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The Name "Claverack"

According to one version, the name "Claverack" is a Dutch term, signifying a clover reach or field and, according to one tradition, was applied by Henry Hudson during his voyage up river in 1609 when the explorer noted vast fields of white clover covering the landscape. Yet by another account, the real origin of the name is unknown. However, the early mariners that sailed from New Amsterdam (New York City) to Fort Orange (Albany) divided the river into raks or reaches. A reach was the distance a ship could sail in one day. This part of the Hudson River was called Claver Rak (or Reach). The word "Clavers" also appears on the 1799 Penfield map and may have referred to physical marks that existed on the landscape.

Then by way of a third accounting, we have the following. From the time that the colony of Rensselaerwyck was opened for settlement in 1630 through 1700, the Hudson River was the only practical means of communication with the Island of Manhattan, just as it had been for the early explorers and traders in the valley area. Scattered development was located along the water's edge until the last quarter of the 17th century when farmers began to settle in the uplands. Claverack, Catskill, Coxsackie and Kinderhook were sites of early upland settlement. In the instance of Claverack, Jan Van Hoesen purchased a large tract of land from the Indians in 1662 and shortly thereafter an upland settlement called Klauver Rachen, or Clover Reach, was established in the vicinity of today's hamlet of Claverack.

While it is truly difficult to establish the real origin of the name "Claverack", it is probable that it resides within a combination of the explanations above and may well have been Clavers Rak or Clover Reach in days gone by.