Amawalk, Town of Somers NY
The Town of Somers is located in the northern part of Westchester County, New York, and is comprised of five communities, namely Amawalk, Baldwin Place, Granite Springs, Lincolndale, and Shenorock.
The town we call Somers was originally occupied by Kitchawanks, part of the Mohegan tribe, who called the land Amapaugh, meaning 'fresh water fish'. This land was located in the eastern segment of an 83,000-acre tract that King William III of England granted to Stephanus Van Cortland of New York City in 1697. The part of Van Cortland Manor that ultimately became Somers and Yorktown was known as the Middle District, or Hanover. Settlement in the Somers area began after Van Cortlandt's death in 1700 and the final partition of his estate in 1734. Early European settlers included tenants and freeholders from neighboring areas, among them English, Dutch, French Huguenots and Quakers. It wasn't until March 7, 1788, when the first town meeting was held at an inn, owned by Benjamin Green, that the town named Stephentown was established. However, there already existed a Stephentown in Renssealaer County. The resulting confusion, particularly in mail delivery, lead to a change in the name to Somerstown and in 1808 to the Town of Somers. The town was named as a tribute to Captain Richard Somers, a young naval officer from New Jersey who lost his life in the Tripolitan War. A memorial in West Somers Park was erected in his honor at Memorial Day ceremonies in 1958.
Today, numerous 19th century historic buildings remain including Mount Zion Church (1794) and the Wright-Reis Homestead (1867). The Somers Historical Society oversees these properties and makes them available for public visitation several times a year.