New Cornwall

Text from William Wade

Passing the Highlands, the prospect changes into a very agreeable contrast. From Pollopel’ s Island, the river widens and forms Newburgh Bay, an expansion five or six miles long and one mile wide. On the west side we pass first the village of Cornwall, containing two stores, several large brick yards, twenty dwellings, and about one hundred and twenty-five inhabitants.

On March 7, 1788, New Cornwall was officially incorporated. At that time, the town covered much of present-day Orange County. Most of New Cornwall's land holdings became separate towns: Highlands Falls, Blooming Grove and Monroe. In 1797, the name was shorted to Cornwall. While Cornwall was sparsely populated before the Revolutionary War, its population quickly increased. When Nathaniel Willis wrote about Cornwall in 1855 in Out-doors at Idlewild, he said:

"Fifteen to twenty old families live conservatively on their estates. A dozen or more wealthy manufacturers, brickmakers and millers...Quaker families, in easy circumstances-plain but genteel folks with well-educated families-are sprinkles thickly over this end of the county"