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 98 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 98 of 125)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

discovered the beautiful valley of the Weebutook,
or Ten Mile River. He descended into it, and found
the river full of fish and the forest swarming with
game. Mahwee built there a wigwam for his fam-
ily, and brought them to it ; and near the spot
where Sassacus, the former sovereign of his nation,
had his sharp fight with the Mohegans, he gathered
a settlement over which he ruled. Mahwee became

* Pish-gach-ti-gock has been corrupted into ^^ Scaghticook."

a Moravian convert to Christianity, and after rul-
ing the settlement at Pish-gach-ti-gock with wis-
dom, he died greatly respected by the white peo-
ple. Mahwee's grand-daughter, Eunice,* who was
twice married, died in Kent a few years ago, at the
age of about one hundred years, a consistent mem-
ber of the Congregational Church, to which she
became attached when she was eighty-five years of

Thus through fact and fancy, through tradition
and history, is woven the name of the Dover
Stone Church — the cathedral fashioned by nature's
hand. We know not its beginning; we cannot
predict its end. It existed when this country was
a wilderness; when the name of Duchess was un-
known ; when even our government and the pro-
gress of to-day were not so much as the basis of a
dream. In the rush of its cascades the Red Man
heard the voice of the Great Spirit and his war
song was hushed. In the murmur of its waters
the White Man heard the melody of a more civil-
ized worship, and stood with solemn awe in this
house not formed by human hands — the Temple
of the Almighty. It has witnessed the changes of
centuries. It has seen the Red Man fade and die
like some exotic flower. It has seen the White
Man come in all the freshness of civilization ; its
melodious stream has chanted a requiem over his
generations dead and gone, and still the ancient
arch guards the wild ravine, and the never tiring
stream, as it patiently hews out newer and more
fanciful forms, gives to the breeze the song of en-
durance : —

** Men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever, ever,
I go on forever. "

To the south of the Dover Stone Church, possi-
bly a mile, where a small stream comes down the
mountain, are The Wells — cavities worn to various
depths in the rock by the action of the water. These
wells range from three to a dozen feet in depth,
and the smooth and sloping rocks on either side
render access to them quite dangerous.j The
scenery in this vicinity is wild and beautiful, and
from this point a fine view is obtained of the vil-
lage nestling in the valley below.

It is not definitely known when or by whom the
first settlement was made at this point. In 1802
the village contained less than a dozen buildings,
and among the few residents were Cornelius
Dutcher, Jonathan Mabbett, Doctor Berry and
James K etcham. Among the first merchants in

* Her name was also spelled '* Mauwee."

t In one of these wells, a few years since, a man lost his life in a fool-
hardy attempt to cross the stream above it.



this vicinity if not the pioneers in business —
were Stephen, Justus and Uriah Gregory.* They
rented from Lawrence Belding a piece of ground
some eight rods square, at the foot of Plymouth
Hill, upon which they erected a store and black-
smith shop. For this ground they paid a yearly
rental of forty shillings, their lease, — which was
dated April i, 1790, — to continue five years.
From this place they commenced business in Paw-
lingstown, now Dover Plains. Not long after the
removal, Stephen Gregory withdrew, and Justus
and Uriah M., conducted the business some time
and failed, and with their brothers Ebenezer and
Elias, moved to Sand Lake, Rensselaer County.

Luther Holley succeeded the Gregorys in the
business, and for some years was a successful mer-
chant. He removed to Salisbury, Conn. James
Ketcham, Lawrence and Joseph Belding were the
next merchants, beginning as partners, first in the
store of the Gregorys, and then in HoUey's store,
where for eight years they did a prosperous business.

James Ketcham was for many years a promi-
nent man of the town. He was born July 3r,
1777, at Little Rest, in the ,town of Washington,
this county. In his infancy his parents removed to
Hunting, South, Long Island, where his father
kept a small country store, abandoning his trade
of shoemaking for mercantile pursuits. In 1789,
the family returned to the town of Washington,
locating near the farm of the late Judge Isaac
Smith, where the elder Ketcham opened a small
store. In 1790, the father died, and James was
placed in the store. He had some advantages of
a common school education, and after his father's
death worked for a time on the farms of WiUiam
Cornwall and a Mr. Pugsley, for the sum of one
shilling per day. His father, however, had express-
ed a wish to have him engage in mercantile pur-
suits. His uncles, Titus and Jonathan Mabbett,
were merchants, and built the house now owned
by Walter Haight,t in which they had a store.
Justus and Uriah Gregory had a store near Law-
rence Belding's, and, failing about this time, the
Mabbetts hired the store of Lawrence Belding and
installed James Ketcham as their clerk. In 1797,
Lawrence and Joseph Belding purchased the stock
of Jonathan Mabbett, — who had previously pur-
chased the interest of Titus Mabbett,— and James
Ketcham became one of the firm of Lawrence
Belding & Co. In 1797 he married Lois Belding,
and on May 6, 1799, Lawrence Belding bought

* For this and other facts we are indebted to Uriah Gregory, of Pough-
keepsie, a nephew of the Gregorys named,
t At Little Rest, town of Washington.

from Luther Holley the house and store at Dover
Plains, to which they removed their stock, and
where a prosperous business was done up to 1806.
Afterwards Jonathan Mabbett purchased with
James Ketcham the interest of the Beldings, and
the firm became Mabbett & Ketcham, remaining
as such to 1810. In that year John Mabbett
retired from the business, and James Ketcham
became sole proprietor. When the town of Dover
was formed from Pawling he was chosen first town
clerk. George Casey became the first postmaster.
The mail was carried on horseback once a week.
After Mr. Casey left the town, James Ketcham
was appointed postmaster, and held the office for
thirty successive years. Under the administration
of Polk he was removed, and Joshua Rodgers was
appointed in his stead, holding the office four years.
Mr. Ketcham afterwai'd held the office four years.
He was a soldier in the war of r8i2, supervisor of
the town five years, and a member of the State
Legislature in 181 4. He was a merchant up to
1827. He died Saturday, November 11, r87r.

The store of Lawrence and Joseph Belding was
the first in the village. It stood on what is now
the property of George N. Allerton.

The house now occupied as a tenant house by
Frederic Reed, and owned by the Lessee family, is
the only one standing unaltered, which was here
when James Ketcham came.

General John H. Ketcham, the present Member
of Congress from this district, is a grandson of
James Ketcham.

The merchants now engaged in business here
are as follows: —

Belding & Hammond, (Geo. T. Belding, Thom-
as Hammond.) general merchants, have been in
business as a firm four years. The business was
estabUshed by them ten years ago. Mr. Ham-
mond withdrew from the firm, and re-entered it
about four years ago. In their store is kept the
postoffice, Geo. T. Belding, postmaster, who was
appointed some six or seven years ago.

Hanna & Preston, (John A. Hanna, Henry W.
Preston,) general merchants, began business in
March, 1881. They are both natives of Dover,
the former born in 1859, the latter in 1830. The
building in which they are conducting business
was built by Theodore Wing, in 1868.

Bartholomew McMurray, also a general mer-
chant, began business four years ago. He was
born in Ireland in 1847, and came to Dover Plains
in 1873.

William Record, dealer in cigars, tobacco and


Seldom does History present to us a more pleasing sub-
ject than the life and history of the Hon. John H.

His life of usefulness, in both public and private, is
■worthy of emulation, and it befits History to give it to
the world for an example that wonla be well followed by
the many.

His career through life may be likened to a deep flow-
ing river, constantly fed, as it pursues its way unturned
by any obstacle, by the pure waters of heaven, gathering
strength and depth as it nears its destination — the mighty
ocean. So Mr. Ketoham has lived, a life of quiet yet
busy usefulness, gathering new strength and power from
each act of beneficence.

Happy in the associations of his youth, gifted with a
kindly genius attracted to the good and great, beloved
by them, and finding nourishment in a heroic history and
an amiable life, he stands before us a noble character, one
of ' ' Nature's omn noblemen. "

Mr, Ketcham was born in Dover, Duchess Co.,
December 21st, 1832, and is a representative of one of
the oldest families in Eastern New York. He is the
second son and child of John M. and Eliza A. Ketoham,
of Dover, Duchess Co. John H. received his education
in part at SufBeld, Conn., and at Worcester, Mass., where
he was graduated inl8.'51. On his return to his native town
he formed a partnership with his older brother 'Wni. S. ,
engaging in farming and an extensive marble business,
which they continued successfully for several years. It
was while he was engaged in this, that he was called upon
to come out from the retirement of private life and take
the ofifioes of Town Supervisor and Member of Assembly
for two terms, also representing the State in the Senate.
In 1861, at the breaking out of the War, he was appoint-
ed by Gov. Morgan a member of the War Committee for
the counties of Duchess and Columbia, and was after-
wards commissioned to raise a regiment, which he did,
filling out his quota with the picked men of the county,
largely from the best and most intelligent families.

His Keginient, (the 1.50th New York Infantry,) was at
first ordered to Baltimore, afterwards took part in the
ever memorable battle of Gettysburg, suffering severely.
Again recruiting and filling up his Eegimeut, he moved

south-west joining Gen. Sherman, and with him moved
on to Atlanta, Ga. in his notable "March to the Sea."
While on duty on Argyle Island, near the mouth of
Savannah Eiver, he received a wound, from the effects
of which he has never entirely recovered, besides his
general health becoming much impaired from privation
and exposure.

While at Savannah he was promoted to the rank of
Brigadier General by brevet, afterwards to Brigadier-
General and subsequently Major-General by brevet. Fol-
lowing this when on duty at Atlanta, he received the nomi-
nation for member of Congress from his home district,
and was elected by a large majority. He has since served
six terms in the same office, and now in 1880 has received
the seventh proof of the confidence of the people of his
District. His nominations have been made by acclama-
tion, and he has been supported by the people in his
District irrespective of party. He has always been untir-
ing and unremitting in his efforts to promote the wishes
and interests of his constituents.

His privilege and pleasure will continue to be to keep
the interests of those whom he represents ever foremost
and to serve them to the utmost of his ability.

During the interval — about three years — that Mr.
Eetcham was not a representative in Congress, he was
appointed by President Grant with Ex-Gov Dennison of
Ohio and the late H. T. Blow of Wisconsin, Commission-
ers of the District of Columbia, and served with his usual
energy and fidelity, and to the great satisfaction of the
people of the District.

Mr. Ketcham was married February 4th, 1868, to Miss
Augusta A. Belden, daughter of Wilh'am H. and Sarah
Belden, of Amenia, Duchess Co., now residing in New
York City. The parents of Mr. and Mrs. Ketcham were
among the earliest and representative families of the

The fruit of their marriage has been four children ;
two sons and one daughter are living, named Henry,
Charles and Ethel.

He is a man of warm impulses, and always ready to help
a friend or do a kind act for a fellow being. He is one
of the most popular men of his county, and is known
and recognized as the poor man's friend.



confectionery, began business in October, i88r,
succeeding James Brant, who had conducted the
business two years.

Boyce & Son, dealers in coal, flour and feed,
began business as a firm in October, 1881. The
business was established by William H. Boyce ten
years ago.

Jeremiah Woldren, furnishing undertaker, estab-
lished that business here nine years ago.

David Maher, the proprietor of the Dover Plains
Marble Works, has been in business here since
1867. He was born in Ireland in 1845, and came
to Dover Plains in 1862.

Among the early physicians was Dr. Thomas
Hammond, who began his practice here in 1824,
and continued it to 1869. He was a surgeon in
the war of 1812. He died in Port Huron, Mich.,
in May, 1880. Previous to him a Dr. Delavan
was a practitioner of the town for a number of
years. Dr. Hooker was also an early physician, in
the south part of the town, contemporaneous with
Dr. Hammond. Dr. Thomas Hammond, Jr., be-
gan to practice here in 1844, and continued in the
profession until. 1869, when he entered the mer-
cantile business, in which he remained three years.
He then resumed his medical practice, which he
continued three years, and again entered the mer-
cantile business in which, .under the firm name of
Belding & Hammond, he is now engaged.

The physicians now practicing here are Drs.
Wellman and Berry. Dr. George Marvin Well-
man, A. M., was born in Springfield, Mass.,
in 1837. He graduated from Georgetown Medical
College, D. C., in 1868, and came to Dover Plains
in 1869. During the Rebellion he was Ward
Master in the hospitals at Washington.

Dr. Charles H. Berry was born at Lake Mahopac,
Putnam County, N. Y., in 1842. He graduated
from the Medical Department of the University of
Michigan, in the class of '68, and in .that year
came to Dover Plains, where he has since prac-

The lawyers now practicing here are Horace D.
Hufcut and Robert A. Mc Glasson.

Horace D. Hufcut, a native of Dover, was born
October 12, 1836. He received his education at
Poughkeepsie and in the Amenia Seminary, studied
law with his father, George Hufcut, and was ad-
mitted to the bar in i860.

George Hufcut was admitted to practice in 1848,
and followed his profession here for some forty
years. He died in Dover Plains, in May, 1880.
Robert A. Mc Glasson was born in Westchester

County, in 1833. He came to Dover Plains in
i860, studied law with Horace D. Hufcut, was ad-
mitted to the bar in 1875, and has since been con-
nected with Mr. Hufcut in the practice of his

The village has one newspaper, the Dover Press,
which was established by S. B. Shaw, its present
editor and proprietor, in 1878. The first number
was issued November 29th, of that year. It is a
weekly, published every Friday.

The Dover Plains Bank was organized in 1857
as a State Bank. The officers were: David .L.
Belding, President; John H. Ketcham, Vice Presi-
dent; George T. Ross, Cashier.

In 1865, the bank was re-organized as a National
Bank with the following officers : David L. Belding,
President; John H. Ketcham, Vice President; W.
S. Morgan, Cashier. The present officers are:
George W. Ketcham, President; Edwin Vincent,
Vice-President; A. J. Ketcham, Cashier. The
capital of the bank is $100,000; surplus, $35,000.
Up to July I, 1881, the bank has paid in dividends
$132,000, with a surplus, at that time, of $30,-
005.70. The building in which the business of the
bank is transacted was built in 1857.

The Dover Plains Lodge, No. 666, F: &> A. M.,
was organized August 13th, 1867. The members
to whom the Dispensation was granted were : An-
drew B. Hammond, Isaac G. Sherman, James Y.
Tuthill, Andris Brant, William H. Chapman, The-
odore' Wing, Horace D. Hufcut, George T. Beld-
ing, John H. Ketcham, Charles F. Segilkin, Wm.
B. Ross, Perry W. Chapman, Sewell White, Thos.
Arnold and George Hufcut.

The charter officers were : Andrew B.Hammond
W. M.; Andris Brant, S. W.; Isaac G. Sherman,
J. W.; George Hufcut, Treas.; Horace D. Hufcut,
Secy.; Thonoas Hammond, Jr., S. D.; Robert C.
Swift, J. D.; Rev. A. P. Lyon, Chaplain; Isaac A.
Morse, Tiler.

The lodge is in a prosperous condition. It has
a membership, according to the last report, of 116.
The meetings are held on the evening of every
other Thursday.

The Dover Plains Lodge, No. 423, I. O. G. T,
was organized November 17, 1881. The charter
officers were : A. J. Ketcham, W. C. T. ; Isaac
A. Morse, W. S. ; Mrs. G. M. Wellman, W. V. T.;
John Hanna, W. T. ; Rev. M. R. Lent, W. C. ;
Dr. G. M. Wellman, P. W. C. T. ; A. E. Bangs,
L. D. ; David Hanna, I. G. ; James Foster, O. G.;
Mrs. A. T. Ketcham, Financial Secretary ; Mrs.
A. Brant, R. H. S. ; Miss Jessie Worden, L. H. S.;



Frank Brant, W. M.; Miss Laura Davis, A. S.;
Miss Louise Morse, A. M. The Lodge meets
Tuesday evenings, in Reading Room Hall.

T/ie Reading Room Association of this village,
was organized in 1877, by Rev. James M. Bruce,
Horace D. Hufcut, Andrew J. Ketcham, Isaac A.
Morse, Andris Brant, George N. Perry, Charles
F. Segelkin, Samuel B. Shaw, and others. H. D.
Hufcut was elected President. S. B. Shaw was
the first Secretary. It was supported by voluntary
contributions, up to 1881, when it was merged mto
the organization of I. O. G. T.

The Dover Plains Hotel was built by Beldin
Dutcher about 1848, by whom it was kept a num-
ber of years. The present proprietors are Sparks
& Corwin.

The hotel known as Preston's Hotel was built
by George Robson in 1848. The property is
now owned by the heirs of George H. Losee, who
died November 25, 1881.

Reed's block (Masonic Hall Building) was built
by Mrs. David B. Reed, of New York, in 1868.

The Military School at Dover Plains was estab-
lished by Arthur E. Bangs.

On the 1 6th of September, 1880, he commenced
holding a select school in the village, which opened
with twenty-four pupils, and at the end of two
weeks the numter had increased to forty-one.

Being assured by this manifestation of interest
that there was a demand for such an institution,
he applied to the State authorities for guns and
accoutrements, and through the agency of the
Hon. John H. Ketcham, obtained the required
number. The number of pupils gradually in-
creased until the winter term opened with fifty-
seven. The institution is known as the Dover
Plains Military Academy, and is still under the
principalship of Arthur E. Bangs.

Dover Plains contains three churches, the Bap-
tist, Methodist Episcopal, and Catholic, organized
in the order named. In 1774 a Society of Friends
was organized in the town, and was known as the
Branch Preparative Meeting. It was an offspring
of the Friends Society at what is now known as
Quaker Hill. . A small church edifice was erected
soon after the organization. The society is nearly
if not quite extinct.

The Second Dover Baptist Church was organ-
ized in 1794. In the old burial ground at South
Dover may be found an old time worn tombstone
with the following inscription : —

"Samuel Waldo, Died Sept. 10, 1793. Aged 62
years. "

Underneath are these quaint Unes.—

" A dying preacher I have been,
To dying hearers such as you ;
Tho' dead a preacher still I am

To such as come my grave to view ;
Let this to you a warning be,
That you must quickly follow me."

To this man, perhaps more than to any other,
belongs the credit of stimulating the people of the
Baptist persuasion, then living in this section, to
organize as a church. The earUest records known
of this society are dated April 21, 1794. At that
date the following persons signed and presented a
petition to the Baptist Church of Pawlingstown,
now known as the South Dover, or First Dover
Church: Edward Southworth, David Simmons,
Joseph Belding, Benjamin AUis, Moses Haight,
Reuben Allen, Caleb Barnum, Mary Talman, Fre-
love Crandell, Mary Haight, Eliphal Belding,
Dorcas Gregory, Lydia Benson, Jerusha Sim-
raonds, Samuel Elliott, Alse Casey, Elizabeth
Koon, Hannah Benson, Jerusha Woolcut, Susanna
Benson, Catie Elliott.

The first church meeting was held on the 24th
of that month, when Elder Seth Higby was chosen
as moderator ; Deacon Edward Southworth being
elected clerk of the church. Elder Higby, Minor
Higby, and Mary Crofoot were received into the
church by letter. It was also voted that the third
Saturday in the month be the regular day for
church and covenant meeting. This still contin-
ues to be the usage of this church.

The early meetings of this society were held in
a house situated in what is now the Valley View
Cemetery, which was built previous to the Revo-
lution for the Dutch Reformers, and by them de-
serted before its completion. In this house all
denominations met for worship. It was badly out
of repair, with rough slabs for seats, and with no
facilities for heat, or light at night. The frame of
this building was torn down some years since. A
Union Church was built on the same ground about
1844, which has since been taken down and con-
verted into a blacksmith and wheelright shop,
now standing on Mill street in this village. Elder
Higby was the first pastor, remaining until 1799.

At the meeting in January, 1796, ;^2o 19s.
were assigned to Elder Higby for the year's salary.
A dissension arose in the church in 1799, and
but ;^4 was subscribed for the salary of the pas-
tor for that year. Later, seven members sub-
scribed two shillings each per month towards his

During 181 5 Job Foss began to preach, holding
services in different localities in the town. With-



out remuneration he labored on, visiting this
church at least once a month until 1832.

On the 17th of December, 1832, a subscription
paper was circulated to raise $2,500 with which to
build a suitable church edifice. In this movement
the Church owes a debt of gratitude to Elder Foss.
The desired amount was raised, and James Ketch-
am, Ebenezer Stevens and Thomas Hammond
were appointed a Building Committee, and the
building of the present house was begun. It was
finished at a cost of nearly $6,000, Mr. Ketcham
and Mr. Stevens meeting the deficiency. The
church was dedicated in December, 1833, by
Elder Perkins, who had become the pastor. He
remained with the church until 1835, when, through
dissensions internal, he resigned the pastorate and
was succeeded by Elder P. Roberts. Elder
Robert's ministry lasted but one year.

The Church was without a pastor until the fall
of 1839, when Elder Alexander Smith accepted a
call and remained until the spring of 1842.

In 1842, Elder Johnson Howard became the
pastor, and remained two years.

In April, 1844, Elder Watrous, of Connecticut,
labored for a season with the Church. During
the summer and fall of this year the Church was
supplied by Rev. E. H. Bailey. In the spring of
1845, the Church recalled Elder Smith, • who re-
mained one year and a half. Elder Smith was
succeeded by Elder Lewis Sellick, who remained
with the Church three years. He resigned the
pastorate in 1849, and was succeeded by Elder A.
T. Chaplin. Elder Chaplin closed his labors with
the Church in April 1852. He was succeeded in
June by Elder Isaac N. Hill, who resigned in
August, 1854.

From August, 1854, to June, 1855, the Church
was without a pastor. The Rev. N. Carpenter
supplied for a season. Elder C. B. Post was next
called to the pastorate, and remained seven years.*
He was succeeded by W. James, a licentiate, who
was soon after ordained as a pastor of the Church.
From 1864 to 1867 the pastorate was filled by
Elder W. Ferris. Elder Ferris lost his voice and
was compelled to resign. He was soon followed
by Rev. Richard Harris, who resigned the pastor-
ate in September, 1869. During his services the
church was remodeled at an expense of about
$3,000. In December, 1869, the pulpit was sup-
plied for a season by a minister from Philadelphia.

Early in 1870, George Balcum, an evangeUst, held
a series of meetings. He was followed in July by

♦ He died in 187J.

Rev. Silas Ilsley, who labored until November i,
1875. Rev. James M. Bruce was the next pastor,

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 98 of 125)