New York State Counties

ALBANY, in honor of the Duke of York and Albany, who later became James II of England

ALLEGANY, derived from a Delaware Indian word, applied by settlers of Western New York to a trail that followed the Allegany River

BRONX, in honor of Joseph Bronck, first settler of the region north of the Harlem River (a peace treaty with the Indians was signed at his home in 1642)

BROOME, in honor of John Broome, the lieutenant governor when the county was established in 1806

CATTARAUGUS, from a Seneca Indian word meaning "bad smelling banks" referring to the odor of natural gas leaking from rock seams.

CAYUGA, in honor of an Indian tribe of the Iroquois League

CHAUTAUQUA, a contraction of a Seneca Indian word meaning "where the fish was taken out"

CHEMUNG, derived from the name of the Delaware Indian village signifying "big horn"

CHENANGO, from the Onondaga Indian word meaning "large bull-thistle"

CLINTON, in honor of George Clinton, first governor of the state

COLUMBIA, the Latin feminine form of Columbus, the name was popular at the time as a proposed name for the United States of America

CORTLAND, in honor of Pierre Van Cortlandt, who was the first lieutenant governor of the state (in 1777 he was president of the convention at Kingston that framed the state's first constitution)

DELAWARE, in honor of Lord Delaware, who was appointed governor of Virginia in 1609, and in recognition of his services to the early colonists

DUTCHESS, in honor of the Duchess of York, wife of James II

ERIE, derived from a tribe of Indians living in Western New York prior to 1654

ESSEX, named for Essex County, England

FRANKLIN, in honor of Benjamin Franklin

FULTON, in honor of Robert Fulton, engineer, inventor and builder of the steamboat "Clermont" in 1807, the first steam vessel and the first to sail the Hudson

GENESEE, from a Seneca Indian word meaning "good valley"

GREENE, in honor of General Nathaniel Greene, considered by many as the greatest soldier of the Revolutionary War, next to George Washington

HAMILTON, in honor of Alexander Hamilton, the only member of the New York delegation who signed the original federal Constitution

HERKIMER, in honor of General Nicholas Herkimer, who died of wounds received at the battle of Oriskany in 1777

JEFFERSON, in honor of Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States

KINGS, named after King Charles II of England

LEWIS, in honor of Morgan Lewis, governor of New York from 1804 to 1807

LIVINGSTON, in honor of Robert R. Livingston, a delegate to the 1775 Continental Congress and a member of the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence

MADISON, named after James Madison, fourth President of the United States

MONROE, in honor of James Monroe, fifth President of the United States

MONTGOMERY, in honor of Major General Richard Montgomery, who was killed in the attack on Quebec in 1775

NASSAU, in honor of William of Nassau, Prince of Orange

NEW YORK, in honor of the Duke of York

NIAGARA, from an Indian word meaning "bisected bottom lands"

ONEIDA, in honor of an Indian tribe of the Iroquois League

ONONDAGA, in honor of an indian tribe of the Iroquois League

ONTARIO, corruption of the Iroquois word meaning "beautiful lake"

ORANGE, in honor of William, Prince of Orange, held in high esteem by the first settlers of the region

ORLEANS, named after the French Royal House of Orleans

OSWEGO, from the Iroquois word meaning "the outpouring", referring to the mouth of the Oswego

OTSEGO, from an Indian word for "place of the rock"

PUTNAM, in honor of General Israel Putnam, a hero of the French and Indian War and the Revolution

QUEENS, in honor of Catherine of Braganza, wife of Charles II

RENSSELAER, in honor of the family of Killiaen Van Rensselaer, the original Dutch patroon

RICHMOND, in honor of the Duke of Richmond, son of Charles II

ROCKLAND, named from "rocky land", an early general term applied to the region by settlers

ST. LAWRENCE, after the river, named by Cartier in honor of Saint Laurent, on whose birthday the river was discovered

SARATOGA, a corruption of the Indian word "sah-rah-ka", said to mean "the side hill"

SCHENECTADY, from a Mohawk Indian word meaning "on the other side of the pine lands"

SCHOHARIE, from the Mohawk Indian word meaning "floating driftwood"

SCHUYLER, in honor of General Philip Schuyler, one of the four major generals of the Continental Army

SENECA, in honor of an Indian tribe of the Iroquois League

STEUBEN, in honor of Baron Steuben, a major general in the Revolution

SUFFOLK, after Suffolk County, England, home of many early settlers

SULLIVAN, in honor of Major General John Sullivan, Revolutionary hero and commander of an expedition against the Six Nations of Indians

TIOGA, from the Indian word meaning "at the forks", referring originally to a famous Indian meeting place

TOMPKINS, in honor of Daniel D. Tompkins, a vice president of the United States and governor of New York

ULSTER, named for the Duke of York's earldom in Ireland

WARREN, in honor of Gen. Joseph Warren, killed at the battle of Bunker Hill

WASHINGTON, in honor of George Washington, first President of the United States

WAYNE, in honor of General Anthony Wayne, whose victory over the confederated Indian tribes made possible the 1794 treaty that assured Western New York to the United States

WESTCHESTER, for Chester, England

WYOMING, from a modified Delaware Indian word meaning "broad bottom lands"

YATES, in honor of Governor Joseph C. Yates, who approved the act establishing the county

Copyright (c) 2008 New York State Department of State