Pictorial history of Warwick, England, donated to Albert Wisner Library

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:28

WARWICK - On March 9, Barbara Sullivan of Suffern, on behalf of her daughter Sheila Sullivan-Baptiste of London, England, donated a pictorial history of Warwick, England, “Warwick Through Time,” to the Albert Wisner Public Library. The book, a collection of 180 photographs, was donated in memory of Sheila Sullivan-Baptiste’s father, Harold Sullivan, a partner of retired Warwick Police Sgt. George Arnott in a long-established defensive driving program. Sullivan passed away in October 2009. That Warwick, New York, was named after Warwick, England, however, is not set in stone. Silent second 'w’ It’s long been widely assumed that the Town and Village of Warwick were named after the county town of Warwickshire in the West Midlands area of England. The English, by the way, pronounce it, “war-ick” with the second “w” being silent. The story about the origin of the American name begins with the 150,000-acre Wawayanda Patent, which was granted in 1703 and was the basis of ownership of land in central Orange County. One of the original patent holders was Benjamin Aske. In his “History of Warwick, NY,” Town of Warwick Historian Dr. Richard Hull writes: “Aske named his estate 'Warwick’ probably after his ancestral homeland in Warwick, England.” An article about Warwick, published in The New York Times on July 5, 1896, also stated: “Undoubtedly Aske appreciated the scenery of his new estate and honored it as far as he was able by calling it after his old home.” Hull, however, recently said that there is no solid evidence that this is true. “It’s still in the gray category of local legend,” he admitted. Native Americans called it 'Woerawin’ Albert Wisner Library Historian Sue Gardner agrees. “It has been assumed that Aske was from Warwickshire, from our early days,” she said, “but no one’s been able to find anything to prove this, or any record of his family in Warwickshire. But I do have some documentation about him proving he was definitely English.” She explained that the Askes were an old Yorkshire family whose origins can be traced to the eleventh century when they held lands of the earl of Richmond in North Yorkshire. But Gardner added that one of the Native American names for this area was “Woerawin,” as recorded in 1702 in a petition by Dr. Samuel Staats. “My theory,” she said, “is that Aske, when he came, may simply have Anglicized it to a name he was familiar with, but we’ll never be able to prove that. Someday we may be able to discover exactly where in England he actually came from, but the fact remains that he did name his estate in honor of Warwick, England, or an individual associated with it.” In 1906 Warwick, England, had an historical celebration and invited “daughter” communities including Warwick, N.Y. Ferdinand Sanford and other residents sailed to England to attend the event. “The connection with England has been celebrated ever since, and we do indeed consider Warwickshire our sister community,” said Gardner.