Historic Purchase

The origins of Purchase, NY can be traced back to 1695 when John Harrison believed he had "purchased" the land from the Siwanoy Indians. When the land became known as “Harrison’s Purchase,”(1) the Native Americans were undoubtedly perplexed. Ownership of land was not a familiar concept to Native American culture, and the Siwanoys likely believed they were selling temporary permission for hunting and farming.

Harrison petitioned the Governor's Council of New York to make the transaction official, and King William III granted final approval on June 25, 1696. The original sheepskin deed is hermetically sealed and may be viewed by appointment at the Harrison Town Hall.

Today, Purchase, a hamlet of Harrison, is home to many historic structures and sites. This portion of the website has been created in part to celebrate and preserve these treasures.

Photo of Ophir Farm
Ophir Farm »

Ophir Farm Estate's historic structures and cultural landscape, much of it co-located on the college campus... Read more >

Photo of Holladay Stone Chapel
Holladay Stone Chapel »

In 1864, millionaire Ben "Doc" Holladay bought up almost 1,000 acres in Purchase, predominantly from members of the Haviland family... Read more >

Photo of Anderson Hill Cemetery
Anderson Hill »

For the last 240 years, stood in silent ceremony to a more bucolic age, when time unraveled at a leisured pace, and Purchase was a rural landscape of farms, fields and orchards... Read more