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 77 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 77 of 125)
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cupy it till April, 1881, when he sold to William B.
Carpenter, who rents to Mr. Wiltsie, the pres-
ent occupant. Mr. Morgan at the close of a very
active and successful business career, is living in
retirement in Poughkeepsie, enjoying the respect
and confidence of his associates in business and
the citizens generally.

Charles and WiUiam Livingston purchased of
Peter R. Mason the land east of Mr. Morgan's
store, to the Davis block, the eastern limits of the
fire, and erected at the same time the building oc-
cupying that site, but subsequently sold the stores
to other parties. West of Mr. Morgan's store, in
the fire district, other stores were built by Jacob
Rowe, William Frost and Capt. William Broas,
the latter adjoining the Eagle office, while a fourth
party built the store now occupied by John W.
Candee, with dry goods. These buildings, cover-
ing the entire district ravaged by the fire, were
erected at the same time, and patterned after a then
famous block in Philadelphia, the distinguishing
characteristics being circular windows and hollow
iron columns. These peculiarities presented a novel
and attractive appearance but have since given way
to the flat windows now in vogue.

Joseph and Caleb. Morgan, brothers of Elijah,
were contemporary with him, and occupied a store
opposite on the west corner of Main and
Liberty streets. They dissolved May 5, 1818.
Joseph died many years ago , but Caleb survived
and resided here till a recent period.

Thomas W. Tallmadge came here from Connec-
ticut about 1805 and was an extensive dealer in
stoves till about 1840. He was a highly respected
citizen and successful merchant. For twenty-three
years he was President of the Poughkeepsie Savings
Bank, retaining that position till his death, August
II, 1856, at the age of seventy-five years. His
widow survived him till about a year since, and died
here aged over ninety years.

Jesse Oakley & Son as appears from the Political
Barometer of July 1, 1806,* "were among the
heavy merchants of this place" at that time.
" They kept dry goods, groceries, cloth and kersey-

* From the Poughkeepsie Eagle, August i«, 1876.



meres, wines, Jamaica spirits, tea, puffs and tippets,
pickled cod, dye-woods, etc. John Field was also
a prominent merchant, and David Brooks and
Benjamin Hunger. * « * Elisha Brown
carried on the sole-leather and hide business and
slaughtered cattle. » * * Samuel Myers
was a repacker of pork and beef, as was also
Thomas Bayeux. Nathan Myers kept a dry
goods and grocery store, and an iron mongery.
Charles H. Dunscombe kept a dry goods and gro-
cery store. James Trivett kept dry goods, grocer-
ies and shoes. All took produce in payment for
goods. John Everett was also a dealer in dry
goods, groceries, hardware and crockery. Hayt &
Fuller kept glass, oil and paints. * * *
Van Kleeck & Mannery were dealers in dye-wood,
cam-wood, copperas and press-papers. David
Gladd kept a grocery. Peter R. Maison kept a
dry goods store and sold 'women's straw hats, feath-
ers and plumes.' Valentine Bakei kept a dry
goods store in Market street. G. H. Cunningham
kept a seed store. George Parker advertised 'Par-
ker's Mills ' flour, plaster, wheat, etc."

Jesse Oakley was a Member of Assembly from
this county, from 1794 to 1797. John Field was
a Deputy to the Provincial Congress from Duchess
in 1776. David Brooks was born in 1736 ; enter-
ed the army in 1776, as a Lieutenant in the Penn-
sylvania line ; was captured at Fort Washington,
and remained a prisoner for two years. Upon
being exchanged he was appointed Assistant
Clothier-General at headquarters — an office of re-
sponsibility, which he so filled as to secure the
friendship of Washington. After the close of the
war he removed to New York and subsequently to
this county, both of which he represented in the
Assembly, the former in 1788, and the latter from
1794 to 1796, and again in 1810. He was a Rep-
resentative in Congress from 1797 to 1799;
County Judge of this county from 1795 to 1807;
and was appointed Clerk of this county June 5,
1807 ; again Feb. 9, 1810; and again Feb. 23,
1813. He was one of the Commissioners who
made the first treaty with the Seneca Indians, on
the site of the city of Utica. He died at his home,
where he was universally esteemed, in August,
1 838.* Elisha Brown represented Putnam County
in the Assembly in 1820 and '21.

Paraclete Potter, who was a native of this coun-
ty, established himself in business here as publisher
and book-seller in 1806. He was likewise, a jour-
nalist, publishing the Poughkeepsie Journal. He

* Lanman's Dictionary of Congress, SJ.

was an exemplary journalist; for "with talent and
taste combined rare judgment and candor and the
most unswerving morality." He once asserted
that he "never as a rule admitted into \ht. Journal
a paragraph that he would be ashamed to read to
[his] wife and daughters." His store was located
next to the corner of Main and Garden streets,
and was afterward known as Wilson's book store.
It was destroyed by fire in the winter of 1870, and
was, at that time, said to be the oldest business
establishment in Poughkeepsie where the same
kind of trade had been carried on continuously.
No place in Poughkeepsie, except the court house,
had so many interesting associations connected
with local celebrities in politics, the liberal profes-
sions and literature as that modest little store.
The brick building which now occupies its site was
erected in 187 1.

William Wilson, who succeeded Paraclete Potter
in the book store and bindery, was a native of
Crieff, a Scotch village at the foot of the Grampian
Hills. His childhood was passed in poverty, and
he never entered a school as pupil, but received
his scholastic and religious training from his moth-
er, a high-spirited Scotchwoman, who was left a
widow when he was five years old. In early life
he was apprenticed to a cloth dealer in Glasgow.
He sedulously devoted his spare moments to read-
ing and studying and the cultivation of his taste
for music, and acquired some distinction both in
literature and music. He successively became
contributor and assistant editor of the Dundee
Review and sole editor of the Dundee Literary
Olio. Through the kindly offices of Feldburg, a
Danish author, he formed the acquaintance of the
literati of Edinburgh. He enjoyed the warm
friendship of Mrs. Grant, of Laggan, the author of
Memoirs of an American Lady, and formed an
intimate acquaintance with Robert and William
Chambers. In 1833, he emigrated to America,
and in the summer of that year engaged in the
business above referred to, which he continued till
his death, August 25, i860. He contributed many
poems to American and British periodicals, but
seldom over his own name. His chosen signatures
were " Alpin " and "Allan Grant.'' Some of these
appear in a collection of Scottish poetry published
at Glasgow in 1844. At his death, he left quite a
large collection of his poems, in manuscript, from
which a selection, made and arranged by an inti-
mate friend, was published by his eldest son. He
also left in manuscript, an unfinished work on the
Poets and Poetry of Scotland, which was afterwards



edited by his son, James Grant Wilson, and pub-
lished by Harper & Brothers. Mr. Wilson not
only possessed literary talent, but he evinced an
earnest desire to elevate the moral and intellectual
standard of the people, an end to which his circu-
lating library contributed in no small degree.

Dr. Elias Trivett was engaged in the drug busi-
ness in Poughkeepsie as early as 1807, and did an
extensive business for a great many years, continu-
ing till within a short time of his death, which oc-
curred April 12, 1866, in his seventy-eighth year.
Latterly he was associated with his son Robert,
under the name of E. Trivett & Son, the latter of
whom died about 1865. Dr. Trivett's successors
are Wood & Tittamer, who represent the
most prominent and by far the oldest estabUsh-
ment of the kind in the city.

Benjamin Herrick was the first prominent mer-
chant in Poughkeepsie, says James Bowne, who
was for many years one of its leading men and
merchants, as he is now one of its most honored
citizens. Mr. Herrick was a native of North East,
in which town his parents were early settlers. He
came to Poughkeepsie from that town about
1810 or '12, and did business in the building now .
occupied by Wood & Tittamer as a drug store.

James Bowne, who was born in East Fishkill,
Dec. 25, 1798, came to Poughkeepsie in 18 14
and engaged as clerk in the hardware store of
Albert Cox, which was kept where the Taylor House
now stands, in the old Carman House, which was
torn down in 1878. In March, 1816, he engaged
as clerk with Nathan Conklin, who had served an
apprenticeship with Benjamin Herrick, and then
kept a country store where the Messrs. Trowbridge
are located.*

Edmund Morris came here from Danbury, Conn.,
in the year 181 1, and was engaged in the shoe
trade for some years. He was afterwards engaged
in farming, and was very successful, acquiring a
handsome property by transactions in real estate.

Abraham G. Storm, who died Dec. 22, 1863,
aged eighty-four, years, was a member of the firm of
Storm & Wilson, who were doing business in the
city during the war of 1812.

Thomas S. Hopkins was an active and enter-
prising business man here in the early part of the
century. In 18 12, as appears from the Republican
Herald of July first of that year, he had no less
than three stores.

Major Isaac T. Doughty was e ngaged in the

* For a brief account of the business and social career of Mr. Bowne
wenouldrefertohisbiography at the close of the history of the city of

book and stationery business in Poughkeepsie in
18 19, being located under the office of the Z'a!A:/4i?jj-

John M. Cable, who was born in Poughkeepsie,
April 8, 1800, was engaged in the shoe business in
this city from 1822 to 1865.

George Van Kleeck, says our informant, was
probably the most prominent merchant in his day
in Poughkeepsie. He was born in Poughkeepsie
of a highly respectable family, July 4, 1803. His
father was Tennis Van Kleeck, the pioneer hatter of
Poughkeepsie. The house in which he was born
was a little frame structure which stood on the site
of Levi Arnold's foundry on Main street, and its
eaves were so low that he could touch them with
the tips of his fingers. He died at his residence
on Cannon street in Poughkeepsie soon after his
retirement from active busiBess, Oct. 17, 1878. He
was Director and Vice-President of the Bank of

John B. Forbus died here Oct. 28, 1865, aged
seventy-eight. John Adriance was for over half a
century closely identified with the interests of
Poughkeepsie. He died in April, 1873. "He
was a gentleman of generous impulses, with ever a
kind word and helping hand for the struggling
needy. We seldom find one going to his rest and
leaving behind him fewer enemies, or more sincere,
earnest friends. His many noble acts of kindness
will be gratefully referred to in the years to
come." *

David B. Lent and Stephen H. Bogardus were
early merchants in Poughkeepsie. David B. Lent
was the pioneer harness maker, and became a
prominent man. He was born May i, 1788, and
died June 20, 1869. Stephen H. Bogardus learned
the saddlery trade of Mr. Lent, and has been for
a great many years engaged in it. His is among
the oldest business houses in the city. He is the
only one who was doing business herein 1836, still
engaged in it.

John I. Innis, who was born in Poughkeepsie in
1832, was a brother of Hon. George Innis, and
was for some years a prominent merchant here.

James H. Mills, grocer, John H. Dobbs, mer-
chant tailor, John McLain, grocer, Elsworth &
Dudley, hardware dealers, Carpenter Bros., grocers,
and L. Carpenter's sons, grocers, are among the
older of the present mercantile estabUshments in
Poughkeepsie; while Hayt & Lindley, merchant
tailors, Wm. R. Farrington, dealer in crockery,
Walter Van Kleeck, dealer in dry goods, John W.

* The Sunday Courier, of Poughkeepsie, April 20, 1875.



Candee, Luckey, Piatt & Co., John Parker Heath,
dry goods dealers, Charles Bowne, dealer in car-
pets, Charles Dates, dealer in dry goods. Van
Kleeck, the hatter, together with those named as
among the older establishments, are among the
most prominent merchants now doing business in


Poughkeepsie' s Commerce and Water Trans-
portation—Persons Prominently connected

MISSION Business. — The Poughkeepsie Trans-
portation Company. — The Poughkeepsie &
Highland Ferry Co., Limited. — The Express
Business in Poughkeepsie.

THE extent and growth of Poughkeepsie's
early commerce has been indicated in some
measure in a previous chapter; but a more par-
ticular account of this and the early methods of
water transportation will be of interest to the gen-
eral reader, and is too important to be omitted in
a work of this character. We find in The Sunday
Courier, of Poughkeepsie, March 29, 1874, an
article bearing so directly upon this subject, that,
with the permission of the publisher, to whom we
are indebted for many other similar favors, we
transcribe it to these columns. The materials
therefor were furnished by Capt. Abraham Chat-
terton, of Poughkeepsie, who commenced his
"boating career" in 1806, and was then believed
to be the oldest Hudson River boatman living.

" Capt. Chatterton's recollections of affairs
along our river front extend back to 18 11, when
what is known as the Upper Landing was called
' Hoffman's Landing.' At that time two sloops,
the Mary and Driver, formed one of the packet
lines between Poughkeepsie and New York. They
left here alternate weeks. The first named vessel
was commanded by Capt. Benjamin, and the sec-
ond by Capt. Hoffman. The freighting firm at
. this landing was composed of James Reynolds,
father of the late W. W. & J. Reynolds, Jr., and
Aaron Innis, father of ex-Mayor Jnnis. Capt.
Hoffman also had a share in it.

" The above vessels were run from this landing
until about the year 18 16, when they were replaced
by new ones, the Huntress, built at Ponckhockie
near Rondout, taking the place of the Mary, and
the Counsellor^ built on Elting Dock, opposite
Poughkeepsie, being substituted for the Driver.
In this year Capt. John VanValkenburgh, father
of Mr. Edwin VanValkenburgh, of this city,bought
Capt. Hoffman's interest in the concern, and our

informant thinks he also took the captaincy of the
Cou7iseUor, of which vessel Capt. Chatterton was
sailing master.

" Messrs. Innis & Reynolds continued to use
sloops for the transportation of freight and passen-
gers until about the year 1820 or 1821, when they
had built expressly for their line the barge Clinton.
This vessel was built on the site now occupied by
one of the dye-wood buildings on the south side
of the Fallkill, at the entrance of that stream into
the Hudson, and continued in service until re-
placed by the barge Republic at a late day. In
the meantime the landing and its business passed
into new hands. The Upper Landing is next to
the oldest in the city, and was always looked upon
as one of the best for the freighting business.

"In 181 1, the sloops Polly and Sally Ann
formed the freight and passenger line from the
' Main street Landing,' which was in the hands of
Dean & Killey, the latter the grandfather of the
late proprietor of the Dutchess Farmer.

" The former was in command of Capt. Killey,
and the latter of Capt. Joseph Smith. A few years
subsequently they were sold and replaced by the
Defiance and Egbert Benson, and these in turn, af-
ter a few years service, were Tep\a,cedhy the Ameri-
ca and Merchant. The latter vessel was built at
the Lower Dock.

" Our informant is not positive, but thinks that all
the landings introduced barges the same year, either
in 1820 or '21. The America and Merchant y^ext
sold and a barge called the Duchess County was
bought and put on the route. This vessel was
replaced by the barge Utiion, built at the Union
Landing, at the foot of Union street, and the Union
in the course of a few years was followed by the
barge Exchange, which vessel continued to run from
this landing up to about fifteen years ago. The
firm changed several times.

" The first freighting establishment of any note
was established at ' Union Landing,' when Union
street, leading to it, was the principal business
thoroughfare in the village. In 181 1 two sloops,
the Duchess and Anna Maria, plied between this
landing and New York. The first was commanded
by Capt. Harris, father of the late Joseph C. Har-
ris, and the second by Capt. North. About the
year i8i6, the firm had a new vessel, the JRobt.
North, built at their landing, and put her on the
route in place of the Anna Maria, and a few years
subsequently both sloops were sold and an old
steamer called the Lady Richmond bought. Shortly
afterwards the firm changed hands and the new
owners sold the steamer, replacing her with the
barge Union, which was subsequently sold to the
Main Street Landing people. The steamer Ga-
zelle was the last vessel run from this landing.

"Richard Davis, father of the late Hon. Richard
D. Davis, carried on the freighting business at the
' Lower Landing.' His line was composed of the
sloops Jay and President. These were followed in
the course of time by the Sally Francis ax\d. Ameri-
ca. The former was built on Mr. Davis' grounds,
and the latter at what was known in later years as



Cramer's ship-yard. A few years later these were
disposed of and two new sloops, the Richard Davis
and William Henry, built at Sands' dock, Milton,
put on the route. These were replaced by the
barge Poughkeepsie, which vessel was the last to
run from the landing estabUshed by Mr. Davis."

As early as the Revolutionary period, the Lower
Landing was the property of the Davis family ; and
in 1777, when the British under Vaughan ascended
the Hudson and destroyed Kingston, its proprie-
tor, we are told by Mr. Lossing, " saved his prop-
erty by standing on his dock, waving his hat and
shouting lustily, ' Hurrah for King George ! ' as the
British ships sailed by." *

The introduction of steamboats on the Hudson
River introduced a new era in the internal com-
merce of the State. The passage of the Hudson
by means of sloop navigation was a tedious and
laborious undertaking, and was as much thought
of, says Washington Irving, in his description of
the voyage of Dolph Heyhger up that stream, as
a voyage to Europe is at present. " The sloops,''
says that author, "were often many days on the
way ; the cautious navigators taking in sail when it
blew fresh, and coming to anchor at night ; and
stopping to send the boat ashore for milk for tea ;
without which it was impossible for the worthy old
lady passengers to subsist. And there were the
much-talked of perils of the Tappan Zee, and the
Highlands.- In short, a prudent Dutch burgher
would talk of such a voyage for months, and even
years, beforehand, and never undertook it without
putting his affairs in order, making his will, and
having prayers said for him in the Low Dutch

But the innovation of steamboats scarcely pre-
sented a greater contrast with the sloops which
they superseded — only gradually however — than
with the palatial steamboats with their magnificent
appointments, which now cater to the demands of
the traveling public. They were uncomfortable,
unwieldy and unreliable, and those who ran them
were unused to their requirements.

Messrs. Reynolds & Innis, "(James Reynolds and
Aaron Innis,) to whom reference has been made in
connection with the Upper Landing, were the most
prominent and reliable business men of their
period, not only in the city, but in the entire coun-
ty. They were men of strict integrity, and their
character and standing as business men have not
been surpassed here to the present day. They did
a very extensive forwarding and freighting busi-
ness'in the early part of the century, and as la te

•Sketches qf Local Hutory, in The Dutchess Farmer, Dec. il, 1S76.

as about 1830. Mr. Reynolds was from Wickford,
R. I., and lived in retirement here till his death.
Mr. Innis died Nov. 10, 1838, continuing his resi-
dence here till his death. He was the father of
George and Aaron Innis, of this city, of which the
former was Mayor from 1863 to 1869.

Wm. W. and James Reynolds, sons of James Rey-
nolds, of the firm of Reynolds & Innis, established
a commission business at the Upper Landing in
1820. On the death of Wm. W. Reynolds, April
27, 1873, the surviving members of the firm asso-
ciated with themselves George E. Cramer, and
have since continued the business under the name
of Reynolds & Co.

In 1873, the freighting business at the Upper
and Main Street Landings, the former of which
had been conducted for some years by Doughty,
Cornell & Co., and the latter by Gaylord, Doty &
Co., was consolidated. Doughty, Cornell & Co.
sold their business in that year to Homer Rams-
dell, of Newburgh, who united his interest with
Gaylord, Doty & Co., under the name of the
Poughkeepsie Transportation Co., which was in-
corporated Dec. 34, 1873, with a capital of $ioo,-
000, and completed its organization Feb. i, 1874.
The company transact their business at the Main
Street Landing, and run two boats — the Hasbrouck,
which was formerly run from the Upper Landing,
and the Daniel S. Miller, formerly run from the
Main Street Landing.

A ferry has been in operation between Pough-
keepsie and New Paltz, (now Highland Landing,)
in Ulster county, from a very early period. The
Poughkeepsie & New Paltz Ferry Co. was organ-
ized for that purpose in 1829. The Poughkeepsie
& Highland Ferry Co., Limited, which now con-
trol this ferry, was incorporated August 14, 1875,
by John W. Brinkerhoff, George Innis, Leonard
M. Vincent, George E. Cramer and Wm. T.
Reynolds, with a capital of $25,000, " for the pur-
pose of operating and running a ferry by means of
vessels propelled by steam power and to transport
persons and property thereon across the Hudson
River, from some landing place within the bounda-
ries of the city of Poughkeepsie, on the east shore,
to some landing place on the west shore of said
river, between the ferry landing of the Pough-
keepsie & New Paltz Ferry Co., as established
prior to March 19, 1861, and a point on said west
shore one mile north therefrom." The steam ferry
boat, / C. Doughty, the property of John" H.
Brinkerhoff, is run on this line. The landing on the
east side is at the foot of Main street. A trip





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across the river on this boat aflfords a most charm-
ing view of the city.

The express facilities of the city are an important
adjunct to its mercantile and commercial interests,
and may very properly be considered in this con-

The first express office in Poughkeepsie was
opened by the American Express Co., June i,
1851, and was under the supervision of a Mr.
Reynolds, who was superseded on the 12th of July,
1851, by the present efficient agent, A. A. Ver
Valen, who, during twenty-nine years' supervision
of the office was absent from his post only twenty-
nine days. The office was located where the di-
rectors' room of the City National Bank is now
situated. It was a small affair, but was ample for
the accommodation of the business, as one man
sufficed for its transaction, and the daily receipts
amounted to only $2 to $2.50, while they now
average about $75, and the business requires the
attention of eight persons in addition to that of
the agent.

The enterprise was considered ephemeral, and
only gradually won the confidence and patronage
of the business community. The merchants, hav-
ing previously been dependent on the' line of boats
and barges in summer and the stage coach in win-
ter, had not acquired the habit of replenishing
their stock with light orders, as is so frequently
done at the present day ; but Mr. Ver Valen em-
braced every favorable opportunity to impress on
them the many advantages the express afforded,
and labored diligently to increase the business.

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 77 of 125)