Research

History of the Orange County Seal

The orange tree on the County Seal of Orange County, NY can be traced to 1691, eight years after the original 12 counties of the Province of New York were chartered as possessions of England. The choice to use the symbol of the orange fruit (an exotic citrus to the New World at that time) is unknown but the use of the word "orange" is a reference to a member of the British royal family. In 1683, the Prince of Orange was the Stadtholder of Holland. He then went on to become William III, King of England, upon his marriage to Queen Mary II in 1689.

​The earliest orange tree appears as a County Clerk's seal on official documents. Thereafter, each County department designed it's own seal, so over time we see a variety of official seals representing Orange County in the 17th century. An early Supervisor's seal had an image of an eagle and the original Treasurer's seal had an agricultural scene with a woman milking a cow. It's not known why the orange tree persisted but in the mid-20th century, so the story goes, an old hand sewn flag hung in the County Courthouse featuring and image of the orange tree which, it is believed, served as the inspiration for our contemporary incarnation. The seal depicted throughout this website was officially made the Orange County seal in 1970 when the current charter was passed.