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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siderable attention, and new movements were pro-
posed. The breaking out of the war in 1861,
again put a stop to all operations, but some time
in 1863, they were resumed, and the people began
to feel something like a general interest in them.
In the spring of 1865, there was quite an arousing
on the subject. Another meeting was held at
Washington Hollow, and hostility to Poughkeepsie
again appeared. It was then that the representa-
tives of Poughkeepsie resolved to abandon all
action in that direction and act independently.
A meeting was then called at Salt Point, which
was adjourned for a more general one at Bangall.
This latter meeting was largely attended, an organ-
ization under the general railroad law was formed,
and it was resolved to have the requisite surveys
made for the road, which was to be built from



Poughkeepsie, via Pine Plains to Ancram or
Copake, and thence to the Connecticut line. The
survey was made by P. P. Dickinson, who re-
ported February 15, 1866, the estin:iated cost of
the road and equipments at $1,002,206.80.
April 15, 1866, the Poughkeepsie & Eastern
Railroad Co. was incorporated, with a capital of
$1,000,000, to construct a road over the above
route, with a branch at or near Salt Point to the
Harlem road at Wassaic. The first directors were :
George Innis, Isaac Piatt, James G. Wood, George
Morgan, Harvey G. Eastman and Robert F. Wilk-
inson, Poughkeepsie; Pomeroy P. Dickinson,
Birdsall Cornell and William Cor win, New York;
William Eno, Pine Plains ; Piatt G. Van VUet and
Stephen T. Angell, Pleasant Valley; James M.
Welling, Washington; Elihu Griffin, Clinton;
Isaac Carpenter, Stanford ; George Peasley and
Conrad Niver, Ancram. The first meeting of the
directors was held at the office of the company in
Poughkeepsie, April 28, i856, and the following
named officers were chosen : President, George
Innis ; Vice-President, George Morgan ; Treas-
urer, Isaac G. Sands ; Secretary, Robert F. Wilk-
inson ; Attorney, Mark D. Wilber ; Chief Engineer,
P. P. Dickinson. George Morgan, H. G. East-
man, James G. Wood, Birdsall Cornell, Piatt G.
Van Vliet, William Eno and Conrad Niver were
constituted an Executive Committee, with authority
to employ agents in the city and towns to obtain
subscriptions to stock.

Meantime the opposition project of a railroad
to Fishkill was revived, with greater force, and,
receiving a powerful ally in the person of George
H. Broivn, of Washington, made rapid progress.
Some of the Poughkeepsie people were in favor of
a road more directly east from Amenia instead of
the route to Pine Plains, and this idea was fostered
as much as possible by the friends of the Fishkill
road. At the same time a violent opposition dis-
played itself among the largest property holders
and prominent men in Poughkeepsie, and but for
George Innis, President of the Fallkill Bank, the
untiring energy of Mark D. Wilber, and the con-
tinued efforts of the Eagle, it is doubtful if the
enterprise would not have dropped again, a* it did
on previous occasions. In October, 1866, a series
of meetings was held in the interest of the Pough-
keepsie & Eastern Railroad at Washington Hol-
low, Bangall and Pine Plains, and addresses were
made by P. P. Dickinson, George Innis, Mark D.
Wilber, H. G. Eastman, Isaac Piatt and others.
Subscriptions to the stock of the company were

opened. It was proposed to raise $300,000 in
this way before starting to build the road, but it
was found that very little aid could be expected
from the country, as the towns on which most de-
pendence had been placed had become interested
in the Fishkill road. After a long effort, mainly
by a few men, at the head of whom Mr. Wilber
continued to be most active and persistent, the
subscription was given up, and it was decided in-
stead to bond the city for $200,000 and obtain in-
dividual subscriptions for $100,000.

By great labor and persistency, mainly through
the persevering efforts of Mark D. Wilber, the
project of bonding the city proved successful; and
April I, 1869, a small number of men proceeded
to a point on the farm of John A. Van Wagner,
just north of the crossing of the Salt Point turn-
pike, near the bank of the Fallkill, and there,
without special ceremony, ground was broken for
the Poughkeepsie & Eastern Railroad. In 1870,
15.26 miles of road were built; in 1871, 5.57
miles; and in 1872, 21.02 miles. Jan. 24, 1871,
the opening of the first division of twenty-one
miles, from Poughkeepsie to Stissing, was cele-
brated by an excursion over that portion of the
road. In the fall of 1872, the road was completed
to the Connecticut line, and Oct. i, 1872, trains
commenced running regularly from Poughkeepsie
to that point, a distance of forty-three miles.
There then remained to be built the division be-
tween Smith street in Poughkeepsie and the Hud-
son River, the grading on which was pretty much
done, and the laying of the rails commenced. The
road is 44.88 miles long. It follows the line of the
Fallkill, and thence crosses to the valley of Wap^
pinger Creek, up which it continues to the north
line of the county, thence passes east around the
north end of the range of hills that enclose the
Harlem Railroad, and reaches the* State line at
the terminus of the Connecticut Western Rail-
road;' near Millerton. It touches the Duchess &
Columbia (now Newburgh, Duchess & Connecti-
cut,) at Stissing, and crosses the Harlem at Boston

The stations and their distances on this road
from Poughkeepsie in miles are as follows :
Van Wagner's, 3.79; Pleasant Valley, 6.04; Rus-
sell's, 8.02; Salt Point, 10.64; Clinton Corners,
13-13 J Willow Brook, 15.72; Stanfordville,
17-71; Mclntyre, 19.73; Stissing, 21.02; Pine
Plains, 26.55; Ancram Lead Mines, 30.59;
Halstead's, 32.31; Tanner's, 34.28; Boston
Corners, 37.01; Mt. Riga, 40.87; C. W. R.



R. Junction, 43.09 ; Millerton, 44.88. The total
cost of road and equipment to 1879, was $1,499,-
920.40. The rate of fare charged for first-class
through passengers is 3.02 cents and for first-class
way passengers, 4 cents per mile.

July I, 1870, the company executed and deliv-
ered to James Winslow as trustee a mortgage on
its road and appurtenances. Jan. 30, 1875, the
Supreme Court decreed the foreclosure of the first
mortgage bonds on the road, which were sold
April 14, 1875, 3.nd deeded May 15, 1875, to
George P. Pelton, of Poughkeepsie, who organized,
the latter date, the Poughkeepsie, Hartford &
Boston R. R. Co., with a capital of $850,000,
and associated with himself the following persons
as directors : E. L. BoUes, of New York City, and
George Innis, John F. Winslow, George R. Gay-
lord, Edward L. Beadle, Alanson Swain, John O.
Whitehouse and Michael J. Myers, of Pough-

While the friends of the Poughkeepsie & East-
ern were laboring to advance the interests of that
road, even greater activity was manifested by those
favoring the Fishkill road ; and in 1865, before
either road was chartered, a section of four and
one-half miles, from Boston Corners towards Pine
Plains, had been completed and put in running
order at a cost of less than $20,000 per mile. The
survey was completed and arrangements made to
build the road to Pine Plains. Arrangements had
also been made to continue the survey to Stan-
fordville, and negotiations were pending for the
construction of the road to that point the following
summer. There it was proposed to stop until a
determination was reached as to whether the road
should terminate at Poughkeepsie or Fishkill.j

A meeting was held at Verbank, Dec. 5, 1865,
to make arrangements for having a survey for a
railroad from Boston Corners to Fishkill land-
ing. Between 200 and 300 people assembled and
organized by electing the following officers : Presi-
dent, Leonard B. Sherman; Vice Presidents,
Abm. Storms, George H. Brown, Col. John
Thompson, Jeremiah Emigh, Clark C. Barmour,
William Eno, Daniel P. Wheeler; Secretaries,
Samuel Thorn and George Potter. Alonzo Davis,
Henry Bostwick, Mark N. Wheeler, Clark C. Bar-
mour and Daniel P. Wheeler were appointed to re-
ceive subscriptions for the survey of the three routes
proposed to reach Verbank ; one by Stanford and

* We are indebted to the files of the Poughkeepsie Eagle ; the State
Engineer's Rejiort on Railroads, 1879; and other documents, for data
respecting these early railroad enterprises.

t Poughkeepsie Eagle, Nov. iS, 1865.

Washington Hollow; one by Bangall, Hart's
village and Four Corners ; and one by Thompson's
Pond, Mabbettsville and Little Rest. The follow-
ing were appointed to receive, conduct and enter-
tain the corps of engineers in surveying through
their respective towns : La Grange, A. W. Storms,
Mark H. Wheeler, James Townsend ; Union Vale,
Leonard B. Sherman, Elias N. Vail, Henry Bost-
wick ; Fishkill, Ward Emigh, Laurence Rapelyea,
Van Wyck BrinkerhofF; Pleasant Valley, D. P.
Wheeler, Capt. Pond, Henry Sutherland; Wash-
ington, Dr. John S. Thorne, Hugh B. Howard,
Timothy Preston; Stanford, Leonard Carman,
Col. John Thompson, Smith B. Tompkins.

A meeting of persons in central Duchess and
Columbia counties interested in the construction
of the proposed railroad from Fishkill to Boston
Corners, was held at Millbrook chapel, in the town
of Washington, April 26, 1866. The committee
appointed at a previous meeting to procure a sur-
vey of the routes reported that a survey had been
made under their direction, by P. P. Dickinson and
his corps of engineers, and that the estimates for
construction varied from $1,000,030 to $1,000,-
076, according to which route was adopted. A
committee was appointed to prepare articles of as-
sociation and other papers necessary to complete
an organization for the construction of the road,
with power to adopt a suitable name. The survey
committee were instructed to employ a new corps
of engineers to examine the routes as surveyed for
the purpose of verifying the estimates of the for-
mer engineers, and ascertaining if any advantageous
alterations could be made. WiUiam Eno was
added to that committee.

An organization was effected that year (1866)
under the name of the Duchess & Columbia Rail-
road Co., and articles for an eastern branch, sixteen
miles long, were filed Oct. 11,1867. Forty-three
miles of road were completed and opened to public
travel in 1869, and an additional fifteen miles, in
1871. The road extends from Duchess Junction
on the Hudson River road in Fishkill, through the
towns of Fishkill, East Fishkill, La Grange, the
north-west corner of Union Vale, Washington,
Stanford, Pine Plains and North East, to Miller-
ton, where it connects with the Harlem road. Its
total length is 58.58 miles. The cost of road and
equipment to 1879, "^^s $2,258,342.29. In 1873,
the road was consolidated with the New York,
Boston & Northern Railroad. August 5, 1876, it
was sold under foreclosure of mortgage. J. N.
Whiting, of New York City, purchased the road.



with the exception of a small sectioiij in the inter-
est of the first mortgage bondholders, paying there-
for $297,500. J. P. Lowry, also of New York
City, purchased the balance, the right of way to
the river, for the third and fourth mortgage bond-
holders, for $40,000. These purchases did not
include the rolMng stock, which was the property
of the Brown family. A reorganization was effect-
ed and chartered under the name of the Newburgh,
Duchess & Connecticut Railroad Co., Jan. 15,
1877, with the following directors : John N. Whit-
ing, John S. Schultze and Samuel Thorn, of New
York City ; William Schultze, of Manchester, N.
J. ; Joseph Howland, of Matteawan ; R. G. Coffin,
of Washington ; W. S. Eno and W. W. Sayre, of
Pine Plains ; Albert Emans, La Grange ; Wm. A.
Reid and Oliver Davidson, Silver Lake ; John S.
Emans, East Fishkill.

The stations and distances on this road in miles
from Duchess Junction are: Matteawan, 1.8;
Groveville, — ; Glenham, 3.8; Fishkill, 5.92;
BrinckerhofT, 7.07 ; Hopewell, 12.11 ; Clove
Branch Junction, 13.37 i Arthursburgh, 15.70 ;
La Grange, 17.33 ; Billings, 18.8; Mooers, 21,34;
Verbank, 25.33; Coffins, 28.17; MiUbrook,
30.19; Shunpike, 33.49; Bangall, 37.03; Stis-
sing Junction, 39.84; Attlebury, 41.2 ; Pine Plains
Junction, 44.27; Pine Plains, 44.62; Bethel,
46.7 ; Shekomeko, 49.82 ; Husted, 52.45 ; Win-
chels, 54.08 ; Harlem R. R. Crossing, 58.08 ; Mil-
lerton, 58.58. The rate of fare for through pas-
sengers is 2.63, and for way passengers, 3 cents
per mile.

While these railroad projects engaged the atten-
tion of the people of Duchess, two others of greater
importance, and one of them of scarcely less local
interest, were earher pushed to completion— the
Hudson River and New York & Harlem rail-
roads—the latter of which is said to have doubled
the value of the eastern towns in this county, and
the former to have more than doubled the value of
the western towns, while the interior towns scarcely
increased a dollar during the same period.* Both
were in process of construction and were com-
pleted through the county at nearly the same

The scheme of a railroad running along the east
bank of the Hudson originated in and was advo-
cated by the prominent citizens of Poughkeepsie—
most conspicuous among whom were Matthew
Vassar, D. B. Lent and A. J. Coffin-until the
capitalists of New York and othe r places were con-

*P(mihieefsU Eagle, Nov. iS, l86;. ' "

vinced of its feasibility, its safe investment, and its
great practical worth as a connecting link with the
commercial channels of the North and West. The
first survey of the road was paid for by Poughkeep-
sians; and it was through their influence that a
charter was obtained May 12, 1846. The con-
struction of the road was commenced in 1847, and
seventy-five miles were completed in 1849, which
year it was in part first opened to the public. It
was opened to Peekskill, from New York, Sept. 29,
1849 ; to New Hamburgh, Dec. 6, 1849 ; and to
Poughkeepsie, Dec. 3 1, 1849. The road was rapidly
completed, and the northern section was opened
from Albany to Hudson, June 16, 1851 ; to Tivolij
Aug. 4, 1851; and through its entire length, from
New York to Albany, a distance of 143^ miles,
Oct. I, 1851. It has 3,018 feet of tunnels, varying
from 60 to 835 feet, one of which is through sohd
rock just above New Hamburgh in this county.
Nov. I, 1869, it was consolidated with the New
York Central Railroad, under the name of New
York Central & Hudson River Railroad. The
second track of this road (the Hudson River,) was
laid in 1863-64.

The stations within this county upon this line of
road and their distance in miles from 30th street,
New York, are: Duchess Junction, 57.16; Fish-
kill, 58.85; Low Point, 62.38; New Hamburgh,
64.95 ; Milton Ferry, 69.41 ; Poughkeepsie, 73.3;
Hyde Park, 79.01 ; Staatsburgh, 83.42 ; Rhine-
beck, 88.75; Barrytown, 94.35 ; Tivoli, 98.59; the
latter being 43.54 miles from Albany.

The project of the road was emphatically a
child of Poughkeepsie, and hence there was great
rejoicing among her citizens when ground wa*s
broken for its construction. A number of the
leading citizens celebrated the event by a grand
supper, given March 4, 1847, at [email protected]> Poughkeepsie
Hotel, then kept by John H. Rutzer. One who
was present says it surpassed anything of the kind
ever witnessed in Poughkeepsie. The large dining
hall of the Poughkeepsie Hotel was handsomely
and appropriately decorated, and the table was
filled to overflowing with the choicest viands, with
a minature locomotive and train of cars, in sugar,
for a center piece. After the removal of the cloth
several toasts were read. That to "The Pioneers
of the Hudson River Railroad" called out Mat-
thew Vassar; "Our Merchants" was responded
to by Hon. James Bowne ; " The Bar," by La)nard
Maison ; and " the Press," by Theopolus Gillinder,
then editor of the Poughkeepsie American. While
this animated scene was enacting there was



general rejoicing in the streets. " On Main and
Market streets bon-fires sent up volumes of flames
and smoke, and young and old of both sexes
thronged the sidewalks, while Young America
hurled fire balls through the 'air." Some of the
citizens "illuminated their residences and called
in their neighbors to partake of bountiful spreads
which they had prepared in the exuberance of
their joy."*

The New York & Harlem Railroad Co. was char-
tered April 25, 183 1, to build a road from 23d street.
New York, to Harlem, and commenced the con-
struction of their road Feb. 24, 1832. One mile
was built and opened that year, an additional mile
in 1833, and two miles in each of the years 1834,
'37 and '39. In 1840, the company were allowed
to extend to meet the New York & Albany Rail-
road, and in 1842, they opened an additional six
miles of road, and twelve^miles in 1844. In 1845
they were allowed to continue this road to Albany.
Twenty-five miles of road were opened in 1847;
twenty-nine miles in 1848; and fifty-one miles in
1852, on the 19th of January in which year it was
opened to Chatham Four Corners, where it con-
nected with the Albany & West Stockbridge Rail-
road. April 23, 1870, it was continued by the
Harlem Extension Railroad from Chatham Four
Corners to Vermont and Canada, thus forming a
great through Une of travel. That part of the road
operated by steam — north of Harlem — is leased to
the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad
Co. In this county it passes in a northerly direc-
tion through the eastern tier of towns.

The stations upon this line of road within this
county and their distances in miles from the Grand
Central Depot in New York are: Pawling, 63;
South Dover, 69; Dover Plains, 76; Wassaic, 81 ;
Amenia, 84; Sharon, 87; Coleman's, 88; Miller-
ton, 92 ; Mt. Riga, 95.

The Boston, Hartford & Erie Extension Rail-
road Co. organized to build a railroad from Fishkill
landing to the Connecticut State line, filed articles
of association Oct. i, 1863, and was consolidated
with the Boston, Hartford & Erie Railroad Co.
Aug. 23, 1864. About eighty per cent, of the
grading from Hopewell was finished in 1870. Pos-
session was taken by trustees, under the terms of a
mortgage, Sept. 13, 1871, and work on the road
was for some time suspended. In 1873, the name
was changed to the New York & New England
Railroad. In June, 1877, the road was completed
from Boston to WilHmantic and from Providence,

* The Sunday Courier, Poughkeepsie, Oct. ii, 1S73.

R. I., to Waterbury, Conn., with sundry branches,
and partly graded from Waterbury to Hopewell
Junction. In that year a committee of the Massa-
chusetts Legislature examined the route to deter-
mine whether it was best for the State to complete
or sell the road. At present, (1881,) a branch of
the road between Hopewell and Brewsters on the
Harlem road in Putnam County is under construc-

The Cornwall Suspension Bridge Railroad and
the Eastern Branch of the Duchess & Columbia
Railroad were projects of 1868, but both were
abandoned. The former was organized with a
capital of two and a half miUion dollars, as a
branch of the Erie Railway from Fishkill to New-
burgh, and filed articles Jan. 14, 1868.

Clove Branch Railroad Co. was chartered Nov.
21, 1868, with a capital of $150,000, to construct
a road from Clove Branch Junction to Sylvan
Lake, a distance of 4.25 miles, which was built and
opened in 1869. April 28, 1870, the company were
allowed to extend their road from any point on the
line then located, into or through East Fishkill,
Fishkill, Beekman or Union Vale, by a branch to
any iron mines in those towns, also a branch from
the Duchess & Columbia Railroad. A branch was
opened in 1877, from Sylvan Lake to Clove Val-
ley, a distance of 4.01 miles, and is leased to the
New York, Boston & Montreal Railroad.

The stations and distances in miles from Clove
Branch Junction are : Adriance, 1.77 ; Sylvan Lake,
3.31 ; Ore MineSj 4.09 ; Beekman, 6.09 ; Clove Val-
ley, 8.04.

The Rhinebeck & Connecticut Railroad Co. was
chartered June 29, 1870, with a capital of $1,000,-
000, for the purpose of building a railroad from
RhinecUff, on the Hudson River road in Rhine-
beck, to the State Une. Amended articles of asso-
ciation were filed with the Secretary of State in
1872, in the fall of which year construction was
commenced. Wm. Chamberlain, Wm. B. Piatt,
Ambrose Wager, Thomas Cornell, Anthony Ben-
son, Edward Martin and John S. Thompson were
the;n the directors. Twenty-eight miles of road
were finished and opened in 1874, and 7.2 miles
in 1875. The entire length of the main line is
41.6 miles.* The cost of road and equipment up
to 1879 was $1,440,920.30.

The stations upon this road and their dis-
tances in miles from RhinecUff are : Rhinebeck, 3;
Red Hook, 7.4; Spring Lake, 11.2; EUerslie,

* The track from Boston Corners to State Line, 6.4 miles, is held under


13.6 J Jackson Corners, 17.6; Mount Ross, 19.3;
GallatinviUe, 23; Ancram, 25.4;' Copake, 31.5;
Boston Corners, 35.2; Mount Riga, 38.6; State
Line, (C. W. R. R. Junction) 41:6.

The Putnam & Duchess Railroad Co. filed arti-
cles April 4, 1 87 1. It was formed for the purpose
of constructing a railroad from a point on the New
York & Boston Railroad in Carmel northerly to
the Duchess & Columbia road, at or near Hope-
well, a distance of about twenty miles. The cap-
ital of the company was $1,000,000. It was con-
solidated in 1873 with the New York, Boston &
Northern Railroad Co., which the same year was
consolidated with the New York, Boston & Mon-
treal Railroad Co.

The Iron Hill Railroad Co. in Duchess and Put-
nam counties, was chartered in 1873, but has
become extinct ; likewise the Pine Plains & Rhine-
beck Railroad Co., chartered the same year. The
Fishkill & Newburgh Railroad Co. was chartered
in 1876 to build a road from the terminus of the
Duchess & Columbia road to Newburgh, but it is
not in operation. The Poughkeepsie Grand Junc-
tion Railroad Co., formed to build a road from the
west bank of the Hudson, at a point in the town
of Lloyd, Ulster County, to connect with a Hne of
railroad designed to cross the proposed Poughkeep-
sie bridge, and extending thence south-westerly
twelve miles to a point on the Wallkill Valley Rail-
road, in the town of Gardiner, Ulster County,
filed articles Feb. 27, 1879, and, with the State
Line & Eastern Railroad Co., which filed articles
April 18, 1879, and was formed to build a road
from the point where the Poughkeepsie Grand
Junction should intersect the Wallkill Valley road,
to the locality of Port Jervis, was consolidated to
form the Poughkeepsie & Grand Junction Railroad
Co., which filed articles June 14, 1879.

The Poughkeepsie Bridge Co. was incorporated
May 10, 1872, with a capital of $2,000,000, for
the purpose of building a bridge for a railroad and
common road travel across the Hudson at Pough-
keepsie, a project first publicly suggested by Mr.
T. G. Nichols, in an article in the Daily Press, of
Poughkeepsie, of which he was then editor, dated
January 19, 1854, as a means of establishing a
direct and expeditious communication between the
manufacturing interests of the East and the limit-
less coal and ore fields of Pennsylvania, Virginia
and the West. The charter provided that the work
of construction should be begun before July r,
1872, and finished before 1876; that the bridge
should be so built as not to obstruct navigation, and

at least 130 feet above high tide. No pier was to
be built outside the pier limits then established by
law. In 1872, the charter was amended, so that
the shore abutment of the bridge should not be
constructed beyond the river line of the whale-
dock property on the east side of the river, nor
beyond the river line of the ferry-dock on the west
side, and the company were permitted to construct
and maintain besides the shore abutments, piers of
masonry in the river, not exceeding four in num-
ber, and distant from each other and the shore
abutments not less than five hundred feet. The
time limited for the commencement of the bridge
was extended to January i, 1874, and for its com-
pletion and opening for use to January i, 1879.
The officers of the company in 1872, were: John

F. Winslow, President ; Robert F. Wilkinson, Sec-
retary ; George Innis, John M. Toucey, Matthew

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 21 of 125)