Historical and Genealogical Record Dutchess and Putnam Counties
THE present limits of the town embrace the three River Lots of Philipse Patent (with the exception of the northwest part of Lot 3), and that portion of Lot 4 which lies north of the Philipstown Turnpike and west of the present boundary of the town of Kent.
It is the most westerly town of the county, and extends about ten miles along the Hudson River. It is bounded north by the line of Dutchess county; south, by the Westchester county line; east, by the town of Putnam Valley; west, by the Hudson River.
Its surface is broken by numerous steep and rocky mountain ridges. These mountains constitute the most elevated peaks of the Highlands. Among the peaks in this town are Anthony's Nose, which is 1228 feet above the Hudson, Sugar Loaf, 800 feet, Breakneck Mountain, and Bull, Hog-back, Vinegar, Cot, Pine and Fort Hills.
Clove creek flows through the northern part of the town, and Canopus creek through the northeastern corner. Other streams flowing into the Hudson are Foundry, Breakneck, Andreas and Indian brooks.
The first change in the boundaries of the town was made March 14, 1806, when by an Act of the Legislature "All such part of the town of Philipstown as lies north of the west line beginning by the north river at the southwestermost end of Breakneck Hill, and running from thence north 52 degrees east to the division line between the same towns, is hereby annexed to the town of Fishkill, any law to the contrary notwithstanding."
This change of territory in the vicinity of what is now Dutchess Junction was made for the convenience of the early settlers.
The next change in the limits of the town was March 14, 1839, when the present town of Putnam Valley was established, which embraced the greater part of Beverly Robinson's Long Lot.
Lot No. 1, or "Beverly Robinson's Lot," as it was termed, is the southern extremity of this town. In 1753 the south line was described as "Beginning at a red cedar tree marked, on the north side of the hill, Commonly called Anthony's Nose, which is likewise the north bounds of Col. Stephen Van Cortlandt's land or Manor of Cortlandt, and running east along the line of said Manor 360 chains to a white oak marked with P 1753."
The east line of the lot began at the white oak mentioned and "ran north 10 degrees east, 340 chains to a chestnut tree marked P. R. 1753, on the west side, standing on the east side of a steep rocky mountain."
The north line began at this chestnut tree and "ran south 75 degrees, west 174 chains to a heap of stones, on high hill, then north 65 degrees west 83 chains to a pine tree standing by Hudson's River marked P. R., by a heap of stones 22 chains below a rock called and known by the name of the Old Wife, lying in the mouth of the brook." This point on the river is about a quarter of a mile north of the ferry at Garrisons. A stone wall marks the line which runs across the middle of the railroad tunnel.
Previous to the Revolution the inhabitants of this tract were very few in number. A few tenants were scattered on farms, but the rugged and mountainous nature of a large portion of the lot rendered it less desirable as a place of settlement, than the fertile valleys in the eastern part of Philipse Patent, and the number of inhabitants of Philipse Precinct in 1777 was small compared with the precincts of Fredericksburg and Southeast.
At the time of the confiscation of the estate of Col. Robinson, the greater part of Lot 1 was sold to William Denning. The deed for a large tract on the eastern part of the lot is on record in the Clerk's Office of Putnam County.
The central part of Philipstown embraces Lot 2 of Philipse Patent, which was allotted to Philip Philipse in 1754. In 1769 this tract was surveyed and divided into eight lots, by David Lambert, who made a map of it. The owners of the lots are mentioned by their last names, except the Davenports. Their full names were, doubtless, Lot 1, Eli, or Justus Nelson; 2, John Eldridge; 3, Thomas Davenport; 4, William Davenport; 5, John Rogers; 6, Thomas Sarles; 7, Elijah Budd; 8, Joshua Lamoreaux.
The names of the early settlers on this tract are only to be learned from mention made in various records, such as surveys of highways and minutes of town meetings.The earliest names found are in the survey of highways in 1745: Eli Nelson, Francis Nelson, David Hustis, Nathan Lane, Gilbert Cronkhyt, Joseph Jaycox, Joseph Aries, Joseph Cronkhyt, Thomas Davenport, William Davenport.
The following list includes the persons whose names appear on the town records between 1772 and 1782, and includes the people living in Putnam Valley, which was then a portion of Philipstown: Beverly Robinson, John Crompton, Joseph Lane, Caleb Nelson, William Dusenbury, Israel Taylor, Isaac Davenport, Justus Nelson, Cornelius Tompkins, John Likely, Elijah Budd, Isaac Rhodes, Isaac Norton, Joseph Haight, Jacob Mandeville, Thomas Davenport, John Jones, James Lamoreaux, Moses Dusenbury, William White, John Winn, Reuben Drake, John Meeks, Samuel Warren, John Nelson, Uriah Drake, John Armstrong, John Cavery, Edward Weeks, Anthony Field, Cornelius Gea, Joseph Knapp, Peter Bell, Nathaniel Jagger, Stephen Lawrence, Jedediah Frost, Peter Dubois, Joshua Nelson, Peter Snouck, Joseph Husted, John Avery, Thomas Bassford, Sylvanus Haight, Benjamin Rogers, Stephen Conklin, Daniel Bugbee, Daniel Wiltsie, John Sherwood, Reuben Tompkins, Stephen Davenport, John Van Amburg, Ezekiel Gee, Samuel Jenkins, Jacob Read, Isaac Odell, Capt. Israel Knapp, John Haight, Hendrick Riers, Amos Odell, Jacob Armstrong, William Christian, Oliver Odell, Aaron Odell, Henry Elton, Robert Oakley, Thomas Smith, Joseph Aries, William Wright, Christopher Fowler, Jonathan Ones, Gabriel Archer, Sylvanus Lockwood, Abraham Garrison, Joshua Mead, Hendrick Post, Absolom Nelson, Peter Ryall, William White, Capt. George Lane, Peter Likely, Gilbert Budd, James Jaycox, Henry Wiltsie, Peter Drake, Matthew McCabe, Cornelius Tompkins, Daniel Buckbee, Comfort Chadwick, Thomas Lewis, Nathan Lane, Moses Dusenbury, Jr., Joseph Garrison, Peter Warren, Peter Kelly, John Yeoman, Abraham Croft, Abraham Marling, Joseph Bare, Elisha Budd, Titus Travis, Gilbert Oakley, John Drake, John Edgar, Philip Steinbeck, John Knapp, Isaac Jaycox, Richard Denney, Isaac Garrison, David Henion, Isaac Danforth, Thomas Williams, John Christian, Jesse Owen, William Dusenbury, Solomon Smith, Thomas Bryant, Joshua Tompkins, Charles Christian, Jonathan Miller, James Penny, Nathaniel Tompkins, Col. Samuel Drake.
The northern part of the town is embraced in the limits of Lot 3 of the Philipse Patent, which was the property of Roger Morris and his wife.
David Hustis, who was born in Westchester County in 1690 settled in 1730 in this part of the town, near the North Highland Church, on the road from Cold Spring to Fishkill. He was the ancestor of the Hustis families in Philipstown, and the town of Fishkill. He became a tenant at will of the patentee and rented 310 acres of land at five pounds per year. In 1745 he was appointed one of the commissioners to lay out highways.
The families of Haight, Bloomer and Wilson came shortly after, and those who were here before the Revolution became landlords after the war by purchasing their farms from the commissioners of forfeiture. Among the larger landholders was Daniel Ter Boss, who purchased about 1,500 acres in the northern part of the lot. Benjamin Bloomer had 340 acres in the western part, Isaac Springer had a smaller tract, with a saw mill, which he gave to his son Isaac about 1790. Nathaniel Anderson had about 260 acres. John Haight had 256 acres on the east side of the Post road near the north line of the lot. Martin Wiltsie had a tract in the southwest corner of the lot, and Gilbert Bloomer had 298 acres immediately north of this. A family named Jaycox was also among the early settlers.
All of this section of the town is included in the lands once owned by Col. Roger Morris, whose name must ever be connected with the history of the county.
Col. Roger Morris, was a descendant from Cadigan, of Philip Dorddw, a powerful Welch chieftan, in highfavor with the Duke of Argyle, and the Earl of Pembroke. His father, Roger Morris, married Mary, daughter of Sir Peter Jackson, Kt., Turkey merchant of London.
He died January 13, 1748. His third son was Roger, born January 28, 1727, who entered the British army and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He served with distinction and was with General Braddock in the fatal battle of Monongahela, where he was severely wounded. Col. Morris afterward settled in New York, and at the commencement of the Revolution was a member of the Council for the colony, and continued in office until the peace. He married Mary Philipse, daughter of Frederick Philipse, January 19, 1758, at her father's residence, the old Manor House at Yonkers. In the upper part of New York City, at West 169th Street, a little below High Bridge, stands an elegant mansion, which was the country residence of Col. Morris for many years. After the Revolution, this mansion, like the rest of the property of Col. Morris and his wife, was confiscated, and afterward passed into the hands of Madame Jumel, the second wife of Aaron Burr. It is now known as the "Jumel Mansion."
With the close of the war came the Act of Attainder, by which the vast estate of Roger Morris and his wife was confiscated, and they themselves compelled to flee to England as exiles, under pain of death if they returned. Of their life in exile but little is known. Col. Morris died in 1794, and his wife in 1825. They were buried in the vault of St. Saviour's Church, in York. Colonel Morris and his wife were the parents of five children: Joanna, wife of Thomas Cowper Hincks; Amherst, who died unmarried in 1802; Margaret, who died in 1766, aged two years; Maria, and Henry Gage.
The northeastern part of the town is the north end of Lot No. 4 of Philipse Patent, and generally known as "Beverly Robinson's Long Lot." This portion of the town is mountainous, and thinly inhabited. The eastern part was annexed to the town of Kent some years ago. A tract of 1,100 acres of woodland, at the junction of the Shenandoah and Wicopee roads, was sold to the Fishkill Iron Company in 1838, and the iron ore and tract in the north part of the town was sold to the same company by William Bushnell in 1864.
In 1802, Lot No. 2, which was then in the possession of Mrs. Margaret Ogilvie, Frederick Philipse, and Mrs. Mary Gouverneur, wife of Samuel Gouverneur, and daughter of Frederick Philipse, was again surveyed and divided by Henry Livingston, of Poughkeepsie.
The south line is described as beginning at a monument of stones distant 40 links from high water mark, on Hudson's River, "from which monument a course N. 67 degrees W. strikes about 25 links north of the northermost bastion of Fort Putnam, and from high water mark (crossing the said monument) S. 67 degrees 21 minutes E. along the line of Lot No. 1, 86 chains 37 links to a monument of stones erected on the summit of Redoubt Hill about fifty yards south of the south side of the old north redoubt. Thence along the same lot N. 72 degrees, 11 minutes East 20 chains at the fence on the north side of the ferry road. At 103 chains 80 links about 1 chain south of the remains of a saw mill formerly belonging to Benjamin Rogers. At 105 chains 80 links about 1 chain south of the remains of a saw mill formerly belonging to Benjamin Rogers. At 130 chains 25 links in the middle of the Post Road. At 155 chains 50 links in the middle of a road leading from Canopus or its vicinity to the Post road near R. Hopper's; in all 177 chains to the north east angle of Lot No. 1, and joining the west side of long Lot No. 4 where now grows a chestnut sapling, on which are engraved the letters P. R. 175. This sapling grows from a stump joining which a chestnut tree is now lying on the trunk of which is plainly discernible the letters P. R. Thence along the west side of lot No. 4 N. 7 degrees 35 minutes E. (at 263 chains, the south branch of the Clove Creek here called Barlow brook and at 298 chains the north branch of said Clover Creek) in all 382 chains 66 links to a walnut tree with stones heaped around it about 3 chains west of the dwelling house of Abraham Ireland, and about 1 chain 25 links north of a road leading to the Post road. This monument is the south angle of Lot No. 3.
"Then along the south side of said lot No. 3 S. 74 degrees 22 minutes W. at 14 chains, 50 links 9 yards north of the dwelling house of John Barton at 73 chains 50 links at Holys brook; at 157 chains 33 links in the middle of the Post road; at 222 chains 70 links in Margaret brook, a saw mill near to the north east; and at 274 chains 15 links on the top of the eastern summit which constitutes Bull Hill. In all 391 chains and 60 links to the high water mark of Hudson's river at a hemlock tree in a gully between Break neck Hill and Bull Hill. Then down the river including Martelaer's Rock to beginning, Containing 9164 acres and 27 perches of land exclusive of Martelaer's Rock and any part of the marshes."
The whole tract was divided into 50 lots, which were in possession of the following persons at that time (1802), as lessees of the Philipse family:
No. 1, William Barber, 242 acres; 2, Daniel Haight, 81; 3, Edward Meeks, 35; 4, Josiah Mekeil, 202; 5, Samuel Cole and John Griffin, 16; 6, Charles Hill, 44; 7, John H. Gannung, 50; 8, Sylvanus Wood, 71; 9, Samuel Cole and John Griffin, 151; 10, Abraham Garrison, 154; 11, Justus Nelson, 384; 12, Joseph Garrison, 131; 13, Isaac Mead, 303; 14, Joseph Ferris, 120; 15, Peter Warren, 294; 21, Tho. McKeil, 15; 22, John La Count & Caleb Ferris, 218; 23, Tho. & John Sawyer, 88; 24, Peter & Wm. Sine, 173; 25, Absolom Early, 197; 26, Joshua Purdy, 125; 27, Richard Denney, 505; 28, vacant lot, 122; 29TSamuel Purdy, 164; 30, Elijah Budd, 213; 31, Wm. Lovelace, 401 ; 32, Matthew Snook, 147; 33, Isaac Davenport, 903; 35, Mary Davenport, widow of Stephen Davenport, 509; 35, Tho. Sutton, homestead, 502; 37, Benj. Odell, 90; 38, Jonathan Odell, 102; 39, Tho. Mekeil, 93; 40, Uriah Mekeil, 80; 41, Joshua Mead, 310; 42, James Nelson, 190; 43, Richard Smith, 82; 44, Wm. Bashford, 22; 45, Wm. Saurin, 51; 46, John Crosier, 182; 47, Moses Downing, 152; 48, Tho. Henyon, 150; 49, John Barton, 174; 50, Martelaer's Rock or Constitution Island, and "may contain 240 acres but I did not survey it."
Running west the north line of this lot crosses the Post road a few rods south of the Barrett house. Next to Hudson River the line forms the south boundary of the old Bailey farm, about a mile and a half north of Cold Spring.
After the death of Mrs. Margaret Ogilvie in 1807, the whole of this lot became the property of her son, Frederick Philipse, and his daughter, Mary, wife of Samuel Gouverneur. Their son, Frederick P. Gouverneur assumed the name of Frederick Philipse, by authority of an Act of Legislature, April 7, 1830. A deed of conveyance, dated December 31, 1830, states that "whereas Frederick Philipse late of Philipstown, on divers occasions expressed his will and intention to bequeath to Frederick P. Gouverneur the following land." In accordance with this Samuel Gouverneur and wife conveyed to him a tract of 350 acres "Beginning at a rock with a birch and hemlock tree growing on it, on the shore of Hudson's river, about 4 chains 35 links from Coney's Point, and south of the land of Cornelius Nelson, and running by several courses to the ferry road, then up the road as it runs south east to the division line between Philipse and Robinson water lots, then along said line S. 72¼ degrees West 20 chains to the top of the mountain, thence N. 67½ degrees W. 86 chains 37 links to the river and along the same to the place of beginning."
From time to time various tracts and farms were sold by Frederick Philipse and Mary Gouverneur.
The mansion house of Captain Frederick Philipse, known as "Highland Grange," stood near the northwestern corner of the plateau which juts out into the river at the cove into which Philipse brook flows, and is about 150 feet above the water. At the head of the cove the old river road came down to the "Philipse dock." This house was erected in 1800, and totally destroyed by fire in 1860.
About 1730 John Rogers settled on the old Post road, near the south part of Lot 2, where he built a tavern. Another early settler was Thomas Sarles, whose house was north of the mills owned by James Nelson near the junction of the Post road and the Highland Turnpike.Some distance north of this was the house of Elijah Budd. Gilbert Budd lived at what is called Mekeel's Corners, the junction of the Post road and Philipstown Turnpike. The Lamoreaux were a French family, who settled on the Post road still farther north, their tract embracing the northeast corner of the lot.
The town records of Philipstown, or rather of Philipse Precinct, begin in 1772. Extracts from these records throw some light on the names of the early inhabitants of the town, and are here transcribed:
"At a town meeting in Philipse Precinct, in Dutchess county, on the 5th day of April, 1772.
"John Crompton, Clerk; Beverly Robinson, Supervisor; Joseph Lane and Caleb Nelson, Assessors; William Dusenbury, Collector; Israel Taylor and Isaac Davenport, Constables; Justus Nelson and Cornelius Tompkins, Poor masters; Cornelius Tompkins, Pound master for Peekskill Hollow ; John Likely, Pound master for Canopus Hollow; Elijah Budd, Pound master on the Post road; Caleb Nelson, Pound master on the river; Isaac Rhodes and Moses Dusenbury, fence viewers; Joseph Haight and James Lamoreaux, fence viewers; Isaac Horton and John Jones, fence viewers; Jacob Mandeville and Thos. Davenport, fence viewers; Isaac Rhodes Highway master for ye road from Fredericksburg Precinct to the bridge over Peekskill river, near Lewis Jones.
"Wm. White, Highway master for the road from Wm. Dusenbury's, up Peekskill Hollow, to the bridge near Lewis Jones, which bridge he is to make with his hands and to continue up the Hollow to the line of Fredericksburg Precinct.
"John Winn, Highway master for the road from the Cold Spring, along Wicopee road to the line of Rumbout's Precinct, all the people living north of said Spring to belong to his company.
The following has a certain interest as it is the last time that the name of Beverly Robinson occurs in the records of the town where he had been the ruling man for so many years:
"In complyance with an Act of the Colony of New York, Intitled 'An Act for Highways,' passed the 27th day of Nov. I now inform you that on the _________________ came to my house three stray cattle * * * They all appear to be two years old last spring and were all marked with a crop on the off ear. I desire the description of these cattle may be entered at large on the Town Books agreeable to the direction of the above noticed Act of Assembly also my place of abode.
Town meetings were held at the houses of John Likely and Cyrus Horton, in Canopus Hollow, which were central places before the town of Putnam Valley was set off.
At the northeast corner of Lot 1 of the Philipse patent is situated the old Hopper farm. Richard Hopper, the original occupant, was a tenant under Beverly Robinson before the Revolution. The farm, which was bounded north by the north line of Lot No. 1, and east by the east line of the same lot, which separates it from Beverly Robinson's Long Lot No. 4, contained more than 200 acres, and after the Revolution was sold by the commissioners of forfeiture, with several thousand acres adjoining, to William Denning. William Denning sold the farm to Richard Hopper November 2, 1786, and he gave it to his son Edward, who died in 1850, leaving it to his children, Effie Griffin, Richard, Nathaniel, Michael and Samuel Hopper. On the southwest side of the Post road is a small portion of this farm, situated at the place where the road crosses the top of Canopus Hill. This has always been known as the "Mine Lot" and the "Hopper
Nathaniel Hopper left his right to Edward, Samuel, Lorella, and Nathaniel Hopper, by will in 1873. The share of Effie Griffin descended to her children, and of these, Allen Griffin and Catherine Le Compte sold their right to Caspar D. Schulraith, while Emily Foshay sold her share to Ferris Chapman, April 5, 1880.
Upon this title Ferris Chapman began a suit in partition against the rest of the owners under the right descending from Richard Hopper. When the case came to trial the heirs of Frederick Philipse presented their claim and demanded to be considered as defendants upon the following grounds:
When the Philipse Patent was divided in 1754, in each of the partition deeds the mines and minerals were reserved, consequently they remained undivided property. The confiscation laws only affected the rights which belonged to Beverly Robinson and Roger Morris and their wives, and did not affect the right of Philip Philipse, which descended to his children. In consequence the deed from the commissioners of forfeiture to William Denning, and the deed from him to Richard Hopper, could only convey the right to the minerals which became the property of the State by the confiscation of the lands of Robinson and Morris. The case was referred to the late Hon. William Wood who, in his report as referee, sustained the claims of the Philipse family. This was duly confirmed by the court and no appeal was ever taken. This mine and the suit connected with it are an important point in legal history as establishing the right of the descendants of Philip Philipse to one-third of the minerals throughout the entire county.
Nelsonville derives its name from Elisha Nelson, who for many years was a tenant holding a large farm under the Gouverneur family. His house was on the south side of the present Main street, and east of the road to Garrisons. The West Point Foundry stands on a part of this farm. He afterwards leased a piece of land on the north side of the road, opposite his first residence, and built a house on it, which was the first in the neighborhood. He then bought three acres and built another house a short distance west of the former one. Another house on the same side of the street was built by Lewis Squires, and when this house was raised a speech was made by Elihu Baxter, in which he named the new village "Nelsonville."
GARRISON. This place was originally known as Nelson's Landing, from Caleb Nelson who was living in the vicinity previous to the Revolution. The land in this vicinity was undoubtedly included in the sale of the west part of Lot 1, to William Denning, and a tract in the northwest corner of the lot is supposed to have been sold to the Nelsons by him. April 30, 1803, Cornelius Nelson sold to Harry Garrison 125 acres of land, "exclusive of the three acres allowed for the use of the church." This land is described as "being in Water Lot No. 1, and beginning at the North-West corner of said Lot, and thence running S. 67 degrees East along the Water lot north line 49 chains 57 links to a public road." It ran south along the road to the south line which touched the river at a point a little below the railroad station.
Harry Garrison was a soldier in the American Revolution, and came to Philipstown in 1786. He married Mary, daughter of Jacob Nelson. Their only son, John Garrison, born in 1795, afterwards became Judge of Putnam County. When the Hudson River Railroad was constructed, Judge Garrison gave to the company the ground on which to build a station. It was named"Garrison," and the government also adopted the name for a post office.
Col. Beverly Robinson, whose name is so intimately connected with the history of this portion of the country, was a son of Hon. John Robinson of Virginia, who was president of that colony. In early manhood he came to New York, where he engaged in business. His marriage with Susannah Philipse made him son-in-law of one of the wealthiest citizens of the colony. For some time before the Revolution he made his home in the mansion near Garrison's. Col. Robinson and his wife were the only members of the Philipse family who made their home on the patent, and he was frequently elected supervisor of the precinct, and was prominent in the business affairs of the county. At the time of the Revolution he entered the military service of the Crown. His standing in society entitled him to a high rank, and he was made colonel of the "Loyal American Legion," raised principally by himself, and he also commanded the "Corps of Guides and Pioneers," and of the former his son Beverly was lieutenant-colonel. During the war he was very prominent in cases of defection from the Whig cause, and is generally believed to have been privy to Arnold's treason. He was on the British man of war "Vulture" at the time when Major Andre left the vessel to begin his fatal journey. After the conviction and sentence of Andre, an unavailing attempt was made to save him, and Col. Robinson, as a witness, accompanied the three commissioners who were sent by Gen. Clinton, and also forwarded to Washington a letter in which he recalled their former acquaintance.
At the close of the Revolution Col. Robinson, with a portion of his family, went to England, and his name appears as a member of the first Council of New Brunswick, but he never took his seat.
Upon the establishment of the State Government, Col. Robinson and his wife, with a multitude of others, were, by Act of Attainder, passed October 22, 1779, banished from the State under pain of death if they ever returned, and their estates were confiscated and sold by the commissioners of forfeiture appointed for that purpose. The British government allowed him and his wife 17,000 pounds for the loss of their estate. He died about 1792.
Beverly Robinson, Jr., who as "Beverly Robinson the younger," was attainted with his parents, was a graduate of Columbia College and studied law with James Duane. Previous to the Revolution he appears to have occupied a farm near the present village of Patterson. At the evacuation of New York he was placed in command of a large number of loyalists, who embarked for Shelburne, N. S., and laid out that place. He afterward removed to New Brunswick and resided at St. John's. He was a member of His Majesty's Council, and at first suffered much from reduced circumstances, but finally received half pay as an officer. He died in New York in 1816, and was buried in St. Paul's churchyard. His grave stone stands on the west side of the yard, near the southwest corner.
Beverly House, the home of Col. Robinson, and its connection with one of the most important episodes of our Revolutionary history, is treated of in Chapter VI. The building was destroyed by fire in 1892.
On Lots No. 1 and No. 2 of the Philipse Patent are the country seats of many families whose names are prominent in the social and business world. An early purchaser was Thomas Arden, who in 1822 bought a large tract of land from the executors of the estate of William Denning. In 1861 and '62 Hon. Hamilton Fish purchased large tracts including the farm on which stood the historic Beverly House. William H. Osborn also acquired desirable farms as early as 1858.
Among the present owners of beautiful country homes overlooking the Hudson in the vicinity of Garrison are Stuyvesant Fish, Hamilton Fish, William Church Osborn, Samuel Sloan, Richard C. Colt, Edward Livingston and Henry F. Osborn.
ST. PHILIP'S CHURCH IN THE HIGHLANDS. This church was originally a chapel, and was united with St. Peter's church at Peekskill until 1840. The first charter to this church was granted August 18, 1770, and the first trustees were Beverly Robinson, Charles Moore, Jeremiah Drake, Caleb Ward, Joshua Nelson, Thomas Davenport and Henry Purdy. The church edifice, which is still standing, was built about two miles north of Peekskill, on a lot given for the purpose by Andrew Johnston, March 23, 1770. The church itself is said to have been built in 1766 "by certain subscriptions both in Cortlandt Manor and the lower end of Philipse Upper Patent." It was dedicated by Rev. John Ogilvie, D. D., August 9, 1767. A letter to the "Venerable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts," dated October 5, 1770, states: "We could not have gone through with our undertaking butfor entering into an agreement with the people on the lower end of Philipse Patent, that if they would join with us in the building of St. Peter's Church, and in the subscription for the support of the minister, that when we obtained a missionary he should be settled for both places, so as to make but one congregation of the whole: To preach every other Sunday at the house of Jacob Mandeville. We can assure the venerable Society that from the generous offer of Mr. Beverly Robinson, we have the hopes of having a very good glebe provided within the year."
Rev. John Doty, son of Joseph Doty, became the first rector. He was born in New York about 1750. He entered King's College (now Columbia) in 1768, and was licensed by the Bishop of London in 1771. He took charge of the church June 8, 1771, and was admitted as rector, by Governor Tryon, on July 16th of the same year. Governor Tryon granted this church a special charter, by virtue of which the vestry held a glebe farm of 200 acres of land "given by Beverly Robinson, Senior Warden, for the use of the Rector officiating one half of the time in the Highlands." Rev. Mr. Doty was succeeded by Rev. Bernard Page, in 1775, who remained for a short time. For seventeen years there was no settled pastor.
After the Revolution the Presbyterian Society endeavored to get possession of St. Peter's Church, and proceeded so far as to elect trustees.
April 5, 1750, William Denning, Caleb Ward, Charles Worden, Joshua Nelson, Richard Arnold, Caleb Myers, James Dusenbury and Silvanus Haight were chosen vestrymen for St. Peter's Church, and on November 24, 1791, they agreed to pay the sum of 20 pounds to the support of David Samson "to read service in St. Peter's Church at Peekskill, and at St. Philip's Chapel in the Highlands, until the first of April next, and it is further agreed that Justus Nelson and Silvanus Haight furnish him with necessarys agreeable to a person of his station, during the term." Rev. Andrew Fowler became rector in 1792, and William Denning as vestryman certified that "possession had been obtained of the parsonage house and glebe belonging to the Church of St. Peter's and St. Philip's, at the Highlands," and in 1794 thanks were given to Hon. Pierre Van Cortlandt for his efforts in the Legislature to obtain for the church the title to the glebe.
Rev. Mr. Fowler resigned in 1794, and was succeeded by Rev. Samuel Hartwell, who remained until 1798. The next pastor was Rev. Joseph Warren, who remained from 1806 to 1814. After this Rev. Adam Empil, chaplain at West Point, officiated for a few Sabbaths and administered the communion "of which they had been for two years deprived."
Rev. Petrus S. Ten Broeck was rector in 1817; Edward J. Ives in 1826; James Sunderland, 1832; William C. Cooley, 1838.
At the time of the incorporation of this church in 1840, Rev. Ebenezer Williams was officiating minister. Although the church had possession of the parsonage farm, it appears that the deed to the church was not formally given by Beverly Robinson. After the Revolution this farm was, like the rest of the land of Col. Robinson, confiscated, but by an Act of the Legislature, the commissioners of forfeitures were inhibited from selling the same. The farm had formerly been in the possession of one Ebenezer Jones. Beverly Robinson and his wife "tendered to convey" the farm to the church in 1772, and in consequence the wardens and vestrymen purchased the improvements of Mr. Jones, and built a house which was called the "Yellow House," and remained in possession "until the services of the country demanded them to yield the same for public use." By an Act passed March 27th, 1794, all the title of the State to the farm and parsonage was given to the trustees of the "United Protestant Churches, of St. Peter's Church, in the town of Cortlandt, in Westchester County, and St. Philip's Chapel, in Philipstown, and their successors forever, in trust for the use of said congregation."
The glebe farm remained in possession of the two churches till April 1, 1839, when it was sold to David McCoy. It contained about 200 acres, and the price paid was $5,000.
SOUTH HIGHLAND METHODIST CHURCH. The first meetings of this denomination were held in the house of Richard Hopper, 2d, and he was the first local preacher. David Jaycox was a class leader, and Nathaniel and Michael Hopper were active members. The first church was built in 1829, on land purchased from Harry Garrison, a portion of a large tract sold to him by William Denning. The society was incorporated August 29, 1829, at a meeting held in the house of Richard Hopper, at which time Richard Garrison, David Reed and David Jaycox were chosen trustees, the title of the organization being the "Second M. E. Church and Congregation of Philipstown." In 1862 a new church was built, and the old one was moved to a piece of land bought of Sylvester Haight and used as a parsonage.
THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, at Garrison's, was organized in 1851, the trustees being Peter Fisher, George Coat, John Bailey, William Collins, and John Knowls. The church lot was sold to the trustees by John Bailey, April 12, 1851, "a lot on east side of highway 52 feet square, for the purpose of building a meeting house."
The church was struck by lightning and greatly damaged, August 26, 1862.
OLD HIGHLAND METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH. Situated on the old Post road, in the northern part of the town, is the Old Highland Methodist Church, which is the oldest society of that denomination in this section of the county. The land on which the old church stood, and where the present edifice stands, was conveyed by Robert Hustis to Timothy Wood, Justus Nelson and James Wright, as trustees, January 10, 1824, the church having been built upon it many years before. The parsonage house was originally owned by Rachel Warren, and bought by the church from Caleb Hawkes. The first building was doubtless erected in 1811. It was without walls, and had slabs for seats. In 1852 it was repaired and greatly improved by William A. Ladue. In September, 1878, it was sold at auction to Milton Smith, who converted it into a barn. The present church was dedicated January 4, 1879.
COLD SPRING, the largest village in the town, was incorporated April 22, 1846. Previous to 1818, when the works of the West Point Foundry Company were established here, the village had no existence. The whole extent of the village and of Nelsonville is included within the limits of the tract known as Lot 4, in the first survey of the Philipse Lot, and held by William Davenport as tenant in 1769. At that time and for long years after, the only valuable portion of the tract was the comparatively few acres that could be cultivated, and the shores of the river, which consisted of rugged rock and useless marsh, were considered of no practical value whatever.
At the foot of what is now Main street was in former times a small bay with marshy shores. This extended as far east as the Hudson River railroad tracks. At the point where the railroad crosses the north line of the street, a spring of cool, sparkling water flowed from the bank, called "the Cold Spring," from which the village derives its name.
The first house in this vicinity was built by Thomas Davenport and stood opposite the present Methodist church. An old road ran down to what is called "Sandy Landing." In 1805 Elijah Davenport built a small store on the south side of the road, and in 1815, Chauncey Weeks moved a frame building down from Nelsonville and stationed it just east of the store. The old house of Elijah Davenport was still farther east. Two men named Haldane and Howel afterward built a store at "Sandy Landing." Henry Haldane, who died in 1862, was one of the earliest inhabitants of the village.
In 1815 the Philipstown Turnpike was organized, and a good road from Cold Spring through the whole length of the country to the Connecticut line was commenced.
The first school house was built of logs, and stood at a place called "Plum Bush," a little south of the village, on the road to Garrison's. A frame schoolhouse was built, about half a mile east from the house of William Davenport, about 1810. Thaddeus Baxter came from Carniel and taught school in 1816. The house was afterward moved to Griffin's Corner, and a new one built where the first Methodist church afterward stood.
The Haldane Union Free School is the gift of the late James H. Haldane and was erected in 1889 in accordance with the terms of his will.
In 1817, Market street was laid out, and was described as "beginning at the westerly end and centre of Philipstown turnpike, at Cold Spring landing, being a course of S. 54 degrees west to the verge of the flats on the easterly side of the channel of Hudson river, at a distance of about six chains to the edge of the channel, and from the centre of said turnpike, to the extremity of the road, completing in all a distance of 80 chains or thereabouts."
The first public work of much magnitude was the filling in of the Cold Spring Basin. This was commenced in the fall of 1836, and quite a tract of dry ground was made at the foot of Main Street. It was at this time that the spring which had given its name to the locality was covered up and temporarily obliterated. In 1838 Main street was straightened. This formerly bent round the hill on which the old Catholic church stands, and in its course went to the north of the old Methodist church, returning to a straight line near Kemble avenue.
By an Act passed March 25, 1867, it was provided that a suitable piece of land should be bought and a town hall or public building erected for the purpose of holding public meetings, courts and annual elections, also that there should be adjoining thereto a jail or lockup of sufficient size "to hold all persons who should be confined therein, for offences committed in Philipstown." The land was to be taken in the name of the town. The cost of the building was not to exceed $13,500. The land on which the town hall stands was sold to the town by Frederick Philipse and S. W. Gouverneur, June 1, 1866.
Gouverneur Kemble, one of the early prominent residents of Cold Spring, was graduated from Columbia College in 1803. Early in life he was appointed United States Consul at Cadiz, and during his residence there was attracted to the process of casting cannon as practised by the Spanish government, at that time well advanced in this art as compared with other European countries. He acquainted himself with all its details, and on his return home, he established with several others, in 1814 a gun foundry, nearly opposite West Point, under patronage of the United States Government. This was the West Point Foundry which was incorporated by an Act of the Legislature, April 15, 1818, for the making and manufacturing of iron and brass, cannon, cannon balls, and other ordnance. The officers were Gouverneur Kemble, James Renwick, Henry Brevoort, Jr., Joseph G. Swift, John R. Renwick, William Kemble, Henry Cary, Charles G. Smedburg, Nicholas Gouverneur, Robert I. Fenwick and William Young.
Throughout the civil war the West Point Foundry was a scene of the most active labor, employing from 800 to 1,000 men, and turning out an immense amount of war material. More than 3,000 cannon of various sizes were made and 1,600,000 projectiles.
In 1899 the Foundry was leased by J. B. and J. M. Cornell.
The West Point Iron Company was incorporated in 1866, with the following officers; Charles C. Alger, George H. Potts and Frederick A. Potts. Its object was to mine iron and other mineral substances, smelting, manufacturing iron, etc.
A tract of 1,000 acres, on the north side of the Philipstown Turnpike, was owned in the early part of the last century by Col. Alexander Stewart, and was sold to James Augustus Hamilton. He sold it to George H. Potts, June 1, 1864, and it was conveyed by him to the West Point Iron Company in 1866.
The West Point Furnace Company was incorporated in 1880, for the same purpose as the above. Its officers were: Joseph C. Kent, of Philipsburg, N. J., J. W. Pullman, Richard George and others. Neither of the above companies are now in existence.
The Cold Spring Recorder was founded in 1866, by Charles Blanchard. In November of the following year it was sold to a company composed of prominent citizens of the village, and was put in charge of Sylvester B. Allis. It is now owned by Otis Montrose.
In 1862 the village of Cold Spring was devastated by fire, when several stores and buildings on the south side of the main street were burned, causing a great loss of property. Another fire occurred July 7, 1875, which caused a loss of $47,000.
OLD HOMESTEAD CLUB. Prior to 1889 it was a custom for the business and professional men of Cold- Spring to meet in what was known as "Spalding's Back Room," in the rear of his pharmacy, and discuss the leading topics of the day. March 27th of that year a meeting was called at the store of Mr. Alexander Spalding for the purpose of establishing a regularly organized club and the house of Joseph Dahlweiner was rented for that purpose. Twenty-five members were elected with the following officers: Alexander Spalding, President; F. M. Camp, Vice-President; John Smythe, Secretary and Treasurer. The Club derived its name from Denman Thompson's famous play. July 18, 1889, the Old Homestead Camp was established, on the shores of Lake Oscawana, as an adjunct to the club. The new club house was completed September 3, 1908, at a cost of $2,885.
The first religious meetings in this neighborhood were held in the house of Thomas Sutton. In 1825 a subscription was circulated for the purpose of raising funds to build a church for the use of the Protestant religious societies. The building was completed in 1826, and for some time the services were confined to prayer meetings. The Presbyterian church was organized in 1828, and laid claim to the church thus erected, and considerable dispute arose as to the rival claims of ownership.
In 1797, the Rev. Ebenezer Cole organized the First Baptist Church, and was its pastor for many years. This church was discontinued for some unknown reason, and March 15, 1815, Elder Ebenezer Cole, assisted by Elder Simeon Barrett, organized the Second Baptist Church of Philipstown. This church was ministered to for several years by Elders Knapp, Cole and Marcus Griffin, the latter being one of its own licentiates. In 1827, this church, for property considerations, was united with the Peekskill Baptist Church. A branch was organized in 1829, which was supplied for three years or more by Elders John Warren and Knapp. Up to this time the meetings were held in private dwellings, schoolhouses, and in the old Presbyterian church which had been built by subscriptions from people of different denominations. Through the liberality of Mr. Davenport, a house of worship was built upon a lot given by the Philipse estate, and was dedicated in 1831.
ST. MARY'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, the finest architectural feature of Cold Spring, stands in a large open space of over three acres fronting chiefly on Main and Chestnut streets. The present edifice was built in 1868. Previously the congregation worshipped in a brick structure which stood on Main street, in the center of what is now the chief business section of the village. The old brick church, which was taken down many years ago, was completed and used for the first time, November 7, 1841. The parish was incorporated in 1840. The Rev. Ebenezer Williams was rector of St. Philip's in the Highlands, and united to his cure at that time the rectorship of St. Mary's.
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH. The first attempt to establish this society was made in 1832, when funds were raised by subscription for the erection of a place of worship. The church lot was purchased of Samuel Gouverneur and wife, March 6, 1832, and the 'Third Methodist Episcopal Church of Philipstown" erected thereon the following year. This building stood near the northeast corner of Church and Main streets. The present edifice was dedicated June 16, 1870.
CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF LORETTO. As early as 1830 mass was celebrated at Cold Spring in a building on Market St. called the Union Church, wherein services of other denominations were occasionally held. By 1833 sufficient funds had been collected for the erection of a Catholic Church edifice. Governeur Kemble gave the ground on the river bank, and the building was completed and dedicated Sept. 21, 1834, by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Dubois.
The activities at the West Point Foundry during the Civil War period brought many families to Cold Spring, and it was necessary to add two wings to the church building to accommodate the influx of parishioners.
Rev. Philip O'Reilly was in charge of this church until 1844, when he was succeeded by Rev. Felix Williams. The succession of pastors were: Reverends: John E. Commerford, 1852; Thomas Joyce, 1855; Father Caro, 1861; C. F. O'Callaghan, 1873; T. J. Early, 1875: W. A. O'Neil, 1878; James Fitzsimmons, 1888; Daniel J. McCormack, afterwards rector and builder of St. Veronica's Church, New York City; Patrick L. Connick who was in charge from 1892 to Feb., 1905; and was succeeded by the present rector, Rev. Patrick H. Drain. During Father Connick's pastorate he raised over $25,000 towards the erection of a new church building. This was built by Father Drain on a plot of ground in Fair St., which Father O'Neil had purchased years ago. The corner stone was laid August 12, 1906, by the Rt. Rev. Monsignor Joseph F. Mooney, V. G. Through the diligent efforts of Father Drain, the church is free from debt, and a substantial sum of money is in the treasury for the erection of a new rectory and parochial school.
Rev. Patrick H. Drain was born in Belfast, Ireland, in 1865, and was brought to America when four years of age. He was educated at St. Joseph's Seminary, Troy, N. Y., and his first charge was St. Bridget's Church, New York, as assistant under Monsignor P. F. McSweeney. He was also rector of St. Ambrose Church and St. Theresa Church, New York, previous to his appointment at Cold Spring.
THE FIRST REFORMED CHURCH was organized July 15, 1855, by the Classis of Poughkeepsie. Its first pastor was the Rev. J. Ferguson Harris, and the elders were Isaac Riggs, Nicholas Hustis and Darius Bates.
THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH of Cold Spring, known as the First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown, was organized December 10, 1828, by a committee of the Presbytery of North River, consisting of Rev. Messrs. Blain, Johnson, Ostrom and Welton. The new church consisted of the following persons: Nicholas Hustis, Peter de St. Croix, Phebe Travis, Lucy Candee, Eunice Andrews, Catherine Rote, and Deborah Chapman. The original Session consisted of Rev. William Blair, the first pastor, and P. de St. Croix, clerk. The Session was increased in 1832 by the ordination of William Young, John P. Andrews and Oscar A. Barker to the ruling eldership.
(Source: Historical and Genealogical Record Dutchess and Putnam Counties New York, Press of the A. V. Haight Co., Poughkeepsie, New York, 1912; pp. 211-240; Transcribed by Terri Griffiths)
Copyright © Genealogy Trails