Early Settlement of the Town of 
Athens

 from the History of Greene County, New York
With Biographical Sketches of Its Prominent Men

1884 by J. B. Beers and Co.


Transcribed by Arlene Goodwin



The town of Athens consists of what was formerly parts of Coxsackie and Catskill. The line which separated these towns ran from the south bank of the mouth of Murderer’s Creek, diagonally across the present town, to near its southwest corner, the course from the first mentioned point being north, 80 degrees west. The project of erecting a new town was agitated for some time, and in the Catskill Recorder of November 16th 1814, and for several successive weeks thereafter, appeared the following advertisement: 

“The following revolution passed by the Legislature of the State of New York at their session 1841. Resolved that the further consideration of the bill entitled An Act to erect a part of the town of Catskill, and a part of the town of Coxsackie, into a separate town by the name of Athens, be postponed till the next session of the Legislature, and that the applicants cause notice of their intention to be published for eight weeks, next and immediately preceding the next session, together may be fully notified of such application.”

“NOTICE is hereby given that the application referred to by the above resolution will be renewed accordingly at the next Legislature. Athens, November 3d, 1814.”

 “Joseph Groom, President of the Trustees of the village of Athens.”

The act erecting the new town was passed February 25th 1815, of which the following is an extract. 

Beginning on the west bounds of the Hudson’s river in the town of Coxsackie, near the southerly point of an island called Paddock’s Island at a buttonwood tree, and from thence running north seventy-three degrees west, four hundred and four chains, intersecting the Schoharie turnpike road near what is called the Hoogeberg or high hill, then along the northerly side of said turnpike to a creek called Potick creek, then down the said stream to the corner of the towns of Catskill, Coxsackie, and Canton [now Cairo], near where a fulling-mill formerly stood, owned by Ezekiel Benton.  From said corner south, sixty degrees west, along the Canton line, sixty-four chains to the Catskill Creek, thirty chains above or northerly of the dwelling house of Martin G. Schuneman.  From said tree south, sixty-three degrees east, thirty-seven chains, to the Athenian turnpike road, and south fifty-five degrees and thirty minutes east, one hundred and ninety-eight chains, to what is called the Corlaer’skill, crossing the said stream, then along the said kill forty-seven chains to the aforesaid Hudson river, near the dwelling house of Garrit Pierse, and from thence to the place of beginning.  The first town meeting to be held at the house of Joseph Seeley in the village.”  

For convenient reference a few landmarks in the boundaries of the town are given.  The line at the northeast corner of the town, passes through the farm now owned by Charles Lee, formerly the “Truesdell place,” running just north of the house. The house of John I. Hallenbeck, a little west of Spoorenberg road, is north of the line.  Its intersection with the Schoharie Turnpike is a little east of the Lime Street Methodist Church. The turnpike bridge over Potick Creek is partly in each of the three towns of Athens, Coxsackie, and Cairo.  The point where the “small buttonwood tree: stood on the east bank of the Katskill Creek is at the west end of the farm of heirs of Abraham Newkirk. The line crosses the Athens Turnpike a few feet west of a large maple tree standing on the land of Samuel Dewey, on the north side of the road, and about 150 feet west of the bridge over the Dirck Killitje. It strikes Corlaers Kill south of the north line of the farm of William H. Van Orden on the Kings road.

Original Sources of Title

This town consists of portions of the following patents or grants of land, originally obtained by purchase form the Indians, and confirmed by the royal governors, acting as the representatives of the English crown, and these are the original sources of title to the land; the Looneburg Patent, the Catskill Patent, the Corlaers Kill Patent, and the disputed lands in the Roseboom Patent, which  encroached on the bounds of the Catskill Patent. The history of these patents will be given in succession.

 The Loonenburg Patent

The tract of land included in this patent was purchased from the Indians in 1665; the following being a copy of the original Indian deed:

“Inasmuch as Jan Clute and Jan Hendrickse Bruyn and Jurian Teunise (Glazemaker), have shown at the sessions of the Court at Albany, the consent at their request of the Governor of New York, and of the Indians to purchase a certain parcel of land lying on the west side of the North river over against the Claverrack near for Albany, five Indians, namely Sachamones, Mawinata, alias Shermerhorn, Keesie Wey, Papeuna, Masseha, owners, of the above mentioned land, and also having a commission from the owners,  who declared in the presence of  the after named witnesses, that they had sold, granted and conveyed, as by these presents they do grant and convey, in real and actual possession, to the behoof of the aforesaid Jan Cloet and Jan Hendricks Bruyn, the said land called Caniskek, in magnitude  stretching along the river side from the land of Peter Bronk to the viy which lies on the point of the main land, behind the Beeren island, named Machawamick, and so running into woods on the south and on the north even to the Katskill path, and that for a certain sum in goods [cargasoen] which the grantors acknowledge  that they have received from the buyers, and therewith are completely paid, and [said] grantors waive their former title, and declare Jan Cloet and Jan Hendrickse Bruyn to be the rightful owners thereof, and promise to free said land from all actions, claims, and  demands of other Indians who sinisterly lay claim to some portions of the said land or the right to set deer traps.  Done in Albany in the presence of Harmen Bastianse (Visscher) and Hendreickse Gerritse, as witnesses hereto called on this 20th day of April A. D. 1665, old style.”

        “This is the mark of KeesieWey X with his own hand set.” 
   
    “This is the mark of Sachamoes X with his own hand set.”
       
“This is the mark of Papenua X with his own hand set,”
       
“This is the mark of Masseha X with his own hand set.”
       
“This is  the mark of Mawinata X with his own hand set.”

“Herman Bastianse as witness.”
“Hendrick Geritsen (Van Wie) as witness.”

“Acknowledged before me”
                                                                        
“Johannes Provoost”
                                                                                  
“Secretary”

The title of the land thus obtained from the Indians, was confirmed by a patent granted by Governor Richard Nicolls, and recorded in book F of deeds, in the county clerk’s office in Albany, of which the following is a copy:  

“Richard Nicolls Esqr. Governor Generall, and his royall Highness, James, Duke of Yorke and Albany, &c., of all his Territoryes in America to all to whom these presents shall come, sendeth greeting, whereas I did heretofore grant and Lycence unto Johannes Clute and Jan Hendricks Bruyn, that they might make purchase of a certaine parcell of Land from the Indian Proprietors, Lying on the west side of the north River, over against Claverack, which the said Johannes Clute, Jan Hendricks Bruyn and Jurian Theunissen having effected, as by a Certificate from Albany, together with the Indian Proprietors, Acknowledgment to have Received payment and Satisfaction for the same bearing Date, the 20th day of Aprill 1665, Doth at Large Appeare,  the Land so purchased as aforesaid, being by the Indians Called Caniskeck, Lying beneath for Albany, on the west Side of the River, over against Claverrack aforesaid, and stretcheth along by the River side off from Pieter Broncks, his Land to the meadowes by the Corner or neck of the maine Land lying behind Barents Island, by the Indyans names Mackawameck, So goeth up into the woods, as well on the South as on the north Side till it Reacheth to Kattskill path, now for the Confirmation unto them the said Johannes Clute, Jan Hendricks Bruyn and Juriaen Theunissen in their possession and Enjoyment of the premises, Know yee, that by Vertue of the Commission and Authority unto me Given by his Royal Highnesse, I have Ratifyed, Confirmed and Granted, and by these presents do ratify, Confirme and grant unto Johannes Clute, Jan Hendricks Bruyn and Juriaen Theunissen, their heirs and Assigns, the afore Recited parcel of Land and premises, with all and Singular their Appurtenances: to have and to hold the Said parcel of Land and premises, unto the Said Johannes Clute, Jan Hendricks Bruyn and Juriaen Theunissen, their Heirs and assigns, for ever, Rendering and paying such Dutyes and Acknowledgments as now are or hereafter shall bee Constituted and establisht by the Lawes of this Government, under the Obidience of this Royall Highnesse, his Heirs and Successors.” 

“Given under my hand and Seale at ffort James in New York the 25th Day of May, in the19th year of his Majesties Raigne, annoque Dominie 1667.”

                                                                       “Richard Nicolls.”

August 24th 1670, Jurian Teunisse sold his one-third of the patent to Abraham Staats and Johannes Provoost; as the deed reates, “his right of the land that belongs to him in company with Jan Cloet and Jan Bruyn, with a barn thereon erected.”  

This is the origin of the title which the families of Staats and Provoost had in the Loonenburg patent. The next transfer is that of Jan Henrickse Bruyn, who, August 7th 1675, sold to Myndert Frederickse (Smit), “his just third part of the land to him belonging in company with Jan Clute and Jurian Teunisen.” It will be noticed in the patent of Governor Nicolls, and the Indian deed, that this tract of land extended north to the “land of Peter Bronk.”   This was a narrow tract of 252 acres, running from the mouth of Coxsackie Creek, west, to the Indian foot path.  The northernmost limit of the original Loonenburg Patent extended to within a short distance of the mouth of Coxsackie Creek, its northwestern corner being the point where the Indian foot path crossed the “Stony Kill.” The Indian foot path so often mentioned was the trail of the Catskill Indians to the north. It started from near the point where the two creeks, the Katskill and Kaaterskill, unite, and ran along under the Kalkberg, to the northern part of Coxsackie, and thence to Albany. This was the western boundary of the patent.  On the east, it was bounded by the river, and on south by a line running west form what is now called Black Rock, a lien which will be more minutely described further on.

The north part of this patent was sold Mach 28th 1681, by Jan Cloet and Myndert Frederickse and Jurian Teunisse to Marte Gerritse Van Bergen. The fact that Jurian Teunisse joins in this deed, after having sold his part to Staats and Provoost, seems to indicate that a previous bargain had been made for this transfer. The south boundary of the tract thus sold, was a line running east from the spring that flows out of the rocks at the farm of Jonas Collier. 

The next sale is one of great importance in our history, and justifies us in presenting the deed in full.

“Appeared before me Robert Livingston, Secretary of Albany colony, Rensalaer’s wyck, and Schenactady & in presence of the honorable Heeren Mr. Cornelis Van Dyk and Mr. Dyk Wessels magistrates of the same jurisdiction, the honorable Mr. Johannes Cloet who declared in true right free ownership to grant, convey and make over to, and for the behoof of Peter Bosie and Jan Van Loon, in his just third part of the land which he, in partnership with Jan Hendrickse Bruyn and Jurian Teunise, possess, which afore said parcel of land lies on the west side of the North river over against Claverack, called by the Indians Caniskeek, stretching along the river from Peter Bronk’s land to the swamp by the point on the fast bank, lying behind Barent’s island, All by reason of the Patent thereof granted to him Jan Cloet, Jan Hend. Bruyn, and Jurian Teunis, by the late Governor, Richard Nicolls, of date the 25 May, 1667, to which reference is made, His estate being a just third part of the lands specified in said Patent, which he conveys to Peter Bosie and Jan Van Loon aforesaid. Excepting the land that he had conveyed with his associates to Marte Gerritse [Van Bergen] of date the 28 March last, and the land which he in particular on this day has conveyed to Wyntje Harnese.”     

 
“April 7, 1681.”                                                “Johannes Clute.”

  The last sentence refers to a deed by which he conveyed to “Wyntje Harmense, daughter of Harmen Thomas Van Hun, a piece of land of 20 morgen, (40 acres) lying upon the Murderer’s Kill stretching south and north, called the roundel of the Murderer’s Kill, with a homestead over the kill next the great swamp. All of which he out of a singular affection and love had donated and given to said Wyntje, as by act thereof date July 18th 1673.” The deed goes on to recites that as his partners in the patent had each taken possession of a place on the river’s bank, “so it is that he has granted this piece of land to the aforenamed daughter instead of taking possession of the same with the assent and approval of his associates.”

Peter Bosie and Jan Van Loon gave a mortgage to Jan Cloet for “50 beavers” as part payment, and by a deed dated March 2d 1684, Peter Bosie sold his part to Jan Van Loon, in consideration of the fact that he had paid the mortgage.

Two-thirds of the patent were owned by Jan Van Loon, Abraham Staats, and Johannes Provoost, the last two owning one-third between them.  The remaining third was the share of Jan Hendrickse Bruyn, who, as stated before, sold it to Myndert Frederickse, August 7th 1675. Myndert and his wife Petrie sold it to Cornelius Machielis, October 30th 1685. In these deeds, the land that had been sold to Marte Gerritse Van Bergen is excepted.  Cornelis Machielis sold his third to Jacob Caspersen Hallenbeck, Dirck Van Vechten, Jans Caspersen Hallenbeck, and Jochem Collier. The entire ownership in the patent had now changed hands, and as Jan Van Loon represented a large share than any other person, and he and his family had settled here and commenced improvements, the tract thus purchased came to be called by the name of Loonenburg, which it retained until the beginning of the present century.

At the time when New York became a royal province, new patents were obtained for all the larger tracts of land granted by the former governors under the authority of James, Duke of York (afterward King James II), by virtue of a grant made to him from his brother King Charles II., which grant included the entire province of New York. Accordingly Jan Van Loon, Jochem Staats, and Johannes Provoost, as agents for themselves and the holders of the other third of the patent, applied to the royal governor for a new patent, which was granted in 1688. Although this patent seems to state that Van Loon, Staats and Provoost were the sole owners, this is simply because they were the applicants for the patent.  The rights of the Hellenbecks and other representatives of the share of John Hendrickse Bruyn, were fully known and always recognized.

Loonenburg Patent

“Thomas Dongan, Governor of the province of New York, &c., to all to whom these present shall come, sendeth greeting, whereas Richard Nicolls Esq., late Governor of this province, by his patent or grant bearing date the twenty-fifth of May 1667 did give and grant unto Johannes Clute, Jan Hendrix Bruyne, and Jurian Tunissen a tract land lying on the west side of Hudson’s River in the county of Albany, over against Claverack, extending along the shore of the said river north and south, from the lands of Peter Bronks to the meadows by the corner or neck of the main land, lying behind Barent’s island, called Mackawameck, and running in breadth westerly into the woodland to Kattskill road or path, to have and to hold &c., and whereas the said tract, which is now commonly called Loonenburgh, by divers conveyances is now become into the possession of Jan Van Loon, Jocham States, and Johannes Provoost, who have mad request that I would confirm to them the said Jan Van Loon, Jocham States and Johannes Provoost, the before mentioned tract, know yee that by virtue oF my commission, &c., I do hereby give, grant and confirm unto the said Jan Van Loon, Jocham States, and Johannes Provoost, their heirs, &c., all that the before recited tract of land called Loonenburgh, with all the appurtenances in free and common soccage, &c., paying therefore yearly to his Majesty 9 bushels of good winter wheat at Albany. Signed and sealed June 2, 1688.”

                                                                               “Thomas Dongan.”  

“Approved in Council at Fort James, New York, July 28, 1688.”    

The foregoing is a statement of the facts connected with the title of the Loonenburgh Patent.  The northern part was sold to Marte Gerritse Van Bergen, in 1681, and the present town line between Athens and Coxsackie cuts off a portion of what was left, so that the southern part only is embraced within the limits of this town.  The eastern and western boundaries of this patent are sufficiently well defined, but to locate with exactness the south line, has cost an amount of careful labor, which can be appreciated only by those who may have attempted a similar task.

The landmark, mentioned in the Indian deed as “Machawamick,” was called by the Dutch settlers “Vlugt Hoek,” or “Flying Corner,” and is thus called in the Indian deed for the land included in the Catskill Patent.  It is now known by the name of Black Rock, and projects into the river at the south part of the village of Athens.  From this rocky point the line runs west, passing south of the house now owned by William Birmingham, striking a black oak tree a few rods north of the house of William Ford.  It crosses the Albany and Greene Turnpike at a point some twenty rods east of the place where the road turns south, by the homestead of Peter Groom Brandow.  Thence crossing a lot on the north side of the turnpike, called the “Triangle lot,” it crosses the road running north from the turnpike, and strikes the east end of an old stone wall, beside which two old oak trees are now standing. This is the south boundary  of a lot of ten acres belonging to Samuel W. Sprague, known as the Hubbell lot, and was at one time the property of Rev. Joseph Prentiss.  It was sold by Peter Hubbell and the rest of the heirs, to George Griffin, form whose heirs it passed to its present owner.  In the deed to George Griffin, which is recorded in book 29 of deeds, page 121, in the county clerk’s office, the south line of this lot is mentioned as “the old patent line,” and described as running south, 83 degrees 15’ west. It forms the north boundary of the farm of Peter G. Brandow, west of the road.  From the point above mentioned, there is a continuous line of fence, mostly stone wall, extending to the Hans Vosen Kill, broken only by the roads crossing it.  The line crosses Corlaers Kill at the northwest corner of the farm of Ansel Waltz, and the northeast corner of  the farm of William H. Van Orden, and is the boundary between the farms of Waltz and Van Orden on the south, and the land of Laban C. Rushmore on the north.  It crosses the Kings road at the northwest corner of Mr. Van Orden’s farm, and runs thence through the land of Mr. Rushmore, at a low marshy spot lying near the road.  Beyond this it forms the boundary between the land of Walter M. Palmatier on the north, and Bernard Behm on the south, to Hans Vosen Kill.    Here the line of fence ends, as a small part of Mr. Palmatier’s farm was originally bought from persons owing the Corlears Kill Patent, but beyond the flats by the kill, under the steep cliff of the Kalkberg, and on the east side of the road is the southwest corner of the Loonenburg Patent.  In the survey of the Catskill Patent, in 1767, the corner is described as “a birch tree standing on a rock.”  The same tree is there at the present time, presenting every appearance of great antiquity, and standing at the southwest corner of the farm of Walter W. Palmatier.

Early Settlers

The history of a very few families comprises all that can be told of this region for more than 100 years. As already stated, the original owners took possession of places on the river  bank soon after obtaining their patent.  The deed from Jan Clute to Wyntje Harmense indicates a homestead already occupied. Jan Van Loon built his house in the lower part of what is now the village of Athens, a short distance north of the Black Rock, on the ground now occupied by the ship-yard of his descendant, Matthias Van Loon. A stone from the original house bearing the inscription, 1706, J. V. L., give the initials of the builder, and the date of its erection.

 June 18th 1867, Cornelis Machielis sold to Teunis Tappen, son of Jurian Teunisse, “all that tract of land over against Claverack called Klinkenberg, stretching southward and westward as far as the Murderer’s Creek, and northward till over against the little Nutten Hook, together with all the right and title of Jurian Teunisse in the house and barn, the whole of the new orchard, and half of the old, viz. the three-quarters of all the land at the water side, eastward of Loonenburg, except the place called, ‘Korst Veloren’ belonging to the heirs of Major Abraham Staats.” This tract was sold by Tenuis Tappen to Jacob Caspersen Hallenbeck, September 6th 1694, and was the original seat of the family of Hallenbecks, now so widely scattered.  Klinkenberg (or Echo Hill), is a well known eminence not far from Four Mile Point.  The farm called “Korst Veloren,” afterward passes into the hands of Provoosts, and was occupied by them for several generations.  It embraces all the land from the mouth of Murderer’s Creek, north, to the farm lately in possession  of Captain John Clough, at the boundary line between the two towns.  The first sale of any part of the share of Van Loon was made June 30th 1719, when Jan Van Loon conveyed to Arent Van Schaick a tract of about 100 acres, “beginning at a spring coming out of a hill near where his house stand, and running north 57 chains, and east 30 chains to the creek, then along the creek to the hill where it began”; the consideration being £10. this is the farm now owned by Francis Cochrane, under the Kalkberg, north of the town line. It continued in the possession of the Van Schaick family till within a few years.

January 20th 1698, Jan Van Loon sold “to Jan Albertsen, of Loonenburg, for five shillings, a certain farm or bowery, of five and twenty morgen, or 50 acres, situated, lying and being in Loonenburg, on the west side of Hudson River, which said farm, the said Jan Albertsen has lived on for the 12 years last past; bounded east and south by land of said Jan Van Loon, north by lot of Johannes Provoost and the heirs of Major Abraham Staats, west by the woods; this said farm being Lot No. 3, which fell to me, and lies on the east side of ye Hooge Rugge or high bank.”  This farm was sold by Jan Albertsen to his son Peter Jansen, January 25rh 1728, who sold it to Hendrick Schermerhorn, June 13th 1735. It was sold by his son , Roelif Schermerhorn, to Isaac Hallenbeck, June 16th, 1784, and is now the homestead of Prentiss W. Hallenbeck, on the Kings road, (deeds now in possession of Marcus Hallenbeck). He also gave a homestead to his son-in-law, Evert Evertson, October 11th 1743, which lies in the northern part of the town.

The following may be considered a list of the principal inhabitants within the present limits of the town, at the beginning of the last century.

Jan Van Loon, and family, Arent Van Schaick, Jacob Hallenbeck, Johannes Hallenbeck, Caspar Hallenbeck, Jan Albertsen, Peter Jansen, Evert Evertsen, Johannes Provoost, Hendrick Schermerhorn, Jochem Collier, Omay Lagrange, Christian Vroom, William Furner, and Michael Collier.

April 9th 1720, Jan Van Loon conveyed all his property in the patent to his sons Jan, Albertus, Matthias and Nicholas. This deed recorded in the county clerk’s office in Albany, recites the procurement of the patent by Johannes Clute and his associates, the transfer to himself of one-third of the same, and the grant of a new patent by Governor Dongan.  It also excepts from the transfer the northern part of the patent, which had been sold to Marte Gerritse Van Bergen, the farm sold to Wyntje Harmense, and the land, which he had himself conveyed to Arent Van Schaick.  This deed is signed in presence of Pieter Hoogeboom, justice, and Phillip Livingston, In addition to this, by another deed he conveyed some land which he had previously bought of Cornelis Michielis (being a part of Bruyn’s share), to the sons mentioned above, and also to his four daughters, Eltje, wife of Omay Lagrange, Neeltje, wife of Johannes Hallenbeck, Maria, wife of Arent Van Schaick, and Catrins, wife of Christian Vroom.  The condition of this deed was that they should pay to “His Majesty’s Receiver General” three bushels of wheat annually, which was the quit rent form his share in the patent.

By deed of April 11th 1720, the four sons gave to their father Jan and mother Maria for life, 100 morgen (200 acres) at the Vlught Hoek and 50 morgen on the flats with all the buildings, and made an agreement between themselves, that after the death of their parents the land should be divided in the following manner: the places that had been settled upon and improved by Jan and Albertus should be theirs; that “the land called the Flats” should be the share of Nicholas; and the land at Vlught Hook, should belong to Matthias; and as the part of Nicholas was not so good as the rest, it should be made up to him.  Jan and Albertus settled in what is now called the upper village. The portion of Matthias (who lived on the homestead of his father) is now the lower village of Athens.

The Provoost Share of the Patent

The third belonging to Jurian Teunisse as has already been stated, was sold to Abraham Staats and Johannes Provoost in 1670. Of this the Provoost family owned one-sixth, that being all they ever owned.  Johannes died and left his part to his son Abraham.  In the deed from Teunis Tappen to Jacob Caspersen Hallenbeck, with conveyed a large part of the land to the north and east of Murderer’s Creek, the part called “Korst Veloren” is excepted as belonging to the heirs of Major Abraham Staats. This seems to have passed into the possession of the Provoosts at an early day. Abraham Staats had among other children, a daughter Sarah who married Abraham Provoost, and the place may have come to them in that way.  At all events, this is evidently the locality where the family had their dwelling place.  Their homestead being a tract of land to the north boundary of a farm now owned by Francis G. Adams, a little south of the town line.  The stone dwelling house inhabited by the first and last of the race in this town, stood on the bank of the river, about a mile north of the mouth of Murderer’s Creek, and a short distance northeast of what is known as the “Livingston House,” now owned by the railroad company and in possession of Cornell Vosburg. By a deed dated August 10th 1750, Abraham Provoost gave to his son Johannes, all his land in Loonenburg, with the proviso that certain parts were to be given by him to his brothers Samuel, Jacob, Hendrick, and Isaac. 

The Division of The Patent

 It seems that at first each owner selected a place for himself, and also sold certain small tracts or parts of his share, with the acquiescence of his associates. The larger part remained undivided until 1750, in which year a division of the whole tract south of the land sold to Van Bergen was made into lots, which were partitioned among the various owners.  This work was done by Charles Clinton, father of Governor De Witt Clinton, who made a map of the whole, showing the lots, which, according to the statements of persons who have seen it, indicated by various colors of the lots belonging to each share.  The lots belonging to the Van Loons, and which were originally the share of Jan Cloet, were colored yellow.  The lots apportioned to the owners of the share of Jan Hendrickse Bruyn were colored red, and the share of the Staats and Provoosts, the representatives of Jurian Teunisse, were in blue. Of this map no trace can now be found, though it has been seen by various persons within forty years.  The story that is told concerning it is that three copies were made, one of each shareholder. One of these, when last seen, was in the hands of Leonard Witbeck, a well known man and prominent surveyor.  In his old age, conscious of its value, and wishing to preserve it, he deposited it, with other maps, in the vault of one of the Catskill banks, for safe keeping.  Of this he is known to have told several person.  A professedly thorough search has failed to find it, and its fate is unknown. Of the other two copies nothing can be found.  A map made by John Van Vechten, a well known surveyor, shortly before his decease, includes the Catskill, Corlaers Kill, and Loonenburg Patents, and represents the latter as divided into lots.  A comparison of the location of the lots with statements in many old deeds, indicates that this is a partial copy of Clinton’s map, and the lot lines, as designated on the map of the town attached to this article, are copied from it.  The whole number of lots is not known, but the highest number noted is 146. It has been stated that the third belonging to  Jan Hendrickse Bruyn, passed into the hands of Jacob Caspersen Hallenbeck, Dirck Van Vechten, Jans Caspersen Hallenbeck and Jochem Collier.  The first left his share to this elder son, Jacob Casper Hallenbeck; the second left his part to his eldest son, Teunis Dirck Van Vechten; the third left his share to his eldest son, Isaac Collier. Of this share, small undivided interests had been conveyed to Albertus, Petrus and Matthias Van Loon, and Casper Hallenbeck. In a deed dated August 8th 1750, Abraham Provoost mentions that the share of Abraham Staats was then vested in Sybrant G., Jacob and Abraham Van Schaick, John Beekman, and Deborah his wife, and Jacob Roseboom; and after stating that sundry lots had fallen to their share, and that a deed of partition had been made August 7th 1750, he proceeds to release to the parties above, one-sixth part of the same. In the division of Clinton, 43 lots fell to this share, and they divided them among themselves, except 13 lots, which it was agreed should remain undivided. Of these, Lot No. 124 and one.* [The deed is recorded in county clerk’s office, Albany. For various particulars mentioned, see case Livingston vs. Hallenbeck, 13 Johnson, p. 499] The deed of partition among the Hallenbecks and others representing the share of Jan Hendrickse Bruyn, is now in possession of Jonas Collier of Coxsackie. The date of Clinton’s division is July 30th 1750, and numerous allusions are made to the map in old deeds.

Abraham Provoost conveyed to his son Johannes all his lands in the patent, on condition of his granting certain portions to his brothers, Hendrick, Samuel, Isaac and Jacob, and in accordance with this, he gave to his brother Hendrick, Lots No. 52 and No. 59; to Samuel, Lot No. 38; to Jacob, Lot No. 22; and to Isaac, Lot No. 39 (Albany county records, book F, page 396). Johannes Provoost died in 1751 and left his estate to his wife Catherine during her widowhood, then to go to his four brothers aforesaid.  Samuel had two children, Hendrick and Catherine, who left no descendants. Jacob had a son, Abraham, born in 1755, and a daughter, Eleana, wife of Jacob Van Woert.  Abraham, who is still remembered by the older citizens of the town, eventually came into possession of the greater part of the lands owned by his grandfather in the Loonenburg Patent. His dwelling was the old stone house on the farm called “Korst Veloren,” near the bank of the river, and about a mile north of the mouth of Murderer’s Creek. Here he lived till 1795, when he sold his land in the region to strangers and lived for some years in a house now owned by Samuel Odell, on the west side of the road running north from the Schoharie Turnpike, west of the present toll-gate. At a later date he moved to Preble, Cortland county, and there died.  He was the last survivor of the family in this town.

Ancient Land Marks

Clinton’s map of Loonenburg having been lost, we can only identify the various lots by allusions and descriptions found in old deeds and wills. The following is an attempt to locate the possessions of our ancestors and to perpetuate the memory of land marks which are fast becoming obliterated.  It has been seen that Jan Van Loon, jr., gave to his son-in-law, Evert Evertsen, October 11th 1743, a farm. This is now the homestead of Walter Hallenbeck, on the west side of the Spoorenberg road, north of the upper village, and opposite to the house and farm of Garrett W. Tolley. Evert Evertsen died in 1783 and left the farm to his son Hendrick.*[Evert Evertsen died 1783, leaving five children: John; Rebecca, wife of Matthias Van Loon; Rachel, wife of Jurgen Clow; Catherine, wife of ___ Patterson; Elizabeth, wife of William Van Loon. He leaves in his will “to my youngest son Hendrick the bowery on which I now live.”] 

May 11th 1789, “Abraham Staats, Elizabeth Staats, Jacob Staats, Johannes Staats, Abram J. Staats, May Staats, and Catherine Staats, [Major Abraham Staats, who died before 1731, left seven children: Jochem (who had a son Barent), Johannes, Isaac, Samuel, Abraham, Sarah, wife of Abraham Provoost, and Elizabeth, wife of Col. Johannes Schuyler.] of the district of Kinderhook, Sylvester Salisbury, Nelly Salisbury, and Elsie Granby, and Abraham Provoost and Ann his wife of the district of Coxsackie.” Sold to Isaac Hallenbeck “Lot No. 11, known and distinguished on a map of the Patent of Loonenburg made by Charles Clinton in the year 1759,” bounded south by Lot No. 12 north by No. 10, east by No. 20, and west by No. 78, and before it adjoins to Lot No. 78 it is crossed by the “highway leading to Albany.”  Price, £200. This farm was left by Isaac Hallenbeck to his son Caspar J., and he left it to his son, Isaac C. Hallenbeck, who sold it to Levi Kip, the present owner.  It is the farm next north of that of Prentiss W. Hallenbeck, and is crossed by the Kings road, which is “the highway leading to Albany” referred to.

Lot No. 78 is the southwest corner of the patent, and is the farm of Walter W. Palmatier.  It was owned at the beginning of the present century by John P. Van Loon (a grandson of the first settler), and left to his son John, who, in 1834, sold it to Addison Stratton, since which it has passed by various recorded deeds to its present owner. In the deed, its location in the patent is mentioned, and reference is made to the “ancient birch tree.”  This lot is in the town of Catskill, the town line crossing the patent line about half way between the Kings road and the Vosen Kill.

Lot No. 17 is the farm of Samuel Van Woert on the Kings road. This lot was sold to Jacob Van Woert, great-grandfather of the present owner, by Johannes Provoost, August 10th 1750. It is described as bounded north by Lot No. 16, south by No. 18, east by No. 23, and west by the Kings road. “and 5 acres on the west of the road for a convenient homestead.”   The flat land, although very fertile and well adapted for cultivation, was not suitable for building, and hence it was the custom, when buying a farm on the flats, to purchase a few acres on the ridge adjoining for the house and farm buildings. Of the farm of William Sager, in front of the house, the flat land was Lot No. 18, the homestead itself being Lot No. 134.

Lot No. 19 is included in the farm of the heirs of Richard Clow, as also a part of Lot No. 79. The farm was originally bounded west by the Kings road and south by the Athens Turnpike. Lot No. 136 was a the corner of Athens Turnpike and King’ road, on the west side.  The farm of Isaac Van Loon, near the Athens railroad station, was Lot No. 106. This was sold to Jacob Van Loon, grandfather of the present owner, by Jochem Staats, May 5th 1706.  It was bounded north by Lot No. 105, west by Lot No.23, south by Lots 22 and 146, and east by Lot No. 124, “with 5 acres for a homestead out of the said lot 124.”  This last lot was one which it was agreed should be left undivided between the heirs of Staats and Provoost.  The case of Jackson ex dem. Livingston vs. Hallenbeck,  13 Johnson, P. 499, was an action of ejectment to recover possession of 34 acres of land in Lot No. 124. This lot had been sold to Caspar J. Hallenbeck by John Low, husband of Sarah, daughter and heir-in-law of Jacob Provoost. This case has preserved many important historical points. The land in dispute is on the south side of the Schoharie Turnpike, a little east of the toll gate, and now owned by Martin Hallenbeck.  The Athens railroad station is Lot No. 23.  This was the “farm on the Flats.” Belonging to Albert A. Van Loon, the last member family that occupied the stone house in the upper village.  He sold it to George Edwards about 1836, whose heirs sold it to Isaac Van Loon, its present owners.

A short distance northeast of the toll-gate on the Schoharie Turnpike, and some distance back from the road, is an old stone house.  This was built in 1796, and was the home of Johannes Hallenbeck, son of Caspar Jans, who lived in another stone house west of the homestead of Leonard Van Hoesen.  The old road ran on the north side of the house first alluded to.  It stands on Lot No. 81, sold to Caspar Jans Hallenbeck by the attorney of Sarah Low in 1774.  A part of the farm is now owned by Martin Hallenbeck, a descendant of Caspar Jans. Lot No. 141 was a large tract of land north and east of Murderer’s Creek, and included the homestead farm of the Provoosts, called “Korst Veloren.” And next north of this was Lot 142. Lots No. 71 and 72 are now the farm of William Sprague, and were at one time the property of Joseph Groom, a prominent man in his day.* [Upon this farm is the burying ground of the Groom family, overgrown with weeds. A headstone almost level with the ground bears the following inscriptions:

“To the Memory of Joseph Groom, who died Aug 15, 1832, aged 85 years.”

This marks the resting place of the man who was president of the village and one of its most influential citizens.

“Wm. Groom died April 18.1812 aged 93.”
“Sarah, wife of Wm. Groom died March 11, 1788 aged 40.”
“Rachel, wife of Joseph Groom died Aug. 20 1795 aged 47.”

It was afterward the home of Rev. Joseph Prentiss, whose heirs sold it to George Griffin, and his heirs in turn sold to the present owners.

The reader will notice the Indian deed, and in the patent, that the beginning of the tract of land at the river is the point called Vlught Hoek, and by the Indians Machawamick, “lying behind Barent’s island.”  There is no trace of an island there at the present time, but there formerly was one, and it is laid down on a map of Athens village, made by John D. Spoor in 1801. It was in the river a little east of Block Rock.  It was probably blasted away soon after the founding of the village. In the river, opposite the upper village, was formerly a rocky island called Dooper Island or Baptist Island.  This was where the steamer Swallow was wrecked in 1845, an account of which is given elsewhere.

The flat land between the Kings road and the ridge of hill to the east, was originally a swamp, and was called by the Dutch settlers Beerengat or Bears Run.  A small stream running into Murderer’s Creek from the west or north was called Dovegat from the wild pigeons that frequented the place.  Lot No. 121 was on the eastern part of Berg Stevesen, or Stevensen Hill, and was bounded on the north by land sold to Marete Gerriste Van Bergen. It now belongs to Walter Jansen and is north of the town line.

Jan Van Loon, son of the first settler of the name, settled on what is now the homestead of Warren Hallenbeck, in the town of Coxsackie. The stone house standing on it dates back to the first owner.  He left the place to his son Albertus, who in turn left it to daughter Catherine, wife of John C. Clough, by whose son John it was sold to John J. Hallenbeck, father of the present owner.

Directly under the cliffs of the Kalkberg, on the farm now owned by George Edwards, is an old stone house which originally belonged to Jehoiachim Jansen. He died previous to 1767, and the farm of 115 acres was divided between Peter Jensen and Caspar Jans Hallenbeck, who married Futje, daughter of Jehoiachim Jansen. A finely executed map made by Leonard Bronk 1789, showing the division, is among the papers of Marcus Hallenbeck. The old house now standing is a land mark by which the north line of Expense Lot No. 1, (which is the same as the south line of the Roseboom Patent) can be readily determined.  The “cave in the hill” mentioned as the starting point of the latter patent is about twenty rods north of the house.  The house and north part of the farm which was Hallenbeck’s portion, was given by him to his eldest son Jehoiachim, who left it to his son John.  It passed from him into the possession of Matthias Spoor, who sold it to his nephew Jacob Spoor, by whom it was sold to its present owner. The south part, which fell to Peter Jansen, was old to Isaac Collier, who left it to his son John P. Collier, and it was sold by him to Charles C. Abeel its present owner, An old grave yard overrun with weeds contains several graves of the past owners, unmarked by any inscriptions. A few later date record the decease of Casper Hallenbeck, August 14th 1811, aged 65, his wife Elizabeth Egbertson, August 21st 1808, aged 64, Casper G. Hallenbeck, August 12th 1843, aged 43, and his wife Magdalena, March 18th 1843, aged 50.

Albertus Van Loon, son of Jan, the original settler, lived in the upper village where he built in 1724, a house which is still standing, and is one of the few relics of ancient Loonenburg.  He died in 1754, and left the house and land attached to his son Albertus, who died April 30th 1791, aged 62 years.  After his death, it descended to his son Albert A., who died a young man August 7th 1799, leaving three sons Albertus, Ezra and John.  The last two died without children, and the entire property fell to Albertus who died in 1838, leaving a will by which he bequeathed the homestead and most of his property to an adopted daughter Cornelia.  The will was contested by interested relatives, and when it was presented for probate, James Byrnes, whose father, William Byrnes, had married Polly Van Loon the testator’s mother, presented thirteen objections, which in reality amounted to only two;  namely, that he was insane at the time of making the will, and that his habits were so intemperate as to render him incapable of using good judgment. The trial of this case, which is one of the causes celbres of Greene county, occupied 140 days. A large number of witnesses were produced on both sides and on the 7th November, 1839, Surrogate Malborn Watson sustained the will.  The curious in such matters will find the complete record of the testimony in books C and E of surrogate’s minutes, now in the county clerk’s office.  The better class of the witnesses disclaimed the charge of insanity, and his habits were proved to be no worse than the average of his neighbors.  The homestead and farm were sold to Charles B. Fosdick, March 4th 1845, by A. Sidney Doane, trustee for the adopted daughter Cornelia, who married Charles Hinchman.

A mortgage given for part of the purchase money was foreclosed, and the property sold August 2d 1847, by James N. Cushman, master in chancery, to Thomas Dunham and Fredrich Dimon. They sold it January 17th 1853, to William R. Fosdick, who sold the house and lots around it to Sylvester Nichols December 3d the same year. Nichols sold it April 8th 1856, to James H. Sturges, who transferred it to the New York Ice Company April 8th 1858, and by them it was sold to the Knickerbocker Ice Company March 7th 1867, in whose possession it now remains.  The deeds recite that upon the lot “is standing an ancient stone building with wooden additions, formerly the homestead of Albert Van Loon.”  It stands on the east side of Washington street,   at the corner of the alley known as Wheat street. On a stone in the front wall is an inscription representing in a sort of Monogram the letters, A V. L. Anno 1724 April 21. The interior coincides with its external appearance, and it is hoped that this relic of the past will stand for long years to come.

The contest over the Van Loon will led to an affray in this house between Anthony R. Livingston, one of the executors, and James Bryans, in which the latter was stabbed.  Livingston was indicted for assault with intent to kill, and held to bail. His trial was postponed, and bail continued until 1839, when the district attorney entered a nolle prosequi in the charge of attempt to kill, and James Brynes having confessed “his damages satisfied” the case was dismissed, and the prisoner discharged.  About this time Livingston sold out his property in this place, and went to Tarrytown where he died. 

The Korst Veloren Farm

The old homestead of the Provoost family was the tract of land north and east of Murderer’s Creek, and extending along the river to the south boundary of what is now the farm of William Lee, lately occupied by Captain John Clow. To this tract was given at a very early day the name of “Korst Veloren,” by which title it is still known to the older citizens.  Here the Provoosts lived till the beginning of the present century, their residence being a stone house standing by the river side, about a mile north of the mouth of the Creek. Henry Provoost, in 1794, sold to Richard Spellman all his estate in Albany county for £10,000, and in 1795 Abraham Provoost and his wife Annatje sold to Richard Spellman, “all their title of lands, divided and undivided, on the east side of Murderer’s Creek, being lot No. 141, and containing 795 acres, more or less, likewise another lot now in actual possession of said Provoost known and called by the name of Korst Veloren.”  The greater part of this tract was sold by Spellman to Elihu Chauncey Goodrich, and was described as “bounded north by William Truesdell and Jacob Hallenbeck, or John Oudt’s land.”  He also sold him half of “all the lands which Abraham Provoost and John Bogardus had a claim to.” The larger part of this soon passed into the hands of John R. Livingston, who, about 1796, built the mansion which is still standing and known as the Livingston house. It is very short distance southwest of the place where the old Provoost house stood.  John R. Livingston sold or gave this to his son, Herman, and he, in 1823, sold to Anthony R. Livingston “178 ½ acres bounded east by the river and south by what was called the “Korst Veloren road,” leading from the old house of the Provoosts, west to Murderer’s Creek, which it crossed at what is now the east end of the farm of Garrett W. Tolley, and from thence to the Spoorenberg road. This ancient road is now nearly obliterated, but was the one in general use before the turnpike was made.  The river formed its east front, and it extended west to the Albany Turnpike. The deed for this farm with a map attached, may be found in book F of deeds, page 328.  In 1838, Anthony R. Livingston sold the north part of this farm, 88 ½ acres, to Nathaniel Barry, “late of Paris, in the kingdom of France, but now of New York.” The south part, with the homestead, he sold to Peter and Josiah W. Groom, the line of separation at the turnpike being nearly opposite the house formerly owned by Moses Jerome.  Nathaniel Barry sold his part to William Read Adams, in 1845, and he sold it to Francis Granger Adams, in 1855, in whose possession it still remains.

The whole of the south part of the farm, at the death of Peter Groom, passed into the hands of his son Josiah W., who sold it to George Coonley, in 1853, and he sold it to John M. Coonley, in 1857, by whom it was sold to  Daniel Drew, in 1864, at the time of the building of the Saratoga and Hudson River Railroad. With the rest of the property it passed to New York Central Railroad Company, in 1867. They conveyed the land outside of the railroad bounds to Edwards F. Winslow.  He sold it to Harmon Van Woert, by whom it was, in 1882, conveyed to its present owners, Cornell Vosburg.  The old Livingston house stands on the railroad company’s land, but is occupied by the owner of the farm.

The tract of 300 acres to the south of this, and running along Murderer’s Creek, from its mouth to the old Korst Veloren road, was sold by Herman Livingston to Robert Titus, a descendant of a prominent family in Queens county. He left it to his sons George and Epenetus, who conveyed it to Daniel Drew, in 1864, and it is now the farm of Harmon Van Woert, the present supervisor of the town.  The little enclosure where rest the remains of Robert Titus, is a prominent spectacle from the turnpike, and the name of “the old Titus farm” still clings to the vicinity.

The Provoost that once owned all this section have vanished, the name is no longer found, and not even a tombstone can be found to indicate their last resting place.

The name Korst Veloren literally means lost crust, but what freak gave this name to the homestead is unknown.

The Corlaers Kill Patent

The southeastern part of the town is included in this patent, which was granted to Jan Bronk and Marte Gerritse Van Bergen by Governor Thomas Dongan, My 23d 1687, of which the following is an extract:

“Beginning from the property of Guisbert out den Bogart northward from a kill called Piez, to the flying corner, in the Indian tongue called Machawamick, stretching along the property of John Cloet, Jan Hendrick Bruyn, and Jurian Teunissen to the old Catskill Indian foot path.  Which the said Martin Gerritse hat bought from the Indians as appears by a bill of sale passed before John Johnson Blecker and Dirck Wessel.”

As the greater part of this patent is in the town of Catskill an account will be found in the history of that town, and this article will deal more particularly with the history of that part which lies in Athens.  Jan Bronk sold his part to Marte Gerritse Van Bergen, who left his extensive estate to his three sons, Martin, Gerrit, and Petrus. By a deed January 8th 1726, Petrus released to his brothers all his claim to the Corlaers Kill Patent, and at the same time they released to him all their claim to the lands at Coxsackie.  These deeds are recorded in the lands of Coxsackie. These deeds are recorded in book F, in the county clerk’s office in Albany. Corlaers Kill is near the middle of the patent, and in 1843, by a deed of partition, dated January 30th, the two brothers divided the tracts into two parts, of which Martin had the south, and Gerrit the north.  The north part, lying in this town, is thus described: 

“Beginning at a certain point at Hudson River called the Vlught Hook or flying corner, and near the house of Matthias Van Loon, and runs from thence westerly along the lands of said Van Loon and others to Catskill road, then along said road till it comes opposite to the south end of the large swamp called the Beerengat. Then with a direct line form the said path to the south end of said Beerengat to Corlaer’s Kill, thence down the stream on the south side thereof to Hudson River, thence to the place where the lot began, including the said Corlaer’s Kill, with privilege of building a mill on said kill.”

By a deed dated August 22d 1849, Gerrit Van Bergen gave “to his son-in-law, John Person, blacksmith,” the southern portion of his share, in consideration of the love and affection he bore to his daughter Deborah, wife of said John Person, the part being thus described in the deed:

“Commencing at the mouth of Corlaer’s Kill, and running along the  river to a certain deep valley to a white oak tree in said valley, and from thence westerly so as to include half of the said part as set out for the said Gerrit Van Bergen. Also one-half of all the right he has in the meadow south of the Vlught Hook, and the whole Corlaer’s Kill, with the privilege of making a mill.”

This part remained in the Person family until the early part of this century.  John Person had a son, Gerrit, who inherited the property. He gave the north part to  Abraham Brandow, who married his daughter Deborah, the south part he left to his son Gerrit, who sold it to various persons.  The old stone house, the home of the first generations of the Person family, stood very near the spot where the house of Herman Hermance now stands, a little north of the  Corlaers Kill, and a short distance west of the ice house. Not far from this was the family burying ground, now entirely obliterated, as one of the purchasers of the soil, not influenced by any feelings of sentimentality, used the rough stones that marked the last resting places of former owners, for building a wall, and the ground for cultivation. The deed from Gerrit Van Bergen to this son-in-law, alluded to above, is now in possession of Peter Groom Brandow.  The part given to Abraham Brandow is now divided among several owners, and the houses, with those on the south side of Corlaers Kill, form a village called Hamburg; this name having been given by Jacob Brandow, father of Peter Groom Brandow.

The northern part of the share of Gerrit Van Bergen, was left by him in his will, dated 1758, to his “grand-daughter, Annake Bronk, daughter of Casparus Bronk, deceased.”  She married John A. Whitbeck, probably son of Andries Whitbeck, and they sold the eastern part of it to William Brandow, July 7th 1786. In his will, dated July 9th 1788, William Brandow left to his son John, the south part of his farm at Corlaers Kill,” also half of certain piece of land bounded east by Corlaers Kill, and west by road, and north by the line run by Charles Clinton, Esq., as the south bounds of the patent of Loonenburg.”  The north part he left to his sons, William and Aaron. The whole is now in possession of his grandson, Peter Groom Brandow. The house now on the estate, was built in 1788.  The Brandow family bought at various times, lots in the south part of the Loonenburg patent which adjoined their own possessions. The removal of old landmarks has caused much difficulty in tracing the original line east of the road running north from the house of Mr. Brandow.

The Catskill Patent

All that part of town which lies west of Kalkberg is in the Catskill Patent.  An account of it will be found in another part of this work.  This article will be confined to that portion which lies within the limits of this town.  A survey and division of the patent was made in 1767, by Johannes Sleght, Dirck Wynkoop, and John Dumond, commissioners appointed to divide the same, and a reference to the map will show the lots included in the town of Athens.  The north boundary of the Catskill Patent was  a circle, or an irregular polygon, the circumference of which was to be four miles distant from the outer lines of five plains on the Katskill Creek. This outer boundary crossed the Catskill Path at a point nearly east from Kalkberg. The lot of land formerly belonging to Nicholas Terry, a more extended notice of which will be given elsewhere, was at the outer limits of the circle. The lots within the limits of the town are of a large extent, and have been greatly subdivided, and it is an object of general interest to locate, as nearly as possible, the original lines.

When the patent was divided, those tracts which were included in grants of prior dates, were thrown out, and were not claimed by the owners of the Catskill Patent.  Among those tracts was the portion of the Loonenburg Patent which fell within the limits of the circle.  After this, the commissioners proceeded to lay out three large lots called Expense Lots, which were to be sold to defray the expense of the survey and division.  The first of these was called Expense Lot No. 1, and lies wholly within the limits of this town.  The original records described it as follows:

“Beginning on Catskill Indian foot-path about 2 chains Westward of John H. Lydius and Company’s first station of their Patent, and runs thence North 65 degree 45` West ninety-eight chains to a stake and stones were erected, then North 29 degrees 451 West, eighty-six chains and four links to a stake and heap of stones near a white oak tree marked on two sides. Thence South thirty degrees west, 157 chains and 36 links to a large heap of stones erected.  Thence running South sixty degrees East, 120 chains to two bass wood threes marked on two sides, three notches and a blaze, standing at the north end of a Rock called the Gladde Clip. Thence continuing to same course South sixty degrees east, eighty-seven chains and sixty-five links to Catskill Indian foot- path.”

Indian foot-paths are not a straight as railroad tracks, and the line along it had ten different courses and distances to the place of beginning. The general course, however, was a few degrees east of north, and the distance about 130 chains.  The patent of “John H. Lydius and Company,” alluded to above, is the Roseboom Patent, granted to John Roseboom and others, April 12th 1751. The north line of this lot is the south line of the Roseboom Patent, and as the Catskill Patent bounds extended some distance farther north, there was a tract of Disputed Lands, as very frequently happened in those days when grants for extensive tracts were given with a very limited knowledge of the localities.  The bounds of one patent often encroached upon the borders of another.  The northeast corner of this Expense Lot No. 1 is at a cove, or hollow in the Kalkberg, a short distance north of the old stone house formerly of Jehoiachim Hallenbeck, and now belonging  to George Edwards, a more extended account of which will be found under the heading, “Ancient Land Marks.”  This corner is some 20 rods southwest of the place where the Schoharie Turnpike crosses the Hans Vosen Kill.  The line between the lands of Henry Brooks, and George Edwards, back of the steep ridge of the Kalkberg, is probably the original line.  The south line of this lot is well defined, and is the north line of the farm of James Sterritt, back of Kalkberg. The line crosses the road leading form the Athens Turnpike to Green’s Lake, about half way between the houses of James Sterritt and the heirs of Caspar Van Hoesen.  On the west side of the road leading from the lake to Leeds, and about a quarter of a mile from it, is a large rock, presenting a perpendicular surface for some distance along the road.  This the Dutch settlers called Gladde Clip, or smooth rock.  The line runs on the north end of this rock, and from this point can be traced without much difficulty. The west part of this lot is at High Hill, on its western slope.

Expense Lot No. 1 was sold to Teunis Van Vechten, Johannes Brandow, and Jochem Jansen, October 15th 1767, and the original deed, beautifully written on parchment, is now in the possession of Peter Groom Brandow of Athens.  In 1772 the lot was divided among its owners, with four lots, the first on the south side of the lot, being 41 chains and 61 links wide on the west end, and from that point running S. 57 degrees 41` E. 89 chains 63 links, thence S. 67 degrees 31` E. 102 chains 92 links, to the Catskill Path. This was Van Vechten’s share.

In the deed of partition between Samuel Van Vechten, Jacob Van Hoesen, and Garrett Van Hoesen, made March 30th 1795, this part of the lot is divided into eight lots, of which Jacob Van Hoesen had No. 1, next the  Catskill Path, and  Nos. 3, 5 and 8. Garrett Van Hoesen had Nos. 2, 4 and 7, and Samuel Van Hoesen had No. 6 which contained 238 acres. Samuel Van Vechten died intestate, and in the division of his estate among his sons, this lot fell to the share of Jacob and Samuel. The south part of the lake now called Green’s Lake, being 22 acres, lies within the limits of the part thus divided, and according to the deed, this was to remain undivided among the proprietors. The land on the west and south of the lake fell to Jacob Van Hoesen, and the land on the east side fell to Garret Van Hoesen.  The whole tract was called Lot No. 1. A second piece adjoining the last mentioned, on the north, and running the whole length of the lot and about 54 chains in width on the west end, was called Lot No. 2, and fell to the share of Johannes Brandow. He died, leaving it to his son William, who died in 1789, and in his will he left to his son John, for life, his part of the western portion of this lot  “which part I hold in common with my sister,”  and his heirs and assigns.  In a petition presented to the Court of Common Pleas April 7th  1801, it is stated that this western part contained abut 400 acres, and was owned as follows: John Brandow and Aaron Allen, each one-fourth; John Conine, one-eighth; Jans Brandow, William Brandow, Peter W. Brandow, Abraham Brandow, Elizabeth Brandow, William Overbaugh and wife Mary; William Rea and wife Catherine, Robert W. Vandenburgh and wife Wintje, and John Closon and wife Mary, each one twenty-fourth part.

In accordance with this petition, a survey was made, and this part of the tract was divided into eight lots.  A full record of this division is in the county clerk’s office in the volume entitled “Catskill Patent and Other Divisions.”  The eastern part of the lot was left by William Brandow to his sons Wilhelmus and Aaron. In a deed from Conrad Jansen and others, to Isaac Hallenbeck, (now among papers of Marcus Hallenbeck), a deed of partition of the whole lot among the original owners, is mentioned as dated June 18th 1772, but it has not been found. The north part of the lot fell to the share of Jochem Jansen.  At this death, it went to his sons Conrad and Peter, and Caspar Jans Hallenbeck, who married his daughter. In a memorandum written by Judge Leonard Bronk, it is said that these sons gave deeds in a reckless manner for parts of this tract, and in 1899, it was divided among the various owners by Leonard Bronk, Josiah Warner, and John Brandow, under an order from the Court of Common Pleas. At the eastern end of the tract, a lot was laid off containing 77 acres, which was called Lot No. 3. The remaining part of the tract was called Lot No. 4.  This latter was divided into 10 smaller lots, the following being the owners with the number of acres belonging to each:

Isaac Hallenbeck, 83 acres; Albert Van Loon, 75 acres; Peter Jansen, 126 acres, Cornelius Spoor, 100 acres; heirs of Conrad A. Vlaack, 99 acres; Caspar J., and Peter Hallenbeck, 93 acres.

The tract designated as Lot No. 3 contained 77 acres, and was divided into three lots: No. 1 fell to Caspar Jans Hallenbeck, is a the northeast corner of Expense Lot No. 1, and is now owned by Henry Bronk; No. 2 fell to Isaac Hallenbeck; and No. 3 fell to Peter Jansen. The division of this tract is also recorded in the volume referred to in the count clerk’s office, and a map of the same with its subdivisions, is on file as Map No. 53. A map compiled by the writer of this sketch, showing the whole lot with its divisions, is also in the county clerk’s office as No. 57. The Expense Lot originally contained 2,133 acres.

The Sixth Division of the Catskill Patent consisted of two lots on the extreme bounds of the patent, very near the boundary of the town.  Lot No.1 contained 676 acres and fell to William Salisbury. Hollister’s Lake lies in this tract. Lot No. 2, containing 577 acres, fell to William Van Bergen, and was sold by his heirs to Nicholas Van Loon and Albertus Van Loon, in 1795. On the extreme north bounds of this lot, was a piece of land of sixteen acres, which previous to the survey and divisions of the patent in 1767, had been sold to Nicholas Parray. This deserves mention as the place where it is supposed the first tannery was started in Greene county, a business which in after years reached such gigantic proportions.  The old stone house still stands, a very interesting relic of the olden time.  On a stone by the side of the door is the following inscriptions.  “May ye 17, 1767, N. P. E. P. C. P.” showing the date of its erection, the initials of its builder, Nicholas  Parry. His wife Elizabeth, and his son Caspar.  The place was left to William Van Hoesen, who took care of Mr. and Mrs. Parry in their old age, and it was his dwelling place for many years.  It passed from him to his nephew, Thomas N. Van Hoesen, its present owner.  It is about a quarter of a mile west of the Kalkberg Chapel, and stands back from the road.  The southeast corner of the lot on which this house stands, is where the stream of water appears in the opening in the rock and marks the extreme limits of the Catskill Patent.  The lot is marked A on the map accompanying the history of this town.

Lot No. 28, one of the great divisions of the Catskill Patent, lying south of Expense Lot No. 1, contained 700 acres, and was one of the lots that fell to the Van Bergens. The line between this and the Expense Lot has been describes. The south line, which separated it from Lot No. 27, at the Kalkberg or east end, is now the boundary between the homestead of Magdalena Van Valkenberg on the south.  The deed is recorded in book 96, p. 112. the lines of this lot in the original record are as follows:

“Beginning at the stake on the Catskill Indian foot path at the northeast corner of Lot 27, and running N. 74 degrees 45`W. 147 chains, to a heap of stones made near a wild cherry, and two nut saplings marked, being the corner of Lot 27 and on the line of Lot 26. Thence running along Lot No. 26, North 35 degrees 30` E. 71 chains to a stake and stones between two chestnut oak trees, standing on the line of Expense Lot. 1. Thence south sixty degrees east, 127 chains 65 links, to the Indian footpath.”

The rest of the boundary is given in various courses and distances, too short to be well represented on our map, to the Katskill Creek.  This lot did not include the flat land lying by the creek, to the west of Potick Mountain, but wound around it to the southeast corner of Lot No. 26. The south end of Potick Mountain is at the west end of the lot.   The course and distance along Lot 26. is N., 35 degrees 30` E., 56 chains 33 links, to the southwest corner of Lot 28. The line which separates this lot from Expense Lot No. 2 runs between the house and barn of the late Peter Egbertson. This lot in the original division fell to William Salisbury. The north line crosses that singular depression in the land called the “Canoe.”  This lot contained 698 acres, and included the farm of John Rouse. The stone quarry lot, sold by the Catskill Stone Company, to Devine Burtis, November 23d 1872, was on the south side of this lot.  (Deed recorded in book 78, page 467).

In the will of Martin G. Van Bergen, dated March 26th 1785, he directed that the part of Lot No. 28, lying east of the Coxsackie road, be sold. This road is the one from Green’s Lake to Leeds, and crosses the northern line of the lot at the rock called Gladde Clip.

Expense Lot No. 2, which was one of the three set apart to be sold to defray the expenses of surveying the patent, lies partly in this town, and partly in Catskill. It is bounded on the east by the Catskill Indian footpath, and on the north by Lot No. 27, the line of which has been described.  The west boundary was the brook called Dirck’s Killitje, and Katskill Creek. The lot contained 998 acres, about one-third of which was in this town.  The town line crosses the Dirck Killitje, a short distance south of the Athens and Leeds Turnpike, and strikes the Indian foot-path at the northern end of the farm of Walter Palmatier under the Kalkberg. This lot was sold by the commissioners, who surveyed the patent, to Francis and William Salisbury, by deed dated October 14th 1767. The original deed is now in possession of Luke Van Vechten. A track of 100 acres including the northwest corner of this lot, and some land in the southeast part of Lot No. 27, was sold to Joseph Groom, by William Salisbury, December, 1st 1788.

In his will, dated February 22nd 1800, William Salisbury leaves to the children of his son Barent Staats Salisbury “all my remaining part of the Expense Lot where he lives,” Abraham Salisbury left to his daughter Catherine, “my part of Expense Lot No. 2.” She married John P. Newkirk, and her share is now the farm of William Newkirk, the northern line of which is the dividing line between this and lot No. 27. A map showing the subdivisions of this lot is on file in the county clerk’s office. (Map 51).  Others are in the possession of Luke Van Vechten, and William Newkirk of Leeds.  Of the numbered lots on this map, William Salisbury had Nos. 2,4,7,12 and 13, Eunice Salisbury, Nos. 6, 8 and 11, to each other by deed, December 17th 1811. This is now in the possession of Luke Van Vechten.  The Athens and Leeds Turnpike crossed this lot about one-half mile from its north line.

The west line of Lot No. 25 is a continuation of the west line of Expense Lot No. 1. Its south boundary is Potick Creek, and on the north and east it was bounded by Expense Lot No. 1, and Lot No. 26, respectively. This lot contains 466 acres, fell to the Salisburys, and by a deed of partition dated December 4th 1800, it was divided between Francis and Abraham Salisbury, in the following manner:

"By a line run from a heap of stones made on the north bounds of said lot, and adjoining to the Expense Lot No. 1, and 19 chains distant from the northeast corner of said Lot 25, and from said heap of stones runs a course south 31 degrees west, through the lot to Potick Creek, then along the south bounds and along the west bounds to the north west corner thereof, thence easterly along the same, about 21 chains to the heap of stones where it first begun.”  

The western half fell to Abraham, the eastern to Francis. The deed is now in the hands of Luke Van Vechten. Francis Salisbury sold his part to Martin G. Schuneman, and Garrit and Henry Person, April 23d 1810. The Shunemans reserved a few acres of the land next to the creek, and the owners sold the rest of their share to John Sutton, April 4th 1815. It was sold by Jacob Haight, sheriff, May 24th 1819, to Elnathan Gaylord, whose heirs sold it to Harriet Gaylord. She sold the northern part of it to Lewis Weeks, January 19th 1858. The southern part sold to Moses Palmatier. The western part of the lot, the share of Abraham Salisbury, was left to his daughter Rachel, who married Peter Rouse, and had three sons, Abraham, John and James.   It was left to them, and they divided it into three equal parts, by lines running from north to south.  Of these parts, Abraham had the eastern, John the middle, and James the western part.  A tract of about 50 acres, of the north end of the share that fell to James Rouse, has been sold to Orlando Hopson, and the northwestern corner of his lot is the south western corner of the Expense Lot No. 1. From this point the lines can readily be traced.  This lot is on the western slope of High Hill.

Lot No. 23 is mostly in the town of Cairo. The farm of Robert N. Fullager is on the western part. On the east side of the lot is a farm which was sold to Nathaniel Cooper by William M. G. Van Bergen, September 2d 1794, and is thus described:

“Beginning at a place where a gate formerly stood on the west bounds of the orchard of John Schuneman, and from thence a direct line to a point of a rocky bank, where the road leading to Freehold and another from Tabergat [Talbigicht—Indian name] meet, and in length from the east along the lands of said John Schuneman, and on the west from the said rocky point, to the northwest so far as to include 100 acres.”

This farm is at the southeasterly corner of this lot. The boundary on the east for a short distance is the westerly line of what was known as Van Bergen’s Ten Acres.  The old road ran through this farm, which continued in the possession of the Cooper family until recently. Some of the trees in the old Schuneman orchard are still standing, and on the south side of the lot is an ancient burying ground where rest the remains of some of the Van Bergens, once the owners of the land. Their graves are marked only by a few rough stones without inscriptions. Three gravestones of more modern date record the deaths of Nathaniel Cooper, who died January 29th 1821, aged 56 years; Margaret Van Valkenburg, his wife, who died August 17th 1851, aged 84 years; and Eben, a son, who died August 14th 1852, aged 49 years.  The present representative of the family is Captain Ira Cooper, of Athens. The farm now belongs to John van Hoesen. The line of stonewall, extending to the north from the northwest corner of the ten-acre lot of William D. Meade, is the original line between Lots 23 and 24. The south boundary is the curved lien of the hill which overlooks the plain of Potick.

Lot No. 22 is a large tract of land containing 2,070 acres, of which the part lying east of Potick Creek is in this town, the remainder in Cairo.  It was bounded on the east by Expense Lot No. 1, on the south by Lots 23 and 24, and extended on the west, to the outer bounds of the patent.  This in the division was one of the van Bergen lots.  By a deed of April 3d 1795, Garret, Peter, and David Van Bergen, three of the sons of Martin Gerritsen Van Bergen, a grandson of the original patentee, sold to David Van Ness of Rhinebeck, for £258 7s.:

“One equal undivided half of a certain lot commonly called Lot No. 22 lying and being, or reputed to be, within a certain patent called Catskill Patent, except such part as was sometime ago sold by the said Martin Gerritsen Van Bergen and William his brother, to Stephen Wynants and John Collins, being 700 acres ore thereabouts.”

William Van Bergen sold to William Edwards, March 6th 1794, “50 acres at Potick Creek at the out bounds of Catskill Patent, commencing 8 chains below Cornwalls Bridge,” and he was probably the first person who established a home in the western part of the town.  He afterward owned a large tract of land, now the property of Reuben Jump.

April 8th 1795, Catherine, widow of William Van Bergen, and Mary and Catherine, his grand-daughters, sold to Jacob Van Ness and John V. D. S. Scott,

“One half of the said lot except the 700 acres sold as above mentioned and 32 acres sold to Seth Tolley and 25 acres to William Edwards if they have any legal right therein, and except the right reserved by the will of Martin G. Van Bergen to his daughter Ann, deceased, and Nelly, now wife of David Abeel, to cut wood, and take stone out of said lot.”


The lot was subdivided into smaller lots, about the year 1800. Scott and Van Ness sold, December 22d 1801, to Gideon Palmer, Lots 1, 2 and 16. High Hill on its western slope is within the limits of this lot.

Lot No. 26 contained 446 acres and fell to the Van Bergens.  It is described in the survey of the Catskill Patent, as follows:

“Beginning at the south corner of Lot 25, on the south side of Potick Creek, thence running along the line of Lot 25, north 32 degrees 30` east, 122 chains and 75 links, to a stake and two stones, set in the ground near a pine tree, standing in the line of Expense Lot No. 1, then running along said lot, 39 chains 75 links to a stake and stone set between two chestnut oak trees, thence south 35 degrees 30`west, 127 chains 33 links to a parcel of iron wood saplings, marked, standing on the north side of Catskill Creek, thence to the south side of Catskill Creek, and thence up and along the same to the north of Potick Creek, and thence up and along the same to the mouth of Potick Creek and thence along the south side of Potick Creek to the place of beginning.”

June 28th 1721, the owners of the Catskill Patent divided a small part of it, namely, the lowlands lying on the Katskill and the Kaaterskill, among themselves. The flat land lying between the Potick and the Katskill was divided by an east and west line. The Van Bergens took the northern, and the Salisburys the southern part. This line then established , and still maintained, is easily traced, and is the dividing line between the farms of Robert N. Fullager and James Badeau, on the south, and the farms of William D. Meade and others, on the north. The Van Bergens also had in this town two other tracts at that time; the Cripple Bush, called by the Dutch Kreupel Bosch, and five morgens, a tract of wood land near and behind the flat land at Potick.

The Cripple Bush was a tract of lowland on the east bank of Potick Creek, at the point where the stream turns easterly.  The part of the creek below this point was called Little Potick.  This tract was not of very great extent, and lay at the southern end of Lots Nos. 24 and 25, in the division of 1767.

The Van Bergen’s 10 acres, sometimes mentioned as the homestead, was in the occupation of the Van Bergens until the general division, in 1767, and at that time was laid out by the commissioners as land already divided.  The record describes it as  “beginning at the edge of a hill, northeastward of Petrus Van Bergen’s dwelling house, at a stone set up in the ground.” The western and northern lines of this lot were straight, the former being a continuation of the west line of Lot No. 24. The other sides were irregular.  This tract is now part of the farm of William D. Meade, and lies north of his house. It is crossed near its southern end by a deep gully, which begins at a spring in the farm of John Van Hoesen, next adjoining. A little north of this hollow, and a few rods from the western line, have been seen traces of a house, the memory of which has passed away. The dwelling house of Petrus Van Bergen still standing, is an interesting relic of the past.  It is a low, one story building of two parts, one of which is evidently of later date than the other.  The northern, or older portion has a double, or gambrel roof.  The other part is somewhat higher, with the usual kind of roof. On the western side, in large iron figures, is the date, 1761, and on the east side are the letters, P. E. V. B.  Petrus Van Bergen died in 1789. He was a son of  Martin, and grandson of Marte Gerritse Van Bergen, the founder of the family.  He was doubtless buried in the ancient graveyard previously mentioned.  A stone wall runs through it owing to some change in the ownership of the lands, and when the spot was visited, the portion of the Meade farm was in an enclosure made for swine, a drove of which were rooting among the rude stones which marked the last resting place of the Van Bergens. The old house stands a few rods north of the present mansion of William D. Meade.

Jan Bronk’s Land

In January 1675 Jan Bronk purchased form certain Indians named Manneentee, (commonly called Schermerhorn by the Dutch) and Siachemoes, the son of Keesie Wey, “a piece of land of about 50 acres lying in Katskill, on the north side of the kill called Paskoecq by the Indians, situate under the hill which stands to (or faces) the west with free range for cattle.”  A patent was granted to him for this land by Governor Lord Cornbury July 20th 1705. This tract lies on the north side of Katskill Creek a few rods above the stone bridge at Leeds.  A small rivulet running into the Katskill at the turn of the creek, is the Paskoecq of the Indians, and “the hill of the creek, is the Paskoecq of the Indians, and “the hill that stands to the west” is Potick Mountain, while a hill of more moderate elevation bounds it on the east. To that tract Jan Bronk added by purchase a larger extent of land purchased from the owners of Catskill Patent.  The land thus purchased extended to Dirck's Killitje. The northern boundary of this tract was the southern boundary of Lot No. 27. Of this whole tract, with the exception of 50 acres above mentioned, only a small portion is in this town.

The town line runs through it from the point where it leaves Katskill Creek. It now belongs to heirs of Abraham Newkirk. The lands of Jan Bronk, including his patent land and the land adjoining, are thus described in a deed to Martin G. Schuneman, dated August 15th 1793, from Annaatje Witbeck, widow and executrix of John A. Witbeck, and daughter of Casparus Bronk who inherited the land.

“A certain piece of land called Piscahook on the north side of the Katskill Creek, containing 50 acres, bounded on the north and east by a certain hill, and on the south by Catskill Creek, as granted by letter patent to Jan Bronk, by Queen Ann, Dated July 20, 1705. Also another piece of land beginning at the mouth of Dirck Killitje, and stretching along the killitje northward to the extent of the land hereinbefore describe, and from thence with a straight line to the northeast corner of the parcel, and so along the east bounds of that  parcel of land to the Catskill Creek. Also another parcel of land called the Flackie near the westward of the parcel first mentioned. Which last two parcels were sold to Jan Bronck, by Francis Salisbury, Garrett Van Bergen, Martin Van Bergen and Petrus Van Bergen.”

Such is a general description of the various tracts of land which make up the town of Athens, and if the recital shall induce any one who may read it, to make more extended researches, the writer will feel that it has not been written in vain. 

Early Settlers

Previous to the Revolution the number of inhabitants was very small, a comparatively short list would embrace the names of all who inhabited the town at the that time. With the exception of the Van Bergens living near Potick, the western part of the town had no inhabitants that can be mentioned with certainty. The Brandows and the Persons were the only dwellers on that part of the Colaers Kill Patent within the limits of this town, and a few scattered families of Van Loons, and Hallenbecks, with a few others, composed the population of Loonenburg, this side of the Fountain flats. The following is believed to be a list of families living here in 1780:

Isaac Schram, Phillip Conine, Aaron Faulkner, John Coonley, Frans Clow, Petrus Egbertson, Jacob Hallenbeck, Abraham Provoost, John C. Hallenbeck, Jerry Clow, John Clow, John Hallenbeck, Jacob I. Van Loon, John M. Van Loon, Conradt Flaack, Cornelius De Groot, Shadrach Sill, Albertus Van Loon, John G. Voogd, Casper Jans Hallenbeck, Clement Schram, Petrus Brandow, Jurry Van Loon,  Jacob Isaac Van Loon, John Van Loon, Albert Von Loon jr., William Hallenbeck, Conrad Jansen, Arent Van Schaick, John Van Buskirk, William Edwards, John Person, Isaac Hallenbeck, Albertus Van Loon jr., Nicholas Van Woert, Johanis Conine, William Groom, John Person jr., Nicholas Perry, Peter Jansen, Petrus Van Loon, Hendrick Brandow, John I. Van Loon, Hermanus Bunt, Petrus Van Bergen, and perhaps Thomas, Jacob and Silas Rushmore.

It is very probable that some of them lived in the town of Coxsackie. Of the events that go to make up history, very few indeed are to be found in the annals of Loonenburg. The life of the Dutch burghers was not one of excitement and enterprise.  Like the inhabitants of the world before the flood. “they married wives, they planted, they builded.”  but they knew little of life beyond their narrow limits. Between the dwellers in the New England villages, and the Dutch settlers along the Hudson, the difference was great indeed, but this difference was caused to a very great extent by their manner of life.  The people  of New England lived in villages, their life was one of daily contact with other men and all their acts were under the eyes of those who were quick to observe and prompt to criticize; success with them was to great extent, the measure of merit, and this developed to a wonderful degree that peculiar quality denominated cuteness, and generally considered their most prominent characteristic. The Dutchman on the other hand, lived alone on this bouwery. His family and his servants composed his social world, except when, on Sundays, he met with the domine of the church, and the few neighbors scattered at wide distances from each other. Separated from the busy world and contented with his lot, he lived on in quiet repose, until the time when the Yankees came and changed the whole order of things.

The Story of Esperanza

The complete success of the founding of the city of Hudson, and the brilliant promise of its future, caused a company of speculators to lay plans for establishing a rival city on the western bank of the river.  To found  a city which should be the rival of Hudson; which should be the connecting point between the Atlantic and the central part of our State, known as the “western country;” to have that city the terminus of the great canal, even then anticipated, which should connect the western with the eastern waters; and eventually to have the seat of government transferred to this new metropolis; such was their anticipations, and to this magnificent dream they gave the hopeful name of Esperanza. A tract of land, forming what is now the upper village, then a part of the homestead of Albert Van Loon, was purchased, and also two or three small lots which bordered on the river, and which had been given by Albertus Van Loon to his son-in-law, Shadrach Sill. The whole tract is fully described in a deed of partition dated June 18th 1799.

The family burying ground which was reserved in the sale was on a hill, now dug away, on the south side of Turner street, about 100 feet west of Montgomery street, and here rested some of the first generations of the Van Loon family.

The founders of the new enterprise, and the share that belonged to each, were as follows: Edward Livingston, five and one-half twelfths;  Elihu Chauncey Goodrich, two twelfths; Brockholst Livingston, one and one fourth twelfths; John R. Livingston, two and one-fourth twelfths; Ephraim Hart, one twelfth.

The tract thus purchased was laid out into streets and lots. The names of the founders were given to the avenues running west from the river, while to the cross streets were given curious names.  The “staff of life.” And the grain from which it is made, had the honor of being bestowed upon two, called  respectively Bread and Wheat streets. Other grains also had the same honor, and we find Rye street, Barley street, Corn street and Oats street. The French Revolution occurred about this time, and Liberty and Equality became the names of two streets. Cider and Beer, Rice and Meal, had at least the merit of being well known and easily remembered, and the broad thoroughfare laid out along the Hudson River, and which in the imagination of the founders, was to be the resort of  commerce, was given the name Esperanza Key.  A large map, made by one P. Pharmix, was engraved, and a few copies are still to be found.  In the vacant field, now owned by Nichols Van Hoesen, northwest of the Catholic church, was laid out in their vivid fancy “Court House Square.”  A “City Tavern Lot” was fixed upon near the river, and church lots were liberally provided for; and to crown the whole, upon the margin of the map were pictures of the grand court house, the market, the church and the “City Tavern,”. As these maps are now rare we will give the title and legend that appears upon it. 

“A Plan

“of the Town of Esperanza, Situated on the West bank
“of the North River, Opposite Hudson, Laid down in
“Lots, 25 feet in front, and 100 deep. This Place is sit-
“uated nearly at the head of Deep Navigation of the
“Hudson River. It is directly East from the Military
“lands, & is supposed to possess more important Com
“mercial and local advantages than any other point in
“the Rive, the road for some hundred miles west pass-
“ing through a very fine and improving Country, to
“which this is the nearest Port.”

                                          “P. Pharmix.”

The deeds of the original purchase cannot be found, but a memorandum, made by Judge Leonard Bronk, shows that it was in 1794, and beside the homestead and burying ground, a lot where Albert Van Loon had a dock and store-house was also reserved. This tract embraced the land between Union street on the north, and Market street on the south, and going west as far as what is now called New street, and east to the river; excepting the Lutheran church lot, and the land of John G. Voogd.

The whole enterprise was simply a speculation, but many lots were sold to bona fide purchasers. The founders seem to have been hampered by the financial difficulties, and in 1799 a partition was made among the original  owners. Samuel Osgood , David Gelsten, and John R. Livingston, assignees of Edward Livingston, sold, December 17th 1805, to William Byrnes, portions undivided with heirs of Elihu Goodrich.

The share of Ephraim Hart was sold by Thomas Bridger, master in chancery, “by virtue of an order made in a suit between Benjamin Hart and said Ephraim, “ and the lots in this share were bought for him by Herman Hart, and conveyed to him April 1st 1823, one part of which was a block “bounded North by Corn St., West by Hudson St., South by Barley St., and East by Esperanza Key; also the island called Dooper Island, Southeasterly of said block.” *  * “and parts of Lots 29, 30, 31 on Esperanza Key, on which the Goodrich wharf is.”  The block which included Dooper Island, was sold to Benjamin Hart to Sylvester Nichols, August 13th 1845, and was sold by him to William H. Morton and Nathan Edwards, March 16th 1849, and by then to  James Cheeseman September 5th 1857, who sold it to James Sturges September 5th 1858.  He conveyed it to the New York Ice Company, and it was sold by them to its present owners, the Knickerbocker Ice Company, Mach 76th 1867. It was on this Dooper Island that the steamer Swallow was wrecked.

The principal part of Brockholst Livingston’s share was sold to William Byrnes. He sold one-eight of this to Samuel Haight and Solomon Southwick, mentioning, among others parcels, “a lot 60 feet on the river between the house of Albert A. Van Loon, deceased, and the house formerly of Shadrach Sill, with the red store and dock.”  In 1795, one Henry Ritter sold land to Nicholas J. Van Loon, as “agent for the Proprietors of Esperanza.” On July 25th 1798, Edward Livingston sold to James Cochran six blocks of 36 lots each, for the sum of £10,340. James Cochran bought a large number of lots of Levi Thayer, and sold them to Robert Griffiths, of Philadelphia.

At the time of the purchase of Livingston and his company, the only houses standing on this tract were the homestead of Albert Van Loon, and the house of Shadrach Sill, to whom a piece of land had been given by his father-in-law. This house stood on the east side of the street opposite the public square, and near the middle of the ice house. At first, business seems to have been brisk, and houses were built, and the new village flourished. Why it should have been eclipsed by the village of Athens, started some years later, is difficult to explain, but such was the case.  One thing is certain; the dreams of its founders were never realized.  The  court house, the market, and the “City Tavern,” exist only on the map. The streets that were once expected to resound with the hum of business are silent. The “Esperanza Key,” which was to have been the scene of a busy commerce, is covered by a marsh. The very identity of the village has been merged into that of its rival, Athens, and Esperanza is an almost forgotten name.

The following description of this village, as it appeared to eye-witnesses in the days of its beginning, may be of interest to the readers:

“On the opposite side of the North River stands the new town of Loonenburg, to which its founders have also given the modest name of Speranza (Hope). This town which for number of years had contained but a single and pitiful house, cannot really date its origin beyond last year.  At present there are fifty houses erected in it; shops are opened; merchants are established. A brig is already built, and employed in trade between Speranza and New York. This infant town will, beyond all doubt, experience a considerable increase; it enjoys, in common with all the other towns built on the western bank of that beautiful river, the advantage of an extensive back country, which, in proportion as it become cultivated, will furnish immense quantities of produce, that cannot find any more convenient or certain vent that the North River. But those countries are yet, for the greater part, desert wildernesses, where the houses are few and dispersed. This is a common obstacle which operates against all the towns, and for the present prevents any extraordinary prosperity of their commerce.  But, in addition to it, Speranza will moreover have to conquer the habit in which the farmers have been of carrying their produce to the neighboring towns that have been longer established. The owners of the town lands are now engaged in the formation of a road, which joining at the distance of twenty miles the road that leads from Genesse, will render the communication with Speranza more easy than with the other towns, and must when finished, cause a preference to be given to the former; the work is in great forwardness. The proprietors are the Messieurs Livingston of New York.  The town lots, each containing a quarter of an acre, already bear the price of two hundred dollars.” 

The following description of Loonenburg in 1803 is from Massachusetts Historical Collections, First series, by Rev. Clark Brown.

 “Loonenburg is situated on the west bank of Hudson River, directly opposite to the city of Hudson, commanding a beautiful prospect of its buildings and shipping. It is five miles north of Catskill Landing. It contains near a hundred buildings, including dwelling houses, stores, &c. the south part of this village, which goes by the name of Lower Purchase, is in a very flourishing situation. Between this and the Upper Purchase, or the north part of Loonenburg, there is  a small distance without any buildings. They are in fact two separate villages at present, though known both by the name of  Loonenburg. It is about two years since they began to build on the lower purchase. It now consists of between twenty and thirty buildings, erected mostly with brick, in a neat and well finished manner. It is already a place of considerable business, and is conveniently situated for navigation. Several wharves have lately been built out into the river. To the upper purchase the inhabitants have given the name Esperanza. This upper purchase has been settled a long time. Several of the inhabitants are Dutch. They are said to posses a litigious spirit, being inclined to have almost every trivial controversy settled by law.  The writer of this has been credibly informed, that in this village, forty judgments have been obtained in one day before one justice of the peace.” 

Of the early settlers in Esperanza, a few words may be said. Previous to the purchase by the Livingstons, John G. Voogd was living on Lot No. 12, heretofore mentioned. He was a native of Wirtemberg, in Germany. His house, an old stone mansion, stood on what was once a hill but now a hollow, caused by the excavation of thousands of tons of clay, used for brick making. It stood near the south side of Union street, and about 300 feet west of the alley known as Elbow street. He died in 1802, and left considerable property to the Episcopal church. Benjamin Haviland was probably the first person who built a house in the new village. This house lot, purchased of Albert Van Loon in 1795, is the lot next south of the Lutheran church. As one of the witnesses in the contest over the will of Albert Van Loon in 1838, he testified that he was born September 9th 1763, and had lived in the upper village 44 years. He was a native of Paterson, Putnam county, New York. He died about 1838, leaving his wife Anna and four children, Captain Benjamin, John, James, and Hannah.*  [This family presents a remarkable case of longevity. Captain Haviland the eldest son, married Catherine Van Valkenburg and had a daughter Mary who died at the age of 18 years, and 13 other children who are now (1883) living at the following ages: Elsie 80; Lorretta 79; Benjamin 75; Rachel 73; James 71; Sarah 69; John 67; Catherine 65; Edward 63; Henry 61; Emily 57; Louisa 55; and David 53.]  Captain Benjamin Haviland died May 13th 1862, aged 84. William P. Alcott was probably the first person who under took brick making on an extended scale. He was born here in 1796, and his father, David Alcott, whose tombstone in the Episcopal burying ground stats that he died April 10th 1826, aged 72 years, was a Revolutionary soldier. William T. Alcott was also a witness in the case mentioned, and stated that “he had been engaged in brick making for 18 or 20 years.”

Joseph Colson kept a hotel in Esperanza and was a prominent citizen. His place was on the north corner of Church and Water streets. He had a son Joseph B., who died in early manhood, and a daughter, Anna, who married James G. Foster, a prominent man in the early days of Athens.

Samuel Hamilton came from Connecticut, and lived on a portion of the glebe lands of the Lutheran church. He was born November 3d 1764, and fought in the Revolution. He was appointed magistrate in 1811, and held that office for many years. He died March 16th 1851.

Wreck of The Swallow

One of the most thrilling events connected with the history of this village, was the wreck of the steamer Swallow. She started from Albany for New York at 6 o’clock P. M., April 7th 1845. The steamers Rochester and Express started soon after, and there was evidently a strife as to which should make the quickest trip. Dooper Island was at that time a rock 60 to 70 feet across, and 10 feet above water at high tide. At 8 o’clock the steamer Swallow, while going a the rate of fourteen knots an hour, struck this rock with a violence that sensibly shook the earth for quite a distance, and the shock was heard at the distance of a mile. The bow of the boat ran to the height of 20 feet above the rock, and broke in two. There were 259 passengers on board, of which number 25 were drowned. The night was exceedingly dark, with a slight snow squall. An investigation made by a committee of the State Senate, seemed to establish the fact that the disaster was wholly caused by the recklessness of the pilot, and the investigation resulted in the passage of an act for the better preservation of life on the Hudson River.  A tide-mill once stood on this rock, and at the time of the wreck, there were the remains of an old dock, about 45 feet east of the rock.  This little island after this event lost its ancient name, and received the title of  Swallow Rock. It has long since been blasted away and a wharf belonging to the Knickerbocker Ice Company stands in its place.

The Beginning of Athens Village

The Northrup Purchase.—In the year of  1800 what is now the village of Athens was simply a large farm. At the southeastern part and near the river was an old stone house, built by Jan Van Loon in 1706, and then occupied by his grandson, John Matthias Van Loon.  His father, Matthias, gave to his son-in-law, Stephen Van Dyck, a lot at the northeast corner of his river front, or as the deed, dated May 3d 1764, describes it, “a lot of land on the side of Hudson river, a little north of where a small run of water comes into the river, between the dwelling houses of said Van Loon and Stephen Van Dyck.” This house stood a few feet east of the present post-office, about 50 feet from the northeastern corner of Washington and Second streets, and in 1800 was owed by Marshal Jenkins. South of this was another small lot given to Peter Fonda, whose wife, Christina, was also a daughter of Matthias Van Loon.  Upon it was a small stone house, which at that time was owned by Fiderman Hazard, a Quaker, who probably came from Massachusetts with the settlers of Hudson.  This house stood on the site of the present mansion of Mrs. Lydia Coffin. Besides these, there were no human habitations on what is called the Northrup Purchase. At the intersection of Washington and Second streets, on the south side, was a swamp or marshy place, from which a small rivulet wound its way to the river. North of this was a rocky bluff sloping to the river, and opposite to Black Rock, which was the southeastern corner of the farm, was a small island mentioned in the patent and Indian deed, as “Beeren Island.”  The nearest neighbor on the south and west was William Brandow, who occupied the homestead now owned by his grandson.

This farm of John M. Van Loon was purchased by Isaac Northrup, April 30th 1800. The following being a general description of the premises as contained in the deed:

“All that certain farm, piece or parcel of land, situate, lying and being in the town of Loonenburg and County of Greene, in the Patent of Loonenburg, being the farm on which the said John M. Van Loon now lives, *   *  *  *   * containing about 200 acres of land. And also all right and title of the said John M. Van Loon, to the flat land and island lying easterly of the said tract and adjoining the said Hudson river. Excepting from this said conveyance three certain small lots of land two whereof are forty-two feet by one hundred feet, and adjoining on the land of Fidderman Hazzard, and one of smaller dimensions granted by the said John N. Van Loon to one Sickles of the city of New York, and also one half of an acre of land where the family burying ground of said John M. Van Loon now is, which is to be for ever reserved for a burial ground and place of interment for such persons as may die upon the said premises.”

The price paid was $3,000. As the patent line runs west, and the Hudson River at this point nearly southwest, there is a narrow strip of marshy land between them. This strip was purchased by Mr. Northrup of Gerard Person, whose title was derived from the deed of Gerrit Van Bergen to his father, John Person, which has been mentioned in the account of the Corlaers Kill Patent. It is described as:

“Lying on the south boundary of the Patent of Loonenburg, on a small creek called the Vly creek, which is the south bounds of the farm sold by John M. Van Loon, and running easterly along said creek, to the south end of an island called in the Dutch language Farker’s island (Hog’s Island), thence easterly to the channel of Hudson river, thence northerly along said channel to the northeast extreme of the Catskill Patent, thence to the point called the Vlught hook, thence westerly along the south bounds of the patent of Loonenburg, being also the boundaries of said Northrup’s purchase, including the said Farker’s island, and all the land between the said Northrup’s purchase and Hudson River, 7 or 8 acres.”

The Conradt Flaack Estate.

The estate of Conradt Flaack, or the part of it which is in the village of Athens, was a trapezoidal piece of land lying on the river, north of the Van Dyck homestead, heretofore mentioned.  The southeast corner of north of Second street, on the river, and the south line of the lot of Dr. H. Wheeler. The southwest corner is about 40 feet from the northeast corner of Second and Warren streets. The northwest corner is at the east end of the Athens Rural Cemetery, and the northeast corner at the foot of Market street, at the river’s side. The whole contained 235-7 acres. It was crossed nearly in the middle, from north to south, by the ancient road which led from the house of Jan Van Loon to the flats. This road crossed the south line of the estate a short distance north of the intersections of Washington and Second streets. It crossed Franklin street at the engine house of fire company Rescue No. 1, and left the north line of the estate at a point on Warren street about 50 feet south of Market street, which was the south boundary of Esperanza.

A small brown stone in the Episcopal church burying ground bears the following inscription:  “In Memory of Conradt Aaron Flaack, who was born Sept. 6, 1713, departed this life May 4, 1789, aged 76 years, and 4 months.” During his life it seems to have been part of his business to run a ferry across the river, but as a very careful search has failed to find any ferry right granted to him by any authority, it is presumed that it was simply a prescriptive right, which, having been exercised for many year, was not interfered with by the Legislature when granting ferry franchise to the city of Hudson.  His homestead, a low gambrel roofed house, stood just above the present residence of Wentworth Allen, on the east side of Washington street, and on the west side of the same street were an orchard and a barn. By his will, which is recorded in the surrogate’s office in Albany, he left his estate to his daughter Lucretia, and his son Hermanus. In 1796, the estate was divided among the heirs by Leonard Bronk, Samuel Van Vechten and Jacob Bogardus, in pursuance of an order from the Court of Common Pleas.

Conradt Flaack’s estate consisted of Lot No. 126, purchased of Petrus Van Loon and one-eighth share of undivided lands bought of John Van Loon. The deed from Petrus Van Loon is dated July 1st 1761, and the one from John Van Loon, October 7th 1757.

At the time of the division of the estate, the daughter Lucretia, who married Caspar Clough, and the son Hermanus were both dead, and their shares were divided among their children, as follows: children of Lucretia Clough; Catherine, Abraham, John, Annaatje (wife of Hermanus Bont), Leah, (wife of John G. Van Hoesen), Lucretia (wife of Albert Van Hoesen), and Richard;  the children  of Hermanus Flaack were Richard, Annaatje (wife of William Dow), and Conradt.

Annaatje, wife of Hermanus Bont, being dead, her share went to her children; Richard, Jacob, Conradt, Jane, Hermanus and Catherine.

In the survey the part of the estate that lay on the eastern side of the old road was divided into lots called the River Lots.  The part above the road was also divided into lots. The full report of this division, with maps attached, is now in the county clerk’s office at Catskill, in the volume entitled “Catskill Patent and Other Divisions.”

The descendants of Lucretia Flaack are numerous. After his first purchase, Northrup obtained from Fidderman Hazard and wife, Elbarta, the greater part of the homestead that had been Peter Fonda’s. “excepting lots 31, 32, fronting on Water St.” this was probably where the house stood, and, after the death of Mr. Hazard, his widow sold it to Anthony Livingston, who built the house now owned by Mrs. Lydia Coffin.  He also bought some lots of the Flaack estate, including a small piece at the southwest corner of it, to make his lots on the west side of  Warren street square. November 27th 1800, he bought of Samuel Wiswell two or three “gore pieces,” one “supposed to be a few inches more or less south of Ferry street, and on the west side of Washington St., one the northeast corner of a brick house built by Jedediah Clark.” This is the first mention that is found of any house built on Northrup’s purchase.

In 1801, a map and survey of the whole purchase was made by John D. Spoor. This map is now in the possession of the heirs of Professor Joseph Henry, of Washington. Northrup uses every effort to induce men of a  superior class to build in his new settlement, and how well he succeeded may be understood by comparing Athens with Esperanza. Among the men who were associated in the new enterprise was Alexander Alexander, a merchant of Schenectady, who became a silent partner to the extent of one-eighth of the purchase. Northrup conveyed to him 72 lots, as his portion of the whole, and he had erected a brick house and store on Lot No. 31, west side of Washington street, at a very early day.* [Alexander Alexander was a native of Scotland. How long he lived in the village is not known, but probably not long. He died very young, leaving two children, Stephen Alexander, the celebrated astronomer of Princeton, and Harriet, wife of the not less famous Professor Joseph Henry of the Smithsonian Institute.] 

Another of the parties interested was Patrick Hamilton, brother of Samuel, who lived in the upper village.   He was a large owner of lots, and a prominent man, being for many years one of the judges of the Court of Common Pleas, and connected with many business enterprises.  He died, July 8th 1812, aged 60 years, leaving a wife (Wealthy) and six children; Russel R., John, George C., Charles, Wealthy, and Susan. His grave is in the old burying ground. His cousin, Seth Hamilton, in 1893, built the elegant residence now owned by Gen. George S. Nichols.

Probably none of the early residents were better known than Timothy Bunker, a Quaker, who came from Nantucket. His residence was the house, partly stone and partly wood, built in 1800, on the corner of Warren and Market streets, west side.  He ran the ferry for some years, and was actively engaged in real estate transactions and other business.

The first hotel was built by Joseph Seeley, soon after the starting of the village.  This house stood on the north side of Second street, next west of the hotel now owned by John C. Wormer. It was here that the first town meeting of Athens was held.  His son, Castle Seeley, born in 1788, was postmaster here for twenty years, and owned a large amount of real estate in different parts of the town.

James G. Foster came from Taunton, Massachusetts. As one of the witnesses in the Albert Van Loon will case in 1838, he stated that he was “a little over 50 and had been engaged in brick-making and merchandise for 15 or 20 years.” His store and dwelling were where the Osborne House now is, on the southwest corner of Franklin and Second streets.

The first account we have of any manufacturing interest, is that of Russell Leffingwell’s distillery. He came here in 1802, and carried on the business twelve years. His place of business was by the river side where the north shop-yard now is.  Mr. Northrup built for himself the house in the lower part of the village, now owned by Miss Georgiana Byrnes, and lived there till the time of his removal for the village.  General Samuel Haight, a merchant who had long been one of the most prominent citizens in Catskill, bought several lots, and built the elegant residence now owned by  the heirs of Daniel W. Gantley. Abraham Van Buskirk, who bought the house built by Seth Hamilton, was one of the prominent men of the place. 

Incorporation of The Village

The village had increased to so great an extent that the following act of incorporation was obtained:

“An act to invest certain Powers in the Freeholders and inhabitants of the villages commonly known by the names of Athens, Asperanza, and Loonenburg, Passed April 2, 1805.

“That the district of country contained within the following bounds,  That is to say: beginning at the south end of a bridge that has lately been erected arose the Murderer’s Kill that empties into the Hudson River near the house of Josiah Warner, thence north sixty degrees thirty minutes west, one hundred and six chains to a stake: from then south fourteen degrees west, fourteen chains eighty links: thence south twenty-eight degrees west, eighty-nine chains twenty links: thence  south thirty-six degrees thirty minutes, east seventy-nine chains or thereabouts, keeping the distance of one chain from low water mark into the channel of said river, until the same shall intersect the first mentioned line, to the place of beginning, shall be hereafter known and distinguished by the name of the village of Athens. And it shall and may be lawful to and for the freeholders and inhabitants qualified by law to vote at town meetings, to assemble on the second Tuesday of April next *    *     * then and there to choose five discreet freeholders resident within said village to be Trustees thereof.”

The act then goes on the recite that the said trustees and inhabitants are incorporated as a body corporate, by the name of the “Trustees of the village of Athens;” that they shall have a common seal, and have power to buy real estate for the use of the village, and to raise money by tax for corporation purposes, upon a voter of the tax of the freeholders.  They have also power to make regulations concerning markets, obtaining fire engines, licensing inns and taverns, draining streets to regulate ferries, “provided the same shall not infringe the rights heretofore granted to Timothy Bunker and his successors,” and for grading and paving streets.

This act was amended in 1814, 1822 and 1829. In 1857, the various acts were consolidated, and the village was enlarged to its present limits at the time of building the Athens and Schenectady Railroad.

The house of Josiah Warner, alluded to, stood very near the ice house south of the creek.

Isaac Northrup, the founder of the Athens, moved to Salina, and from thence to Oriskany, where he died, April 21st 1834, aged 67 years.  His wife, Cynthia, was a daughter of Reuben Morton. She died November 1st 1812, aged 46 years, and there is a monument to their memory in the Athens Rural Cemetery. After leaving Athens, Mr. Northrup’s agent was his brother-in-law, William H. Morton, whose parents came to Athens in 1806. Mr. Morton was born in Hudson in 1805, and went into business of ship-building in this place in 1828, following it during the business part of his life.  In 1861 he was appointed postmaster by President Lincoln, and held the office for three years, when he retired from business pursuits. To his care and skill, the Rural Cemetery owes much of its neatness and beauty. Mr. Morton married Miss Marian Wait, and has had a family of thirteen children, of whom six are now living. 


   Home       Table of Contents      Greene County Overview  Home Page

Beers Early Settlement of the Towns Home Page