Sunday, September 25, 2016      

reprinted with the permission of the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale

The history of the area we now call Scarsdale is rich and varied.  Long before European explorers and settlers started arriving, Scarsdale and its environs were home and hunting grounds to the Native American tribes Siwanoy and Wecquaesgeek, who were part of the Wappinger Confederacy, a large alliance of tribes ranging from Manhattan in the south up along the Hudson River and the Long Island Sound.

In 1660, Englishman John Richbell settled here and purchased from Native American tribal leaders (sachems) a parcel of land that included Scarsdale.  Richbell’s widow, Anne, sold the land in 1698 to another Englishman, Caleb Heathcote, who was the sixth of seven sons of Mayor Heathcote of Chesterfield in the Hundred of Scarsdale, Derbyshire, England. With the land he had purchased from Anne Richbell and another tract -- called, then and now, Fox Meadow -- bought from area sachems, Heathcote applied for and in 1701 was granted a royal patent creating the Manor of Scarsdale, named after his ancestral home.  Scarsdale was the 16th and last royal manor granted by the English kings in the American colonies. 

The population of Scarsdale started out small; the first count taken in 1712 listed 12 people, seven of whom were slaves.  The manor remained a sparsely populated mixture of small farms, one or two manor houses and wilderness until well after Caleb Heathcote’s death in 1721.  Caleb’s two daughters inherited the manor and continued, with the help of several tenant farmers, to clear and work the land.  In 1774 the manor was broken up, and the tenant farmers became the proprietors of their individual farms.

To read more, read This is Scarsdale on the LWVS website, at
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