James H. (James Hadden) Smith.

History of Duchess county, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers online

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Piester. He remained as its proprietor until April,
1864, when he sold to Jay Jackson, who conducted
it until December, 1864, and sold to Samuel T.
Hoag, the present editor and proprietor.

Banks. — The Pine Plains Bank was organized in
1839. The first officers were Reuben W. Bostwick,
President ; Frederick W. Davis, Cashier. The
number ot stockholders was forty-two, and the capi-
tal was $100,000. Under the above title this bank
existed until 1857, when in the financial crash of
that year it was closed by voluntary action, paying
a dividend to its stockholders of one hundred and
twenty-seven per cent.

On May 29th, 1858, the Stissing Bank was or-
ganized, with a capital of $90,000. The officers
were Justus Booth,* President; Reuben Bostwick,t
Cashier. This was organized chiefly by the origi-
nal stockholders of the Pine Plains Bank. As
Stissing Bank it continued until it was converted
into a National Bank, March 4, 1865, under the
title of Stissing National Bank of Pine Plains.

The first officers under the new departure were
William S. Eno, President and Reuben Bostwick,
Cashier.

After the death of Reuben Bostwick, in 1870,
his son Frederick was appointed cashier, which office
he has since retained. The Pine Plains Bank con-
ducted business in the store now occupied by Isaiah
Dibble. In 1858 the Stissing Bank erected the
fine and substantial building in which the business
is now conducted.

Schools. — The Seymour Smith Institute, a quite
celebrated institution of learning, was incorporated
here in 1874. The first Board of Trustees was as fol-
lows : Walter W. Husted, Frank Eno, Jonas Knick-
erbacker, Phoenix N. Deuel, John A. Herrick,
Willianj S. Eno, Henry Myers, John A. Thompson,
Harman W. Pulver, John Righter, Leander Smith,
Ury Hicks; President, Walter W. Husted; Secre-
tary, Frank Eno ; Treasurer, John A. Thompson.

This building was erected to carry into effect
the bequest of Seymour Smith, who bequeathed
his entire estate to the town of his birth, " for the
special purpose of aiding said town in establishing

* Died March 7, 1878.
t Died July 9, 1870.



an Academy for the promotion of science and use-
ful knowledge."

The Institute is under the control of the Board
of Regents of the University of the State of New
York. The school was opened in the spring of
1879, with some sixty pupils, and thus far has had
a successful existence. The building of the Insti-
tute was erected in 1877, and is a wood frame, 40
by 68 feet, two stories and a mansard in height,
resting on a high brick basement, making four
stories, including basement and mansard.

The corps of instructors is as follows : —

Rev. Abraham Mattice, Principal, Ancient Lan-
guages ; Lyman H. Hoysradt, Mathematics and
Sciences ; Julius Nehab, Ph. D., Modern Languages ;
Mrs. Harriet C. Smeallie, Preceptress, Grammar;
Drawing, Oil Painting ; Harry B. Conklin, Assist-
ant in English Department; C. Louise Gamer,
Common English ; Margaret V. D. See, Musical
Instructor.

Seymour Smith, the founder of the Institute
which bears his name, was born August 7, 1779, in
the town of Pine Plains. He was one of twelve
children — six sons and six daughters — bom to
Peter and Sarah Smith, who were among the earli-
est settlers of this town. The father of Seymour
Smith was born in 1729, and lived during the
French and Indian wars and the subsequent strug-
gle resulting in our national independence. Like
all pioneers he was poor, and his sons were thrown
upon their own resources in early life. The ad-
vantages for an education were limited then.
There were fewer authors and books than now, and
it is a reasonable presumption that the difficulty
and lack in this regard produced on the mind of
Seymour an impression never to be effaced, and
had some influence in determining the munificent
bequest to his native town. He died in German-
town, Columbia County, November 26, 1863, and
lies buried in the cemetery in Pine Plains village.

Among the early merchants in this place was
P'yler Dibblee, who about 1804 built the store now
occupied by Enos J. Chase. The Bostwicks,
Reuben Walker and his sons, Reuben and William,
were the next to run this store, conducting it for
many years.

The present merchants doing business here are :

Enos J. Chase, general merchant, in the " Old
Bostwick Store," who has been in business here
nineteen years ; Jacob S. Bowman, druggist, in
business here since 1875 ; Irving W. Rowe, a
native of Stanford, born in 1851, dry goods, who
established the business four years ago ; Jay Jack-



332



HISTORY OF DUCHESS COUNTY.



son, a native of the town, born in 1843, jeweler, in
business here fifteen years ; Robert D. Hicks, fruit
and confectionery, in business one year; Walter S.
Halstead, harness and horse furnishing goods, in
business one year, succeeding R. D. Hicks, who
had run the business some twenty-one years ; Jonas
Knickerbacker, general hardware, in business eleven
years ; Underwood & Frost, (Edgar R. Underwpod,
Charles W. Frost,) general merchants, who estab-
lished the business in December, 18 18; David B.
Miller, stoves and tinware, who began business in
1881 ; Dibble Bros., (Isaiah and Edward,) general
merchants, in business since spring of 1865 ; George
M. Keller, stoves, tin and hollow ware, in business
since 1862, succeeding James A. Bennett, who es-
tablished the business about 1850; Henry Engelke,
furniture and undertaking, in business here thirty-
six years ; John Rowe, coal and lumber, who es-
tablished the business in 1870; Merwin Spencer,
coal and lumber, in business since 1872-3.

Besides these is the manufactory of fanning mills,
sash, doors and blinds, of Amos Bryan, who has
been engaged in that business here twelve years.

One of the earliest physicians of the town was
Dr. Israel Reynolds, who practiced here previous
to and after 1797, as the following certificate will
show : —

"Duchess County,)

[l.s.] State of N. Y. J

I, Isaac Bloom, one of the Judges of said county
do pursuant of the directions of a statute entitled
'An act to regulate physic and surgery in this
State,' passed the 2^d day of March, 1797, certify
that Israel Reynolds, of the town of NorthEast, in
Duchess County, has produced satisfactory evidence
to me, by the oath of Stephen Reynolds, of the
town of Amenia, in said county, that he, the said
Israel Reynolds, has practiced physic and surgery
within this State for more than two years preceding
the first day of October, 1797. Given under my
hand and seal this 13th day of October, one thous-
and seven hundred and ninety-seven.

Isaac Bloom."
" This is to certify that the above is a true copy
of the certificate remaining on file in the Clerk's
oifice of Duchess County, Oct. 25, 1797.

Teunis ToPpin,

Dep. Clerk.
Other early physicians were Dr. Davis, born in
179s, in this town, and who died in 1851 ; Dr.
Benjamin Adams, who was born about 1734, and
who was an army surgeon during the Revolutionary
war;* Dr. Benjamin S. Wilber, who practiced here
from 1836 to about 1870, and who died June
26, 187 r; Dr. Cornelius AUerton [or AUiston],

• Bufied at Vedder Churcli, in Gallatin, Columbia County.



before and contemporaneous with Dr. Wilber ; Dr.
Bartlett, who practiced here somewhere about 1850
or 1851 ; Dr. Peter S. Cole, who practiced from
1844 to 1868, and died at Jackson's Comers No-
vember 4, 1870; Dr. Cornelius AUerton, Jr., who
practiced here some ten years, went to New York,
and died in January, 1867.

The present resident physicians are Dr. Henry
Clay Wilber, a native of the town, born in 1845;
graduated from Bellevue Hospital Medical College
in 1867.

Dr. George S. Beckwith, a native of Litchfield,
Conn., born in 1841 ; graduated from the College
of Physicians and Surgeons of New York City in
1866, and came from Saratoga to Pine Plains in
1878.

Dr. Charles Edwin Cole, a native of the town,
born January 29, 1856 ; graduated from the Med-
ical College of Bellevue Hospital in 1872, and began
his practice in the town in 1876.

Dr. Egbert D. Seaman, a native of Pleasant
Valley, born in 1846; studied dentistry with Dr.
James E. Miller, the oldest dentist of Brooklyn,
and one of the most eminent Quaker preachers of
that city, and came to Pine Plains in March, 1879.

Lawyers. — Of the early legal men, Stephen
Eno was a quite celebrated lawyer of the town and
county, who practiced here some fifty years ago.
His office was in the building now occupied as a
law oflSce by his grandson, Frank Eno. Stephen
Eno was born in Simsbury, Conn., October 4,
1764. He died August i, 1854, in the 90th year
of his age. His son, William Eno, was also a
prominent member of the Duchess County bar for
forty years, and had an extensive practice.* He
was a member of the Legislature in 1836, and
District Attorney for Duchess County two terms,
at a time when the office was filled by appointment
by the Justices of the Supreme Court. He was
born in Pine Plains April 2r, 1800, and died No-
vember 17, 1874. Two of his sons, William
Stewart Eno and Frank Eno, are now practicing
lawyers in Pine Plains. The former was admitted
to the bar in 1850, and practices principally in the
higher courts. Frank Eno, born in Pine Plains
in 1845, was admitted to practice in May, i868.
The only other resident lawyer is George G. Titus,
who studied law with Charles Wheaton, .of Pough-
keepsie, County Judge, and was admitted to the
bar in 1864. He came to Pine Plains ii| 1879.

Churches. — The village contains four churches,
the Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist and Episco-
palian.



TOWN OF PINE PLAINS.



233



The class nucleus of the present Methodist
Church was organized by the Rev. Freeborn Gar-
retson, according to the tradition of the oldest
Methodists here, about 1798. There were at first
but three members. One of these was Ira Winans,
the others are not known. Soon afterward others
were added, so that about 1805 the following per-
sons are remembered as the earliest Methodists in
this locality : — Ira Winans, Mrs. Tommy Mead
Smith, wife of Isaac Smith — the father of Reuben
and Silas Smith — Ann Landon, wife of Edward
Thomas, the father of Richard Thomas, one
of the founders of the present church,
Josiah Finch, Lizzie Finch, Walter Mead and
Elizabeth Winans, his wife, Philip Rowe and Elijah
his son, David Dabol and wife, and John Harris*
and his wife Mary Gamble. Probably there were
others, either members, or at least in sympathy
with this denomination.

In 1805, Walter Mead, one of theearhest mem-
bers of this society, purchased the lot in Pine Plains
village where Mrs. Elizabeth Bostwick now resides.
He was a cabinet-maker, and on this lot was his
shop in which Methodist meetings were held.
Meetings were also held at other places out-
side the village. At John Harris', then living near
the present William Carman saw mill, it is said
seats were made from slabs to accommodate the
hearers when there was preaching at that place.
Daniel Dabol, a plow maker, living at the outlet of
Halcyon lake, had meetings in his shop, which
stood to the right in crossing the outlet from the
main road. About 1814, in a grove a few rods
west of this shop, the Rev. Fitch Reed, then about
twenty-one, preached a sermon. There was also
preaching at the house of " Tise Hoffman,'' where
Mr. Ten Eyck now lives. Here about 1805, Miss
Sarah Wilber, now the oldest living memberf in
connection with the present church, and her brother
Theron, were baptized by Rev. John Culver, a
minister then well known in Northern Duchess.
Methodist meetings were also held in a church
building then standing four miles south of the
village, near Sackett's Corners. Rev. John Culver
preached here also, and quarterly meetings were
held there. Peter Powers and "Tommy" Ingra-
ham, from Amenia, exhorted here between times.
From 1816 to about 1835 there was not much
change in- temporal matters nor great addition in
numbers. In that year Dr. Benjamin S. Wilber
moved from the town of Washington, Duchess

* Founder of the "Harris Scythes."
+ Not the oldest by admission.



County, to Pine Plains. He was an inteUigent,
zealous Methodist, and a successful physician.
With his wife and children, came also, as a part of
his family, his father and mother and one sister,
Matilda, — an acquisition of five to the Methodist
Society. At this date, 1835, Pine Plains and
Copake were in one circuit, and the preachers were
D. B. Ostrander and W. Lull. At Pine Plains
there were now but eight members. These were
Richard Thomas, his wife Harriet Mead Thomas,
his mother Ann Landon, widow of Edward
Thomas, John Peter Keeler and wife. Tommy
Mead, Electus B. Chamberlin, and Mrs. Maria P.
Harris, wife of Col. Silas Harris. Thus the real
work for the Methodist Episcopal Society and
church building at Pine Plains commenced in
183 s, with thirteen members, including the five in
the family of Dr. Wilber, before mentioned.

On the i6th of February, 1837, the contract for
building a church was signed. The edifice was
completed and dedicated in the fall of that ) ear.
The site was purchased from Dr. Cornelius Alliston,
and Richard Thomas broke the ground for the
foundation. In 1871 the church edifice was re-
paired and enlarged by an addition to the front,
on which a fine steeple was erected, and a small
addition on the rear. The original frame was not
changed. An excellent pipe organ was also placed
in the choir gallery, and the result of the repairs
then made is the present neat edifice and its fur-
nishings. The church was re-dedicated November
15, 1 8 7 1 , by Rev. Dr. Ridgeway, of New York, and
Rev. T. B. Wakely, D. D. The following ministers
have presided over this church since 1835 : —

Rev. D. B. Ostrander. ) 1835

Rev. W. Lull, j

Rev. A. Bushnell, ) 1836

Rev. A. G. Shears, )

Rev. E. S. Stout | 1837

Rev. A. G. Shears, |

Rev. David Holmes, ) 1838

Rev. David Plumb, )

Rev. David Holmes, 1839

Rev. M. Van Duzen 1840-1841

Rev. Aaron Hunt 1842

Rev. William Gothard 1843

Rev. Charles Chittenden 1844-1845

Rev. Stephen M. Vail 1846

Rev. Albert Nash 1847

Rev. Thomas Ellis 1848-1849

Rev. M. R. Lent 1850-1851

Rev. A. H. Ferguson 1852-1853

Rev. W. G. Browning 1854-1855

Rev. J. N. Shaffer 1856-1857

Rev. L. W. Walsworth 1858-1859

Rev. Z. N. Lewis 1860-1861

I Rev, William Bloomer 1862-1863



234



HISTORY OF DUCHESS COUNTY.



Rev. F. S. Barnum 1864-1866

Rev. H. B. Mead 1867-1868

Rev. G. D. Townsend 1869-1871

Rev. B. H. Burch 1872-1873

Rev. W. E. Ketcham 1874-1876

Rev. W. F. Brush 1877-1879

Rev. B. N. Lewis 1880-1881

The nucleus of the Presbyterian Society began
about 1816. In 1815 a movement was made
toward the erection of a church edifice. It was to
be 34 by 50 feet. Henry Hoffman, Israel Harris,
Col. Silas Harris, Fyler Dibblee, Isaiah Dibble,
Isaac Huntling, William Woodin, Aaron E. Win-
chell, Walker Bostwick, Joshua Culver, Wilhehnus
Pulver and William Tanner were among the lead-
ing and active men, representing in belief Luther-
ans, Dutch Reformed, Presbyterians, Episcopahans,
Baptists and Universalists.

The building was completed in nine months, and
was called a " Union House." Since then the
Lutherans have built a church about six miles
north of Pine Plains, the Dutch Reformed have
become Presbyterians or Lutheran, the Baptists and ,
Episcopalians have each a church in this village,
and the Universalists go where they please or not
to either of them. The " Union Church " has,
therefore, become virtually Presbyterian, which will
explain the irregularity and denominational supply
in the following account of this church.* Among
those who preached here prior to 1816, were Revs.
Clarke, Hyde and Price. Soon after the erection
of the church building, the stated services of Rev.
Mr. Blair, a Presbyterian minister, were enjoyed for
about six months. Soon after he left, the Rev. Mr.
Gale, also a Presbyterian, supplied the pulpit for a
time. About the year 1817, Rev. Mr. Anthron, an
Episcopalian, residing at the time in Red Hook,
supphed the pulpit one-fourth of the time for about
two years. In the spring of 1819 Rev. R. G.
Armstrong, a Presbyterian, labored as stated sup-
ply for three years. About the year 1826, Rev. Mr.
Grear, also a Presbyterian, labored for a short time,
and there were occasional supplies from the Pres-
bytery and the Dutch Classis. The after supplies
were as follows : The Rev. Mr. Morgan,'Universalist,
six months, about 1829 or '30 ; Rev. Mr. Kettle,
of the Reformed Dutch Church, a portion of the
time for some two years, about 1830; Rev. Mr.
Beech, Episcopalian, one-fourth of the time for one
year, about 1832 ; Rev. Dr. Wackerhagen, a Luther-
an, one Sabbath in the month during the summer,
continuing his labors for several years, about 1833.

• * Preparefl by Rev. Win. Sayre, and by him read the Sunday previous
to July 7, 1879.



On September i, 1833, Rev. William N. Sayre,
of the North River Presbytery, the present pastor,
began his labors in the congregation. There was
here then no regular church organization other
than a few members constituting a Methodist class.
Religion was in a low state, and very little was
contributed for the support of the gospel. In the
spring of 1834, a Presbyterian church was organ-
ized, consisting of seven members only two of the
seven being male members. Eight more were
added in 1834, six in 1835, and fifteen in 1836.
From 1837 to 1839, fifty more were added to the
membership.

Mr. Sayre has been pastor over this church forty-
eight years.

During the years from 1833 to 1873, Mr.
Sayre baptized one hundred adults and forty-three
infants ; officiated at .three hundred and twelve
weddings, and six hundred and sixty-seven funerals.

The Baptist Church had its virtual organization
in 1835. It is recorded that at least two Baptist
members resided in this vicinity as early as 1810.
About 1815 they were in sufficient numbers to join
with those of other denominations in the erection
of the "Union Church," before mentioned, in
which, by special permission, they held services one
Sabbath afternoon in each month. Elder John
Buttolph, pastor of the Baptist Church, North East,*
was their preacher at this time, and in 18 18 he
began more connected labors, which were continued
about two years. Elder Luman Burtch, pastor of
the Baptist Church in Stanford, was afterwards en-
gaged, and continued his services a number of
years. On the 7th of June, 1835, at a special
meeting at the meeting house in Stanford^ there
were approved and baptized in the stream near
Cornelius Husted's, the following persons: — Cor-
nelius Husted, Alfred Brush, Milton Smith, Frederick
Couch and wife, Henry Gillum, Caroline Thomp-
son, Salvina Boothe.

On the 1 8th of July, 1835, at the house of Cor-
nelius Husted, was held the first Baptist Church
meeting in the town of Pine Plains, Elder Burtch
presiding.

Peter W. Husted, Julia Husted, Julia Ann
Woolsey, Aaron E. Winchell and Lydia L., his
wife, Charlotte Conklin and Leonard Boothe, were
accepted as members of the church, and were bap-
tized by Elder Burtch the first Sabbath in August,
1835-

On account of the opposition against the Bap-
tists at this time they were debarred the use of the

* Probably the vicinity of Spencer's Corners.



TOWN OF PINE PLAINS.



235



meeting house and school house, and their meet-
ings were now held in private dwellings.

On the 4th of April, 1836, the Baptist Society
was incorporated, and the act was recorded in the
County Clerk's office on the 28th of June. Cor-
nelius Husted, Charles Couch, Justus Booth, Niles
Hartwell, Alfred Brush and Aaron E. Winchell
were the first trustees. In 1836 they began the
construction of a house of worship. They pur-
chased a lot for $600, and a contract was made
with a carpenter to build a house 34 by 50 feet,
with basement and tower, to cost from $1,000 to
$1,200. The house was to be completed by July
I, 1837. The work was begun and the building
was nearly finished when, on the 3d of June, 1837,
about 6 p. M., a fearful tornado passed through
the town,* most destructive in its effects, and the
Baptist Church was leveled with the ground. Dis-
couraged, but not disheartened, they began again,
and through the aid of Elder Burtch, who came to
their assistance, and in connection with the neigh-
boring ministers and churches, who encouraged
them to proceed, another edifice was erected in
eleven months from the time of the catastrophe.
It was dedicated May 7, 1838, by the celebrated
Elder John Leland, then in the 84th year of his age.
Elder Burtch continued to have the oversight of
the Baptist interests in Pine Plains, and occasion-
ally preached for the Friends there, as did also El-
der T. Winter of North East, and Elder A. Smith of
the Second Dover Church.

In 1838 Rev. George Kempton, then a student
at Hamilton, and afterward a pastor in North East,
ministered here from August i8th to October. In
April, 1839, ^ call was extended to Elder Nathan
D. Benedict, of Woodstock, Conn., which was ac-
cepted, and he began his labors here in that month.
Up to this tim^ the Pine Plains Church had been
a branch of the Stanford Church. It was now
deemed best to form themselves into an independ-
ent Baptist Church. According to notice previ-
ously given, the Baptist members living in and
around Pine Plains met in their house of worship
May 8, 1839, where they voted to embody them-
selves into a regular Baptist Church, to be called
the " Baptist Church of Pine Plains."

The constituent members numbered twenty-six,
as follows : Rev. N. D. Benedict, Polly Ann Bene-
dict, Mary Ann Benedict, from Woodstock, Conn.,
Cornelius Husted, Peter W. Husted, Julia Rey-
nolds, Julia A. Woolsey, Aaron E. Winchell, Lydia

* A (^ui'te serious tornado passed through the vicinity of the village in
July, 1881.



L. Winchell, Carohne Thompson, Mary Thomp-
son, Smith B. Couch, Amy G. Couch, Charles
Couch, Frederick Couch, Margaret Couch, Alfred
Brush, Sophia Brush,* W. H. Conklin, Elizabeth
Conklin, Leonard Boothe and Salvina Best, by
letter from Stanford; Niles Hartwell, Mary Hart-
well, Mary McLane, and Phebe Husted by letter
from North East.

The church was duly recognized by the council
invited, May 30, 1839. June 8, 1839, Alfred
Brush t and Charles Couch were elected deacons,
and Aaron E. Winchell.f church clerk. The
church was received into the Duchess Association
October 2, 1839. Elder Benedict continued his
services with the church until April, 1843.

The next pastor was Elder J. B. Breed, from
Rah way. N. J., who began his labors the last Sab-
bath in May, 1843. He resigned his charge in
April, 1849, but returned in March, 1850, and re-
mained until October i, 1851. He served the
church seven years, during which time some thirty-
one were added to the membership by baptism.
From October, 1851 to May, 1853, the church was
without a settled pastor, and much of the time
without regular preaching. Rev. S. B. Willis, of
Maryland, Otsego county, N. Y,, became the next
pastor, May i, 1853, and remained until April,
1855. The church was then without a pastor a
year and one-half A portion of this time services
were rendered by E. Weed and Elder Lucas, pas-
tor of the Stanford church, who in May, 1856, bap-
tized six into the membership of the church. Rev.
John Reynolds became the next settled pastor De-
cember 7th, 1856. His pastorate extended over a
period of seventeen years, with the exception of
one year, when, feeling discouraged, he resigned
to accept a call from the Port Byron Baptist Church.
In a little over a year he returned to Pine Plains,
and remained with this church until his death. May
14, 1873, in the 79th year of his age.

In 1870 the church repaired and improved the
house of worship, at an expense of some $3,500.
In 1874, the trustees^ by a vote of the church, sold
the parsonage and lot, to build another parsonage,
and with the surplus pay off the church debt.
There was but little preaching from the time of
Mr. Reynold's death until March 4th, 1874, when
Rev. S. L. Holman became the pastor, and re-
mained in charge some fifteen months. He was
succeeded by Rev. Everett D. Stearns, who re-
m ained a year and a half, when he left to become

* Died Dec. 8, 1875.
t Died March 6, 1871.
% Died Aug. 10, 1S48.



236



HISTORY OF DUCHESS COUNTY.



pastor of the Baptist church in Conway, Mass.,
where he died in May, 1880, in the twenty-ninth
year of his age. The next pastor was J. B. Nairn,
then a student in Madison University, who sup-
plied the pulpit from June i, 1878, to September



Online LibraryJames H. (James Hadden) SmithHistory of Duchess county, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers → online text (page 48 of 125)