Biographical Sketches of its Prominent Men
J.B. Beers and Co.
by Hiram Bogardus
Transcribed by Dianne Schnettler, Arlene Goodwin and Annette Campbell
The territory embraced within the present limits of the town was first included in the town of Coxsackie, but in 1790, when that town was divided, and the town of Freehold formed from the western portion, the west confirmation line of Coeyman’s Patent was established at the boundary between the two, and this left fully one-half of the territory with Coxsackie, while the remainder was attached to the newly formed town of Freehold. It remained in this condition until the act was passed by the Legislature, which erected it into a separate town.
For years previous to its settlement, the Catskill Indians had claimed jurisdiction over it, and some of the early grantees saw fit to strengthen their titles by securing one from them. The only reference made by the early settlers to resident Indians, was by Stephen Lampman, who, at the time he made his settlement, found three families living here, for the purpose of shooting deer at a salt spring in the vicinity. These soon disappeared, and what little annoyance was suffered by the first settlers was from wandering bands. With no streams or lakes, so indispensable to the happiness of the huntsman, no secluded glens or mountain ravines serving as a lair from which to start his coveted prey, it presented but few inducements as a permanent home, and if it ever had been such, it had ceased to be, long before the white man trod its pathless wilds.
The ownership of the territory was vested in several proprietors, holding under patents, granted in colonial times, though but little attention was paid to them by the patentees till after the peace of 1783 had confirmed their titles.
Early Land Grants
The grant that was made by Francis Lovelace, governor of New York, to Barent Pietersen Coeymans, and afterward confirmed by Queen Anne, covered nearly one-half the area of the town, but as this patent is fully described in the history of New Baltimore, reference will here be made only to that portion which extended into the town of Greenville. By referring to the organization of the town, it will be found the eastern boundary was established three and one-half miles east of the west confirmation line, and according to the original surveys, the grant extended southward into the town, four miles and 272 rods, or to within about one-half mile of its southern boundary. The oak tree marked thus: X, referred to as the southwest corner of this patent, stood on the northwest corner of the wood lot, now owned by John Whitford. This wood lot contains but a few acres, and has not been attached to any of the adjoining farms for many years, which has left the identity of the corner well preserved. From this starting point it ran north, 6 degrees 45 minutes east, crossing, near the highway leading west from Greenville Centre, the farm-house of Mr. Blaisdell, running a short distance east of Greenville village, and crossing the north line of the town, west of the house formerly owned by John Baker. This tract was eventually divided by the descendants of Andries Coeymans, into two nearly equal portions, by an east and west line, the Ten Eyck branch taking the north part, and the Blaisdells the south part. A small part of the Blaisdell portion was sold, subject to certain yearly rentals, which are still held by the Blaisdell family.
The patent granted to Lieutenant-Colonel Augustine Prevost contained 5000 acres. The following papers are on file in the office of the secretary of State: a memorial of Lieutenant-Colonel Augustine Prevost and his son, Lieutenant August Prevost, praying for a grant of 7000 acres of land in the county of Albany, on the west side of Hudson River to the south of the manor of Rensselaerwick and to the west of the Coeyman’s grant, to the north of Garret Van Bergen’s and others, to the east of John Disco’s and others. Dated March 23rd 1764.
This was accompanied by a certificate of General Gage, certifying to the services of both father and son during the war which had recently closed. This certificate was given March 22nd 1764. A similar memorial was also made January 13th 1767.
Pursuant to a warrant from his excellency Sir Henry Moore, baronet, captain-general and governor-in-chief in and over the province of New York and the territory depending thereon, in America, chancellor and vice-admiral of the same, bearing the date January 19th 1767, a survey was made March 11th as follows by Deputy Adolphus Benzell:
“All that certain tract of land situate, lying and being on the west side of Hudson’s River, in the County of Albany, Beginning at the distance of 104 chains measured in a course North 13 degrees East from a maple tree standing one chain to the west of a brook called Platte Kill, marked with the letter K on the west side thereof, and with several other marks supposed to be the southwest corner of Andries Coeyman’s grant. A large white oak tree standing near the said maple tree marked with the X, both this mark and that on the maple tree appearing to be very old marks, and this tract running from the said place of beginning north 86 [degrees] west, 161 chains and 1 rod, then north 271 chains and one rod to a line of old marked trees, then along the said line of marked trees North 86 [degrees] East, 225 chains, then south 13 [degrees] West, 284 chains to the place where this tract began, containing 5500 acres and the usual allowance for highways.”
This survey was confirmed by Alexander Colden, surveyor general, June 16th 1767.
At the same time a survey was made under a similar warrant for Lieutenant Augustine Prevost, as follows:
“Beginning at the southwest corner of Lieutenant Colonel Prevost’s tract, running west on a parallel line 79 chains and one rod, thence north 265 chains, then east 79 chains and one rod, then south 271 chains to the place of beginning, containing 2000 acres, with the usual allowances.”
This survey was also confirmed June 16th 1767.
The tract of land granted to Marte Gerritse Van Bergen, Thomas Lynot, John French, and others, was south of the Prevost grant, and a portion of it extended into the town of Durham.
The application for the survey was made March 13th 1766, and an order issued for the same May 28th 1767, and confirmed June 27th 1767. The boundaries of this tract are as follows:
“Commencing 104 chains north of the trees already described as the corner of the Coeymans Patent, and at the southeast corner of the tract lately surveyed to Lieutenant Colonel Augustine Prevost, then west along the last mentioned tract 161 chains to a tract lately surveyed to Lieutenant Augustine Prevost, then along the last mentioned tract to a tract formerly granted to Henry Lane and Henry Remsen, then along the eastern bounds of last mentioned tract south 33 [degrees] 30 [minutes] West, to the brook called the Katskill, then down the stream or said brook as it runs to the westerly bounds of a tract formerly granted to Johannes Hallenbeck, then along the said westerly and the northerly and easterly bounds of this last mentioned tract to the easterly corner thereof, then North 46 [degrees] East 96 chains, then North 8 [degrees] East 63 chains to the place where this tract began, containing 2560 acres, with allowances for highways.”
This survey was made by Joseph Blanchard.
A small portion of the Hallenbeck Patent referred to in the last mentioned grant, extended into the town, south of Freehold, and most of the narrow strip south of the Coeyman’s Patent was covered by the Livingston grant. Lieutenant Augustine Prevost, usually referred to as the major, was the only one of original grantees that settled upon any portion of their lands.
The town was organized under the general act for dividing certain towns in the county of Greene, passed March 26th 1803.
That portion relating to the town of Greenville read as follows:
“& be it further enacted that all these several parts of the town of Coxsackie & Freehold, included in the following bounds, viz: Beginning on the northewest bounds of the patent of Augustine Prevost – thence easterly along the lines of Freehold & Rensselaerville till it strikes the west line of the Coeyman’s confirmation – thence easterly along the line of the county 3 ½ miles, thence southerly on a parallel line with the west line of Coxsackie until it intersects the Susquehanna turnpike road – thence easterly along said turnpike until it intersects said confirmation line continued southerly, then south sixty-five degrees and thirty-six minutes west to the middle of Catskill Creek, then up the middle of said creek until it intersects a straight line to be drawn in continuation of the west line of Augustine Prevost’s Patent – then along the line so intersected, & the west line of said patent to the place of beginning, is hereby erected into a separate town to be called Greenfield. & it is further enacted that the 1st town meeting be held at the dwelling house of Eli Knowles.”
The territory taken from the town of Coxsackie by this section of the general act, comprised that portion lying east of the west confirmation line of the Coeyman’s Patent; the remainder was taken from the town of Freehold. On the 6th of April 1808, the name was changed from Greenfield to Freehold, but at a special town meeting held on the 5th of October, the same year, at the house of Seymour Minor, inn-keeper, it was voted to change the name to Greenville. This was confirmed by special act March 17th 1809.
The first town meeting was held at the house of Eli Knowles on Tuesday April 5th 1803, and the following officers elected for the ensuing year:
Supervisor, Stoddard Smith; town clerk, Charles Griggs; overseers of the poor, Aaron Hall and Thomas George; commissioners of highways, Eben Norton, Daniel Miller, and Peter Brandow; assessors, Joshua Baker, Henry Talmadge, and Francis Hicock; pound masters, Ell. Knowles; collector, Reuben Byington; constables, Reuben Byington, Robert Frazier, Joseph Heath, and Nathaniel Fancher.
The following is a list of names of supervisors and town clerks from the organization of the town to 1883:
Supervisors: Stoddard Smith, 1803; Smith Sutherland, 1804-7; Henry B. Lees, 1808; Aaron Hall, 1809; Luther Carter, 1810-13, 1815; Nathan Botsford, 1814; Francis Hicock, 1816; Perkins King, 1817-20; Abijah Reed, 1821, 1822, 1828; Erastus Hamilton, 1823-25, 1836; Amos Botsford, 1826, 1827, 1831-34; Stephen Tryon, 1829-30; Philip Teats, 1835, 1837; Timothy Miller, 1838; Edward H. Miller, 1839, 1855, 1859; Lewis Sherrill, 1840; Augustus Mygatt, 1841; Underhill Young, 1842, 1847; John Budd, 1843, 1844; Erastus Stanton, 1845; Robert Smith, 1846; George Budd, 1848; Amos Botsford, 1849; Rufus W. Watson, 1850; John C. Palmer, 1851; Gideon Botsford, 1852; Russell Wakely, 1853, 1858; O. C. Stevens, 1854; A. N. Bentley, 1856; John C. Palmer, 1857; Aaron Whitbeck, 1860; B. S. McCabe, 1861-64, 1875, 1876; Matthew Story, 1868; Curtis R. Lacey, 1869; Madison Stevens, 1870, 1871; Frederic Becker, 1872; J. H. Coonley, 1873; James Stevens, 1874; Joseph Earl, 1877, 1878; Truman Sanford, 1879; Hiram Lacey, 1880-83.
Town clerks: Charles Griggs, 1803-5; Francis Hicock, 1806-9; Abijah Reed, 1810, 1811, 1813, 1814, 1816-20, 1823-25; William Pitts, 1812; Perkins Kings, 1815; Erastus Hamilton, 1821, 1822, 1829-31; Sheldon Cheritree, 1826-28, 1835; Philip Teats, 1832-34; Guerdon Secor, 1836, 1837; Gideon Botsford, 1838, 1839; A. N.Bentley, 1840; Erastus Slade, 1841; Erastus Stanton, 1842; Hiram Butler, 1843; Darwin Spaulding, 1844; John G. Williamson, 1845; Luman Sherrill, 1846, 1848, 1850, 1862; Samuel Hagaman, 1847; David W. Miller, 1849; B. S. McCabe, 1851; Edgar B. Dodge, 1852; Reuben Wooster, 1853, 1854; John G. Hart, 1855; L. E. Vincent, 1856; E. H. Hamilton, 1857; George E. Palmer, 1858; G. M. Sanford, 1859; Platt Coonley, 1860; James Stevens, 1861, 1873; John H. Allen, 1864; Edwin Wakely, 1865, 1866; Thomas Rundle, 1867, 1868; George N. Bentley, 1869; William R. Thorn, 1870, 1871; Erastus Lampman, 1872; David E. Powell, 1874, 1875; Jay Gibbons, 1876, 1877; John Roe, 1878, 1880; William H. McCabe, 1879; George E. Smith, 1881; M. B. Calkins, 1882; George g. McCabe, 1883.
Among the early enactments passed at their town meetings are found the following, April 3rd 1804:
“Voted that all hogs one year old and upwards may run at large being yoked with a yoke 20 inches long, and that all swine under the age of one year being yoked with a yoke 12 inches long. Owners allowing hogs to run at large unyoked shall be liable to a fine of 50 cents for each offense.”
Entered upon the town records about the same time may be seen a relic of the past as follows:
“Ear Marks. – Henry H. Stone – ear mark, to wit, a square crop off the left ear. John Stone, ear mark – to wit, a square crop off the right ear. Joel Stone, ear mark, a half penny underside of the right ear. Francis Hicoke, ear mark, a nick on the underside of left ear. Joshua Baker, ear mark, a half crop the upper side of the left ear and a half penny on the underside of the same. Felix Norton, ear mark, a nicke in the foreside of the right ear. William Curtis, ear mark, a slit in the end of left ear. Wm. Barker, ear mark, a round hole in right ear, and a half penny underside left ear.”
Soon after its organization, the roads in the town were set off into districts, and in 1813, 14 school districts were organized, to which two have since been added.
The surface is less broken than that of any other town in the country, in fact the larger portion may be described as but slightly rolling, and presenting, especially in the northern and central sections, extended tracts of comparatively level lands.
The soil is mostly a clayey loam, with occasional patches of gravel mixed with reddish slate appearing; and these are found principally on the southern and western borders. It is under a good state of cultivation and well adapted to the production of grass, which, for years past, has received special attention because of the good quality of hay, which is one of the chief articles of export. In addition to hay, a considerable surplus of the cereals is grown, particularly rye, buckwheat, potatoes, and corn, to which may be added the products of the dairy and the different varieties of fruit, especially the apple and pear, which lately have been no inconsiderable items. Most of this surplus find a market in New York city.
According to recent statistics, about 85 per cent of the area of the town is under cultivation, a trifle over 11 per cent reported as timber lands, and the remainder or less that 5 per cent reported as other or waste lands. The 5 per cent referred to includes highways, which would leave but a mere trifle unfit for cultivation.
The soil is in some sections underlaid by a hard pan, in others by hard clay and occasionally by shale, which is usually found from 30 to 50 feet below the surface.
There are no mineral or quarry beds in the town, and aside from the sulphur spring, near West Greenville, nothing worthy of note.
The following statistics are from the State census of 1875, and contain valuable information, showing the extent of the various agricultural productions of that time; and it may be added that they are not in excess of the average.
Number of acres of improved land, 21,138; woodland, 2,985; other land, 1432; owners of land, 345; value of farms, $1,483,990; stock$138,820; gross sales from farms, $104,843; value of poultry owned, $4,530; value of poultry sold, $1,572; eggs, $6,948; acres of buckwheat sown, 675; bushels produced, 11,411; acres of corn planted, 1,215; bushels produced, 16,804; acres of oats sown, 2,118; bushels produced, 43,000; acres of rye sown, 1,265; bushels produced, 19,735; acres of potatoes planted, 322; bushels produced, 14,381; tons of hay produced, 11,285; number of apple trees in orchards, 34,254; bushels of apples produced, 31, 135; barrels of cider manufactured, 581; pounds of honey produced, 3,405; average number of milch cows kept, 909; pounds of butter made, 103,286; gallons of milk sold, 270; number of sheep shorn, 1,315; weight of clips, 5,652 pounds; number of lambs raised, 998; number of sheep killed by dogs, 11; number of pound of pork raised on farms, 106,424.
The number of acres of land in the town is 24,962. Value of lands as corrected by the board of supervisors in 1883, $1,021, 113. Value of personal property, $101,150.
The population of the town in 1875 was 2,031, classified as follows: native born, 1,965; foreign born, 66; colored, 43; white, 1,988; males 988; females, 1,043; aliens, 6; males of voting age, 604; males of school age (over 5 and under 18), 244; females of school age, 246.
The Basic, the west branch of the Potick, and Jan-de-Bakker, with the small tributaries that empty into them, are the only creeks in the town, except on the southwestern side, where the middle of the Katskill forms the boundary for a short distance.
The Basic enters the town from the north, a short distance west of the center, and flowing in a southerly course, empties into the Katskill near the village of Freehold. This is the largest stream in the town, and during freshets is rapid, and occasions considerable damage. Two small streams rise near the center of the town and form the head waters of the Jan-de-Bakker. These unite, a short distance southeast of Greenville Centre, and flow southerly into the town of Cairo.
The west branch of the Potick Creek crosses the town from north to south near the eastern side. This stream has a small tributary rising near Newry, and flowing southeasterly it unites with it a short distance above the Coxsackie line. The upper part of this tributary was known as the Rundle Creek, from the early mills located in it and the lower part as the Losee Creek from the same cause.
The first grist-mill in the town was built by Augustine Prevost. It stood on a small stream known as Prevost Creek, a short distance above where it empties into the Basic, and on the farm afterward owned by Josiah Rundle. This mill was standing, within the memory of many now living, although it did not continue in use many years. Several saw-mills and fulling-mills were built at an early day on the upper Basic, although but little can be said of them at present, except that the Hicock family had a saw-mill above the Scripture Bridge, and also a share in a fulling-mill near by. On the lower Basic, in the vicinity of Freehold, Nathaniel Holmes built a saw-mill on what is now the Earl’s lot as early as 1800, and soon after, a grist-mill a few rods above where the Minor mill now stands. The saw-mill soon ceased its usefulness, but the grist-mill stood for many years, and was finally converted into a barn by the King brothers, who had previously purchased it of the Jennings family. A grist-mill and saw-mill were also built soon after 1800, on the present site of Jennings’ mills, which will be referred to hereafter.
The King brothers came to Greenville about 1802, and soon after built a woolen-mill just below where the old Holmes mill stood. It was on a small scale at first, but was afterward enlarged, and for many years an extensive business was carried on by the Kings, in the manufacture of cloth, carding, etc.
It was destroyed by fire in 1852.
The saw-mill that stood on the Rundle Creek was built by Reuben Rundle, probably as early as 1805, and was in operation till about 1845, when it was taken down. Mr. Cobb and David Baker built a saw-mill on the west branch of the Potick Creek, near where John Austin now lives. It was built early and was standing in 1840, but was taken down soon after. This mill ran two upright saws and was the only one of the kind in the town. James Waldron built a saw-mill on the Jan-de-Bakker Creek, a short distance above the Place mill, the site of which is still to be seen. The mill was built as late as 1839. Other mills were built early on the several streams, but nothing definite can be said of them, in some cases not even the names of the builders are known.
There are at present four grist-mills and six saw-mills in the town, all of which are in operation some portion of the year. Of this number, the Losee mill is the oldest. It was built by Simeon Losee in 1792-3 on Losee Creek, a short distance above where it empties into the Potick Creek, and on the same site where the present one stands. The first mill had an upright saw with flutter wheel, had about 20 feet fall, and was long remembered as the best of the kind in the town. It has been repaired several times and run almost continuously since it was first erected. In 1878 it was purchased by George Losee, grandson of the first builder, and rebuilt and enlarged by him and his son-in-law, L. J. Smith. It has now a circular saw, turbine wheel and a 25 horse power steam engine. Attached to the saw-mill and run by the same power, is a feed mill, two turning lathes, planing machine, one upright drill, two circular saws, machine for the manufacture of hubs and spokes, pail lathes, etc. In 1881 and 1882 it was run to its full capacity, but at present more attention is given to the manufacture of Smith’s Excelsior Patent Butter Package.
Henry and Peter Bogardus built a saw-mill on the east branch of the Jan-de-Bakker , where the present one stands, about 1820. It had an old-fashioned flutter wheel, upright saw, and about 16 feet fall, and is the same kind of mill now. It has been kept in running order most of the time since it was erected. It has recently been put in good repair, and it is owned by Gilbert Bogardus, son of Henry. It has the only upright saw and flutter wheel in the town.
A saw-mill was built quite early where the present Place mill stands. The builder was probably Thomas Place, though others had an interest in it. It was at one time owned by Elijah Jump, but has most of the time remained in the hands of the Place family. The first mill was like all the early mills, with upright saw and flutter wheel. It was rebuilt several years ago by G. L. Place, who remodeled it after the most improved plan, with turbine wheel and circular saw, and in connection with it is a shingle machine. The fall is about 13 feet.
The Jennings’ grist-mill at Freehold stands on Basic Creek. It was built soon after the year 1800, by the ancestor of the present proprietor, and has remained in the hands of the Jennings family ever since. In 1881 it received extensive repairs, with new machinery. A plaster-mill was attached at the same time. Soon after, a steam engine was put in, and it is now run by both water and steam. It is doing an extensive business, and may be said to nearly control the buckwheat trade in this section of the county. The saw-mill near by was built by the same man, and, like the grist-mill, has been kept doing business, and remained in the possession of the same family. It has a turbine wheel, a circular saw, and about 12 feet fall.
The first building erected on the present site of the Minor mill, which stands a short distance above the Jennings mill, and on the same stream, was built for a tannery, and afterward purchased by the King Brothers, and a portion of it converted into a grist-mill. It remained idle for several years prior to 1849, when it was purchased and rebuilt by James Eckler.
Some time after this, it passed into the hands of Garret Becker, who, after running it for a number of years, sold it to D. J. Minor. The mill was burned in 1811, but has since been rebuilt, and is now doing a good business.
The Shaw grist-mill is nearly two miles north of the Minor mill on the Basic, and was built by Noah Shaw, in 1851 or 1852. In has two run of stone, a turbine wheel, and 14 feet fall. Mr. Knickerbocker, the present lessee, has done considerable business for the past three years in the purchase of grain, especially rye, and flouring it for other markets. The saw-mill near by was built by the Shaw family soon after the grist-mill was erected. It has a circular saw, turbine wheel, and 15 feet fall. Both mills are now owned by Elijah Shaw, son of Noah.
The Sherrill grist-mill, about one mile above the Shaw mills, was erected by Lewis Sherrill, and has an overshot wheel, three run of stone, and 18 feet fall. The saw-mill near has a circular saw, turbine wheel, and 16 feet fall.
As early as 1805, a tannery was built in Freehold on what is now the Holmes house lot. The name of the builder was Sanford, and he continued the business till 1808, when Major Winton became a partner, and a new and larger building was erected on the present site of the Minor mills. Here, a large number of men were employed for several years, and an extensive business done. Winston finally retired, and was succeeded by Rouse, Burroughs and Company, who continued the business till the scarcity of bark compelled them to dissolve.
Another tannery of considerable importance was erected a short time before the one in Freehold, at Newry, by Daniel Miller. It stood a short distance from the present residence of Charles E. Wooster. Mr. Miller was one of the early enterprising men of the town, and was soon engaged in an extensive business, not only in tanning, but shoe-making, harness-making, etc. He continued the business for many years, drawing around him quite a settlement, of which he was the moving spirit. His two sons, Jones and Edward H., remained upon the old purchase, and are well remembered for their enterprise and public spirit.
Several smaller tanneries sprang up at different periods in various localities, but were on a small scale, and had but a short duration. The only one of importance besides the first two mentioned, was the one at Greenville village, built by Jonathan Sherrill, father of Lewis. It was built early, and the building stood on the present site of the hotel, with the vats in the meadow back of it. Like the others, after running a few years, it was given up for want of bark.
In addition to leather, the manufacture of staves and shingles amounted in the aggregate to a considerable business. Many of the early settlers appropriated most of the available timber to such uses, and their staves found a ready market in Coxsackie and Catskill, and, in course of time, among the home traders in exchange for merchandise. The name of John L. Raymond should not be forgotten in the list of early manufacturers. He was one of the first settlers on the Prevost Patent, and located on the farm now owned by T. L. Slater, which remained in possession of his descendants till 1835, when it was purchased by Noah Shaw. He was a blacksmith by trade, and early established a nail factory, where he made most of the different sizes of nails used at the present day.
For many years he was known as Uncle, alias “Naily,” Raymond, and soon added to his business the making of various farming tools, such as shovels, forks, chains, points for the old wooden plows, etc. His business was on a small scale, but sufficient to supply the demand of the times, and he necessarily became a very important man among the settlers. The nails were of wrought iron, and are still to be found in some of the old buildings.
The above comprise the principal manufactories of early days, and those that started later have been confined to the villages, and will be noticed further on.
The first highway in the town to which any reference is made, is the one leading south from the Brandow settlement. This was extended north to the Lampman and Bogardus settlements, and soon after, the one leading south from Mr. Lampman’s was constructed, which for several years was the main route of travel from the settlement at Coxsackie to Greenville and vicinity.
Soon after the town was organized, the newly elected commissioners divided the highways in districts as follows:
District No. 1. Beginning at turnpike near John Savage’s hat shop and running easterly to confirmation line, including road from John Salisbury’s to Canton line. District No. 2. Beginning at the house of Michael Conway and running to east bounds of town, including road by J. Smith’s to east corner of town. District No. 3. Beginning at house of T. Goodwich and running westerly to middle of Bridge near Captain Dodge’s. District No. 14. Beginning at Caleb Butler’s and running west to Hinman’s store. District No. 19. Beginning by Augustine Prevost’s gate, and running westerly to road leading to Thomas George’s; thence north to town line. District No. 20. Beginning at west line of town and running east till it intersects the road leading to grist-mill near Basic Creek, together with that part of the old Schoharie from P. Baldwin’s to the pole bridge near dug road. District No. 4. Beginning at Ebenezer Carter’s house, and running southerly to John Salisbury’s; also road from Mrs. Cook’s, westerly to Coxsackie road. District No. ----. Beginning at Major Prevost’s grist-mill, and running north to Calhoun’s saw-mill, then west to Major Prevost’s gate before his house. District No. 25. Beginning at Joseph Heath’s store and running north to John Huntington’s. District No. 21. Beginning at main road near house of Joseph Collins, and running north to house of Eli Annabel. District No. 11. Beginning at the crotch of the road south of Truman Sandford’s, and running northerly to what was called Barrel’s road. District No. 13. Beginning at Huggins Conklin’s, and running westerly to Enos Collins’. District No. 38. Beginning at bridge near Captain Dodge’s, and running southerly to Canton [Cairo] line. District No. 35. Beginning at east line of town and running westerly to Abel Butler’s. District No. 8. Beginning at north line of town, and running southerly to Hinman’s store. District No. 21. Beginning at north line of town near Gersham Lake’s, and running southerly to David Calhoun’s. District No. 16. Beginning at the house of Isaac Blakelees, and running easterly to the cross road by Daniel Perry’s. District No. 10. Beginning at bridge north of Levi Rogers’, and running southerly to Widow Platt’s house, including road from Katskill Creek near Selah Lusk’s, to Abram Vosburg’s. District No. 33. Beginning at main road near William Chevalier’s, and running southerly to town line. District No. 5. Beginning at Jacob Bogardus’ barn, and running westerly to Coxsackie road near Hinman’s store. District No. 9. Beginning at town line, and running westerly to Jacob Bogardus’ barn. District No. 30. Beginning at Thomas Place’s and running southerly to turnpike. District No. 22. Beginning at end of road that came from Abram Post’s, and running west to town line, together with north and south road from Jonathan Stoke’s to town line. District No. 28. Beginning at east line of town, by Stephen Lampman’s, and running northerly to Obadiah King’s. District No. 17. Beginning at house of Jacob Rundle, and running westerly to John Huntington’s. District No. 12. Beginning at house of Widow Hanks, and running to house of Joseph Bullus. District No. 18. Beginning at J. Huntington’s, and running northerly to road near Stoddard Smith’s. District No. 27. Beginning at saw-mill (Gibbs’), and running southerly to house of Stephen Benedict. District No. 35. Beginning at Esquire Knowles’ old place, and running southerly to Ebenezer Carter’s house, including road from C. Darbey’s house. District No. 30. Beginning at house of Joseph Heath, and running southerly to turnpike. District No. 26. Beginning at Stephen Lampman’s, and running westerly to Thomas Places’ house. District No. 23. Beginning at the east side of Fly Kill, and running westerly to town line. District No. 36. Beginning at the house of Joshua Baker, and running to old confirmation line near Captain Sutherland’s, including road from Gilbert Jump’s to the old road from Jonathan Van Schaack’s to David Secor’s. District No. 7. Beginning at west end of Nicholas Grosbeck’s house, and running westerly to the Fly Kill, in north road to Peter Brandow’s barn. District No. 31. Beginning at Schoharie Turnpike, south of John Stanton’s, and running westerly to town line. District No. 37. Beginning at house of Daniel Miller, and running southerly to house of Samuel Conel. District No. 15. Beginning at middle of bridge over Basic Creek, running to Hinman’s store, and then south to Underhill Budd’s. District No. 6. Beginning at Prevost grist-mill, and running southerly to saw-mill. District No. 31. Beginning at the house of Mr. Coneway, and running westerly to town line.
As early as 1802 or 1803, a post route was established between Coxsackie and Westerlo, which passed through Greenville village, where a post was located, and soon afterward another one was established at Newry. The mail was carried on horseback by a man named Brown, familiarly known in those days as Old Brownie. His first name is unknown, but he is described as a good-natured, jolly old man, though somewhat eccentric. Many amusing anecdotes are still related of the tricks he used to play on the settlers, and the stories he used to tell. His usual stopping place for the night was at Newry, and he delivered the mail to his patrons along the route. That for the vicinity of Aaron Hall’s was left between two flat stones on the four corners east of where David Hall now resides. The country was at that time rapidly developing, and from a weekly it was soon changed to a semi-weekly mail, and greater regularity was observed in its delivery. It was not many years before it was converted into a regular mail route, and Stewart Austin of Coxsackie was the first carrier to run a stage in connection with it, which was probably as early as 1815. Mr. Austin had the contract for carrying the mail from the time he first received it, except at short intervals, till his death, which occurred about 1850, when it was let to Richard Griffin, who kept control of it till 1876, or for a period of over 25 years. Silas Wright obtained the contract for the next four years, when Mr. Griffin again secured it, but he soon gave it up, and it is now carried by James Evans. Since 1860 it has been a daily mail route. There are at present four post-offices in the town: Greenville, Norton Hill, Freehold and Gayhead. All except the latter receive a daily mail, and that a tri-weekly. The postmasters are: A. N. Bentley, Greenville; Luman Ramsdell, Norton Hill; Curtis Lacey, Freehold; and --------, Gayhead.
Godfrey Brandow (No. 5 Brandow gen.) was the pioneer settler in the town. It has generally been claimed that he was of Dutch descent, but the place of his birth cannot be determined, as no family records have been preserved, and what little I known of his early life has been gathered from church records and family traditions.
From these it would appear that his wife’s name was Catherine Overbaugh, and that for some time previous to his settling in Greenville, he had lived in the vicinity of Saugerties. Certain data fix the time of his settlement with reasonable accuracy, which was in the spring or early summer of 1750, when he located a tract of land in the southeast part of the town, built a log-house on what is now known as the Seabridge farm, and moved to it his family, which at that time consisted of his wife and four children, two girls and two boys. A family named Overbaugh, relatives of his wife, had a short time previously settled in the vicinity of Sandy Plains, and this family, until the arrival of Stephen Lampman, a few years later, were his nearest neighbors.
His occupancy comprised about 800 acres, and was covered in part by two patents, the south part being on the Livingston, and the north part on the Coeyman’s Patent, and by what was afterwards designated as Lot No. 1 of the sixth allotment. The place he selected for his clearing was on a ridge near the northern extremity, and was covered by a dense forest, mostly of the harder woods, such as oak, hickory, and maple. This gradually melted away before his sturdy perseverance, and when Mr. Lampman visited him some ten years later, he found him in possession of a large clearing, well stocked with cattle and sheep, and surrounded by many of the comforts of civilized life. Mr. Brandow did not come with his hands only to his wilderness home, but was well supplied with the various agricultural and mechanical implements so much needed in pioneer life; these are described as of Holland manufacture and still remembered for their rude and antiquated appearance. Few events of interest connected with the first years of his pioneer life, have come down to the present time; no exciting scenes of Indian raids, or hair breadth escapes, for the monotony of his home was broken only by the occasional inroads of the prowling wolf, or still more savage denizen of the forest, followed by the quick rally, and prolonged chase of the intruders. His daughter Catharine, baptized in the Old Catskill church October 13th 1751, was the first child of European parents born within the limits of the town, and the first marriage between residents of the town was that of his daughter Maria to Stephen Lampman. His son John settled upon the south part of the purchase, near where Miner Stevens now resides, and left several children, some of whose descendants are now living in the town of Coxsackie, although little can be said of his family as no records have been kept.
Mr. Brandow died at an advanced age, about 1795, and was buried in the family cemetery near his residence, but the inscription on the rude stone that is still pointed out as marking his resting place, is entirely obliterated, and all efforts to ascertain the date of his death have been fruitless.
He left the old homestead to his second and only remaining son, Peter (No. 44 Brandow gen.) who at his death, in 1836, bequeathed it to his sons Jacob and Peter P. It remained in their possession till 1850, when it passed from the Brandow family into other hands. To the two daughters of Peter, Elizabeth and Sarah, now living in Greenville Centre, especially the former, now upwards of 80 years of age and from childhood a residents to the town, much valuable information has been obtained, not only concerning their own family, but also many recollections of early times. They are the oldest grandchildren of Godfrey Brandow now living.
Peter, son of Godfrey and Catharine Brandow, was born March 22d 1750, and married Hannah, daughter of Jacob and Mariah Bogardus.
savors so much of romance that it deserves a passing notice. He had in his more
youthful days courted Marie Vandenberg of Coxsackie, but she bestowed her hand
on Jacob Bogardus, his more successful rival. Chagrined at this, it is said, he
resolved upon a life of celibacy, but the first child of this union born proving
to be a daughter, a reconciliation took place upon the conditions that he might
marry her in case he could win her love. This he succeeded in doing, and they
were married in 1792.
The result of this union was 11 children, seven boys and four girls.
1. Catharine, born November 1st 1793, married John Waldron, and died June 15th 1847 in Coxsackie.
2. Jacob, born April 6th 1796, married Polly Bogardus, and died October 12th 1870 in Greenville.
3. John, born March 14th 1798, married first, Nellie Welch, second Ann Van Woert, and died March 7th 1882, at Athens.
4. Mary, born July 23d 1800, married Abram Lampman (grandson of Stephen), and died April 18th 1860 in Michigan.
5. Elizabeth, born August 30th 1803, married Silas Baldwin, and now lives in Greenville.
6. Peter P., born March 4th 1805, married Mariah Lampman, and died February 26th 1881 in Greenville.
7. Isaac, born March 1st 1808, died in infancy.
8. Sarah, born March 10th 1811, married Anson Dodge, and lives in Greenville.
9. Ephraim, born July 10th 1813, married Betsey Ann Austin, and lives in town of Cairo.
10. Henry, born September 14th 1815, supposed to be in California if living.
11. William, born October 27th 1818, married Ann Wydeman, and died March 17th 1850 in Greenville.
Next in the order
of settlers we find in the winter of 1759-60, one Stephen Lampman, a young man
of Dutch descent, coming from Coeymans with his ox team and sled to within a
short distance on the north of the Brandow purchase, where he selected 200 acres
of land, commenced clearing away the forest and a few years afterward built the
first frame building in the territory now embraced in the town. He married
Maria, oldest daughter of Godfrey and Catharine Brandow.
The house built by Mr. Lampman stood on what was for many years the only road leading to Coxsackie settlement, and beneath its roof the occasional traveler found food and shelter for the night. With the needs of the country this house became first a tavern and later a place of meeting for night schools which were the only available means of education within the reach of the early settlers, and also a place for religious meetings. Some of the timbers of which it was constructed were 16 by 24 inches in size. The floor and roof boards were split from white wood and ash, and the shingles were from three to four feet in length.
A portion of this building still remains, converted into a wagon house, and is an object of much curiosity as a relic of the past. Mr. Lampman’s purchase was on the same subdivision of the Coeyman’s Patent as that of Godfrey Brandow, and was on the south boundary of the portion afterward set apart to Auntie Coeymans, wife of Levi Blaisdell. Most of it is now owned by James Earl, and the residence stands near the site of the old Lampman mansion. Mr. Lampman is remembered by the older settlers as a man of sterling worth, untiring industry and true Christian benevolence. He left at his death, in 1813, three sons, Peter, Abram, and William, all now deceased; some of their descendants still live in Greenville.
Jacob Bogardus was the next to follow Mr. Lampman. He came from Coxsackie in the spring of 1772, and commenced a clearing on the same farm now owned and occupied by his grandsons, Henry and David Bogardus. Alone in the forest, with no knowledge of any settlement west of him, he spent two summers, reclaiming the wilderness and laying the foundation for his future home, but he returned to Coxsackie to spend the winter. During this interval he had married, and coming back in the spring of 1774 to complete preparations for moving his family, he found evident traces of Indian depredations about his settlement. The frequent appearance of the Indians with hostile intention, together with the uncertainty of his title for his lands, which was a lease from the Coeymans heirs, and which in case of a rupture with the mother country, might be declared invalid, induced him to return to Coxsackie and defer his removal till more peaceful times.
The war soon after breaking out, he enlisted as a minute-man, and served as such till its close, paying only occasional short visits to his settlement.
In the spring of 1783 he brought out his family, consisting of his wife and four children, two girls and two boys. The log house he had prepared for their reception stood a few rods east of where the family residence now stands. His lease covered over 800 acres and was upon that part of the Coeymans Patent which was awarded in the subdivision to the Ten Eyck heirs. It extended to the south bounds of this subdivision, and comprised parts of Lots No. 1, 3,and 5 of the sixth allotment. About 400 acres of this land was soon disposed of to newly arrived settlers, among others his brother Nanning, who purchased 200 acres and settled on it in 1784; the remainder he reserved for himself, and the old deeds now in possession of the family bear different dates, though a uniform price was paid for each parcel, and given by the same parties. The last one is a deed for 120 acres, given by Conrad and Anthony Ten Eyck to Jacob Bogardus, in consideration of the some of £120, dated June 8th 1794. This is described as being on Lot No. 1 of the sixth allotment, while others are described as being on Lots Nos. 3 and 5 of the subdivision made by Archibald Campbell, of Lot No.1 in the sixth allotment. Jacob Bogardus was of Dutch parentage, and a direct descendant of Everardus Bogardus, the first minister sent over by the Dutch West India Company to New Amsterdam. He is still remembered as possessing many of the characteristics of a race long noted for their honesty of purpose, and retained till the close of this life many of their customs and manners, which were carefully imparted to his children. At his death, which occurred April 24th 1839, his real estate passed into the hands of his two sons, Henry and Peter. Henry took the western portion, and at this death, October 15th 1871, left it to his two sons, Isaac and Gilbert. Isaac, recently deceased, left his inheritance to his only child, Pamelia, wife of Albert Blenis; Gilbert, born January 20th 1820, now owns and occupies the old homestead of his father. Peter retained the eastern part, which contains the family residence, and at his death, December 3d 1880, it passed into the hands of his two sons, Henry P. and David, who now own and occupy it.
Jacob, son of Ephraim and Annatje Bogardus, was born in Coxsackie, September 15th 1750, and died in Greenville, April 24th 1839. He married Marie Vandenberg of Coxsackie (probably in 1773). The result of this union was eight children---five boys and three girls.
Hannah, born in Coxsackie August 30th 1774, married Peter Brandow (son of Godfrey), and died in Greenville; Catharine, born in Coxsackie August 16th 1777, married John Ferris of Greenville, and died in Steuben county, New York; Ephraim, born in Coxsackie August 1st 1779, and died in Onondago county, New York; Henry, born in Coxsackie, baptized April 6th 1783, married Cornelia Bogardus, and died in Greenville October 15th 1871, on old purchase; Peter, born in Greenville February 10th 1785, baptized in Coxsackie church March 13th 1785, died on old homestead, where he had resided from birth, December 3d 1880; Elizabeth, born in Greenville, baptized in Coxsackie church June 21st 1789, died in Greenville December 1862; Nanning, born in Greenville, died in infancy; Nanning (2d), born in Greenville, died in Schoharie county, New York.
Nanning Bogardus, who settled in Greenville in 1784, on part of his brother Jacob’s purchase, was born in Coxsackie, May 11th 1761, and died in Greenville October 24th 1828. He left his land to his two sons, Henry N. and John, both of whom are now deceased, and no part of the original purchase remains in the hands of his immediate descendants. He enlisted in the Revolutionary army, his principal service being with General Sullivan. He had command of a company of rangers.
Benjamin Spees, Edward Lake, and Eleazer Knowles, were among the first settlers in the vicinity of Greenville village. In the summer of 1781, they left their homes in the good old State of Connecticut on horseback, crossed the river at Hudson, and made their perilous way through the forest to where the village of Greenville now stands. Locating their lands, they returned to their homes in Woodbury, Connecticut, but the following winter, bade adieu to the loved ones there, and came with their families and the few others who were induced to join them, and began preparations from homes in this region, which was then the far West.
They were the hardy sons of hardy New Englanders, and had been taught the economy and industry which had enabled their fathers to thrive among the rocks and hills of their native country. In the exercise of that independent, self-reliant spirit, inherited from their sires, they had left their paternal homes to make a settlement here in the untamed wilderness.
Eleazer Knowles built his cabin on the east brow of Budd’s Hill, where he purchased 600 acres of land. A portion of this land still remains in the possession of the Knowles family. Benjamin Spees purchased an equal quantity to the north of the village, a portion of that now owned by Samuel Spees, and moved into a log cabin a short distance to the west of the old residence of Robert F. Spees. This cabin was built by a tory squatter, and was said to have been used to secrete stolen goods in.
Edward Lake made his purchase and built his cabin where the residence of Ezra Sherrill now stands. These purchases were all located on the Prevost Patent. The settlement steadily increased, and they were soon surrounded by such men as Abel Wakely, Abram Post, Japhet Collins, Bethuel Hindman, William Hooker, Peter Curtis, Edward Wooster, Augustine Prevost, David Hickock, Aaron Hall, and Joseph Blakesly. Several of these have descendants now living upon the old purchases. The tide of emigration had fairly set in, and in the eastern part of the town, Reuben Rundle, Henry Webber, Simeon Losee, Obediah King, Denis O. Blenis and others soon after settled. In the southern part Nathaniel Fancher, who settled at Greenville Centre on 400 acres of land, located on the Ten Eyck portion of Coeyman’s Patent, parts of which are now owned by A. C. Fancher. Abel H. Townsend, Russell Townsend, and heirs of J. G. Williamson. Gilbert Jump settled where J. W. Smith now resides. Joshua Baker’s purchase was where George E. Williamson now resides. Thomas Place settled at Place’s Corners, and Luke Garner settled a short distance west of Mr. Place. The last named located their lands on the Blaisdell portion of Coeyman’s Patent. In the west part or vicinity of Norton Hill, were the Nortons, Leets, Slawsons, and others many others came with the above or soon after, and did their share in developing the resources of the town. A large proportion of these settlers were from Connecticut, Massachusetts, or Dutchess county, and with very few exceptions were men of enterprise, well calculated to battle with the difficulties before them. Peter Curtis, who held the office of road commissioner for several years before the town was organized, settled where Foster Powell now lives, but so far as known has no descendants living in town. Aaron Hall settled on the same farm now owned by his son, David.
Japhet Collins settled a short distance to the north west of where David Hall now resides, the property at present owned by George Helley.
Abel Wakely’s purchase was north of Mr. Knowles’, and a portion of it is now occupied by his grandson, Edward Wakely.
Simeon Losee was born in Connecticut in 1754. He came to Greenville in 1790 or 1791, and selected a tract of land, building his cabin near the present residence of his great-grandson, David S. Losee. His purchase was made of the Ten Eycks, and comprised over 600 acres, much of it covered with a large growth of pine and hemlock timber. Soon after his arrival he erected a saw-mill, the first one in this part of the town.
He remained here till his death in 1806. His wife’s name was Freelove Merritt of Dutchess county, who died in Greenville, August 3d 1834, aged 96 years. He left at his death five children, two boys and three girls. His two sons, Hiram and Stephen, remained on the old homestead. They were among the enterprising men of their day, and were often referred to for their integrity and uprightness. Hiram married Affee Deyoe, and left at his death, in 1835, nine children, five boys and four girls. Of these but three have resided in the town for a number of years: Freelove, born May 20th 1800, married Henry N., son of Nanning Bogardus, and died March 24th 1881 in Greenville; Ann, widow of S. L. Newman; and George, now living on part of the old inheritance.
His second son, Stephen, was born February 5th 1778, and died in 1849. He married Rachel, daughter of Obediah King of Greenville. The result of this union was 13 children, nine boys and four girls: David, born March 24th 1801, died in Greenville April 18th 1868; Hiram, born May 18th 1803, now living in Greenville; Samuel, born July 10th, 1805, died in Greenville November 11th 1874; Jacob, born January 15th 1808, now living in Greenville; Electa C., born April 9th 1810; Ransom, born May 6th, 1812; Roswell, born June 14th 1814; Abigail, born December 14th 1816, died July 26th 1875; Stephen A., born November 18th 1819, now living in Greenville; Charles S., born March 10th 1822, died young; Charles H., born August 6th 1824; James born November 12th 1826, now living in Greenville; Rebecca, born May 27th 1829.
His grandson, William H., son of Hiram, now owns the old homestead.
Obediah King came into Greenville from Dutchess county about 1791, and settled where his grandson, Thompson King, now resides. The deed of this tract is from Levi Blaisdell and Annatje, his wife, to Obediah King of the town of Coxsackie, and conveys 115 acres in consideration of the sum of £115. It is described as being on Lot No. 2 of the sixth allotment of general subdivision of Coeyman’s Patent made by Guysbert Marcellus, Aric Lagrange, and Archibald Campbell, as commissioners appointed for that purpose, and known in subdivision of Eliab Yeoman by the name of Lot No. 11. It was bounded on the west by lands of Nathaniel Palmer, south by the lot line, east by lands of Stephen Lampman, and Stephen Benedict, north in part by the highway. This deed is now in possession of Thompson King, as are also two leases from the Ten Eyck’s to Obediah King, dated respectively January 21st 1797 and November 19th 1800. The first * (This was the lot on which Henry Webber settled about 1786) covers 86 ½ acres and is in consideration of a pepper corn the first year and yearly rental thereafter of £ 6 1s; the second covers 64 acres with same condition the first year, and yearly rental thereafter of £4 9s 7d. The right of soil was soon purchased and both lots were deeded by Mr. King, April 5th 1827, to David and Hiram Losee; the first for the sum of $1,800 and the second for $1,574 now owned by McKinch. He soon extended his possessions till they covered over 500 acres, and in 1801 he built a saw-mill on the west branch of Potick Creek, a few rods south of Coxsackie line. The dam was built by John Boyd, a native of Ireland, who had recently moved into the town of Greenville where he remained till his death, about 1848, and who has descendants now living here.
Mr. King died in 1844, aged 80 years. Most of his estate, either before or after his death, passed into the hands of his son, Obediah, who resided upon it till his death, when it was left in possession of his two sons, Thompson and George, and it still remains so.
Joseph Waldron, one of the early, enterprising settlers of the town, was of Dutch descent, and came from Coeymans into Greenville, about 1790.
He settled on the farm, a part of which is now owned by the heirs of his grandson, Truman Waldron, and the remainder by his grandson, Newman Waldron.
Reuben Rundle was born in Greenwich, Fairfield county, Connecticut, March 10th 1757.
In 1776 he enlisted in the Revolutionary army. He was attached to Colonel Thomas’ regiment, New York State militia, and did some service at Kings Bridge and other places. He served in various capacities as a soldier, at sometime acting as lieutenant, till the spring of 1781, when he received his discharge. On the 25th of December 1781, he married Sarah Holly, of Stamford, Connecticut, and soon afterward started in the business of tanning, currying, and shoemaking in his native place. Meeting with reverses, he determined to seek a home in the West, and landed at Catskill on the 8th or 9th of April 1786. His family at this time consisted of this wife and two sons, Josiah and Reuben. Leaving them at Wessel Salisbury’s, in the vicinity of Sandy Plains, he came on to Greenville, and built a log cabin on the farm now owned by Frank Dean. There he moved his family on the first day of May 1786. His reverses had left him poor, and for the first few years he was compelled to devote a part of his time to his trade, that of shoemaking, to keep his family from starving. The leather was purchased in Catskill, brought home on his back, made into boots an shoes, and exchanged for grain, which in turn had to be carried some ten miles to the nearest mill, then without a bolt.
With a wilderness around him and no team, he was obliged to roll and heap the logs on his first clearing by hand, but he was a man of extraordinary endurance and well calculated to surmount the difficulties that surrounded him. His sympathizing wife should not be forgotten in the part she bore during these trying times, for, in addition to her household duties, she was daily to be found in the fallow, heaping and burning brush. In after years, when success had crowned his efforts, and he was in possession of a well earned competency, he frequently alluded to his early hardships and trials, which, to us of the present day, would seem almost insurmountable. His occupancy was on the Ten Eyck portion of the Coeyman’s Patent, and though limited at first, was afterward extended by additional purchases. In 1837 he made a division of all his personal and real estate among his children, though he continued to reside upon it till his death, which occurred October 25th 1849.
He was a communicant of the Episcopal church, and at the organization of the one erected near him in 1825, towards which he and his family contributed so largely, he was chosen senior warden. He served as such till his death, and in his will bequeathed to the wardens and vestry for the benefit of the church, the interest of $500 in perpetuity.
Reuben Rundle left three sons who settled in Greenville, Josiah, Reuben, and Hardy. Josiah commenced business for himself near West Greenville, on the farm now occupied by William Smith, where he remained till his death. He has two daughters now living in Greenville.
Reuben kept the old homestead, where he lived till about 1850, when he was killed while crossing the river from Athens to Hudson, by a stone from a blast on the Hudson River Railroad. He left no children.
Hardy commenced on the farm now occupied in part by his daughter, Julia, widow of J. F. Burroughs, where he soon after opened a hotel and store, as well as the manufacturing of cider brandy. He left three children at his death: Margaret (now deceased), Julia, referred to above, and George L., now living on part of the old inheritance.
Augustine Prevost, whose patent covered 7,000 acres, was born at Geneva, Switzerland, August 29th 1744. He entered the English army at an early age, and served as lieutenant of the 4th battalion in the 3d royal American regiment, of which his father was colonel. His services were principally in the French and Indian war, and the probabilities are, that after its close he did not return to England, but remained in America. He came to the town of Greenville in 1794, having previously commenced improving his domain by erecting a moderate-sized frame building near the center of his tract, which is still standing, and comprises the east wing of the present Prevost mansion. Here he moved his family, and soon after built several tenant houses, a grist-mill, saw-mill, etc., opened an office for the sale of his lands, which were offered on the most liberal terms, and held out various inducements to all who were disposed to settle on any portion of them. He sold his lands in sections to suit purchasers, built roads for the accommodation of the settlers, and donated largely for religious and school purposes, among others the beautiful plot of land now occupied by the Presbyterian church and academy, in Greenville village. Among his first buildings was a school-house near his residence, where he employed a teacher for the benefit of his own children, but admitted the children of all who settled near him, free of charge, and for a number of years it was the only school in that part of town. His daughter, Mary Ann, organized the first Sunday-school in the town, which was held in the barn near by; short blocks of wood being used for seats. His house was soon enlarged, and the grounds for some distance around were adorned with choice foreign plants, beautiful walks, fish ponds, etc.; while beyond these, the native forest was replaced by fine groves of locust, giving to his home much the appearance of some old English baronial manor. The walls of this home were hung with choice paintings, most of which still remain; and many articles of furniture, yet in possession of the family, were of English manufacture, costly and antique. Among the portraits of the English nobility, is one of the Duke of Kent, who was an especial friend of Major Prevost and his father.
Mr. Prevost was a man of enlarged ideas, and though his early English education had made him somewhat reserved, yet his high sense of honor and extreme liberality made him respected by the settlers. He was personally acquainted with many of the prominent men of the day, among others Alexander Hamilton, at one time a business partner, and Aaron Burr, who, for several years, was his legal advisor. He disposed of a large portion of his land before his death, retaining about 600 acres, which was left to his heirs.
The old homestead, containing about 100 acres, is now owned by his grandson, Theodore L., who resides upon it; and though many of the beautiful surroundings have passed away, yet the old mansion appears much as it did 60 years ago. And the locust grove near by is now a forest.
The following record was taken from the monument in the Prevost Cemetery:
Major Augustine Prevost was born in Geneva, Switzerland, August 29th 1774, died January 17th 1821, at home. Anna, his second wife, was born April 8th 1775, died August 4th 1842. Theodore J. was born March 30th 1793, died June 14th 1818, Emilia Augusta, wife of S. W. Dexter, born June 11th 1796, died March 8th 1822. William Henry was born June 21st 1800, and died in Michigan in 1826. Sharlotte was born February 8th 1816, and died March 2d 1816.
The three sons by his first wife entered the English army. One was lost on the ship Albion which foundered on the coast of Ireland, and another died in Spain during the Peninsula war.
The following extract is from the “Travels throughout the United States,” in 1795-97 by Duke De la Rochefoucault, published in London in 1799:
“Colonel Burr had given me a letter to Major Prevost, who lives in the township of Freehold, sixteen miles distant from Hudson. Above one-half of the journey is performed on the new road, which is the finest part of it: the remainder of the wary is over mountains, rocks, swamps; in short, it is such as the generality of the roads are in the new countries of America. In this tract the number of Settlements is very scanty; and these are of the meanest appearance, and absolutely in their infancy. Few houses have above twenty acres of ground cleared around them; and many have much less. They are all log-houses; the majority of the new settlers (and they are the better class) have immigrated from Connecticut.
“Major Prevost has a neat little house built on a tract of nine thousand acres, which belongs to him. He is a son of that General Prevost, employed in the British service, who distinguished himself by the defence of Savannah, and disgraced his character by the burning of many American towns. Previous to the Revolution, he had received from the king of England a grant to himself and his son, of about forty thousand acres of land in different provinces of America. That son had during thirty-six years been a constant resident in the United States. Before the commencement of the war, he had married a young lady of Philadelphia; and he lived a considerable time in Pennsylvania, on a farm which he turned to good account. But a part of his property became involved in consequence of debts contracted by his father-in-law and himself; he had a numerous family to provide for, and was unable to recover a considerable portion of the lands to which he was entitled; he therefore adopted the resolution of retiring to that part to which his claim was the least contested, there to live with economy, and patiently await the moment when, recovering his other possessions, he should be certain of leaving a decent fortune to his children. He has lost his first wife, and married a second at Katskill, by whom he already has three children. He has six others by the former marriage, of whom two have long been and still continue in the British service.
“His presence has considerably enhanced the value of his lands, of which he has sold all that he did not choose to retain in his own possession. The price is from three to six dollars the acre, according to their situation. He has erected a corn-mill, a saw-mill, and one for grinding tanners’ bark. These he keeps in his own hands; and he seems to conduct his affairs with a considerable portion of intelligence. Major Prevost, a native of Switzerland, has all the frankness of an honest Switzer, and of a genuine, honest Englishman. He appears to be an excellent father; of which his present mode of life is a proof. He is beloved by his neighbors, seems just and impartial in this opinions, speaks well of the American government, and is a good-natured and agreeable man. He has displayed a noble instance of generosity and sensibility in the notice he has taken of a distressed Frenchman, a Monsieur Rouere, whom he discovered at Hudson in extreme poverty. This Frenchman, formerly a mare-chaldes-logis in the king’s body-guard, and now 60 years of age, has acted like a man of honor and delicacy, and , far from trespassing on the generous disposition of Mr. Prevost, declines his kindness as far as he can. Three hundred dollars received from his family, together with a sum raised by the sale of some watches and jewellery which he had brought with him, have enabled him to purchase a small farm of thirty acres, of which only fifteen are cleared. Here he labors form morn to night like a young man, contents himself with the sustenance of milk and potatoes, forgets his misfortunes, and renders himself worthy of the esteem of all those who set any value on delicacy of sentiment.
“The late treaty with England has inspired Mr. Prevost with the hope of regaining possession of all the lands to which his title is disputed by the States in which they lie, or by different individuals who have usurped them under various pretexts, and hold them without any real right. But this will require a succession of sturdy exertions continued during several years; it will be necessary to attend the various tribunals before which those claims will be brought under discussion., and to urge the speed of lawyers who are heavily laden with business. Many of his opponents who have taken possession of his lands, are influential men; he is the son of a British general, and has himself borne arms in America in opposition to the Revolution; he has two sons in the service of England; all these facts, I grant, do not in the least impair the justice of Mr. Prevost’s claims, which to me appear incontrovertible; but justice is what people often find it most difficult to obtain from the ministers of justice, especially in this county when the question relates to lands; and Major Prevost must unavoidably have to encounter numerous prejudges and prepossessions operating to his disadvantage.
“During my stay at Freehold there was no mention of politics. I could easily guess the political sentiments of the Major and his family; but, if I had entertained any doubt on the subject, it would have been completely removed by observing the avidity with which they read Peter Porcupine. * (A royalist paper published in Philadelphia.)
“On the whole, it is impossible to experience anywhere, greater civilities than I received from Major Prevost and his family, accompanied by great simplicity, and by that pleasing manner which renders such behavior still more agreeable. My stay with them was prolonged by a slight indisposition, which afforded me a new proof of the interest that Monsieur Guillemard feels for me. At this time he was at Albany, where being informed of my illness, he hastened to me with a friendly kindness which in him is invariable. For he shows greater constancy in his affections than in his projects. This little sickness was only a tertian fever, of which I have experienced several attacks during the course of my travels, and from which, on this as on former occasions, I was relieved by strong doses of Jesuit’s bark.”
Among the first physicians to minister to the wants of the people of Greenville, was Dr. John Ely, of Newry, whose fame as a skillful physician was wide spread, as was also that of Dr. Amos Botsford, who came from Newtown, Connecticut, at the beginning of the present century, and settled in Greenville, where he remained till his death in 1864. Dr. Brigham also practiced in the town for many years, and at one time had a medical school at Greenville Centre.
The early teachers were mostly from the Eastern States, and remained but a short time. Of the residents, are mentioned Orin Newell, Silas Newell, Nicholas Van Luven, and John Owens.
In early times, the demand for public houses must have been far in excess of the present day, as they could then be counted by the dozen, whereas one now, or at most two, seems to satisfy all the requirements of the travelling public. Among these early hotels may be mentioned the following, in addition to those elsewhere referred to. On the premises now occupied M. B. Palmer, Isaac Hallock was running a hotel in 1820. He was followed soon after by H. N. Bogardus, who in turn was succeeded by Enos Smith. It was continued by him some years, and after his death by his widow. This hotel was kept open as late as 1840.
In 1818 Edmund Blackmore kept a hotel a short distance west of Gayhead, where Levi Finch now resides. This was continued by him for a number of years, and he was followed by others, but it was closed probably about 1837. Elder Stewart who was one of the early pastors of the first Baptist church of the town, kept a hotel for a number of years during his pastorate on the premises now occupied by George C. Weeks. A hotel was built early where the barn of John C. Palmer now stands, and continued for many years. One of the first proprietors was Tobias Brogue. Jacob Flansburg also kept a hotel at the same time, a short distance west, where Charles Townsend now resides. Benton Hallock conducted a hotel about one mile west of Greenville village for some years, opening about 1845, and the same building has been used for the same purposes by others at intervals since he closed out.
There are six villages or hamlets in the town: Greenville, Freehold, Norton Hill, Greenville Centre, Gayhead and East Greenville. None of these are incorporated.
Greenville village is situated in the north central part of the town, is estimated to contain about 350 inhabitants, has three churches, an academy and public school, four stores dealing in general merchandise, two in confectionery, notions, etc., two furniture stores, the proprietors also acting as undertakers, two blacksmith’s shops, two wagon shops, one harness shop, one tin shop, two shoe shops and one hotel. It also contains several beautiful private residences, notably those of J. G. and E. Hart, E. Wakely, Hon., B. S. McCabe, A. N. Bentley, Pierce Stevens, Lewis Sherrill, and others. Considerable public spirit has been manifested by the citizens in fencing, near the center of the village, their park, which contains a fine pond of water, constructed at public expense, and also in laying sidewalks in front of many of their residences. Among the men of olden times who contributed to its business interests may be mentioned Ransom Hinman, who probably was the first merchant to do business in the town. His store stood on the corner where the residence of J. G. Hart now stands, and it is referred to in public documents as early as 1803. Abijah Reed occupied the same store, which was used both as a store and dwelling in 1810. Soon after, Mr. Reed built the store now owned and occupied by Pierce Stevens, where he established himself, and when he retired he was succeeded by his son, Hercules Reed, and John Pierce. It was continued by this firm till 1837, when they were succeeded by A. N. Bentley, who soon associated with him as a partner E. H. Stanton. Levi Calender opened a store of general merchandise on the corner where the post-office building now stands as early as 1816, where he continued the business for many years. Ell. Knowles started the first hotel, where the old Knowles house stands, which he kept for some time. The first building erected by the Presbyterian society was moved on the present site of the Episcopal church, and soon after converted into a hotel, and run by Sheldon Cheritree. As early mechanics, may be mentioned Buel Cheritree, who was the first blacksmith, whose shop stood where the residence of Joseph P. Hallock now stands. He was succeeded by John Benedict in the same place. As early as 1831, Charles Barker conducted the shop now occupied by Lewis Brouliard. The first harness maker was Daniel Philips, and one of the earliest wheelwrights was Amos Smith, who carried on the business for at least 40 years. Sheldon Cheritree opened the first shoe store, and Jason Mapes was one of the first carpenters and eventually became an extensive contractor and builder. The present hotel was build by Ezra Healy and Jotham Smith. After running it several years, they were succeeded by Charles Barker, who in turn was followed by Isaac Griffin, who conducted the business for many years. It is now owned and occupied by Lorenzo Coonley, who is running it as a temperance hotel, the town having granted no license for several years.
Among the representative men of the present time are the Hart Brothers, who for the past 20 years have been engaged in the mercantile business, which he is still conducting; H. J. McCabe, an old resident and for a long time engaged in the tin business, which he is still conducting; Pierce Stevens, dealer in general merchandise in the old Reed store; Roe and Blenis, conducting the same business in the new store erected by Luman Ramsdell, also dealers in fruits, grain, etc. The store, which, since 1842, except a short intervals, has been conducted by A. N. Bentley, and still owned by him, is now occupied by P. Winne & Company, who leased it of Mr. Bentley in the spring of 1883. The firm of Earl & Powell was organized in 1880, by Charles Earl and D. E. Powell, both natives of Greene County. The building which they occupy was formerly used as a Presbyterian church at East Greenville. It is one of the most commodious furniture warerooms in the county, and is stocked with a large assortment of furniture, etc. They are also extensively engaged in the undertaking business, and their hearse is one of the finest in the county. James Schofield has been engaged in the same business for 25 years.
Freehold and Vicinity
The vicinity of the present village of this name was once the site of a considerable Indian town, and to those that are familiar with the weapons and implements that they used, there is little trouble to locate its size. It is on what is now called the flats, beginning one-half mile below the present village, and it extended nearly to the southern side of the valley in which it was located. The soil in places is filled with pieces of flint which were used in the manufacture of arrows. Several stone axes and other implements have been picked up in recent years. The burial place for their dead was located on a point of land now occupied by the village cemetery. The Indian portion of this burial ground has been nearly destroyed by the vandal hands of the white race. This village shared the fate of the other Indian settlements that belonged to the Mohican tribes, and was swept from existence when the Mohawk invasion took place, in 1616; and though a few stragglers returned, they disappeared with the first tide of white settlers, who came about 1700 as squatters, and were the driftwood that always precedes a regular settlement, the site of the Indian settlement being a great temptation to them, as it was on some of the finest land in the whole Katskill valley.
The first authentic grant that can be traced, was given by George III, of England to Johannas Hallenbeck, and covered the whole site of the old Indian settlement, and embraced within its bounds 1,000 acres of land. The consideration for it was the sun of two and sixpence to be paid to the governor-general of the province of New York and it was stipulated that three per cent, should be improved each year. The deed for this property is quite a curiosity in its way and is evidently in the handwriting of the king himself. It is a very carefully worded document and ends with this paragraph. “This properly shall be held the same as his own paternal patrimony the Duchy of Kent in England.” A portion of this grant was sold to the Becker family in 1720. They belonged to the early Dutch settlers of Schoharie and were noted for their industrious habits. Many of the descendants of this family are located in the county and some of them near this village. There were several others located not far away, among whom were Christopher Kniskern, Morris Hazzard, and the Truesdell family. These have completely disappeared and not a lineal descendant remains in this part of the country. The only records left behind them are a few field stones in the village cemetery, rudely lettered and most of them bearing date previous to 1795.
About this time immigration began to pour in more rapidly and the ancestors of many of the leading families of the present day came. Among these were several men who were afterward identified with the business interests of the place. Prominent among them were Stephen Platt, Judge Perkins King, Captain Tunis Dodge and his nephew, Andrew and Henry Clark.
Stephen Platt was one of the active spirits, and at his house the first town meeting of the town of Freehold was held. He lost his life in 1800 in trying to save the bridge in time of a flood. His influence was felt long years after his death, and the descendants of his family are at the present day among the most prominent business men of our country.
The King brothers came from Berkshire county, Massachusetts, and were men of education and culture. They immediately purchased land and water power in the vicinity and began developing the same. They soon had the first woolen-mill in this part of the country in operation. Both of them were active men and one took the woolen-mill in charge, and the other the farm. In 1818 Perkins King was elected justice for three years and was afterward reelected for several successive terms of three years each. He was then appointed by Governor Tompkins as county judge, which office he held for 24 years. He was a member of the State Assembly in 1826, serving two sessions. In 1830 he represented his district in Congress. At the time of his death, which occurred December 1st 1875, he was probably the oldest Ex-Congressman in the United States. He lived to the age of 96 years. Each of the brothers had several children, who lived to grow up. Some of them are quite eminent men. One adopted the legal profession, another is a prominent divine, a third is the head of the Saxony Knitting Mills at Little Falls N. Y.
Andrew Dodge was another to whom the place owes much. He worked himself up from the ranks and became one of the prominent merchants of the county. By strict attention to his business and prompt payment of his bills, he soon became known to many business men of New York, and his credit was such that he distanced all competitors. He continued his mercantile career for almost 40 years, besides carrying on a large farm, which is now in the possession of his son Rodman, who has held the office of justice for 24 years in succession. He is the legal adviser for quite a large portion of country. Three of this family are prominent business men of Chicago at the present time.
Ebenezer Jennings, who was another of this group, was formerly a resident of Rensselaerville, Albany county. He was the owner of both mills at one time, and was one of those sturdy men that are always at home in active business life. Two of his sons remained near the old home, one of them, James Jennings, running a farm and many years carrying on the market business, becoming one of the solid financial men of the town. The other brother, Ebenezer jr., was always more or less interested in the milling business, and carried on merchandise also, running a farm at the same time. He had a large family, only two of whom are residents here at present.
The Webb family have removed from this part of the country, with one exception, that of Mrs. Ebenezer Jennings, who is still a resident here, and owns the old Platt mansion, which has remained almost unchanged for upward of 100 years. Cotemporary with these were the Blackmore family, who actively engaged in business for a long time, carrying on a store and farm. They were men of considerable ability, and one of them became one of the largest grain dealers in Buffalo. There was another one of these old settlers that was well known. This was Doc. Warner, who lived in the old red house by the creek, and it still goes by the name of the Warner house.
Between 1812 and 1840, there was an extensive business done here in hotel-keeping and manufacturing. Many settled in the vicinity who were well known through the county.
Among these were the Rev. John Spoor, Phillip Teats, the Winans brothers, Augustus Mygatt, the Lusk family, David Bennet (who was a soldier of the war 1812, and died 1862), Robert Smith, Joseph Vincent, and William Campbell. Of these, Elder John Spoor was the leader in many respects. Doctor Teats stands next, and was a thorough scholar, and a physician who had a large practice. He was elected to the State Legislature in 1843, having previously held many official positions in the town. He was much beloved by all who knew him.
The Winans brothers were farmers, and one of them, named Darius, served one term in the Legislature.
Robert Smith came here in 1824, from New Baltimore. He was the pioneer of quite a number of Quaker families, who settled near him. He was a thorough-going farmer, and many of his descendants are living in this section.
Augustus Mygatt was also engaged in farming and was one of the pillars of the church form many years. One of his sons is still on the old homestead.
Joseph Vincent was engaged in farming and was one of the most industrious men of his time; some of his grandchildren live in the vicinity still.
The rest of these men were engaged in agricultural pursuits. One of them, David Bennet, was considered at the time of his death, which occurred in 1862, the wealthiest man in this part of the county.
Among those who reside here at the present time, and who are active in business and prominent in the other walks of life, are the Lacey brothers, Hiram and Curtis. Hiram Lacey has been supervisor of his town for four years in succession and carries on a number of farms in the vicinity. Curtis is in the mercantile business, having the largest store in the county, outside of the river towns, with one exception.
Harry Bagley, another of the men of to-day, owns the Bennet property.
Clarence W. Jennings is engaged in quite an extensive business on the site where his grandfather built one of the first mills.
William Hoos, who now occupies the store formerly owned by Andrew Dodge, is manufacturing wagons. He is also a machinist and engineer.
George Jennings owns the old Jennings homestead, and is engaged in farming. Ira Hunt, Levi Seabridge, John Story, Frank Lusk, David Horton and Peter P. Snyder are also engaged in agriculture.
Among the earliest hotels here was that kept by a Mr. Gerry, in 1820, on the corner opposite the present hotel of Elmer Smith. Another, located near the Parry house, is now used as a private residence by Mrs. Amanda Spoor. There were two on the west side, one of which was kept by Captain Dodge, and the other by a Mr. Decker, a good, honest old Dutchman. The present hotel has been built some years, and its proprietor keeps it chiefly as a summer boarding house.
Prior to 1800, a saw-mill was built on what is now the Earl lot, by Nathaniel Holmes. At the same time, a grist-mill stood just above the present mill of D. J. Miner. It was last owned as a mill by the Jennings family . It became the property of the King brothers, who converted it into a barn. The site of the Lowe mill was purchased from the Pratt family, and the mill was built by the elder Jennings about 1800. It is still in the possession of one of the family.
The first tannery in this part of the county was built by a Mr. Sanford some time previous to 1800. Mr. Sanford continued to operate it till 1808, when Major Winton came, and a new building was erected on the site of the upper mill. Some years later, improvements were introduced, an extensive tannery was built, and a large force of men was employed. The firm of Rouse, Burroughs & Burhans succeeded to the business and continued it till the supply of bark in the vicinity was exhausted, when it was purchased by the King brothers, and a part of it was changed to a mill that was in 1849 rebuilt by James Eckler. It was burned in the autumn of 1881, but was rebuilt by the present owner, D. J. Miner.
The woolen factory that was located just beyond the tannery, was built by the King brothers soon after they came here in 1802. It was on a small scale at first, but it was enlarged till it was quite an extensive establishment. It was destroyed by fire in 1852.
The lower mill has been twice rebuilt; the last time in 1881, when steam power was put in it, and a plaster-mill was added.
Just opposite this mill are the evaporating works of Jennings & Delmater. They have a complete set of apparatus for the manufacture and evaporation of cider, and also machinery for crushing sorghum. Connected with these works is planning machinery. The whole is driven by steam. Connected with these works is a manufactory of pails and buckets, and a cooperage had been carried on here since 1840.
Formerly, potash was largely manufactured here; a brewery was carried on; and two brickyards were in operation, one near the present hotel, and the other near the old cemetery.
The village has of late become quite a resort for city people. It has a neat and commodious church, a public hall, and a fine school building. It has ample mail and telegraph facilities and several lines of stages.
There are two cemeteries. The first one was begun by the Indians, and afterward used by the whites. It lies one-half mile south of the village, and is on what has been the shore of quite an extensive lake. It is nearly a hundred feet above the valley below, and occupies a commanding position. It is crowded thickly with graves, and is the last resting place of many of the pioneers, also of many who achieved distinction in later years. Near the gate is the grave of Judge King, with a simple inscription stating that he died November 29th 1875, aged 82 years. Near him are buried a number of his family. Just beyond is the grave of the leader of the Christian denomination, Elder John Spoor. There is a plain marble slab at the head of his grave: on it are the words, “He labored as an evangelist among the churches with signal success, and was a member of the New York Easter Christian Conference for over forty years.” On either side are the graves of his two sons, and the wife of his early years. Near by are several graves of the early families. The Haights, Hortons, Campbells, Winans and Coon families here find there last resting place on earth. Toward the southern end is the grave of Stephen Platt, an early pioneer, and that of the Truesdell and Hazzard families, and around them lie many of the old pioneers with no headstones to mark their graves, and whose records are entirely lost. On the eastern side the graves of the Jennings family occupy several lots. Near them are the family plots of the Lusk and Clark families. A handsome wall of stone has been built across the front within the past year, and the cemetery has been enlarged and improved considerably.
The new cemetery near the church was not begun until 1862, but owing to its being a natural site, it have been rapidly taken up, and many have been brought here from the family burying grounds, that were so common in early times. There are several handsome monuments already erected. The largest one is to the memory of Nancy Becker, a descendant of one of the first settlers. There is one erected to the memory of Michael Earl, and other of the old patriarchs. This ground also contains the grave of Phillip Teats, the well known physician; Andrew Dodge and his sister, Mrs. Lobdell. The Shaw family have a neat and tasteful monument on their lot, and near them is the grave of Hervey Weed, one of the prominent men during his lifetime of this part of the county. His death occurred July 4th 1878, at the age of 77 years.
This hamlet is in the northeastern part of town. It had two stores, one church, and the usual mechanical business carried on in a small hamlet. The first merchant was Seth Bixley, who established himself here about 1820, and continued for about 10 years. Horatio Kirtland soon afterward opened a store, which he carried on until 1837, when he was succeeded by Nehemiah Ramsdell. The latter continued the business most of the time, with his brother Luman as partner, till 1846.
Luman Ramsdell is the present postmaster. He is also engaged in farming and deals in agricultural implements. He was for many years United States assessor. James Slawson was an early settler, and the first blacksmith. The present blacksmiths are Charles Laserte and James Meddeaugh. John Shutts came later, and Jesse Benedict came in 1840, remaining till 1850. A. F. Bryant is justice of the peace. Among the business men of to-day may be mentioned: Gardner & Hung, engaged in fruit evaporating; Amos Smith, wagon maker; David Griffin and Philo Covert, carpenters; and Franklin Hart, shoemaker.
Greenville Centre, formerly known as the Hemlocks, is a small hamlet near the center of the town. It contains 12 dwelling-houses, one church, a public school, and one store. The first merchant to establish himself here, as far as can be learned, was John P. Snider, who commenced about 1825. He was succeeded by Gurdon Secor and Jeremiah Place. Soon after 1835, the business was turned over to Bemsley Hunt, who in turn sold to John G. Williamson in 1841. Mr. Williamson enlarged the business, and carried it on successfully till his death, in 1882, when he was succeeded by his son-in-law Charles M. Palmer, who is now conducting it.
In 1812, Nathaniel Fancher kept a hotel on the corner where the residence of N. Brownell now stands. It is not known how long he continued the business, but the same place was run as a hotel in 1831 and 1832 by Jacob N. Bogardus. A hotel was also kept for several years before and after 1835, on the corner east of the store where the wagon shop now stands. John Green conducted it in 1835, and Henry Townsend came after.
The usual trades, such as blacksmithing, wagon making, shoemaking, etc., have been carried on at different periods, but none of these are in operation at the present time. Among the early blacksmiths was Henry Townsend, who is still remembered for his kind heart and social qualities. S. Stevens was an early wheel wright and some of the wagons he made 40 year ago are still doing serve.
East Greenville lies in the northeastern part of the town , on the Coxsackie and Greenville Turnpike. It has usually been classed as one of the hamlets of the town, but is entitled to passing notice more from its past than its present history.
Aaron Butler, for many years one of the most prominent business men of this place, came into Greene county with his father in 1799, then a small boy. They settled on the farm now owned by his son, Lewis Butler, and in 1824, he opened a tin shop and store here. Soon afterward he built a cedar-mill, and commenced the manufacture of cider brandy. Mr. Butler carried on these different kinds of business for many years with marked success, but was eventually compelled to give up a part of them on account of declining health. The distillery was closed about 1859, and the tin shop a few years earlier. He died in 1860, and was succeeded in the store by his son Lewis, who also engaged largely in the manufacture of cider, rectifying it for foreign markets. He has recently closed out his store, and is now devoting his time to farming.
Hardy Rundle opened a hotel here as early as 1820, and in 1821 built a large cider-mill. Two years afterward, he commenced the manufacture of cider brandy, and in 1826 opened a store. In 1827, his distillery turned out 3,000 barrels of cider brandy, the largest production of any one year. The distillery was continued at intervals till 1855, though Mr. Rundle had previously been succeeded by his son George L., who, during this time, was also largely engaged in the manufacture of rectified cider, to which he afterward added elderberry and currant wines. An article published in the Windham Journal, October 1st 1857, shows to what extent he was at one time engaged in the business:
“George L. Rundel, of Greenville, in 1851 sent a small quantity of ciderberry and currant wines to the State fair at Utica, upon which he received a premium. He has made only small quantities since that time, until the present season, when he purchased, and had picked, in the county and suburbs of Albany county, 23 ¾ tons of elderberries, from which he expressed 3,000 gallons of pure juice. Of this enormous quantity, he used 500 gallons of juice in distilling 40 gallons of liquor, to which he has given no name, but which is the condensed steam of the elderberry. He still has 2,500 gallons of juice, which will make 5,000 gallons of wine, and which Mr. Rundle will send into market at he proper time. Mr. Rundle also made 700 gallons of currant wine.”
Mr. Rundle retired from the cider and distillery business soon after 1860, and at present no manufacturing or business, aside form farming, is carried on in the place.
Gayhead is in the extreme southeastern part of the town, on the Susquehanna Turnpike. It has one church, a literary society, a new public school building, one store, a post-office, blacksmith shop, wagon shop, shoe shop, and a large summer boarding-house. In times past, it could boast of two hotels and two stores in operation at the same time. Peter Scriber kept a hotel on the present site of D. S. Feeny’s boarding-house, as early as 1820, and about the same time one was opened on the south side of the highway, nearly opposite. The Scribner hotel was converted into a store in 1830 and run by Barnabus Spring, who eventually turned it over to his son, George, by whom the business was continued till about 1845. During a portion of this time, a store and hotel were in operation on the opposite side of the highway. Aaron Whitbeck carried on the blacksmith business for many years, and Dewight Webber had a large wagon shop, but closed out about 1860. Moses M. Palmer, the present merchant, and one of Greenville’s representative men, is a native of the town, and for several years previous to establishing himself here, had been engaged in the same business at Grapeville in the town of New Baltimore, under the firm name of Palmer & Losee. D. S. Feeny’s boarding-house is the principal attraction of the place. It is usually opened about five months during the year and will accommodate 75 guests. A considerable portion of Gayhead lies on the south side of the highway and within the town of Cairo.
The man to whom belongs the honor of having been the first to labor in the gospel here and to lay the foundations of the church, was Rev. Beriah Hotchkin. This man was the first American missionary to cross the Hudson to labor in the new settlements west of New England. He was pioneer of that vast army of missionaries, which, for the past hundred years have been marching westward with the advance of civilization.
This church, which he founded, was the first American church organized west of the Hudson and north of Pennsylvania. Before coming here he was pastor of the Congregational church in Guilford, Connecticut, his native place. He was ordained and installed there in 1785. The Rev. Benjamin Trumbull and Jonathan Edwards took part in the services. He preached his first sermon in Greenville, April 5th 1789, in Benjamin Spees’ barn. He soon returned to his old home, but remained there but a short time. In the spring of 1789 he returned with his family. He preached on what was then called Leet’s Hill, East Durham. He was unanimously invited to take charge of the church here, and was offered the round sum of f75 3s. 9d. per annum, with the bonus of 50 acres of land, embracing Botsford’s Hill and the meadows lying between it and the brook. He built the old kitchen belonging to the residence of Nelson Knowles, on the north side of this tract. It contained but one room, but made him a comfortable home. He accepted the call, and in 1793 he came for the third time among the people to whom he devoted the remainder of his life. He was installed on the 18th of January of that year by the Rev. Stephens, Steele, Fuller, and Camp, and Esquires Spees and Knowles. The services took, place in the old hip-roofed church, which stood near and northwest of where the present church stands. It was built in 1793, and was the first of four church edifices which have been erected by this congregation. It was not an imposing structure, and was never completed. About seven years later it was bought by Benoni Austin and moved to where the Episcopal church now stands. It became a dwelling, afterward a tavern, then a students’ dormitory, and its timbers may still be seen in the old saw-mill.
August 27th 1800, the peopled came from far and near to raise the second meeting-house, which stood near where the present one stands. This edifice had a lofty spire, a spacious gallery, unpainted box pews, and an octagonal pulpit supported by a lofty column. The builder was Elon Norton. The site was the gift of Augustine Prevost. It was dedicated September 18th 1801. In this old meeting-house Beriah Hotchkin preached for a quarter of a century.
He was born in Guilford, Connecticut, March 27th 1752. The circumstances of the family precluded the idea of educating their son, and he was apprenticed to the trade of a tanner, currier, and shoemaker, which useful trade he followed till past 30 years of age. He was thoughtful and studious from a child, and eagerly improved every opportunity to cultivate his mind, until in 1785, he received license to preach, from the Morris County Associated Presbytery. Of his arduous labors here, he said:
“I was called
upon not only to supply my own people, but to perform all ministerial services
in the towns of Greenville, Cairo, Durham, Windham, and Rensselaerville, as
there was no minister of our order in any of these places. In addition to these
services, I was obliged to labor with my hands almost steadily to procure
support for my family. I was often at a late hour in a dark night in the woods
some miles from my house, with nothing but a small footpath to tread in, being
obliged to give myself wholly up to the direction of my horse, which Providence
had provided with better eyes than mankind.”
The church rapidly gained strength, and long before he left it, it had become a power in the land.
The early settlers were a moral and pious people. Most of them were professing Christians, and wherever they pitched their tent in the wilderness, there they erected an altar to their Creator.
The church was organized May 19th 1790. Articles of faith and discipline, together with a covenant, were signed by Eleazer Knowles, David Jewell, Abram Post and Jared Smith. Seven others were received at the same time. They were Thankful Hotchkin, Abigail Knowles, Sarah Norton, Martha Page, Hannah Knowles, Lydia Post and Lydia Baker.
The pastorate of Beriah Hotchkin terminated in 1824, when he retired from the pulpit. He died at Plattsburg, New York, January 26th 1829, aged 72 years. He was followed by Rev. Sylvester Woodbridge; he by Rev. Jonathan Hovey. Afterward Rev. Baker Johnson preached for a time, and was succeeded by Rev. Dr. Robert W. Landis. He was followed by Rev. Edward Hopper D. D., and then came Rev. Theodore White D. D. Rev. John Wells came next; after him Rev. Yates Hickey. Rev. Byron Bosworth succeeded, and was followed by Revs. W. P. Gibson and Andrew P. Freese.
Sunday-school is in a flourishing condition, under the superintendence of S. W.
Story. It had 154 pupils, and a library of 650 volumes.
Baptist Church at Greenville Centre
This society was in existence as early as 1793, and included residents of New Baltimore and South Westerlo. It then worshipped in barns, school-houses, and private dwellings. Pride did not then demand, and poverty, did not permit the erection of elegant and costly temples of worship, such as seen in modern times. The people wended their way to their places of worship on foot, on horseback, or in rude vehicles drawn by oxen.
The first clergyman who is known to have ministered to this society was Elder William Stewart, who, while discharging his pastoral duties, supported himself by cultivating the soil. It is said, however, that he received for one year’s pastoral services three pecks of buckwheat; a gift from Deacon Jerard Reynolds. Mr. Stewart lived to the age of 90, but was blind during the latter years of his life.
In 1822 the Westerlo branch of this church was set off with 10 members, and in 1825, the New Baltimore branch with 22.
The Gayhead branch was set off as a separate society September 25th 1868, with the following members: Cyrastus Betts, Jacob Losee, Levi Finch, Betsy Thorn, Mary M. Weekes, Eunice Finch, Rhoda A. Whitbeck, Mary C. Hill, William Thorn, Cyrus L. Betts, Perry Roe, Roxana Losee, Margaret Palmer, Aaron Whitbeck, Sarah Thorn, Mariah Betts.
In 1817 the first meeting house of the Greenville Centre church was built, on land donated to the society by William Pitts. After a number of years it was repaired, the entrance was changed from the west to the south side, and galleries were added.
In 1854 it was turned so that the south became the west side and fronted the road that passes north and south through the village, and was remodeled and a spire was added to it. The rebuilding was done by Stephen Thorn, and the painting, graining, and frescoing by Joseph Thompson. The building committee consisted of, Russell Townsend, David Losee, William Stevens, and Silas Hunt.
The present trustees of the church are Russell Townsend, Sherman Sanford, and George E. Williamson. George Townsend is the clerk and the superintendent of the Sunday-school.
The following is a list of the pastors of this church, with the dates of the commencement of their pastorates:
Stewart, first pastor, 1817; Rev. Mr. Adams, February 5th 1825; Rev.
Richard Shimoniel, November 5th 1825; same time ordained; Rev. M.
Jones, 1831; Rev. Thomas Stokes, April 1st 1834; Rev. Alfred Osgood,
April 1st 1835; Rev. William M. Doolittle, May 23d 1836; ordained
July 13th 1835; Rev. Egbert Penney, March 24th 1839;
ordained same time; Rev. E. R. King, February 22d 1841; ordained April 24th
1839; Rev. M. Stickney, July 3d 1842; Rev. Mr. Prink, May 4th 1844;
Rev. Hiram Lord, October 7th 1847, ordained same time; Rev. Jacob
Gesner, July 22d 1849; Rev. Lyman M. Purrington, March 22d 1851; Rev. Charles
Ferguson, May 21st 1853; Rev. Harvey Cornwall, May 1st
1855; Rev. Mr. Hartwell, December 25th 1858; Rev. Nelson Palmer,
February 25th 1859; Rev. Jacob Hoppey, March 1st 1866,
ordained June 20th 1867; Rev. Hiram Hayms, March 27th
1868; Rev. Mr. Peck, 1874; Rev. Mr. Bronk, revivalist, 1874; Rev. Mr. Allen,
1876; Rev. Joseph Slater, 1878; Rev. A. M. Cole, the present pastor.
The Freehold Christian Church
This society was organized August 22nd 1812, at the house of Lawrence Tompkins, in the town of Coeymans, Albany county. Seven persons organized the church as charter members, Rev. Jasper Hazen presiding.
From this church four others were organized in 1832, viz: South Westerlo, Stephensville, Berne, Medway Four Corners, and Medusa. The Freehold church was recognized as the mother church. Rev. Jasper Hazen was the pastor from 1812 to 1820. He was an able preacher and one of the leading men of his denomination. During his ministry at Freehold, he had the assistance of a great number of ministers, who travelled through the country, organizing and proclaiming the doctrines of the new movement.
The principles and the creed advocated with zeal by Hazen and his co-laborers. Churches were organized through the State, and the denomination grew rapidly in numbers and influence.
Rev. John Spoor, successor of Elder Hazen, was born September 11th 1795, at Charleston, Montgomery county. He was the child of a family of six children. His father was a respectable farmer, and one of the first settlers of that county. Like the sons of pioneers, he knew what hardships meant; his hands were hardened with honest, honorable toil. He labored on his father’s farm until 24 years of age. When he was a boy, educational advantages were very meager, but by the spirit of our fathers, schools were established in the wilderness of Greene county. The scanty curriculum of the log school-house was all the course of study he enjoyed. Whatever proficiency he attained in letters was the result of study after leaving home, the result of thought and reading under many disadvantages. He made a public profession of religion in 1813. January 2d of that year, he was baptized by Jonathan S. Thompson. He was one of the first members of the Christian church at Charleston. Impressed with a sense of duty, he began preaching in August 1815. He labored with the church at Charleston with much success. At their solicitation he was ordained in June 1818, by Elders Ross, Thompson, and King.
He came to Freehold in October 1819. He had visited this place some years before, and many remembered his singing and praying; hence when the church at Freehold heard he was to be ordained, special word was sent for him to come.
The call was accepted. A revival at once began and it extended as far as New Baltimore. This work continued during four years, until the church at Freehold and its branches numbered 500 members. While a resident of Freehold and pastor of the church, Mr. Spoor organized the first Christian church in Dutchess county, churches in the towns of Berlin, Petersburg, and also at South Adams, Massachusetts.
No preacher of any denomination has left in this section a more honored record or has exerted a wide religious influence. In Freehold he baptized 470. During his life he baptized between fourteen and fifteen hundred. He solemnized about 1,000 marriages, and attended not far from 1,500 funerals. This is very unusual record for one whose labors were confined principally to rural districts, whose congregations were gathered from valley home and mountain side. He died March 30th 1864.
The church at Freehold had ever been considered a strong, influential church, numbering at the last annual report 212. It has a large well organized Sabbath-school, under the management of C. R. Lacey, superintendent. The church building is a model village church, neat and well furnished, and speaks well of the taste and growing intelligence of the large congregation that worships there.
since the organization have been: Revs. Jasper Hazen, John Spoor, J. R. Hoag, J.
G. Holland, Henry Brown, Philip Couchman, J. G. Noble, Chester Coville, J. D.
Lawyer, Rev. Mr. Southwick, Elias Jones, Professor O. F. Ingoldsbie, principal
of Stakey Seminary, Eddytown, New York, M. W. Borthwock, and A. J. Abbot, the
present pastor (1883).
Old Greenville M. E. Church
was built in the year 1812 by Jason Mapes. The society was organized some years
previous to the building of the church, by Seth Crowell, who was succeeded by
Gilbert Lyons, John Bangs, and others. This church was the first, and, for many
years, the only Methodist church in the town. The first society consisted of
about 20 members, among whom were the following: Stephen Benedict, James
Waldron, Joseph Waldron, William Lampman, Phoebe Lampman, Reuben Steven, Susie
Rundle, Marianna Waldron, Gilbert Ferris, Polly Ferris, Mary Finch, Molly
Stevens, Elizabeth Blaisdell, Joseph Blaisdell, Esther Jump, John W. Lampman,
William Brandow, and Jonathan Schofield. The society is at present in charge of
the Rev. Robert F. White, pastor of Asbury Methodist Episcopal church. Services
are held on alternate Sundays.
Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church*
*By Robert F. White, pastor.
The Methodist Episcopal society of Greenville, was organized February 8th 1825, at West Greenville, one mile west of Greenville village. For some years previous to the organization, meetings were held in the school-house and in private houses. At its organization, there were about 15 members, with the Rev. Joel Squire as pastor. Immediately after the organization, a church was erected and dedicated. It was a framed building, valued at $1,500. The services were held on every alternate Sunday.
The following persons were members of the first board of trustees: Alexander Calder, Benjamin McCabe, John S. Raymond, Thomas J. Smith, and Benjamin Morehouse. When the Sunday-school was first organized William Coburn was superintendent.
In 1856, the church was removed to the village, enlarged, and rededicated by the late Bishop Janes. The building was valued at $4,000.
The Rev. James Birch, of New York conference, was the pastor during 1856 and 1857, while the removal of the church was effected. The following were among the prominent members at that time: Japhet Colins, A. J. McCabe, B. S. McCabe, and Joseph P. Hallock. For many years, A. J. McCabe was class leader, Sunday-school superintendent, and steward. Services were now held every Sunday morning and evening. It was a period of great trial, but of corresponding triumph, for the struggling society. The class and prayer-meetings were at times held in the church, but more generally in the house of some member.
February 2d 1873, the church was burned. Efforts were immediately put forth by the society, for the erection of another place of worship. A subscription of that purpose was started. Plans were inspected, and a new location was selected and purchased, a little to the south of the former one, on the west side of the street.
During the period between the burning of the old church and the building of the new, the society worshipped in the Presbyterian church which was kindly offered for the purpose. In the spring of 1873, the corner stone of the new church was laid with the usual ceremonies. In the stone was placed a box made of lead, containing church periodicals, Bible, Hymn book, and the names of the pastor and members. Just previous to the laying of the corner stone, some of the members living near Norton Hill desired to build a church at that place, and the growth of this desire finally led to the formation of a new class and the erection of a church at Norton Hill. About eight months after the laying of the corner stone, the church was completed at a cost of $10,000.
The church is well designed and commodious, with a lecture room opening into the main audience room by folding doors. The seating capacity is about 600. The church is neatly furnished inside and is a credit to the society and to the community. Services are held every Sunday morning and evening by its present pastor, the Rev. Robert F. White.
The Sunday-school has steadily kept pace with the vigorous growth of the society, and now numbers 135. Archibald Stone is the present superintendent and is successor to B. S. McCabe M. D., who resigned in 1880.
The following persons are members of the official board: B. S. McCabe, Ransom Ingalls, Pierce Stevens, Abram Hagaman, Archibald Stone, Reuben Gedney and Alfred Steadman.
On the east side of the main street, nearly opposite the church, stands a large and beautiful parsonage, built by the society in 1867 at a cost of $4,000.
are among the ministers who have served the society: Revs. Joel Squire, William
F. Collins, O. G. Headstrom, Elbert Osborne, Aaron Rogers, William Goss, William
Bloomer, H. J. Fox, Cyrus Silliman, Bradley Selleck, John Bangs, Eli Dennison,
John S. Pease, Philip Hoyt, Daniel DeVinne, D. Boughton, S. Fitch, George
Taylor, J. Birch, A. M. Hough, C. M. Eggleston, J. M. Burgar, R. H. Kelley, N.
O. Lent, T. Elliot, D. E. White, and J. R. Vandewater. The present pastor,
Robert F. White, was installed in 1881.
Norton Hill Methodist Episcopal Church
This church was dedicated in the winter of 1873. Previous to that time, services were occasionally held in the school-house. During the first year after its organization, it was included in the Greenville circuit. Since that time it had had a pastor of its own. The first pastor was Rev. John Wood. He was succeeded by J. W. McConnel, who was in turn succeeded by Rev. Mr. Morrison, Next in the line of succession was Rev. William Wilcox. Rev. W. F. Albrecht, principal of the Greenville Academy, is the present pastor. It has a membership of about 50.
A Sunday-school of about 60 is connected with the church. Mr. J. W. Cowell is superintendent.
Christ Church (Protestant Episcopal)
Christ Church was organized at a meeting held at the house of Reuben Rundle, on the 4th day of April, 1825, with the following official members: Reuben Rundle and Shubel Newman, wardens; Robert G. Palmer, Reuben Rundle jr., Lewis King, Hardy Rundle, John Bezel, Israel Palmer, Caleb Thompkins, and Aaron Hall, vestrymen. A subscription was circulated for raising funds to build a house of worship, and among the most liberal contributors were Reuben Rundle jr., Hardy Rundle, R. G. Palmer, Jacob Bogardus, Philip Brigham, Aaron Hall, Shubel Newman, Abijah Reed, and Lewis King. A sufficient amount was raised, and a plan was adopted for a church, which was built in 1826. It was consecrated on the 6th of September 1827, by Rt. Rev. John Henry Hobart, bishop of the State of New York. The site for this church was donated by Major Augustine Prevost, and the cost of the structure was $3,325. A clock and bell, which cost $381, were presented by Reuben Rundle.
The present beautiful and commodious structure was built and consecrated in 1857, during the rectorship of Rev. E. B. Ellsworth. It stands on the east side of the street nearly opposite the Presbyterian church, and it is considered an ornament to the village.
rector is Rev. Joseph W. Norwood, E. L. Palmer and T. L. Prevost are the
wardens; and M. P. Blenis, Elijah Roe, W. B Ward, George Robbins, B. Waldron, R.
R. Palmer, T. J. Rundle, and G. Ponsonby are the vestrymen. M. P. Blenis is the
Gayhead Baptist Church
In 1853, a neat and commodious church building was erected at Gayhead, by the Baptist society of Greenville. It remained under the jurisdiction of the Greenville Baptist church for a number of years, the same pastor usually officiating at both places. At a meeting held in the Greenville church, September 26th 1868, it was resolved to dismiss 34 members, most of them living in the vicinity of Gayhead, for the purpose of forming a separate church. On the10th of the ensuing month, a meeting was held at Gayhead, and a Baptist church, consisting of the following members, was organized: Cyrastus Betts, Maria Betts, Jacob Losee, Rosanna Losee, William Thorn, Betsy Thorn, Cyrus Betts, Lucinda Betts, Levi Finch, Eunice Finch, Perry Roe, Amelia Roe, Aaron Whitbeck, Rhoda Whitbeck, Jonah Blaisdell, Hannah Blaisdell, William Howard, Hannah A. Howard, George Earl, Harriet Earl, Gideon Brown, Laura Brown, R. W. Allerton, Letitia Allerton, William Betts, Amy Mitchel, Mary A. Wicks, Margaret Palmer, Julia Betts, Lucy Betts, Lucinda Thorn, and Sarah Thorn. Cyrastus Betts and Aaron Whitbeck were chosen deacons, and in 1869, the church was admitted into the Baptist association.
Their first pastor was Rev. George Slater. He remained but a short time, closing his labors March 20th1870. Since that time, except a short interval, the Rev. A. M. Cole has had charge, and he is present pastor, preaching once in two weeks. The number of additions since its organization is 36; dismissed by letter, 5; dropped, 12; deaths, 4. The present deacons are Cyratus Betts and Perry Roe. Trustees, Cyrenus Niffin, William H. Palmer, and Cyrus Betts. Clerk, Perry Roe.
They have usually sustained a prosperous Sabbath-school. The one now, under the supervision of Perry Roe, numbers 64 scholars. The church is a two-story frame building, will seat 300, and its estimated value is $2,000.
The only other church ever built in the town, was one built about the year 1800, near where Minor Stevens now resides. It was a frame building, and was taken down about 1820, removed, and converted into a barn. One of the early ministers, who occasionally occupied it, was a Mr. Ostrander of Ulster county, New York.
The Greenville Academy was incorporated by the Regents of the University of the State of New York on the 27th day of February 1816. The act of incorporation was signed by Daniel D. Tompkins, chancellor of the University of the State of New York, and by Gideon Hawley, secretary of State. The corporators were: Jonathan Sherrill, Rev. Beriah Hotchkin, Dr. Amos Botsford, Augustine Prevost, Eliakim Reed, Aaron Hall, Stoddard Smith, Levi Callender, Abijah Reed, Truman Sandford, Alexander Calhoun, Reuben Rundle jr., Francis Hickok, Daniel Miller, Joseph Bishop, Daniel Hitchcock, Josiah Rundle, Obediah King, and Eli Knowles.
Among its preceptors have been such men as Sylvester Eaton, Daniel Parker, Huntington Hyde, Spencer, Wheeler, Ely, Caldwell, A. V. D. Ayres, Philip Philips, A. Reynolds, and many others. The witnesses of its usefulness are in every part of the land, for it has sent out such men as the Van Burens, the Sanfords, and the Woodbridges, Rev. Henry White, Rev. Philo Calhoun, Rev. Charles J. Knowles, A. J. Parker, Lyman Tremain, Dr. Gideon Botsford, Charles Callender, and many others, whose power for good has been felt in every department of life.
It is at present under the able direction of W. F. Albrecht, principal, and is patronized by a large number of non-resident students. The courses of study are three in number: preparatory, business, and normal.
James M. Austin Lodge, No. 557, F. & A. M.
The only secret society in the town of Greenville at the present time is James M. Austin Lodge, No. 557, F. and A. M.
The petition for the charter is dated June 1st 1864, and contains the following signatures: John W. Hoffman, Luman Ramsdell, I. I. Van Allen, e. Wackerhagen, A. N. Bentley, Humphrey Wilber, Electus Ramsdell, J. E. Collins, B. F. Hisert, David Turner, James Stevens, Platt Coonley, and David Griffin.
The first lodge meeting was held August 27th 1864, and the following officers were elected: J. W. Hoffman, W.M.E.; E. Ramsdell, S.W.; H. Wilber, J.W.; J. Stevens, S.D.; B. F. Hisert, J.D.; D. Turner, treasurer; A. Wackerhagen, secretary; Platt Coonley, tyler.
Previous to 1876 the lodge meetings were held in an upper room in the store of A. N. Bentley. In that year their present hall was purchased, and was dedicated on the 26th of February. Their regular communications are held on the second, fourth, and fifth Saturdays of each month.
The present officers are: Daniel Wooster, W.M.; F. Becker, S.W.; H. Van Houten, J.W.; A. Wilber, S.D.; D. S. Powell, J.D.; John Roe, secretary; A. N. Bentley, treasurer; Lewis Brouliard, tyler; Rev. D. J. Putman, chaplain; C. A. Coonley, S.M.C.; Lewis Hicock, J.M.C.; J. Stevens, marshall; C. P. McCabe, organist; A. W. Baker, orator; and William Lake, librarian.
Waldron Family Biography
James Waldron, the ancestor of this family came from Holland about 1757. It is said that among his fellow passengers was a girl whom he afterwards married.
The children of this marriage were Joseph, born in 1765, Phillip, Elizabeth, Solomon, and Affy.
Joseph married Miriam Blaisdell, a sister of Levi Blaisdell, November 8th 1784, and their children were as follows:
1. James B., born March 27th 1786. He married Nancy, daughter of Shubal Newman, February 11th 1810. She was born June 25th 1785. Their children were Catharine, born December 23rd 1811, died unmarried, November 14th 1880; Truman, born May 31st 1813, died February 13th 1881; Angeline, born August 24th 1814, died May 3rd 1815; and Newman, born December 6th 1820.
Mr. Waldron (James B.) was a justice of the peace for several years and was most emphatically a peace maker among his neighbors. When suits were brought before him, he used his influence to have them settled amicably without trial, and it is said that as a result of his efforts at conciliation, only two suits were brought to trial during his official term. In politics he was a republican and previous to that a Henry Clay whig. He died February 7th 1875. His wife Nancy died December 24th 1868.
Mrs Waldron's father was a soldier of the Revolution, and a native of Stamford, Connecticut. His family consisted of Jemima; Aaron, who married Polly Thorn; Shubal; Abigail, wife of Martin Rockwell; Alvah, who married Sally Smith; and Zadoc, who married Betsey Smith.
2. Miriam, born July 3rd 1787, married Stephen Benedict, and removed to Indiana.
3. Levi, born April 16th 1787 (?-may be 1789-AC), married Rebecca King, and has a son William, who lives in Cairo, New York, and a daughter Caroline, who married Walter Pine. Their children were Rebecca, Smith, and Walter.
4. John, born February 8th 1791, married Catharine, daughter of Peter Brandow, who died June 15th 1857. Their children were Peter and Miriam. John is now living in the town of Coxsackie.
5. Elizabeth, born September 20th 1792, died August 13th 1872. She married Newman Finch, who died September 28th 1862, aged 75. Their children were Hannah, Sally Ann, Levi, William, James, Miriam (wife of John McGifford), Luman, Seth, and Polly.
6. Oliver, born May 29th 1794, died February 10th 1821. He married Polly Smith, and had a daughter Miriam (the wife of Daniel Quimby of New York).
7. Joseph, born September 27th 1796 died February 9th 1853. He married Sally Calder. Their children were Angeline, and John, now living in Illinois.
8. Affy, born September 8th 1798. She married Alexander Calder, and her children were James, Angeline, Carrie, Alexander, Joseph, Mira, Alma and Levi.
9. Philip, born March 27th 1801, died May 10th 1848. He married Mary Brogue, and their children were John, Charles, Elisabeth, Joseph, Harriet, Jane, and Martin.
Truman, son of James B. Waldron, married Abigail Finch, daughter of Ezra Finch, March 23rd 1842. She died January 2nd 1884. From this marriage were born the following children:
Ruth, born November 23rd 1845, died young; Emma, born September 28th 1848; James, born August 8th 1852, died young; Byron, born September 2nd 1852 (?-AC); Effie A., born October 9th 1854, married John Willis, son of Levi King, October 20th 1872, and has children: Charles Willis, born December 14th 1873, and Melissa, born August 5th 1875. Mr. King died October 13th 1875. George, born November 11th 1857, died in 1861.
Truman Waldron was killed by a sudden fall. His children, Bryon, Effie, and Emma, now reside with their mother on the old homestead.
Newman Waldron, a son of James B., married Abigail, daughter of Elias Palmer, September 17th 1856. She died January 28th 1871, and Mr. Waldron married Catherine Mesick, daughter of William Mesick, April 30th 1873. He has no children, and resides on the farm, near Greenville Center, inherited from his ancestors, and is one of the well known and respected citizens of the town. By the death of his brother, Truman, the town and community lost a valued member and useful citizen.
William Mesick, the father of Mrs. Newman Waldron, was a son of Jacob and Alida (VanAlstyn) Mesick, and resided at Schodack, N.Y. His wife was Sarah, a daughter of John Ostrander, a soldier in the Revolution. Mr. Ostrander's mother was Sarah Carpenter.
James Waldron, the ancestor, died October 28th 1827, at the advanced age of 91 years, 3 months and 12 days. For the first part of his life he lived at Coeymans, but came to Greenville in 1790, where he purchased a tract of 100 acres of Levi Blaisdell, a part of his possessions in the Coeymans Patent. Here he built a log house which stood about 20 rods east of the house which he afterward built, and which is now occupied by James Waldron, a great, grandson of the first settler. The great characteristics of this family have been active energy and steadfastness of purpose, which have subdued the wilderness.
The Finch Family
Ebenezer Finch was a native of Stamford, Connecticut, and married Hannah Newman. They had two children, Seth and Ezra. The latter was born August 4th 1757, married Ruth, daughter of Silvanus Townsend, September 20th 1764, and their children were:
Ebenezer, born May 17th 1785, married Mary, daughter of Joseph Blaisdell, and had 8 children, viz: Elizabeth, Maria, Ruth A., John, Abigail, Adeline, Angeline and Harriet.
Newman, born August 26th 1787, married Elizabeth, daughter of Joseph Waldron, now living in Greenville.
Townsend, born November 21st 1786, married Phebe, daughter of William Roe. His children, now (1883) living in Greenville Centre, are Elizabeth, Jane A., William Newman, and Silvanus.
Seth, born March 6th 1792, married Elche, daughter of William Thorn; their children were Ezra, Mary, William, and Adeline.
Sally, born October 16th 1794, married Nathaniel Rider, who died December 1841. She afterward married Jesse Brockway and lives in Schoharie county.
Norval, born October 16th 1798 died 1837.
Betsey, born August 9th 1801, married William Thorn of Gayhead, Greene County; their children were: Lewis, George, Sarah and Ezra.
Ezra, born August 24th 1805, married, 1st Mary Paddock, 2d Desire Hall, 3d Roxana Hitchcock, 4th Lucy A. ________; now (1883) lives in Athens, New York.
Silvanus, born September 14th 1810, married Marrietta, daughter of William Meade, and has 2 children, Albert and Milton.
Abigail, born May 18th 1813, married Truman Waldron.
The Finches are an old New England family and the name is often seen in the annals of that portion of the country.
Alexander Neely Bentley
There are few names more distinguished in the annals of English literature than that of Dr. Richard Bentley, the contemporary of Swift and Walpole, and whose writings opened a new era in classical scholarship. Dr. Bentley, who was born at Oulton, England, in 1662, had two brothers, Thomas and James, who emigrated to Rhode Island in 1720. Thomas remained in America, and was the progenitor of a very numerous and respected line of descendants.
Thomas Bentley had three sons, William, Benjamin, and Caleb; and his son William had four sons, Tillinghast, William, Taber, and Pardon.
Pardon Bentley was the father of eleven children: Pardon, Jr., Thomas, William, John, Charles, Augustus, Samuel, Stephen, Margaret, Elizabeth and Susan.
His third son, William, married Abigail, daughter of Elisha Smith, of North East, Dutchess county. He was born in Norwich, Connecticut, and was the youngest of a large family, the children of which were Elisha, David, Jesse, Elijah, Ruth, Eunice, Lydia, Sarah, Jerusha, Elizabeth, and Priscilla.
Elisha Smith was the father of eleven children: Jesse, Elijah, Enoch, Munson, Platt, Sally, wife of Isaac Mygatt, Abigail, Huldah, the wife of Bethel Mather, Sarah, Anna, the wife of Simon Buel, and Hamet, the wife of Alexander Neely. Abigail Smith's first husband was Isaac Hopkins, and they had a daughter, Hannah, and a son Smith Hopkins, whose descendants are living in Orleans county.
William Bentley, The father of the subject of this sketch, was born February 18th 1767. His wife Abigail was born April 4th 1771. By a former marriage, Mr. Bentley had two children: William, whose descendants are in Onondaga county; and Olive, who married Peter Capnell, whose son Albert C. was, for many years, a prominent lawyer in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Mr. Bentley married Abigail Hopkins December 13th 1795, and had seven children: Amanda, Alvah, Abigail, George H., Edward S., and Edwin S. (twins), and Alexander N., the subject of this sketch. William Bentley died September 24th 1820. His widow married James Slade, December 1827. Alexander N. Bentley was born in Westerlo, Albany county, July 25th 1814. In March 1824, he went to Schagtocoke Point as clerk in a store, where he remained three and one-half years. In 1832 he commenced merchantile business in Westerlo, in company with his brother George.
Amanda married John Winston, October 8th 1817, and is now (1883) living with part of her family in Evansville, Wisconsin, in her 86th year.
Abigail married Dr. Reuben Winston, August 23rd 1880, and moved to Lacrosse, Wisconsin, where part of her family still resides.
Alvah married Margaret Winston, September 14h 1824, and moved to Michigan. A son of his, Jasper, became a prominent lawyer in Brooklyn, and had two daughters, who married lawyers, and who are now living in Lapeer, Michigan.
Edwin S. married Nancy M. Gallup, and moved to LaCrosse, Wisconsin, where some of their family still reside.
George H. married Almira Lawrence. They lived and died on the old homestead in Westerlo; their family is in Nebraska.
In March 1837 he moved to Greenville, and purchased the stock in trade of Hercules Reed, and has been in business in this place for most of the time since. It is the general opinion that his business has been attended with well merited success. He was elected town clerk in 1839, and supervisor in 1856, and was postmaster for more than 30 years. He has been actively interested in all that pertained to the prosperity of his neighborhood. He has acted as trustee of Greenville Academy for 46 years; for 12 years he was a trustee of the New York Benevolent and Missionary Society; and is a trustee of the Christian Biblical Institute of Stamfordville, New York. During his whole life he has been active in business. In addition to his property in Greene county, he is an extensive land owner in Dakota and Washington territories, and other places in the west, and has several hundred acres under cultivation. Mr. Bentley was married, June 28th 1834, to Miss Hannah A. Rundle, of Greenville, a daughter of Josiah Rundle and Abigail Leavenworth. Her grandfather and great grandfather, each named Reuben Rundle, were natives of Greenwich, Connecticut. His family consisted of eight children, including four daughters: Fannie E., wife of Prof. James V.D. Ayers, M.A., principal of the graded school at Catskill; Carrie L., wife of P.J. Jennings, of Freehold; Emily L., wife of George R. Searles, of Orleans county; and Julia B., wife of Almeron Powell, of Coxsackie; and four sons: George N., William A., Albert C., and Charles E. Of these William A. and Albert C. are deceased. George N. is in California, and Charles E. resides in Greenville with his parents, and is a graduate of Eastman's College. Mr. Bentley has always been connected with the whig and republican parties in politics, and in religious matters his views coincide with those of that denomination called the "Christian church." It is the freely expressed opinion of his neighbors, that, few men of Greenville have lived lives of more active and usefulness than Mr. Bentley.
Mrs. Bentley's mother, Abigail Leavenworth, was born in Woodbury Connecticut, August 6th 1783. Her father was David Leavenworth, a son of John L., whose father, Thomas, was the son of Thomas Leavenworth who was born in Ripton, England, in 1673, and who, immigrating to this country, became the founder of the family whose members have held high positions in the State. The history of the Leavenworth family has been written by Hon. Elias W. Leavenworth, late secretary of State.
George N., son of Alexander N. Bentley, enlisted in the army in the civil war. He was sent with a light artillery company to New Orleans, and then to Texas, and remained until the close of the war.
Bradley Selleck McCabe MD
Stephen McCabe, the grandfather of B.S. McCabe, was born in the State of New Jersey, in the year 1755, and with his wife, Mary Farrar, were the parents of 13 children; he enlisted and served for a time in the Revolutionary war. In 1783, when his third son, Benjamin, was 3 years old, he moved into the town of New Baltimore, New York, on the place now owned by Hiram Miller, where he continued to reside until his death. Benjamin was married in 1812, to Sarah Gedney of New Baltimore, and continued to reside on his father's place until 1825, when he purchased and moved to the farm now occupied by Mrs. Cathcart. In 1834 he bought and moved to the farm now owned by Adam Lorenz. To him were born seven children: Caroline, born April 2nd 1814, died October 15th 1859, married, leaving two children, William H. and Mary E; Jane, born July 4th 1816, died December 18th 1867; Hamilton J., born March 7th 1819; Bartholomew G., born March 3rd 1821; Bradley S., born March 20th 1825; Philip E., born May 23rd 1828, died December 24th 1855; and Mary, born April 21st 1831, died January 5th 1861.
Benjamin McCabe was possessed of a discriminating mind, sound judgment, of general intelligence, decided in his convictions of duty. He was a member of the Methodist church from early life until death. It has been said of him, and truthfully too, that he never was known to shed a tear, nor to laugh audibly, so perfectly were his passions under his control. He died November 6th 1835, surviving his wife only nine days.
Hamilton J., the oldest son, has been engaged in the tin and hardware business in Greenville village for the past 38 years. He served for a time as justice of the peace. In October 1858 he was married to Mary E., daughter of Henry Cooley of New York. Two children were born to them, Henry C. and Mary, both now dead.
Bartholomew C., the second son, read medicine with Drs. A. and G. Botsford, graduated from the Castleton (Vermont) Medical College in 1842. In 1845 he married Rhoda Towner of Sullivan county, New York, and is now in the drug business at Deposit, Delaware county, New York. He has one daughter, Louise, married to Silas D. Horten of Deposit, New York.
The third son, Bradley Selleck, obtained an Academic education at Greenville Academy, read medicine with the late Dr. Gideon Botsford. He graduated form the Albany Medical College in 1850, after which time he entered into partnership with his preceptor and is still practicing his profession in his native town, Greenville. He has been for a number of years a member of the board of trustees of Greenville Academy. In the years 1861- '64, '74 and '75 he represented his town in the board of supervisors, twice serving as chairman of the board. At the present time he is a member of the Legislature of New York. June 26th 1850, he was married to Mary L., youngest daughter of the late Dr. Amos Botsford; three children have been born to them. Amos B. was born September 17th 1852, engaged in agricultural pursuits, married Helen Kyle of Albany, and has two children, John C. and Mary B. The second son, Charles P., was born August 11th 1856, read medicine with his father, graduated from the Albany Medical College March 1883; has entered upon the practice of his profession with his father. Prior to studying medicine, he had gained some repute as a teacher of the piano. The third son, George G., was born June 26th 1860, is in the employ of P. Winne & Co, Greenville, and is clerk of the town.
Dr. Amos Botsford
Dr. Amos Botsford was born in Newtown, Connecticut, February 13th 1780. He was the son of Gideon Botsford, and one of a family of 13 children. His father was possessed of liberal means, of much influence in his community, representing his town in the councils of his State. Amos, the subject of this sketch, obtained an academic education, entered upon the study of medicine at the age of 18 years, received his diploma at 21 years, and immediately afterward came to this town (which was then new) to engage in the practice of his profession. September 20th 1801, he was married to Elizabeth Clark, daughter of Joseph Clark, of Washington, Connecticut, and commenced housekeeping in what has since been known as the "Ell. Knowles place." In a few years he purchased the lot and built the house in which Pierce Stevens now resides.
He purchased of Jonathan Sherrill the lot and dwelling now occupied by his son-in-law, Dr. B. S. McCabe, where he resided until his death. For many years he was the only physician of standing or professional ability in this section of the country, consequently his services were much sought, and his labors arduous. His custom when visiting his patients was to ride on horseback. Few men possessed a finer physique than the doctor, and many yet living can recall his noble form, as, mounted on his horse, he daily rode from house to house, where his services were required. Of dignified appearance, he commanded the respect of all even at first sight. He was a faithful, intelligent, and successful practitioner for over 50 years. He represented his town in the board of supervisors in the years 1826, 1827, 1831-34, 1849. He was one of the incorporators of the Greenville Academy. He was a faithful member of the Presbyterian Church in Greenville and for many years a ruling elder in it. He died August 16th 1864. His wife died December 3rd 1855. There were born to them two sons and two daughters. Eliza, the eldest, born June 5th 1807, was married to Charles Callender and died April 4th 1871, leaving a family of three children: John Callender, the eldest, now engaged in the manufacture of brick in Boston, is the present owner of the Knowles place in the village; Charles Callender, the second son, lives in Newark, New Jersey, and is a manufacturer of paint; David Callender, the youngest, is now deceased.
Clark Botsford, the second child of Dr. Amos, was born September 5th 1808, graduated from Union College at the age of 19, read law at Rensselaerville with Jonathan Jenkins, afterward engaged in the practice of his profession in the western part of the State. His family are now all deceased.
Gideon, the third child, born June 5th 1811, engaged early in the study of medicine, having obtained a good education from the Greenville Academy, graduated in medicine from the Fairfield Medical College in 1832, entered upon the duties of his profession with his father, and continued for 50 years to devote his entire energies to the work of his calling, and like his father he was a man of commanding appearance, agreeable address, devoted to the profession he so much loved. He won and enjoyed the respect and confidence of the community. Ever active in all labors having in view the improvement of his native village, he was for many years an elder of the Presbyterian church of which from early life he was an active member. He was an influential member of the board of trustees of Greenville Academy. He was married to Maria L., daughter of Dr. Henry Talmage, June 5th 1832. There were born to them four children, two of whom are now living: Henry T., engaged in agricultural pursuits, married to Mary, daughter of the late Thomas Robbins; and Anna M., unmarried.
The fourth child, Mary L., born March 10th 1826, was married to Dr. B.S. McCabe, and has continued to reside in the dwelling where she was born and in which her parents died.
The O'Hara Family
The surname of O'Hara is undoubtedly Celtic in its origin. Irish surnames and patronymics are equally as curious as those of English, which, in common with all languages, partakes of place and nicknames, dating back to the days when the nomenclature of the people was limited, and the different clans and tribes were of one name.
The O'Haras were natives of County Antrim, Ireland. From a genealogical memorial of the descendants of Levi Kimball, it is found that Peter O'Hara was born at Ballandary, County Antrim, Ireland, November 16th 1775, and married Lucretia Darbee, at Rockland, Sullivan county, New York. She was the daughter of Samuel and Hannah (Kimball) Darbee. The latter was the eldest child of Levi and Abigail (Sissons) Kimball. Levi Kimball was born in 1745, and was the son of Jacob and grandson of John Kimball. The wife Abigail, was born in 1750. They were married in 1767, and resided in Norwich, Connecticut. Their children were: Hannah, Desire, Levi, Abigail, Sally, Polly, Oliver, Sabra, Betsey, William, Nancy, Lucy, George D., and Russell born at Rockland, Sullivan county, New York, April 21st 1797. Levi Kimball died at the age of 82, and his wife Abigail at the age of 97.
Samuel Darbee was the youngest child of Jedediah Darbee, and was born at Lisbon, Connecticut, June 2nd 1768. The family of Jedediah consisted of five sons: Jedediah, Asariah, Chester, John and Samuel; and two daughtrs: Cecelia and Abigail. Jedediah Darbee died September 4th 1769. Samuel was apprenticed to a clothier, and this business he continued in connection with farming, until a few years previous to his death. He resided at Goshen till 1798, afterward at Rockland, until his death occurred April 20th 1826, and was caused by an accident. His wife died December 15th 1851. Their children were: Lucretia (married Peter O'Hara), Sarah, Lucinda, John, Abigail, Hannah, William T., Levi, Roxiana, Samuel, Catharine, and Chester, born June 8th 1813.
The children of Peter O'Hara were: Abram, born July 18th 1809; Eliza, born January 21st 1811; Stephen, born December 7th 1812; Lucinda, born December 25th 1813; Bernard, born at Fishkill, June 1st 1816; Hannah, born September 8th 1818; Samuel, born October 21st 1820; Mary, born March 14th 1822; Peter, born July 1st 1824; Lucretia, born February 1826; George Edwin, born October 21st 1827; Catharine, born August 11th 1829; Charles Henry, born March 14th 1831; Ellen, born January 3rd 1834; and Levi, born August 1st 1835. He resided at Rockland from 1809 to 1813; at Beekmantown, until 1816; at Fishkill until 1818; at Colchester, until 1820, and in 1822, he was living in Greenville, where he bought the extreme northeast farm, which is still in the possession of some of his heirs. He lived here until his death, which occurred March 19th 1855. His wife died May 24th 1856.
Of the children of this family, Eliza Ann married Michael Purcell, February 11th 1832; Lucinda married Peter McGauley, January 12th 1836; Hannah married Dominick McDevitt, January 2nd 1840; Mary married Charles McWilliams, January 2nd 1840; Lucretia married Michael McGalloway, June 27th 1847; Catharine married John M. Kimball, October 19th 1854; all at Greenville; Samuel married Louisa Mayham, February 18th 1848, at North Blenheim, Schoharie county; Peter, Jr., married Eliza Jane McCloskey, November 19th 1856, at Ashland; Levi married Caroline, daughter of Abram Snyder, of Durham, February 19th 1857; Charles Henry married Miriam Hoag, February 3rd 1859; James Scott married Ellen O'Hara, at Fond-du-Lac, Wisconsin, November 14th 1859; and Bernard married Charlotte, daughter of Darius and Mary Briggs, at Lexington, December 1st 1845.
John Coonley, the ancestor of this family came from Germany about 1760. The family traditions state that the young man and his wife ran away to get married, and resolving to try their fortunes in a new world, they embarked for America. They had a very quick passage, but when almost in sight of land they encountered a storm which put the vessel back for some weeks. They settled in Dutchess county, and remained there during his life. He died in 1810, and was buried at stone meeting-house in Clinton. The children of Mr. Coonley were Solomon, George, John, David, Jacob, Daniel, Samuel, and Frederick, and two others whose names cannot be ascertained.
Jacob Coonley, son of John, was born July 30th 1763, and married first, Elizabeth Brill February 14th 1792, and second, Elizabeth Ham, February 20th 1798. His children were: Catharine, born February 19th 1795; Abigail, born February 14th 1797; Elizabeth, born July 28th 1799; and Frederick, born October 31st 1802. Catharine married Benjamin Wilbur, and had nine children: George, Mary, Abigail, Ann, John, Humphrey, Lewis, Jacob and Albert.
Abigail married Humphrey Mosier, and removed to Bradford, Pennsylvania.
Elizabeth married John W. Bedell, and is now living in New Baltimore.
Fred Coonley, the subject of this sketch, came to Greenville in April 1827, and bought of Ebenezer Carter the farm on which he now (1883) lives. It is said to be situated at the south end of the Prevost Patent, and a pine tree standing on a hill, about 50 rods southeast of his house, is said to be on the south boundary line of the patent. He married Anna Maria Haight, daughter of Joseph Haight, January 21st 1826, and had two children. The older, Jacob, was born November 1st 1826. He married Alvisa, daughter of Jonathan Youmans, and had three children: Adelaide (who married John Stevens), Eliza, and Annie. The younger, Platt, was born August 28th 1828. He lived in Greenville till 1866, when he moved to Coxsackie, and entered into the butchering and grocery business. He was elected supervisor in 1872, and in 1879 was elected sheriff of Greene county. He was a trustee of the village in 1877, and was appointed postmaster by President Garfield in 1881, and resigned in 1883. He is now treasurer of the Reed & Powell Transportation Company, and one of the most popular citizens of Greene county.
Mrs. Anna Maria Coonley died December 28th 1830, and Mr. Coonley married his second wife, Eliza Griffin, April 2nd 1835; she died July 23rd 1878. By this marriage he had seven children: Henry, born May 1836, died 1857; Theodore, born April 3rd 1838, married Augusta, daughter of Jeremiah Goff, and had a daughter, Susan; Maria, born April 25th 1840, married Pierce Stevens; Mary E., born April 25th 1842, died 1859; Edgar D., born July 12th 1844, married Amelia, daughter of Thomas Durland, has three children, Frederick, Mary E., and Carleton, and is a practicing physician on Staten Island; Lorenzo, born January 12th 1847, married Sarah A. Smith, April 28th 1881; Charles A., born August 29th 1849, married Ella, daughter of William P. Roe, February 19th 1878, and has a son, Henry G., born November 28th 1878.
Jacob Coonley, the father of Frederick died March 15th 1818. His wife, Elizabeth, died June 15th 1827.
Frederick Coonley lives a life of quiet old age in his retired farm house, in company with his son Charles and his family. His career has been one of active industry. His farm is one of the best in the county, and his sons are among its most respected citizens.
The subject of this sketch was the son of Justus Weed of Westerlo, Albany county. His father was born November 3rd 1772, and his mother, whose maiden name was Lucy Burdick, was born May 22nd 1777. The children of this marriage were: Hervey, born October 3rd 1800; Polly, born October 11th 1802, married William Buckbee; Belden, born in 1805; Laura, born September 30th 1813; Juliet, born in 1817, married Silvester Beman; William, born January 30th 1808, married Eliza Dayton.
Belden, who is now living in Wisconsin, is the only male representative living of this family. His sister Juliet resides in Albany.
During his early life, Hervey Weed lived in Westerlo with his father. May 17th 1826, he found a partner for life in the person of Miss Deborah Burroughs. In 1828 he moved to the village of Freehold and purchased a farm of John Onderdonk, about one and a half miles west of the village. Upon this homestead he remained till the latter part of his life, when he went to reside with his only child, Lucy A., who married Hiram E. Lacey (after the decease of her former husband, Jacob E. Story). Here his last days were spent in peace and happiness. He was a man of very social feelings, and gifted with that happy frame of mind which always looks upon the bright side of life, and banishes that care which often embitters existence. Among his neighbors he was recognized as a man of superior intelligence and information. Throughout his life he was a constant reader, and was well informed upon all the prominent topics of the time. The vital importance which he attached to the great cause of human freedom, caused him to withdraw his support from the party with which he had previously been connected, and for the principles of the republican party he was an able advocate, from the time of the Fremont campaign. In his religious preferences, he was attached to the denomination known as the Christian church, and served as clerk of the society for 25 years. Shunning politics, and desiring no office, he devoted himself to farming, in which he was very successful, and to his books, which were ever a source of pleasure. After the death of his wife, which occurred July 10th 1865, he lived a somewhat secluded life, and the road to his grave was smoothed by the attentions of his daughter and her husband. And when his life's journey ended on the 4th of July 1878, his friends and neighbors bore to their last resting place the remains of one who had been in all the relations of life a useful and honored man.
Mrs. Weed was the daughter of Nathan Burroughs, who was born November 13th 1758, and married Elizabeth Lane, December 14th 1786. Their children were: Benjamin, born October 16th 1788, died in 1843; William, born September 14th 1791, died in 1835; Alethea, wife of Nicholas Lampman; Joseph L., born December 1st 1795, died in 1861; Thomas, born January 3rd 1798, married Catherine Rosa; Eliphalet, born February 22nd 1800, died young; Deborah, wife of Hervey Weed; James Fairlee, born July 17th 1806, married, first Sophia Wright, second Julia Rundle.
Nathan Burroughs died March 24th 1825, and his wife Elizabeth, March 18th 1829.
Hiram Lacey, the present supervisor of Greenville, is the son of Enoch Lacey of the town of Coxsackie, whose wife was Lydia Rose Butler. Their children were; Cynthia, wife of Samuel Butler; Curtis R., who married Alphonsine Austin; Amos; Abel; Hiram, who married Lucy A., daughter of Hervey Weed; John, who married Mary Clark; and Mary. Of these, all but the first are residents of Greene county. Hiram Lacey has been four times elected to his present office by majorities which attest his popularity. For the last 10 years he has been extensively engaged in farming, and has all his life been an active business man.
The Stevens Family
The ancestor of this family was Thomas Stevens, who came to this country from England in the latter part of the 17th century. His son Daniel had a son Reuben, who was the ancestor of this branch of the family which settled in Greenville.
Reuben Stevens came from Fairfield, Connecticut, about 1793. He was born September 14th (O.S.), 1739. He was married April 27th 1760, to Mary Williams, who was born September 8th 1742. Their children were: Reuben, born March 29th 1761; Mary, born April 26th 1763, married John Brown (their descendents now live in Tompkins county; Phebe, born April 15th 1769; James, born November 13th 1771, married Martha Sutherland, and died without issue; Martha, born February 19th 1773, married Selleck Dan, and lived at Leeds; Rebecca, born March 9th 1775, married Jonathan Schofield; Rhoda, born June 19th 1778; died unmarried; Samuel, born November 18th 1780; Thaddeus, born May 23d 1783, married Lydia Fancher, and lived in Onondaga county.
When Reuben Stevens came to Greene County, land was offered him on Katskill Creek, for $2.50 per acre, but not having a very high idea of its fertility, he pushed on, and bought a partially improved farm, at what was then known as the "Hemlocks" but now Greenville Centre. That farm is now owned by Lyman Sandford. Mr. Stevens lived on this place at the time of his decease, which occurred November 10th 1804. His eldest son, Reuben, was a soldier in the Revolution, and a family tradition relates, that when, upon a time, a British foraging party made a raid upon Fairfield, he kept up a steady fire upon them, from Mount Summit, a high ledge of rocks; unmindful of the whistling bullets they sent in return, and quite forgetting in the excitement of the moment, that there was a log house at hand, to which he might have retreated while loading his trust musket.
Samuel, the fourth son of Reuben Stevens, married Sally Jones, who was born January 9th 1784. Her parents lived near the line between New York and Connecticut. The children of this marriage were: Smith, Esther Ann, and Orrin C.
Smith was born December 2d 1806, and married Sabrina Jones. They have three children: Sally Maria, wife of Harvey Lake; Ruth Ann, wife of D. Alanson Haight; and Phebe Ann, wife of Jonathan Brundage.
Esther Ann was born January 11th 1812, and married Samuel Hunt. They have descendents living in Iowa and Tioga county, New York.
Orrin Cedesmon Stevens was born January 16th 1809. He married Mary Ann Smith, October 9th 1832 and has seven children: James, Samuel, Daniel, Mary Elizabeth, Ambrose Spencer, Anna and Orrin C.
James, born October 1st 1833, married Elizabeth Sherrill, daughter of Ezra Sherrill, October 9th 1866. They have two children: Lucina, born November 24th 1868; and Orrin C., born January 29th 1872. During the civil war, he was 2d lieutenant in company A 20th New York militia, and was captain of company H 86th regiment N.G. He was supervisor of this town (Greenville) in 1874, and clerk of the board of supervisors in 1881 and 1882. He is one of the directors of the Farmers’ Insurance Co. and general insurance agent, and extensively engaged in farming and fruit raising.
Samuel was born February 13th 1836, and married Marion L., daughter of Edwin G. Hobby, March 10th 1862. They have one child, Frank F., born December 19th 1862, who was killed at the battle of Petersburg, June 18th 1864.
Daniel was born September 23d 1837, married Hannah E., daughter of Russell Stone, in 1862. They have four children: Herbert, born May 1864; Samuel J., born January 1866; Annie E., born June 28th 1868; and Frederick, born 1876. He is now a practicing physician in Syracuse, Nebraska.
Ambrose Spencer was born September 19th 1843, and died June 8th 1864. He was killed by the burning of the steamboat Berkshire, on Hudson River.
Anna was born June 23d 1848, married D. Herbert Smith November 11th 1871, and has two children, Edward H., and Herbert D. Mr. Smith is a skillful dentist, and resides in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Orrin C. was born August 30th 1851, and married Elizabeth, daughter of William H. Engle, of Schoharie county. They have no children living.
Orrin C. Stevens during his whole life has been a resident of Greenville. In politics he is a Jeffersonian democrat. He was supervisor in 1854, justice of the peace from 1856 to 1864, and also justice of sessions. He has been closely identified with the educational interests of the place, and for forty years a trustee of the academy. He has been a member of the Presbyterian church for 47 years, and one of its trustees for nearly that length of time. He is well known among his neighbors as an honorable citizen and a thorough business man. Concerning the family of Mrs. Mary Ann, wife of the elder Orrin C. Stevens, the following facts are known: Four brothers, Christopher, Simon, Joseph, and William Smith, came to New England a few years after the pilgrims. The first lived at Northampton and left no children; of the second, no trace has been discovered. The third settled in Hartford, and had a family of 15 children, whose descendents are very numerous. The fourth, William, married Elizabeth Standly August 1644, and had nine children; Jonathan, born January 20th 1647; Jobanah, born June 2d 1649; Susannah, born March 20th 1651; Elizabeth and Mehitable (twins), born May 20th 1653; Joseph, born August 25th 1655; Benjamin, born in 1658; William, born April 1661; Samuel, born May 1664.
Of these, Benjamin married Ruth, daughter of Samuel Loomis of Westfield, Massachusetts, and had seven children: Ruth, born February 8th, 1684; married Samuel Taylor; Samuel; Elizabeth, married Ebenezer Miller jr.; Rachel, married Samuel Morgan; Jonathan, born October 20th 1697; Job, born December 29th 1700; Mary, married Ebenezer Day.
Benjamin’s son, Jonathan, married Margaret, daughter of Samuel Ball of West Springfield, and had seven children, Jonathan, David, Solomon, Caleb, Daniel, Margaret, and Simeon.
Jonathan’s son, Daniel, married Mary, daughter of Daniel Noble, January 3, 1766, and had five children: Mary, born February 2d 1768; Daniel, born April 9th 1770; Electa, born December 25th 1772; Enoch, born May 20th 1775; Anna, born June 21st 1778.
Daniel’s son Daniel, married Sarah, daughter of John and Rhoda Day, December 1800, and had six children: Sally, born October 14th, 1803; John D., born February 19th 1805; Thankful, born February 1st 1807; Mary Ann, born October 3d 1809, wife of Orrin Stevens; Rhoda, born April 9th 1812; Daniel, born February 9th 1816.
On the road from Greenville to the "Hemlocks" is a mansion which reminds one of the former days, when men cared more for comfort than for show. On this homestead lives the subject of this sketch, who is one of the best known citizens of the town.
Two brothers, Hosea and Sylvanus Townsend, are said to have been the progenitors of the various families of the name. Abel Townsend had seven children: Henry, Luther, John, Thomas, Susan, Polly, and Abbie.
Henry was born in 1794 on the border of Greenville and Coxsackie, where his father kept a public house. He married Betsey Jump, and had ten children: Caroline, who married Sherman Sandford; Russell; Almeron; Charles, who married Laura Sherwood; Abel, who married Sylvia Newman; Luther, who married Betsy Smith; Hester Ann; Angeline; James; and Abigail, wife of Lewis Butler.
Russell Townsend has been a life long resident of the town of Greenville. He married Laura Sherwood August 8th 1838. He has no children except George Townsend, an adopted son, a young man of great promise, who is a graduate of Albany Normal College, and who has held the office of school commissioner of Greene county.
Mr. Townsend derived his given name from an uncle, John Russell, who was one of George Washington's life guards in the Revolution. On one occasion Washington was thrown from his horse and Mr. Russell picked him up and carried him off the field.
Mr. Townsend has a large farm, and has given much attention to the purchase and sale of horses, of which he is said to be a superior judge. In politics he is a staunch democrat of the Jackson school, and in religion a member of the Baptist church and one of its principal supporters. He has held the offices of assessor and overseer of the poor in his native town, and is known as a liberal minded citizen. In his younger days he traveled quite extensively for the times. He joined the church at an early age. He is a man of benevolence and ready to help any deserving cause, but does not wander much from home, nor spend much time in attending to the business of others, and he believes with the poet: "Act well your part, 'tis there true honor lies."
John G. Williamson
The subject of this sketch was a son of George Williamson and Mary Hunt, who was a daughter of Bemslee Hunt. Their children were: John George, born June 2nd 1809; Bemslee, born July 4th 1807; and David S., born June 2nd 1818. They were born in Knox, Albany county. Their father was a large farmer, owning some 300 acres. John remained on the farm till about 25 years of age, when he announced to his father his intention of starting out for himself. At that time, his grandfather Bemslee Hunt, owned a store at what was then called the "Hemlocks", now Greenville Centre. He came about 1837, and entered into business with him but soon bought the store, and until the close of his life, he carried on the business of a general store. Being of a speculative nature, he invested in general produce, and most of his enterprises were successful. Among his purchases were several parcels of real estate. He bought the place of James Stevens, now owned by his son George E. Williamson, and 108 acres of Michael Hoos, now in possession of Washington Williamson.
In Political views he was a democrat, but he took no active part in politics, and was not an office seeker. With the exception of serving as town clerk, he devoted all his time and attention to his business affairs.
Mr. Williamson married Sarah, daughter of Benjamin and Laetitia Roberts. November 29th 1840. The offspring of this marriage were four children: George Egbert, who married Minerva E. Sandford, and has three Children, Sandford E., John G., and Clarence; Washington, who married Catharine Smith; Elmina, who married Nathaniel Brownell, and has one child Sarah; and Laetitia, who is the wife of John Palmer, and has one son, Lavern.
These are all living in Greenville Centre, where their father passed his days. He died August 30th 1882, in his 73rd year.
Mr. Williamson was well known to his contemporaries as a prompt and reliable business man, and his well merited success was a proof of the saying of Holy Writ, "The hand of the diligent man maketh rich." His children are all living upon lands obtained by him, and enjoy comfortable homes, the result of his industry. Mr. Williamson was a man who did not hesitate to bestow of his wealth to advance the cause of religion. He was ready and willing to assist all who stood in need of his aid, and the general voice of his fellow townsmen was, that he was a public benefactor, and honest and honorable in all his dealings.
The subject of this sketch was the son of Ebenezer and Hannah Jennings, who were the parents of six children.
1. Daniel, who married 1st, Julia Weed, 2nd Ellen Souser. His children were Hannah, Sarah, Amanda, Julia, Daniel Webster, Peter, W. Irving, and Ellen.
2. Ebenezer, who married Sophia Webb, and had nine children: Ebenezer, Aaron, Edgar, Almeron, Delastro, Clarence W., Adeline, Geraldine, and Angela.
3. James, the subject of this sketch.
4. Lewis, who married, 1st Julia Stevens, 2nd Eliza Cunningham, 3rd Mary Nelson. He has four children: Jerome, James, Minerva, and Georgiana.
5. Zillah, who married Jesse Miller, of Durham, and had two daughters: Louise, wife of Thomas Catlin, of Durham; and Ella, wife of Jacob Yates, of Catskill.
6. Sarah, wife of Arthur Holmes, Wisconsin.
James, the third son of Ebenezer Jennings, was born in the village of Freehold, August 22nd 1809. His father died at an early age, and he seems to have started in business quite early in life. He married Julia, daughter of Eliakim Wright, August 9th 1829. She died without issue, May 4th 1837, and he married Rozella Pratt, March 11th 1838. The children of this marriage were: Isreal Pratt, who married Carrie Louise Bentley, November 27th 1861, and has four children, Rozella, Eugene Bentley, Frederick P., and Florence; George Sprague, who married Augusta, daughter of Alexander Coon, November 26th 1864, and has four children, Kittie, James Caroll, Harry and Arthur; Amanda, who died October 17th 1863, unmarried; Charlotte, who died September 15th 1851; Emogene, who married Menzo W. Borthwick, a clergyman of the Christian church, and lives in Sussex county, N.J.
Mr. Jennings' father built a saw mill on the creek at Freehold as early as 1815, at which time the wilderness was almost unbroken. From his earliest years until the day of his death, his career was one of marked activity and industry. Taking no interest in politics, and having no very elevated opinion of the class of men that aspire to office, he was a most sincere believer in the remark of Dean Swift, that "a man who can make two blades of grass grow where one grew before, is worth more to the world than the whole race of politicians." It is mentioned as exceedingly characteristic of the man, that he never voted but twice in his life. His farm occupied a large share of his time. He was also engaged in a tannery, and carried on a store with his brother-in-law James Burroughs. For a time in his early life he was a clerk in the employ of Andrew Dodge. About 1851 he commenced a general market business, which he carried on for 20 years with great success, and his wagons, loaded with all kinds of produce, were a familiar sight on the roads that led to the river. In his business affairs, he was noted for integrity and honor, and left an honored memory among his friends and neighbors. He died October 13th 1881. His wife, whose maiden name was Dean, died December 3rd of the same year.
The homestead farm of Mr. Jennings is about three-fourths of a mile north of Freehold, the Basic creek runs through it, and it is now in possession of his son George. His other children are comfortably situated near the place of their birth.
Alexander Coons, the father of Mrs. George S. Jennings, was a son of John Coons, who came to Freehold from Columbia county in 1780, at which time he traced his way through the wilderness by marked trees. His children were, Alexander, Daniel Nelson, Newton, Maria, Diadema, Frances, and Adelaide. The first married Catharine Calkins, and has two children, Augusta and Eben. Mr. Coons, being a man of advanced age and retentive memory, has been of great service in preserving the fast fading traditions of the place.
Reuben Rundle (whose father's name was Reuben) was a native of Greenwich, Connecticut, where he was born, March 10th 1757. He came to Greene county about 1790, and bought a tract of land on the southwestern part of Coeyman's Patent, and afterward he bought the farm now owned by Mr. Dean, on the south side of the road from Greenville to Coxsackie. His wife, Sarah, was a daughter of Francis Holly, and was born March 1st 1757. They were married December 25th 1781. He died in Greenville, in his 92nd year. The children of this marriage were:
Josiah, born October 6th 1783, married Abigail Leavenworth, September 1st 1805, and had seven children, Sally, Fanny, Delilah, Nelson, Hannah, Laura, and Eliza; Reuben, born May 5th 1785 (married Charlotte King, September 12th 1830, no children); Hardy, born July 1st 1788; Sarah, born February 22nd 1791, died 1795; Hannah, born January 1st 1794, married Bartholomew Gedney in 1822 and died in 1824; Nelson, born March 24th 1799, died in 1805; Jehu, born October 31st 1796, died in 1827.
Hardy Rundle, the third son, married Cornelia (daughter of Peter Simpson, who with his wife, Margaret Brice, came to Cairo from Dutchess county), March 10th 1812. Their children were:
George L., who married Naomi Baynham, and had six children; Thomas I. (whose wife was Ellen B. Whiting, who died in 1827, leaving a daughter, Abby L.); George Arthur; Winfield S. (probably Scott-AC), (who married Laetitia Darragh, and has a daughter, Laetitia A.); Julia Antoinette, wife of James F. Burroughs; Margaret Adeline, who died April 26th 1877; and Minerva Augusta, who died May 10th 1827.
Hardy Rundle bought the homestead now owned by his daughter, Mrs. Julia A. Burroughs, and made it his home during his entire life. He established a saw-mill on the creek which ran by his house, carried on a distillery, engaged in the selling of hay and other produce. He was a man who was always busy, and he seemed to work for the sake of working. This family was the principal support of the Episcopal church which was built in 1827, and which stood on the north side of the road, a little east of the present residence of George L. Rundle. Reuben presented the bell and a clock. This building was moved, a few years since to the village of Greenville, and is now a furniture store. Previous to this, they attended the services of the church in Athens, traveling nearly 20 miles. Services were sometimes held in the upper part of the house of Benjamin Reynolds, who kept a tavern about two miles east of Greenville, where George L. Rundle now lives. The book of Common Prayer, which belonged to Francis Holly, and which was printed in 1748, is a treasured heirloom in the possession of Mrs. Julia A. Burroughs
James Fairlee Burroughs was born July 17th 1806. His first wife was Sophia Wright. After her decease he married Julia A., daughter of Hardy Rundle, June 10th 1863. For most of his life he was a merchant, and his business career was successful. For a while he had a store in Jacksonville, and gave the name to the village, in honor of "Old Hickory" of whom he was a great admirer. He died August 8th 1873.
Thomas J., son of George L. Rundle, was a graduate of Hobart College, Geneva, New Jersey, and of the Albany Law School. He entered the army as second lieutenant November 31st 1863, and was afterward captain in 156th regiment, New York infantry. He was engaged in the great battle of Port Hudson. Sailing for New York with troops, the vessel wrecked near Key West. He then went to New Orleans, and up the Red River. He was engaged in the Shenandoah Valley, and was wounded, and confined in a hospital for one month; that being all the time he lost from the time he entered the army till the close of the war. He was esteemed as a brave and gallant soldier.
The Snyder Family
The Snyder family that formerly lived on the farm now occupied by Alexander Mackey, and who have still some representative residents in the town, were the descendants of Henry Martin Snyder, who came from Germany in March 1726, and settled in the town of Saugerties, Ulster County. He raised a family of 14 children, and from records, which have been preserved, it seems that he must have been a man of force of character. Soon after his arrival he succeeded with the help of some of his countrymen and the Dutch settlers in organizing a church society which is still in existence and is called the Kaatsban Church. He had 11 sons who grew to maturity. They all served in the war of the Revolution except the eldest. Who remained faithful to the king and had to leave the country, and finally settled in Monmouth County.
The descendants of this family were quite numerous at time of the death of Henry Martin Snyder, which occurred in 1777. After the Revolution the family scattered. Captain Jeremiah Snyder, one of the sons, settled in Rensselaerville, Albany County, where his descendants still live.
Peter A. Snyder, a grandson of Henry Martin, settled in Broome, Schoharie County, in 1800, and remained there till 1820, when he moved to Durham and purchased the farm belonging to William Read. He lived there 30 years, and raised a family of four sons and two daughters. Two of these children reside in Durham, Abram Snyder and Mrs. Merritt. Another son, P. P. Snyder, is a resident of the town of Greenville. One of the sons moved to Ohio about 1850. His father followed him and died there in 1859 at the age of 82. One of the daughters married John Evory, and has been dead many years.
Home Table of Contents History of Greene County Main Page