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 81 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 81 of 125)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

press gathered from among the rubbish around the
old establishment of Robert Hoe, in Liberty street,
New York, and a small quantity of type. With
hard labor and slow progress and the aid of a pair
of balls, it served to send forth a small weekly
sheet." Charles T. Ames, a young man of Hud-
son, was hired to act as editor, and Frederick T.
Parsons, previously of Poughkeepsie, but then of
New York, engaged to assist in the mechanical work.
It was started in the second story of the building
on Market street, known as Lawyers' Row, over
the office of William R. Woodin. Being, in-
efficiently managed, in less than three months
it lost caste. Its supporters, being left with more
indebtedness than was agreeable, demurred at con-
tributing further to its aid.

At this juncture Isaac Piatt, who had served an



apprenticeship in the " Journal " office, with Para-
clete Potter, was induced to take hold of the
paper. He received some pecuniary encourage-
ment from John H. Davis, a resident lawyer, and
leader of the Adams party and a member of the
Adams committee, which was additionally composed
of Judge Edmund H. Pendleton, Abraham G.
Storm, Alexander J. Coffin, Stephen Cleveland
and Gen. John Brush. Mr. Parsons reluctantly
consented to remain in the office as a partner of
Mr. Piatt's, under the name of Piatt & Parsons.
It was a start without flattering prospects. All the
material in the office would not have commmanded
$300. "Without five dollars in cash," says Mr.
Piatt, " without job type, a chase, or furniture to
print a hand- bill or card, or any head letter for
advertisements, we launched our bark on the
stormy ocean of politics, but we had as capital an
unbending resolution and a determination to suc-
ceed whatever might oppose."

May I, 1829, the office was removed to Main
street, to the site of the old Carman building,
which occupied the site of the building now owned
by M. Schwartz, erected about a year ago. Mr.
Parsons, being thoroughly discouraged, now pro-
posed a dissolution, as he could not live on the
profits of the office, but he was prevailed on to
stay as an employ^, at $7 per week. This disso-
lution was effected April 22, 1829. In the spring
of 1832 the office was removed to the second story
of the store on Main street, then occupied by
Frost & Gridley.

In 1830, the paper gained a good foothold in
the county and made its influence felt in local pol-
itics. In the early part of 1831, several proposi-
tions were made to join the press with the anti-
Masonic party, but all were dechned. In conse-
quence, in the spring of that year, the " Dutchess
Inquirer," which was started in August, 1829, by
Peter K. Allen, in the building in Market street,
now occupied by WiUiam McLean, was changed
to " The Anti-Mason," which was published a few
months by John M. Vethake and Stephen Butler
and discontinued. It was soon after revived by
Eliphaz Fay, and was issued a short time as " The
Independence." In August, 1 831, inconsequence
of a Hke refusal to join the "anti- Regency " or
Jackson party, a fifth paper, " The Dutchess Re-
publican," was started by Thomas S. Ranney, in
conjunction with Dr. William Thomas and Richard
D. Davis, the latter of whom were called " The
Twins;" b ecause they furnished the capital.* In

♦ S. p. Heermance's Reminiscettces.

April, 1833, Mr. Ranney united the " Republican"
with the " Intelligencer," forming a co-partnership
with Isaac Piatt, and the first number of the united
papers was issued by Piatt & Ranney the last
Wednesday in April, 1833, as the " Intelligencer
and Republican." In the spring of 1834, the
name was changed to '•' The Poughkeepsie Eagle."
In the spring of 1837, the " Eagle" broke through
the old fogy customs of the day and changed the
day of publication from Wednesday to Saturday.
All papers in this county had previously been
issued on Wednesday. In the spring of 1839, as
expanding business demanded increased accommo-
dation, the office was removed to 310 Main street.
In the spring of 1843, the firm of Piatt & Ranney
was dissolved, Mr. Piatt continuing the paper. In
January, 1844, the " Eagle" was united with "The
Poughkeepsie Journal," as previously stated. The
new paper was much enlarged and improved, and
in 1850 its name was changed by the elimination
of the word "Journal."

At the close of the campaign of i86o, it was
thought advisable to print a daily, owing to the
increased business of the city and the great de-
mand for news consequent on the exciting events
of that period. The first number of the " Daily
Eagle" was issued Dec. 4, i860. The venture
was a success from the first.

On the night of Nov. 23, 1862, the office was
destroyed by fire, which commenced in the mil-
liner shop under it. Most of the material of the
office was lost, except the presses. One of those
was destroyed and the others considerably damaged.
But by an arrangement with the "Telegraph''
office the daily and weekly issues were continued.
Arrangements were speedily made with the city
authorities whereby the city hall was occupied for
the pubUcation of the paper until ApSril i, 1863,
when the former quarters having been repaired
and improved were reoccupied.

After a successful and harmonious partnership
of twenty-one years and three months, Mr. Piatt
purchased the interest of his partner, Mr. Schram,
and in 1865, associated with himself as partner
his son, John I. Piatt, under the name of Isaac
Piatt & Son, who issued their first paper April i

Becoming cramped in their new quarters the
firm resolved to select a site and erect a building
suited to the needs of the office. In 1867, the
building now occupied, No's. 10 and 12 Liberty
street, was erected, and was occupied in March



Isaac Piatt .continued his connection with the
paper till his death, June 5, 1872, at the age of
sixty-nine years. His son J. F. Piatt had been
admitted to the firm a few years previously under
the name of Isaac Piatt & Sons. On the death
of Mr. Piatt, his sons succeeded to the sole manage-
ment of the, paper, and have since conducted it,
publishing both daily and weekly editions, under
the name of Piatt & Piatt. The circulation of the
daily is about 1,900, and of the weekly, 1,800.
The size of the daily is twenty-six by forty-one
inches, and of the weekly, thirty-one by forty-six.
The paper has been conducted in the interest of
the Repubhcan party since its organization.

Several ephemeral papers were published prior
to the commencement of the " Dutchess Intelli-
gencer," and one which is continued through vari-
ous changes to the present time. " The American
Farmer and Dutchess County Advertiser" was
commenced in August, 1798, by John Woods, and
was continued a short time. " The Barometer "
was commenced in May, i8oa, by Isaac Mitchell,
who subsequently changed the name to " The Po-
litical Barometer," and published it as late as July,
1806, " every Tuesday morning, five doors south of
the court house." In 1806, it became the property
of Thomas Nelson. Its name was changed in 1 809
to " The Northern Politician," and soon after it
was discontinued. "The Farmer" was published
here in 1806-7. In November, i8ii, Derick B.
Stockholm and Thomas Brownjohn started " The
Republican Herald," which was a strong supporter
of Daniel D. Tompkins, who was then Governor
of the State. It was continued until 1823 under
the charge of Johnston Verplank and William Orr.

" The Dutchess Observer " was started May 10,
181 5, by Charles P. Barnum and Richard Nelson.
Nicholas Jaycocks, Nathan Myers, Jr., and Orrin
Osborne were successively interested in its publica-
tion until 1826, when it was united with " The Re-
publican Telegraph, which was estabUshed May 5,
1824, in charge of William Sands and Isaac Piatt.

The " Telegraph " was a Democratic paper. " Its
issue produced a marked sensation throughout the
village and county, as it was in some respects, espec-
ially in appearance, far in advance of the country
papers of the day, the material of the office being
entirely new. The office was not owned by the
publishers, as both were entirely destitute of means,
but belonged to the Democratic party of the county,
the funds being raised by subscription, and placed
in charge of the party central committee, who es-
tablished the office and were to control the politi-

cal character of the paper." This committee con-
sisted of James Hooker, Leonard Maison, Abraham
G. Storm, John S. Myers, Jacob Van Ness, Ebene-
zer Nye and Obediah Titus, all of whom are long
since dead, Mr. Storm having outlived his asso-
ciates. The great political revulsion of 1824,
which snatched from the Democrats a power they
had wielded for twenty-four consecutive years, put
an end to their control of the "Telegraph" as a
party, for in the spring of 1 825 they sold the estab-
Kshment to Charles P. Barnum.

The united papers were published under the
name of "The Poughkeepsie Telegraph and Ob-
server," and was successively under the charge of
Charles P. Barnum, Egbert B. Killey, Aaron Low
and Benson J. Lossing. It was printed in the
frame building on the site of the Myers Block, just
east of the drug store occupied by Brown & Doty,
till their dissolution. May 15, i88r. In 1841, it
was changed to " The Telegraph," and was pub-
Ushed by Killey & Lossing. Albert S. Pease and
E. K. Olmsted were afterward interested in its pub-
lication. In 1856 itw^as united with the "Dutchess

The " Dutchess Democrat " was the successor of
" The American," which was started in November,
1845, by Augustus T. Cowman, in the interest of
the American party, and. was published weekly by
him till 1849, °" the corner of Main and Market
streets; its name having, soon after its establish-
ment, been changed to " The Poughkeepsie Amer-
ican." In 1849, it passed into the hands of Elias
Pitts,* who sold it in 1853 to Edward B. Osborne,
by whom it was published under the name of the
"Dutchess Democrat," in the interest of the "hard
shell" branch of the Democratic party until
August, 1856, when it was merged with "The Tel-
egraph," which was then published in the interest
of the " soft shell" branch of that party by Killey
& Pease, (the widow of Egbert B. Killey, its former
publisher, who died March 17, 1852, aged forty^
eight, and Albert S. Pease, the present publisher
of the " Saratoga Sun.")

The united papers were published under the
name of "The Poughkeepsie Telegraph and
Dutchess Democrat," by Osborne & Killey, (Ed-
ward B. Osborne and Egbert B. Killey, a son of

* Statement of Mr. Edward B, Osborne, the present publisher. French
in .his Gazetteer of New York and Mr. S. P. Heermance, in his Remin-
iscences, published in The Sunday Courier, both state that Isaac Tomp-
kins was interested,in the publication of The Poughkeepsie A Tnerican ;
but while the former makes him precede Elias Pitts, the latter ;nakes him
succeed him. Mr. Heermance has been a. journeyman job printer in
Poughkeepsie for more than half a century, and is, perhaps, as conver-
sant with the general history of the Press as any man now living.



the former publisher of "The Telegraph,") till 1859,
when Mr. Killey withdrew, and Mr. Osborne asso-
ciated with himself as partner Charles J. Gaylord,
under the name of Osborne & Gaylord. In 1862,
Mr. Gaylord accepted a Lieutenant's commission
in the 150th Regiment, and his interest in the pa-
per was purchased by John H. Otis. Otis & Os-
borne published it about six months, when it passed
wholly into the hands of Mr. Osborne, who still
publishes it weekly under the name of " The Pough-
keepsie Telegraph."

In 1863, Mr. Osborne also became the proprie-
tor of the " The Poughkeepsie Daily Press," which
was established as "The Daily City Press," May i,
1852, by Nichols, Bush & Co., who soon after
changed the name to " The Daily Press," and in
1858 sold it to Spaight, Holden & Pease, (John
W. Spaight, John P. H. Holden and Albert S.
Pease,) who published it but a short time. It soon
passed into the hands of Mr. Pease, who published
it until 1863, when Edward B. Osborne, the present
proprietor, acquired possession. This was the first
daily paper published in Poughkeepsie. It was
published as a morning paper until it passed into
the hands of Mr. Pease, in 1858. He changed it
to an evening paper about a year later, and it is
still published as such. There was a brief hiatus
in its publication, from July 29, 1863, to August
22, 1863. May I, 1881, the office was removed
from its old location over the corner of Main and
Mechanic streets to Nos. 11 and 13 Garden street.
Mr. Osborne publishes the leading, and with the
exception of the "News," of Poughkeepsie, the
only Democratic paper in the county. The circu-
lation of the "Press" is about 500, and its size,
twenty-six by thirty-seven inches. The circulation
of the "Telegraph," which is published on Satur-
day, is 1,850, and its size, thirty by forty-six and
one-half inches.

" The Dutchess True American " was pubUshed
in 1828, by Peter K. Allen. "The Poughkeepsie
Casket" was published by Killey & Lossing in
1836. "The Branch" was issued a short time
the same year, by Joseph H. Jackson. "The
Youth's Guide," a semi-monthly, was issued
in 1837 by Isaac Harrington, Jr. "The Thom-
sonian," a semi-monthly, eight-page quarto, was
commenced in 1839, and published in the in-
terest of the Thomsonian school of medicine. It
was edited for four years by Thomas Lapham, and
for three years by Abial Gardner. It was printed
by S.^. Heermance, who commenced the printing
business in Kingston in 1828, and in 1829 removed

to Poughkeepsie, where, with the exception of a
year or two, he has since resided and been en-
gaged in the printing business as journeyman and
job-printer. "The Temperance Lifeguard" was
started in 1843 by G. R. Lyman, and was contin-
ued for two or three years. " The Safeguard,"
also a temperance sheet, was published in 1845, by
William Patton. " The Independent Examiner "
was started in February, 1855, by Henry A. Gill,
and was discontinued in 1858. "The American
Banner" was started in 1856, by Charles J. Ackert.
In 1857 it was removed to Fishkill, and there pub-
Ushed by J. Carpenter Mills as " The Dutchess
County Times." " The American Mechanic " was
started in 1849 by George W. Clark. In 1850 it
was removed to Rhinebeck and united with the
"Gazette" of that village. "The Poughkeepsie
Gazette" was published in 1859, and was edited
by B. L. Hannah. "The Daily Poughkeepsian "
was started as an evening paper July i, 1863, by
Hager & Holden, (Jacob Henry Hager and J. G.
P. Holden, the former of whom afterward pub-
lished the " Tobacco Leaf" in New York, and the
latter of whom is the present publisher of the
"Yonkers Gazette.") It was published in the old
Morris building, (recently burned,) just west of the
city hall.

The "Daily News" was established May 4, 1868,
by T. G. Nichols, as a morning paper, and was
conducted by him as such until July, 1871, when
it was sold to Hegeraan & Wilbur, '(Wallace W.
Hegeman and Edmund J. Wilbur,) who changed
it from an independent to a Republican paper, and
published it until the fall of 1872, when it passed
into the hands of Hon. John O. Whitehouse, who ,,
conducted it as a Democratic paper, with Cyrus
Macy as editor, until April 18, i88r, when its man-
agement was assumed by " The News Publishing
Company," composed of James A. Rooney, Cor-
nelius F. Sweeny, Samuel P. Flagler, William T.
Leary and WiUiam A. Nyce, four of whom are
practical printers, and the former of whom is editor.
It is published at 291 Main street, as the "Pough-
keepsie Daily and Weekly News." It "will advo-
cate the grand principles of Democracy," but
will "be independent enough to refuse to 'speak
or write according to the dictates of any master.'"

"The Dutchess Farmer" was established April
6, 1869, by Egbert B. Killey, Jr., who published it
till his death, February 11, 1873, since which time
it has been continued by his widow, Mrs. N? S.
Killey, who is assisted in the editorial management
by J. H. Swertfazer. The paper was enlarged with



the beginning of the second volume. It is, and has
been since it was started, devoted to agriculture and
to family reading. It is the only paper of its char-
acter in the county. It is published every Tuesday
at 283 Main street. Its circulation is 1,000; its
size twenty-eight by forty-two inches — eight pages
of five columns each.

"The Sunday Courier" was estabhshed Decem-
ber 15, 1872, by T. G. Nichols, who still pubhshes
it. Mr. A. G. Tobey is assistant editor and busi-
ness manager. It is the only Sunday paper on the
Hudson between New York and Albany. It is is-
sued from Nos. 5, 7 and 9 Market street. Its cir-
culation is S,ooo; its size twenty-eight by forty-two

The " Wochentliche (Weekly) Post" was started
June 26, 1878, by William Wolff, who still pub-
lishes it every Saturday, in the interest of the Dem-
cratic party. It is printed in German, and is the
only German paper printed on the Hudson be-
tween New York and Albany. It is dated Pough-
keepsie and Newburgh, but printed at the former
place. Its circulation is 1,500; its size, thirty-
eight by forty-two.

Two other German papers were published here
for very brief periods a few years since ; one by a
man named Konitzko, and the other by one named


Educational Measures and Institutions in
PouGHKEEPSiE — The Public Library of


KEEPSiE — Duchess County Academy — Pough-
KEEPSiE Female Academy — Poughkeepsie
Collegiate School — Riverview Academy —
Cottage Hill Seminary — The College Pre-
paratory School — Cook's Collegiate Insti-
tute FOR Young Ladies — Eastman Business
College — Vassar College — Bishop's Select
School for Bovs— Dr. Warring's Board-
ing School — Pelham Institute — Bockb's
School for Young Ladies — The Home Insti-
tute-^Literary Societies and Institutions
of Poughkeepsie — The Poughkeepsie Lyceum
of Literature, Science and Mechanic Arts

The Poughkeepsie Literary Club — The

Poughkeepsie Society of Natural Science—
Vassar Brothers' Institute.

WE shall not deem it important to detail
the history of the public schools in
Poughkeepsie prior to 1843,. in which year the
present system, substantially, was adopted.

The act authorizing the establishment of free
schools provided for the election of twelve com-
missioners, who should " constitute the Board of
Education for the village of Poughkeepsie," and
have " the entire control and management of all
the common schools of the village and the proper-
ty connected therewith." Three of these were
required to " visit each school once a week and
render such assistance to the teachers and advice
to the pupils as [might] be expedient ;" but this
requirement was afterwards repealed. June 13,
1843, the following commissioners were elected:
George C. Marshall, Benjamin Gile, WiUiam P.
Gibbon, Ira Armstrong, Thomas Austin, Egbert
B. Killey, Christopher Appleton, James Reynolds,
Jr., Barnet Hawkins, Isaac Piatt, David L. Stare
and Henry Angevine. The latter, it is beUeved,
is the only one who survives. On the 20th of that
month the commissioners met in the room of the
village trustees, and organized the first Board of
Education, by chosing Wm. P. Gibbon, President,
and Thomas Austin, Clerk.

The act of 1843 continued until the incorpora-
tion of the city, in 1854, when its main provisions
were embodied, and with some modifications have
since continued in the city charter.

In 1843 the village corporation did not own a
school building. The Board supphed the want by
the rental of " the building formerly occupied as
a theatre, situated in Market near Jay street, for
the term of three years and nine months, at eighty
dollars per annum;" also "a room in the building
situated on the corner of Clinton and Thompson
streets," for the like rent and same term. About
the ist of August, 1843, a primary school was
established in each of these places ; and on the
ist of December, 1843, a third primary school
was established in " a room in a coach factory at
the junction of Mill and Dutchess avenue."*

The necessity for a higher grade school seems
to have been felt, and in July, 1843, the Board
purchased the lot on the corner of Mill and
Bridge streets, and erected upon it the brick build-
ing now standing there. Jan. 29, 1844, "the first
grammar school for boys under the free school
act in the village of Poughkeepsie " was opened
in that building, with 119 "quaHfied scholars" in
attendance, under the superintendance of Josiah I.

*Board of Education Report^ 1879. Mr. Reynolds' diary, before
quoted, says under date of August zi, 1843 ; " The first primary school
under the Free School act was commenced in the room on the comer of
Smith and Thompson streets in this village. It is denominated No. 1 ,
and one hundred children were admitted the first day. No. 1 was opened
in Market street, No. 3 in Mill street, junction of Duchess Avenue,
each holding 150 children."



Underbill, who was assisted by his son. The
property has ever since been in use for school pur-
poses, and is known as school No. i.

May I, 1844, the board "rented the Primitive
Methodist Church room, in Church street," and in
it established a school for colored children, with
thirty-five pupils in attendance. This school was
continued in various rented buildings until 1875,
when it was discontinued, and the pupils of that
class "permitted" to enter the other schobls.
There has since been ho distinction made on ac-
count of color. In November, 1844, the Board
rented a basement room in the Universalist church
and there organized a fourth primary school.
With the exception of the removal of some of the
schools into other rented buildings, no material
change seems to have been made until 1856-7,
when school No. 2, in church street, between Acade-
my and Market streets, was erected, upon the site
of the " old Lancaster school building." In
1858, the lot in Church street, west of Clover, was
purchased, and the building now designated as
School No. 3, erected. In 1861, School No. 4, in
Bayeux street, was erected on a lot purchased by
the city. No. 5, in North CHnton street, was
erected in 1862, and the school in the rented
building, on the corner of CHnton and Thompson
streets, transferred to it, the Board then ceasing to
occupy any of the originally rented School rooms.
School No. 6, located in the Hoffman street
chapel, is now rented by the Board from the Bap-
tist Society, for school purposes during school
hours, being reserved for church and Sunday school
purposes at other times. For some years prior to
1876, Faith chapel in Union street, was rented
and used for a public school, known as No. 7, but
it was discontinued in that year, and the pupils
transferred to other schools. No. 8 was organized
in 1874, in the rented building on the cprner of
Main and Cherry streets, and continued there un-
til the building in Cannon street was purchased
and completed in 1878, when the school was trans-
ferred from the rented premises. The colored
school, before referred to, was designated as No. 9.
No. 10 is organized and conducted at the Home
for the Friendless, in South Hamilton street. No.
II is located in North Clover street, and No. 12
in lower Mill street. Both the latter were organ-
ized in 1873, and are in buildings owned by St.
Peter's church, rented in 1873, at the nominal
rent of one dollar per annum, the Board keeping
the buildings insured and in ordinary repair.
With the proceeds of the sale of the Duchess

Qounty Academy property, and funds raised by
the city, the High School building was commenced
in 1871, and completed in 1873. It has since
been used for High School and library purposes.
In 1880, one of the new stores in the Whitehouse
block, 523 Main street was rented and an introduc-
tory school, designated No. 7, established there.

Nearly all the buildings erected for the use of
the schools were originally constructed upon the
plan of having on each floor one large noom, in
which all pupils were to be seated, with two small
class rooms adjoining, into which the pupils were
to pass from time to time for recitations. Ex-
perience demonstrated that the best results were

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 81 of 125)