Archive for December, 2019

Palisades and Snedens Landing – 2 Books and an Article

The two books offered below were written by historians living and working in Palisades, NY (also known as Snedens Landing), the community directly across the river from Dobbs Ferry.  The first book was written by Alice Munro Haagensen and the second by her daughter, Alice Gerard.    The mother’s book covers the history through the 19th century.  The daughter’s covers the 20th.   The research and writing are excellent in both.   In my research on the Dobbs family and the ferry, I have stood on their shoulders and am grateful for their work.  I have found some things that they didn’t know, which changes the story a little from what they knew when these books were written.  That’s always the way with history.   More is discovered all the time.  (Asked why he read so many books on the Civil War all the time, my Uncle Joe Cohn replied “To keep up!”)

What did I find that differs from or extends the accounts in these books?  Several things.  For example, I found the Dobbs family came from Manhattan, not Barren Island Brooklyn.  They had no connection to Barren Island, Brooklyn.  That island was uninhabited in their time.   The erroneous connection to Barren Island results from a connection some of the family had AFTER living in Manhattan to the island in the East River that we now call Wards Island.   Back then, Wards island was called “Great Barent Island” which morphed into “Barn Island” which sounds like “Barren Island,” and even looks like “Barren Island” in some of the longhand records of the day, leading to the confusion of later historians.   Another contribution I made was uncovering the multifaceted connections between the Dobbs/Merritt family, and the Lockhart and Corbett families back in their Manhattan days.  They had business ties and were allies in opposing Leisler Rebellion.   I also have highlighted, I believe for the first time, the probable connection between great historic events in New York City  (Leisler’s Rebellion, Leisler’s execution, and then the resurgence of the Leislerites)  and Merritt’s move upriver to the future Sneden’s Landing together with his nephew John Dobbs’s move upriver to the future Dobbs Ferry.    My work is being published in a series of articles in the “The Ferryman” newsletter, published by the Dobbs Ferry Historical Society.  However, much of my narrative  as it relates to Snedens Landing and the Snedens relies on these two books.

I keep my notes on my ongoing research on a Google Sheet that anyone can access at  Many online sources are referenced there, allowing you to read deeply into the subject without a trip to the library.

Hard copies of the books below may be purchased for $35 plus shipping cost by contacting Alice Gerard, PO Box 225, Palisades NY 10964   or   <>

I am very grateful to Alice for allowing me to post pdf copies of her book and her mother’s book on my website, and for the many facts and insights she has shared with me during the course of my research.

The Haagensen book is broken into 3 pdf files below.  The Gerard book is a single file.

— Jim Luckett   <>

Palisades & Snedens Landing Part 1

Palisades and Snedens Landing Part 2

Palisades and Snedens Landing Part 3

Palisades & Snedens Landing – The 20th Century

Further research on the Sneden family is recounted in the following much more recent article that Alice Gerard has shared with me.   There were two Sneden families in Palisades, whose modern descendants claimed not to be related to each other.  The first clearly descended from Molly and Robert Sneden who ran the ferry starting around 1745 if not before.   The second had its roots in  a Samuel Sneden who arrived in Palisades in 1795.   The research recounted in the article below establishes the two families were one.  Sam Sneden, the progenitor of the latter group was a Tory  who had fled to Nova Scotia after the Revolution and then returned after some years away.  The article is by Alice Gerard .   It appeared in  South of the Mountain, the journal of the Historical Society of Rockland County in 2018.

Two Sneden Families

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