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

. (page 106 of 125)
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 106 of 125)
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The Mechanic^ Savings Bank of Fishhill-on-the-
Hudson was .chartered March 5, 1866. The char-

ter, which was drawn by Henry H. Hustis, whOj
with others, believed that the character of the peo-
ple, who are largely engaged in manufactures and are
transient, favored the success of a rightly conducted
savings institution, names twenty-five persons as
the first trustees. Ofthat number only seven are still
on the board, viz : Walter Brett, James Mackin,
Henry H. Hustis, Thomas Aldridge, Lewis B.
Ferguson, John T. Smith, William H. Rogers.
The first officers were : John Rothery, president;
William C. Verplanck, rst vice president ; James
Mackin, 2d vice president ; William C. Oakley,
treasurer. Mr. Rothery dechned the presidency
and Joseph Howland was elected to that office
March 24, 1866. The Bank commenced business
in 1866 in the building now occupied by the Na-
tional Bank, and continued there until the spring
of 1874, when it was removed to its present loca-
tion, the building having been erected for its
accommodation that year by Henry H. Hustis.
Joseph Howland resigned as president, Sept. 30,

1868, and was succeeded at that time by William
S. Verplanck. Silas G. Smith succeeded to the
presidency, April 7, 1873, and has since held that
office. William C. Oakley was treasurer until his
death, Oct. 13, 1869, and was succeeded by the
present incumbent, Bartow W. Remsen, Dec. i,

1869. John T. Smith was elected secretary March
24, 1866, and has held that office to the present

Press of Fishkill Landing. — The Fishkill
^/a«<2J'(2/'<f was started Aug. 2, 1842, by Wm. R.
Addington, who published it until i860, when it
passed into the hands of a man named Webster,
who published it three months, when it was sold
to W. A. VanWagenen and Aaron Vanderwerker,
who published it under the name of A. Vander-
werker & Co. In October^, 1861, Mr. VanWag-
enen sold his interest to Rufus A. Reed, and it
was published by Reed & Vanderwerker until
February, 1862, when it was purchased by James
E. Member, in the interest of John W. Spaight,
who became the nominal publisher Jan. i, 1875,
having been the actual and sole manager from
1862 to the present time. Its size is twenty-eight
by forty-two inches, having been increased in 1868
from twenty-four by thirty-six inches, or from
seven to eight columns. In that year also the
office was removed to its present location. The
Standard is published every Saturday, and not
only takes high rank among the press of the
County, but is one of the best rural papers in this
State. It is independent in politics. It was first



published as an independent paper by a Whig edi-
tor. In 1856 it was published in the interest of
the Know Nothing party and after the Kriow
Nothing excitement died out, in that of the Repub-
lican party until Mr. Spaight took charge and
changed it to a local family newspaper.

The Home Gazette, a literary monthly, was
started in 1870 by John B. Gould, who published
it until 1872, when he associatedwith himself Wm.
N. Anthony, who, after about a year, acquired
Mr. Gould's interest, and three or four months
later sold it to A. A. Bensel, of Newburgh, who
merged it in the Home, Farm and Orchard, pub-
lished in that city. About the same time James
J. McNally, from Newburgh, started a daily paper,
but soon after changed \,t to a tri-weekly. It was
discontinued after a few months. The Daily
Gazette was started in 1873 by Wm. N. Anthony,
but was discontinued after a trial of some four
months. It was an evening paper. The Fishkill
Daily Telephone was published from Oct. 4, i88o
to July 2, 1881, by Frank D. Spaight and Wm. N.

The Fishkill and Matteawan Gas Light Co.
was incorporated Nov. 16, 1878, with a capital of
$26,000, in which there has been no change. The
company purchased under mortgage sale the works
of the Fishkill Gas Light Co., organized in 187 1.
G. A. Valentine was the first superintendent of
the latter company and the works were erected in
this village under his supervision in 1871. The
manufacture of gas was commenced in January,

Matteawan and Fishkill Landing originally for
many years constituted one appointment, which at
first was on the Duchess circuit. For several years
prior to 1819 meetings were usually held in the
Tillott and Ketchnm neighborhood, a short dis-
tance from Matteawan, on the east side of the
creek. An old stone house that had been vacated
by John Tillott's family when their new dwelling
T^as completed, was appropriated to that purpose.
Services were generally held there, but occasion-
ally on the adjoining premises of Mr. Ketchum,
either in his house or barn. In 181 9 the place of
meeting was changed to the school house west of
the creek and located on the old road, about mid-
way between the two villages, which point and its
surroundings on the south and west are now occu-
pied by the Methodist burying ground. At that
time it was changed from a six weeks' to a four
weeks' appointment, and services were continued
there until 1824, when, the new or main road

between the two villages having been opened, a
favorable opportunity presented itself for the
selection of a site for a church edifice.

March 29, 1824, a meeting was held at the
school house and the following trustees were
elected: John Tillott, Gerardus DeForest, Jacob
Cooper, Henry McDonald and Wm. Doughty. A
suitable lot was obtained of the late John P.
DeWint, on which a house of worship was built
and dedicated in the fall of that year.

In the spring of 1825 the Society was set off
from the circuit and Wm. M. Willett was sent to
the charge as stationed minister and was re-ap-
pointed the following year ; but for some cause the
pulpit was supplied by circuit preachers the two
succeeding years.

In i860 the society divided through non-agree-
ment on the location of a new church, and the two
societies in Matteawan and Fishkill Landing, were
formed. After the division each branch re-organ-
ized and proceeded to secure a house for itself.
The old edifice, which had from necessity been en-
larged once or twice was sold and is to-day known
as Swift's Hall, having formerly been known as
Mackin or Union Hall. It was the first church in
the town of Fishkill erected by the Methodists.
The Presbyterian church property at the Landing
was then purchased on foreclosure sale by this
branch of the society and regular services were
soon instituted there. That building is still occu-
pied by this society. It has been renovated and
provided with new stained windows and in 1875,
an addition previously made for a chapel, was en-
larged. The church now ( December, 1881,) num-
bers about 700 members ; and the Sunday School,
of which John W. Spaight is superintendent, has an
average attendance of 100.

The Matteawan branch obtained a lot from J.
F. Gerow, which was virtually donated to them, and
soon commenced the erection of a church edifice,
which was completed in the latter part of 186 1, and
dedicated Jan. 16, 1862. Its cost was $7,000.
In the course of a few years the ground on which
it stood was purchased by the Duchess & Columbia
R. R., for a depot. The society then purchased
the old Episcopal church, a brick building, which
was taken down, and erected on its site their pres-
ent church edifice, in 1869.

The following is the succession of pastors of
the Fishkill Landing Church : Wm. M. Willett,
i82S-'6; circuit preachers names unknown, i827-'8;
Samuel W. Fisher, i829-'30j Valentine Buck,
i83i-'2j J. Z. Nichols, i833-'4; Valentine Buck,



1835-6; Julius Field, 1837-8; Elisha Andrews,
1839-40; Jno. M. Pease, 1841-2; Seymour Vaix
Dusen, i843-'4; J. W. B. Wood, i84S-'6; C. F.
Pelton, 1847-8; B. M. Genung, 1849- '50; Leon-
ard M. Vincent, 1851-2; Matthew Van Dusen,
1853; Chas. C. Keys, 1854-5; Z. N. Lewis,
i856-'7; G. W. Knapp, i858-'9 ; J. Millard,
i86o-'i ; D. D. Lindsley, i862-'3 ; Chas. K.
True, D. D., 1864; Henry B. Mead, 1865 ; O. V.
Amerman, 1866-8; Edmund Lewis, 1869-71;
W. G. Browning, 1872-3; Philip Germond, 1874-
'5; Alfred Coons, 1876-8; Angels Ostrander,

The successive pastors of the Matteawan Church
since the division are : E. L. Prentice, A. D.
Vail, J. Y. Bates, O. Haviland, T. Lodge, W. E.
Clark, C. W. Millard, J. J. Dean, C. R. North and
J. P. Heermance, the latter of whom came upon
the charge in April, 1881.

The Reformed ( Dutch ) Church of Fishkill
Landing, was an offshoot from the church of Fish-
kill, with which it was connected until 1819, and
hke it, remained until the close of 1822 under the
pastoral care of Rev. Dr. Cornelius D. Westbrook,
under whose ministrations it was formed. Their
first church edifice was built on the present site
in 1 8 13, through the principal agency of Messrs.
John P. DeWint and Thomas Lawrence. Rev.
Dr. Westbrook was scholarly and much esteemed.
He was the father of Hon. Theodore R. West-
brook, one of the present Judges of the Supreme

The next pastor was Rev. William S. Heyer,
who was ordained and installed in 1823, and re-
mained until 185 1. The third pastor was Rev.
Dr. D. M. L. Quackenbush, who commenced his
ministrations in 185 1 and closed them in 1855.
He was followed by Rev. J. Howard Suydam, who
was ordained and installed in 1857. During his
ministry, in i860, the present substantial and com-
modious edifice was built. His successor was Rev.
Dr. Joseph Kimball, who was installed in April,
1863, and whose services closed in October, 1865.
The sixth pastor was Rev. Martin L. Berger, who
came in January 1866, and remained until April,
1869 ; Rev. Dr. J. Romeyn Berry was the pastor
from 1869 to 1870. The present pastor. Rev.
Charles W. Fritts, was installed in 1870. His
ministry has been characterized by much talent
and a deep earnestness.

The present officers of the church are : John
Van Vliet, Walter Brett, John Plaice, Charles
Stotesbury and Milton E. Curtiss, elders ; J. Hervey I

Cook, William A. Jones, Maurice E. Dietrich, Geo.
C. Smith and Charles E. Martin, deacons.

Zion M. E. Church of Fishkill Landing was or-
ganized in 1840, and built their church edifice
in 1844.*


Matteawan, by far the most populous village
in the town, is situated on the Fishkill, about a
mile and a half east of the Landing, and a like dis-
tance above the mouth of the creek, whose splendid
hydraulic properties have given it its prominence
as a manufacturing center. It lies at the foot of
the North and South Beacons, two eminences of
Fishkill Mountains, which tower above it in lofty
grandeur. It is a station on the Newburgh,
Duchess & Connecticut, ' and the New York &
New England Railroads, and is connected with
the Landing and Newburgh by stage, ferry and

The first settlers, says Mr. Bailey, were Roger
Brett and the Pines, the former of whom built the
old Teller House before referred to in 17 10. The
Pines located east of the village, on the Fishkill
road, one on the Birdsdall place, on which the
original house is still standing, but sold in 1790
and removed to Delaware county; the other on
the Boice place, which, says Mr. Bailey, (in 1874,)
was sold some sixteen years ago by the Pine family
to John Boice, who demolished the old building
and erected in its place the present stately

The Schencks, though less early, were among the
most prominent settlers in .this locality, and the
name is still an important one in Matteawan soci-
ety. It has been identified with most of the im-
portant industries of the village, and some of its
earlier members filled important niches as legis-

In 1872, says Hough, its population was about
2,000; while in 1880 it reached 4,411, nearly
double that of any other village and nearly half
that of the town. It now contains five churches,
(Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Methodist.f Baptist
and Catholic,) a union free school, a private
school— the Duchess Seminary— established in the
summer of 1881, of which P. N. Mitchell is prin-
cipal, one hotel, the Dibble House, first kept by
D. S. Jaycox, afterwards by William Ambler, and
at present by W. S. Dibble, who purchased of Mr.
Jaycox and remodeled it a few years since; various

•Promised data relative to this church has not been furnished,
t A history of this church is given in connection with that at Fishkill



manufacturing establishments and stores, a job
printing office, a circulating library, and a wagon
and blacksmith shop kept by W. H. Jackson.

Merchants. — Nathaniel Sackett was probably
the first merchant in the vicinity of Matteawan. He
was the son of a clergyman and was born at Corn-
wall, Orange County, April 10, 1737.

The oldest and most prominent of the present
merchants are : A. & C. F. Brett, natives of the

(DIBBLE HOUSE— W. S. Dibble, Pkoprietor.)

place, S. G. &. J. T. Smith, S. A. Colwell, Dewitt
C. Rogers, J. T. Yates, John B. Whitson & Co:, A.
Townsend, F. Colwell, William R. Brown, Sullivan
& Brown, WiUiam H. Brown, H. B. Bevier, B. F.
Green. Others are : G. C. Walker, C. H. Hoys-
radt. King. & Parsons, E. F. Davis, William B.
Meyer, W. Bloomer, W. Warwick, H. Somers, B.
J. Hubble, F. Loughran, P. J. Mayen, J. S. Budd
& Co., J. M. Davis, G. Jackson, W. Grossman &
Co., C. E. McLoud.

Physicians. — Dr. Bartow White, of Fishkill, was
the principal physician through all this section of
country for many years. Dr. John P. Schenck was
the first physician to locate at Matteawan. He
was soon followed by Dr. Daniel D. Annan. Dr.
Schenck was born in Matteawap, Feb. 2, 1798, and
was the son of Abraham H. Schenck, afterwards
President of the Matteawan Co.

Dr. Annan, who was born in Fishkill, June 11,
i79», was the youngest child of John Annan, a na-
tive of Scotland, who came to this country at an
early age and settled at Baskin Ridge, N. J. He
graduated in medicine in New York, and was a
surgeon in the war of 181 2. He was highly skilled
in that branch of the profession. His practice in

Matteawan continued until his death, Nov. 23,
1834. He married Miss Ann Tiittle, of Orange
county, who died young, leaving one child, who is
also dead. He afterwards married Margaret,
daughter of Theodoras and Mary Brett, who was
born March 27, 1794, and died Nov. 14, 1867,
leaving four children, all of whom are living:
Louisa, widow of S. A. Benson, and EUza A.,
widow of James W. Andrews, in Matteawan, and
two sons, Willam CuUen
ind Alexander, the former
in New York and the lat-
:er in Brooklyn.

"Asahel Hall, who had
practiced several years in
Fishkill village, came to
Matteawan some forty-
five years since, but after
a few years removed to
Poughkeepsie, where he
enjoyed an extensive prac-
tice, which continued un-
til his death, July 25, 1877,
aged eighty-five years.

The present physicians
are : John P. Schenck,
Jno. H. Doughty, Henry
C. Wilson, J. O. Davis,
A. R. Tiel and A. B. Cutler. Dr. Schenck was
born in Matteawan, Feb. 13, 1843, and studied
medicine with his father of the same name. He
graduated at the Medical Department of Col-
umbia College in 1863. Entering the army he was
detailed as Asst. Surgeon, serving during McClel-
lan's Peninsula campaign, when he resigned. May
TO, 1864, he entered the navy, as Asst. Surgeon on
the receiving ship North Carolina, and the same
year estabUshed himself in practice in Matteawan.
Dr.Doughty is a native of LaGrange in this County,
and graduated atWiUiams College in 1858. He
studied medicine with Dr. J. W. Bidwell, of Win-
stead, Connecticut, and graduated at the Medical
Department of Michigan University in 1863. He
entered the army as Asst. Surgeon of volunteers
and was assigned to duty as post-surgeon at Wash-
ington, N. C, afterwards serving in the same ca-
pacity at Newbern, N. C, subsequently as senior
medical officer of Foster General Hospital, at
Newbern, N. C, and finally as Medical director on
Gen. Crook's staff, at Wilmington, N. C, having
in 1864 been promoted to Surgeon. He left the
service in December, 1865, and commenced prac-
tice in Matteawan in the spring of 1866. Dr. Wil-



son was born in Derby, Vt., in 1837. He entered
upon a course of medical studies, but before their
completion, in 1861, entered the army as Hospital
Steward of the io2d N. Y. Vols. He served till
the winter of 1862, when he left the army to re-
sume his medical studies. He , graduated at the
Medical Department of the University of Vermont
in 1863, when he rejoined the army as Acting Asst.
Surgeon, and served in that capacity until the close
of the war. He established himself in practice in
New York in 1865, and removed thence to Mat-
teawan in 1867.

Lawyers. — E. S. Phillips was the first lawyer in
Matteawan. He is a native of Fishkill, and was ad-
mitted about the close of the war, estabhshing
himself in practice here immediately after, and con-
tinuing to the present time. Arthur L. Conine, a
native of Queens county, entered the law office of
Henry H. Hustis, of Fishkill Landing, as a stu-
dent, in 1867. He was admitted in 1874, and
opened an office in Matteawan in 1875, before he
had attained his majority. Though young he ranks
high in the profession and has before him a prom-
ising future. He is a good office lawyer, careful
and cautious, and enjoys the best practice in the
village. Frank G. Rikert, a native of Bangall in
this County, read law with L. B. Sackett, of Pough-
keepsie, and opened an office here in 1875. Henry
G. Wolcott, a native of .Fishkill, read law with
Cassidy & Brown, of Newburgh, and graduated
from Columbia Law School in 1877, in the spring
of which year he opened an office in Matteawan.
Edward C. Kent, a great-grandson of Chancellor
Jas. Kent,(whose remains lie in the Episcopal grave-
yard in this village,) read law with E. A. Brewster,
of Newburgh, and was admitted in 1878. He
opened an office in this village in 1879, forming a
law partnership with Henry G. Wolcott, which con-
tinues to the present time. Samuel K. Phillips,
son of E. S. PhiUips, read law with his father, and
was admitted in May, 1879, in which year he
opened an office in Matteawan.

MANUFACTURES.—Matteawan is emphatically
the child of its mechanical industries, and has
grown with the development of the hydraulic facili-
ties of the creek, which, within its borders, has
three dams, with an aggregate fall of about fifty-
four feet, though the upper dam, known as the Clay
mill dam, is not now in use. It formerly supplied
the motor for an auger factory owned by John Lee
and others, which was burned about i860. The
creek, though furnishing an immense power, is in^
constant, and has to be supplemented with steam

in dry seasons. A grist-mill was in existence here
at a very early day and is still in operation. It is
owned by the Rothery Bros., and operated by M.
E. Clearwater, who took possession in March,
1878. It is an old structure, one of the oldest in
the County, the last addition to it having been
made in 1800. It has erroneously been said to be
the identical mill built by Roger Brett in 17 10,
familiarly called the Madam Brett mill, which was
located at the mouth of the creek, a mile and a
half below. It contains three run of stones,
operated by water, and is the only grist-mill in the
town, except the one at Brinckerlioffville, which is
also an old structure, apparently more ancient than
this, though dating back only to the Revolutionary

The Matteawan Co., formed in 1814, was the
principal agent in developing the manufacturing
• interest of Matteawan. Prominent among those
who then composed it were Peter A. Schenck and
Henry Cowing, the former of whom, though origin-
ally a shipping merchant in New York, resided
in Fishkill, in the old Blossom house, which he
built, now and for some years vacant. In 1814
the company erected the stone building now used
by the National Felt Works and commenced the
manufacture of. cotton goods, soon after calling
into requisition the building now used as a store-
house by the Fishkill Landing Machine Works,
which was also filled with hand looms, both
buildings being run to their utmost capacity.

The operations of the company rapidly increased
with the substitution of power looms and self-act-
ing mules for the hand looms first used. In 1822
they erected the brick building immediately south-
east of the stone one for a machine shop and
engaged extensively in the manufacture of various
kinds of machinery, making a specialty of cotton
machiner)', but manufacturing largely for woolen
mills and sugar refineries in the South. It is said,
though there is reason to doubt it, that the first
locomotive used on the Hudson River Rail-
road, was built in these shops, the company
latterly engaging in the manufacture of loco-
motives. At this time the company gave em-
ployment to some four hundred persons. A
few years later an addition was made to the latter
building to enlarge the cotton works, the manu-
facture of beavertines, a heavy and expensive cotton
goods, having been commenced. , About 1828,
their machine "business having so increased as to
demand increased accomodations, they erected
the main building of the Matteawan Manufactur-



ing Co.'s Works (which has since been raised a
story higher,) and removed their machine works to
it, occupying the former machine shop with the
cotton manufactory, which had been constantly
encroaching on the space occupied by the machine
works. About the time the machine works were
started the company erected a wooden building
on the site of Colwell's machine shop for a black-
smith shop and foundry. That building was taken
down to widen the street, and the semi-circular
brick building now occupied by Mr. Colwell was
erected and extended into the creek.

As other estabUshments in different parts of the
County with better faciUties sprung into existence
the machine business of the company became
unremunerative, and at the time of the failure in
1850, had dwindled into insignificance. At its
failure the entire large property of the company
went into the hands of a receiver — John A. C.
Gray, a merchant of New York, who sold it to
Homer Ramsdell, of Newburgh, for about a fourth
of its cost. Abram L. Ackerman carried on the
manufacture of Canton cotton goods one year for
Mr. Ramsdell. Samuel B. Schenck, who was
born in Matteawan Feb. 16, 1806, but spent the
early part of his life in Manchester, Mass., soon
after acquired the property and leased the cotton
works for a term of years to The Seamless Cloth-
ing Manufacturing Co., which was incorporated
with a capital of $50,000, and failed after doing
business a few years. In i860 they employed
ninety-five hands and turned out $350,000 of
goods annually. John Falconer & Co. succeeded
the latter company in the manufacture of felt
goods, and were more recently succeeded by Fal-
coner, Carroll & Co., who continued the business
under the name of the National Felt Works, giv-
ing employment when in full operation to about
five hundred persons, the major portion of whom
are males.

Samuel B. Schenck occupied the machine works,
blacksmith shop and foundry of the Matteawan
Co., in the manufacture of the Woodworth planer,
removing from Mansfield, Mass., in 185 1, the
works established by him in that State in 1832.
He continued the business until his death, March
25, 1861, when his brothers John B. and T. J. B.
Schenck acquired it and continued it until 1870,
from 1865 as an incorporated company, but without
additional partners. John B. Schenck died Aug.
6, 1870, when H. B. Schenck purchased the estab-
lishment and has since conducted the business,
but occupies only a part of the original works, the

establishment having been removed from the ma-
chine works to, the foundry of the Matteawan Co.,
in 1864, and from thence to their pi^esent location
in February, 1878. Mr. Schenck employs about
twenty persons in the manufacture of wood-work-
ing machinery of various kinds.

Rothery's File Works are among the oldest and
most important of Matteawan's manufacturing
industries. They were estabUshed about 1835 by
John Rothery, a native of Sheffield, England,
where his father carried on the manufacture of files
until his death, after which the latter's wife, with
the aid of her sons John and George, continued it
till her death, when the two sons named removed
to Calais, France, and there established and con-
ducted the business six or seven years. Becoming

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 106 of 125)