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 108 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 108 of 125)
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spinning and weaving. It subsequently passed
through the same changes in proprietorship as the
Glenham mill property, and like it was purchased
by A. T. Stewart, who purchased additional land
on the south, making in all about twenty-two acres,
all of which formerly belonged to the Rogers farm,
and in 1874-75 commenced improvements which
have evolved the magnificent and extensive works
which employ nearly 700 persons.

Previous to the improvements inaugurated by
Mr. Stewart there were but two or three houses be-
sides the woolen mill, on the site of Groveville.
In 1880 the population was 379.


Wiccopee, situated a half mile below Matteawan,
is the seat of the New York Rubber Co.'s Works,
which occupy the site of the old Wiccopee Cotton
Mill, which was built in 1845, by Robert G. Rankin
and Charles M. Wolcott, was well constructed and
supplied with the best of machinery. The New York
Rubber Co. was incorporated in 1851, by Benj. F.
Lee, Jno. F. Grecian and Charles Porter, to whom
Charles Goodyear had previously granted the right
to manufacture respectively rubber dolls, balls and
toys. In 1 85 1 the company commenced business
on Staten Island, removing thence in 1857 to their
present location. They purchased the brick build-
ing of the Wiccopee Cotton Co., two stories and
basement, which has been increased in size by an
addition made that year and others subsequently to
two hundred and twelve by forty-five feet, with
three stories and basement. At first the company
employed about seventy-five persons, while they
now employ one hundred and twenty-five. The
present capital is $300,000, and that, like the me-
chanical faciUties for prosecuting the business, has
been, largely increased. The business now com-
prises the manufacture of belting, hose, and all
sorts of rubber articles. The value of the manu-
factured product reaches $350,000 to $400,000 per
annum. The officers of the company are : Henry
A. Alden, President; William H. Acker, Treasurer;



Jno. P. Rider, Secretary,
supplied solely by water.

The motive power is


Brinckerhofifville (Brinckerhoff Station) is a post
station, 1.78 miles by rail above Fishkill, contain-
ing a grist mill, store, kept by C. C. Van Voorhis,
about a dozen houses and a population of sixty.
The first settlement in this locality was made from
the Brinckerhoffs, from whom the place derives its
name. Earlier members of the Brinckerhoff family
were somewhat prominent as military men and
Legislators. Abraham, who was a Member of As-
sembly from this County in 1784-85, carried on in
addition to his extensive farming operations, the
mercantile and milling business. He was a mer-
chant here during the Revolution. His store stood
a little east of the present one, andwasdemohshed
a few years ago by Matthew Brinckerhoff, who still
occupies a part of the homestead farm at Brinck-
erhoffville. He was likewise engaged in the milling
business during the same period. His mill and its
contents were destroyed by fire, which, it is sup-
posed, was accidentally set by soldiers, who imme-
diately rebuilt it. That structure has survived to
the present day, and, like its predecessor of a hun-
dred years ago, is kept busy in grinding the grists
of the neighboring farmers. It is known as the
" Star Mills," and has been owned for some eight-
een years by Alex. H. Dudley. It contains four
run of stones, which are propelled by water from
the Fishkill, which has a fall at this point of seven
and one-half feet.

The present store was built about 1831, by the
widow of Dirck Brinckerhoff, and has been kept
by various individuals, mostly for short periods, but
not continuously — by the present proprietor since
1872. The occupants of the old store, among
whom, in addition to Abraham Brinckerhoff, were
Garrett Van Voorhis, Coert Du Bois, Thorn Pud-
ney, Richard Pudney, Jacob Scofield and Isaac
Brinckerhoff, did a much more extensive business
than has been done in the new one, which was first
occupied by Isaac Brinckerhoff, as this was then
the center of a large and fertile section of country
with nothing to divert trade from it. The post-
office here was established in 1873, and S. A. Van
Voorhis, who was then appointed postmaster, has
held that office continuously since.

A Presbyterian church was formerly located
here — the first of its denominational character in
this County. Tradition says that its original mem-
bers were gathered together about 1746, by Rev.

Elisha Kent, grandfather of the late Chancellor
Kent. The frame of the church edifice was
raised on the 17th and i8th of Sept. 1747, on an
acre of ground given for the purpose by Jacob
Terbos, on condition "that the church be organized
in accordance with the order of the Kirk of Scot-
land." That historic structure was destroyed by
fire March i, 1866, andneverrebuilt. Thesociety
still maintains its organization and occasional ser-
vices are held under its auspices at Johnsville.
The church has a most interesting history, but,
though we have the materials, we have not the
space to give it.*


Byrnsville, or Tioronda, is a hamlet near the
mouth of the Fishkill, about a mile south of Fish-
kill Landing, and contains a union free school,
which is also-used as a chapel, a small store, kept
by Richard J. Horton, and the Tioronda Hat
Works. In 1880 it had a population of two hun-
dred and seventeen. The union free school build-
ing is an elegant structure and was erected some
sixteen years since through the liberaUty of Gen.
Joseph Rowland. The upper story is open to all
denominations for religious purposes. The Hat
Works occupy the site of the old cotton-mill at
this place, which was built at a comparatively
recent date by a stock company, of whom Epene-
tus Crosby, George W. Pine and one or two others
were members, and run for several years. It was
once burned and rebuilt by the same company,
who failed before 1850. The building was after-
wards used for some years as a white lead factory,
and was destroyed by fire Sept. 9, 1862. A grist
and saw-mill were subsequently built on the site by

the late Scofield, and these were torn down

by Lewis Tompkins in 1878, when the present
building was erected. A little below these works
is the site of the Madam Brett grist-mill, for which
this has been mistaken.

Duchess Junction.

Duchess Junction is a post station lying at the
intersection of the Newburgh, Duchess & Con-
necticut Railroad with the Hudson River Railroad,
1.69 miles below Fishkill Landing, and in the midst
of extensive brick manufactures. The postoffice
was estabUshed in 1876, and James E. Shurter, then
agent of the Hudson Rive r Railroad, was ap-

» The reader will find a very full history of this church prepared by
Mr. H. D. B. Bailey, of Johnsville, in The Fishkill ytmrml of Sept.
»8, 1876,



pointed postmaster. The present postmaster is
George Bontticoue, who is also the station agent.


Baxtertownj situated in the north edge of the
town, is a settlement of some dozen families,
mostly negroes, with a church, in which regu-
lar services are held. The society is denom-
inated the African Episcopal Church of Baxter-
town. Rev. Mr. Dickinson is the pastor. The
church was built in 1848. The place derives its
name from Bartholomew Baxter, who built the
first house there about 1818. None of the family
remain there. The locality is an uninviting one,
the ground being low, swampy, broken and stony.
At an earlier day it was a prolific guarantee of
fever and ague, but cultivation and other improve-
ments have removed that objectionable feature.


Cornwall, in the extreme southwest corner of the
town, three and one-half miles below Fishkill Land-
ing, and at the point where the Hudson River
Railroad enters Breakneck Mountain by tunnel
from the north, is the station for the village of
Cornwall Landing in Orange county, on the oppo-
site side of the river.



Among the early
settlers of Fishkill,
was Johannes Coerte
VanVoorhees, son of
^Coert Stevense Van-
Voorhees, of Flat-
lands, Long Island,
and grandson of
Steven Coerte Van-
Voorhees, of Flat-
lands, who emigrated
from the town of
Hees, in the Province
of Drenthe, Holland,
in April 1660, the
common ancestor of
the Van Voorhees
family in this country. The father of Steven Coerte
VanVoorhees was Coert Alberts of Voorhees,
who resided in tha year 1 600, opposite or in front of
the town of Hees— " voor" meaning in English be-
fore, or in front of. Johannes Coerte VanVoorhees
purchased by deed dated June 20th, 1730, from


Philip Verplanck of the manor of Courtlandt, the
following described premises i " All that certain lot
of land No. i, situate, lying and being in Diichess
County, beginning on the Hudsons River, at the
northermost bounds of the land belonging to
Mrs. Brett or her assigns, running from thence
along said bounds northerly 66° easterly 575
chains, thence north 20° westerly 7 chains,
thence south 62° westerly 565 chains, to the
Hudsons River aforesaid, thence along said
River to the place where it began — Containing
two thousand seven hundred and ninety acres more
or less." This deed is an indentured parchment,
and has on its back an acknowledgement by Philip
Verplanck of its execution before Judge Jacobus
Ter Bos, with a permission to record, and also a
receipt signed by the said Philip Verplanck for the
consideration money, ;^67o. It was never record-
ed and is now in thepossession of Mr. William Henry
Van Voorhis of Fishkill- on-the-Hudson, one of the
direct descendants of Johannes Coerte Van Voor-
hees. H. D. B. Bailey in his history of Fishkill '
says "the first settlers at Fishkill Landing after
Peche Dewall, were Roger Brett, the Duboises,
the Pines and the Van Voorhises. The Van
Voorhises located on the Stony Kill road one
mile north of the village of Fishkill Landing.
The old dwelling yet stands (1874,) and is located
a few rods north of the residence of Mr. William
Henry Van Voorhis." The names of Johannes
Coerte Van Voorhees and two of his sons, Coerte
Van Voorhees and Johannis Van Voorhees Junior,
' appear in the list of the Freeholders of Duchess
County made August 28th, 1740. by James
Wilson, Sheriff of the County. (Doc. Hist, of N.
Y. Vol. 4.) Johannes Coerte Van Voorhees
was one of the founders and organizers of
the Dutch Church at Fishkill Village, his
name being affixed to all the early recorded
church papers. The first recorded church paper
which is in the Dutch language is a certifica-
tion by the consistories of the Poughkeepsie and
Fishkill Dutch churches as to the organization of
the Fishkill church, and an agreement to call a
minister from Holland, resulting in a call to the
Rev. Cornelius VanSchie, a fac-simile of the paper
with original signatures also, is contained in the
earliest record book of the Poughkeepsie church.
Appended to the document are the following sig-
natures : Peter Du Boys', Leonardus Van Clees,
Abraham Brinckerhoff, Abraham Cuys, Johannes
VanKleeck, Abraham Brinckerhoff, Elias Van-
Benschouten, Johannes Coerten VanVoorhees,
Hendrick Phylyrs, Pieter VanKleeck, Hans de
Lange, Henry van der Burgh, Jacobus Swartwout,
Hendrick Pells.

The family of Johannes Coerte VanVoorhees and
his wife Barbara VanDyck was as follows : i. Jan-
netje VanVoorhees married Col. John Brinckerhoff,
of Swartwoutville, Duchess Co., and had children —
Altje, married Dr. Theodorus VanWyck ; Barbar-
etie and Diena, died unmarried; and Dirck,

married Geertie . 2. Coerte VanVoorhees

married Catherine Filkin, of Flatbush, L. I., and had

Ig-uy XUDIUil (i.OUaa ±J XldlL^J.'/" OL JN J







children — Catherine, married Dr. Hendrick Van
Beuren, of Flatbush, L. I.; Barbara, married Richard
VanWyck, of Fishkill; Jannetje, married Joseph
Horton, of Fishkill; Henry, married Hannah
Flageler ; Johannis, married Johanna, daughter of
Johannes Rowe, of Duchess Co.; Mary, married
ist Peter J. Dubois, and 2d Theodorus Van Wyck ;
Cornelius, died unmarried; Magdelena, married
Christian Dubois, of Fishkill ; Sarah, married ist
Francis, son of Roger and Catherine Brett, of Fish-
kill, and 2d Daniel Van Voorhis, of Oyster Bay,
L. I. ; Zachariah, married ist Anna Lawrence,
and 2d Nancy Springsteen. 3. Johannis Van
Voorhees, Junior, married Gerritje, daughter of
Elias Van Benschouten, of Poughkeepsie Pre-
cinct, and had children — Sara, died in infancy;
Barbaretie, married Roelof Phillips, of Fishkill;
Katrena, died unmarried; John, married ist Han-
nah, daughter of William Roe, of Fishkill, and 2d
Ransie Nostrand, and was the father of Major
William Roe Van Voorhis, of Fishkill village,
who was a prominent man in the a,ffairs of both
the town and the Dutch Church in that village
up to the time of his death, November 2d, 1828, —
he held the commission of Major in the 149th
Regiment of Infantry of the State of New York,
and was with his Regiment in active service
during the war of 181 2; Sarah, married Daniel
Southard, of Fishkill; Elias, married Elizabeth,^
daughter of William Roe ; and Jannetje, married
Zebulon Southard. 4. Zacharias, died unmarried.
5. Gerrit, died unmarried. 6. Maria, married Elias
Dubois, of Fishkill, and had children — Johannis ;
Abraham ; Sarah, married Duncan Graham ; and
Barbara, married Adrian Couenhoven. 7. Hen-
drick, died unmarried. 8. Jacob, married ist
Catharine, daughter of Peter Meiser of New York
City, and 2d Trocy Myer, and 3d Sarah White,
of New York City, and had children — Jacob, mar-
ried Martha, daughter of Jonathan Haight, of
Fishkill; John, married ist Mary McKnight, of
New York City, and 2d Catherine Fine, of New
York City, and 3d Jane Denniston, of New York
City ; Susannah, married Robert Kennon, of New
York City ; Catherine ; Jane, married General
Samuel Haight; and Gertrude.


Rot)ert Blair was born in the town of Newburgh,
Orange county, Feb. 22, 181 9, and is of Scotch
descent. His grandfather, Robert Blair, was born
in Philadelphia, and was a soldier in the Revolution,
enlisting at sixteen years of age, and serving six
yearsl' His discharge is still in existence and now
held by- Sergeant William Blair of New York.
After leaving the army he settled in Ulster county
where Barnard Blair, the father of Robert, was
born. Barnard lived with his parents until his
marriage to Sarah Edwards of Orange county,
ty whom he had nine children, Robert being the
third and only one now living.

When eight years of age, Robert went to reside
with his grandfather in Ulster county, where he
remained five years, attending school a greater
part of the time, and laying the foundation for his
active business life in after years. Soon after
leaving school he commenced working by the
month at brick making and continued in that busi-
ness till forty years of age. During this time Mr.
Blair accumulated by prudence and industry, suf-
ficient money to enable him to engage in the
manufacture of brick, and at the present time em-
ploys an average of fifty men. His yard is situated
on the Hudson at Haverstraw and was built in
1 869, at an expense of twenty thousand dollars.

In 1875 he purchased his present residence with
one hundred acres of excellent land in the town of
Fishkill, from which can be seen many miles of the
beautiful Hudson river.

October 15, 1843, Mr. Blair was united in mar-
riage with Harriet Van Wart, of Haverstraw, Rock-
land county, by whom he had nine children, six of
whom are now living, as follows : Phoebe, Hiram,
Harriet E., Robert, Abby and Annie.


History of tjbe Town of East Fishkill.

WHAT pleasing reminiscences and his-
torical associations loom up before us
upon the mention of Fishkill ! Whether it be of
West or East, how many hundreds of her children
who have left the paternal hearthstone and gone
forth in the world to battle with the duties of life,
turn from their cares and with pleasing remem-
brance view in imagination the scenes around "old
home,'' with all the familiar faces that clustered
around the dearest spot in childhood. How many
hundreds of merchants, miners, agriculturists and
tradesmen, of near and far oflf sections of our broad
country, for nearly a century have fondly reverted
to this locaUty, and reiterated to' their children the
historical incidents connected with old Fishkill soil,
in the Revolutionary struggle, as recounted to them
by their fathers and mothers, who were " actors in
those scenes," that made the town memorable upon
the pages of history.

West and East Fishkill, without doubt received
the first white settlers in the County, the former a
few years previous to the latter, although it is not
definitely known.

On the 17th of October, 1685, the lands of
East Fishkill were granted by patent from King
James II. to Francis Rombout, Jacobi^ Kip and
Stephanus Van Courtlandt, and since they made the
purchase for speculation, and being men of busi-

^©BKiax B2.^!i:a.



ness tact, it may not be supposed they were dila-
tory in causing settlements, as in them was the
greater profit on the investment and the sooner

Rombout, Kip and van Courtlandt were wealthy
Hollanders, and their famiUes became connected in
after years, by marriage. Rombout died a few
years after the purchase and left his portion of the
property to his only child, Catherine^ who removed
to Fishkill in 17 lo, and lived in queenly style for
those days.

Jacobus Kip married the widow of Gulian Ver
Planck, who was interested in the purchase of land
of the Wappingers, as will be seen elsewhere, and
Van Courtlandt was also connected. But being
confined to matters relating to East Fishkill only,
we will not refer to the family connection, farther
than to say, that in after years, lot number
two of the eastern tier, became the property of the
Ver Plancks, through Kip, and in 1739 ^^^ ^'st
sale was made from it, of two hundred acres to
Derick Storm by WiUiam Ver Planck. The greater
portion of this town became the property of
Catherine, who married Roger Brett. She was
famiUarly known as Madam Brett. From time to
time she sold the lands off in large and small
farms, receiving at the time of her death, rents
from but few tenants under lease, in comparison to
the number of farms sold, so that by the year 1740
East Fishkill territory was dotted here and there
with settlers and partially cleared farms, so as to
give the assurance of its being permanently settled.
Here were found the Van Wycks, Swartwouts,
Luysters, Van Vlacks, Emans, Storms, Adrian ces,
Carmans, Monforts, Buyces or Boices, Willseys,
Van Alsts and a number more whose descendants
still reside upon or near the pioneer homes.

The oldest monument of their faith and energy
in the town is the Reformed organization of Hope-
well, which dates back to the year 1757. The
settlers being principally of that faith, they for
many years attended divine service at Fishkill and
Poughkeepsie, and as the country became more
thickly settled meetings were held in private
houses, barns and in the woods, when the weather
would permit. Near Hopewell church still stands
a barn in which meetings were held before a
church edifice was built, and not far off stands a
dweUing house in which the grandfathers and great-
grandfathers assembled to unite in prayer and song
around the humble altar. This organization, in
connection with Fishkill and Hackensack, were the
recipients of several bequests in early times, to one

of which we will refer as its manner of expression
and consideration is indeed antique. The bequest
was ten acres, one quarter and twenty perches of
land from Samuel VerPlanck, bearing date the
23rd of March, 1779. It reads: —

" Between Samuel VerPlanck, Merchant, gentle-
man citizen of New York,Burghess of Amsterdam,
and one of the Governors of Kings College, of the
one part, and Arean Brickerhoff, Thomas Storm
and Peter Monfoort, all of Rumbout Precinct, in
the county of Dutchess, Gentleman, as well for
themselves as in trust for others, the Freeholders
and Inhabitants, being of, and Belonging to, the
Congregation of the Reformed Low Dutch
churches of Fishkill, Hopewell and New Hacken-
sack, in Rumbout Precinct aforesaid of the other
part Witnesseth that the said Samuel VerPlanck
for, and in consideration of, the Affection he bears
to the old Dutch Church in the city of New York,
and the Reformed churches of Rumbout Precinct
in Respect to the Memory of his Father Guhan Ver
Planck, his Grandfather, Samuel VerPlanck, his
Great Grand Father, Gulian VerPlanck the elder,
his Great Great Grandfather, Abraham VerPlanck.
In gratitude to the memory of Henrica Wessel, the
widow of Gulian VerPlanck the elder, and since,
the wife of Jacobus Kipp, also out of a tender re-
gard to his only son,DanielCiourmeUne VerPlanck,
to his only Brother, Guhan VerPlanck, to his
cousins, Philip VerPlanck and WiUiam Beekman
VerPlanck, Grandsons of Philip VerPlanck, Esq.,
late of the Manor of Cortlandt Deceased."

The first church edifice was built in 1764, of
wood, and is described by Bailey in his " Local
Tales and Historical Sketches" as "an oaken
frame of hewn timber taken from the forest near
where the church stood. It had a gambrel roof
with a tower in front, surmounting the tower was
a tapering spire, and upon its apex was a ball upon
which was placed a rooster."

The present edifice is a substantial and fine
appearing brick building erected in 1834, and
around it is a very neat cemetery which is nearly
surrounded by a tall evergreen hedge.

When the Duchess & Connecticut railroad was
completed, a hamlet sprang up near the track
under the name of Hopewell, and when the New-
England road was built to intersect the Duchess
at that point, the hamlet was called Hopewell
Junction. As a natural consequence the junction
is to be the business center and measures have
already been taken to estabhsh the place as such
in the building of stores, mechanical shops and
other necessary enterprises — such as are usually
found in a country village. The change thus
brought .about was the death stroke to the general
business interest of the old village for a while, but



upon the completion of the Clove branch, it was
not left entirely in the dark, and still struggles on.
Still, the junction will inevitably prove the victor
in enterprise, but not in pleasant surroundings —
historical associations or social hospitality. The
first merchant of the new village was Mr. E. C.
McCumber who erected a building near the station
and stocked it with general merchandise,upon the
building of the railroad, and still continues, being the
only one of the place. In 1870 L. C. Rapplje
built the present hotel which was at once occupied
by Edward Lasher, the present owner and pro-
prietor. R. C. Horton established a coal and
lumber yard in 1869, which is now the property of
O. & S. M. Davison, who are doing a prosperous
business. It is the only yard in the town and a large
territory surrounds it. In addition to the above I.
R. Graham is engaged in the tin and hardware
trade, George Horton in blacksmithing, and James
Ackerman in wagon and sleigh making. These
enterprises are driven to their utmost capacity
with business and soon will be forced to enlarge
or others invited to locate, which will give the
place an advance in growth.

At an early day a gristmill was built at Hope-
well by the Stockholm's. It was a small affair at
first, but rebuilt, as it stands at the present time,
about the year 1770. Charles Stockholm is the
present proprietor, succeeding his father and grand-
father in its ownership. The building is of ancient
architecture, having a gambrel roof, and timbers
large enough in the frame for a mill of triple its
capacity. There are several other old buildings in
the vicinity that mark a great contrast in architect-
ure by the side of those of recent date that are to
be found near. The old Hopewell store and
tavern of a centuries age, to which the inhabitants
' of the surrounding country have taken their barter
and cash for family supplies, for a long period of

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 108 of 125)