-202 and US-20.[26]
  • Housatonic River Turnpike  from the Massachusetts 10th Turnpike  to the Rensselaer and Columbia Turnpike  at West Strockbridge, MA (Hillsdale, NY); toll booths open 1809 to 1853; now in part MA-102.[27]
  • Alford and Egremont Turnpike  from the Massachusetts 12th Turnpike  at Egremont, MA to the Hillsdale and Chatham Turnpike  at Alford, MA (Hillsdale, NY); toll booths open 1812 to 1842; now MA-71.[28]
  • Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike  from the Massachusetts 15th Turnpike  at Great Barrington, MA to the Columbia Turnpike  at Alford, MA (Hillsdale, NY); toll booths open from 1812 to 1846; now MA-23.[29]
  • Massachusetts 12th Turnpike  from Sheffied, MA (North Canaan, CT) to the Columbia Turnpike  at Egremont, MA (Hillsdale, NY); toll booths open from 1803 to 1857; now US-7 and MA-41.[30]
  • Hampden and Berkshire Turnpike  from Springfield, MA to the Becket Turnpike  at Becket, MA; toll booths open from 1829 to 1852; now I-90.[31]
  • Connecticut feeders connected to New York feeders
  • Salisbury and Canaan Turnpike  from Huntsville, CT to the Ancram Turnpike  and the Ulster and Dalaware Turnpike  at Salisburty, CT (Millerton, NY); traveled by Europeans by 1744, toll booths open from 1801 to 1829; now CT-126 and US-44.[32] [33] [34]

Connecting Routes. The Ulster and Delaware Turnpike  connected with several other migration routes:

Millerton, New York connnections:

  • The Salisbury and Canaan Turnpike  from the Greenwood Road at Canaan, CT to Millerton, NY was the eastern feeder route out of Connecticut into the Ulster and Delaware Turnpike.
  • The Ancram Turnpike (aka Catskill Road) from the Salisbury and Canaan Turnpike  to Catskill, NY and the Catskill Turnpike was a rival more northerly route to central New York.

mid-route connections:

  • Albany Post Road from New York City to Albany, NY crosses the Ulster and Delaware Turnpike  in Rhinebeck, NY.
  • Hudson River from Albany, NY to New York City, NY crosses the Ulster and Delaware Turnpike  between Rhinebeck, NY and Kingston, NY.
  • Minsi Path from Kingston, NY to Port Jervis, NY and Philadelphia, PA connects to the Ulster and Delaware Turnpike  in Kingston, NY.[35]

Bainbridge, New York connections:

  • Catskill Turnpike (aka Susquehanna and Bath Turnpike) from Unadilla, NY on the Susquehanna River to Bath, NY, was a westward extension of the Ulster and Delaware Turnpike.
  • Lehigh and Lackawanna Paths from Unadilla, NY through Scranton, PA to join the Minsi Path in Northampton County, PA on its way to Philadelphia. The Lehigh and Lackawanna Paths connected with the Ulster and Delaware Turnpike  near Unadilla, NY.[36]

Modern parallels. The modern roads that roughly match the Ulster and Delaware Turnpike  from Millerton, NY to Bainbridge, NY are:

  • From the Salisbury and Canaan Turnpike  (US-44) at Millertown, New York  take Winchell Mountain Road / NY-199 / NY-308 west toward Rhinebeck.
  • Cross the Hudson River on NY-199 / Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge (a ferry in pioneer days).
  • From Kingston take NY-28 west to Delhi.
  • At Delhi turn southwest on NY-10 to Walton.
  • At Walton turn northwest on NY-206 which continues into Bainbridge, New York.

Settler Records

Settlers along the Ulster and Delaware Turnpike in central New York are most likely to have originally come from Massachusetts or Connecticut, especially areas near Springfield, Boston, or Hartford. But people from almost every part of the eastern seaboard and Europe also were common in the area.

No complete list of settlers in New York who used the Ulster and Delaware Turnpike is known to exist. However, many of the earliest settlers in the area would have used this turnpike to reach their new home. The Ulster and Delaware Turnpike would have attracted nearby settlers because it helped them reach markets for buying and selling goods and services. Therefore, the land records, tax records, and histories of the earliest settlers along the route would list the names of people likely to have used the turnpike.

References

  1. Ulster and Delaware Turnpike in Routes in the Northeastern United States: Historic Trails, Roads and Migration Routes (accessed 6 November 2014). The Ulster and Delaware Turnpike went from Kingston, NY to Bainbridge, NY; it was also connected to the Salisbury and Canaan Turnpike in Connecticut.
  2. List of turnpikes in New York in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 6 November 2014).
  3. Isaac Huntting, History of the Little Nine Partners of North East Precinct and Pine Plains, New York, Dutchess County (Amenia, NY: Chas. Walsh, 1897), 99-101. Google Book edition.
  4. New York State Route 199 in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 6 November 2014).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Ancram Turnpike in Routes in the Northeastern United States: Historic Trails, Roads and Migration Routes (accessed 6 November 2014). The Ancram Turnpike went from Springield, MA to Catskill, NY; and was called the Catskill Road.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Almira E Morgan, The Catskill Turnpike: A Wilderness Path (Ithaca, N.Y.: DeWitt Historical Society of Thompkins County, 1971), 5. Online digital copy.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Catskill Turnpike in Routes in the Northeastern United States: Historic Trails, Roads and Migration Routes (accessed 6 November 2014). The Catskill Turnpike went west from Catskill, NY to Bath, NY; the east part was called the Susquehanna Turnpike.
  8. Huntting, 97-99.
  9. Principle Routes to the West, 1795-1812 (map online) from Ray A. Billington and Martin Ridge, Westward Expansion: a History of the American Frontier, 5th ed. (New York: MacMillan, 1982), 249.
  10. Catskill Road in Routes in the Northeastern United States: Historic Trails, Roads and Migration Routes (accessed 6 November 2014). The Catskill Road went from Springield, MA to Catskill, NY.
  11. Morgan, 2-3.
  12. Frederic J. Wood, "The Twelfth Massachusetts Turnpike" in The Turnpikes of New England and the Evolution of the Same Through England, Virginia, and Maryland (Boston: Marshall Jones, 1919), 26-27. Internet Archive version online.
  13. Stagecoach in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 30 October 2014).
  14. Wood, 33-36.
  15. Hudson and Boston Railroad] in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 23 October 2014).
  16. Wikipedia contributors, "Erie Canal" in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erie_Canal (accessed 24 June 2009).
  17. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 851. WorldCat entry. FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  18. Wikipedia contributors, "Fort Oswego" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Oswego (accessed 2 July 2011).
  19. Mohawk Trail in Routes in the Northeastern United States: Historic Trail, Roads, and Migration Routes in RootsWeb (accessed 6 October 2014).
  20. List of turnpikes in New York in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 1 November 2014).
  21. Almira E Morgan, The Catskill Turnpike: A Wilderness Path (Ithaca, N.Y.: DeWitt Historical Society of Thompkins County, 1971). Online digital copy.
  22. Anastassia Zinke, The Susquehanna Turnpike and America's Frontier History in Catskill Mountain Foundation (accessed 1 November 2014).
  23. Joan Odess, The Susquehanna Turnpike (pdf accessed 1 November 2014).
  24. Wood, 168.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Isaac Huntting, History of the Little Nine Partners of North East Precinct and Pine Plains, New York, Dutchess County (Amenia, NY: Chas. Walsh, 1897), 99-101. Google Book edition.
  26. Wood, map between pages 56 and 57, and pages 76-78.
  27. Wood, map between pages 56 and 57, and pages 166-67.
  28. Wood, map between pages 56 and 57, and page 168.
  29. Wood, map between pages 56 and 57, and pages 186-87.
  30. Wood, map between pages 56 and 57, and page 80.
  31. Wood, 203-206.
  32. Wood, 363-64.
  33. Connectiuct Route 126 in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 3 November 2014).
  34. "Salisbury and Canaan Turnpike" in Routes in the Northeastern United States: Historic Trails, Roads, and Migration Routes in RootsWeb (accessed 3 November 2014).
  35. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 851. WorldCat entry; FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  36. Handybook, 850-51.