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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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 75 of 125)
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hundred thousand men ; that the disbursing com-
mittee have discretionary power to pay such sum
in excess of $600 as in their judgment was neces-
sary to secure the volunteers and fill the quota of
the town ; " that any person who shall have pro-
cured at his own expense, in anticipation of the
action of this meeting, or any person who may
hereafter so procure, a substitute, [who] is or shall
be credited on the quota of the town under the
above call, shall be entitled to receive from the dis-
bursing committee a sum equal to the average of
the aggregate amount paid for volunteers."

Following are the names of the seventy-four men
to whom the bounty was paid : —
H. C. Herring, Diebold Marching,
Thomas Duffy, Samuel Williams,
Charles Wolcott, John Pigeon,
Andrew Decker, Charles Dudley,
William Murphy, James P. Quigley,
Louis Mills, George Snyder,
Theodore Mosher, Joseph Hanan,
Charles Kent, Robert Ferdon, Jr.,
' ' ^ ~ -~p —

* Nov. 10, 1864, Samuel Speedling, Horlon Van Nosdall, Edward
Van Nosdall and Theodore Simpson appeared before the board of town
auditors and claimed Jioo bounty under the resolution of Sept. 13, i86i.
It was found to be due and was paid to the former three.

,,.m I -v ' >




Henry Wilson, Adelbert N. Burtis,

Patrick Hughes, John Williamson,

James L. France, Barney Tierney,

Stephen H. Warner, James Tierney,
Christian W. Frederick, James Johnston,
James De Lancy, Patrick H. Griffin,

Charles Weaver, William O'Riley,

George Walston, Alex. Deven,

John Smith, Francis Myers,

Hiram Halsted, George Stockhein,

John Moore, Robert T. Gill,

Michael McDonald, John F. Halstead,
Charles Martin, Augustus Doughty,

James Reves, Charles I. Howell,

E. J. Millard, Galen Overacker,

John Ring, Tunis Conklin,

Wm. B. Millard, Wm. S. Johnston,

R. D. Harris, Wm. B. Nixon,

Thomas Parish, J. P. Rhyne,

Wm. Thompson, Clarkson Underhill,

Michael Downing, George L. Dennis,

Daniel Dauson, P. B. Underhill,

D. B. Harris, Silas DeGarmo,

PhiUp Collins, Reuben Townsend,

D. T. Barnes, Walter VanAmburgh,

James Simmonds, John Ritter,

Alonzo B. VeUe, Andrew J. Gilbert,

Patrick Grogan, Robert Johnson,

Sylvester Perkins, Wm. Paulding.

The town of Poughkeepsie furnished during the
war 338 men, 48 of whom belonged to the naval
service. 230 enlisted for three years, and 38 for
one year ; the period of service of the remaining
70 is not indicated. The number enlisted in the
town and city of Poughkeepsie was 82. The rest,
where indicated, were, with one exception, enlisted
in New York. Only nine, it appears, were natives
of the town. A town bounty of $150 was paid to
sixty; of $100 to fourteen ; of $60 to fifteen; of
$75 to eight ; of $300 to three ; of $200 to three.
A county bounty of $600 was paid to four; of $540
to one; of $500 to three; of $525 to one; of
$425 to one; of $415 to two; of $400 to three;
of $350 to four ; of $312.50 to three ; of $300 to
eighty-six ; of $250 to one ; of $200 to one ; of
$150 to two. They were distributed through va-
rious organizations and branches of the service, as
follows : Twelve in the 5th, one in the 7th, one
in the 8th, three in the 20th, one in the 43d, three
in the 4Sth, two in the 52d, one in the s8th, one in
the 69th, three in the 80th, four in the 91st, six in
the 98th, one in the 99th, two in the io6th, one in
the 127th, four in the 128th, fifty-nine in the 150th,
seven in the 156th, five in the 159th, nine in the
167th, eight in the i68th, and eight in the 193d in-
fantry regiments; two in the ist, seven in the 20th,
and two in the 31st U. S. C. T.; eighteen in the
4th, three in the 5th, one in the 6th, five in the

i2th, one in the isth, three in the i8th, three
in the 21st, and one in the 28th cavalry regiments;
two in the ist, four in the 2d, (heavy,) one in the
4th, three in the 5th, one in the 7th, six in the 8th,
one in the 15th, and thirty-four in the i6th (heavy)
artillery; and one in the V. R. C.

History of the City of Poughkeepsie.

Poughkeepsie City — Its Delightful and Eligi-
ble Situation — First Settlement — The Van
Kleeck House — Its Historic Associations
— Poughkeepsie in 1799 — Tax Lists of 1805,
1849 •'^ND 1880 Compared — Poughkeepsie in
1812 and 1824 — LaFayette's Visit — Pough-
keepsie AS Seen Through Gordon's Eyes
IN 1836 — The "Improvement Party" —
Poughkeepsie in 1841 — Disturnet.l's De-
scription of Poughkeepsie in 1842 — Elec-
tric Telegraph First Introduced Into
Poughkeepsie — Population of Poughkeepsie
AT Different Periods — Village and City
Officers from the Date of Incorporation.

POUGHKEEPSIE is one of the most beauti-
ful and attractive cities in the State, and
one of the most dehghtful of the many charming
localities in the valley of the Hudson with its va-
ried associations, its mountains of wondrous gran-
deur, its fruitful plains, and vales of rare scenic
beauty. In varied natural scenery it is scarcely
surpassed by any ; while for wealth, culture, refine-
ihent —all those qualities which adorn a noble life
— it is the peer of alL

It is located on the steep slopes of the rolling
hills which form the east bank of the Hudson, and,
mainly, on the elevated table-land above, the
greatest average elevation of which is 202 feet above
high water in the river. It lies nearly midway be-
tween Albany, the capital of the State, and New
York, the commercial metropohs of the United
States ; and enjoys an unrivalled land and water
transportation. Some of its streets have the fault
of most old Dutch towns, in being crooked and
contracted, but its more modern streets are
tegular and spacious. The principal ones are kept
scrupulously clean, and nearly all are profusely
shaded with handsome trees, so that the city, when
viewed frorp the river or a distant eminence, pre-
sents in spring, a mass of foliage from which only



the steeples and taller buildings protrude; and
when the autumn has tinted them with its rich and
varied tracery, it presents a scene of indescriba-
ble beauty. Many of the streets are neatly paved,
and most of them are lighted by gas. Its eligible
situation, the salubrity of its chmate, and the ad-
vantages afforded by its excellent institutions of
learning and religion, have led many people of
wealth and culture to take up their abode here.
Of its peculiar institutions and varied industries we
shall speak in subsequent chapters.

The settlement of the city dates, according to the
best authorities consulted, from the last decade in
the seventeenth century, but in precisely what year
and by whom the first settlement was made is not
known. The first settlers were Dutch, and among
the first, if not the first, was Baltus Van Kleeck, *
who, it is generally conceded, built the first sub-
stantial house on the site of the city in 1702. It
was constructed of rough stone, and stood on the
south side of Mill street, a little east of Vassar
street. In its gables and just beneath its eaves its
walls were pierced with loop-holes for musketry, as
a means of defense against the Indians, who were
then numerous in the county, though, such were
the pacific relations which subsisted between the
natives and the early Dutch settlers, its defensive
properties were never called into requisition ; for,
happily, this locality was free from the frightful
massacres and devastating agencies which, at an
early period, harassed the settlers in the Hudson
Valley, and later those in the Mohawk Valley and
what was then the western frontier.

This old house, around which clustered so many
of Poughkeepsie's most hallowed associations " was
strong enough to resist the busy fingers of decay
for centuries ; but, like many another building in
our changeful land, hallowed by events that touch
the sympathies of our higher nature, it was com-
pelled to give place to more modern structures."
It stood for nearly a century and a half a venerable
old relic of the long ago past ; but, having come,
by inheritance, into possession of the Vassar family,
it was torn down in 1835, ^^ response to the de-
mand of a progressive impulse. The rough hewn
stone lintel of the main door, on which is cut the
date of its erection and the initials in duplicate of
the name of its original owner, is preserved in the
basement wall, close to and partially below the

* The true name of Baltus Van Kleeck was Balthazar Barntz. The
name by which he is known to the present generation was acquired by
the elimination of the surname Barntz, a common practice among the
early iDutch, and the addition of the words von (from) and Kleeck, (the
name of the place in Holland from whence he came, )

pavement on the Vassar street side of the resi-
dence (on the corner of Mill and Vassar streets,)
of the late Matthew Vassar, Jr., who was a lineal
descendant of Van Kleeck, his father, John Guy
Vassar, the elder brother of Matthew Vassar, the
founder of Vassar College, having married Mar-
garet, daughter of Baltus Van Kleeck, and great-
grand-daughter of the pioneer of that name.

Little is known of the antecedents or personal
history of Baltus Van Kleeck ; and of his many
descendants not many are left in the county. He
was a brother of Moriahakin, wife of John Har-
berdrink or Harberiing, of New York, He repre-
sented this county in the Colonial Assembly from
17 15 till his death in 17 17, being the second rep-
resentative in that body from this county. His
children were: Barent, who married Antinetha
Talmater ; Johannes, who tnarried, first Alida Ter
Boss, and, second, Catharine Van Der Bogart ;
Lawrence, who married Jacoba Lewis, and died in
r769; Peter, who married Gertrude Lewis ; Sarah,
who married Peter Palmatier ; and Elizabeth, who
married John Kip. Descendants of his to the
eight generation are now living in this county, and
are numbered among its most thrifty and respecta-
ble inhabitants. Mr. George M. Van Kleeck, of
Poughkeepsie, father of John, Henry, Robert,
Richard and Hester, wife of Jacob V. Overocker,
of that city, and a great-great-grandson of the
pioneer Baltus, has a diagram in his possession
showing many of the descendants to the seventh

Other early settlers were Dutch famiUes named
Van De Bogart, Van Benschoten, Van De Bergh,
Van Wagenen, De Graaif, Le Roy, Parmentier,
Messier, Ostrom, Hogeboom, Filkins, Swartwout,
Freer, Hegeman, and Livingston, and others who
have been named in connection with the early land
transfers in the town of Poughkeepsie. The names
of most of these, though having undergone slight
orthofraphic changes, are perpetuated to the pres-
ent generation, and are borne by some of the most
worthy and honored residents of the county.

The growth of the httle settlement was slow. A
view of Poughkeepsie in 1736 shows only eleven
houses on two streets, and the Reformed Dutch
Church, which was a conspicuous object in the
sparse settlement now so populous and beautiful.
In 1 7. "5 6, Smith the historian of New York, said it.
then scarce deserved the name of a village. But
in 1715, when the construction of a court house
and jail was authorized, it was made the county
seat, and in 1734, when the first courts were estab-



lished in the county, it was continued such because
as the ordinance said, it was near the centre of the
county, which was doubtless true of the settled
portion of the county, which was then confined to
a narrow selvedge along the west border.

In 1758, says Henry D. B. Bailey, " Poughkeep-
sie made but a sorry appearance. On the south
side of Main street, east of the Dutch Church and
burying ground, was the residence of Paul Schanck ;
his store stood adjacent the burying ground. East
of his residence was the school-house, a small
building painted red. West of the Dutch Church
was the court house. * * * -phe next
building west of the court house was the Dutch
parsonage, and along the sloping hillsides to the
river there were some twenty houses. The Vaq
Kleek house * * * ^as the most prom-
inent hotel. * * * On the north side of
Main street, east of where the Poughkeepsie Hotel
is now located, there were a few houses and stores,
and west of the hotel were a few lawyers' offices,
and you have all there was of Poughkeepsie in

From a map of the village made from a survey
of Henry Livingston, May 10, 1799, (in which year
it was incorporated,) and now on file at the cle-k's
office in Poughkeepsie, we gather much interesting
and authentic information respecting the village at
that early day.

The north corporation line then extended from
the river a little above the mouth of Kidney's
Creek, due east 37 chains, 30 links, to the point
where that stream is crossed by the post-road, and
thence due east 92 chains, 70 links, (in all 130
chains from the river;) thence south 1° 30' west
135 chains, 90 links to the south-east corner of the
corner of the corporation ; thence due west 130
chains to the river, at the mouth of a small stream
emptying into it a little below " Ship-yard Point,"
nearly midway between the " Ship-yard Point " and
the old Livingston House to both of which refer-
ence has been made in the history of the county
during the Revolutionary period.

On this old map, Main street is not laid out west
of the post-road, which corresponded with Wash-
ington street north of Main, and with Market
street south of it. The river was reached mainly
by the "Upper Landing Road," which corresponds
with the lower part of Mill street, which was not
opened at that time east of Washington ; the
"Union Store Road," corresponding with Union

street, and "Davis's road," corresponding with

. 1 _

* Historical Sketches, 13-24.

Pine street, and named from Davis' store at its ter-
minus on the river. At the terminus of " Union
Store Road," at the Lower Landing, was a union
store, which gave name to the road. At the foot
of the " Upper Landing Road," was the store and
mills of R. L. Livingston.

The residents of the post-road, beginning on the
north, were, on the east side, T. N?lson, H. A. Liv-
ingston, (the only two named till we reach Main
street,) V. Barber, at the north-east corner of the
post-road and Main street, Roye V. Kleeck,

Bailey, Noxon, A. Smith,

Smith, (between Main street and the " Road to

John V. D. Burgh's,") Romine,

Myer, P. Freer, Vielie, N. Freer, I. Freer,

E. Freer, S. Freer and S. S. Freer to the south
corporation line; on the west side, I. Nelson, near

the north line, N. Meyer, Oferom,

DofFie, and Ellison (to Main street)

Baker, Hendrickson, Allen, Cooke, Hofman, Deyo,
Harris, Kip, Davis, Mott and Tappen, (to Pine
street,) and I. Reade, a little back from the road,
and the only one living on the west side below
Pine street. On the west side of the road, nearly
midway between Kidney's creek and the Fallkill,
on the old Thomas Nelson property, now the estate
of Mr. Orrin Williams, stood the "Gallows Tree,"
which Mr. William S. Morgan, of Poughkeepsie,
who was born in 1807, recollects as having been
standing in his early manhood. Near the junction
of Main street was a tannery. An Episcopal
Church stood on the site of Christ Church on the
north-east corner of Church and Market streets.
A little below this, on the same side, was the
clerk's office. The court house stood on the pres-
ent site.

The residents on Main street, then known as the
" Filkin Town Road," beginning at Washington St.,
were, on the north, Radclift, Hofman, Davis, Van
Kleek, Duykinck, Thompson, Livingston, Tappen,
Clouse, Nash and Yelverton, to H. A. Livingston's
Mills, at the junction of Main and Mill streets,
and Everit, De Reimer, Beckwith, Seabury and M.
V. Brommel to the east line, while just over the
line was F. Harris, and a little north of him, E.
Free ; on the south side were Bosworth, Billings,
Bramble, Curry, Hobson, Caldwell and Emott to
Livingston's Mills, and the last within the limits.
Near the east line and back from the road was L.
B. Lewis. The Dutch Reformed Church then
stood opposite Market street, on the north side of
Main street, on the site of the Poughkeepsie



On the " Upper Landing Road," on the north
side, resided DeGrafT and Bayeux, the only ones
named, and on the south, Bowman and B. Van
Kleeck. On the west side of a road correspond-
ing with Bridge street north of Mill, lived two
families named Lansing, the southerly one being
P. Lansing. No other residents are named north
of the Upper Eanding Road and west of the Post
Road within the corporation.

On the north side of the Union Store Road,
near Market street, (or on the south side of what
is now Main street, west of Washington,) lived a
man named Brower. On the same side of the
road, and near the river lived M. Tappen, North
and Everson, with a pottery between the former
two. On the south side were Arden, McKeen and
Johnson in the central part, and Carpenter, near
the river.

On the north side of " Davis's Road," near
Market street, lived famiUes named Myer and
Oak, but none on the south side. I. Stevens lived
a little north east of "Shipyard Point," and was the
only one named south of "Davis's Road" and west
of the Post road.

On the south side of Cannon street were families
named Smith, Nott, Cooke, Thomas and Weaver(?)
while in the angle formed by Academy and Cannon
streets stood the old academy. On the east side
of Academy street, which was then opened only
to Montgomery street, lived families named Smith
and Graham ; and south of Montgomery street,
(which then together with Southeast Avenue formed
the "Road to John V. D. Borgh's,") near what was
then the south terminus of Academy street, lived a
family named Whitehouse. These, with a family
named Boyce, living on the west side of Southeast
Avenue, near the south corporation line, were the
only others living (or named,) in the territory com-
prising the sixth ward and half of the fourth ward.
N. Freer lived just south of the corporation line, a
little east of the Post Road. West of Smith street,
(then called the "Road from Crom Elbow Creek,")
nearly midway between Main street and the cor-
poration line, lived a family named Norris ; and on
the east side, near the corporation line, one named
S. Freer. These, with the exception of those named
on the east side of the Post Road, (Washington St.,)
and on the north side of the "Filkin Town Road,"
were the only ones living in the corporation in the
angle formed by those roads, comprising the pres-
ent fifth ward and the third, except that part lying
between Bridge and Washington streets.

The Post Road, south from the corporation line,

extended through the lands of Henry Livingston,
and on this, near the head of " Rust Plaets Kill,"
lived William Freer, while near the river, at the
mouth of that stream, Uved T. Mitchel. Further
south on the Post Road was the H. Livingston
place, and still further south, the residence of E.

The tax list of the village of Poughkeepsie for
1805 contains 368 names. The entire assessment
of real and personal property was $399,650, and
the rate of tax four mills on each dollar, making
the entire amount of tax collected, $159.86. At
that time the population may be supposed to have
been about 2,500, as in 1810 it was 2,981, In
1849, at which time the population had increased
to n,o8o, the corporation expenses amounted to
$16,096.80, which was a fair average as they
appeared from year to year.* * Thus while the popu-
lation had increased only about four- fold, the cor-
poration expenses had increased more than a hun-
dred-fold. In 1880, when the village had more
than a quarter of a century before become a city,
and the population had increased to 20,207 inhabi-
tants, while the equalized valuation of its real and
personal estate had increased to $11,833,167, more
than a fourth of the entire valuation of the county,
the municipal tax had increased to $245,339.01,
and the State, County and City tax combined, to

In the same book in which appears the tax list
for 1805, is the following somewhat remarkable
document, which, we may venture to say, was
among the first temperance efforts put forth in this
County. Coercion however was substituted for
moral suasion, which is now the prevalent aggres-
sive weapon. We quote : —
" To Mr. John N. Carman : —

Pursuant to an Act of the Legislature of New York
entitled An Act concerning the estate's of habitual
drunkards, passed March 10, 182 1, we do hereby des-
ignate,and describe [here follow thirty names of per-
sons] of the town of Poughkeepsie, Duchess County,
in said State, to be habitual drunkards, and we here-
by require you not to give or sell under any pretence,
in any way or manner, spirituous liquors to said
drunkards, except by direction or on the certificate
of a regularly Ucensed physician, that the same is
necessary for the preservation or recovery of the
health of said drunkard, under the penalty for
every offence of the sum of ten dollars.

John Nelson, } Overseers of
RoBT, C. NoxoN, J the Poor."

" N. B. — The names of those that give suffi-
cience of a thorough reformation will be blotted
out of this list."

* The Sunday Courier^ of Poughkeepsie, Feb. a, 187J.



In 1812, the village which was then growing
rapidly, had a population of about 3,000, five
churches, (a gain of three since its incorporation
in 1799,) four hundred and twenty-two inhabited
dwelhngs, (many of the older ones of stone but
the later ones of wood or brick,) forty-nine stores,
shops, &c., an academy, two well-sustained week-
ly newspapers, (the Poughkeepsie Journal and
Republican Herald^ Paraclete Potter's (now Ar-
chibald Wilson's,) book-store, an "elegant and
spacious" hotel, (the Poughkeepsie Hotel,) then
recently built, and " five serpentine roads " con-
nected the village on the plain " nearly a mile
east" with the river. Its commerce employed
" eight large sloops or packets," which sailed
weekly to New York.*

The war of this period was a disturbing element,
and here, as elsewhere, where the opinions touch-
ing the questions at issue were sharply defined,
tended to retard the development of its industries,
though in some respects, perhaps, it stimulated for
a time an abnormal development. This was es-
pecially true of domestic manufactures, which
were fostered by the heavy duties imposed on im-
ports for purposes of revenue. On the restoration
of peace and the removal of these import duties
the country was flooded with foreign goods; man-
ufacturing industries consequently became stag-
nant. The large imports which followed depleted
the country of specie. The currency greatly de-
preciated, values were affected, and trade and
commerce were generally disturbed.

In 1824, however, the village had made some
progress. The number of its houses, stores and
shops had increased to six hundred. It had the
same number of churches, (one each for the
Methodists, Baptists, Friends, Episcopalians and
Presbyterians,!) ^ bank, a Lancasterian school, in
addition to the academy, three cotton factories,
"two extensive breweries and a distillery," and
two or three printing establishments. It had the
same number of " serpentine roads " leading to
the landings, but its commerce required "ten large
sloops or packets."!

The population was then about 5,000. None
of the streets were paved, except Main, from Aca-
demy to Washington, and Cannon, from Academy
to Market. Its commerce was carried on by

* Stafford's Gazetteer of 1815, 176 ; Vassnr College and its Founder^

t No mention is made of the Reformed Dutch Church, and singularly
enough, for it had then had a continued existence of a century . Hence
it would appear that there were six instead of five churches.

X Stafford's Gazetteer., of 18Z4, 425, 416.

sloops of about one hundred tons burden, and
four of these left for New York each week.
Steamboats landed at the foot of Main street every
night, to take passengers for New York or Albany,
but many people still traveled by sloops. The
thoroughfares which were regarded as streets were
few, only Main, Market, Cannon, Academy, Wash-
ington, Mill and Union being considered any-
thing more than roads. Two-thirds of the streets
which were in use forty years later were not opened,
but occupied what was then an agricultural coun-

One decidedly marked event occurred this year
(1824.) Gen. LaFayette,the distinguished French-
American patriot, who visited this country that

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 75 of 125)