Franklin Ellis.

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

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Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Columbia County, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers → online text (page 1 of 120)
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GENEALOGY

97A.701

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Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center



http://www.archive.org/details/historyofcolumbiOOelli



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COLUMBIA COUNTY,



NEW YORK.



l(lIttstraiions and "^^iograghical ^kekhe^



SOME OF ITS PROMINENT MEN AND PIONEERS.



PHILADELPHIA;



1878..









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Reprinted by -

HIGGINSON BOOK COMPANY

148 Washington Street, Post Office Box 778

Salem, Massachusetts 01970

Phone: 978/745-7170 Fax: 978/745-8025



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PEEF ACE.



We present to the public tliis history of Columbia County — the result of much labor and research —
with a feeling of confidence, tempered by a consciousness of unavoidable imperfection.

To write a truthful history of any county or section of country is never a light or an ea.sy task ;
but it becomes peculiarly onerous in the case of a county like Columbia, whose annals extend through
more than two and a half centuries, and whose story must commence far back in the dimness of that
ancient time when the dusky Mohicans first welcomed the pale-faced voyagers from beyond the sea.

In such a field we have not expected to achieve absolute perfection and completeness of detail, but
we have used our best endeavors to approximate as nearly as may be to that result. We have con-
sulted many of the best and most reliable historical works bearing upon the subject, and have spared
no labor in gathering material from the most thoroughly informed citizens of the county ; and in
these researches we have not been more anxious to collect all obtainable fdds than to exclude every-
thing of doubtful authenticity.

The most difficult part of this, as of all similar works, is the obtaining of correct knowledge of
the dates of first settlements, and the names of those who made them. Accounts of these are in most
cases — especially in a region so anciently settled as Columbia County — transmitted through the medium
of tradition ; the different statements almost invariably disagreeing in material points, and not infre-
quently being wholly irreconcilable. In these extreme cases the histoaian has no resmirce except to
give the differing accounts for what they are worth, and to submit the question to the judgment of
the public.

Another source of perplexity is found in the changes in orthography of many of the old names,
particularly those of Dutch or of Indian origin, though it is by no means uncommon in those of the
English. In old colonial records we not only find that, through the carelessness, caprice, or igno-
rance of the scribes of those davs, names of persons and places are differently spelled bv different
writers, but that as manv as four different ortliographical constructions of tlu? same woril are some-
times found in the same tiocument; so that, in more than one instance, we have fouiul it extremely
difficult to decide which manner was the proper one to adopt.

It seems unnecessary to sav more in presentation of our work to its patrons. They will judge
it upon its merits, and we trust it will meet their approval. It has been our design to tract- in it the
progress of the county of Columbia in such a manner as to show clearly to the reader of the present
day its gradual development from tin- original wilderness, and through the maturing stages ot' its ex-
istence, up to its present condition of enlii;htenment and pros[)erity, and to illustrate in plain and simple
story the privations, the virtues, the piety, patriotism, and enterprise of her people. How far we have
succeeded in accomplishing this purpose, the public verdict will decide.



PREFACE.



To those who have kindlv given us their aid in the collection of material for the work, we desire
to express our thanks ; and among these we would mention in general the pastors of the churches,
the gentlemen of the Columbia County Medical Society, the editors of the different journals, and the
countv officers. We are also under special obligations to the following gentlemen and others through-
out the countv for courtesies and favors extended, and for valuable information, both oral and written :
Hon. Edwin C. Terry, Hon. Darius Peck, Stephen B. Miller, Esq., Henry Hubbel, Esq., Peter M.
Jordan, Esq., Hon. John Cadman, Hon. Sherman Van Ness, Hon. Levi F. Longley, E. C. Getty,
Esq., William Bostwick, Esq., Hon. Cornelius H. Evans, Hon. Jacob W. Hoysradt, M. Parker Wil-
liams, Esq., William Brj'an, Esq., Hon. Theodore Miller, Hon. John C. Newkirk, Benjamin F. Deuell,
Esq., Robert B. Monell, Esq., Wheeler H. Clarke, Esq., F. F. Folger, Esq., C. P. Collier, Esq.,
C. C. Terry, Hudson ; Charles Wild, W. H. Silvernail, Augustus Wynkoop, Wm. H. Atwood, Prof.
Taylor, Kinderhook ; H. W. Livingston, Mrs. Johnson, W. H. Wiishburne, Livingston ; Edward
Kellogg, Samuel A. Curtis, Dr. M. L. Bates, Rev. Geo. W. Warner, H. Cady, Canaan ; Hon. Hugh
McClellan, G«i. E. Burrows, John J. Van Valkenburgh, Wm. Thomas, David Ray, C. B. Hudson,
G. W. Lav, Horace Peaslee, Dr. J. T. Shufelt, Dr. Richard Peck, Chatham ; Hampton C. Bull, Henry
A. Tilden, John Kendall, the Community of Shakers, New Lebanon ; Jacob W. Rossman, Vrooman
Van Rensselaer, C. H. Stott, Stockport; Captain A. Davis, Stuyvesant ; Hon. John F. Collin, Hillsdale;
Tobias Esselstyn, E. G. Studley, Nelson P. Aken, Henry P. Horton, Rev. A. Flack, G. W. Phillip,
Claverack ; Wm. H. Wilson, Wm. L. Fraleigh, W. H. Rockefeller, M. Fingar, Clermont ; Hon.
J. T. Hogeboom, George G. Macy, Cornelius Shufelt, Dr. P. W. Mull, Ghent.



THE PUBLISHERS.



CONTENTS.



HISTOI^/ICJ^Ij-



HISTORY OF COLUMBIA COUNTY, NEW YORK.



r. — Geographical and Descriptive ..... 9
II.— The White .Man's First Visit, and the Indians whom

he found here 10

III. — Land-Grants — Purchases from Indians ... 15

IV.— Earliest Settlements in the County .... 21
v.— Indian Incursions- The French and Indian War— The

Revolution 27

VI.— Civil History .U

VII.— The Massachusetts Boundary— .^nti.Rent—lT51-1852 30

VIII.— Political 45

IX.— Courts 56

X.— The Columbia Civil List 73

XI.— Distinguished Men of Columbia County ... 81

XII.— The Professions— The Press 112

XIII.— Educational and Religious • . 120

XIV.— Internal Improvements 126

XV.— Manufactures and .Agriculture 135

XVI.— Valuations and Taxation 141

XVIL— Military 143



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF HUDSON



HISTORY OF THE TOWNS AND VILLAGES OF
COLUMBIA COUNTY.

Town of Kinderhook 219

Claverack 234

Livingston 253

Germantown 264

Clermont 277

Chatham 2S4

New Lebanon 301

" Canaan 319

Ghent 331

Stockport 347

" Stuyvesant ......... 355

" Greenport 360

Hillsdale 368

Austerlitz 373

" Copake 387

Taghkanic 396

.\ncram 403

Gallatin 411

Roster of Solpikiis rnoM Con mbi.i Cointv who served in

THE War Of THE Rebelliux 417

Patbo.ss' Rkcord 437



I Ij Hi TJ S T I?. 7^ T. I O 3Sr S.



Map of Columbia County ...... facing 9

Indian Title " 15

Fac-simile of Capt. Richard Esselstyn's Commission " 32

Portrait of Elisha Williams S3

" Judge Robert R. Livingston ..... 86

" Robert R. Livingston (the Chancellor) ... 87

" Edward P. Livingston 89

" Ambrose L. Jordan ....... 95

" Samuel J. Tilden (steel) . . . between 104, 105

" John Van Ness Philip 105

" Edward P. Cowles 108

" Hon. Henry Hogeboom .... facing 112



CITY OF HUDSON.

Residence of H. A. Du Bois
Portrait of John Van Dusen

Hon. Chas. L. Beale
Hon. Harper W. Rogers .
" Robert W. Evans .

" E. Gifford

Stephen L. Mag.iun
" John Stanton Gould



Hi



Ga



Hon. The



Hon.



.Miller (steel)
Augustus Du Bois
oh W. Hoysradt (steel
M. Parker Williams
Hon. Darius Peck (steel I
Hon. Jacob Ten Broeck .



facing 162



of John H. Overhiaer
Charles Esselstyn
Hon. Cornelius H. Evans (
John Gaul, Jr.
William Bryan
Hon. Robert McKinstry .
Mrs. Sally McKinstry
Casper P. Collier .



PAGE
213



KINDERHOOK.

Residence of James Mix ....
Portrait of John Thompson Wendover
Residence of C. H. Housman

" " " (Rear View)

Charles Wild

" David W. Gardcnier. with Portrait
Portrait of Nathan Wild



Reside



CLAVERACK.

? of Nelson P. Aken (double page)



Bird's-eye view of Philmontand Mellen

page)

•• Upper Hosiery-Mills," Nelson P. Akei
" Lower Hosiery-Mills," Nelson P. Akei
Residence of M. .Martin

Thomas Carroll .
" Mrs. Catherine Bushnell

J. W. Lockwood .
'■ belonging to Philmont Paper Company



facing 220



facing 228
" 230



238.
facing

reen 244,
" 244.
" 244.
" 246,
" 246,



CONTENTS.



xXjJijU'srn:Rj^rcxojsrs.



ReaiJence of David Crego

and Hosiery-Mill of Geo. 1
Portrait of James Aken

Nelson P. .\ken
Residence and Mills of S. K. Barton



Philip



between 246, 247
facins 249



CLERMONT.



Clermont Ma



-Ho



CHATHAM.

Residence of W. D. Stewart

Bullis Brothers' Paper-Mills and Property

Residence of George Ghesterman

Portrait of James T. Shufelt, M.D. .

Residence of William Irish (with portraits)

Maiden Bridge Mills and Property, owned by

H. W. Peaslee (double page) .
Residence of Xoadiah M. Hill .
Portraits of Henry Hill and Wife

" Bradley Nichols and Wife

Portrait of H. W. Peaslee (steel)

" Mrs. H. W. Peaslee (steel)

Portraits of Daniel Reed and Wife .
Residence of David Ray (with portraits)
Portrait of P. F. Cady
Residence of J. H. Angell (with portraits)
John W. Blunt .



NEW LEBANON.

Residence of H. L. Brown

The Tilden Homestead

Portrait of Hon. Ransom H. Gillct .

Residence of John Kendall (with portr

Portraits of Samuel and Ira Hand

Residence of Franklin Hand (with portraits) .

" Mrs. Hannah E. Hand (with portraits)

Portrait of William B. Cole

Residence of H. A. Tilden



facing 277



facing 284

between 2S6, 287

286, 287

288, 289

288, 239

" 290, 291

facing 292

between 294, 295

294, 295

296, 297

296, 297

. 298



facing 298

. 300

veen 300, 301

300, 301



300, 301
ing 302



304
303
312
314



CANAAN.

Portrait of Asa Douglas .

Daniel D. Warner .
Residence of Miss Sarah Warner
Portraits of Samuel A. Barstow and Wife
Portrait of Daniel S. Curtis



facing 317



recn 320, 321

' 320, 321

320, 321

facing 324

. 328



PlOE

Portrait of Samuel A. Curtis 329

Lorenzo Gile, M.D 330

GHENT.

Farm Residence of C. Jncobie facing 332

Residence of David Crapser "332

and Fruit Farm of Townseud Powell . • " 333

Portrait of George T. Powell "338

" Hon. John T. Hogcboom (steel) . . " 342

" Hon. John Cadman 345

Hon. Hugh W. McClellan (steel) . . facing 346

STOCKPORT.

Residence and Mills of C. H.Jfc F. H. Stott . . facing 349

Portrait of R. Reynolds between 350, 351

Empire Loom-Works (R.Reynolds' Sons, proprietors). " 350,351
Residence and Paper-Mill of J. W. Rossman . . facing 352
Portrait of Jonathan Stott 354

STUYVESANT.

Residence of Levi Milhiim facing 356

GREENPORT.

Residence of .Mrs. Elizabeth Hollenbeck (with portraits) facing 364



HILLSDALE.

Residence of C. M. Bell .

George M. Bullock
Portrait of E. W. Bushnell

Catharine Bushnell .
Residence of E. W. Bushnell .

John F. Collin (with portrait)

J. P. Dorr



facing


368




368


between 370,


371


370


371


370


371


facing


.372




374



AUSTERLITZ.

Residence of Thomas Slocum (with portraits
Portrait of Dan Niles ....



COPAKE.

Portrait of Alfred Douglas, Jr. .

TAGHKANIC.

Residence of Samuel L. Myers (with portrait)



'BX(DC3r:RJ^-FJE3:TOJ^lL,.



.Martin Van Burcn 32

Elisha Williams 83

Judge Robert R, Livingston 35

Robert R. Livingston (Ibc Chancellor) 86

Edward Livingston 88

Edward P. Livingston 89

William W. Van Ness . ... . . • . .90

Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer 91

Ambrose .'Spencer 91

I'ctcr Van Schaack 91

J..hn Van Burcn 92

John C. Spencer 94



John P. Van Ness
William P. Van Ness
Cornelius P. Van Ness
William J. Worth .
Henry Van Schaack .
William Howard Allen
David S. Cowles
Daniel Cady
James Watson Webb
Samuel Jones Tilden
John Van Ness Philip
John W. Edmonds .



Ambrose L. JurJiin 94 ! William A. Porter



Thomas P.
Benjamin 1



rpoci



Edwaril Pitkin Cowles
Joseph Gilbert Palen
Joseph D. Monell
Killian .Miller .



109
109
110



CONTENTS.



'bxoo-:eij^ftelxcj^x^.



Elias W. Leavenworth

Dr. S. Oakley Vanderpuel

William H. Tobey

Hon. Henry Hogeboom facing

Hon. Charles L. Beale

Hon. Harper W. Rogers

Robert W. Evans

E. Gifford

Stephen L. Magoun

John Stanton Gould .......

Hiram Gage ........

Hon. Theodore Miller

Stephen Augustus Du Bois .....



Hon. Jacob W. Hoys
Hon. Samuel Anable .
M. Parlter Williams .
Hon. Darius Peek
Hon. Jacob Ten Broeck
John H. Overhiser .
Charles Esselstyn
Hon. Cornelius H. Evan;
John Gaul, Jr. .
John Van Dusen
Mrs. Sally McKinstry
Hon. Robert McKinstry
Casper P. Collier
John Thompson Wendov
Nathan Wild
David W. Gardenier .
George W. Philip
James Aken
Nelson P. Aken .
Thomas Carroll .
Stephen K. Barton



dt



facing



110
110



178
134
192
198
202
207
209
210
210
211
212
213
213
2U
215
215
216
216



facing 217
. 218
222
232
231
249



David Crcgo 252

Jnmes T. Shufelt, .M.D between 2SS, 289

"cD'-y Hill " 294, 205

Bradley Nicbuls •' 294,295

Horace White Peaslee ........ 296

David Ray 298

Daniel Reed 298

William Irish 299

Joel H. Angell 300

Hon. Ransom H. Gillett facing 304

Samuel Hand ■■ 312

The Hand Family 314

Horatio Nelson Hand 315

William B. Cole 3I6

John Kendall 316

Henry A. Tilden 317

Moses Y. Tilden 317

Daniel S. Curtis 323

Samuel A. Curtis 329

Samuel A. Earatow 329

Daniel Warner . 329

Lorenzo Gile, M.D. 330

Hon. John T. Hogeboom 342

Hon. John Cadman 345

Hon. Hugh Wilson McClellan 346

Townsend Powell 346

R.Reynolds between 350, 351

Michael J. Hollenbeek 367

Elisba W. Bushnell between 370, 371

Hon. John F. Collin 377

Dan Niles facing 384

Thomas Slocum 386

Alfred Douglas, Jr. ......... 3'J4

Samuel L. Myers 402



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H I S T O K Y

OF

COLUMBIA COUNTY, NEW YORK.



BY CAPTAIN FRANKLIN ELLIS.



CHAPTER L

GEOGRAPHICAL AND DESCRIPTIVE.

The county of Columbia is the fifth fcountinj; north-
ward) in that range of counties of which the Hudson river
forms the entire western boundary.

On the north it is bounded by Rensselaer county, on the
south by Dutchess, which also forms a small part of its
east boundary. The remainder of its eastern border lies
against the State of Massachusetts.

The surface of the county is diversified. There is no
part of it which can properly be called mountainous, though
that term is sometimes applied to the eastern portion, which
is traversed in a northerly and southerly direction by the hills
of the Taghkanic range, from which, in several places, spurs
and detached ridges extend for a considerable distance
westward. A prolongation of the Peterborough ridge
enters Columbia upon itjs northern border, but soon di-
minishes into inconsiderable hills. To the westward of
these ranges the county is an undulating plateau, which
extends to the river, there generally terminating in bold
shores or blufis.

Of waters, the principal is the majestic Hudson river.
Its largest tributary from Columbia county is Stockport
creek (formerly called " Major Abraham's creek"), which
enters the river about eleven miles belOw the Ren.sselaor
county line. This stream is formed from the Kinderhook
and Claverack creeks, which, approaching each other from
the northeast and from the south respectively, unite their
waters at a point only about three miles distant from the
great river. It is estimated that these two streams collect
and pour into the Hudson through Stockport creek the
waters drained from fully seven-tentlis of the entire area of
the county.

Kinderhook creek takes its rise in Rensselaer county,
flows in a southerly course into the northeastern part of
Columbia, where it receives the waters gathered by the
Wyomanock creek among the Lebanon hills ; then turning
northwest it re-enters Rensselaer, whence, after being aug-



mented by several small streams, it returns to Columbia,
and pursues a general southwesterly course, being joined
from the south by Kline Kill and Stony creek, and from
the north receiving the tribute sent by beautiful Kinder-
hook lake through Valatie Kill ; after which it turns still
more towards the south, and flows on to its confluence with
Claverack creek.

The sources of Claverack creek are in a number of small
lakes and ponds situated in the eastern and soutllea^^tern
parts of the county. One of the principal of these is Cc)-
pake lake, which gives a considerable contribution to tiie
southern branch of the creek. The two branches unite near
the village of Claverack, from whence the course of the
main stream is nearly north till it meets the creek of Kin-
derhook.

A cluster of small lakes or ponds, of which some of the
principal are Rhoda, Snyder's, and Robinson's ponds, lie in
the southeastern part of the county, near the southwest
corner of Massachusetts. From these, and from other
sources farther to the north, among the Taghkanic hills, rise
the numerous streams which, united, form the creek whith
for two centuries lias borne the name of. lloelofF Jansen'i
Kill. At first it flows in a southerly direction alnn<j; the
base of the Taghkanic hills, then swerves towards the
southwest until it reaches and barely crosses the .suuth line
of the county into Dutchess, but immediately returns in a
northwesterly course to Columbia, where it is joined bv the
waters of the outlet stream of Luke Charlotte, which lies a
few miles north of the Dutchess lino. Beyond this it con-
tinues to flow in a north-northwesterly direction, receiving
from the eastward the small stream called Kleina Kill, and
then entering the river eight miles above the southern line
of the county.

Up to and for several miles above this point, the Hudson
is navigable for vessels of the largest cla.ss. The river front-
age of the county is twenty-nine and three-eighths miles,
and its superficial area is six hundred and eighty-eight
square miles, or more than four hundred and forty thousand
acres.

'J



10



HISTORY OF COLUMBIA COUNTY, NEW YORK.



CHAPTER II.

THE ■WHITE MAN'S FIEST VISIT, AND THE IN-
DIANS WHOM HE FOUND HEEE.

In the Tear 1609, and in the month of St-pteinber, a
small and lonely-looking vessel came in from the ocean and
sailed towards the west, along the south shore of Long
Island. Her people scanned the shore closely, watching
for inlets and harbors, until at last they came to where,
behind a bare and barren point, they saw an inviting bay,
which seemed to extend far away inland towards the north ;
and into this, after careful sounding, they entered and
dropped their anchor in a sheltered roadstead, " where the
water was alive with fish." The barren cape which they
had passed is now called Sandy Hook, and the harbor in
which their little ship lay alone at anchor is that crowded
marine thoroughfare known as the lower bay of New
York.

The vessel was of Dutch build, high-pooped after the
ancient style, of a burden of about forty lasts or eighty
tons, and carrying a rig something similar to that of the
modern brigantine. Her name, " The Half-Moon," in
Dutch, was painted on her stern ; and high above it floated
the Dutch colors, orange,* white, and blue. She was, in
fact, one of the vessels of the Dutch East India Company,
which they had put in commission under command of
Captain Henry Hudson, an Englishman, with Robert Juet,
also an Englishman, as clerk or supercargo, and with a
crew of twenty sailors, partly Dutch and partly English,
and had dispatched her from Amsterdam, for the purpose
of discovering a northeastern or northwestern passage to
China and the Indies.

The previous incidents of her voyage are not pertinent
to our narrative. It is sufficient to say that, with the
master and crew above mentioned, she had now entered an
estuary, which Captain Hudson verily believed (from its
size, depth, and general direction) to be the outlet of a
passage such as he was seeking.

After a nine days' stay here, during which he thoroughly
explored the kills and other waters around Staton Island,
and met and dealt with the strange people whom he found
living upon the shores, he lifted his anchor, and on the 12th
of September sailed on, up the great river. On the 14th
he passed Haverstraw, and anchored that night near West
Point. On the morning of the 15th he resumed his way,
and before evening many bluffs and headlands, which are
now within the county of Columbia, lay abreast of him,
upon the starboard hand. That night the " Half-Moon" was
anchored near Catskill, where, says Hudson's journal, " we
found very loving people and very old men, and were well
used. Our boat went to fish, and caught great stores of
very good fish." The natives also brought on board " In-
dian corn, pumpkins, and tobacco." The next morning
they delayed for a long time, taking in water (probably not
having discovered the excellence of the river water, or else
having found a spring-which they much preferred), so that

* At that time the flag of llotlund was formed by three horizontal
bars, — orange, white, and blue; but in or about the year 1050 the
orange bar gave place to one of red.



during all that day they made not more than five or six
miles, and anchored for the night near the present site of
the village of Athens. Beyond here they seem to have
found more difficult navigation and to have made slower
progress. At a point a short distance above the vessel lay
for many hours, during which they were visited by natives,
with whom the commander returned to the shore and
became their guest. The following account of his visit is
given by De Laet, as a transcript from Hudson's own
journal. He says, —

" I sailed to the shore in one of their canoes with an old
man who was chief of a tribe consisting of forty men and
seventeen women. These I saw there in a house, well con-
structed of oak-bark, and circular in shape, so that it had
the appearance of being built with an arched roof It
contained a great quantity of Indian corn and beans of the
last year's growth ; and there lay near the house, for pur-
pose of drying, enough to load three ships, besides what
was growing in the fields. On our coming into the house,
two mats were spread out to sit upon, and some food was
immediately served in well-made red wooden bowls. Two
men were also dispatched at once with bows and arrows in
quest of game, who soon brought in a pair of pigeons
which they had shot. They likewise killed a fat dog, and
skinned it in great haste, with shells which they had got
out of the water. They supposed that I would remain
with them for the night ; but I returned after a short time
on board the ship. The land is the finest for cultivation
that I ever in my life set foot upon, and it also abounds in
trees of every description. These natives are a very good
people, for when they saw that I would not remain with
them they supposed that I was afraid of their bows; and,
taking their arrows, they broke them in pieces, and threw
them into the fire."

De Laet gives 42° 18' as the latitude of the place where
this visit was made. This seems to confirm the belief,
arising from other circumstances, that the lodge, granaries,
and corn-fields of the old chief were in the present town of



Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Columbia County, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers → online text (page 1 of 120)