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 96 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 96 of 125)
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Cornelius Barretson Sleight * of Holland, who was
a man prominent in his day, both in the official
life of the colony and in the church. Next we
find Abram Vosburg Sleight who was born in
Kingston, N. Y., and was captured while defend-
ing Rondout from an attack by the Indians, and
with two others was burned at the stake.

• In the earliest records found of Cornelius Barretson Sleight the name
was written Slecht and later Sleght and at present Sleigbt.—f/isiary
Uhltr County.

Abram Sleight was born in Kingston, in 1724,
and died in 1800. He was the father of six chil-
dren — four sons and two daughters — as follows:
James, Abram, Betsey, John, Harriet and Peter.
James was a lieutenant of volunteers during the
Revolution, where he saw a great deal of active
service. He was present at the burning of
Kingston and was stationed at New Windsor when
Vaughn passed up the Hudson. Many of his rela-
tives were in Kingston when the torch was applied
and he saw them fleeing for their lives, with such
household goods as they could remove. Abram
and John also took part in the struggle but were
not very prominent.

Peter R. Sleight was the son of James and one
of a family of five children as follows : Elsie, born
in 1800, became the wife of Abram B. Stockholm
of East Fishkill; James E. (deceased), Peter R.,
Harriett, who married Ricketson Gidley of Pough-
keepsie, and is now a widow, and Henry A. (de-
ceased), who left a wife and three children (daugh-

Peter R. was born on the place he now occupies,
July 20, 1804. Oct. 3, 1827, he was married to
Sarah K. Barnes, by whom he had one child —
James E., who died leaving a widow and four
daughters. The wife of Peter R., died in 1829,
and for his second wife he married her sister Cath-
erine S. Barnes. Three children were born to
them as follows : Sarah A. wife of Stephen M.
Ham, of Pleasant Valley ; David B. who was a First
Lieutenant during the Rebellion, and was with
General Sherman on his march to the sea. He was
killed by a shot through the body, at the battle of
Averysborough, N. C. His remains were removed
to the LaGrange rural cemetery, where a hand-
some monument marks his resting place. The
monument was purchased and erected by the citi-
zens of LaGrange in recognition of the services
rendered and the bravery he displayed in the de-
fense of his country. It was unveiled in the pres-
ence of a large concourse of people and addresses
were delivered by some of the most prominent
men in the county.

Alex. W., the third child of Peter R. Sleight,
was married to Mary C, daughter of John G.
Pells, of LaGrange. He has figured prominently
in politics, and has been supervisor of his town
several terms. He is a republican and the fact
that he was elected in a strong democratic town,
speaks volumes for his popularity.

Peter R. Sleight is a man well and favorably
known throughout the county. He was assessor
and commissioner of highways several terms and is
now the sole bonding commissioner of the town of
LaGrange. June 7, 1881, he was elected presi-
dent of the Duchess County Mutual Insurance
Company, and although he is now seventy-seven
years of age, the business has received a fresh im-
petus under his administration. As a proof of the
confidence and esteem in which he is held by his
neighbors, we will state that he has been adminis-
trator and executor for sixteen different estates ; in
one instance being called to administer the estate of



a person whom he had never met. His reputation
for fair dealing and the possession of a clear and
impartial judgment are widely spread, and although
he was never a lawyer he has administered the
estates left under his charge with utmost satisfac-
tion to all.

In politics Mr. Sleight is a Repubhcan. He
was formerly a Jackson Democrat and afterward a
Whig. His home is pleasantly situated in the
town of LaGrange about four miles from the court
house in Poughkeepsie, and each day he drives
into town and attends to the duties of his office,
returning home at night.

Mr. Sleight enjoys good health and a plentiful
supply of this world's goods, the latter of which he
dispenses hberally to the poor and needy. He was
never known to turn anyone from his door empty
handed and although now living on "borrowed
time " he bids fair to remain a number of years in
the enjoyment of his health and faculties, much to
the gratification of his family and many friends.


History of the Town of Union Vale.

THE town of Union Vale lies southeast of the
center of the county. It is bounded north-
erly by Washington ; southerly by Beekman ;
easterly by Dover; and westerly by LaGrange.
The surface of this town is quite hilly, and, in
some portions, wild and uninviting. A broad val-
ley, in which is some of the finest land in the town,
extends north and south through the center. This
is known as the valley of the " Clove." This town
was included in the patent of Henry Beekman,
who, in 17 16, conveyed to his son, also named
Henry, one thousand acres in this locaHty. Set-
tlements were undoubtedly begun within a few
years succeeding this conveyance, but there are no
records to show at what precise date, or by whom,
settlements were first made in what is now the
town of Union Vale. The pioneers to whom
credit is given for being the first settlers in the
county of Duchess, located in this region, between
the Fishkill and Wappingers creek in the summer
of 1687. These were a young married couple of
the name of Emigh,* who had settled on one of the
islands below Albany, and were driven out by an
overflow of the Mohawk river in that spring.

Emigh came to this country in 1686, and was
one of the settlers engaged to locate on the Liv-
ingston domain purchased in 1685. He, like
others, was dissatisfied with Livingston, and with
his young wife removed to the location referred to

* Now spelled Eighmie.

above. After settling in the precinct ~of Fishkill,
Emigh bought from the Indians a tract of land
extending from the river to the Connecticut line,
including much of the present towns of Fishkill,
Beekman, Dover and Union Vale. He soon found
that the best of his purchase was covered by
the Rombout patent, granted in the fall of 1685, or
nearly two years before, and that his " Indian
Deed " was worthless. He was permitted to re-
tain fifteen hundred acres in the Clove Valley,
where he next located, northward of the present
hamlet of Beekmanville. Some of his descend-
ants now occupy portions of that tract. A daugh-
ter was born to them soon after their purchase
from the Indians, and while yet residents within the
precinct of Fishkill. This was the first white child
born in Duchess Counfy. She, when arriving at
maturity, married a man of the name of Lossing,*
from whom is descended the family of that name,
now so worthily represented in this county by
Benson J. Lossing, the historian.

One of the oldest houses in the town, if not the
oldest, was built by one of the family of Emigh.
This is the house now owned by the heirs of
George Brill, at North Clove, and which bears the
inscription "N. E., (Nicholas Emigh,) 1740."

Other early settlers were the KUnes, (or Kleins)
Uhles, Reeds, Moreys, Wilkinsons, Abels, Adam
and Daniel Crouse, John Mosher and James
Skidmore, but the date of their incoming is
unknown. The last named was quite an exten-
sive land owner, and built at an early date a mill
near what is known as the Crouse store.j

Charles Delafield, of New York, at one time a
clerk in the old Duchess County Bank, built in
183s, the Delafield or Mansion House, some two
and a half miles distance from North Clove. This
in its early days was a noted house. Delafield failed,
the house passed into other hands, and eventually
went to decay. It is now standing in a ruined
condition, and belongs, with its lands, to John W.
Ross. It is used as a tenant house by David

Captain Bylandt, a retired seaman, built in
1838, on land now owned by Robert Dennis, a

*A son of Peter Lossing, who came from Albany and purchased a
tract of land north of Wappingers Creek in 1865. A small map of that
region is in the possession of Benson J. Lossing, on which his house is
located and the boundary of his lands defined. It is marked '* Lassing's
patent," that name being spelled in the earlier records with an "a" in-
stead of an "0," as now. The ancestors of Benson J.«' Lossing were
from Holland.

t It is worthy of notice that the late Bishop Alonzo Potter, of the Dio-
cese of Pennsylvania, and Bishop Horatio' Potter, now of the Diocese
of New York, were born in the present limits of this town. Their
parents, Joseph and Anna Potter, were Quakers.



palatial residence, next to the Mansion House the
finest dwelling in the town. It has since been
partially torn down and rebuilt, and is now owned
by Robert Dennis.

Union Vale was formed from Beekman and Free-
dom — now LaGrange — March i, 1827. The first
supervisor of the town was John Wilkinson, and
the first town clerk was Allen Butler. From that
year to 1881 the succession of supervisors and
clerks has been as follows : —

Supervisors. Clerks.

1828. John Wilkinson, Abraham P. Hoxie.

1829. Wm. D. Williams, Allen Butler.
1830-31. Allen Butler, Abraham P. Hoxie.
1 832. Stoddard Judd, do do
1833-34. do do Albert Hall.

1835. Richard Vincent, Willliam A. White.

1836. do do Gilbert H. Christie.

1837. John D, Suedecor, Isaac Pine.

1838. Leonard Vincent, do do

1839. do do Alex. H. Coffin.

1840. James Uhle, Nicholas N. Haight.

1 84 1. do do Reuben L. Coe.

1842. Andrew Northrop, Gilbert H. Christie.

1843. Richard Vincent, do do
1844-45. David D. Vincent, Wm. D. Ricketson.
1846. Isaac Vail, John U. Abel.
1847-48. Jarvis Hall, Leonard B. Sherman.

1849. Reuben L. Coe, Geo. T. Williams.

1850. Robert Bennett,* Gerome Williams.

1851. Leonard Vincent, David A. Knapp.

1852. William W. Abel, Ransom Baker.

1853. Joseph M. Cutler,t Leonard R. Vincent.

1854. David D. Vincent, William W. Abel.
1855-56. Wilson Hawley, Harrison W. Tilton.
1857. Lewis S. Davis, Geo. T. Williams.
i858-'6o. Daniel W.,Odell, Reuben L. Coe.
1861-62. William R. Bagley, do do
1863-66. David D. Vincent, do do
1867-70. Joseph M. Cutler, do do
1871. Edward Congdon,i do do
1872-73. Wesley Butts, do do
1874-75. Henry L.Campbell, do do

1876. Henry Bostwick, do do

1877. John U. Abel, do do

1878. Frederic Hicks, do do

1879. John U. Abel, do do
1880-81. Isaac P. Vincent, do do

Union Vale has no large villages. The town
contains a population of but r,4o6.§ Verbank,
the most important hamlet, has a population of
144. This is in the north-eastern part of the town
and at one time had a cotton mill and paper
mill, which did a considerable business. There is

* Died soon after election. John U. Abel, at an especial election,
was chosen to fill the vacancy.


t Died, and Reuben L. Coe served the balance of the term, perform-
ing the duties of Supervisor and Clerk.

§ 1870—1,431, total. loj foreign; li colored. 1875—1,442, total.
139 foreign; 11 colored.

here now a grist and plaster mill. The postmaster
at this place is Archibald L. Colwell, who has held
the office some two years. The merchants are A.

D. Davis & Son, (Alonzo D. and Charles E.,) gen-
eral merchants, who have been in business as a
firm twelve years. The business was established
by A. D. Davis some thirteen years before. He is
a native of LongTsland, born in 1816. Charles

E. was born in the town of Washington in 1843.
Stephen Scott, general merchant, was born in

Amenia in 1836, and became a resident of this
town in 1859. He established the business here
nine years ago. A hotel in connection with the
store has been conducted by him for three years.
In 1861, Mr. Scott entered the United States ser-
vice and remained nearly two years, and was dis-
charged for disability.

Nearly a mile from this place is Verbank Station,
on the Duchess & Columbia R. R. It contains
the station, postoffice, two stores, a church and a
few dwellings. The postmaster is Franklin Cf ouse,
appointed in April, 1881. The merchants are C.
P. Colwell, in business here since June, 1881, suc-
ceeding Sherman & Colwell, and Jacob P. Fowler
harness and horse furnishing goods, who has been
in business here two years.

The church was built by the Methodist Episco-
pal Society in 1878, and formally dedicated
December 5th of that year. It is now presided
over by the Rev. Harman Coons.


Oswego, south of Verbank, on the Duchess &
Columbia R. R., is also a small hamlet. There is
here a Quaker Church which was established a
number of years ago.


Clove, in the southern part of the town, is situa-
ted in a rich farming section and has a scattered
population. This is the pretty valley of the Clove,
which extends north and south through the town.
In this vicinity are quite extensive ore beds. That
known as the Clove ore bed was opened about
fifty-five years ago. It is conducted now by Albert
Tower, the manager of the Beekman ore beds.
The work of raising the ore is contracted by Wm.
Gregory, under whose supervision the business has
been conducted sixteen years.

The "Brown Ore Mine," at Clove Hollow, Was
opened by Jeremiah and William Emigh, about
1856. In 1871 the mine was controlled by George



H. Brown, who gave the contract to raise the ore
to Patrick Maher, of Philadelphia, now living in
that city. He was succeeded by a man named
Mitchell, of Washington, who assumed the duties
of Superintendent, with Nicholas Rozell as fore-

In the spring of 1874 Mitchell retired, and was
succeded by Samuel Brown, of the Clove Spring
Furnace, who remained as Superintendent until his
death, in the fall of 1880. The present Superin-
tendent is Norman Plass. The mine is owned by
a company, and employs some sixty men. From
sixty-five to seventy tons of ore per day are un-
earthed here. The deposit is that known as the
brown hematite, and contains a large per cent, of
clayey ochre, which is considered to be the finest
and most valuable.

The postmasters of the Clove are Duane Odell
at Clove, appointed some two years since, and
William U. Abel, at North Clove, appointed at
about the same time. ' The merchants are Reuben
L. Coe and S. E. Way, the latter having been in
business three years. The building in which the
store is kept was built in the fall of 1878. Reuben
L. Coe has been engaged in the mercantile busi-
ness here since 1849, in which year his store was
built. He is a native of Fishkill, born in Johns-
ville in 18 16. He became a resident of Union
Vale in 1826. Mr. Coe has twice held the office
of Supervisor, and for the past twenty-four years
has acted as Town Clerk, which office he has filled
to the acceptance of both political parties. The
wisdom of continuing in office a capable man is
shown in the care and completeness with which the
records of this town are kept.

The only resident physician of the town is Dr.
David A. Knapp. He is a native of New Fair-
field, Conn., born in 1820. He graduated from
the Medical University of New York City in 1845,
and came to Union Vale in the following year.*

The churches in this section of the town are
those of the Methodist Episcopal and Christian de-
nominations. The edifice of the M. E. Church at
North Clove was built in 1834. The Society was
organized many years previous. The first trustees
were Peter G. Emigh, Abram Cline, Jonathan G.
Vincent. These trustees, with the addition of
Wilham Coe, acted as a building committee when
the church was erected. The pastor at that time
was the Rev. Samuel Cochrane. The membership

* Among earlier physicians of the town were Drs. Ricketson, Hall
Stoddard, Judd-the latter previous, and after i8jl-Baker,Tallraan and
James Cook. The last named wasjocated at Verbank.

is small and is now presided over by Rev. Charles
Gorse of La Grangeville.

The first edifice of the Christian denomination
was erected in 1825. The origin of this society in
Union Vale is thus given :* About the fall and
winter of 1822 and '23, John L. Peavey, then min-
istering to a church in the northern part of the
county, held monthly services at the " Old Union,"
so called, in the adjoing town of Beekman, where
a large and influential class of believers were organ-
ized under what was then known as the " Christian
Liberty Departure." A few years previous to this,
there had been manifested throughout Saratoga and
Montgomery counties, a revival spirit of marked
power, one of the results being the development of
a female preacher of unusual character and influ-
ence. Plain and unpretending, — for she came of
a family known as Quakers, or Friends, — ^yet she
exerted a wonderful power on the minds of her
auditors, and her services were in constant demand.
Passing through Columbia County and the north-
ern portion of Duchess, — having been about a year
occupied in her work, — Abigail Hoag Roberts f
finally appeared within the circuit of Mr. Peavey's
labors. Doors opened at her coming, and calls
for her services came to her from every direction,
many more than she could fill, reaching through
Putnam County and a portion of Westchester, on
the south, and westward across the Hudson,
through Orange County and Northern New Jersey.
This was at a time when no house of worship
was to be found between the old Beekman town
line, on the south, and the " Friends Meeting," at
Great Nine Partners, on the north. Mrs. Roberts
as a preacher added to her gifts that of a comforter,
soothing the afflicted, and Hfting the pall of dark-
ness from discouraged minds; sometimes nursing
the sick, and always seeking wjierever she went, to
relieve pain and to shed a halo of light around the
hearthstone where she dwelt. In every home she
was welcomed and anxiously looked for, and never
did she fail to leave behind her a more favorable
impression of the worth of the Christian religion.
It was through these considerate and efficient
labors that a church was called for by the people
of religious faith living in North and South Clove,
and also upon the high ground called the " East

In the fall of 1823, an extensive revival occurred
at the "Old Union,"— situated at Greep H aven,—

* For this sketch we again acknowledge thanks to Rev. Philetus Rob-
erts, of Clinton, who has given much valuable information relating to the
Churches of this denomination throughout the county.

t Mother to Rev. Philetus Roberts.



and many converts were baptized in Johnson's
Pond, now known as Sylvan Lake. This revival
and its results produced a feeling in favor of the
erection of a house of worship in the northern part
of the town ; as many members resided there and
were obUged on each Sabbath to ride eight and ten
miles to attend religious service. The matter was
earnestly discussed, but the plan was abandoned
until the next spring, when it was again and more
earnestly revived. During the winter, meetings
were sustained at the head of the Clove, at Deacon
Stephen Force's on the Ridge, three miles east,
and occasionally at Caleb Simpson's, two miles

Dr. Joseph Hall, of Westchester County, having
moved into this section began about this time to
preach occasionally. To the movement in general
there was much opposition, but the friends of
liberal Christianity steadily increased and the work
went successfully forward.

In the following spring of 1824, Colonel Henry
Uhle and Henry Emigh led off in the erection of a
house of worship, the latter giving the land, the
former donating the timber and furnishing a large
share of the board for the workmen engaged in its
construction. Many were liberal in the help they
bestowed, and in the early fall succeeding, a neat
chapel, for those times, appeared. Ageneral meet-
ing was appointed to be held in connection with
the dedication of the house, in which service Revs.
Joseph Badger, I. C. Goff, Mark Fernald, and Dr.
Joseph Hall participated.

Soon after, a society was organized and supplied
for the next four or five years with the itinerant
labors of Revs. Levi Hathaway, Daniel Call and
John Hollister. It was toward the close of this
time that Mr. Hall was ordained in the New York
Eastern Conference. Dividing his labors between
the calls of his two-fold profession, he suppUed the
church as a pastor. for three years or more.

Octobers, 1834, a general meeting was appoint-
ed, and Revs. James Andrew, of Western New
York, I. N. Walter, of New York city, and Mrs.
Roberts and son,* were in attendance. This
meeting resulted in several conversions, and in the
removal of much prejudice from the minds of
certain professors of religion.

The Rev. Philetus Roberts soon after received
from this church and the church in Kingston dis-
trict, near Danbury, Conn., a unanimous call, and
here entered upon his labors as a christian minis-

* Rev. Philetus Roberts, whose ordination to the ministry toolc place
one month later, by a council from the New Jersey Christian Conference,
of which he was at that time a member.

ter. Nearly thirty members were added to the
Union Vale church during the following winter
and spring of 1834-35. His pastorate lasted
until the ist of April, 1844.

Rev. J. R. Hoag, — now laboring in Nebraska, —
was the next one called to the pastorate, remain-
ing one year. During the succeeding year, the
chui'ch being without'a pastor. Rev. Mr. Roberts
supplied the congregation for a few months. Rev.
Burrough S. Fanton next succeeded to the pastorate.
Revs. John Showers and Richard Mosher after-
wards supplied the pulpit, their labors covering a
period of some five years.

In the early fall of 1863, the Rev. Philetus Rob-
erts, who had supplied the church with occasional
preaching and communion services, introduced to
the congregation Stephen Wright Butler, a young
man just entering the ministry. The church soon
after called for his ordination, and Mr. Butler
supplied the church for four and a half years.
After Mr. Butler's retirement. Nelson Putnam, an
unordained minister, occupied the desk, and his
labors were duly appreciated.

Some of the members of the Clove Cemetery
Association, whose grounds were some two miles
south of the Christian church edifice, were anxious
to have a church erected at the entrance to the
■ cemetery. They held out liberal inducements to
the church people to take down their chapel * and
remove it to the proposed location. Between three
and four thousand dollars were raised, and a con-
tract entered into with the builder to take the old
house and build a larger one, and from a different
model. This was done in 187 1 and '72. At the
completion of the church building it was formally
dedicated to the worship of God, Mr. Roberts giv-
ing its past history, and Mr, S. W. Butler, of Fall
River, Mass., deUvering the dedicatory discourse.
Until the fall of 1880 the new church has been
supplied with short pastorates : Revs. D. J.Putnam,
P. Roberts, Miss H. L. Halsy, J. Q. Helfenstein,
and E. D. Hainer, having during that time offici-
ated as ministers to the congregation. Since the
'fall of 1880 the Rev. J. L. Hainer has held the
pastoral charge. The church is prosperous and

Union Vale in the Rebellion.

In the war of the RebeUion, Union Vale did
creditable work. Early in 1861, the people of the
town raised by voluntary subscription a considera-

* This was a frame building and stood opposite the present store of
Reuben L. Coe-



ble amount of money, and applied it in sending to
the front some twenty-six men.

In 1862, the people made up a fund of $2,000,
which was devoted to filling the quotas to the sat-
isfaction of the inhabitants of the town and of the
State. In 1863, the matter was assumed by the
County. In 1864, the duty came under the juris-
diction of David D. Vincent, Supervisor; Reu-
ben L. Coe, Town Clerk, and John U. Abel,
a War Committee, appointed by the people
of the town, and the transactions of that Cotamit-
tee were as follows : Under the call of July, 1864,
they expended in fiUing the quota, which was
mainly of. two and three years' men, the sum of
$23,246.34, including expenses, which was assessed
upon the town, and paid.

On the subsequent call of December 19, 1864,
they sent out fifteen three years' men, at an ex-
pense of $10,372.23, including the expense of re-
cruiting. They also expended for soldiers' relief

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 96 of 125)