is approximately 60 miles long and 20 miles wide resulting in an area of 830
square miles. The County is largely agricultural in nature and has no
cities within its borders. There are 211 miles of State
roads, 276 miles of County roads, and 1088 miles of Town and Village highways.
County was formed from Albany County in March of 1772. It was named in
honor of Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III of England. Charlotte
County contained all of the present State of Vermont west of the Green
Mountains and north of the northwest corner of the Town of Jackson, all of the
present counties of Warren, Essex, Clinton and the eastern part of Franklin.
April of 1784, the Legislature passed an act changing the name of Charlotte
County to Washington because of its reference to the Queen and the bad
feelings the new Country had about England. The present towns of Easton,
Cambridge, Jackson, White Creek, and the southwest part of Greenwich still
remained as part of Albany County. Over the next few decades, townships
organized and other counties broke off, thus leaving the county of Washington
with 17 towns as we know them today.
* Source of information
is "An Introduction to Historic Resources in Washington County, New York,
The evolution of Washington County" by Doris L. MacEachron.
Washington County is a non-charter county, which means it follows all laws set
down by the State of New York. Each town elects a town Supervisor to
become the Chief Elected Official of the Town. In addition to the Town
duties, Supervisors also represent their towns as one of 17 representatives of
the County Board of Supervisors. Each Town is assigned weighted voting
powers based on the population in each respective town. Every Supervisor
is elected bi-annually and the County operates on a calendar year.
The Board of Supervisors has both legislative and executive
powers. Each year the Board of Supervisors elect a Chairman of the Board
to become the Chief Elected Official of the County. The Chairman has
limited administrative responsibilities. The Chairman appoints Board
members to serve on various committees. Department Heads report to one
of these Committees.
The District Attorney, Sheriff, County Clerk, four Coroners,
and Treasurer (Chief Fiscal Officer) are elected to four year terms and are
eligible to succeed themselves.