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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ued to possess and cultivate its surface, is one of
the ridges of the Taconic range. The summit is a
fertile plateau, about half a mile in width. In the
middle of this, on the highway from Salisbury to
Rhinebeck, James erected his dwelling, the traces
of which are now extinct. He took an active part
in the measures which resulted in the independency
of the States, and was one of the principal supporters
of the cause of Liberty in the town and county of
his residence. His death was caused at the early
age of thirty-nine, by camp fever taken from a suf-
fering soldier whom he quartered one night in his
house. He was buried in the public cemetery "on
the mountain," within a few rods of his home. He
was born at Turkey Hill, Conn., in 1741, and died
February 13, 1778.

From him descended Martin Ezer, Philo Mills,
John, Aaron Ely. Martin Ezer had five sons, James
Manning, Abraham, Horace, Lewis, Rensselaer,
George R., and six daughters, Mary, Sylvia, Thirza,
Elmira, Louisa, and Sally Emraeline.

Of these children James Manning was a Baptist
minister in Boston. He was graduated from Brown
University in 181 2, and was licensed to preach by
the Baptist church in North East, October 4th of
that year. In June, 18 13, he was ordained at
Bristol, R. I. On the 14th of March, 1814, he
was installed pastor over the First Baptist Church
in Boston, "where he accepted the difficult position
of successor to the great Dr. SkeUman." He died
Feb. 22, i8zo.

Abraham was a lawyer of some prominence.
He was educated at Yale, studying there in 1815-
'17, and at Harvard College. He studied law for
three years under General James Talmadge, of
Poughkeepsie, and settled in his native town, but
seems not to have made any great efforts to secure
a large practice. He was remarkably well read in
law, and would have made an excellent judge. He
possessed a calm judicial mind, regulated at all
times by the keenest sense of justice and the purest
principles of morality. He died in Dryden, N.,Y.,
April 4, 1843.

Horace Winchell, father to Alexander Winchell,
the celebrated geologist and scientist, was born in
North East August 12, 1796. He inherited a
competency from his father, but manifested
throughout his life a contempt of secular posses-
sions, and devoted himself to labor in the cause of
humanity and ecclesiastical reform. Destined by
his father for a collegiate education, he completed
the preparatory course at a somewhat famous clas-

sical school, conducted by the Rev. Daniel Parker,
at Ellsworth, in Sharon, Conn., but becoming dis-
satisfied with certain tenets and practices of the
Baptist church, of which he had been a member
from the age of twelve, he became absorbed in
the effort to correct reforms within his church, and
finding this impracticable, he set himself to his
life-long endeavor to reform the ecclesiastical world
at large. He labored by personal appeals, by pub-
lic addresses, and by printed works. He died
June 26, 1873.

James Winchell was born March 5, 1763. ' He
settled, originally as a carpenter, in the valley east
of Winchell Mountain. On Ten Mile River which
flowed past his residence — at first a simple-framed
dwelling, afterward enlarged to an elegant man-
sion — he built a large flouring mill, which he con-
tinued to run for many years in connection with
his farming operations.* By industry and good
management, he accumulated a large estate which
he expended liberally in the cause of education
and of the church. His parents and all his ances-
try had belonged to the Presbyterian or Congrega-
tional church. In 1773, however, the influence of
the revival spirit inaugurated by Whitefield, result-
ed in the establishment of a Baptist society in
North East, and in 1775 a chapel had been opened
on a site which is now embraced in the south part
of the burial ground, half a mile west of Spencer's
Comers. In the enlargement of his residence in
1826-7, befitted up a large room in the second sto-
ry, where the society were in the habit of holding
their meetings, during the winter months. In 1829
a new brick meeting house was built at Spencer's
Corners, costing about $4,700. "Toward this
sum there was received from the society about
$750.00, andfrom Deacon James Winchell $1,700."
During the same year through his influence and
liberality a scholarship was raised, and a room fur-
nished for the Theological Seminary at Hamilton,
N. Y. He lived a pure and useful life, and died
in North East, April 8, 1834, and was buried
near Spencer's Corners. His real estate was be-
queathed to the church for the support of her min-

Philo Mills Winchell, born in North East, Octo-
ber 14, 1767, was another prominent citizen of the
town. He united with the Baptist church in North
East in 1786, and soon took rank among the most
promising members. In 1829 he was elected to
the Legislature of the State, and proved himself a

» Subsequently, for j8 years, he rented the miU to Alexander McAll-



competent and useful member. He died April

". 1833-
John Winchell, born in North East July 31,

1794, was a farmer of some importance. His

children were Harriet, James Marcus, Philo Mills,

Caroline, Homer. He died March 4, 1876.

James Marcus, one of the sons, now living in
Millerton, was born in this town June 11, 1818,
and has passed his life mainly in farming pursuits.
The farm of his family at one t^me embraced part
of the present site of Millerton. He was a con-
tractor in the construction of the Harlem and other
railroads through this vicinity.

A prominent member of this family, and one of
the most eminent natives of North East, is Alexan-
der Winchell,* the celebrated geologist, whose
writings are widely known both in this country and
in Europe.

Alexander Winchell, son of Horace, was born
December 31, 1824. He was at first destined for
the profession of medicine, and after acquiring a
primary education, went in November, 1838, to
South Lee, Mass., where he remained two years,
attending the Stockbridge Academy in the summer,
and the village school during the winter. In 1840
he returned to North East and began teaching in
the common schools of the town. In 1842 he en-
tered Amenia Seminary, graduated in the teachers'
course, and received the diploma in July, 1844. In
September of that year he entered the Sophomore
class, Wesleyan University, from whence he was
graduated in August, 1847, and accepted a posi-
tion as teacher of Natural Sciences in Pennington
Male Seminary, N. J. In 1848 the chair of Natural
Sciences at Amenia Seminary was proffered him,
which he accepted in August of that year.f De-
cember 5, 1849, he was married to Miss Julia Fran-
ces Lines, of Utica, N. Y. From Amenia he went
to Newbern, Hale county, Ala., in October, 1850,
to take charge of an Academy at that place. In
1 85 1 he assumed charge of the "Mesopotamia
Female Seminary, at Eutaw, Ala., where he entered
at once upon that course of scientific investigation
which had always been the unrealized vision float-
ing before his mind. Here he remained until 1853,
when, having been elected President of the " Ma-
sonic University " at Selma, Ala., he sold out his
affairs at Eutaw, and in July entered a new field,
which proved to be an important step forward.
This institution suddenly suspended operations on
account of the ravages of the yellow fever in the

*- * To whose MSS. and printed publications kindly placed to our use,
we are indebted for the facts relating to himself and the. Winchell family,
t To this Seminary he presented i,ooo botanical specimens.

vicinity, and he then accepted the position of Pro-
fessor of Physics and Civil Engineering in the Uni-
versity of Michigan, November 16, 1853, andentered
upon his duties January 24, 1854. In 1855 the
University created the chair of Geology, Zoology
and Botany, to which Prof. Winchell was transferred
in July of that year. In 1859 he was State Geolo-
gist of Michigan, and editor and publisher of the
Michigan Journal of Education. In August, 1872,
he was elected to the Chancellorship of Syracuse
University, and entered upon his duties January 17,


Professor Winchell was, perhaps, the very first
scientist in America who descended before popular
audiences from that high-caste and stately, but
dry and unpopular, style in which the older scien-
tists had thought it fit to cloak the dignity of science.
Prof. Winchell has been also a popular and volum-
inous author. Among the numerous works which
have emanated from his able pen are "Leaves from
the Book of Nature," (1858), "Voices from Na-
ture" (1863), " Geological Surveys" (1867), "The
Geology of the Stars" (1873), " Sketches of Crea-
tion" (1870;, and "Sparks from a Geological
Hammer," published in i88r. The "Sketches of
Creation " had, perhaps, the largest sale of any
scientific work ever published in America. His
work on " Preadamites," published in April, 1880,
was received with universal favor, both as a literary
production and for its scientific importance.

At the meeting of the Board of Regents of the Uni-
versity of Michigan, on the 2Sth of June, 1879, he
was called to the chair of Geology and Paleontology
in the University, which position he still retains.

His grandfather, Martin E. Winchell, was Colonel
of militia, and represented his district in the Leg-
islature of New York in 1826 and 1827. His sur-
viving brothers, all graduates o| the University of
Michigan, are Newton H., who is professor of
Geology in the University of Minnesota, and State
Geologist; Samuel R., founder, editor and proprie-
tor of the Educational Weekly, Chicago; and
Charles M., for some years connected as civil en-
gineer, with the United States Survey of the Lakes.
His surviving sister, Antoinette C, is the wife of
Prof. Edward Johnson, of Lynn, Mass.

Josiah Willcox lived on the farm afterwards
owned by Alanson Colver. He had one son,
Elisha, and six daughters. It is said that Ethan
Allen assisted at the " raising " of the house in
which he lived, and John Armstrong had the
wound dressed in it which he received in a duel at
Boston Corners in August, i8n.


The old Hartwell burial ground, in which many
of the early settlers were buried, was in the forks
of two roads leading easterly therefrom, one to
Spencer's Corners, and the other to Dakin's Cor-
ners. This old graveyard was formerly left open to
commons, but about the year 1825, it was fenced
into the field by the owner of the Hartwell farm,
who afterward removed the gravestones which had
been placed there, used the stones for a fence, and
plowed over the ground as if it were never used
for the sacred purpose of the burial of the dead.
There are now few if any traces left of the old

John Rau, who emigrated from Germany with
the Palatines about 1712 or '15, built, it is sup-
posed, about 174s, the original mill which stood on
the site of what is known as the Phineas Carman
mill.* This is believed to be the oldest mill site
in this locality. In 1740, if not earlier, John Rauf
had a residence northeast from this mil), where
Chauncey Rowe now lives. He was a carpenter
by trade, and is said to have built the old portion
of the house in which Chauncey Rowe, a descend-
ant, now (1879) lives. The pine beams in the
house, which were cut and hewn in the forest on
the " pine plains," over a century and a quarter ago,
are doing duty now and are in a good state of
preservation. Peter Rau, a son of John Rau; is the
first positively known owner of the Carman mill.
He sold it to his brother Mattice or Mottice,i and
soon after the sale emigrated to Scaticoke, Rens-
selaer county, N. Y. One or two men, of the
name of Reynolds, succeeded Mattice Rau in the
ownership of the mill. Then Mr. Ellison, then
Richard Carman, then Phineas Carman, .his son.
At the death of the latter it came into the posses-
sion of his sons ; John, the youngest lately deceased,
being the last owner. According to the surveys of
the Little Nine Partners and Great Nine Partners
grants, a strip of land, triangular in shape, was left
between them, the point being at the western
boundaries, which strip widened as the boundaries
extended eastward to the Oblong, and was known
as the " Gore." The mill stands on this gore.
Here the Sha-ca-me-co creek, which furnishes the
mill-power, runs through an opening or pass in a
range of hills of considerable note, which rise on
either hand perhaps four hundred feet. The Indian
name for this locality was "Puck-ka-puck-ka,"' rock

* This property was sold at auction aud Hd in by Walter Loucks, for
^2,5ZO,oo, November i, iSyg.

t In old documents this name is written Rau. Raugh, and Row. It is
now almost universally written Rowe.

t A name now known as Matthias.


against rock, signifying two rocky hills or moun-
tains bearing down upon each other, with a stream
intervening.* Tradition has preserved the Indian
name, somewhat corrupted, in the mountain north
of the mill as " Buck-ka-barrack," while the moun-
tain south of the gap is known as " Fish Mountain,"
after an early settler at its eastern base. A short
distance down the stream stands an old one-story
house, 16 by 18 feet, with the wall of stone, which
forms the back of the fireplace, and part of the
chimney and fireplace exposed to the weather,
fiUing half of the end of the building. This
building also stands on the " Gore," and tradition
has it that John Rau was the builder. The nails
used were wrought, and imported from Germany or
Holland. Here in an early day settled John Flynn
— the father of Old John Flynn — whose wife,
familiarly styled " Aunt Molly," was well known in
the neighborhood. Her husband left her in the
early days of their married life, and she paid for
the building of the now old house. She died about
1 81 7, hot far from ninety years of age.

The earhest town record that can now be found
bears date of April loth, r772, and is a record of
a bill of sale dated the third day of April, 1772,
given by John Hulburt to Joseph Ketcham both
of Oblong, and County of Duchess, for and in con-
sideration of the sum of forty pounds current law-
ful money of New York, to the said John Hulburt
in hand paid, in which Bill of Sale is mentioned
seventy-eight acres of wheat all of which wheat is
made over to the said Joseph Ketcham : — Byron
Morris Graham, Town Clerk.

The name of Morris Graham appears as clerk
until December 12th, 1774, when the name of
Charles Graham appears, he being elected to that
office the previous April, f As the following rec-
ords of the first town meeting now to be found
will show : —

" At a meeting of the Freeholders and inhabit-
ants of the North East Precinct, Duchess County,
on Tuesday the sth of April, 1774, after choosing
James Atwater, Esq., Moderator, made choice of
the following officers : Morris Graham, Supervisor ;
Charles Graham, Clerk ; James Bryan and Han-
tice Couse, Assessors of County Taxes ; Hantice
Couse and Israel Thompson, Assessors for Quit
Rents ; George Head, Constable and Collector;
Middle Constable, James Young ; East Division,
Josiah Holly; James Hedding, Hantice Couse,

* Isaac Huntling on Indian Names and their significance.

t The earlier records of the town have been loosely cared for. Some
of the books are undoubtedly lost. North East Precmct was formed as
before stated, December 16, 1746, and embraced what is now Pine
Plains, Milan, North East, and a portion of Amenia, The town offi-
cers for years were undoubtedly from various parts of the now separate



and James Bryan, Overseers of the Poor ; Lewis
Bryan, Daniel Wilson, and Israel Thompson, Com-
missioners of Roads ; John Collins, Collector of
Quit Rents."

The following has been the succession of Super-
visors and Clerks from 1775 to i88t : —

Supervisors. Clerks.

1775. Israel Thompson, Charles Graham.

1776. do do Jonathan Landon.
1777-78. Hugh Rea, do do
1779-81. Lewis Graham, do do

1782. Hugh Rea, do do

1783. Uriah Lawrence, do do

1784. Lewis Graham, do do
1785-87. John White, Andrew White.
1788-92. Josiah Holly, Ebenezer Dibblee.

1793. Ebenezer Dibblee, Jesse Thompson.

1794. Josiah Holly, do do
1795-96. do do Ebenezer Dibblee.

1797. Ebenezer Dibblee, Cor. W. VanRaust.

1798. do do Peter Husted.

1799. Peter Husted, Hugh Gamble.

1800. do do Charles Hoag.

1 801. [No record of this year.]

1802. Isaac Sherwood, Peter Husted.

1803. do do Fyler Dibblee.

1804. Martin E. Winchell, do do

1805. do • do Peter Husted.

1806. Jonathan Deuel, do do

1807. Benj. R. Bostwick, Stephen Eno.
1808-09. Jonathan Deuel, do do

1810. Enos HopkinSj John W. Righter.

181 1. do do Fyler Dibblee.
181 2-1 3. Isaac Sherwood, Israel Harris.

1814. Uri Judd, do do

1815. do do Cornelius AUerton.

18 16. Martin Lawrence, do do

1817. do do Aaron E. Winchell.

1818. Fyler Dibblee, do do.

1 8 19. do do William Woodin.
1820-21. Philo M. Winchell, do do
1822.* Israel Harris, Reuben W. Bostwick.

1823. Philo M. Winchell, Piatt Smith.

1824. David Sheldon, Peter Mills.

1825. do do William H. Bostwick.

1826. Amos Bryan, do do

1827. Abraham Bocker, Piatt Smith.

1828. do do Nicholas Holbrook.
1829-30. Douglass Clark, do do

183 1. do do Joseph Horton.

1832. Alanson Colver, William Winchell.
1833-34. Eli Mills, Nicholas Holbrook.

1835. David Sheldon, do do

1836. do do William Winchell.
1837-38. John H. Conklin, do do
1839-40. Moses Clark, do do

1841. Eben Wheeler, do do

1842. do do John G. Caulkins.

1843. Jeduthan Roe, do do

1844. Hiram Wheeler, do dp

1845. do do do do

« :

* In this year Pine Plains was taken off, and the town meeting was
held at the house of Alexander Neeley.

1846. Abrahan Bockee,* John G. Caulkins.

1847. James Hammond, Edward Crosby.

1848. Abner Brown, John G. Caulkins.

1849. George Douglass, Alva Roe.

1850. Geo. R. Winchell, John G. Caulkins.

1851. Gerard Pitcher, Chas. P. Capron.t

1852. John Winchell, Harvey Roe.

1853. Edgar Clark, Edward W. Simmons.

1854. Jeremiah W. Paine, do do

1855. Piatt A. Paine, John M. Benedict.

1856. Hiram Rogers, Lucius P. Woods.

1857. Edw'd W. Simmons, do do

1858. John F. Wheeler, Theron I. Paine.

1859. Phoenix Bockee, do do
i860. George Clark, James Finch.

1861. David Bryan, Lucius P. Woods.

1862. John Campbell, Selah N. Jenks.

1863. George F. More, Delancey M. North-

1 864. Edw'd W. Simmons.Collins Sheldon, [rup.

1865. do do Sterling Moore.

1866. do dp Edward Cook.

1867. do do John G. Caulkins.

1868. William H. Barton, Chas. H. Gilbert.

1869. William L. Pratt, John R. Winchell.

1870. James Collins, Nathan C; Beach.

1871. do do William R. Smith.

1872. do do James Finch.

1873. George Dakin, Hilem B. Eggleston.
1874-75. Daniel McElwell, Nelson A. McNeil.

1876. Michael Rowe, do do

1877. Jeremiah W. Paine, Selah N. Jenks.

1878. Hirani Rogers, do do

1879. James M. Winchell, do do
r88o. George E. Crane, Nelson A. McNeil.
1881. Wheeler Rowe, Chas. N. Watson.

This section of the county is rich in iron ore.
Numerous valuable mines have been opened and
worked, the iron yielded being peculiarly adapted
to certain of the mechanical arts. The Dakin Ore
Bed, one of the most prominent of tho^e found in
this section, was discovered in 1846 by Henry and
Gideon Dakin, sons ofOrville Dakin, on land owned
by the latter. They at once sunk shafts for min-
ing the ore, and a company was farmed to develop
the industry, under the title of the Duchess County
Irpn Company, under the management of Moses
C. Wells, Phineas Chapin,J Charles C. Alger. On
the ten acres of land adjoining the ore bed sold to
them by Orville Dakin, this company built in 1848
the furnace now in operation there. The furnace
was run'by them until 1850 or '51, when the com-
pany failed, and the furnace was sold to Orville
Dakin who conducted the business until 1856. He
failed through the mismanagement of his partner,
and the property was sold to Silas Harris, Henry
C. Myers, Cornelius Husted and George Barton.

* Member of Assembly, and Sheriff about 1850.

t Resigned vice Harvey Roe appointed to fill unexpired term,

X The founder of Chapinville Furnace-



They sold the furnace to George Morgan who
worked the ore bed from 1858 to i860 or '61, the
furnace in the meantime lying idle. The entire
property was then sold to Caleb S. Maltby who has
since conducted the business.. The ore bed
has proved to be very valuable. The principal
production of the furnace is a fine grade of car-
wheel iron.

The Couch mine, in the northeastern part of the
town, leased and discovered and now being worked
by Orville and Gideon Dakin, is another valuable
mine. The Dakin brothers also purchased, in
1872, a farm known as the Lloyd farm in the
northern part of the town, and there developed a
profitable ore bed which is now being successfully
worked and which contains perhaps the richest iron
ore in the Oblong.


One of the first settled localities in the town
was that portion known as Spencer's Corners, a
little north of the old line of Amenia. The place
derived its name from PhiHp Spencer, father to the
Hon. Ambrose Spencer, who lived there many
years. He came to North East previous to 1769,
and even ai that time this section had become
quite an old settlement. In 1773 the place was
known as " Spencer's Clearing." Before that date
even, art and science had to some extent flourished
there, rapid advancement had been made in agri-
culture, and it is recorded that there were in ex-
istence there some fine orchards in 1744.*

Elder Simon Dakin, who came from the vicinity
of Boston, previous to 1751, located here, where
he organized a Baptist Church, of which for many
years he was pastor.

An earlier settlement in the town was knoivn as
" Sichem." How the name was derived is not
known. The place was established earlier than
1750, and in 1797 it was numbered among the
places that the forefathers once knew, but for
many years even then had known no more. In
Morris' American Gazetteer, 1797, Sichem is
described as "formerly a settlement of the
Moravians on the east Une of New York State,
twenty-five miles southeast of Kingston, on Hud-
son's River."

After the white settlers had driven the Morav-
ians and the Christianized Indians from their
settlement at Sha-ca-me-co,t the Indians formed a
colony at Wechquadnach on the eastern border of
Indian Pond, and a congregation of them was

*" Field notes of the Survey of the Oblong."— Vol. 4J.
t See History Town of Pine Plains.

formed under the charge of the Moravians.
David Bruce, a Scotchman, was appointed to the
station, and here he died July 9, 1749, and was
buried on the scene of his labors. From this
mission also, the Indians were driven, and after their
dispersion the white settlers established a congrega-
tion on the western side of Indian Pond, in North
East, on land owned by Hiram Clark. Here they
built a church which in after years was converted
into a school-house. After the dispersion of the
Indians, Rev. Joseph Powell, one of the mission-
aries, ministered to a congregation of the early
settlers in this vicinity. He died and was buried
here in 1774. Rev. Abrah<im Reinke, another of
the Moravian brethren, ministered to the people
in different parts of this town and Amenia.

Of the Moravian mission house no vestige
remains, and its site is now covered by fields of
grain. Even the tombstones, which in an ad-
joining burial ground once designated the graves
of some of those early missionaries, have disap-
peared from view. One indeed a few years since
was reset, in a slate rock, near the former site of
the Mission house, but unprotected except by the
fences enclosing the pasture field in which it stood,
the " unconscious herd " in time displaced it, and
in its fall it was broken in fragments. In 1859 a
monument was erected to the memory of David
Bruce and Joseph Powell, a short distance from
the eastern border of Indian Pond, near the site
of the ancient settlement of Wechquadnach. The
monument bears this inscription on the north
side : —

" Joseph Powell, a minister of the Gospel in
the Church of the United Brethren, born 1710,
near White Church, Shropshire, England, Died
September 22, 1771, at Sichem, in the Oblong,
Duchess County, New York."

On the south side : —

" David Bruce, a minister of the Gospel in the
Church of the United Brethren, from Edinburgh,
Scotland, Died July 9, i749. at the Wechquad-

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 50 of 125)