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 19 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 19 of 125)
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furnaces in Poughkeepsie.

The Clove ore bed is an extensive deposit of
brown hematite, situated in the south-west part of
Union Vale, on the west side of the hill running
parallel with the valley of the Clove. The gen-
eral appearance of the hill in which it is situated
does not differ much from that of the East Fish-
kill ore bed, but it appears to be more extensive,
at least it has been more extensively explored. In
most instances it has been worked ^(7 //5i? day ; large
excavations having been made in various places,
which communicate with some central point by
means of roads or railways. The Dover Iron Co.
sunk a shaft and constructed a level to intersect it.
f he ore is in general similar to that found at the
bed in East Fishkill, but contains, perhaps, a larger

proportion of the ochery or fine ore, which is con-
sidered more valuable than the other varieties.
Associated with it are minute crystals of oxide of
manganese, and that rare mineral, gibbsite. It is
a very pure hydrated peroxide of iron, and is mostly
fibrous hematite. It supplies the Beekman furnace
two miles further south. A bed of white clay, or
fuller's earth, rests upon the ore as at East Fishkill,
and the ore bed is bounded on the east by Ume-
stone. The southernmost of the ore beds at this place
does not make as good iron as the others, though
the ore is richer and yields a greater proportion of
iron. The ore is mostly the fibrous hematite.

Foss' ore bed is situated in the town of Dover
about a mile and a half west-south-west of the
furnace of the Dover Iron Company, in a valley
between the spurs of the mountain which passes
through this part of the country, and it is particu-
larly interesting as showing the association of the
hematite with the mica slate, which occurs here in
strata of some thickness, and contains garnets
of various sizes. In extent it appears to be in-
ferior to those already noticed. The ore is in
much larger masses, and is not only reduced to
powder with more difficulty, but contains a larger
proportion of foreign substances. Work has for
some time been discontinued.

The Amenia and SaUsbury ore beds are the most
extensively wrought of any iron mines of this ore
in the United States, and the iron from these beds
is considered superior in softness and toughness to
that of any other mine in the country. The ore
in the Amenia beds yields fifty per centum of pig
iron, and inproves in quality as it descends. The
deposit is very extensive, and is covered with eart\
gravel and broken rocks to a depth of five to
twenty feet. In 1843, the beds, which, in one
place, had been excavated to a depth of forty-five
feet, yielded 5,000 tons of ore per annum ; and
Prof. Mather estimated that at that rate of pro-
duction they would not be exhausted in three
hundred years. Talcose slate crops out a few
rods east and white limestone a few rods west
of the bed. Another mine, possibly a contin-
uation of the same bed, is opened at Squab-
ble Hole, about two miles south-south-west of
Ameniaville, The ore, which is abundant, was
discovered while digging a well. The Chalk Pond
ore bed, two and one-half miles north-east of
Ameniaville, was extensively wrought many years
ago, and abandoned in consequence of the water
from the pond incommoding the mines ; but this
difficulty has been obviated by drainage.



The ore bed near the village of Amenia, (or
Paine's Corners, as it has been called,) is best ex-
posed to examination, and has yielded the greatest
quantity of ore. In some places clayey matter is
intermixed with the ore; in others it is red like the
earthy red oxide of iron, yellow like iron ochre,
white like pipe clay, and sometimes bluish. The
blue clay is not plastic, but rather crumbly when
wet ; it is more or less mixed with talcy and mica-
ceous matter, and contains a multitude of minute
but perfect cubic crystals of pyrites. This bed
yields the greatest variety of the most beautiful
and delicate specimens for the cabinet of any local-
ity which came under the observation of Prof.
Mather, who says it "is a treat to the mineral-
ogist." Prof. Beck says : " a fragment of stalactite
from this locality was found to have a specific
gravity of 3.828 ; and to lose upon calcination 13.5
per centum of its weight. The composition of
this specimen will probably be a fair average of
that of the pure hematitic variety from the various
localities in this county." His analysis of brown
hematite from the Amenia ore bed gives the fol-
lowing result : —

Peroxide of iron 82.90

Silica and alumina 3.60

Water i3S°

Oxide of manganese trace

Proportion of metallic iron 57.50 pr. ct.

Galena, or the sulphuret of lead, is extensively
distributed in small quantities over a tract extend-
ing through this county and the counties north of
it on the east side of the Hudson. In nearly every
locality it is situated in veins, traversing the strata
near the junction of limestone with slate rocks,
where they have been upturned and exposed to
great derangements, and more or less affected by
metamorphic agency. Many localities were exam-
ined, but none gave much promise of profitable
investment. Fine grained galena is found in Dover
in a small vein, in dolomite, near the Preston Inn.
It is situated in a quartz vein which traverses the
limestone, and the ore is disseminated in small
grains and bunches. Lead ore occurs in Amenia.
In April, 1863, the Amenia Lead Co. was organ-
ized with a capital of ^500,000. The property of
the company was situated about seven miles from
Amenia, and consisted of about 100 acres held by
the company in fee simple, and some 1,220 acres,
about three-fourths of which was covered by long
mining leases, with covenants for renewal and pur-
chase at the company's option, and the remaining
one-fourth by a perpetual mining lease. An an-

alysis of one ton of copper ore from this mine was
made by Augustus T. Moith, in May, 1863, with
the following result : Copper oxide, 1,350 to 1,400
lbs. ; sulphur, 280 lbs. ; Water, 240 lbs. ; silver,
33^ to 34 oz. ; lead, 20 lbs. ; earthy matter, 140 lbs.
Galena is said to have been found at Rhinebeck ;
and in Stanford lead ore is said to occur on the
Asa Thorn and Asa Thompson places. Copper
ore was observed in small quantity on the Gen-
eral Brush farm in Aihenia, about a hundred rods
west of the "City" meeting-house. This locality
was worked for copper ore in the early part of the
present century. Copper ore, principally of the
black sulphuret, occurs in the Judge Bockee lead
mines in North East. Copper pyrites were observed
in the siliceous slate, on the road from Lower Red
Hook to Upper Red Hook landing, but in small
quantity. It was on the Nathan Beckwith farm.
On the Van Wyck farm in East Fishkill, about a
mile south-east of Johnsonville, Mr. Merrick saw
a thin vein of quartz in limestone, which contained
galena and some copper pyrites. Blende is seen
in veins one-fourth to one inch wide in the lime-
stone at the Ward Bryan and Judge Bockee lead
mines in North East.* It was seen in small quan-
tities at most of the lead diggings in various parts
of the county. In North East, on the Lee farm,
about four miles north of Amenia, excavations were
made many years since in search of silver. They
are in the quartz veins, in the talcy slate rock, near
its junction with the limestone. Pyrites occur in
some abundance there ; but no other ore was seen.
In the north-east part of La Grange are numerous
excavations said to have been silver mines, from
which, according to tradition, large quantities were
obtained in olden times. Mr. Merrick found no
traces of any metal, except a few particles- of
' pyrites, " and the money made there," says Prof.
Mather, "was probably 'out of pocket.'" Silver
mines have been mentioned as occurring in par-
ticular localities, "but investigation showed, in at
least nine cases out of ten, that pyrites was the
deceptive mineral." The county is not without
auriferous deposits, as is shown by the following
from the Poughkeepsie Weekly Eagle of May 6,

"The existence of gold in the hills around Rhine-
beck has long been known. * * * In 1868 or
'69, Dr. Freleigh, then a physician of Rhinebeck,

* Numerous excavations for lead and copper were made in these local-
ities, in colonial times, as early as 1740 by a company of Germans, who
sent the ore to Bristol, England. The mines were re-opened during the
Revolution, and a few tons of ore obtained. Geology o/the First Geo-
logical District of New York, \i,b.— French's Gazetteer of the State of
New York, li^.


satisfied himself that there was valuable treasure
about eight miles east of the village. The land was
owned by Daniel Murch, and an agreement was
made by which Dr. Freleigh was to have the refusal
of the farm for a year. Dr. Freleigh interested
parties in New York, to whom he sold the farm for
$100,000, paying Murch $25,000, when both re-
tired from the business. After the disposal of
the farm, the gold excitement died out, and
nothing was done in mining. The first practical
explorations of the gold fields were begun in the
summer of 1875, by J. B. Lichtenstein, of New
York, who purchased of N. W. H. Judson, of
Rhinebeck, the farm adjoining that of Murch. A
shaft was sunk into the hills about thirty feet, and
a tunnel started in the direction of the most prom-
ising leads. The machinery used was of the
crudest kind, being a hand-working crusher, a
small furnace, and a few imperfect tools. The
most productive ore found yielded not more than
$25 per ton, and the mine cannot be made to pay
at less than $35 a ton."

The primary rocks, which are similar in mineral-
ogical characters, in mineral contents, and in geo-
logical associations, are confined in this county to
the south-east portion and a few islands surrounded
by other formations. They occupy Pawling, the
east part of Beekman, and south-east and south
part of East Fishkill, the east part of Dover, and
a small part of Pine Plains and Stanford. They
are numerous and everywhere abundant, and are
seen cropping out from the surface of almost every
hill and ravine. Many of them are applied to use-
ful purposes. The principal are granite, sienite,
gneiss, mica slate, augite rock, greenstone and
hornblende rocks, quartz rock, talcose slate, lime-
stone, serpentine and steatite, the latter five of
which have been descfibed as metamorphic rocks.
Granite occurs abundantly, and presents all
varieties of texture, from a very coarse grained
rock to one almost perfectly compact. It varies
as much in color as in texture, being white, grey,
red, yellowish and bluish grey, according to the
color of the- minerals forming it. The color of the
feldspar usually determines that of the mass. It
occurs in beds, veins, interstratified masses, and in
knots, knobs and protruding masses, in which no
connection with veins or beds has been traced.
The more common mode of its occurrence is in
beds 10 to 100 feet thick, interstratified with
gneiss. Some of it is too coarse for use as a
building material ; some is too compact and hard,
being, in fact, eurite ,- others are well adapted for
building. The materials are of the best quaUty,
easily quarried in large blocks, suitable for columns
and cornices, easily dressed, and enduring as time,
as the naked crags themselves testify.

Hornblende, associated with hornblendic gneiss,
was observed on Mt. Stissing, near Pine Plains,
and on the mountains in Pawling. The horn-
blendic rocks are constantly associated with the
beds of magnetic oxides of iron.

Sienite is generally coarse grained, of a reddish
color, spotted with black crystalline and irregular
masses of hornblende. It passes into hornblendic
slate and hornblendic gneiss on the one hand, and
into hornblende rock on the other.

Gneiss varies greatly in external aspect and com-
position ; and its color is dependent upon the rela-
tive abundance of its constituents, which are
variously colored in different localities. The feld-
spar is white, reddish, or of a bluish grey ; the
mica is black, brown, yellow, copper-colored and
white ; the quartz is white, grey, or smoky. In
some places mica abounds in the rock, and it ap-
proaches to mica slate ; but more commonly the
feldspar is most abundant, and gives character to it.
Mica slate has a very limited distribution, and
when it does occur it seems to be a modification of
gneiss, the mica becoming predominant, while
within a short distance the rock resumes its char-
acter of gneiss.

Augite rock is sometimes mixed with feldspar, but
is more commonly either by itself, or mixed with
the various minerals that are usually associated
with it. It is of all shades of color, from white,
through grey and green of various shades to black ;
and from compact through various grades of gran-
ular to broad fohated masses, in the forms of
fassaite, coccolite, common augite, sahlite, crystal-
lized augite and diopside. This rock has not been
applied to any useful purpose.

Greenstone, in some places, has the aspect of
common trap, like basalt, but more commonly the
hornblende predominates and gives its character
to it. It traverses and is intruded in sheets and
irregular masses among the gneiss and other rocks
m the same way as granite and sienite, and many
of the masses classed with this rock may be classed
with sienite, but for the fineness of the grain, being
of about the same texture of a sandstone, com-
posed of black hornblende with grains of white and
grey feldspar.

^ Granular quartz rock was observed on the east
side of the Dover Valley, in Dover, adjacent to
the gneiss rocks; but this and the contiguous
white dolomitic limestone belong to the metamor-
phic rocks. '

^ The mass of primary rocks in Pine Plains and
Stanford is called Mt. Stissing. Its highest peak



is probably elevated nearly a thousand feet above
the level of the lake on its east side. It is com-
posed of gneiss and hornblendic gneiss with some
granite, all of which are like the rocks of the High-
lands. The strata range north fifteen to twenty
degrees east, and dip from seventy to ninety de-
grees to the westward. The mountain is entirely
isolated, like an island, surrounded entirely by the
quarternary and rocks of the Champlain division.
The Potsdam sandstone rests on the primary at
the south-west end of the mountain, and this is
covered by the grey limestones and slates of the
Champlain division. The slates on the west side
of the mountain are broken and crumpled up in
the greatest confusion.

Magnetic iron is the only ore of any great eco-
nomical importance known to the Highlands, but
there are some beds of limonite, some of pyrites
and of arsenical iron. Lead, silver and tin ores
are said to have been found, but Prof. Mather says
he has seen no indications to justify the conclusion
that they occur in any important quantities. Cop-
per pyrites and carbonate of copper have been
observed in small quantities.

Vast quantities of alluvion are being constantly
deposited in the Hudson by the numerous streams
emptying into it. Almost every creek has its del-
ta. These alluvions are highly important both in
an economical and scientific point of view. They
are sensibly increasing in height and area, and will
at some future time make valuable and productive
lands. Some of them are now employed for hay
and pasturage, and others are rapidly becoming
adapted for such uses. Between Upper Red Hook
landing and the mouth of the Saghkill an exten-
sive alluvial deposit is forming, which may be con-
sidered the united deltas of the Saghkill and Stony
Creek. The bay in which this deposition is taking
place, is filling up by the deposits of the streams
flowing into it, the wash of the adjacent clay hills
on the east and north, and by organic depositions,
which form a large proportion of the bulk of ac-
cumulating matter. The aquatic plants grow very
thick and luxuriant, and by their annual decay
form a large amount of carbonaceous matter,
mixed with the wash of the adjacent country. Two
islands cut off the "river from most of the west
boundary of the baj-, and a marsh connects the
largest with the main land, so that the water stag-
nates.- They are on a line with the rocky shore
above Upper Red Hook landing, and are the out-
cropping edges of the same strata. An island of
alluvial ooze is forming about two and one-half

miles below Rhinebeck landing, and extensive
flats under water are also in process of formation.
Between Emott's and Thompson's landings clay
hills bound the bay on the east, in which these de-
positions are taking place. Three small creeks
also empty into it, and by their deposits assist in
the accumulation. At the mouth of Casper Creek
a small deha is forming. At the mouth of Wap-
pinger Creek, a small alluvial deposition com-
mences, and extends with little interruption till it
joins that of Fishkill Creek, and continues thence
to the Highlands. There are many alluvial
marshes and flats too small to notice, and they can
be of comparatively little value, even prospective-
ly, except for manure.

Shell marl abounds in the valley of the Hudson.
It is a white pulverulent substance when dry, and
when wet, is so soft that a pole may easily be
thrust into it. It is composed of the shells and
decayed fragments of the lymn»a, Physa heter-
osiropha, Planorbis trivalvis, P. campanulatus,
Cyclas similis, and other species. Uniones and
anodontce are sometimes found in it. The term
marl, in its strict mineralogical sense, means an
- argillaceous carbonate of lime.

Peat has an extensive range in the county, and
occurs in patches of two to three hundred acres,
the most important deposits being in Pawling,
Pine Plains, Stanford and Amenia. This alluvion
is the result of vegetable decomposition. It varies
in its aspect. The best quality is a soft, unctious,
tremulous mud when wet, but when dry is so com-
pact as to receive a slight pohsh. When heated,
it burns with flame and bituminous odor. Ligne-
ous, fibrous and compact peat are the principal
varieties. The former two are of comparatively
little value ; the latter makes a valuable fuel and
is extensively used for that purpose in France and
Ireland. In cold climates it is formed in moist
ground and shallow ponds, wherever there is an ac-
cumulation of vegetable matter. Decayed trees
form a light, soft, spongy mass, called ligneous
peat. From decomposed grasses and seeds a
fibrous peat is formed, which is light and spongy
several feet below the surface, but at a greater
depth may be of good quality for fuel. Small
aquatic plants and mosses, such as Sphagnum
palustre, produce peat, which, at a moderate depth,
is compact, without fibres, uniform in its texture,
and of good quality. The Rev. Mr. Shafter, of
New York, observed peat and marl in Rhinebeck,
North East and Clinton in 1817. He gave, ai sec-
tion of one of the marshes, which is as follows:



I, sod and vegetable mold; 2, a stratum of turf
on peat, three to four feet ; 3, a stratum of peat
and marl mingled, two feet ; 4, a stratum of pure
marl, two to three feet. Below these there was an
appearance of sand and blue clay.*

The county presents examples of the sinking of
limestone rock into caverns below, in consequence
of the gradual removal of the limestone that sup-
ported the roofs of the caverns, by the solving and
erosive action of subterranean springs and streams.
Near Clinton Point in Poughkeepsie, the ground
sank, the rock being no longer able to bear the
weight of the superincumbent mass. A man
that was plowing had passed over this ground
but a moment before. Another occurred in Pine
Plains, on the line of a subterranean stream.
Trees were not disturbed in their growth on the
sunken ground but a cow that was in it, died
from want of water and food, from her inability to
climb out of the sunken space.

Concreted carbonate of lime was seen in small
quantity at and near the " Spook Hole,"t a cave
near Clinton Point. Tufa is mentioned by Cleave-
land near Rhinebeck.

Clay balls and calcareous concretions are com-
monly found in the tertiary or quarternary clay
beds, which are of alluvial formation. One divis-
ion of them seems to be formed by segregation,
like septaria and the various nodular masses em-
bedded in limestone, slate and other rocks. They
present a great variety of forms, rarely spherical,
except when grouped in botryoidal masses; but
generally flattened ovoidal digitated, and more
similar in form to the various shapes of cakes made
for children. They are formed of clay, but con-
tain carbonate of hme sufficient to indurate them,
and sometimes to slack when burned. The other
division is formed by organic causes. They are
almost all the shapes of a tubular, flattened ovoidal
or annulated form, and almost universally have a
hole through them, some not larger than a fine
needle, others of the size of the finger or of the arm.
They are formed in and between the layers of clay,
but never, it is believed, below the depth to which
the roots of plants penetrate. They seem to be
formed by the roots of plants absorbing the water,
and perhaps the carbonic acid of the water in the
earth, and rejecting the carbonate of lime that is
held in solution by one or both. This, by its de-

* American Journal of Science, I., \y),

+ The Spook Hole is a small cave in limestone about half a mile

soutli-cast of Clinton Point and so to 70 rods from the Hudson. It is

' said,<* Jiave Wmuch carbonic acid gas in it as to make it dangerous to

enter with6(it precaution. When visited by Prof. Mather lights burned

well. ■

position, remains around the root or fibre, and in-
durates the clay. The localities in the valleys
of the Hudson and its tributaries are so numerous
that it is unnecessary to specify more than a few.
Between Lower Red Hook and Rhinebeck land-
ings, Prof. Mather saw an oak tree that had been
uprooted by the wind, with hundreds of these an-
nular, tubular, and discoidal concretions dangling
from its smaller roots and fibrous rootlets. They
are not uncommon about Poughkeepsie, Hyde
Park, Fishkill, and throughout the clay formations
of the Hudson and its main tributaries.

Sulphate of lime occurs only as an alluvion, in-
considerable in quantity, and resulting from the
decomposition of pyrites in contact with materials
containing calcareous matter, or as a deposit from
mineral springs. Sulphate of alumina occurs as an
efflorescence, and in tubercuiar masses. One locality
observed is on the mountain, about two and a half
miles south-west of Araeniaville, in decomposing
pyrites and dark colored mica slate, that was once
supposed to contain coal ; another is about three
miles south of the same village, in a similar rock.
Another locality is in the town of North East. Prof.
Merrick observed a locaHty of " alum slate," like
that of Amenia, near the top of the hill east of
Hurd's Corners, in Pawling. Muriate of lime
occurs in almost all the spring waters of the Hud-
son valley, and particularly in those that issue from
the clay beds of the tertiary of that valley. It is
the principal cause of the "hardness of the water,"
or its quality of decomposing soap.

Springs are caused by the water percolating
downwards from the surface of the earth, until it
meets some stratum that is not sufficiently pervious
to permit it to pass through. The water accumu-
lates on this until it rises to such a level as to find
an outlet. Carbonic acid is one of the most com-
mon substances in mineral waters.* It is a well
established chemical fact that carbonates are solu-
ble iff an excess of carbonic acid. As spring waters
containing carbonic acid flow along the fissures of
limestone, the carbonic acid is continually exerting
its solvent action upon the rock, and transporting
the dissolved carbonate of lime to distant parts.
This offers a ready and satisfactory explanation of
the numerous extensive caverns in limestone dis-
tricts, to which they are almost exclusively con-

Chalybeate springs contain carbonate of iron
held in solution by carbonic acid, and the adjoin-
ing valleys and marshes into which such springs
flow, always contain bog iron ore, or soil stained with



limonite, unless they flow into a stream so as to
prevent a deposition of the ferruginous matter.
Near Upton's Pond in Stanford, Prof. Merrick

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 19 of 125)