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 47 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 47 of 125)
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stood on the east side of the road, where now is a
cemetery, covering the spot where the present Wm.
Anson Rowe monument stands.

The Quaker Church alluded to was another old
building here, years ago used as a house of wor-
ship by the Society of Friends. It is known as
the Quaker Meeting House, and, in all probability,
ante-dates any church building now in the town.
Charles Hoag was the principal originator and
founder of this church. He was the son of John
and Mercy Hoag, of the town of Washington.
They came from Connecticut. Charles Hoag was
one of the most useful men of those early settlers
who gave to the town its intellectual and moral
status. He was born December 25, 1771. He
married Betsey Denton, November 21, 1793, and
settled at Bethel about 1798, on the farm now
owned and occupied by John Case. From the
records of this old church * the first mention of a
meeting of this society held at "Bethel" — or North
East, as it was then called — ^^was at the first monthly
meeting held at Stanfordville, 23d of fourth
month, 1803. Stanford had been lately set off,
either from " the Creek '' Society— near Clinton
Corners— or from the "Nine Partners," near
Mechanic, it is not certain which, and this was
the first monthly meeting held at Stanford, April
23, 1803.

From a report presented by a committee at
this meeting, it appears that Charles Hoag had
been allowed to hold a meeting at his house, pre-
vious to this meeting, either from the consent of
the " Nine Partners " or '" the Creek." This date,
1803, is probably ve ry near the first meeting of the

X In the possession of Levi Arnold, of Stanforclville.

Society held at Bethel, and the place is fixed as
the house of Charles Hoag. In his house meet-
ings were held until the Society built a small
church, 26 by 30 feet with ten-foot posts, which
was begun in 1806, and completed by June 20,

The old church, weather-worn by time, is still
standing, and is now used as a dwelUng house.
The house in which Hoag lived is also standing
near by. The church was built by Ezra Bryan, an
early member, and its original shape, with its long
steep roof and high gables, is still preserved.

Thomas Ellison about this time — 1807 — became
a preacher according to the form of the Society of
Friends. He was the first preacher to the Society
at Bethel, and this was one, among others, of the
fields of his earliest labor. There was no other
church organized in Ihe town at this time, and to
this society and community was Thomas Ellison
known above all men in his church connections for
a quarter of a century. Of actual members in this
society there were twenty-five or thirty, possibly
more, among whom were Charles Hoag, Ezra
Bryan, WiUiam Arnold, John Ellison, Daniel
Weaver, Michael Wanzer and his father, Richard
Carman, John Tweedy, from Ancrara, Isaac and
John Reynolds, Benjamin Mosher, Jacob Down-
ing, Mrs. Daniel Lewis, and Gerardus Winans.
The latter was expelled from the Society in 1807
for marrying a woman not a member of the denom-
ination. The years from 1807 to 1830 were the
brightest in the history of this society. Thomas
Ellison moved away about 1827, and the society
was left without a regular preacher. This vacancy
was filled by various preachers from the parent
society at Stanfordville, when possible, and among
those Henry Hull filled the most appointments,
Thomas Ellison preaching occasionally. These
supplies became less each succeeding year, and, in
the mean time, — 1835 to 1840 — other denomina-
tions had erected churches and organized societies
at Pine Plains which drew away support from this.
Most of the original members had died, and as
the members continued to decrease, the meetings,
now occasional, became less so, until 1875, when
it was deemed best by the Society to sell the prop-
erty, which was accomplished by Peter Dorland at
private sale to Phoenix Deuel in the spring of that
year. John Carman, the youngest son of Phineas
Carman, and grandson to Richard Carnjan, one of
the first members of this society, died in 1879.
He was the only living male member, and with his
death is finished the record of the Friends' Society



established in " North East " * three-quarters of a
century ago.

Charles Hoag, besides his zeal in religious mat-
ters, was much interested in the cause of educa-
tion. In 18 1 2 or '13 he employed Jacob Willets
and Deborah, afterwards so well known in this
county, to come to his house and open a school
for boys and girls. In this step he took the ad-
vance, for in this part of the county there were
none else in the field. The girls' school was in a
building adjoining the south-west corner of his
dweUing,"!' the boys' school being in an addition
adjoining the main building on the north. Here
Jacob Willets and Deborah, his wife, taught some
three years, and then went to Mechanic, and Enoch
Haight succeeded them as teacher for a few years,
when he left and estabUshed or taught a school on
the site of the present County Poor House.
Haight was succeeded at Bethel by Ambrose Eg-
gleston, the eldest children of Charles Hoag now
being assistants. They afterward conducted the
school alone until about 1824, when it was closed.
The building which was used for the girls' school was
afterwards sold and converted into a dwelling, in
which Hiram Davis, a shoemaker, formerly Uved,
and is now (i88o) occupied by the venerable Josiah
Johnson. Again, in 1835, Charles Hoag opened
a boarding school in his dwelling, principally for
ladies, his youngest daughter, Mary, being the
principal. This also was a successful school, all
the young ladies of the vicinity attending as boarders
or day pupils, while the adjacent towns were well
represented. In 1838 the school was suspended,
Miss Hoag going to Flushing to spend a year at
school. She returned in 1 839, reopened the school
and continued it one year after her father's death,
which occurred in 1840, when it was closed, never
to be reopened.

Charles Hoag's wife died August 30, 1852. Of
their children— Annie, John, James, Henry, Phebe,
Ezra, Benjamin, Deborah and Mary, born in the
order named— only three are Uving : Benjamin, in
Elgin, 111., Mary in New York, and Ezra in Stan-
ford, this county.

The Union Bethel Church, from which the
hamlet derives its name, is the third and last
church erected here. The present church stands
about one hundred feet north — as the road runs—
of the site of the old Round Top Church. This
was brought about by an exchange of property

• Pine Mains, it will be remembered, was a part of North East until
t Where John Case now lives, 1881.

between Andrew and John P. Rowe, as heirs of
Michael Raugh, deceased, and Samuel Deuel, the
property exchanged being a portion of the lot of
land conveyed by Peter Van Brugh Livingston to
John Tise Smith and Michael Raugh, in 1769,
which was on December 5, 1829, given for a strip
of land belonging to Samuel Deuel, on the west
side of the latter's land. This exchange took about
two rods from the north side of that part of the
old church lot lying east of the road. Mr. Deuel
gave a like amount adjoining the same lot on the
east, which increased its width and made pleasant
surroundings to the Bethel Church. Michael
Raugh was one of the grantees in the deed from
Livingston for the old church in 1769, and his
heirs insisted that the site of the old church, when
it should be taken down, should be used for burial
purposes. To this there was some opposition, and
it was not until the peaceful solution of the difficulty
that the old church was taken down. This, as has
been mentioned was in 1827, and two years after-
ward this exchange of property was made. Hith-
erto the burial ground used as such was on the
west side of the road. After the exchange the en-
closed lot on the east side was devoted to burial
purposes, and, in consequence of the just and
proper tenacity of the heirs of Michael Raugh in
this matter, it was called the " Rowe * burying
ground." The majority of the head-stones there
bear that name, but others are not excluded, from
using the ground for burial purposes if they so

The first definite movement toward the erection
of the church was made in the spring of 1838,
when three subscription papers were put in circula-
tion to raise funds for the purpose. The heading
to each of these papers set forth the object of the
enterprise, and was as follows : "Subscription for
erecting a church near the burying ground south
of the Friends' meeting house, to be called Pine
Plains Union Church, free for every Christian de-
nomination. Seats free. To be commenced the
ensuing winter and completed during the year 1839.
We, the subscribers, promise to pay Edward Hunt-
ling, John P. Rowe, George Smith or Abraham
Dibble, the several sums annexed to our names for
the uses and purposes above mentioned." This
bore date April 25, 1838. The lists contained six-
ty-four names, among whom were those of Samuel
Deuel, Michael M. Raugh, Hendrick Hoifman,
Edward Huntling, Benjamin S. Wilber, Abraham
Dibble, WiUiam Woodin, Ezra B. Hoag, Benjamin

• This family name was originally spelled Raugh.



F. Hoag, Stephen G. Guernsey and Nathaniel Rey-
nolds: The amount subscribed was $1,064, and
for this sum Carman Cornelius took the contract
for building the church, which he completed in the
winter of 1839-40. The edifice is 26 by 36 feet,
with a square tower. The house was dedicated in
the spring or early summer of 1840. Rev. Jacob
Berger preached the sermon, taking for his text
the paragraph in Genesis, 28th chap, from the i6th
to 19th verses. In his application to the occasion
he chose the first half of the 19th verse—" And he
called the name of that place Bethel." Through
that text the church received the name of " Union
Bethel," and the name was applied to the hamlet,
by which it has since been known. For the next
decade or two after the building of the church the
pulpit was supplied by the different denominations
at Pine Plains, and occasional supplies from other
places. At length a season of apathy succeeded,
appointments became less frequent, and for the
past ten years no regular service has been held, ex-
cept during a brief period by students from the
Biblical Institute at Stanfordville.

Less than a mile distant, on the farm of Edward
Huntling, is the site of the ancient Moravian mis-
sion and the monument to the memory of Gottlob
Biittner. On this farm is also the home of Isaac
Huntling, whose writings have shed much light on
the trials, persecutions and other events connected
with that unfortunate mission and its unfortunate
people. To him we are indebted for much of the
earlier history of the town, notably that which has
relation to the Indian mission and the earlier church
history. To the history of the town he has devoted
much time and research.

Isaac Huntling was born in 1825 in Chatham
Four Corners, now known as Chatham Village,
Columbia county, N. Y. His father, Edward,
was a farmer and in 1829 moved to Duchess
county with his family and settled on a farm two
miles south of the village of Pine Plains, where he
still lives. Isaac received an academic educa-
tion, went to Michigan in 1853, and engaged in
the lumbering business in the western part of that
State. In 1862 he was commissioned as Major in
the 2ist Michigan Infantry. He was in the ser-
vice nearly a year when on account of a chronic
difficulty he was compelled to- resign. He soon
after returned to Pine Plains where he has since
resided, and devotes his time to historical and gen-
eral literary work.

Another hamlet of importance in an earlier day,
whose industries are among the things that were,

was Hammertown. It contained a tannery and
the scythe works founded by John Harris. The
tannery was built somewhere about 1776. Peter
Husted, grandfather to Walter W. Husted, of
Pine Plains, conducted the business some twenty-
five years, probably being there in 1776. He was
succeeded by Joshua Culver * and Cornelius Hus-
ted,! father of W. W. Husted, who for ten or
fifteen years ran the business. Cornelius Husted
succeeded to the sole proprietorship, which he
retained about fifteen years, when he connected
with him his son, Peter, who after a few years
assumed the management and continued the busi-
ness until 1 86 1. He then associated with him his
brother, W. W. Husted, for three years, when the
latter sold his interest to Peter who conducted the
business alone until 1871. Since that time the
tannery has remained idle. In j 871 the property
was sold to William Sadler, who bought it for the
purpose of reviving the business of tanning.

The Harris Scythe Manufactory has a more
extended history. This was one of the most
important industries in the town, in the days when
scythes were the mowing machines, and the mower
had not yet appeared to contest the field with the
swinging blade. John Harris, the founder of this
industry, was born about 1745, at the " Lawrence
Place," in what is now the town of NorthEast.
His ancestors were from Litchfield, Conn. In early
life he learned the trade of blacksmith and, from a
mulatto slave and skilled workman owned by
Joseph Harris, his uncle, living in Rhode Island,
he learned to make scythes, which, in those days,
were made by blacksmiths on the anvil.

In 1770 he emigrated to Washington county,
N. Y., and settled near Fort Ann, then an import-
ant military post sixty-seven miles north by east
from Albany, where fortification^ were erected in
1756 during the French war. The danger from
Indians and the uncertain tenure of life and prop-
erty attending a settlement there induced him to
remove, in the spring of 1780, to "Little Nine
Partners," in Duchess county. Arriving safely, he
with his vnfe and children settled not in the
Little Nine, but in the Great Nine Partners
Tract, in the precinct of Amenia, at what is known
as the Andrus Rowe Corners, about a mile north of
Shacameco Station, on the N. D. & C. Railroad.
Here for three years he worked at his trade of
blacksmithing and scythe making, when he moved
to the " Harris Mills," in this town. Here on the

* Died about 1850.
t Died ill March, 1859.



19th of December, 1783, he purchased of Adam
Snyder, for ^£42^, what was afterward known as
the " old Harris farm," which embraced the present
saw-mill and dwelling near by. The grist-mill prop-
erty below was conveyed to him in 1787, by William
Snyder, of East Camp, Columbia county, for the
consideration of " one hundred and fifty pounds
New York currency."* The Revolutionary War
now being ended, industry and enterprise received
an impetus. Harris continued to make scythes,
his shop being located on the island next adjoining
and below the grist-mill.

About 1786 his brother-in-law, Hugh Gamble,
came from Westchester county, N. Y., and engaged
with him as an apprentice. Edmund Reynolds, a
resident of this town, well known years ago, was
also an apprentice here at this time. Scythe mak-
ing in the shop on the island below the mill, was
now prosecuted with more vigor, and they were still
made by hand. The trade-mark which John Harris
put on his early-made scythes was still retained.
This was the stamp of a heart on the heel of the
scythe with the letters " J. H." in the center of the
heart. About 1790 a race was cut on the east bank
of the Shacameco, intersecting it near the present
residence of Anthony I. Barton, and the water
thereby conducted to a shop erected on the decliv-
ity of the hills a short distance southeasterly of the
present residence of Giles H. Duxbury, formerly
the Joshua Culver home. The highway at that
time turned to the right at Mr. Duxbury's, hug-
ging the base of the hill, passing through the small
ravine northeasterly, crossing the main present
highway at the bridge, and thus northerly to the
then Hoysrodt settlement. Thus the shop was on
the highway. It was built and used principally as
a shop for turning which was, in substance^ to take
the plates from the anvil, or trip-hammer, fix the
points, turn the back, shape the heel, and put the set
in the plate ready for tempering. At these localities
the work was continued by Harris & Gamble for
several years.

To facilitate the primary rough or heavy work
a trip-hammer was needed, and besides a suitable
and convenient location for an enlargement of the
business. About 1810, perhaps earlier, a site for
shops was secured on the west bank of the Shaca-
meco, near the bridge at Hamrnertown, adjoining
the " Rhinebeck and Salisbury Turnpike."
About this time Seth Harris, from Kingsbury,

* On this lot, about 1808, a new grist-mill was erected which is the
present William Carman mill. John Harris conveyed this property to
his son, Israel, April ZS, iSio, and the Harris farm to the same son, No-
vember Mt 1814.

Vermont, came here and took an interest in the busi-
ness with Harris & Gamble. The three brothers-
in-law, John and Seth Harris and Hugh Gamble,
now commenced the works on the new site on the
west side of the stream, cutting a race to intersect
the main stream, about eighty rods above. A dam
was built at the new site, and a framed shop erected
near the present highway bridge. In this shop a
trip-hammer was placed, which was used for the first
time in the manufacture of the Harris scythes.

The shop on the east side, before mentioned,
was used in connection with this for turning and
finishing, which was still done by hand. About
1812 Cyrus Burnap came from New England and
worked for the Harris Company at a salary of
$500 a year. He was a master workman and
worked the trip-hammer. He married Eunice, the
daughter of the founder, John Harris ; left the shops
about 1820, and purchased a farm about one mile
south of the village of Pine Plains, on which he
lived until his death, March 4, 1876, aged 84.

Hugh Gamble and John Harris, the founder,
both died soon after starting the works on the
west side, the former January i, 18 14, and the lat-
ter November 27, 1814.

The business was now left to Seth Harris and
his two sons, John and Silas. About 18 16 the
stone shop was built and a finishing trip was put
in and used, making two trips in the works. The
finishing shop on the east side was still used in con-
nection with the shops on the west side. Solomon
Ferris, John Hall, and John Deuel were the prin-
cipal finishers, and among their helpers was Lud-
low E. Lapham, then a lad. At this time about
five hundred dozen scythes were made annually.
But little change occurred in the business from

18 1 7 to 1820, except the abandonment of the shop
on the east side. Seth Harris retired from the
company about this time, and went to Sahsbury,
Conn., where, with a James Harris, he engaged in
the same business, leaving the work here with his
sons. Col. Silas Harris now became sole proprie-
tor and manager of the business. John, his
brother, remained as foreman eight years, and in

1 8 18 retired from the Works and went to Winsted,
Conn., where he made scythes and harpoons for
whaling vessels.

To increase the facilities for grinding, Col. Harris
secured a site four miles south-east from Pine Plains
village, on the road to Sharon, where " grinding
works " were erected. He also purchased land on
Stissing mountain for the wood it bore, which he
had converted into charcoal



February 2, 1842, Seth Harris died in his eightieth
year. In the fall of 1849, Jonas Knickerbacker,
who had for fifteen years worked in these shops,
became an equal partner with Col. Harris in the
works at Hammertown and at Salisbury. They
continued as partners twelve years, when Col.
Harris died, April 19, 1862. At his death, Jonas
Knickerbacker conducted the business under a two
years' lease from the heirs of Col. Harris. At the
expiration of the lease he left the shops, built a
store in the village of Pine Plains, and became a
hardware merchant, in which business he is now
engaged. The shops at Hammertown remained
unoccupied, still owned by the heirs of Col. Harris,
until the spring of 1879 when the land including
the shops was sold to Mrs. Giles H. Duxbury, of
Hammertown. The buildings have been taken
down, and only ruin is left of the industry founded
a hundred years ago.

The town contains no villages of commercial
importance except Pine Plains.

Mt. Ross.

Mt. Ross, about four miles northwest of Pine
Plains, is a small settlement containing a store
(Wright & Guernsey), a grist-mill, and a few

Pulver's Corners.

Pulver's Corners, named for William W. Pulver,
who died in 1861, aged 87, is a small hamlet con-
taining a few scattering dwellings, a hotel owned
by Herman W. Pulver, and conducted by Edward
Simmons, and a Union Church, built some twenty-
five years ago for afternoon meetings, in which,
until a few years, the Presbyterians mostly held

Pine Plains Village.

Pine Plains Village, the business center of the
town, is situated in one of the most beautiful
sections of the county. To the south of the
village three miles is the range of Shacameco
Hills. The highest of these rounds up gradually,
terminating in a somewhat abrupt sugar-loaf
top, capped with a grove of small oaks. To the
northwest a short distance, standing on this
mount, lies Halcyon Lake, with its milky way,
and further on is Stissing Mountain, rising abruptly
yet smoothly, and near its base lie three small
lakes. To the right of these is the village, and
beyond is the Shacameco kill, winding its way at
the base of the Ancram Hills to the Roelaff Jan-

sen's kill, with which, in its crooked way, it travels
to .the Hudson.

The village lies on a broad plain. Its streets
are well shaded and level, and many of the dwell-
ings are fine. The population at the last census
was 529. The village has had its gro^^th within a
comparatively few years. Eighty-three years ago
the buildings here were those now kept as a saloon
by William Toms ; the house known as the Myers
House ; the log hotel ; the house where Stephen
Eno used to live, now torn down ; a house on the
site of the present dwelling of Mrs. Prester; one
where Mr. Stocking now owns ; a house just below
the Duchess depot, near where the widow of Ben-
jamin Streever now lives ; the dwelling in which
John Rowe now lives ; a house now owned by
Mrs. Walker Bostwick ; a portion of the Rev. Mr.
Sayres' house ; the house in which WiUiam Toms
now lives ; one just east of where Jonas Knicker-
backer now lives ; an old house a little east of the
Presbyterian Church; the house known as the
"Brush" house, and the old "Booth-Lasher"
house. All the other buildings have been erected
since. As early as 1800, and for some years
previous to that time. Pine Plains was a favorite
spot for horse racing. One Elmendorph kept the
hotel now opposite the Ketterer House and known
as the Myers House. On the site of the Ketterer
House was then an old log hotel, kept by a man
named Haskins. Among the noted horses here dur-
ing those years were " Black and All Black," owned
by David Winans, " Old Janus," " Old Drown,"
and " Speculator," owned by Harry Hutchinson.
William Herriman Conklin, an old resident, whose
family were quite noted in this region of country,
was the chosen rider for these races. He was
born September 30, 1791, and died in Pine Plains
April 22, 1 88 1. The town is still noted for its
fine horses.

The postoffice here was established previous to
181 2. The first postmaster was Israel Reynolds.*
The present postmaster is Frederick Bostwick, who
was appointed in 1878.

The Ketterer House was built about 1804.
Among the first to keep hotel in this building was
a man named Ruggles, then Almon Bostwick, then
in succession a Mr. Trowbridge, and a man of the
name of Page. The present proprietor is Charles
DeWitt Ketterer, who has conducted it three
years, succeeding his father, Charles, who had pur-

* Among old documents is found the following receipt : ^^ Received of
Israel Reynolds, this lo day of Nov. 1797, the fum of eight shillings
for the Poughkeepfie Journal, from No. 612 to No. 637, by me, Samuel



chased the property seven years before of Charles

The village contains one newspaper, the Pine
Plains Flerald, a weekly, which was established in
1859 by Charles J. Ackert. He conducted it a
little more than a year and sold to Levi Piester,
who, two years later, sold it to his brother, John

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 47 of 125)