Monroe is a town in Orange County, New York. The population was 31,407 at the 2000 census. The town is named after President James Monroe.
The Town of Monroe contains two villages: Monroe and Kiryas Joel, as well as the majority of the Village of Harriman, which it shares with the Town of Woodbury.
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According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 55.1 km?(21.3 mi?. 52.0 km?(20.1 mi? of it is land and 3.1 km?(1.2 mi? of it (5.55%) is water. The town is located in the Southern Region of the county, bordered on the northwest by the Town of Chester, on the north by the Town of Blooming Grove, on the east by the Town of Woodbury, on the south by the Town of Tuxedo, and on the southwest by the Town of Warwick.
As of the census of 2000, there were 31,407 people, 8,228 households, and 6,878 families residing in the town. The population density was 603.6/km?(1,563.5/mi?. There were 8,517 housing units at an average density of 163.7/km?(424.0/mi?.
There were 8,228 households out of which 53.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 74.3% were married couples living together, 6.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 16.4% were non-families. 13.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.2% had someone living independently who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.72 and the average family size was 4.14.
In the town the population was spread out with 41.5% under the age of 18, 11.6% from 18 to 24, 24.8% from 25 to 44, 16.2% from 45 to 64, and 5.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 22 years. For every 100 females there were 107.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.3 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $50,889, and the median income for a family was $54,315.
The town was part of the "Cheesecocks Patent." It was created in 1799 as the Town of Cheesecocks. The name became "Monroe" after 1818.
According to: William H. Belcher The Belcher Family in England and America (1941) ...
- The Cheesecocks Patent dated to December 20, 1702, was confirmed on March 25, 1707 by Queen Anne of England, and was the name that the Algonquin Indian had originally given to that territory of hills and mountains west of the Hudson River, more commonly known as The Highlands ?/I> Chis meaning High, and Kauk meaning Land ... The territory comprising the present town of Monroe is part of the Chesekook Patent granted in 1707. The town was set off from the precinct of Goshen in 1764 and named Chesekook. This name continued until 1801, when it was changed to Southfields. On April 6, 1808, it took its present name of Monroe. (Belcher, pp.68-9)
Quoting from Gen George Washington's daily journal:
- July 15 . To Sovereign (Suffern's or Suffren's) Tavern, near the entrance to Smith's Clove [named for the Hon William Smith, one of the original patentees]. On Sunday, July 20, 1777, Washington has moved on northward into the Ramapo Valley and to the place then known as Galloway's, which is now the village of Southfields. (Belcher, p. 81)
So that it would seem as though the town of Monroe started out as simply being called Cheescocks or the Cheesecocks Patent area, which remained largely wild prior to the Revolution.
Then parts of it began to be named after the earliest landowners such as the Smith's Clove area, which was named after William Smith, and then Galloway's, which was named after the settler who erected the log cabin that Washington temporarily called his home.
Then in 1801, the town's name was changed to Southfields, and then in 1808 the name of Munroe, which apparently was changed to Monroe in 1818 to honor the President of the same name.
The town is the birthplace of Velveeta Cheese. Each year a cheese festival is held to honor this notable history.