History of Southeast & the Village of Brewster
The Town of Southeast, incorporated in 1788, is located approximately fifty miles north of New York City in Putnam County. It is bordered by the Towns of Patterson to the North and Carmel to the West, Westchester County to the South and Connecticut to the East. Within the Town’s borders lies the Village of Brewster whose history is interwoven with that of Southeast.
Putnam County was originally part of Dutchess County. Most of Dutchess and what became Putnam County were part of the Philpse patent except for a strip of land on the east called the Oblong. From the mid-1600’s the ownership of the Oblong was a long standing dispute between Connecticut and New York. It wasn’t until 1731 when the Treaty of Dover provided a temporary settlement of the border in New York State’s favor, that villages and towns began to grow. In the early part of the eighteenth century, families from Cape Cod and Long Island began settling in the Oblong along the East Branch of the Croton River. The river valley provided rich fertile soil ideal for farming and an agrarian economy evolved.
The Croton River furnished power for mills and small factories, fostering the development of several small towns: Milltown, Sodom (Southeast Center), De Forest Corners and Doanesburg. Agricultural and cottage industries formed the basis of the local economy. Crops and other products were transported across the county to Peekskill and then by sloop to New York City.
Photo: View of Brewster, Beers Atlas, 1867
Photo: Postcard image of the original Brewster train station. The original station was built in 1849 and was replaced in 1931.