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COPYRIGHT DEPOSIT



THE EARLY

HISTORY OF SAUGERTIES
1660-1825



BY



BENJAMIN MYER BRINK



Ubat our (Ibil^ren ma^ be patriots
we tell tbem of our jf atbers



WITH SIXTEEN ILLUSTRATIONS






KINGSTON, N. Y.
H. W. ANDERSON & SON

1902



THE LIBRARY OF
CONGRESS,

Two CoptEs Received

JIJN. 14 1902

nC0PVR«3MT ENTRY

cLaSS CL^XXa No.
COPY B.



Copyright, IQ02, by
BENJAMIN MYER BRINK.

All rights reserved.



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TO THOSE OLD FRIENDS

NOW CONSTITUTING

Sauacvties Cbapter, Saugbters of tbe Bmericau IRcvolution,

WHO WITH HIM ARE

DESCENDANTS OF THE SAME SIRES, WHO, IN
THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

GAVE THEIR

LIVES, THEIR FORTUNES. AND THEIR SACRED HONOR

TO SECURE THE

CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

WE ENJOY,

THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED

BY

THE AUTHOR.



PREFACE.

At the request of Saugerties Chapter, Daughters
of the American Revokition, the author has attempt-
ed to tell the story of the settlement and develop-
ment of the town of Saugerties, basing this work
upon papers contributed at various times to the
press.

He would acknowledge the assistance given him
by that chapter, not only so far as it has been per-
sonal, but more than this in its cultivation of a
spirit of true patriotism which more than justifies its
existence as the world may thus know that its very
being calls attention to all our ancestors struggled
for, suffered and sacrificed that they and their chil-
dren might be forever free.

He has attempted to tell how those ancestors
lived their simple and sincere lives ; to set forth
their manners, customs and pleasures; to record
how they developed their young men and maidens
into men and women physically, mentally and
spiritually, and built the township we love.

He has attempted to gather up their old Dutch
ballads, folk songs, riddles, nursery rhymes and
nonsense verses before it is forever too late. This
has never been done, and it can not be done by
the next generation. He here expresses his indebt-



vi PREFACE.

edness to the many friends whose assistance was
indispensable.

In selecting the subjects for the ilkistrations he
has chosen those alone which are connected with
the town history. He attempted to secure a pic-
ture of the first physician, but failed ; and sub-
stituted his residence instead. The typical Dutch
farm house is inserted because it is typical. No
portrait of pastor Kocherthal exists, nor of the
West Camp church. The monumental tablet is
given instead. The house of Christian Myer is
included for the reason that the home of the family
from which came eighteen Revolutionary soldiers
should be held in everlasting remembrance. The
first minister (except Kocherthal) and the first mer-
chant, with his residence and store, are included ;
but the first lawyer could not be. There was none
until shortly before the date at which this story
stops. And the author regrets that the book has
not reached the standard of his wishes, efforts and
intentions.



CHAPTER

I.

II.

III.

IV.

V.

VI.

VII.

VIII.

IX.

X.

XI.

XII.

XIII.

XIV.

XV.

XVI.

XVII.

XVIII.

XIX.

XX.

XXI.

XXII.

XXIII.

XXIV.

XXV,



CONTENTS.

I'AGE

Introductory and Descriptive .... 1

A Decisive Battle 7"

The Earliest Records 14

The Coming of the Palatines .... 27

The Palatines at the Camp 34

The Palatines Find Homes 42

The West Camp Church 50

The Palatine Leader 55

Sixty Formative Years 60

Saugerties Village Before the Revolu-
tion 67

Katsbaan Before the Revolution ... 75
Cedar Grove Before the Revolution . 83
Churchland and Plattekill Before the

Revolution 89

Saxton and Asbury Before the Revolu-
tion 96

Maiden and West Camp Before the

Revolution 104

Glasco and Flatbush Before the Revo-
lution Ill

The Legion of Honor 118

The Revolutionary War 126

Continuation of the Tappen Journal . 133

The Campaign of 1776 140

The Campaign of 1777 147

The Campaigns of 1778 and 1779 . .156

Patriotic Divines 163

An Indian and Tory Raid 168

In Captivity in Canada 177



Vlll



CONTENTS.



XXVI. Captain Snyder's Escape . . . .183

XXVII. After the Revolution 191

XXVIII. Educational Conditions After the

Revolution 197

XXIX. The Country Doctor 203

XXX. The Old Farm Houses 210

XXXI. Farm Life in Olden Time . . . .218
XXXII. The Indispensable Loom ... . 226

XXXIII. Social Life in Olden Time . . . . 222

XXXIV. Interesting Documents pf the Revo-

lution 239

XXXV. The Katsbaan Church 245

XXXVI. The Beaver Creek 257

XXXVII. The Days of Sloops 262

XXXVIII. The Trip of the Clermont . . . . 268
XXXIX. The Formation of the Town ... 275

XL. Beginning to Grow 283

XLI. Building the Factories and Open-
ing the Quarries 291

XLII. Military Leaders 299

XLIII. The Saugerties Bard 310

XLIV. ''Katsbaan" 316

XLV. Old Dutch Ballads, Rhymes and

Folk Songs 324

XLVI. Saugerties Chapter, Daughters of

the American Revolution . . . 346
Appendix —

Saugerties Soldiers of the Revolution . 349
The Graves of the Patriots 353



ILLUSTRATIONS.

PAGE

Site of Old Sawyer's Mill 6

Ravine Where the Indians Fought 11

The Oldest House in Town 24

The Kocherthal Tablet 57

The Post Tavern 12

The Katsbaan Church of 1732 76

The Persen Residence and Store 80

The Cedar CHpje 96

Steene Herte and Fountain 101

The House of Major Dan Wolven 106

Field Where Capt. Snyder was Captured . . .168

Residence of Dr. Kiersted 208

A Typical Dutch Farm House 215

CorneUus Persen 229

Rev. George Wilhelmus Mancius 247

House of Christian Myer 359



THE EARLY HISTORY OF
SAUGERTIES.



CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY AND DESCRIPTIVE.

The town of Saugerties is the northeast town
of Ulster county, New York, and extends from
the centre of the channel of the Hudson river
to the brow of the Catskills. Its northern limit
is the boundary line with Greene county, and
on the south the town of Ulster where the
Plattekill empties into the Esopus. Its area is
about 30,000 acres, and its population was in
1900 9,754. This had decreased in the preced-
ing twenty-five years from 10,934 in 1875.

The town was organized from the town of
Kingston, April 5, 181 1, and is thus of the
Nineteenth Century. But for more than one
hundred and twenty-five years preceding it had
been a large factor in what constituted the
town of Kingston, and Katsbaan and West
Camp were known throughout the colonies
before the Revolution ; the latter as the scene
where was colonized the first German emigra-



2 HISTORY OF SAUGERTIES.

tion to America in 1710, in an ill starred project
of the British Government for the production
of naval stores, which failed, and the former as
the location of a widely-known country store,
so widely, in fact, that Burgoyne had selected
Katsbaan as the site of one of his three
camps between Albany and Kingston upon his
intended march from the former city to New
York. The others were Kack's Hackey (Cox-
sackie) and Katskill (Leeds). It is needless to
add that some men from Katsbaan assisted in
dissuading him at a meeting they had with
Burgoyne at Saratoga.

The town occupies two distinct plateaus.
The lower one extends from the hills along
the Hudson to the mountain ridge, two peaks
of which are respectively Mt. Airy and Mt.
Marion. This ridge divides the town from
north to south into two nearly equal portions.

The eastern plateau lies upon strata of sand-
stone and shale along its eastern border, with
limestone ledges farther west. All these extend
in a northerly and southerly direction. The
upper, or western plateau lies upon a founda-
tion of greywacke, commercially known as blue-
stone, which has been for three-fourths of a
century the source of the chief industry of the
town.

The town is well watered. Along the whole
of its eastern border flows the Hudson.



INTRODUCTORY AND DESCRIPTIVE. 3

Through the southern half come the waters
of the Esopus creek which have proceeded
from their source in the heart of the Catskills
for many miles in a southeasterly direction
until they were free from the confinement of
the mountains. When they reached the fertile
plain in the town of Marbletown they coursed
due north for thirty miles to Saugerties village,
where, after watering as productive fields as
the sun shines on, they empty into the Hudson.
Through parts of the northwestern portion of
the town the Cauterskill carries the rainfall
of the Catskills to the river, and through the
western part the Plattekill performs the same
service. The Beaver drains the upper and
lower plateaus in a ten mile course, and in the
northeast the little, though historic Saw creek
does like duty. It is a peculiarity that all of
these streams except the Plattekill and Saw
creek flow north.

It is contemplated in this history to tell the
story of the settlement of the town and its
growth ; to show the nationality and character
of those who were the pioneers, and from whom
the people of the town descended until its
development into a manufacturing centre upon
the purchase of its immense water power at
Saugerties in 1825. In carrying out this inten-
tion the first important event will be the coming
of the Palatines in 1710 and the story of the



4 HISTORY OF SAUGERTIES.

two churches which they founded at West
Camp and Katsbaan ; the second, the service
of townsmen in the French and Indian War,
and the third, the story of their connection
with the fight for our civil liberties. In this
connection it may be said that the dangers to
the patriot cause from the invasion of Bur-
goyne in 1777 called into military service in
the field during the summer and autumn of
that year practically the whole male popula-
tion, young and old, of the town capable of
bearing arms. Even men who had been Tories
at the beginning of the war were compelled to
assist or leave the country. A few families did
so and went to Canada. A few more remained
loyal to the British Crown, but the most of
those who had been opposed to the cause of
the patriots in 1775 became, under the stress
of events, at least nominal patriots. This will
explain why names of certain Tories are found
on the list of the patriots who served in the
army.

This town was included in the charter given
to Kingston in 1667, and when, on the 19th
day of May, 1687, Gov. Dongan issued the
patent for the grant of the large territory to
the freeholders of the town of Kingston in
trust, which was for more than one hundred
years known as "The Kingston Commons," it
comprised all the town of Saugerties south and



INTRODUCTORY AND DESCRIPTIVE. 5

west of Sawyer's creek, with the exception of
the four Meals and Hayes patents, until the
bounds of the great Hardenbergh patent were
reached at the foot of the Catskill mountains.
Thus most of the early settlers derived the
titles to their farms and homes from the trus-
tees of Kingston Commons.

Although a part of the town of Kingston,
this town did not participate in its Indian
troubles of 1655 to 1663. There is no cer-
tainty of any permanent settler within the
borders of the town of Saugerties at that time.
The question of ** the old sawyer," or " little
sawyer," will be. taken up in a subsequent
chapter. But aside from him there is no rec-
ord of a settler within this town before 1688,
when Cornelius Lambertsen Brink acquired
lands on the southern border of the town at
the junction of the Plattekill and Esopus, and
built the stone house still standing. He had
been a captive taken at the massacre at Esopus
(Kingston) in 1663. With twenty-two others
he was rescued after a captivity among the
savages of just three months.

Nor were there any Indian troubles within
the town except when, during the Revolution,
the savages were incited by the Tories. Per-
manent settlement was not made until after
the treaties between the Indians and colonial
Governors Stuyvesant and Andros had extin-



6 HISTORY OF SAUGERTIES.

guished all Indian titles, and thus the early-
settlers were able to live without the dread of
a nnidnight attack by a savage foe with all the
horrors of the tomahawk and scalping knife.

Indian villages did not exist within the bord-
ers of the town. It was a sort of neutral ground
between the Katskill Indians on the north and
the Esopus Indians on the south. Evidences
such as arrowheads, knives and axes of stone
are continually found here which show it to
have been in their occupancy. The journal of
Capt. Martin Cregier in 1663 tells of the Indian
maize plantation just north of the present vil-
lage of Saugerties, and there are other evidences
about town that Indians were often here. It
is safe to say that no permanent Indian village
existed within the limits of the town of Sau-
gerties.

In the earlier chapters of those to follow
much will appear concerning an "old sawyer,"
or a " little sawyer" who is only known by that
appellation. He had a sawmill at the mouth
of the little stream still known as the Saw
creek, and by the Dutch his mill was spoken
of in the possessive case as " de zaagertje's," or
the sawyer's. From this came the name of the
stream on which his mill was erected, then of
the locality, in time of the town and lastly of
the village.



•I.f



CHAPTER II.

A DECISIVE BATTLE.

" The Journal of the Esopus War," by Capt.
Martin Cregier, describes the destruction of
Wiltwyck (Kingston) by the Esopus Indians
in 1663, the capture of many of the women
and children, and the military expedition that
effected their release. A detachment of the
command, under Sergeant Niessen (Niese),
proceeded to Saugerties, while the main force
under Capt. Cregier tracked the savages and
their captives up the Wallkill valley. Capt,
Cregier's "Journal" says of Niessen's detach-
ment :

"July 12, 1663. Sergeant Niessen returned
with his troops bringing one squaw and three
children which they had captured. Examined
the squaw. She answered that some Kattskill
Indians lay on the other side near the Sager's
Kill, but they would not fight with the Dutch.
On the i6th, some Mohawks arrived and went
to see the Esopus Indians, and fetched from
them some captive Dutch women." There is
a text for a long sermon here. It is one inci-
dent in a story which had begun forty-five



8 HISTORY OF SAUGERTIES.

years before, and was to be continued one
hundred years more until the power of France
on this Continent would be overthrown under
Montcalm at Quebec by the British under
Wolfe. A crisis in that long struggle culmi-
nated on the borders of our town of Saugerties.
It is necessary to go back to the days of Hud-
son to see why the Katskill Indians would not
fight the Dutch, and the Mohawks compelled
the Esopus Indians to release their Dutch cap-
tives.

In August, 1609, Henry Hudson discovered
the beautiful river which bears his name and
ascended it as far as Waterford. While he was
prosecuting his voyage Samuel de Champlain
in Canada was carrying on the work begun by
Jacques Cartier, and had just discovered lovely
Lake Champlain, and was proceeding south
upon its waters. Thus representatives of these
two nations of Europe almost met. Almost,
but not quite. Champlain retired to Quebec
and Hudson returned to Europe to report
to his employers. A trading company was
formed in Amsterdam to prosecute the trade
for furs along the river and a trading post was
established about four miles south of Albany,
and here the Dutch unconsciously prepared
for the death grapple which their successors,
the English, would have with the French for
one hundred and fifty years until the Continent



A DECISIVE BATTLE. 9

became the home, not of absolutism, but of
freedom, by a masterly act of John Jacob
Eelkens in 1618.

In the opening h'nes of "The Song of Hia-
watha" Longfellow sings :

' ' In the vale of Tawasentha,
In the green and silent valley,
There he sang of Hiawatha."

This green valley was on the west side of
the Hudson, six miles south of Albany, at
what is now Norman's Kill. And here in the
spring of 1618, Eelkens, the commander of the
trading post, assembled the representatives of
the Five Nations and entered into a treaty of
peace and amity with them which was never
broken, though troubles and difificulties often
arose. And to this amity the English suc-
ceeded upon the passing of the province into
their hands and the French, despite all their
efforts, could never detach them, or weaken
that friendship. In the words of representa-
tives of these Indian tribes in 1737, one hun-
dred and nineteen years after this, addressed
to the English Governor of this province " In
ancient times when our fore-fathers first met
at this place we will tell you what happened
before there was a house in this place, when
we lodged under the leaves of the trees, the
Christian and we entered into a covenant of



10 HISTORY OF SAUGERTIES.

friendship." John Fiske says of this treaty that
" It was never violated or seriously infringed.
The Five Nations were all more or less stead-
fast allies of the Dutch, and afterwards of the
English until 1763."

The Indians of North America belonged to
two great families, the Iroquois and the Algon-
quin peoples. The seat of the former was the
Mohawk valley and the lake region of New
York. The five nations, or tribes, were savage
and powerful warriors and dominated the Con-
tinent. The tribes of the Hudson and of New
England and Canada were Algonquins. But
the aggressive Iroquois were forcing them into
subjection and at last became their tributary
lords.

Early in 1628 the Mohegans of the upper
Hudson, the Hoosic and the Hoosatonic valleys
were driven from their haunts by the Mohawks
and an Indian war was begun. To resist their
aggressions the Mohegans had allied them-
selves with the Katskill tribe and the Esopus
Indians and with other scattered bands along
the upper waters of the Delaware and Scho-
harie. But the terrible Maquas, or Mohawks,
had pressed down the Catskill creek from Scho-
harie on frequent raids. At last the Mohegans
intrenched themselves at the junction of the
Cauterskill and Catskill creeks and built another
fort at Jefferson Flats, west of Catskill. These



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Online LibraryBenjamin Myer BrinkThe early history of Saugerties, 1660-1825 (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 19)