Our town nestles in a valley in the background of which lie the picturesque hills and dales of Westchester County. Our Town of Rye borders on Long Island Sound bordering on Connecticut at the gateway of New England within convenient commuting distance from New York and in the metropolitan area. While we started with the Boston Post Road running close to the sound and constituting our main highway, a toll road along which passed the horse-drawn stages, modern parkways and paved highways over which pass speedy motor vehicles now link our Town to all the cities, towns and villages of this great country of ours.
We started as a small settlement on Manursing Island, then developed Poningo Neck, which now is the business section of the City of Rye, and the Saw Pit, which now is Port Chester on the Byram River, with paths leading to various parts of the town. The Post Road, King Street, and the Grace Church Street were among some of our earliest carriage paths. Water transportation and stagecoach were the sole links the early settlers had with the outside world. The young settlement known as Saw Pit, so named from the saw pits then in use, continued as such until it outgrew this homespun name and became Port Chester by incorporating as a village in 1868 signifying a sea port which remains to this day.
Early life in the settlement was strenuous. Attacks by Indians and severe winters were a deterrent to these early settlers. Farming, fishing, logging, and trading were the principal occupations. At Saw Pit, logs were cut for use in shipbuilding operations. Our town had no improvements in those days and homes were simple and crude. The seed sown by these early settlers was nurtured and grew to the present day when we enjoy the modern conveniences of our times.
For more information about the Town of Rye and early settlement, see Chronicles of a Border Town by Charles Washington Baird.