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 66 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 66 of 125)
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not in an extended, most surely in a small way, and
the stream at this place presenting required facili-
ties, a cotton mill was built about the year 1830,
and for a while bid fair to be a success, but at last
the firm failed, and the mill was closed.

The building was divided and a portion used in
the construction of the flouring mill, now owned by
the heirs of Benjamin Anson. The latter mill was
erected in 1856. For many years the people
throughout the surrounding country did their trad-
ing at Mechanic, there being no other store nearer
than Pleasant Valley, but about the time the "Dye-
woodworks," were in progress, Dr. Treadway com-
menced the mercantile business in one part of his



house and continued a number of years. He also
practiced medicine, but took greater pleasure in
attending to the store, as it brought him in contact
with the ladies to whom he showed great respect
and never allowed one to leave his store without
" treating " her to some Uquor. Many of the old
residents still remember his generosity and regards
to the ladies. That store was made by circum-
stances subject to the usual changes experienced
in stores of this kind, until the business was con-
ducted by George P. Tompkins and Wm. E. Smith
as partners, who removed it to Millbrook in July
1870, as the first " store" in the new village. They
were soon followed by Eugene Andrew as the first


Upon the building of the Newburgh, Duchess
& Connecticut Railroad, in 1869, the enterprise
gave birth to a village a little to the south of Hart's,
named Millbrook, which is fast robbing the former
of its ancient business. Doubtless, ere long, both
settlements will be included in one, and bear the
modern appellation, regardless of old time associa-
tions. Millbrook owes its existence as does the
Railroad in a great measure, to the enterprise and
Uberality of Mr. George H. Brown a gentlemen of
wealth and culture who settled in this town in 1864.

One of the first projects established at the new
centre for the advantage of the farming com-
munity was the condensing of milk. A company
was formed under the title of " United States Con-
densing Company," with a capital of $40,000.
The property changed ownership and was con-
ducted by another firm known as "The National
Condensing Company of New York City. In the
fall of 1881, Henry T. Canfield purchased the
concern and again changed its name to " Canfield
Condensing Factory." The milk is purchased of
the dairymen in the surrounding neighborhoods at
an average price of three cents per quart, through
the year, and delivered daily at the factory in a
sweet and pure condition. About 125,000 quarts
are condensed each month and put in the market
in two ways, — condensed and plain condensed.
The former is prepared with the aid of the finest
sugars, and sealed in one-half and one pound tin
cans, and intended to be capable of being trans-
ported to any part without being affected by either
climate or time. The latter, or "plain," is simply
the milk condensed without mixture for immediate
use, and is shipped daily to New York City in
forty-quart cans. The power is both steam and

water. The former is used principally for con-
densing, which requires a boiler of ninety horse-
power. The whole process is conducted in a tidy
manner, the greatest caution observed in the
purity and cleanliness of the milk and vessels used.

Hart's village is upon the Sharon branch of the
old Duchess turnpike, chartered in 1805. Here
we may, perhaps refer, without digressing too far,
to the fact that after the bill was passed granting a
charter to the Turnpike Company, several per-
sons through whose lands the road passed, peti-
tioned to have it changed at several points, and
the change being made, in some of the law books
only the statute so changing the road is noticed.
The change was made within a few days of the
statute granting the charter.

Millbrook Ues between that and the Dover
branches chartered at the same time, and consists
of two churches. Episcopal and Roman Catholic,
several stores and about fifty houses, besides rail-
road buildings, etc.

Another monument to the generosity of Mr.
Brown, that adds greatly to the appearance of the
neighborhood, is the Millbrook Reformed Church.

The Millbrook Reformed Church was organized
in 1864. Mr. Brown first organized the two Sab-
bath Schools, one at Washington Four Corners,
the other at " Titus' Factory " or " Anson's Hill."
The former, from a few, soon numbered sixty schol-
ars, with eleven teachers, and held their services in
Mrs. Samuel Brigg's parlor, both growing to such
proportions that it became necessary to build a
church edifice. Those who clung to the reformed
faith being scattered over a large territory, it was
agreed to centrally locate the building and place
it at Washington Hollow. In February, 1865,
about forty families assembled to take in consider-
ation the building and expense to be incurred,
when Mr. Brown agreed to furnish the necessary
funds. Upon the ist day of April following, the
ground was first broken, and on the 1st of June
the walls were ready for the laying of the corner
stone. A delegation from the churches of Drs.
Hegemans and McEckeson, of Poughkeepsie, with
their choirs, attended on the day the corner stone
was laid. The edifice was finished during the sea-
son. Mr. James Brown gave the parsonage
grounds to the society, besides donating Uberally
toward the parsonage and church. In fact, the
church has been blessed by having members of
large generosity, whose culture is shown in the taste"
displayed in the edifice and its surroundings, as
well as in the business transactions relating to the



church. A circulating Ubrary of one hundred
volumes was given to the society by Mr. George
H. Brown, which he afterwards increased to three

From 1864, to November, 1865, Rev. J. L. Zab-
riskie supplied the pulpit, and from January, 1866,
to May, 1867, Rev. Henry L. Cobb. On the i3th
of the latter month Rev. Mr. Cobb was received
as the pastor. Rev. A. P. Stockwell officiated as
assistant from June, 1869, to December, i87i,and
William J. Hill as missionary, from September,
1872 to 1875. In May, 1881, Rev. H. N. Cobb's
pastorate ceased, and in October following. Rev.
J. Edward Lyall was ordained as the present pas-

Roman Catholic Church. — The spacious and
costly Roman Catholic Church located here was
built in 1872, and is connected with the Church of
Amenia in pastoral charge. It is one of the strong-
est societies of the faith in the county, and a
proud mark of the energy and magnanimity of the

Grace Church. — A prosperous and earnest Epis-
copal organization of which Rev. J. C. F. Weills in
a communication says: "About the year 1849,
occasional services were held in Hart's village, by
various clergymen of the Protestant Episcopal
church." In 1863, the Rev. E. C. Pattison, rector
of St. Peter's church of Lithgow, commenced regu-
lar services, once a Sabbath. On the 6th of Sep-
tember, 1864, he organized a parish and the follow-
ing persons were elected as vestrymen : Henry
Peck, Senior Warden ; Isaac Haight, George N.
Brown, James Mastin, Samuel Thome, E. C. Cur-
tis, Howard Tripp, Silas Tripp and George P.
Tompkins, vestrymen.

Sept. 13, 1866, the corner-stone of a church was
laid and during the year 1867, the building was
erected and consecrated. It was of wood, with
slate roof, forty feet in length by twenty in width,
with a chancel about twelve by fifteen feet. This
church was burned on the 28th of September,

1870. A new lot in a more central location was
secured and a new church was built during the
latter part of that year and the fore part of 187 1,
which is gothic in style, sixty-four feet long
by thirty in width and cost about $6,000. It
was consecrated by the Right Rev. Horatio
Potter, D. D., D. C. L., LL D., Bishop of
the Diocese of New York, on November 23,

187 1, Its rectors have been as follows: Rev.
E. C. Pattison from 1864 to '68; Rev. B. F. Mil-
ler from 1869 to '75; Rev. J. C. S. Weills from

1876 to '78; Rev. J. H. Nimons, 1878 to '8i, and
J. C. S. Weills the present pastor. Connected with
this church in pastorship is "St. Peter's Church" of
Lithgow, which is one of the oldest parishes of the
Episcopal church in the State of New York. Rev,
Mr. Weills says : —

" It existed under Royal Charter. The land
upon which the first church was erected was given
to the parish by one of the Nine Partners. In its
earliest days, services were held in private houses
and a church edifice was erected in 1834, which
was destroyed by fire on the 22nd of March, 1880."

A new church was built upon the site and was
consecrated August 4, 1881. It is a gothic
structure and though smaller than the one destroy-
ed is much more ornate and better suited to the
services of the church. The first services were
held by rectors residing in the State of Connecticut.
Since its consecration it has been under Rev. J. C.
S. Weills, as rector.

Between Millbrook and Washington Hollow,
Beriah Swift established a coffee-mill factory in
1845, which was the first and only enterprise in this
part of the county. Attached to his works was a
small foundry to cast such parts of his invention
as were required. He associated with him his son,
and upon the father's death in 1866, the firm be-
came " Swift & Brothers," and continued in the
manufacture of the same line of goods, and at
present with more extended facilities, are turning
out the largest line of any firm in the United
States. In 1875 they began in addition, to man-
ufacture horse wheel-rakes of Mr. W. J. Lane's in-
vention, one of the members of the firm. In the
rake enterprise, is connected Mr. Fields, after whom
the rake is named.


In the fore part of the present century, James
Mabbett, long a resident of New York city, and a
commission auctioneer, purchased a tract of land
at that hamlet and settled upon it as a farmer.
Soon a small settlement sprang up around him and
the name of Mabbettsville was given to it. An
" Inn " or house of entertainment was built, and
for the convenience of the neighborhood a post-
office was estabhshed. Whether James Mabbett
was of the family that settled at Mechanic or not
we are unable to say, positively, but think he was
a nephew of Joseph S., who sold the old Mabbett
dweUing and store to the Quakers. He was elect-
ed to various town offices and represented the
county in the Assembly, in 1834. It will not be
out of place, to here mention, that the settlement



of " Mabbetts " when referred to at a date previous
to 1820, does not, or should not refer to Mabbetts-
ville of to-day, but to Mechanic, which at an early
day was spoken of as " Mabbetts." We have
found several documents that spoke explicitly of
" Mabbetts " as a place, and referred to Mechanic,
which was understood to mean the present loca-
tion of Mabbettsville. Therefore we present the
fact, that the places may not be confounded.


Upon the Dover branch of the Duchess Turn-
pike, at or near the hamlet of Mechanic, a settle-
ment was made by Friends or Quakers, about the
year 1750. They were intelligent, thorough-going
people, and upon their coming were in very com-
fortable circumstances, financially speaking, which
enabled them to push their settlement forward, and
estabUsh such enterprises and conveniences as were
necessary for their comfort and prosperity. The
families that settled here and near, were the
Thornes and Tituses from Long Island, Coffins,
Mitchells and Pinkhams from Nantucket, the Com-
stocks. Aliens, Rogers, Hulls, Coleraans, Ricket-
sons, Willetts, Congdons, Haights and Talcotts.
from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Westchester
County, N. Y., and elsewhere.

There were three brothers of the Thornes, of
whom Isaac was the eldest, and we are led to think,
the possessor of the most land. He built a gambrel-
roofed house upon the hill east of the Brick Meet-
ing-house, and was a very energetic, business and
straight firm meeting-man.

In 1760, or a short time previous, one Samuel
Mabbett, a Quaker, came to this place and opened
a small store and inn for the accommodation of the
townsmen and the travelling public. It must be
remembered that the immigration from the Eastern
States, to the counties bordering the river, espec-
ially upon the west side, began to be of respectable
proportions at this time, and the travelling being
done with horse and ox teams, made quite a brisk
trade along the thoroughfares of the day, and this
hamlet being upon one of the rude routes usu-
ally taken, accommodations for such travellers were
necessary ; and who would learn the fact sooner
than a Yankee ?

Mabbett became ambitious, and in 1762 pur-
chased of Isaac Thome, ten acres of land, upon which
he intended to erect a large building to meet the
demands of his trade. The building was forty by
fifty feet, and was to be a dwelling, inn and store.
The prospective expense was greater in amount than

he could readily command, and he was forced to de-
lay the undertaking for some time. He visited
New York city, and pictured to his monied friends,
a "bonanza" from which wealth would be produced,
and they formed a company to carry out his plans.
The building when completed was two stories in
height, with a stone basement and gambrel roof.
The dwelling part was finished oif at great expense
and was the finest dweUing in that part of the State.
Here Mabbett did a large mercantile business, as
it was the first and only store in the town or for
many miles around.

Among the commodities from which he derived
the greatest profit was Uquor, chiefly rum, an arti-
cle that was considered indispensable in those
days. The reader will, doubtless, imagine such a
trade was rather poorly patronized in a Quaker
settlement, but it is not unlikely that many of
their members may have fallen into the then prev-
alent custom of partaking sparingly for the "stom-
ach's sake." We find that his trade was not con-
fined to this particular locality, but for a number
of miles around. The free-and-easy Dutch and
German settlers found near the river, were Mab-
bett's substantial customers ; and when the Revo-
lution broke out, and during that eventful period,
"Mabbett's" was the rendezvous of a certain class
whose loyalty to the Crown could only be measured
by the long draughts of "Flip and Nod" they dis-
posed of. The patriots were watchful of the ren-
dezvous and their vigilance drove the proprietor to
make an excavation near the fire-place in the
basement, in which he retreated occasionally to
avoid arrest. The cellar or basement of his
building was arranged so that he could drive a team
and wagon within and unload, and many aged
people remember their fathers telling of the num-
berless hogsheads of rum that were there drawn
at the close of the war.

The Nine Partners Boarding School. — At the.
close of the war, the foregoing property became
that of a son, Joseph Mabbett, and the father re-
moved to Lansingburgh, N. Y. The son contin-
ued the business until the 1st of May, 1795, when
he sold the building and ten acres of land belong-
ing to it, to a committee of Trustees appointed by
the Friends' Yearly Meeting, for the purpose of
establishing a boarding school. The considera-
tion was ;^i,6oo. New England money.
The committee was composed of Isaac
Thorne, Tripp Mosher and Joseph Talcott.
The building after undergoing some alterations
was opened in the fall of 1796, as a boarding

early in life, often consulted her on disputed ques-
tions in grammar. In after years, when his im-
portant work was finished, he paid her the compli-
ment of saying that she rendered him great assist-
ance in its preparation.

"Jacob Willets was the author of a popular
arithmetic and geography. The first edition of the
former was pubUshed in 18 13. Both works had
strong official recommendations and were exten-
sively used throughout the country for many

"Jacob and Deborah Willets left the boarding
school and went to the island of Nantucket. In
1824, having returned to Duchess county, they
opened a school near Mechanic, chiefly for the
education of young men, which was continued, by



them until 1852. Jacob was born in the town of
Fishkill in 1 785, and while in his infancy his parents
removed to the town of Washington, where he
remained a resident until his death. Deborah, his
wife, was born in Marshfield, Mass.,' in August,
1789, and died at her homestead near the scenes
of her life-long labors in 1870, retaining her great
mental vigor to the last."

Washington in the Rebellion.

The records of the town were very negligent-
ly kept and we have no other opportunity of get-
ting at the names of the volunteers from the town
than by taking their names from " proxies " that
were sent home by them during the political cam-
paign of 1864. Whether the following list includes
all of those who volunteered or not, we are unable
to determine. That the quota was greater is evi-
dent, but the majority of towns filled theirs with
foreigners by paying bounties, and this town un-
doubtedly did so in a measure. The following is
the list with the company and regiment to which
they belonged: —

iSoM Regt., Co. C. — John J. Raymond, Lewis
Place, Wm. J. Noxen, Charles H. Pond, W. H.
Oakley; Co. A, John L. Carlow, J. L. Place,
John JoUenbeck, Thomas O'Neil, Geo. Rymes ;
Co. I, Edward L. Florence, Piatt C. Curtis, Chas.
H. Smith, Daniel W. Wheeler, Wm. Hall, Gilbert
Seaman, Seneca Humeston, John N. Meller, Theo-
dore Wicks ; Co. E, Alva Brown, Simon Freer;
Co. F, Wm. H. Sacoe.

\2ith Regt., Co. D. — Charles Bois, Cornelius
Rust; Co. B, Lewis Holmes, (Sergeant,) Good-
man Nobles, (4th Sergeant,) Wm. E. Haight, (4th
Corporal,) Dewitt Duncan, (7th Corporal,) David
Welden, Manassa Benson, Egbert Rowe, Geo. L.
Bartlett, John Hart, Orvill L. Davis, Nicholas
Piatt, Alfred Nobles, Wm. H. Applebee, Peter
Carlow, Harrison LeRoy, Lewis Rossell, Chas. H.
Ensign, (Privates ;) Co. C, Chas. H. Draper ; Co.
F, Edgar Risedorf, Tenance Laughlin, Moses W.
Lake ; Co. H, Alonzo Hill.

16M Regt., Co. C— Ira E. Davis; Co. B, Har-
rison Moore, (transferred to 128th Regt. Co. F.)

44th Regt, Co. G. — Abraham McGoeffin.

^d Regt., Co. M.—Levi Mabee.

The amount of money raised for war purposes
is not kliown as no record was kept, but is supposed
to hjve been in the neighborhood of forty thou-
sand dollars, arising from bounties ranging from

three to five hundred dollars in the main, and a
fee of one thousand dollars.




James Congdon and Lydia Southwick, parents
of Jarvis Congdon, moved into this county from
the state of Rhode Island, and settled in the town
of Beekman. They were members of the Society
of Friends, and parents of seven children of
whom Jarvis was the fifth. He remained at
home until twenty-seven years of age. March 27, '
1828, he was united in marriage with Lydia, daugh-
ter of John Wing, of South Dover, by whom they
had one child, James, who died when at the age
of eight years. *

After a short sojourn in different towns in the
county^ Mr. Congdon was called, in 1842, to
Superintend the Nine Partners Boarding School of
Friends located at Mechanic in the town of Wash-
ington. Many of the students of that institution
afterwards occupied prominent positions in the
financial, litetary, commercial, and political history
of the country. He conducted the affairs of that
school sucessfully for nine years when he resigned
his position and purchased his present residence.

Mr. Congdon possesses in a remarkable degree
the vigor which is the result of an exemplary Chris-
tian life, and is much beloved by many of his old
studeiits and acquaintances at whose request«his
portrait and biography are here published. He
and his wife are both worthy members of the So-
ciety of Orthodox Friends.

iT»g THORNE i^AMiLY were
I among the earliest settlers of
Long Island, but the first au-
thentic record that we find of them
in Duchess County, is of Isaac and
Hannah Thome, who settled upon what
is known as the "Nine Partners Patent"
in 1725. To them were born ten
children, five of whom attained their
majority, among whom was numbered
William, the great-grandfather of Edwin
Thorne, the present proprietor of Thorn-

William took up four hundred acres of
land, now occupied as Thorndale, and was
the father of five children, of whom
Samuel succeeded him in the occupancy
of the farm, but died in 1849; his mother
having preceded him at the advanced



age of ninety-nine years. Samuel was the father of
three children who grew to maturity, May, Jonathan
and Anna. Jonathan entered into the dry goods
business in New York with his uncle Nicholas
and while there became acquainted with Lydia
Ann Corse, who afterward became his wife. Soon
after his marriage he returned to his home in
Duchess County, his father having given him half
of the four hundred acres comprising the home-
stead farm.

Here he remained until 1830, when he went
to New York where he succeeded his father-
in-law in the hide and leather business located
in what is known as the " Swamp " and was
very successful in accumulating a fortune. He
continued there till 1880, conducting his farm at
the same time for several years. At the death of
his father Jonathan succeeded to the property and
in 1850 began improvements with a view of mak-
ing a summer residence of the farm. 'Always
having a fondness for fine stock and failing after
numerous attempts to secure by importation such
as suited him, he decided to send some one to Eng-
land who using proper judgment would procure for
him desirable stock. Having obtained the services
of Francis M. Rotch who was universally admitted
to be an excellent judge and breeder of short-horn
cattle and south-down sheep, he despatched him,
accompanied by his son Samuel, with an unlimited
order to buy the best animals that could be pro-
cured in Great Britain, regardless of price.

The result of this order after a long and press-
ing negotiation, was the purchase of the bull
"Grand Duke" for r,ooo Guineas; being at that
time the highest price ever paid by a single indi-
vidual for an animal of that breed. Three cows
of the same Duchess family, viz: Duchess 59th,
64th, and 68th, and also six other very superior
cows selected as the best to be obtained in Eng-
land were purchased.

In 1854 his son Samuel located on the place and
took possession of the herd, adding to its number
by another importation that same year of ten more
cows. In 1855 he himself selected in England,
and brought out from there, the celebrated bulls
2d Grand Duke and Neptune, with several cows.
In this year the homestead was increased by the
purchase of an adjoining farm of 150 acres. In
1856 another importation was made and in 1857
the stock was largely added to by the purchase of
the Mount Fordham herd, which included among
others the Duchess bull, "Duke of Gloster" and
several females both of this and the Oxford fami-
lies. The Thorndale herd then took its stand not
only as the best but as the most valuable in the
world. So well was the fact recognized in Great
■ Britain that a demand came from the best short-
horn breeders there for bulls from Thorndale, and
the first sale ever made of an animal of the kind to
cross the water was the bull "Our American Cous-
in," selected in person by a gentleman herding in
Ireland. This shipment was made in 1861 and in
the ToUowing year some fourteen or fifteen head
were exported and Thorndale became as well

known among short-horn breeders on that as on
this side of the Atlantic.

In 1867 Mr. Samuel Thome sold his entire herd
to J. O. Sheldon of Geneva, and by him it was
subsequently transferred to Messrs. Wolcott &
Campbell and was scattered by them at the famous
New York Mills sale, when the good judgment
shown in forming the original Thorndale herd, and
in its herding afterward, was fully proven by the
fabulous prices realized there by its descendants,
one of these bringing the enormous price of
$40,600, and several over $30,000 each.

Mr. Edwin Thorne was born on the farm, and
when four years old moved with his father to New
York. After attaining to his majority he entered

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 66 of 125)