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 97 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 97 of 125)
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the sum of $326.65. The total ataount of money
raised for the expenses of the war was $36,229.39.
The following from the record compiled by
Reuben L. Coe, agreeable to the law of 1865, is
the list of volunteers from this town: —

150M. Regiment. — John D. Appleby, Matthew
Bier, Harris Baker, killed in battle ; Theodore
Baker,* killed by accident ; Albert Clements, John
Evans, John L. Delamater, Thaddeus Emigh, An-
drew J. Emigh, Alexander Ferguson, John Gallen-
beck, a native of Germany; Robert G. Gunbert,
a native of England ; Casper Gilbert, a
native of Germany; David Howard, Silas
Howard, George W. Holden, Charles D.
Losee, John Lane, a native of Union Vale ;
Jeremiah Lane, a native of Union Vale ;t Egbert
M. Lee, a native of Dover; Rensselaer Lane,
born in Union Vale; Charles K. Odell, Daniel
Ousterhout, died since his discharge; Thomas
Rossell, a native of Beekman ; John H. Sprague,
a native of Union Vale ; William R. Smalley, a
native of Putnam , county, color bearer; Richard
Still, a native of La Grange; Henry Liman, a
native of Germany.

\2?>th Regiment— Co. H. — Edmund A. Whit-
man, born in New York City, and LaFayette

Co. I. — David Mclntyre, a native of Dover, 7th
Corporal; George W. Gray, 8th Corporal; Ben-
jamin Kelly, Patrick Manahan, a native of Ireland;
Amos Fraganzie, lost an arm at Port H udson ;

* It is not definitely known that either he or Harris Baker belonged to
this reginient.
t Died in June, 1881.

Charles A. Appleby, Benjamin Barrett, Henry L.
Benson, died in the service; Uriah Davidson,
Jeremiah Lane, John Lake, Henry Mackey, killed
at battle of Port Hudson ; Charles Roselle, a na-
tive of Beekman ; David Ryan, a native of Cana-
da; Theodore Vail, (Slocum?) a native of Union
Vale; Oliver Slocum, Charles E. Dennis and
James E. Gifford.

Company Unknown.* — George Wentworth, en-
listed in September, 1862; John Fitzgerald, a na-
tive of Ireland, enlisted Sept. 6, 1862; Levi L.
Brooks, a native of Beekman ; WiUiam H. Cash.

<)%th Regiment. — James F. Clark, George H.
Cole, William H. Cole, Michael Cushman, a native
of Ireland ; John Clements, Marcus L. Dinge,
William H. Lane, a native of Connecticut ; Henry
J. Proper.

16th ISr. Y. Artillery.— GWhtxt Emigh, George
Robson, a native of Pleasant Valley ; Isaiah Smal-
ley, a native of Putnam county ; Stephen Scott,
born in Amenia in 1836, enlisted in Co. B in
1 86 1, served twenty-two months and was discharged
for disability; Jacob See, a native of Milan, N. Y.

^tAN. V. Artillery.— Joseph F. Dunham, a na-
tive of New Jersey.

6tA N. Y. Artillery. — Horace Totten, born in
New York city.

i^h Heavy Artillery. — Thomas Lane, a resi-
dent of Union Vale, died Dec. 16, 1881, aged 75;
Gilbert H. Purdy, enlisted Jan. 4, 1861, re-en-
listed in the navy ; Charles Potter, a native of New
Milford, Conn.

20th Colored Regiment. — Augustus Freeman;
John J. Freeman, killed ; Perry C. Freeman.

dist N. Y. Volunteers.— WMam H. Hdght, a
native of Sharon, Conn.

8tA JV. Y. Battalion.— Wi]lia.m H. Burch.

4&tA JV. Y. Regiment M. ¥. S. F^/j.— Charles
Lane, a native of Union Vale; died in 1881;
^, George Lane, a native of Union Vale, killed in

ZotA Regiment, IV. Y. S. r<)/f.— Brownell Lee,
a native of the town of Washington.

dtk M Y. Cavalry.— Aaxon Burr Austin, born
in Union Vale in 1813, enlisted in 1861, served
two years, and was discharged on account of disa-
bility, now living at Clove.

8otk N. Y.S. Volunteers.— Ltyns Stadelman, a
native of Germany; Randolph Schermerhorn, a
native of Germany.

joth JSr. Y. S. Volunteers.— WiWisLm H. Wright,

the*7z8,TR "T"' '"""^''.S'"- ■" *= '°wn's records as having entered
the izsth Regt., are not g.ven in the official record of that regiment.



born in Newburgh, N. Y., enlisted in April, 1 86 1 ;
wounded at second battle of Bull Run, and had a
leg amputated ; was discharged, and re-enlisted in
the Invalid Corps in July, 1863; he suffered a
second amputation of his leg and was discharged.

Veteran Reserve Corps. — Jacob Mayer, a native
of Germany, Jan. 12, 1865; James Macay, a na-
tive of Ireland ; John Uthane, a native of Ger-

Regiments Unknown. — Hiram
Acy, John Dufiie, died since dis-
charge; WilUam Hartpck, a na-
tive of Germany j James Hamil-
ton, killed by accidental discharge
of a gun ; Edward Lyon, a native
of England; Andrew Potter,
Clark Stilwell, a native of Pough-
keepsie ; Charles Townsend, Jno.
H. Townsend, Thomas Tallady,
a native of Dover ; William Tal-
lady, a native of Union Vale,
died in hospital.

" When the shadow of the approaching Revolu-
tion began to darken over the colonies, the exposed
situation of Nantucket caused many of the inhabit-
ants to emigrate to the main-land. Among them
was Abishai Coffin, a descendant of the fourth gen-
eration from the patriarch Tristram, who selected
a home for his young wife and children in the val-
ley of the Hudson. His dread of tide-water, as
connected in his mind with the expected Brit;s}i
men of war, possibly influenced his choice of
location, for he settled far out among windings



This ancient family, which
is numerously represented in
Duchess County, is of Norman-
French origin, but more direct-
ly of English descent. It is
said that the lineage of its present younger mem-
bers can be traced back through eleven genera-
tions, with all the names and most of the important
dates (of births, deaths and marriages,) ascertained
and reUable,

pioneer and ancestor of
came from Devonshire,
located in Massachusetts,
the island of Nantucket,
of which he was one of the first owners and settlers
and where he died in 1681. In Aug., 188 1, two hund-
red years after his death, large numbers of his de-
scendants, coming from many of our states and
territories and from foreign lands, journeyed to
Nantucket, and there held a grand memorial
re-union, the exercises lasting for three successive
days. The following extract from an oration de-
livered upon that occasion by Tristram Coffin of
Poughkeepsie, contains some interesting informa-
tion in regard to the branch of the family trans-
planted to this county.

Tristram Coffyn, the
the American branch,
England, in 1642, and
In 1660 he removed to


the hills, beyond the reach and almost beyond the
sound of their cannon, which soon after awoke the
echoes along the river banks. His low, brown
house* with long sloping roof, which stood hard by
the country road, disappeared long ago, but the lit-
tle spring near at hand is still as fresh and pure as
when he first took up his abode beside it. Some
among those of his grandsons who are with us here
to-day remember him well ; his stout walking-staff,
broad-brimmed hat and pleasant "thee" and
" thou " are among their earliest recollections, and
they speak with affectionate respect of his sincere
nature, his upright life and excellent standing in
the community in which he lived and died. Sixty
years have scarcely elapsed since he was laid at
rest in the old Nine Partners graveyard, and
already his descendants, now living, number two
hundred and forty souls. They are scattered far
and wide in many States, from New England to

* This house stood on what is now known as the " Tristram Coffin
farm " near the village of Little Rest, in the town of Washington.



California, and are represented in this gathering by
about one-twelfth of their entire number."

Robert Coffin, the son of Abishai, died in 1842,
aged 64 years, and rests with his father and many
other deceased members of the family, in the
burial ground attached to the Friends' " Old Brick"
meeting house in the hamlet of Mechanic. He is
said to have been an exceptionally able, active and
successful man, constantly employed in public
capacities, political and otherwise, and his memory
is yet cherished and held in high esteem by many
ameng the older inhabitants throughout the county.
His home in Washington, where he Uved and died,
is now owned and occupied by Robert G. Coffin,
his youngest son. He left ten children, nine of
whom are still living, the average of their ages
being sixty-eight years. Among them are Alexan-
der H. Coffin, of Poughkeepsie, (formerly of Union
Vale,) an ex-member of the State Legislature ;
Hezekiah R. Coffin, of Washington, who has been
a Justice of the Peace in his native town for nearly
a quarter of a century ; Owen T. Coffin of Peeks-
kill, who is now serving his second term as Surro-
gate of Westchester County ; Geo. W. Coffin, of
Cahfornia, who is creditably identified with some
of the notable public and private undertakings in
progress in that distant state, and William H.
Coffin of St. Louis, Mo., who has been for many
years prominently connected, as President, Director,
etc., with railroad building and management upon
a large scale, both east and west of the Missis-

For about thirty years past the members of this
branch of the family, old and young, have annually
assembled in joyous reunion at the home of some
one of their number in their ancestral county ; thus
keeping fresh and warm the affection for each other
natural between those of kindred blood. Did our
space permit, this article could easily be extended
by giving additional particulars relating to this in-
telligent and well known family, and further ap-
propriate personal mention of others among its
individual members of the younger, as well as the
older generation, now living, who have done honor
to the name and to their native soil in their vari-
ous walks in Ufe.

History of the Town of Dover.

THE town of Dover hes on the southeastern
border of the county. It is bounded on the
north by Amenia and Washington ; on the south
by Pawling ; on the east by Connecticut ; and on
the west by Union Vale and Beekman. The town
abounds in wild and beautiful scenery. On the
eastern and western borders are ranges of hills
almost mountainous in their dimensions, while the
center forms a valley, some four hundred feet

above tide water, containing thrifty farms and
pleasant villages. The principal streams are Ten
Mile River and Swamp River.

Dover was formed as a town from PawUng, Feb-
ruary 20, 1807. It is not definitely known by
whom the town was first settled, but it is supposed
that the first settlements were made by the Dutch
who came here from the vicinity of Hudson River.
Among the early home makers in this region we
find the old Dutch names of Ousterhout, Van Du-
sen, Dutcher and Knickerbocker. It is said that
the first named — the Ousterhouts — and the Wil-
cox's, Dutchers and Bensons were the first settlers,
and that they located under the East Mountain ;
but there are no dates accessible to define the time
of their incoming.

In the cemetery at Dover Plains are a consider-
able number of moss covered tombstones, fast
hastening to decay, on which are inscribed
the names of those who "were undoubtedly among
the earliest to seek a home in this, pleasing valley.
As much to preserve from oblivion these names
and epitaphs, which will soon pass from the knowl-
edge of the living, as to give the names of the
pioneers who laid the foundations of the town, we
give here some of the oldest of the inscriptions.

Around a large tree, near the eastern side of this
burial ground, are three stones which have been
removed from the resting place of those whom
they commemorate, and which stand there like
hoary sentinels guarding the dead. The first of
these is to the memory of an Ousterhout, said, as
before stated, to have been one of the first families
in this town. The inscriptions, nearly obliterated,
read : —

" In memory of Mr. John Ousterhout, who died
Jan'nf- 29, 1759. JE. 55 years."

" In memory of Denton Wogl/ey, who died May
20, 1777, in the 36th year of his age."

"In memory of Deborah, wife to Nathaniel
Gray, died June 13, 1770, M. 31.

" Here in this tomb interred lies
A friend that was mq/"t dear.
Although Pale Death has closed her eyes
Her memory still is here."

In this same section of the cemetery are other
ancient slabs, some of them bearing quaint in-
scriptions. One of them commemorative of a
centennarian, reads thus: —

"In memory of Ephraim Wheeler, who departed
this life May 10, 1808, in the lopthyearof hisage.

" Beneath this monument 1 lie,
Intombed in silent dust.
When Christ shall raise the dead may I
Be found among the just."



Another is to

"Capt. Valentine Wheeler, died Aug. 11, 1782.
M 42 years."

And one to

" MatthewVanDusen, died Sept. 5, 1806. M 65."

Other inscriptions are as follows : —

" Jemima Burllinggame, wife of Benjamin Burl-
linggame, died June 8, 1790, in the 41st year
of her age."

'* Hannah, wife of William Taber, died June
9th, 1792. & 81"

"Hannah, wife of Job Tabor,* died May i,
1800. M 57."

"Silas Belding, died April 6, 1786. M 69."

" Elizabeth, wife of Gabriel Butcher, died April

23, 1793- ^ 73-"

"H. F.

"In memory of Mrs. Hannah French, wife of
Mr. Jeremiah French, who departed this life Oct.
29, 1776. & 61."

* ' Death is a Debt by Nature due,

Which I have paid, and fo must you.
Our time on earth is yhort we ^e,
O 1 then prepare to follow me "

Other early settlers were : Hans Hufcut,t Mar-
tin Preston, the Gilletts,t the Bensons, David
Rose, and the Schermerhorns. Hans Hufcut and
Martin Preston settled on what is known as Pres-
ton Mountain, and the latter is said to have been
the first settler on the " Equivalent Land," or the

Thomas and AUce Casey, from Rhode Island,
emigrated here about 1750, and located on what
is now known as Chestnut Ridge. Their daugh-
ter was grandmother to the wife of Benson J.
Lossing, the historian. Derrick Dutcher and
Jacob VanCamp came here previous to 1731, and
located near Plymouth Hill.

One of the first mills in this section of the coun-
try was that known as the Preston Mill, which in
early days had an extensive reputation. The orig-
inal structure has long since passed away, and the
building which now occupies its site was built
about a hundred years ago.

Ebenezer Preston built three grist mills on Ten
Mile River. The present one is now owned by
WiUiam A. Sheldon, at South Dover.

One of the eccentric characters of the earlier
days was John Preston, who kept a tavern in the
town somewhere about the year 18 10. His place
was a great resort, and he, with his fund of humor,
was widely known.

Previous to the erection of the town the annual
meetings were held "in the tavern of Jackson Wing,

• Job Tabor died July 2j, iSoj. m 5;.

t Great-grandfather to Horace Hufcut.

X The Gilletts came here from Rhode Island about 1742,

a place of considerable repute in those days. The
first town meeting after the erection of the town
was held in 1807. The first pages of the book of
records, containing the names of the officers
elected, have been destroyed. The first Supervisor
of the town was George Crary, and James Ketch-
am was the first town clerk. The succession of
Supervisors and Clerks from that date to i88r has
been as follows : —

Supervisors. Clerks.

1807. George Crary, James Ketcham.

1808. Andrew Pray, do do
1809-10. do do John Wing.
181 1. James Ketcham, Archibald Ross.
1812-15. do do Andrew Pray.
1816. James Grant, John T. Hotchkiss.
1817-20. do do William Hooker.

1821. WiUiam Hooker, Leonard Vincent.

1822. James Grant, do do

1823. Absalom Vincent, Zebulon Ross,
i824-'25. do do Benjamin K.Delavan,
1826-28. do do Henry Ward.

1829. William Hooker, John M. Ketcham.

1830. John M. Ketcham, Hiram K. Whitely.

1831. do . do Joseph Ross.

1832. do do Luther Dutcher.

1833. John M. Ketcham, Thos. H. Stevens.

1834. William Hooker, do do

1835. Joel Hoag, do do
1836-37. John M. Ketcham, do do

1838. Absalom Vincent, Jackson W. Bowdish.

1839. Egbert Shelden, Simeon M. Collier.*

1840. John M. Ketcham, Jackson W. Bowdish.

1841. Egbert Shelden, David D. Vincent.

1842. William Hooker, David Tilton.

1843. J. W. Bowdish, Richard Chapman.

1844. David Vincent, do do

1845. do do George T. Ross.

1846. Edgar Vincent, do do

1847. do do Shandanette Wheeler.

1 848. Ebn'zer' A. Preston, Preston Wing.

1849. S. Wheeler, A. G. Hungerford.

1850. Edward B. Somers, George T. Ross,
jgei. do do Hiram W. Chapman.

1852. John M. Tabor, Baldwin Stevens.

1853. GeorgeHufcut, Jr., J. VanNess Benson.
1 854-55. John H. Ketcham, George T. Ross.

1856. William Hufcut, Allen H. Dutcher.

1857. John B. Dutcher, Henry W. Preston.

1858. T. Hammond, Jr., Allen H. Dutcher.

1859. Wm. S. Ketcham, do do
i860. Allen H. Dutcher, Wm. A. Sheldon.

1 86 1. Obed Wing, Abel C. Benedict.

1862. do do B. F. Chapman.

1863. Baldwin Stevens, Hiram W. Dutcher.

1864. Edwin Vincent, Wm. N. Belding.
i86«;. do do Horace D. Hufcut.
1866-67. Wm. S. Ketcham, Theo. Buckingham.
t868. Cyrus Stark, Andrew J. Ketcham.

1869. Horace D. Hufcut, Hiram Whitely.

1870. G eo, W. Ketcham, John M. Tabor.

• Elected by the Justices of the Peace.











Edwin Vincent,
Obed Wing,
M. Edmonds,
Cyrus Stark,
Myron Edmonds,
Andris Brant,
William H. Boyce,
Geo. T. Belding,
Edwin Vincent,
Andris Brant,

Chas. H. Hermans.
John H. Baker.
Andrew J. Ketcham.
Perry Edmonds.
Theo. Buckingham,

do do

Geo. E. Sherman.
John Chamberlin.
Theo. Buckingham.
Calvin W. Hall.

Dover Plains.

The village of Dover Plains Ues in the northern
part of the town on the line of the New York &
Harlem R. R. This is the most important settle-
ment in the town and contains a population of
721.* It is situated in the midst of charming
scenery and has in its immediate vicinity natural
curiosities which have attracted thousands of visit-
ors. One of these, a rocky ravine, worn deep in
the mountain west of the village, whose arched
opening resembles the entrance to some cathedral
of mediaeval times is known as the " Dover Stone
Church." Within this entrance is a somewhat
spacious cavern, roofed and walled by massive
rocks, while beyond, pierced deep in the mountain,
stretches a mile or two of picturesque ravine. The
vicinity looks as though there had been at some
time a great convulsion of nature which had lifted
the rocks and hurled them into their present fan-
tastic and suggestive shapes. It is claimed, how-
ever, that the conformation is due wholly to the
action of water, which, even now, in a goodly
stream courses down the gully.

The "church" f is reached from the main street
of the village by a pleasant lane that crosses the
stream and expands into an acre or two of grassy
meadow, well shaded, and affording an admirable
place for picnics. From this place a short and
easy pathway, cut at the foot of a rocky declivity
and along the margin of the brook, leads to the
door of the church. At a little distance the inte-
rior appears black, but it is found tp be illuminated
by a sky-light formed by a fissure in the rocks
above. This light is pleasantly reflected upon the
rocky sides of the church from a pool formed by
the brook on the floor, and reveals a fallen mass
of rock which the imaginative observer calls the
" pulpit." Out of the arched door the brook,—
the patient architect of the church,— flows gently,
and then leaps in cascades and rapids to the plain

* The population of the town, according to the census of 1880, is i,i8i.
In 1870 it was 2,279, with 244 foreign and 33 colored. In 1875 it was
2,173, with 184 foreign and 25 colored.

t From a sketch by Benson J. Lossing.

below. From the apex of the roof, many feet
above the floor, the cavern gradually widens, until
at the base the span of the arch is about twenty-
five feet. Altogether, this natural excavation is so
wrought as to give the beholder the idea of a
temple of worship; and the stillness that reigns
within, broken only by the music of gently falling
water, and the subdued gloom which there continu-
ally abides, is calculated to inspire the contemplative
mind with devotional feelings. This "cleft in the
rocks" is a fair model of some of the places of de-
votion when the world was young, and mankind
was in its infancy — in that far off' time known as
the " pre-historic ages."

This spot, like many other weird places in our
country, has its traditionary legend. History tells
us that Sassacus, the haughty Sachem of the Pe-
quods, and Emperor over many tribes between the
Thames and Housatonic rivers, where, more than
two hundred years ago that nation made war upon
the white and dusky people of Connecticut,* was
compelled by the destruction of his army, to fly
for his life. Captain Mason, with New England
soldiers and Indian aUies from Rhode Island and
its vicinity, had suddenly invaded the dominions of
Sassacus. The proud Sassacus was seated upon a
hill overlooking the site of New London, when
news of the terrrible disaster reached him. He
and his warriors seeing no chance for success in a
battle with the invaders, fled across the Thames
and westward, hotly pursued by the English and
their aUies, and sought refuge in Sasco Swamp,
near Fairfield. The beautiful Pequod country,
stretching along the shores of Long Island Sound,
was desolated. Wigwams and gardens disappeared
before the despoiling English, and women and chil-
dren were not spared. Sassacus made a stand at
the swamp, but at the close of a sharp battle,
nearly all of his followers became captives. He
escaped with less than a dozen followers, and con-
tinued his flight westward. His nation had per-
ished in a day, and only the small captive remnant
survived to transmit to their posterity the traditions
of their national woes.

Sassacus and his handful of followers fled
over the mountains into the beautiful valley of the
Housatonic, to Kent Plains, from which they were
speedily driven by pursuers, and climbing the
great hills westward of that region, descended into
the lovely valley of the Weebutook, or Ten Mile
River. There, on the site of Dover Plains village,
tradition tells us, they encount ered a strong band

*The latter were the Mohegans, who had rebelled against his authority.



of Mohegan hunters, who were also trained warriors,
from whom Sassacus and his men barely escaped
destruction after a fierce conflict, and took refuge
in the watery cavern now known as the Dover
Stone Church, a cool and safe retreat at that mid-
summer time, when the stream was low, and the
cavern was mostly dry. The Mohegan hunters
did not discover their retreat ; and a week after-
wards, when the latter had left the valley, Sassacus
and his young braves, who had been joined by a
few other fugitives, followed the Weebutook north-
ward, substituting on the fish with which it abound-
ed, and the berries that grew on the plains. They
made their way to the land of the Mohawks, near
Albany, craving the hospitality of that nation,
which was denied. The sequel is told by Gover-
nor Winthrop in his " Journal," in which, under
date of August 5, 1637, (two months after the
destruction of the army of Sassacus) he wrote : —

" Mr. Ludlow, Mr. Pincheon and about twelve
more, came by land from Connecticut, and brought
with them a part of the skin and lock of hair of
Sassacus and his brother, and five other Pequod
Sachems who, being fled to the Mohawks for shelter,
with their wampum (being to the value of ;£'soo)
were by them surprised and slain, with twenty of
their best men."

Almost a hundred years after the battle of Sasco
Swamp, a descendant of one of the Pequod cap-
tives taken there, named "Mah-wee,'' was with a
party of hunters who chased a buck to the top of
some high hills, from which they looked down into
a valley flooded with golden light, and traversed by
a winding river. Thither to that valley, in which
they found rich corn lands, they took their families,
and near the confluence of a small stream and the
river, on the site of the village of Kent, they made
a settlement and called it Pish-gach-ti-gock,* " the
meeting of the waters." The river they called
Hoosa-tah-nook, the "stream over the mountains."
This settlement was composed largely of Pequods
mixed with a few New England Indians, and Mah-
wee became their Sachem about the year 1728.
Before that event, he was hunting in the mountains
west of the Housatonic, and from their summits he

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 97 of 125)