Historical and Genealogical Record Dutchess and Putnam Counties
THE town of Amenia, erected in 1823, embraces some forty square miles on the extreme eastern border of the county. The Colonial boundaries of the precinct of Amenia included a large part of the present town of North East.
The principal streams are Ten Mile River, Wassaic Creek, and West Brook. The valleys are very fertile and well adapted to grain and grass culture. The production of milk is probably the largest industry in this section.
There are in the town six villages. Amenia, the largest, has above a hundred dwellings. Wassaic, the next in size, has above eighty dwellings. Smithfield, Amenia Union, South Amenia and Leedsville are small, pleasant villages.
Richard Sackett was the first settler in the town. He built a house about 1712, near the place known as the Steel Works, where he lived and died. Other early settlers were the families of Winegar, Delamater, Paine, Hopkins, Wheeler, Benton, Carpenter, Reed and Swift.
In 1748 a church was organized near the center of the town. It was undenominational, and was named Carmel in the Nine Partners. Ten years later the "Red Meeting House" was erected. In 1790 the Baptists and Methodists organized separate societies, and in 1833 the Presbyterians built a house of worship in Amenia. In 1847 Father Kelly of Connecticut ministered to the Catholics in this section.
Amenia Seminary was built in 1835, and the school opened in the same year. It became widely known throughout the country, and students were enrolled from every State in the Union. The advent of graded schools rendered the existence of such an institution unnecessary, and the buildings have been closed since 1888.
This is one of the southern tier towns of Dutchess, its southern angle extending almost to the north line of Putnam county. Its surface is generally hilly, and in the southern part mountainous. In the central portion is a good agricultural region. Near the western border is Sylvan Lake, covering over one hundred acres.
There are no incorporated villages in the town. Poughquag, Green Haven, Clove Valley and Beekmanville are hamlets. The Highland Division of the N. Y. N. H. & H. Railroad running east and west through the central part of the town has stations at Poughquag and Green Haven.
The name of the town is derived from Col. Henry Beekman, who in 1697 obtained a grant of all the land east of Rombout's patent to the Oblong. This embraced the present towns of Beekman, Union Vale, a portion of La Grange, and nearly all of Pawling and Dover, with the exception of a strip along their eastern border.
Settlements within the present town limits are supposed to have been made early in the eighteenth century, but records relating thereto have been lost or destroyed, A man by the name of De Long is credited with keeping an inn near the present village of Green Haven as early as 1725, but his name does not appear in the list of freeholders of 1740. The location of the tavern on Colles map of 1789 places it about a mile and a half southeast of Sylvan Lake. James De Long, who was town clerk in 1802-'03, is said to have been a descendant of the settler of that name. The families of Carman, Brill, Noxon, Baker, Pleas, Uhls from Germany, Cary, Dennis, Haxtun, Sweet and Gardner, were among the earliest known settlers. John Carman represented the precinct at Supervisors' meetings from 1739 to '42. His name appears in the official record of Supervisors in 1754, and that of Bartholomew Noxon in 1761. William Humphrey held this office in 1763.
A short distance northeast of Poughquag was the home of Col. Vanderburgh, an officer of some prominence in the Revolution. He enjoyed the friendship of Washington, who, in his diary, mentions stopping with him to take dinner, when on a hasty visit to Hartford .
The Bogarts from Holland were among the early settlers at Green Haven. A grist mill was conducted here during the Revolution by one Vincent.
Extensive deposits of hematite ore are found in the north part of the town, and have been mined considerably. In 1831 Elisha Sterling & Co. built a charcoal furnace at Clove Valley, with a capacity of twelve tons of iron per day. The metal was of superior quality.
The Beekman Iron Mine was discovered in 1846 by William E. Haxtun. It was opened in 1869 by Albert Tower, who owned and operated it for many years.
The Clove Spring Iron Works was organized in 1873. It was not a success financially, and in 1883 was discontinued.
The Methodist Church at Poughquag was erected in 1839, and in the same year the Baptist Society built a church at Beekmanville.
In 1859 a Catholic Church was built at Sylvan Lake, and another at Clove Valley, forming a part of the Parish of St. Denis.
This town, which was named for Gov. George Clinton, was formed from the precincts of Charlotte and Rhinebeck, March 13, 1786. It originally extended westward to the Hudson and comprised over 66,000 acres, with a population in 1790 of 4,607. By the creation of the towns of Hyde Park and Pleasant Valley, January 26, 1821, it was reduced to its present area of 23,487 acres.
Little Wappinger Creek flows southerly through the center of the town. Schultz mountain rises 780 feet above tide. The town contains no villages of commercial importance. Clinton Corners, Clinton Hollow, Schultzville and Pleasant Plains are hamlets.
The precinct records shed some light upon the names of the first dwellers in the original town. Among those recorded from 1748 to 1756 are Nathan Bull, Moses Harris, Isaac Germond, Dirck Van Vliet, Jacob Spricor, John Earll, Lieut. Lewis, Jonathan Lyon, Isaiah Sherman. The earliest settlers within the present town limits were the families of Van Vliet, Schultz, Sleight, Garrison, Cookingham and Traver, some of whose descendants reside upon the ancestral acres.
Henry Sleight, a native of Long Island, is credited with being the first innkeeper. He built his tavern, which is still standing, about the year 1768, on the A. C. Briggs farm.
Another early innkeeper and merchant was Abel Peters of Clinton Corners. His tavern and store were erected during the Revolution, and in 1792 he built a brick residence; the brick was manufactured on the premises, the materials being thrown together in a mass, and mixed by means of oxen treading on it.
The grist mill at Pleasant Plains, which has been operated by water power over one hundred and thirty years, is an interesting landmark. It was built in 1775 by John De Witt, son of Captain Petrus and Rachel (Radcliff) De Witt. It later became the property of John LeRoy, who, with his son Abraham, ran it for upwards of forty years. It was afterwards owned by George Cookingham, Harris & LeRoy, Frost & Cookingham, and since 1877 by J. Z. Frost. It is a frame building 35 by 55 feet, three stories high, and cost about $8,000.
The Quaker Meeting House at Clinton Corners was built in 1777. A separation in the society occurred in 1828, owing to the dissension of Elias Hicks, and the Orthodox Quakers built a church in 1829 nearby the original stone meeting house.
A Presbyterian Society was organized at Pleasant Plains in 1785. It did not prosper and was terminated in 1789. Services were continued for some years in the school house as often as a supply could be obtained.
The records of the present society state that the Presbyterian church of Pleasant Plains was organized March 28, 1837, by Rev. Alonzo Welton of Poughkeepsie, with twenty-one members. The present edifice waserected in 1837, enlarged in 1859, and the parsonage built in 1866.
The Christian Church at Schultzville was erected in 1866 on land donated by T. A. Schultz, who also contributed $3,000 towards the cost of the building.
The town of Dover lies on the southeastern border of the county. It abounds in wild and beautiful scenery. On the eastern and western borders are ranges of hills almost mountainous in their dimensions, while the center forms a valley, some four hundred feet above tidewater, containing thrifty farms and pleasant villages. Dover was formed as a town from Pawling, February 20, 1807. It is not definitely known by whom the town was first settled, but it is supposed that the first settlements were made by the Dutch who came here from the vicinity of Hudson's River. Among the early homemakers in this region we find the old Dutch names of Ousterhout, Van Dusen, Dutcher and Knickerbocker. It is said that the first named—the Ousterhouts—and the Wilcoxes, Dutchers and Bensons were the first settlers, and that they located under the East Mountain; but there are no dates accessible to define the time of their incoming.
Other early settlers were: Hans Hufcut and Martin Preston, who settled on what is known as Preston Mountain, and the latter is said to have been the first settler on the "Equivalent Land," or the Oblong. Thomas and Alice Casey, from Rhode Island, emigrated here about 1750, and located on what is now known as Chestnut Ridge, Derrick Dutcher and Jacob VanCamp came here previous to 1731, and located near Plymouth Hill.
Dover Plains is the most important village in the town. It contains a National Bank with a capital of $100,000, organized in 1857; a Military School established in 1880; a Union Free School building which cost $10,000, and a Public Library with over one thousand volumes.
The McDermott Milk Co. have a large factory here, handling about 100 cans of milk per day; and the Hall & Ferguson Cold Storage plant has a capacity of 15,000 barrels of fruit.
The village contains four churches : Baptist, organized 1794, present edifice erected in 1833; Methodist Episcopal organized in 1852, church built in 1853 at a cost of $5,000; St. Charles Borromeo (Catholic) erected in 1859, during the pastorate of Rev. Charles Slevin. Mass was celebrated in the village as early as 1848. St. James Episcopal Church was built in 1904. The congregation numbers about forty.
At Dover Furnace are the ruins of the works of the South Boston Iron Company, established in 1881, principally for the manufacture of iron for government cannon.
The depot at South Dover is known as Wing's Station. The hamlet contains a hotel built in 1858, two stores and a few dwellings. There are two churches—Baptist and Methodist.
The Morehouse Tavern at Wingdale, torn down in 1877, was a noted hostelry during the Revolution. It was located on the then chief highway from Hartford to Fishkill. Washington, Arnold, Marquis de Chastellux and La Fayette lodged at this tavern. The " Red Lion," another notable inn, was located at Webatuck, and part of the original building is standing.
The Harlem Railroad, which traverses north and south, was built through the town of Dover in 1849.
This town was originally a part of Fishkill, from which it was set off as a separate town November 29, 1849. It covers an area of about 33,000 acres, being the second largest town territorially in the county, exceeded only by the town of Washington. Hopewell Junction is the only village of importance therein.
Among the earliest settlers were the Swartwouts, Storms, Emans, Montforts, Stockholms, Rapeljes, Van Wycks, Baileys and Van Vlackrens. Peter Montfort bought 370 acres of land in the vicinity of Fishkill Plains in 1735. Aaron Van Vlackren settled at Gayhead, where his son Tunis built a grist mill in 1768. About 1750 Aaron Stockholm built a mill at Hopewell. James Emans obtained a grant of land from Madam Brett near the present hamlet of East Fishkill. Settlement at Stormville was begun as early as 1739. Derick Storm was the first to take up land here, and was soon followed by Isaac, George and Thomas Storm, whose descendants are still to be found upon the lands thus early purchased. The Carmans and Arkles settled near them, about the year 1758, and to the north, Isaac Adriance, "of Nassau Island, Queens County," purchased two hundred and fifty acres of land in May, 1743, and shortly thereafter George and Abraham Adriance purchased and settled.
The Reformed Church at Hopewell dates back to 1757. Services were held in private houses until 1762, when the first edifice was erected. The present brick church was built in 1833. Among the pastors who served this church were Rev. Isaac Rysdyck, 1765 to 1790. Rev. Isaac Blauvelt, Rev. Nicholas Van Vranken, Rev. John Barkalo, Dr. Thomas De Witt, Rev. Charles B. Whitehead and Rev. Abraham Polhemus—familiar names in the annals of the Reformed Church of New York.
The Baptists organized and built a church at Fishkill Plains in 1782. Its growth was slow, and services were finally discontinued. The church property was sold in 1893. The Methodist Church at Johnsville was organized in 1826. Its first pastors were Revs. Hunt, Selleck and Collins. It continues to prosper. The Bethel Baptist Church at Shenandoah was dedicated in 1835, mainly through the efforts of Isaac Knapp and Abram Pulling. The Episcopal Church at Hopewell
When the railroad extending from Dutchess Junction to Pine Plains was completed in 1869, a hamlet sprang up near Hopewell station, and when the New England road was built, intersecting the Dutchess and Connecticut at this point, the hamlet was called Hopewell Junction. As a natural consequence the Junction has become the business center of the town. A coal and lumber yard was established in 1869 by R. C. Horton, and the following year Lawrence C. Rapelje built a hotel, which he leased to Edward Lasher. The village contains several stores, mechanical shops, and the Borden creamery.
The town of Fishkill as constituted today is situated at the southwesterly corner of the county. It originally included all the territory covered by the Rombout Patent, granted by James II, in 1685, confirming the deed of land made to Francis Rombout and GulianVerplanck by the Wappinger Indians in 1683. In 1849, 33,000 acres of its area were set off to form the town of East Fishkill, and in 1875 its territory was further reduced by 16,025 acres for the erection of the town of Wappinger.
Catharine Rombout, the only child of Francis Rombout, the patentee, married Roger Brett, and in 1709 the young couple built the house now standing in Matteawan, known as the Teller House. Shortly after the completion of this building Roger Brett was drowned from a sloop, and the care of his estate was left to his widow who became known as "Madam Brett." She set about establishing mills and invited settlers to come upon her land and develop it. Among the families who responded were the Brinckerhoff, Van Wyck, Wiltse, Van Voorhis, Hasbrouck, Terbush and Dubois.
In 1743, the milling industries having largely increased, Madam Brett and others organized the Frankfort Store House. It stood close to the water at what was known as the Lower Landing, north of Dennings Point. This was the origin of river freighting. The building remained until 1826, and the business was conducted by descendants of the Brett and Wiltse families.
Gulian Verplanck, the co-patentee, did not come to live or build on the land set off to him. His grandson, Gulian, came about 1730, and built the house still standing known as Mount Gulian. In this building the Society of the Cincinnati was instituted, May, 1783.
Fishkill-on-Hudson. This village has grown up around the original Five Corners and become a place of importance within the last thirty years. In 1864 it was incorporated and given the name of Fishkill Landing, the post office having been established under that name in1804. During the Civil War the name of the post office was changed to Fishkill-on-Hudson. The village contains several large manufacturing plants, notably the Fishkill Landing Machine Co., incorporated in 1853; The Dutchess Hat Works, organized in 1873 by Lewis Tompkins; and the Dutchess Tool Co., which has been in existence since 1886. There is a National and a Savings Bank in the village; a daily and a weekly newspaper.
Matteawan. This village was incorporated in 1886, and now includes within its limits Byrnesville, Wiccopee and Tioronda. It has always been an industrial center.
The first factory in Matteawan was established in 1814 by Philip Hone (at one time Mayor of New York) and Peter A. Schenck, who had married Margaret Brett, granddaughter of Madam Brett. Hone and Schenck built the mill now belonging to the Matteawan Mfg. Co. which was organized in 1812 by Peter H. Schenck, J. J. Astor, Philip Hone, and others. They erected a stone cotton mill in 1814. The Company was re-organized in 1825, and built the machine shop and foundry on the east side of the creek, devoted largely to the production of cotton machinery. The Company made an assignment in 1849 to Robert G. Rankin and Robert Carver. The property passed through several hands, and was finally purchased by John Falconer, who operated it under the name of the Seamless Clothing Manufacturing Company, in which he was associated with Mr. William Carroll. The Company failed in 1876, but resumed business under the name of William Carroll & Co. For many years it has continued successfully in the manufacture of wool and straw hats.
The Rothery File Works was established in 1835, by John Rothery, who came from Yorkshire, England. Mr. Rothery was the first to manufacture new files in America. The company eventually gave up the business, as they could not compete in price with machine made files. The building they had erected in 1873 was destroyed by fire in 1876. It was rebuilt and leased by the Rotherys to Messrs. Rockwell & Son for a silk factory. Mr. Arthur Rockwell continued this business until his death in 1910.
The Matteawan Manufacturing Co. was organized in 1864, with a capital of $150,000. for the manufacture of fine wool hats. It is one of the largest industries of this kind in the State.
The Green Fuel Economizer Co. is one of the important industries in the village, and was established in 1891. The product of the company consists of an apparatus for utilizing waste gases passing from steam boilers and for re-heating water, thus affording a great saving in coal. The plant covers about 1200 acres, and gives employment to 400 persons.
The New York Rubber Co. was organized in 1848, to manufacture articles under the Goodyear patent. They began operations on Staten Island, and in 1857 removed to the present location in Matteawan. The capital which was then $75,000 has been increased to $300,000. The plant employs about 250 persons.
The village contains a National Bank, which was organized in 1893 with a capital of $100,000, and a Savings Bank chartered in 1870. Gen. Joseph Howland, who was much interested in the development and improvement of the village of Matteawan, established and perpetually endowed a library here which bears his name. The Matteawan Evening Journal was started in 1869 by Charles G. Coutant under the name of the Daily Herald. It has changed hands several times, and is now successfully conducted by Morgan H. Hoyt.
The village of Fishkill, which is situated some six miles from Fishkill Landing, was the scene of many important events during the Revolution. Owing to its secure position at the head of the Highlands, and being on a direct route of communication with the New England States, it was selected as a natural depot for army supplies in this section. Large quantities of stores from Dutchess and adjacent counties were there accumulated for use of the Continental army. Barracks were erected on the plateau southeast of the village, and frequently large bodies of troops were stationed there. These barracks became the retreat for wounded and naked soldiers.
The Dutch Church here, which was used as a military prison during the Revolution, was erected in 1731. Trinity Church, erected about 1760, was used as a hospital by the army of General Washington until disbanded in 1783.
This town occupies a central position upon the west border of the county, and has an area of 22,395 acres of rolling and hilly upland. Crum Elbow Creek and the Fallkill flow in a southwesterly direction through the town. The town was formed from the western section of Clinton, January 26, 1821. The title to the soil dates back to 1705 when Peter Fauconier, one of the Little Nine Partner patentees, became sole owner of this grant. He was the secretary of Sir Edward Hyde, Governor of New York at the beginning of the 18th century, and named this patent Hyde Park.
About 1735 Jacob Stoutenburgh, a Hollander and trader from Westchester, became interested in lands now comprised within the bounds of this town. He purchased the ninth "water lot" of the Nine Partners patent, on which the village of Hyde Park is now situated. This land he gave to his son Luke in 1758.
Dr. John Bard, the earliest physician in this locality, bought out the heirs of Fauconier, of whom his wife was a descendant. Crum Elbow creek formed a natural division between the property of the Bards on the north, and the Stoutenburghs on the south. In early times there was much trouble over water privileges, and June 4, 1789, Dr. Samuel Bard deeded four small parcels of land to Richard de Cantillon and James Stoutenburgh, thereby adjusting the water privileges.
At a meeting of the town officers May 19, 1821, Charles A. Shaw was appointed "a discreet and proper person" to take the census. He returned the following statistics: Population, 2,300; electors, 431; taxable property, $547,106.
The eastern part of the town adjoining Pleasant Valley and Clinton was settled at an early day by Quakers from New England and Long Island. Among them were the Marshalls, Bakers, Briggs, Hoags, Halsteads, Moshers, Stringhams, Watters, Lamorees, Nelsons and Williams. The Friends house of worship here was for many years called the "Crom Elbow Meeting House," erected about the year 1774. The early members have long since passed away, leaving their descendants to unite and to conform to the manners and discipline of other sects.
On the west border of the town are several country estates of families prominent in the social and business world, including those of John A. Roosevelt, who owned Mount Hope, and Mrs. James Roosevelt, who has an estate a few miles further north. "Belfield" is the home of Hon. Thomas Newbold. North of this is the estate which has been in the possession of Mr. Archibald Rogers for the past twenty-two years, and is known as " Crumwold." Adjoining Hyde Park village on the north is the country seat of Mr. F. W. Vanderbilt, who purchased the property in 1895. This is the estate to which the name of Hyde Park originally applied. The Broughton and Rymph families have also been land owners in this section for many years.
Staatsburg, a village in the northern part of the town, derives its name from the Staats family, who settled here about 1720. Other early settlers were the Hughes, Mulford and Russel families . The estate of Gen. Morgan Lewis is now owned by his great-granddaughter, Mrs. Ogden Mills. Among the descendants of Gen. Lewis still resident in Staatsburg is the family of the late Lydig M. Hoyt. North of this is "The Locusts," the estate of William B. Dinsmore, now owned by his widow and children.
In 1790 there was formed in Hyde Park the Stoutsburgh Religious Association. Its members were composed of adherents of the Church of England, and of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church, which continued this form of worship until the early part of the 19th century. In 1811 the Episcopalians decided to build a separate house of worship, and Dr. Bard gave the central part of the present St. James churchyard, and the building was erected in that year. The present building of the Reformed Church was erected in 1826. The Methodist Church was built in 1833 upon ground donated by John Albertson, Sr. The Baptist Church was organized in 1844, and the building erected in 1863, at the expense of Mrs. Mortimer Livingston, and her daughter, Mrs. Drake, who married for her second husband Mr. Kirkpatrick.
The territory comprising the town of La Grange was formed from portions of the towns of Fishkill and Beekman, February 9, 1821, under the name of Freedom. A strip of about five thousand acres was taken from it March 1, 1827, to form part of the town of Union Vale. The first town meeting was held at the house of William Wolven in April, 1821.
The name of Freedom was given to the town by Enoch Dorland, a Quaker preacher. As this name caused confusion in the delivery of mail, it was changed in 1829 by the Board of Supervisors, to La Grange, after the ancestral estate in France of the Marquis d' Lafayette.
Settlement in the southern part of the town began as early as 1754, and the names of Shear, Clapp, Brundage, Swade, Dean, Weeks and Townsend are recorded among the pioneers. Arthursburg and Morey's Corners, now La Grangeville, were early neighborhoods. The families of Ver Valin, De Groff, Sleight, Nelson and Cornell settled in the western part of the town previous to the Revolution.
The oldest religious organization in the town is that of the Society of Friends of Arthursburg. At this place was built a Friends' meeting house, and Oswego monthly meetings were held here as early as 1761. Samuel Dor-land and wife, Allen Moore and wife and Andrew Moore are recorded as being present at this meeting. Several Quaker families resided in this vicinity. Following the division in the Society in 1828 the Hicksites built a meeting house at Moore's Mills, where meetings are regularly held.
The records of the Presbyterian church of Freedom Plains state that "On the 26th of July, 1827, sundry persons of Freedom did meet at the house of Mary Nelson and chose the following trustees: Benjamin H. Conklin, Baltus Overacker, Eleazer Taylor, Baltus Velie, Rickertson Collins, John D. Brown, Abram S. Storm, Isaac B. Clapp and John Clapp."
The organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church of La Grange was effected July 14, 1849. Previous to this date meetings were held occasionally in different neighborhoods by "circuit riders," and the inhabitants of the Morey vicinity attended chiefly at Potter's Hollow, where the first church edifice was built, and from which it was removed to Morey's in 1866, and called the "Trinity Church of La Grange." The minutes of the society contain no records of the early pastors, except for the year 1851, when Rev. Loren Clarke officiated.
Milan was formed from the town of Northeast March 6, 1818. It lies on the northern border of Dutchess county and comprises the western portion of that tract of land which embraces the Nine Partners Patent.
In the year 1760, Johannes Rowe, a German by birth, located in this town north of what is now Lafayetteville, on nine hundred and eleven acres of land which he purchased of Chancellor Robert R. Livingston. For thisland he paid 750 pounds, on which, in 1766, he built a stone homestead. Much of the land is still in possession of the Rowe family. Johannes Rowe died in 1771, and was buried in the family ground across the road from the church which bears the family name. He had four sons —John, Sebastian, Philip, and Mark, who settled around on the land of their father's purchase, and to each of whom he gave a farm. The sons built the Methodist church there, and were generous supporters of local enterprises. Philip had a son, William P. Rowe, who served as a soldier in the war of 1812.
Other early settlers were the Bowermans, Wilburs, Briggs, Whites, Pells, Hicks, Martins, Motts, Fultons, Stalls, Fellers, Hopemans, Philips, Teats and Frasers.
The first town meeting was held at the house of Stephen Thorne, April, 1818. That summer new bridges were built over streams at Mount Ross and Hoffman's Mill.
The oldest mill in the town was built by Robert Thorne, two miles west of Lafayetteville. This hamlet was on the Post road from Northeast to Rhinebeck, and was a place of some business importance. A hotel was built here by William Waltmier, who, ten years later, disposed of the property to Jacob Knickerbacker.
The Methodist Society was organized mainly through the efforts of the Rowes, about the year 1800, with the first house of worship on their farm near Lafayetteville. A new building was erected in 1838.
The "Christian Denomination" was composed of Methodists, Presbyterians and Baptists, who held meetings in the town as early as 1820.
The towns of Northeast, Pine Plains and Milan, taken collectively, constituted, in 1746, the Northeast Precinct. In 1818 Milan was set off by itself, and in 1823 Northeast was shorn of Pine Plains, but had annexed a liberal slice of Amenia to its southern border, thus preserving its equilibrium among its sister towns by this compensation in wealth and population.
The town received its name from its geographical position in the county. A range of the Taconic Mountains extends along the eastern border, with the Winchell Mountain on the west. The Ten Mile River, some eighteen miles in length, runs south through the eastern part of the town. The Shekemeko runs in a northerly direction through its western portion.
The first town meeting in Northeast, as at present constituted, was held at Northeast Center on the first day of April, 1823.
The earliest settlements in the town were made in the Oblong tract of Spencers Corners. A Baptist church was built here in 1777. North of Spencers Corners stands the old-fashioned house of the Dakins, built by Orville Dakin, when the country was a wilderness. Westward are the buildings of the Millerton Iron Co., now in ruins.
Millerton, the largest village in the town, derived its name from Sidney G. Miller, one of the builders of the New York and Harlem Railroad. The village was incorporated June 30, 1875, with N. C. Beach, President.
In 1891 the village was bonded for a sum not to exceed $15,000 to procure a water supply.
In 1882 the Millerton National Bank was organized with G. S. Frink as President, and W. M. Dales as Cashier. The present bank building was erected in 1903.
The Millerton Telegraph, a weekly publication, was started in 1876 by Cooley James, and subsequently became the property of Colvin Card.
The Baptist church was organized in 1777. The Congregational Church of Northeast was organized in 1827, and the building erected in 1828. In 1873 this church was affiliated with the Presbyterian denomination, and a new house of worship was built in Millerton in 1905, at an expense of $7,800.
The first record of the Methodist Episcopal church bears date of 1842, and under date of April 2, 1859, is found the following: "The trustees of Millerton beg leave to report that they have purchased a lot on which they have erected a church edifice which costs, with the said lot, the sum of $4,500. That they have paid $3,700. That there is now in subcriptions $450."
This town is described as the southeast corner town in Dutchess county. A range of hills, locally known as Quaker Hill, extends along the east border. Another range, known as the West Mountain, occupies the western part. A broad and fertile valley runs through the central portion. Pawling precinct was taken from Beekman precinct in 1768, and erected into a town in 1788. Dover was taken off and made into a separate township in 1807. Whaley Pond, Lake Norton, Green Mountain Lake and Lake Hammersley are considerable bodies of water. The road leading south from Pawling village, now called the State road, was laid out in 1745, and is described as running from Beekman's Patent into Westchester. The population of the town in 1810 was 1,756.
Pawling village, incorporated in 1903, has about 800 inhabitants. Quaker Hill, Holmes and West Pawling are hamlets.
Quaker Hill and West Mountain were probably settled long before the lands in the valley. Swamp fevers were feared by the pioneers. Among the early settlers on the east side we find the names of Sherman, Merrit, Birdsall, Irish, Akin, Craft, Chase and Osborn. Of the valley there occur Shaw, Cary, Hunt, Sabin, Salmon, Pearce and Slocum. On the west side there once dwelt the ancestors of the families by the name of Worden, Moshier, Dentory, Dibble, Davis and Turner. It is said that there was quite an influx into the town about 1740.
The official headquarters of General Washington, during his sojourn with his army in Pawling in 1778, were at the house of John Kane, now the site of the Roberts' residence.
The historic Oblong Meeting House, which is still standing, bears a tablet containing these words: "OBLONG MEETING HOUSE of the Society of Friends Erected in 1742 South of This Road. Present Meeting House Erected in 1760. First Effective Action Against Slavery Taken Here in 1767. Occupied as Hospital in 1778 By Revolutionary Soldiers Many of Whom Are Buried South of This Road. Meeting Divided in 1828. Meetings Discontinued in This House 1885."
Akin Hall Association, was founded by Albert John Akin in 1882, for the promotion of benevolence, charity, literature and science. The Association holds real estate as follows: Aikin Hall and Manse, the Library Building, Mizzen Top Hotel and cottages.
The Bank of Pawling was organized in 1849 by Albert J. Aikin. In 1865 it was changed to a National Bank, Pawling Savings Bank was incorporated in 1870. The first president was David R. Gould, who was conspicuous in its organization.
The village of Pawling has a fine water system constructed in 1895. A Fire Company is maintained with a well equipped hose house.
The town of Pine Plains is one of the northern tier of towns in Dutchess, bordering the county of Columbia. Extensive plains originally covered by pine forests gave the town its name.
The territory was included in the Little Nine Partners' Patent; together with Milan and a portion of present Northeast it was in 1788 erected into a town, the three being known as Northeast. Milan was taken off in 1818, and Pine Plains was erected into a separate township in 1823. Before these townships were divided the seat of government was at the present village of Pine Plains; here the town records were kept; hither the voters from Spencer's Corners and Northeast Center had to come over the " West Mountain, which is a high ridge of fertile country, well inhabited, stretching from north to south, steep in ascent and descent, and is about three miles over;" in short, the people of the vicinity of Millerton had to traverse about fifteen miles to reach the place of their annual town meetings.
The "house of Israel Reynolds" (Stissing House) was designated in the early records as the place where town business was transacted, and where the first town meeting for Pine Plains was held.
Among the early settlers are the names familiar at the present time—Winans, Smith, Harris, Reynolds, Hoffman, Pulver, Deuel, Dibblee, Husted, Stevenson, Rau (Rowe), Seldon, and others. The eastern portion of Pine Plains was settled by the Palatines.
The village of Pine Plains had an official name as a postoffice a few years prior to its organization as a town. In 1830 a direct stage route twice a week was established from Poughkeepsie to Pine Plains, by way of Pleasant Valley. Since the construction of the Newburgh, Dutchess & Connecticut Railroad, in 1869, the mail has been carried by steam.
Pine Plains has a public library of nearly 3,000 volumes. It was established in 1797, and was the first public library in Dutchess county.
The Pine Plains Bank was organized in 1839, and closed its doors in 1857, voluntarily, but maintained its good name. The following year the Citizens' Bank was organized, and in 1865 it was changed to a National Bank. Its capital stock is $45,000.
This town was formed from the town of Clinton January 26, 1821, and covers an area of 20,255 acres almost equally divided by Wappinger's creek. The village of Pleasant Valley with a population of about seven hundred is the commercial center of the town. Salt Point and Washington Hollow are hamlets.
Settlements of the town took place during the time it was a part of Crom Elbow precinct—1737-1762. Among the early settlers were the families of Newcomb, Filkins, Humphreys, Halls, Jacksons, Aliens, Flaglers, Formans, Marshalls, Beadles, Deans, Sellecks, Abbotts, Van Voorhees, Harris and Frost. A fulling mill east of the village was built by John Kenyon in 1808, and this is the site of the present plant of Garner & Co.
In 1813 a postoffice was established, and two years later the village was incorporated; it was reincorporated March 21, 1903. The same year a free library was organized as a voluntary association.
A church at Washington Hollow was erected in 1747 by the Presbyterian society. It was in this church building that a band of Tories, in the summer of 1777, assembled. They numbered about four hundred, and came principally from the southern part of the county. Parties were sent to the bordering settlements to intimidate the patriots, and obtain supplies for the British army. While the Tories were thus showing authority, they were surprised by a company of American soldiers from Sharon, Connecticut. Upon their attempt to escape, the Yankees gave them a broadside and killed several. About thirty in number were captured and marched to Sharon, from whence they were taken to New Hampshire and held until the close of the war.
In 1812 the Presbyterians of Pleasant Valley erected a house of worship in the village, which gave way to a new edifice in 1848. Methodism was introduced into the town in 1788, and in 1825 the Society built a church here. St. Paul's Church was built in 1843, and the Westminster Presbyterian Church at Salt Point in 1862.
This town was formed from Rhinebeck June 2, 1812. It lies in the extreme northwest corner of Dutchess, bordering Columbia county. Its surface is a rolling upland, and the soil a gravelly loam. It has always been a good agricultural and fruit growing section. The villages of Red Hook and Tivoli-Madalin are the chief centers of population, and Barrytown is of some importance as a railroad depot. The Sawkill flows through the center of the town.
The mills that were built subsequent to 1725 on the Sawkill and the White Clay Kill (now Stony creek) were a prominent feature of the earlier times. On the former stream at one time stood Judge Livingston's mill at the river; General Armstrong's mill at Cedar Hill; Van Benthuysen's mill, and a woolen factory in the same place; the Chancellor's mill in the interior, and Robert G. Livingston's mill on the Rock City branch.
At the mouth of Stony creek was the mill of Jannetje Bradt, Park's mill at Myersville (Madalin), Cook's factory, and Zachariah Hoffman's mill. Several of the above mentioned mills and adjoining buildings were burned by a detachment of British troops immediately after the destruction of Kingston in 1777. The only dwelling spared was the home of Gilbert Robert Livingston, who remained loyal to the crown during the Revolutionary War.
A large portion of the land about what is now known as Tivoli was owned by the Hoffmans, who built the mills northeast of Tivoli, nearly a century and a half ago. They were freighters, storekeepers and millers before and after the Revolution.
Nicholas Bonesteel and Anna Margretha Kuhn, his wife, with some of their children, were among the early settlers. A portion of the village of Red Hook is now on the easterly part of their farm. Of their descendants, Philip N. Bonesteel was a merchant, magistrate and post-master in Red Hook for many years. His son, Virgil D., was Surrogate of Dutchess county in 1844.
Peter Contine and his wife, Eleanor, daughter of Jacob Heermance of Kingston, lived at Upper Red Hook previous to the Revolution. In 1791 he kept a store at what is now Barrytown Landing.
John, James, Daniel and Robert Wilson, four brothers, settled in the vicinity of Upper Red Hook before 1770, and engaged in farming. The two eldest married the Kuhn sisters, daughters of Simon Kuhn.
The fine old estates in this town overlooking the Hudson include "Rokeby," "Blithewood," the Callendar House and "Chateau Tivoli," elsewhere described in this volume.
Annandale is the site of St. Stephen's College, chartered March 20, 1860. The college grew out of the Church of the Holy Innocents and its parish school. Students are attracted to it from all parts of the country.
The religious denominations of the town are the Methodists, with churches at Red Hook and Tivoli; St. Paul's Lutheran Church at Red Hook; and the Episcopalians with a church in each village. The Church of the Sacred Heart at Barrytown, and St. Sylvia's Church at Tivoli, were erected by the Catholics in 1875 and 1903 respectively.
TOWN AND CITY OF POUGHKEEPSIE
The town of Poughkeepsie as early as 1715 was a part of the Middle Ward of Dutchess county. By the erections of precincts in the county in 1737, Poughkeepsie had a slice taken off its northern end, and was given a definite eastern boundary. Its limits were but slightly changed by the act of 1788, which organized the county into towns.
The name Poughkeepsie is first found in an Indian deed, dated May 5, 1683, on file in Albany, granting to Pieter Lansingh and Jan Smeedes each a farm, and to the latter "also a waterfall near the bank of the river to build a, mill thereon. The waterfall is called Poughkepesingh and the land Minnisingh, situate on the east side of the river."
With the granting of a patent known as Minnisinck to Robert Sanders and Myndert Harmans, October 24, 1686, the site of the city of Poughkeepsie began to acquire settlers enough to determine the location of a center or hamlet. The families included "Sovryn the Baker," Harmans, the patentee, Balthazar Barnse, Hendrick Ostrom, Simon Scoute and Baltus Van Kleeck. Other early settlers were the Vanderburghs, Vandebogerts, Parmentors, Lewis, Pells, Titsoorts and Filkins.
Poughkeepsie as a county seat dates from May 27, 1717, and the county records of 1722 state that meetings are now held in the court house.
March 27, 1799, Poughkeepsie was incorporated as a village, the charter providing for a board of five trustees to be elected on the third Tuesday in May. That, however, was only for the first election, all subsequent elections for many years coming in April. The boundaries of the village as then fixed remain the limits of the city of Poughkeepsie today. The first trustees were James S. Smith, Valentine Baker, Andrew Billings, Ebenezer Badger, and Thomas Nelson. The extant records of the village begin in 1803, when Andrew Billings was president. The village then had something like 1,500 inhabitants, and the population of the whole town in 1800 was 3,246. In 1810 the town had 4,669 inhabitants and the village 2,981. In 1855 when the city had been taken out, the town had left but 3,110 people. The town added population very slowly down to 1900, when the growth of one of the suburbs of the city, called Bull's Head, East Poughkeepsie, and more recently Arlington, had made much progress chiefly because of the growth of Vassar College. Channingville, that part of Wappingers Falls north of the creek, accounts for several hundred of the town's population.
A notable fire of the village days was the burning of the court house September 25, 1806. A new court house was erected in 1809, and replaced by the present building in 1903.
An important event was the establishment of the first central village water supply by the building of the reservoir on top of Cannon street hill in 1835, at a cost of $30,000. Water was pumped from the Fall Kill and was used only for fire extinguishing purposes, pipes being laid only on the main streets. The reservoir happened to be empty on May 12, 1836, when Poughkeepsie was visited by the greatest fire in its history, a fire which burned nearly all the buildings on the south side of Main street, between Liberty and Academy streets. At one time the destruction of a very large section of the village seemed inevitable, as buildings on the north side of the street were several times on fire, but the force pump which supplied water to the reservoir had been started and water came down through the pipes at the critical time, so that the flames were controlled.
Between 1830 and 1837 the village grew rapidly and a remarkable real estate boom was inaugurated by the Poughkeepsie Improvement Party, which included such men as Paraclete Potter, editor of the Poughkeepsie Journal, Nathaniel P. Tallmadge, United States Senator, Matthew Vassar, Walter Cunningham, George P. Oakley and Gideon P. Hewitt. Many acres of land were plotted and sold in lots, two chief centers of development being around Mansion Square and the old French farm, south of the English Burying Ground, that is, south of the present location of Christ Church.
The Hudson River Railroad was built through from New York to Poughkeepsie in 1849, the first train coming through to the site of the present station January 4, 1850.
The city of Poughkeepsie was incorporated by the act of the Legislature, March 28, 1854, and the first city election was held the following April, when James Emott, Jr., became the first Mayor. He resigned in 1856 to become a Justice of the Supreme Court, as his father had been before him. One of the early aldermen was Henry W. Shaw (Josh Billings). The second Mayor was Charles W. Swift, Apart from some notable political meetings on Forbus Hill, the space which remained open for many years between Union and Church streets, back of the Forbus House, nothing of great importance took place in Poughkeepsie down to the Civil War.
Before 1870 the second great period of growth, comparable to that of the days of the old improvement party between 1830 and 1837, was in full sway. This latter period of improvement included the building of the new water works, pumping from the Hudson River with sand filtration; the installation of a complete sewerage system; the Fallkill improvement by which the old mill ponds on the kill were abolished and the stream was walled in; the Poughkeepsie & Eastern Railroad; the building of the city railroad, and the beginning of the Poughkeepsie Bridge. Harvey G. Eastman, George Innis, Mark D. Wilbur and George P. Pelton were leaders in this latter improvement era.
Revolutionary Notes. After the destruction of Kingston by the British, October 16, 1777, Gov. Clinton came to Poughkeepsie and the Council of Safety soon followed. The court house was used for legislature sittings, and the first laws of the State of New York were passed here. In the winter of 1778-79 a regiment of Continentals was quartered in Poughkeepsie, and barracks were erected on the south side of the village. The Legislature was in session at Poughkeepsie when the news of the surrender of Cornwallis was received, in October, 1781. The ratification of the Constitution of the United States in the Poughkeepsie court house, June 26, 1788, is the most important event in the city's history.
Education. Poughkeepsie has long been known as a city of schools. The Dutchess County Academy, founded at Fishkill, was removed to Poughkeepsie in 1792. A new building was erected in 1836; it was sold in 1870 to Jonathan Warner, founder of the Old Ladies' Home, and the money was used for the construction of the present High School.
The Poughkeepsie Collegiate School, a noted institution, founded in 1835, continued until 1867, when the property was sold to settle the estate of Charles Bartlett, its first principal; the Grecian temple still crowns College Hill.
Riverview Military Academy was opened in 1867 by Otis Bisbee. Eastman College was started by Harvey G. Eastman in 1859.
There have been not less than fifty private schools at various times in Poughkeepsie, notably; Poughkeepsie Military School, Lyndon Hall, Poughkeepsie Female Academy, Cottage Hill Seminary, State and National Law School, and Putnam Hall School, formerly Brooks Seminary.
Vassar College, founded by Matthew Vassar, was chartered by the Legislature January 18, 1861. Matthew Vassar gave the site, some 200 acres of land, and added about $400,000. The College opened in 1865, with 353 students. Matthew Vassar died in 1868, and his nephews, Matthew, Jr., and John Guy, continued his interest in the institution. They died, respectively, in 1881 and 1888, and left the college considerable sums of money. John D. Rockefeller and Frederick F. Thompson have also been large benefactors. President James M. Taylor took charge in 1886, and the growth of the college has been continuous, until in 1905 the trustees found it necessary to limit the number of students for a term of five years to one thousand.
The Poughkeepsie Public Library was formed under the school library law in 1835. From 1872 to 1898 it occupied rooms in the High School building, and was then removed to the Adriance Memorial Library building. In 1899 the control of the library was given to a board of library trustees. In 1911 it contains about 50,000 volumes.
Churches. The Dutch church was organized October 10, 1716, by Rev. Petrus Vas. The building was finished in 1723. A second edifice was built in 1760, and in 1822 a third church was erected on the site of the present church building. This was destroyed by fire January 18, 1857, and the present brick building erected shortly thereafter, and dedicated September 7, 1858.
The Church of England, predecessor of the present Episcopal church, was organized in 1766, and erected a building. It stood until 1833 at the corner of Church and Market streets, when the old Christ Church, still well remembered, replaced it.
A Presbyterian church was organized in Poughkeepsie as early as 1749, but failed to maintain itself or erect a building. The Methodists organized in 1804 and built a church in Jefferson street. The Baptist records are complete from the organization of the society in 1807, when they erected an edifice on Mill street. The Quakers established a meeting house on Clover street in 1802. By 1826 the Presbyterians were permanently organized and built a church on Cannon street.
October 14, 1832, a number of Catholics residing in Poughkeepsie formed the Catholic Association, to raise a fund for the erection of a church, with the result that St. Peter's Church was built and dedicated November 26, 1837. The building was enlarged and remodelled in 1853. The first edifice of the Church of the Nativity was erected in 1852. The Church of St. Mary was incorporated March 12, 1879.
The charitable institutions of Poughkeepsie include the Home for the Friendless, built in 1887; The Old Ladies' Home; the Vassar Brothers' Home for Aged Men, and Vassar Brothers' Hospital.
The town of Rhinebeck embraces 18,945 acres in the northwestern part of the county bordering the Hudson River. It was formed as a town March 17, 1788. Red Hook was taken off in 1812. The two towns comprised the greater part of Rynbeck precinct, organized December 16, 1737. Landsman Kill, the principal stream, was an important factor in the development of the milling industry in the early days of the town.
The first deed for lands in Rynbeck precinct bears date of June 8, 1686, recorded in Ulster County Clerk's office. It was a transfer on the part of three Indians, to Gerritt Artsen, Arie Rosa and Jan Elton. Another deed of 1686 conveys land to Hendrick Kip. Beekman's patent to land in this vicinity was granted in 1697.
Kip built a stone house on his land in 1700. It was destroyed by fire in 1910. Artsen, with a family of ten children, came to live upon and cultivate his land in 1702. The Rosa tracts were occupied by an Osterhout, a Van Etten and an Ostrander. In 1709 the settlers numbered thirty families. In 1715 Beekman induced many Palatines to locate on his lands.
William Traphagen was one of the largest taxpayers in 1718. He built a tavern, opened a blacksmith shop and this formed the nucleus of the present village of Rhinebeck. Nearby was a grist mill operated by one Schut. Simon Cole was the first merchant in the town; John Kip was a carpenter; Ananias Teel, a wheelwright; Laurence Teder, a mason; Henry Shop, a harness-maker; Jacob Van Ostrander, a linen weaver.
By 1730 it was decided to have a church in the immediate vicinity, which was erected on the site of the present "Old Dutch Church."
The erection of several grist, saw and woolen mills on the Landsman Kill, were potent factors in the early development of Rhinebeck. The Beekman mill, built in 1710, near the river, was followed in 1715 by the Beekman-Livingston mills, below "the flatts." The Rutsen mills, on the turnpike east of "the flatts," were built in 1742, and the Traphagen mill in 1750. The General Montgomery and the Governor Lewis mills were built in 1774 and 1800, respectively.
The establishment of ferry service at Rhinebeck in 1752, brought the inhabitants in closer connection with Rondout. The charter was granted to Abraham Kip on the east side of the river, and to Moses Contine on the west side.
The village of Rhinebeck was incorporated April 23, 1834, and the act amended in 1867. One half of the business section was destroyed by fire May 8, 1864. It was soon rebuilt with substantial brick structures.
The Bank of Rhinebeck was organized in 1853, with a capital of $125,000. It became a National Bank in 1865. The Rhinebeck Savings Bank was organized in 1862. The Starr Institute, which contains a free library, was built and furnished by Mrs. Mary R. Miller in 1862, at a cost of $15,000.
The Memorial Building at Rhinecliff contains a libbrary, a reading room, and an auditorium. It is a spacious structure, and was erected in 1907 by Hon. Levi P. Morton, as a memorial to his deceased daughter. It is the only public building in Rhinecliff.
This town is included in the Great Nine Partners tract granted in 1697 to Caleb Heathcote and others, and was formed from the town of Washington March 12, 1793. Wappingers creek is the principal stream. Thompson Pond and Upton Lake are considerable bodies of water. Bangall, Stanfordville and Stissing are small villages.
Three brothers, Samuel, Amos and Enos Thompson, great grandsons of Anthony Thompson, original planter in the New Haven Colony, came into Dutchess county about 1750. Samuel and Amos had been connected with the Goshen, Connecticut settlement. Enos came direct from New Haven. Tradition says they acquired 2,800 acres between them, around the shores of the beautiful sheet of water long known as Thompson's Pond. Paul Upton and Christopher Dibble were early settlers here—the former coming from Massachusetts, the latter from Long Island.
Along the banks of the Wappingers stood several factories. The foundations alone mark the spot from which the buildings have been removed. A cotton mill had a brief existence here. A paper mill was established previous to 1840, and in 1844 was burned down. In 1843 Silas Rogers founded a wagon axle manufacturing business, which was carried on until western competition became too strong. A grist mill was established in 1850 by Seaman & Northrup. The freshet of 1865 swept the dam away.
As early as 1755 a Baptist Society was organized in the town which had an interesting career. The present church, dedicated May 26, 1869, is the third edifice of the Society in the town. The Quaker Society was also organized at an early date. The Christian Church of Stanfordville was established in 1840; and the Methodists built a house of worship in 1843. A Catholic Church at Bangall is a Mission of the Millbrook church.
The town of Union Vale was erected March 1, 1827, and includes territory formerly comprised in the towns of Beekman and "Freedom," now La Grange. Its surface is a hilly upland, intersected by a broad valley extending north and south. This valley is known far and wide as "The Clove," its limits extending beyond the town borders, and was an important landmark in the early history of the region.
The Clove Kill is a tributary of the Fishkill, flowing southwesterly through the town. This territory was a portion of the Beekman patent, and settlement is supposed to have begun about the year 1716. Oswego and Verbank are hamlets. Among the early settlers we find the names of Livingston, Potter, Abel, Morey, Reed, Uhl, Cline and Wilkinson.
William Coe and Peter Emigh settled on adjoining farms here in 1740. In that year the stone house was built, now standing, on the Emigh homestead, at present in possession of a grandson of William. Many people every season make a pilgrimage to this relic of bygone days. It is a large, two-story structure, in good repair, notwithstanding its age.
On this Emigh homestead is the far-famed Clove Spring. This is a natural fountain of the purest water, from which flows a stream equivalent to an ordinary mill-race. The spring itself is seventy-five feet across.
The Clove Spring Trout Company, an association of New York gentlemen, have utilized the waters of this spring in the construction of ten ponds, each fourteen by sixty feet, in which are twenty-two thousand trout, assorted into five sizes; the last pond containing two thousand two-pound trout. These are soon to be let loose in the adjacent streams, to be angled for when the"law is up." About eighty pounds of fresh beef is ground up daily for their consumption.
The Clove Valley Rod and Gun Club is another association of wealthy gentlemen of sportsman taste, as the name implies. They have leased the old ore mine property for a term of years, and erected a large club house, where they are at liberty to come at pleasure. By a payment of a small annual fee to the farmers they have secured the right to hunt and fish over miles of adjacent territory. The company has lately invested thousands of dollars in the acquisition of rights and in erecting buildings for the use of the club.
The Ebenezer Methodist Church was built in 1837, the original cost, exclusive of labor, being about $800. William Coe, Peter G. Emigh and Jonathan G. Vincent were the original trustees. From the date of the erection of the church edifice to the present time, upwards of seventy years, the society has enjoyed unbroken services. The pulpit is now supplied by Rev. N. O. Lent of Lagrangeville.
South of this is the Catholic church, its attendants forming an outlying mission of the Sylvan Lake Church. Meetings are held here at stated intervals.
The "Old Union Church" at Green Haven, frequently referred to in the ecclesiastical documents of the county, and which was called the "Old Union" as early as 1820, when there was not a house of worship in the present town limits of Union Vale, is described as a large building for the time, with a gallery at one end, a high pulpit with seven or eight steps leading up to it, and a sounding-board poised over the preacher's head. In later years it was used only for entertainments. Another "Old Union" stood on the Amos Denton farm, perhaps older than the one at Green Haven. The materials of this were removed to the farm of Vincent Williams, and converted into a barn, where it still stands, good to battle with the storms of a half century to come.
The town of Wappinger, originally a part of the town of Fishkill, was erected May 20, 1875, and lies wholly within the limits of the Rombout patent granted in 1685. Territorially it is the smallest town in Dutchess county, covering 16,025 acres, but in point of population and industrial activity it is one of the most important.
Wappingers Falls, the principal village in the town, is situated at the head of navigation on Wappinger creek, about two miles above its confluence with the Hudson, and the same distance from New Hamburgh, a station on the N. Y. C. & H. R. railroad, with which it is connected by stage. An electric railway connects the village with the city of Poughkeepsie.
The village lies on both sides of the creek, having been made to include the village of Channingville, in the town of Poughkeepsie, by its incorporation, September 22, 1871.
Among the earliest landholders within the present town limits were the Van Benschotens at New Hackensack. John Montross, Gideon Ver Valin, Johannes Schurrie, Adolphus Brewer, John Schuyler, Samuel Bayard and Joseph Vail were early settlers. Later arrivals were Peter Mesier, John Hughson and Rev. William Seward. Mesier came in 1777 and purchased 422 acres of land from Nicholas Brewer, which included the house now known as the Mesier Mansion in the village park at Wappingers Falls.
The freshet of 1819 destroyed many mills on the banks of the Wappinger, and carried away the Main street bridge at the Falls. It was replaced in 1852 by a stone bridge, thirty feet wide, which in 1884 was widened to sixty feet. A freshet in 1841 swept away Given's cotton mill and the print works dam.
In 1832 James Ingham established a plant for calico printing, subsequently known as the Dutchess Print Works. Thomas Garner became the principal owner. In 1910 the property was sold to the Deering Co. The Franklindale Cotton Co. was operated by the Garners from 1844 to 1885, when the plant was destroyed by fire. It had a capacity of 250,000 yards of cloth per week.
The overall factory of Sweet, Orr & Co. was founded by James Orr in 1871.
The village of Chelsea, formerly known as Low Point or Carthage Landing Postoffice, had at one time a shipyard owned by Cornelius Carman, where sloops and steamboats were launched. Its importance as a place of river commerce was equal to that of the two landings, or docks, at Fishkill, but it could not withstand the competition with Fishkill Landing after John Peter De Wint had completed the Long Dock, about 1815, with facilities for the shipment of produce from the back country, notwithstanding Chelsea's deep water and other advantages.
In the County Clerk's office at Poughkeepsie there is a map made in 1812, entitled "A map of Carthage, in Dutchess County, at a place called Low Point, on the Hudson, or North River." It shows the plottings of a proposed village with several streets, including Liberty, Spring, Union, Market and North; also a Broadway.
Captain Charles P. Adriance, Solomon P. Hopkins and Gilbert S. Hopkins conducted a freighting business from Low Point until 1856.
A large flour mill, operated by the late Starr B. Knox, stood on the dock. The business proved unsuccessful, and the mill was allowed to fall to ruin. Later an industry for the manufacture of cement, for use in the first Poughkeepsie bridge, was started here. The business was discontinued with the failure of the first bridge project in 1873.
Among the early residents of the neighborhood was Jacob Sebring, who lived in a large white house overlooking the river, and built a dock where he kept a yacht. He died about 1860. His widow, who was formerly Miss Margaret Ackerman, survived him for many years, and
Another large house in the village was Gilbert Budd's, a cousin of Underhill Budd, whose farm lay in the vicinity. Gilbert Budd had a lumber yard, and was interested in the freighting business.
The town of Washington occupies a central position in the county. Its territory belonged to the tract known as the Great Nine Partners Patent. It was reduced to its present limits of about sixty square miles, when the northern part was erected into the town of Stanford, March 12, 1793. Millbrook is the principal village. Mabbettsville, Oak Summit and Lithgow are hamlets.
William Thorne, great-great-grandfather of Samuel Thorne, the present owner of Thorndale, was one of the first settlers of Nine Partners, and was a merchant and large landholder. Conrad Ham was another early settler, and the old home he built six generations ago still stands on a lot adjoining the present home of the family. The Titus, Coffin, Mitchell, Pinkham, Comstock, Allen, Roger, Hull, Coleman, Haight, Haviland and Talcott families settled in the town previous to 1750. In 1760, Samuel Mabbett, a Friend, came to Mechanic and opened a store and a tavern. He was a Tory and at the close of the Revolution moved to Lansingburgh, N. Y., and his son Joseph took the property and continued the business until 1795.
In the autumn of 1796 the famous Nine Partners Boarding School was established by Isaac Thorne, Tripp Mosher and Joseph Talcott. The property was purchased from Joseph Mabbett. Land was added from time to time; a $10,000 endowment fund was secured, and the school prospered until 1828, when the unfortunate separation in the Friends' Society occurred. The school was closed in 1863, and John D. Wing bought the property. Among the pupils of this school was Jacob Willetts, whose arithmetic passed through many editions and was widely used in the schools of the country.
Millbrook owes its birth to the building of the railroad in 1869. It was incorporated December 31, 1895. It has in 1911 about 1200 inhabitants, four churches—Friends, Methodist, Catholic and Episcopal. It has two school buildings, a bank, a public library housed in a beautiful building, forty business places, including grocers, plumbers, barbers, butchers, hardware, jewelers, druggists, dry goods, etc., etc. It has a Masonic and Knights of Pythias Lodge, Knights of Columbus and Millbrook Club, Junior Order American Mechanics, a Woman's Christian Temperance Union and a weekly newspaper.
Halcyon Hall, built in 1893, was used as a summer hotel until 1907, when the property was purchased and transformed into a school for girls by Miss M. F. Bennett.
The town of Washington is fortunate in the men who have come to make their home within its limits in recent years. Samuel Thorne and Oakleigh Thorne have returned to the land of their ancestors. Charles F. Dietrich, whose estate is the most extensive and with its many beautiful features is worth a long journey to see; the late H. J. Davison, who built Altamont; and the late and much lamented Col. Daniel S. Lamont, so widely known in public affairs, both in this State and in the Nation; Roswell P. Miller, of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad, who has built a fine "Colonial" mansion; H. R. McLane, a Brooklyn gentlemen of literary and artistic taste; Harry Harkness Flagler, whose interest and co-operation in local affairs has been constant, and who is a member of the Board of Education, an active trustee of the Library Association, president and chief promoter of the Millbrook Choral Society, and a supporter of everything that pertains to the general good of the community; the late Captain R. S. Hayes, in whose memory the library was erected; Miss Mary Lenox Kennedy, whose mother was a member of that fine old family so identified with the religious, literary, educational, philanthropic and civic life of New York City; Charles Clinton Marshall, whose ancestors have been in Dutchess county since Revolutionary days; G. Howard Davison, whose stock farm is famous for its horses, cattle and sheep:—these are some of the "Millbrook Colony" to whom the town has proved attractive on account of its healthy climate and scenic beauty.
(Source: Historical and Genealogical Record Dutchess and Putnam Counties New York, Press of the A. V. Haight Co., Poughkeepsie, New York, 1912; pp. 20-62; Transcribed by Terri Griffiths)
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