Amasa J. (Amasa Junius) Parker.

Landmarks of Albany County, New York online

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it to Abram A. Tygert, and this is now kept by J. Snyder. A little
later a third store was built, which was managed for a time by Crowe,
Davenport & Crowe, Davenport & Fredericks, and is now conducted by
A. A. Tygert. Rev. N. Klock built a store some years ago and ran it
for a time. A tin and stove store was opened by W. H. Lay, who was
succeeded by Osborn & Taber, who in turn were followed by the pres-
ent proprietor, Ira Secor. A furniture store and undertaking business
was started in 1877 by John Thierolf, which was transferred in 1885 to
Ogsbury & Vanderpool, who were succeeded by M. F. Hallenbeck, the
present proprietor.

In 1867 the Union Hotel was built and for a time was under manage-
ment of George Severson. Andrew Warner next had it for about a
year and was succeeded in 1869 by John StatTord, who kept it many
years. It is now called the Commercial, and is managed by Mrs. Eggle-
ston. The former Knowersville House was built in 1876 by James
Ogsbury, who occupied it a short time, when it was sold to Adam
Wetherwax. It is now called the Altamont House and is conducted by
James O. Stitt, the recent Democratic nominee for county treasurer.

In 1874 Henry Lockwood built a carriage factory which was occupied
by Van Benschoten Brothers up to 1880, and then by Van Benschoten
& Warner. It was burned down but was rebuilt by Mrs. V^an Ben-
schoten and is now occupied by Warner & Van Benschoten. William
H. Van Benschoten established a harness shop in 1870, and was suc-
ceeded by Frank Decker; the present harness shop is kept by Charles
Beebe. Nathaniel Sturges is a well established jeweler, having been in
the trade for twenty years past.


Adam Sand was formerly a prominent business man of this village
and was succeeded by his sons, who formed the firm of Sand Brothers.
The saw and planing mill established by Philley, Elsass & Warner, also
came into the hands of Sand & Son, who added a grist mill, but this is
now operated by J. C. Ottman.

Altamont has become an extensive hay market, and is also a shipping
point for other products from a wide extent of territory. Many firms
have been, and several are now, large buyers of hay in this place,
among whom are Ira Fairlee, Isaac Reamer, Edwin Clute. Sand
Brothers, and Crannell Brothers are extensive dealers in coal, lumber,
stone, building materials, etc.

Among the physicians who have practiced at different points in Guild-
erland have been Dr. James S. Low, who came in 1820; Dr. Frederick
Crounse, 1833; Dr. Jonathan Johnson, an early practitioner ; Dr. An-
drew Wilson, who was for twenty-four years in practice in this town;
Dr. Barrows (at Sloan's) and Dr. Abram De Graff; Dr. Thomas Helme,
long in practice at McKownsville ; Dr. Jesse Crounse, Dr. R. F. Barton,
Dr. Andrew C. Crounse, and Dr. I. S. Becker, in Altamont.

Hiram Griggs became a resident of Knowersville in 1862, and has
pursued the practice of law ever since. He is a leading and public
spirited citizen, and has been called to several important positions. He
was supervisor for ten years, has been president of Altamont village
since December, 1890, and was member of assembly for three years.
Atchison Miller has also practiced law successfully in this village.

About the year 1877 Rev. N. Klock began publishing the Golden
Era in Knowersville, which he removed to Mechanicsville five years
later. In July, 1884, David H. Crowe established the Knowersville
Enterprise. Soon afterwards the Enterprise Company, consisting of
John D. Ogsbury and Junius D. Ogsbury, acquired the establishment
and have continued the publication since. The name of this village was
changed to Altamont, from the high mountain peak near by, on October
I, 1887, at which time the name of the Enterprise newspaper was
changed to correspond.

The visitor to this pretty village is struck by the general air of pros-
perity everywhere seen. Nearly all of the streets are bordered with
stone sidewalks ; a waterworks system was established in the fall of


1892, at a cost of nearly $20,000, bringing pure spring water to all the
principal streets; new dwellings abound, good schools are maintained,
and the community as a whole is intelligent, progressive, and well gov-
erned. Mr. Merrill, of Albanj', resides in what was formerly the Ku-
shaqua Hotel on the mountain side above the village. Others who
reside here during the summer are Judge R. W. Peckham, Mayor
Thacher, James D. Wasson, Charles L. Pruyn, Mrs. Cassidy, Edward
R. Cassidy, J B. Groot, and Col. Henry C. Cushman.
The officers of Altamont village for 1896 are as follows:

Hiram Griggs, president; trustees, James Keenholtz, Lewis E. Fouler, George W.
Davenport ; clerk, I. Knower Stafford ; treasurer, John Johnson ; commissioner,
Robert Hurst ; water commissioners, Montford A. Sand, Dr. I. S. Becker, Henry A.
Wilber, Joseph Snyder, Nathaniel Sturges, Junius Ogsbury; health commissioners,
Adam Sitterlee, Michael F. Crowe, Matthe^: Tice; health officer. Dr. Rufus S.

A hose company is maintained with thirty members, of which J. L.
Smith is foreman, and M. A. Sand, assistant.

The Altamont Driving Park and Fair Association was organized in
1893 and held their first fair in that year, which was a gratifying suc-
cess. The association is incorporated and belongs to the Central New
York Fair Circuit, comprising Albany, Fulton, Montgomery, Coble-
skill (town), and Schoharie counties. The officers of the association are
as follows :

I. H. Reamer, president; C. M. Frederick, vice-president; J. O. Stitt, treasurer;
Silas Hilton, secretary; Edwin Clute. superintendent. Directors: I. H. Reamer,
L. E. Fowler, James Keenholts, M. A. Sand, C. M. Frederick, H. S. Gilbert, Edwin
Clute, Charles B. Warner, M. F. Hellenbeck, Edward Becker, J. O. Stitt, \V. E.
Deitz, Henry Bin.s.

The association has a fine park containing all necessary buildings witli
a track just outside of the village of Altamont.

Dunnsville is a hamlet and post office in the northern part of this
town, which took its name ftom Christopher Dunn, who was the origi-
nal owner of lands here. A small business has always been conducted
in the place. A hotel formerly conducted by Samuel Robinson is now
kept by William Wagner. Frederick Joos is a blacksmith, and a store
is kept by William Blessing.

Fuller's Station is situated to the north of the center of the town on


the West Shore Railroad, and has attained such growth as it has largely
on account of the railroad and through the efforts of Hon. Aaron Fuller,
from whom it takes its name. Of the two hotels built here by Sanford
S. Ford, one was kept by him and subsequently burned. The other is
now kept by John Friday. Samuel Van Allen long kept the store
which is now in the hands of his son Richard The firm of Tygert &
Martin, hay dealers and commission merchants, was succeeded by
Thomas Tygert.

McKownsville is a post-office and small settlement in the southern
part of the town, and takes its name from the McKown family who set-
tled there at an early period and became prominent in town affairs. A
hotel is kept by William Witbeck.

Guilderland Station is a small hamlet, without post-office, where Will-
iam Schoolcraft has a store.

Meadow Dale is a post-office and small hamlet in the extreme south-
ern part of the town.

Closely following the opening of settlement in the various localities went
the missionary preachers, patiently doing their duty, and gathering the
believers together in meetings held in dwellings, barns, or in the open air,
and establishing the enduring foundations of the later churches. Many
of these were of the Lutheran faith, and one of the earliest ministers of
that denomination to labor in Guilderland was Rev. Peter N. Sommers
who began his work in 1743. He passed his whole life in the field, preach
ing throughout a wide extent of territory, and being beloved wherever h<
went. No regular organization was effected in this town until October 13
1787, when St. John's Evangelical I^utheran church came into exist
ence, with Rev. Heinrich Moeller as the first pastor. At the first com-
munion service, August 11, 1788, there were present fifty-eight com
municants. After a short term of service by a Rev. Mr. Mayers Rev
Adam Crounse was called in 182S. He preached to this congregation
and to the one in Berne for thirty- five years, and made this church one
of the strongest in the Synod. As a result of the great revival of 1832,
100 new members joined the church. Other revivals of little less impor-
tance followed in later years under the energetic and effective labors of
Mr. Crounse. He died while with this chnrch on May 13, 1864. Mr.
Crounse was succeeded by Rev. J. W. Lake, and he by David Swope in


1869. By this time the old church building which stood about midway
between Guilderland Center and Knowersville, neither of which villages
had a church of its own, was in great need of repair. After much dis-
cussion it was determined to abandon the old site and erect a house of
worship in each village, with separate congregations. John Mann
donated a church lot in Guilderland Center, and Conrad Crounse gave
one in Knowersville. The two churches were built simultaneously
at a gross cost of $20,000, the one at the Center being consecrated in
F'ebruary, 1872, and the other in the following month. After the
division of the congregation the Knowersville church took the name of
St. James, and the church at the Center the name of St. Mark's. Roth
have maintained an active existence ever since. While the question of
building new churches was being agitated, the Methodists purchased a
lot at Knowersville and arranged to erect a house of worship, but the
successful outcome of the plans of the Lutherans caused them to aban-
don their plans

Of the Reformed church in this town there is no record earlier than the
pastorate of Rev. Thomas Van Heusen, who was called here in 1795, and
remained for thirty years, but it is known that there were services held
here in this faith many years earlier. Mr. Van Heusen established
the church upon a solid foundation, but left it shortly before his
death. He is buried at New Scotland. He was succeeded by Rev.
Dr. Hardenburgh, who remained only a few months, and was followed
by Rev. Robert Blair, who also left after a short time, and after two or
three other short pastorates. Rev. William P. Davis was called. He
was well known here from his assistance at several revivals, and from his
successful labors at the Glass House. In 1834 the old Red Church, as it
was termed, gave place to a more modern aiul commodious house of
worship, which was built by subscription in 1867. Meanwhile, in 1856,
the parsonage on the church farm of fifty acres which had been given by
the Patroon, was enlarged at an expense of $1,600. Rev. Mr. Davis was
succeeded in 1869 by Rev. S. L. Gamble, whose pastorate was a long
and successful one. The society was subsequently divided and new
church edifices were erected, one at Altamont and one at Guilderland

The Hamilton Union church of Guilderland was organized in the


Presbyterian faith, and so remains, but is now in use by that sect and
the Reformed sect in the vicinity of Sloan's (or Guilderiand) in the east-
ern part of the town. The organization was effected IVIarch 25, 1824,
by a committee from the Albany Presbytery, with seventeen members.
The first pastor was Rev. Judson Buck, who was installed October 19,
1825. Tlie church was erected in 1833, and dedicated January 30,

Methodist preacliing began almost at the commencement of the cen-
tury in Guilderiand, meetings being held in dwellings, and later for
a long period in the school house near Fuller's Station. About 1852
a spirited revival began and the need of a church was felt. It was
finally decided that a house of worship should be built at the Glass House
(Guilderiand village) in the eastern part of the town. Land was do-
nated by George C. Batterman and an edifice was erected thereon at a
cost of about $2,000, which was dedicated in the autumn of 1852. On
the i8th of April, 1853, a church organization was effected, with the
following trustees: Henry Spawn, John Arnold, Giles Reagles, Isaac
Pearl, Robert D. Carhart, Elijah Chesebro, William Powell, William
Chesebio, and I\I. Y. Cheesebrough. In May of the next year the par-
sonage was purchased. In 1866 the church building was improved by
raising it and making a basement chapel beneath, and a gallery was
built across the end of the audience room. Again in 1874 further
improvements were made in the structure.

The Methodist Episcopal church of McKownsville is situated about
a mile west of the Albany city line, where a church edifice was erected
in 1866, an acre of land having been presented for the purpose by John
McKown. This society has been under the same pastoral charge as the
Guilderiand church.

Tiie State Road Methodist church was organized in 1864 by Rev.
E, E. Taylor, with a membership of thirty, and in the following year a
house of worship was erected at a cost of $4 000. Its first pastor was
Rev. John N. Short since whose day the society has had a prosperous

Following is a list of the supervisors of Guilderiand from its organiza-
tion to the present time, with the years of their election :

1804-1805, James Henderson; 1806-1«08, Peter Van Patten; 1809, Robert Gray;
1810-1811, David Bogardus ; 1812, Aaron Grote; 181:3-24, William McKown; 1825-


30, George Batterman : lS31-:i2, Aaron Livingston; lS'.!;!-39, Christopher Batternian;
1840-41, Henry Sloan; 1842^5, Peter Shaver; 1846-47, John Fnller; 1848-49, Jacob
I. Fryer; 1850-51, Elijah Spawn ; 1852-53, W. Vine; 1854-.56, George Y. Johnson;
1857-59, Henry Hilton; 1860, Leonard Wilkins; 1861-66, Stephen V. Frederick;
1867-76, Hiram Griggs; 1877-80, John C. Grant; 1881-84, Aaron Fnller; 1885-87,
Benjamin Crounse; 1888-89, David Relyea; 1890-92, Howard P. Foster; 1893-97,
Peter Walker.


Westerlo is situated upon the soutliern border of the county, near the
center of that line, liaving the towns of Coeymans and Rensselaerville
respectively on its eastern and western boundaries. It was formed
from these two towns, March i6, 1815, being the seventh town erected
in the county. It was named in honor of Rev. Eilardus Westerlo, wlio
came from Holland in 1760 and was pastor of the Reformed Dutch
church at Albany.

The civil history of Westerlo dates from April 4, 181 5, when the first
town meeting was held at the house of William Beardsiey, at which
Johu Gibbons was chosen moderator and other town officers were

The surface of the town is broken and hilly and generally inclines
toward the south, the banks of the streams being steep and irregular and
the valleys mere narrow ravines. The soil is a sandy and gravelly
loam, interspersed with clay and underlaid with "hardpan." The town
contains no very high land, the highest point, which is in the northern
part of the town, being eight hundred feet above tide.

The streams are the Hannakrois Creek, flowing through the northeast-
ern corner ; the Basic • Creek, rising in the extreme northern part of the
town and flowing south through Chesterville and South Westerlo, with
Fly and Wolf Creeks, and other small streams as tributaries ; and Eight-
mile Creek, flowing south through the western part of the town into


Rcnsselaerville and emptying into Ten-mile Creek. There is a small
lake near Van Leuven's Corners, the outlet of which is the source of the

In the very early days the asheries were a prominent industry and
served as an incentive for clearing much of the dense wilderness. Trees
were felled, burned and the ashes gathered and taken to the ashery and
sold or exchanged for family supplies.

Some manufacturing is done in and near the village of Westerlo, but
for the most part the inhabitants are engaged in the pursuit of agricul-

The first mills were those erected by Lobdell and Baker in 1795, and
were situated a short distance south of the site of Chesterville on Basic
Creek, on lots 328 and 200 of Van Rensselaer's patent, across the stream
from the spot where now are the mills of Orville Lobdell.

At South Westerlo were formerly a tannery and asheries belonging
to the Smiths, who afterward erected a grist mill. This mill passed
through the hands of several owners, and is now operated by D. M.
Wooster. W D. Calder's mills for the manufacture of flannels, cassi-
meres, satinets and yarns are also located here on Basic Creek. At this
place, also, are a fruit evaporator owned and run by Cunningham Bros.,
and the factor}- of the South Westerlo Elgin Creamery Company,
makers of butter. The grist and saw mills of William A. Dickson &
Son are on the Hannakrois Creek near Dormansville. Saw mills are
numerous ; Darius Lockwood on Wolf Creek ; Samuel Snyder on Eight-
mile Creek ; and Henry A. Ford on Basic Creek, the latter mill having
been built in 1 870.

About 1812 a Mr. Jenks had a carding mill on Basic Creek below
Chesterville, which was destroyed by fire. Another was built in its
place by George Wiltsey and operated by Drum & Possom, who later
converted it into a turning shop and finally into a grist mill, remains of
which yet exist.

A. S. Green owns and operates a fruit eva[)orator at Chesterville.
Here, also, are quarries of graywacke, which furnish an excellent flag-
ging and building stone. Another important industry in this village
is bee culture.

The principal crops are hay, rye, corn, oats and buckwheat, while

dairy farming and sheep raising are profitably followed by many, though
the latter industry lias greatly diminished in late years. A great deal
of fruit has always been raised since the early days, and of late years its
cultivation has been stimulated by the erection of evaporators.

It is impossible to ascertain who were the first settlers within the
present limits of Westerlo, or when they came, but it was certainly some
time before the Revolution that men pushed into the wilderness and
commenced making homes for themselves here.

Jacob Ford came from the Hillsdale district in Columbia county in
1795, and settled on lot 369, and later on lot 318, now in possession of
Henry A. Ford.

Adam St. John, of Scottish origin, came from Old Paltz to Westerlo
in 1790 and settled at Lamb's Corners, having originally come with the
Huguenots from Holland. He and four of his brothers were soldiers in
the Revolutionary war, and were at Yorktown at the surrender of Corn-
wallis. Many of their descendants still reside in the town.

Jehial Lamb came from Massachusetts and settled in the southwestern
part of the town about 1793, and Jacob Ingalls moved herefrom Rhode
Island about the same time. Descendants of these two families live
near Lamb's Corners.

Isaac Winston settled near Chesterville, and while serving in the war
for independence was taken prisoner and held for eighteen months.

Stephen and Solomon Mabey came from Rhode Island soon after the
Revolution and settled at South Westerlo. Samuel Mabey was born
here October 20, 1792, and died August 14, 1870, on the same farm.
His son, S. E. Mabey, lives near South Westerlo.

Dr. Jonathan Prosser came from Dutchess county in 1788 and settled
on the farm now occupied by Henry Simpkins. Lodowick and Jacob
Hanes, Germans, settled at an early day on Basic Creek near Dormans-
ville. Josiah Hinckley, another Revolutionary soldier, took up in 1783
the farm now owned by his grandson. At this time there were but
eight families in the town.

John Gibbons, born 1766, lived at New London, Conn., and during
the Revolutionary war drove an ox team and helped to remove the
military stores during the night from New London to a place of safety.
He removed to Rensselaer county after the war, and in 1795 came


to Dormansville. His son, Ransom H. Gibbons, was born in 1802
and located at Dormansville as physician in 1826, after studying with
Dr. Zina Lay and Dr. Hyde and attending a course of lectures at Fair-
field and having been licensed by the censors of Herkimer county. He
died in 1890, leaving one son and one daughter who is now the wife
of Rev. Luther Peck, of Scranton, Pa.; the son, Edward, is still living
at Dormansville. Isaac Rundell settled at South Westerlo in 1780 on
the farm now owned by his grandson, Darius Rundell.

Nathaniel Gale, with his father, Thomas, and his grandfather, John,
moved to Westerlo from Tarrytown, Westchester county, in 1800, and
took up their abode in a log house. Nathaniel's son, John W., is still
living on the old place near Dormansville.

The early physicians of Westerlo were Drs. Zina W. and Josiah Lay,
Jonathan Prosser, Erastus Hamilton, who became an assistant surgeon
in the war of 1812, Peleg Peckham, P. S. Brigham, Willis A. Alston,
Hiram Barber and George Holmes.

Among other early settlers were William Haverland, William Bird,
James Arnold, Abram Becker, Rev. Reuben Stanton, who was a sur-
veyor and received for his services one hundred acres of land, Jared
Reynold, Daniel Lockwood and William Wheaton.

Chesterville (Westerlo post office), one of the hamlets of the town,
is situated about one mile north of the center of the township, on Basic
Creek, fifteen miles from Coeymans Landing and twenty miles from
Albany. It was named after Rev. John Chester, who was formerly pas-
tor of the Second Presbyterian church of Albany. The post-office, one
of the first in the town, was established about 1827. Previous to this
letters and papers were delivered by post-riders once a week, by Squire
Brown and a man named Peck, who are still remembered by a few of
the inhabitants. Now the mails are received daily, the present post-
master being George J. Graham. Chesterville is the earliest settlement
in the town. It was here that Philip Myers located before the Revolu-
tionary war, while Grant and Eadie had an ashery and kept a store in
1798. Moses Smith followed as a merchant, tavern-keeper and manu-
facturer of potash. Nicholas Lapaugh and Henry Puree were also
tavern-keepers, and Jeremiah Green operated a tannery. The hamlet
now contains fifty dwellings and two hundred and twenty-five inhab-


itants. There are two churches — Reformed and Baptist — a school house,
one hotel of which Charles Ilaverly is the proprietor, and four stores —
A. S. Green & Son, general merchandise ; Perry Swartout, sundry mer-
chandise ; Hiram K. Jones, dry goods and groceries ; Gilbert Ander-
son, hardware and tin ; two blacksmiths and two wheelwright shops,
one general undertaker, two shoe shops, paint shop, and a millinery and
dressmaking shop. The legal profession is represented by A. D. War-
ner, attorney and counselor at law, while the doctors are John N. Brad-
ley and Arthur A. Vibbard. A Masonic lodge was established here
about 1820, with the following persons as members: James Sackett,
Sylvester Ford, George Prindle and Nicholas Lapaugh. The Good
Templars instituted a lodge here in 1878, which has been abandoned.

South Westerlo (post-office) is situated in the south central part of
the township, between Basic and Wolf Creeks. It was first called
Smith's Mills, after David Smith. The name was changed in 1827,
when the post-office was established with Thomas Saxton as post-
master, who held it thereafter for twenty- nine years. He came here
when fourteen years old, served as clerk for his uncle, Thomas Smith,
and continued in business until 1859. Among the early settlers and
business men were Thomas Smith, general merchant, distiller and manu-
facturer of potash ; and Messrs. Bemet, Wheaton, Cross, Storer, Stan-
ton, Reynolds, Lockwood, Slauson and Trowbridge. South Westerlo
now has some twenty-seven dwellings and one hundred and thirty resi-
dents, and contains a Christian church, school house, wheelwright and
blacksmith shop. D. J. Bishop is the postmaster, while stores are kept
by L. S. Lockwood and Stuart & Robbins. Here is also the Cottage
Hotel, of which A. M. Kipp is the proprietor.

Dormansville (post-office) is in the east central part of the town, and
was named in honor of Daniel Dorman, who was the first postmaster in
1832. Among its first settlers were W. Tomkins, William Ward and
Lewis Husted, who kept a public house. Here is still standing what is
left of the first square frame school house built in the town. Formerly
Hiram and Erastus Gibbons were proprietors of the Dormansville Hotel
and dealers in dry goods, groceries and general merchandise. The
hotel business has been abandoned, but the other branches are con-
tinued. Dell Powell is the present postmaster. Dormansville contains

Online LibraryAmasa J. (Amasa Junius) ParkerLandmarks of Albany County, New York → online text (page 53 of 138)