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

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Utmost Endeavors, to Disclose and Make Known,
to his Majesty and his Successors, all Treasons and
Traiterous Conspiracies, which I shall know to be
against him, or any of them, and I do faithfully
promise to the Utmost of my Power to Support
Maintain and Defend, the Successors of the Crown,
against him the said James and all other Persons
Whatsoever, Which Succession, by an Act Entitled
an Act for the further Limitation of the Crown
and better Securing the Rights and Libertys of the
Subjects is and Stands Limitted to the Late Prin-
cess Sophia, Electress and Dutchess Dowager of
Hanover, and the Heirs of her Body, being Protes-
tants, and all these things I do Plainly and Sincerely
Acknowledge and Swear according to the Express
words by me Spoken, and According to the Plain
and Common Sence and Understanding of the
Same Words, Without any Equivocation, Mental
Evasion, or Senister Reservation Whatsoever, and
I do make this Recognition, Acknowledgement,
Abjuration, Renunciation and Promise, heartily.
Willingly and Truly, upon the True Faith of a
Christian — So help me God."

Those whose name are foll(Jwed by a star (*) in
the following list took only the first oath at the date
set opposite their respective names. Those remain-
ing took both : —

April I. Roswell Hopkins,* 2d Lieut.

do. 2. Abraham Lozel,* Captain.

do. 2. Henry Bell,* ist Lieut.

do. 2. Michael Vinsnt,* 2d Lieut.

do. 2. Peter Covis,* Ensign.

do. 3. Stephanus Congen,* ist Lieut.

do. 3. Wm. Radcliff,* 2d Lieut.

do. 3. Bathuin Brown,* Ensign.

do. 3. Simon Flagler,* zd Lieut.

do. 4. Samuel King,* Ensign.

'''" 5. William Gray,* 2d Lieut.
8. Simeon Wright,* do.

William Doughty, Jr.,* Ensign.
John Stoutenburgh,* do.
William Hill,* 2d Lieut.
Isaac Rhodes,* Captain.
Andrew Sill,* Ensign.


do. 24. Thomas X Smith,* ist Lieut.


John Cannon,* Lieut.
Saml. Gerry, Jr.,* do.
Joseph Powell,* do.
Isaac Conckin,* do.



do. g.

do. 16,





May 22.

do. 22.

do. 23.

do. 23.
June 28.

do. 28.

Cornelius Vanwyck,* 2d Lieut.
John Bailey, Jr.,* Ensign.

June 30.
Aug. 21.

do. 21.

do. 21.

do. 21.
Sept. 27.

do. 29.
Nov. 8.

do. 27.

do. 27.
Oct. 20.

do. 22.

do. 22.
do. 22.
do. 22.

May 18.

do. 18.

do. 18.

do. 18.

do. 18.

do. 18.

do. 18.

do. 18.

do. 18.

do. 18.

do. 18.

do. 18.

do. 18.


Feb. 22.

Mar. 12.

do. 24.

do. 24.

do. 24.

do. 24.


Sept. 25,

do. 26.








do. 7.
do. 12.
,do. 13.
do. 14.
do. 20.
do. 20.
do. 21.
do. 21.
do. 21.
do. 21.
do. 21.
do. 21.
do. 21.
do. 21.

Jacob X Brill's mark,* Ensign.
Samuel Rowland,* Captain.
Abraham filkin,* Ensign.
Zephaniah Piatt, Jr.,* Captain.
Silas Deuel,* ist Lieut.
Jacob Sharpenstone,* 2d Lieut.
Christian Tobias,* Jr., Ensign.
Clear Everitt,* Sheriff.
Teunis Tappen,* Under Sheriff.
Barnardin Fillkih,* do.

Daniel Castle, Justice.


Christian DD Dedrick, Naturalized.


Henry Shop, do.

Johannes Pallankin Cassford, do,
Lodwick Elsever, do.

Johann Georg Goodmanhein, do.


Anthouy X Poucher, do.


Hannis HK Kraf, do.


William Peter Wallace, do.

Jacob Cain, do.

Johannis Blin or Bloss (?) do.

Hurst Cramer, do.

Peter Crofut, do.

Henry Dencker, do.

Christian Frankal, do.

Yuvi Loun, do.

George Schuyder, do.

John Joshua Weder, do.

Isaac Burton, Sub Sheriff.
Henry Ludinton, do.
Malen Mead, Captain.
David Sotherland, ist Lieut.
Lewis Barton, 2d Lieut.
Samuel Pugsly, Ensign.

Matthew Du Boys, Judge and Justice.

Nicholas De La Vergne, Justice and Asst.

William Doughty, do. do.

Roswell Hopkins, Justice.

L. Van Kleeck, Judge and Justice.

Abraham Bockee, Justice.

Thomas Philips, do.

Samuel Peters, do.

Henry Lott, do.

Henry D. Burgh, do.

William Humfrey, do.

John Akin, do.

Caleb Smith, do.

Jacobus Ter Bos, Justice and Judge.

Timothy Soule, Justice.

James Dickinson, do.

Elijah Tompkins, do.

John Rider, do.

Anthony Yelverton, Justice and Asst.

Samuel R. Utly, Justice.

Mordecai Lester, do.



Oct. 21.

do. 23.

do. 29.
Nov. 13.

do. 21.

do. 27.

do. 27.


Jan. 20.

Feb. 5.

May 18.

do. 20.

do. 20.

do. 20.


Jan. 12.

do. 12.

do. 12.

do. 28.

do. 28.
Feb. 2.







do. 2.

do. II.
do. II,

do. II.

April 6.
June 2.
Nov. 7.

Feb. 4.

May 15.

do. 15.

do. 17.
Oct. 2.

do. 2.

do. 2.

do. 29.
Nov. 7.

do. 7.


Nov. 8.

May 20.

do 20.
Oct. 7.

do. 7.

do. '8.
Nov. 1 2.

John Palmer, Justice.
James G. Livingston, Sheriff.
Bernard Filkin, Under Sheriff.

James Smith, Justice.

James Duncan, do.

Johannis Deevit, do.

Cornelis Luyster, do.

Augustinus Turck, do.
Elisha Colver, ' do.
Gilbert Livingston^ D. Clerk.
Johann Georg Kreep, Naturalized.
Henry AUendorf; do.

Azariah Newcomb, Under Sheriff.

Michael Hopkins, Captain.
Simeon Cook, 2d Lieut.
Ichabod Paine, Ensign.
Harmon Hoffman, do.
Samuel King, ist Lieut.
Moses Harris, Captain.
Jonathan Reynolds, ist Lieut.
Stephen Herrick, 2d Lieut.
Henry De Deo, Captain.
Symon Westfael, 1st Lieut.
Johannes Henner, 2d Lieut.
John Weever, Jr., Ensign.


Philip X Staats, do.


Stephen Caswell, Captain.
Eben'r Jessup, 2d Lieut.
Lewis Enos Bryan, Ensign.
Simeon Wright, Captain.
John Ring, ist Lieut.
Daniel J. CHne, Ensign.
Ichabod Rogers, 2d Lieut.
Henry Heermanns, ist Lieut.


Johannis Rysdorf, 2d Lieut.


Joseph F&wler, Ensign.
Joseph Ketchum, ist Lieut.
James Livingston, Sheriff.

Isaac Van Benschoten, Under Sheriff.

Isaac Burton, Under Sheriff.

Christian Tobias, NaturaUzed.

Frederick Gilliger, do.

John Bogardus, Justice.

Nathan Taylor, Captain.

Edward Gody, Jr.,* ist Lieut.

Silas Paddock, Ensign.

John Field, 2d Lieut.

Isaiah Bennet,* do.

Amos Fuller, Ensign.

Richard Warner, Under Sheriff.

Peter Klaing, NaturaUzed.

Josan Georg Marquaof, do.
Daniel Geigen Grim, do.

Michael Colts, do.

Isaac Rysdyk, do.

James Brook, Under Sheriff.

Mar. 15,
Oct. 4.

Jan. 9.
May 16.

do. 16.

do. 16.

do. 16.

do. 16.

do. 17.

do. 17.

do. 17.

do. 17.
June 6.

do. 7.

do. 7.

do. 14.

do. 15.
Aug. 31.
Oct. 4.

do. 4.

do. 4.

do. 14.
Dec. 6.

Jan. 30. Henry Hegaman, Justice.
Feb. 3. Jacobus Swartwout, Coroner.
Mar. 6. Cornelis Knickerbocker, Captain.

do. 6. Jacob Millins, ist Lieut.

do. 6. Johannes George Rorick, 2d Lieut.

do. 6. Benjamin Van Leman, Ensign.

do. 20. Thomas Taber, Justice.
Apr. 1 7. Johannes Rauch, Captain.

do. 17. John Wise Erus, ist Lieut.

do. 17. James Wilson, Ensign.

do. 17. Lewis Bryan, ist Lieut.

do. 17. James Winchell, 2d Lieut.

do. 17. William Knickerbocker, Ensign.
May 7. John Lovell, ad Lieut.

do. 15. John Child, Attorney.

do. 16. James Meed, 1st Lieut.

do. 22. Benjamin DeLamatter, Ensign.
June 16. Henry Ellis, Justice.
July 10. James Atwater, do.
Sept. 27. Silas Marsh,* Attorney. •

Feb. 9,
May ifl

Rufus Herrick, Under Sheriff.
Henry Beekman, Justice and Asst.

Tho. Newcomb, Under Sheriff.

Henry V. D. Burgh, Judge and Justice.

Peter Harris, Asst. and Justice.

James Duncan, Justice.

Lawrence Lawrence, Justice..

Matthew Brett, do.

Uriah Lawrence, do.

Andrew Moorhous, do.

Thomas Menzies, do.

Malcom Morison, do.

Bartholomew Noxon, do.

Henry Rosekranz, Jr., do.

Cornelius Humphrey, do.

Thomas Baldwin, do.

Andrew Bostwick, do.

Conrad Wineger, do.

Daniel Sleght, Naturalized.

John Michel Richer, do.

Thomas Barker, Justice.

Lewis Duboys, Under Sheriff.

Ephraim Paine, Justice.

John Lloyd, Under Sheriff.

Reuben Hopkins, Attorney.
June 14. Bev. Robinson, Judge and Justice.
Oct. 31. Enos Northrup, Under Sheriff.

James Vanderburgh, Justice.
Duncan Campbell, do.
Alex'r Grant, do.

Philip I. Livingston, High Sheriff.
Peter Dubois, Under Sheriff, •


Feb. 17.

Oct. 9.

do. g.

do. 16.

do. 16.


Jan. 6. John Terrill, Justice.

Feb. 15. Ananias Cooper, do.

Thrice during the revolutionary period (1780-
1782,) did the Marquis de Chastellux, a French
general officer under Rochambeau, extend his



travels to this county. His observations, published
in a rare work entitled Travels in North America,
are, with the exception of Anburey's, which will be
noticed in another connection, the earliest having
a local interest to Duchess county of which we
have knowledge. A view of the county at that
early period through the eyes of so distinguished
a character can not fail to interest the present in-
habitants of Duchess.

De Chastellux made his first visit in November,
1780, while en route from Rhode Island to " Prak-
ness," where Washington's army then lay. He
crossed the Housatonic, "or river of Stratford,"
"near BulVs iron works" (now Bull's Bridge,)
where, he says, it " is easily forded," and " lost in
admiration at the view of the charming landscape,
formed by the combination of forges, of the fall of
water which seems to work them, and of the varie-
gated prospect of trees and rocks with which this
picturesque scene is embellished," followed its
course south to the mouth of Ten Mile River.
After ascending the latter two or three miles he
came " in sight of several handsome houses,
forming a part of the district called The Oblong"
Two miles further on he arrived at the inn kept by
Colonel Moorhouse; "for nothing is more com-
mon in America," he says, " than to see an inn-
keeper a Colonel : they are in general militia col-
onels, chosen by the mihtia themselves, who seldom
fail to entreat the command to the most esteemed,
and most creditable citizens." With a motive
which did little credit to his heart, he urged for-
ward his horses " to get the start of a traveler
on horseback" who had joined him on the road,
and would have the same right with himself to
lodgings had they arrived together. He " had the
satisfaction, however, to see him pursue his jour-
ney ; but soon learnt with concern, that the little
inn where [he] proposed to pass that night, was
occupied by thirteen farmers, and two hundred and
fifty oxen coming from New Hampshire." The
oxen were " a part of the contingent of provisions "
furnished by that State to the army. They, he
adds, "were the least iijconvenient part of the
company, as they were left to graze in a meadow
hard by, without even a dog to guard them ; but the
farmers, their horses, and dogs, were in possession
of the inn." They occupied " all the rooms, and
all the beds," and he " was in the greatest distress ;"
when, with remarkable magninimity, "a tall, fat man,
the principal person amongst them," being informed
who he was, assured him, "that neither he, nor his
companions, would ever suifer a French general

officer to want a bed, and that they would rather
sleep on the floor ; adding, that they were accus-
tomed to it, and that it would be attended with no
inconvenience." He assured them that, being a
military man, he was as much accustomed as them-
selves to making the earth his bed, and they " had
long debates on this point oi pglitesse;" but the
result was that he and his aides "had a two-bedded

He " parted good friends '' with his New Hamp-
shire acquaintances, whose " size and stature
struck" him ; and on the morning of the " 20th
of December" [should be November] resumed his
journey. "Three miles from Moorhouse's," he
says, "is a very high hill; we then descend, but
not quite so much as we ascended ; but the road
here is over elevated ground, leaving large moun-
tains on the left. The country is well cultivated ;
affording the prospect of several pretty farms, with
some mills ; and notwithstanding the war, Hopel
[Hopewell] township is building, inhabited chiefly
by Dutch people." It was his intention " to sleep
five miles this side of Fishkill, at Colonel Grifiin's
tavern ;'' but being assured by that gentleman,
whom he found " cutting and preparing wood for
fences,'' that "his house was full, which was easy
to be believed, for it was very small," he continued
his journey and reached Fishkill about four o'clock.
"This town," he says, referring to Fishkill, "in
which there are not more than fifty houses in the
space of two miles, has been long the principal
depot of the American army. It is there they have
placed their magazines, their hospitals, their work-
shops, &c., but all these form a town of themselves,
composed of some handsome large barracks, built
in the wood at the foot of the mountains." As
evidence of the "great importance" of the post at
Fishkill, which, he says, being " situated on the
high road from Connecticut," " near the North
River," and " protected by a chain, of inaccessible
mountains," "has all the qualities necessary for a
place of depot," he cites the campaign of 1777,
which made it " clear that the plan of the English
was to render themselves masters of the whole
course of the North River, and thus to separate
the Eastern and Western States," and " necessary
therefore to secure a post on Jhat river; West
Point was made choice of as the most important to
fortify, and Fishkill, as the place best adapted to
the establishment of the principal depot of pro-
visions, ammunition, &c."

How, " with difficulty," he found lodgings, which
were made " very scarce" by the movement of



troops to winter quarters ; but he " got at last into
a middling inn, next [kept] by an old Mrs. Egre-
mont. The house was not so clean as they usually
are in America ; but the most disagreeable circum-
stance was the want of several panes of glass. In
fact, of all repairs, that of windows is the most diffi-
cult, in a country where, from the scattered situ-
ation and distance of the houses from each other,
it is sometimes necessary to send twenty miles for
a glazier." But, having " made use of every thing
that came to hand to patch up the windows," with
the aid of " an excellent fire," and under the genial
influences of the polite attentions of " the Doctor
of the hospital" and " the Quarter-master of Fish-
kill," he managed to pass the night. In the morn-
ing he was conducted by the latter " to see the
barracks, the magazines, and work-houses of the
different workmen employed in the service of the
army." "These barracks," he says, " are wooden
houses, well built and well covered, having garrets,
and even cellars." Here, he adds, " such ample
provision is made for every thing that the service
and discipline of the army may require, that a
prdvotd and a prison are built there, surrounded by
paUsades. One gate only affords access to the
inclosure of the prdvotd ; and before it is placed a
guard-house." "After passing some time in visiting
these different settlements," he proceeded toward
West Point. Four or five miles from Fishkill, he
passed a camp in the woods occupied by "some hun-
dred invalid soldiers," who, he says, "were all in very
good health, but had been sent here because their
cloaths were truly invahds." " These honest fel-
lows," he adds, " for I will not say creatures^ (they
know to well how to suffer, and are suffering in too
noble a cause,) were not covered, even with rags j
but their steady countenances, and their arms in
good order, seemed to supply the defect of cloaths,
and to display nothing but their courage and their
patience." He continued his journey "in the
woods, in a road hemmed in on both sides by very
steep hills, which seemed admirably adapted for the
dwelling of bears, and where in fact they often
make their appearance in winter." He availed
himself " at length of a less difficult part of these
mountains to turn to the westward." Descending
slowly towards the river, " at the turning of the
road," he says, " my eyes were struck with the
most magnificent picture I had ever beheld. It
was a view of, the North River, running in a deep
channel formed by the mountains, through which,
in fbrmer ages it had forced its passage. The fort
of West Point and the formidable batteries which

defend it fix the attention on the western bank,
but on Kfting your eyes you behold on every side
lofty summits, thick set with redoubts and bat-

The following month, (December,) DeChastellux,
having visited Washington at " Prakness," and
extended his travels south to Philadelphia and the
battle-field of Brandywine, turned his steps north
to visit the battlefields of Stillwater and Saratoga.
From New Windsor, which was then the head-
quarters of Gen. Washington, he crossed the Hud-
son to " Fishkill Landing Placed' accompanied by
that officer, in whose barge he made the passage.
The object of crossing the river at this point was,
he says, " to gain the eastern road, preferred by
travellers to the western." Here he took leave of
Washington, who insisted that Col. Smith should
accompany'him to " Pougkk^nsie" (Poughkeepsie.)
" The road to this town," he says, " passes pretty
near Fishkill, which we leave on the right, from
thence we travel on the heights, where there is a
beautiful and extensive prospect, and traversing a
township, called Middlebrook, arrive at the creek,
and at Wapping Fall. There I halted a few
minutes to consider, under different points of view,
the charming landscape formed by this river, as
well from its cascade, which is roaring and pictur-
esque, as from the groups of trees and rocks, which,
combined with- a number of saw-mills and furnaces,
compose the most capricious and romantic pros-

It was his intention to stop over night at "Pough-
kensie," where he arrived at half-past three in the
afternoon ; " but finding that the sessions were
then holding, and that all the taverns were full,"
he proceeded three miles further, to '■'■Prides
Tavern" regretting not having seen Governor
Clinton, who "was then at Poughkensie, but
taken up with the business of the sessions." At
"Pride's Tavern" he interrogated the landlord,
whose name was Pride, and whom he perceived to
be a good farmer, on the subject of agriculture,
and drew from him the information that " the land
is very fertile in Duchess County, * * * but
it is commonly left fallow one year out of two
or three, less from necessity than from there being
more land than they can cultivate. A bushel of
wheat at most is sown upon an acre, which renders
twenty, and five-and-twenty for one. Some
farmers sow oats on the land that has borne wheat
the preceding year, but this grain in general is re-
served for lands newly turned up ; flax is also a
considerable object of cultivation ; the land is



ploughed with horses, two or three to a plough ;
sometimes even a greater number when on new
land, or that which has long lain fallow." Mr.
Pride, he says, while giving these details, always
flattered him with hopes of fine weather the next
day ; in the morning, however, he was chagrined
to find that the ground was "ahready entirely
white," while snow "continued to fall in abun-
dance, mixed with hail and ice." He continued
his journey, notwithstanding, ''only taking a little
better breakfast than I should otherwise have
done," he says, probably, as he does not other-
wise explain his motive, as a punitive reward for
the erroneous prognostications of his landlord.
" But I regretted most," he adds, " that the snow,
or rather small hail that drove against my eyes,
prevented me from seeing the country ; which, as
far as I could judge, is beautiful and well cultivated.
After the travelling about ten miles, I traversed
the township of Strasbourg, called by the inhabi-
tants of the country Strattsborough [Staatsburgh.]
This township is five or six miles long, yet the
houses are not far from each other."

"You scarcely get out of Stratsbourgh," he says,
"before you enter the township of Rhynbeck-"
where, he observes, " nobody came out to ask me
to dinner." " But this snow mixed with hail was
so cold, and I was so fatigued with keeping my
horse from slipping, that I should have stopped
here even without being invited by the handsome
appearance of the inn called Thomas's Inn. It was
no more, however, than half past two ; but as I had
already come three and twenty miles, the house
was good, the fire well-lighted, my host a tall, good-
looking man, a sportsman, a horse dealer, and dis-
posed to chat, I determined according to the English
phrase to spend the rest of my day there." Mr.
Thomas, who was the owner of "some dogs of a
beautiful kind," which awakened the Marquis' pas-
sion for a chase, and, in time of peace, had carried
on a great trade of horses, which he purchased in
Canada and sent to New York, there to be shipped
to the West Indies, regaled his distinguished guest
with the recital of his experiences as a sportsman
and horse trader, and with the more important in-
formation, " that in the neighborhood of Rhynbeck
the land was uncommonly fruitful, and that for a
bushel of sown wheat he reaped from thirty to
forty. The corn is so abundant that they do not
take the trouble of cutting it with a sickle, but
mow it like hay." The Marquis' opinion of his
host's patriotism was not of an exalted nature. "He
was " he says, " too rich, and complained too much

of the flour he furnished for the army to let me
think him a good whig." De Chastellux left
Thomas' Inn December 23d, and we leave him to
pursue his journey through Livingston Manor,
Claverack, Kinderhook and Albany to the historic
fields of Saratoga, of all of which he gives a most
interesting description.

Two years after his first visit, in December
1782, DeChastellux again visited this section, while
on his way from Rhode Island to the headquarters
of Washington, then at Newburgh. The war had
ceased; the preUminaries of peace had been
arranged between the United States, Great Britain
and France ; and the French allies of the former
were about to depart from America. The Marquis
had taken his usual route from Hartford through
Litchfield, down the Housatonic to Bull's Bridge,
and up Ten-Mile River to Moorhouse's Tavern,
where he arrived at five in the afternoon of Decem-
ber 4th.

" The 5th we set out at nine, and rode without
stopping, to Fish-kill, where we arrived at half-past
two, after a four-and-twenty miles journey through
very bad roads. I alighted at Boerorris tavern,
which I knew to be the same I had been at two
years before, and kept by Mrs. Egremont. The
house was changed for the better, and we made a
very good supper. We passed the North River as
night came on, and arrived at six o'clock at New-


Early Civil Divisions — Duchess County Di-
vided Into Wards, Precincts and Towns —
Topography of County — Its Mountains and
Streams — Measures for Re-Stocking the


Rain-Fall — Snow-Fall — Thaws — Direction
and Prevalence of Winds — Mortality of
Duchess as Compared with other Counties
IN the State — Soils — Agriculture — Staple
Productions — Manufactures.

PREVIOUS to 1683, the State of New York
had no other distinctive civil divisions than
manors, cities and villages. In 1638, the Dutch
gave to all that part of the State lying west of
Albany its first specific designation— 7>rra Incog-
nita] — a name nearly as appropriate even a

*DeChastellux's Travels In North America., London Ed., /., 56—
7Z, J51 — 367; I!..,'2^i — joi. Historical Sketches by Benson J. Lossing^t
LL. D., in Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle, November 1873.

t Tumer^s Pioneer History of Phelps and Gorhanis Purchase., 126,



century later. November i, 1683, the Province
of New York was divided into twelve counties
which were named from the titles of the royal
family.* Duchess was one of the twelve, and then
embraced the present county of Putnam and the
towns of Clermont and Germantown, in Columbia
county; the latter of which were annexed to
Albany county in 1717, and the former constituted
a separate county June t2, 181 2. Its boundaries,
as defined in the original act, were Roelaff Jansen's
Kill on the north to the county of Westchester,
south of the Highlands, on the south, and east
from the Hudson into the woods twenty miles. It
was then, it is supposed, uninhabited by white men ;
and October 18, 1701, "having very few inhabi-

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 14 of 125)