Biographical Sketches of its Prominent Men
J.B. Beers and Co.
by Rev. O.B. Hitchcock
Transcribed by Dianne Schnettler, Arlene Goodwin and Annette Campbell
Windham, originally a part of Woodstock, Ulster county, was constituted a separate town, March 27th 1798. Two years later, the new county of Greene was established from parts of Albany and Ulster counties, and a portion of Freehold, which had been included in Albany county before the formation of Greene, was annexed to the town of Windham. The boundary between Albany and Ulster counties crowned the mountain on or near the crest of Ginseng Mountain, running near the head of the Gulf or Jennie Pass. The north line of the Hardenburgh Patent crossed the town in a general southeasterly and northwesterly direction, and intersected the Windham Turnpike, or Post Road, at Russel Sheffield’s tannery, just east of his house, now occupied by William Delamater. From its starting point, by the lake near Beach’s Mountain House, to where it crosses the road at Delamater’s, the distance is 12 miles. The Hardenburgh Patent has been described on page 26 of the general history of the county. Other patents adjacent to the Hardenburgh are the Wilkins, Van Bergen, McVickar, and others.
The coming of the first settlers, George Stimson, Steven Simmons, and others, was connected with these patents: Simmons, as Livingston agent, and Stimson, as a herder of cattle ranging the mountains.
Immigration moved toward Windham simultaneously from different directions, entering Hunter, or Tannersville, through Mink Hollow Pass, or crossing the Hudson higher up, and following a trail through the forests and over the mountains nearly along the line of the present road. On the south, the Bushkill Clove opened a gate of entrance to the Schoharie Kill valley, while from the west, following up the Schoharie kill, settlers came in from Schoharie county.
In 1818-19 the widow of John Laraway was living with her son, John Laraway. Farther down was the tavern of John and Martinus Laraway, where, at that date, the widow of Martinus was living with her son, Colonel Henry Laraway. On an island in the Schoharie Kill lived Richard Laraway, a brother of Henry. Below the tavern was the red house of Peter Van Loon, occupied by his widow, in the care of a grand-daughter, a colored family doing the work. Still further down the hill lived Dr. Curtis, nearly opposite the site of Smedberg [Paul Raeder] Villa. Coming back to the bridge, on the south side of the creek, was the small store and house of a Mr. Hickok. The new tavern at the end of the bridge was kept by Cornelius Decker, whose wife was John Laraway’s sister. Sheriff Laraway’s wife was a sister of Ira Becker.
Rev. Mr. Page preached every third Sunday in the new church at Schoharie Kill; the other stations in the circuit were at Gilboa, Schoharie county, and at Moresville, Delaware county.
Where the Huntersfield Creek crosses the turnpike, on or near the site of the Episcopal church, lived Deacon Decker, whose sister, the wife of John Brandow, lived near the forks of the creek on the Lexington road. Beyond Deacon Decker’s, toward Pollum Hill, was Mr. Beers. At the foot of Pollum Hill was a school-house. East of the school-house Gideon Wolcott kept tavern. Skirting the edge of the present fair ground, and rounding the Big Rock at the western end of the Red Falls village of later date, was old Mr. Face, in a snug frame house, surrounded by a hickory grove. Foster Morss had not laid the foundation of the great tannery at Federal City, where in 1828, his son B. G. Morss, commenced business. Following up the Schoharie, the next nucleus of settlement was found at Lexington Flats.
Northward the broad uplands rise irregularly to the watershed of Batavia, covered with forest, the hunting ground of the pioneer, while on the south the mountains rise abruptly from the water’s edge, only opening to give passage to the waters of the West Kill and Little West Kill and the waters leading into their secluded valleys. This part of Old Windham had another opening into Ulster county through the Bushkill Clove, west and northwest, and into the Schoharie down the valley of the Schoharie Kill. Farther east, by the Heights, was the way to the Batavia valley, while the extreme east and southeast section found their outlet to the southward through Stony Clove, eastward by the Kaaterskill Clove central with the valley of the Hudson. Through central Windham was the great highway from the river to the lakes. To the north the immigration by way of Durham [then Freehold] entered Windham by what was later the route of the Windham and Durham Turnpike. One road led over the northern spur of the Catskills to Manor Kill, Schoharie county, while farther west the different roads converged beyond Huntersfield Mountain for the steep descent to Stone Bridge.
Along the Batavia the center of population was slow in becoming established, the first settlements being quite evenly distributed along the valley and the lateral streams. Sagacious men located with reference to the business they proposed to follow. Elisha Strong and his sons, on the Batavia, founded the village of Scienceville, now Ashland; Foster Morss, Federal City, now Red Falls; the Laraways and Van Loons, Schoharie Kill, which Colonel Zadock Pratt enlarged, and to which he gave his name. Colonel Edwards in like manner established his tannery on the head waters of Schoharie Kill, now the thriving village of Hunter, to which a railroad runs through the mountain gorge. At the Heights were Zadock Pratt, the elder, Ezra, his son, the Pecks, and Deckers. Their business drew settlers, formed the nucleus of a new town, and built up a pretty hamlet with stores, churches, schools, etc., and the cluster of cottages and white farm houses lining the various roads that converge there. At Carpenter’s Mills were turning works, a fulling-mill and woolen-mill, a school-house, and near by Edsall’s primitive tannery. Roads ran up and down the Batavia. Northward was what was later the Reynolds road; northwest the road leading to North or New Settlement and the west settlements. Up the Batavia the road led through what is now Hensonville to the Big Hollow settlement and to the head waters of the Batavia.
The Osbornville of a later date (now Windham), lower down the valley, became the successor of the earlier site. It had a late beginning and a slow but steady growth. The decadence of the manufacturing communities has left it the rural metropolis of the western Catskills.
Perhaps Captain George Stimson’s camp by the rock, in 1781, was a prophecy – the shadow of coming events. Indian relics found at the foot of the hill, the tomahawks, arrow points, stone pestles and mortars, their grist-mills, may be taken as proofs of a prehistoric Indian village there, their lodges skirting the valley by the brooks, and under the shelter of the protecting bluffs.
The settlers who came up the Schoharie Kill valley into Windham, and those from along the Hudson were mostly of Dutch descent; but the steady stream that came pouring in from Connecticut, and in less volume from Massachusetts, gave a predominant New England character to the new settlement.
Only one Dutch or Reformed church was organized within the limits of Old Windham or Schoharie Kill. There were two Protestant Episcopal churches, three Congregational, and two Baptist churches. The Methodist itinerants gathered their first congregations in school-houses. Their houses of public worship were not built till later. The Congregational churches soon became Presbyterian in form, to conform to those of similar faith in the adjacent regions.
Windham has given to the State of New York two governors, Washington Hunt and Lucius Robinson; Congressmen, Rufus King and Zadock Pratt; State Senators, Lyons Tuttle and William H. Steele; a long list of members of the Assembly; a bishop of the Protestant Episcopal church, Daniel Tuttle; and a dozen or more ministers of different denominations.
The following are abstracts of patents which include what is now the town of Windham, as well as lands beyond the limits of this town. They were obtained in the office of the secretary of State at Albany:
“Queen Anne to Johannes Hardenburgh, Leonard Lewis, Philip Rokeby, William Nottingham, Benjamin Faneuil, Peter Fanconnur, and Robert Lurting. – Grant dated April 10th 1708.
“Conveys a 7th part to each of “A tract of vacant and unappropriated land situate in the counties of Ulster and Albany, beginning at the Sand Bergh or kills at the N. E. corner of the lands granted to Ebenezer Willson, Derek Vandenbergh Co. at Minisink, so running all along their line N. W’ly as the said line runs to the Fish Kill or river, and so to the head thereof, including the same, thence on a direct line to the head of a small river, commonly known by the name of Cartwright Kill, and so by the northerly side of the said kill or river to the northernmost bounds of Kingston on the said kill or river, thence by the bounds of Kingston, Huley, Marbletown, Rochester, and other patented lands, to the southward thereof to the said Sand Bergh, the place of beginning.”
“George the Second, to Vincent Matthews, Michael Dunning, and Daniel Denton.
“Three several tracts of land situate in the county of Albany on the west side of the Katts Kill Mountains, the first of which tracts begins at a spruce-pine tree marked M. B., standing on the south side of a small run of water which falls into a brook called Chawtickiquack Kill or Creek, which tree is about 16 chains from a dam of drift wood in the said brook, on a line running nearly N. 86 [degrees] W. from the said tree to the said dam, and the said tract runs from the said tree S. 39 [degrees] W. 52 chains, crossing the Chawtickiquack Kill, then No. 53 [degrees] W. 59 chs., then N. 25 [degrees] W., 100 chs., then S. 85 [degrees] W. 134 chs., then S. 70 [degrees] W. 98 chs., then N. 77 [degrees] West 126 chs., then S. 78 [degrees] W. 132 chs., then N. to the said brook called Chawtickiquack Kill, then down the stream of the said brook to a spruce pine tree marked M. B. standing on the north side of the said brook, at the lower or west end of the lowland, then from said pine tree N. 21 [degrees] E. 13 chs., then N. 55 [degrees] E. 120 chs., then S. 88 [degrees] E. 68 chs., then S. 70 [degrees] E. 104 chs., then N. 77 [degrees] E. 106 chs., then S. 88 [degrees] E. 196 chs., then S. 82 [degrees] E. 120 chs., then nearly S. 39 [degrees] W. 26 chs., to the place where the same tract began, containing 3,900 acres of land, and the usual allowance for highways.
"2. The second of the said tracts begins at a place on the north side of the aforesaid brook called Chawtickiquack Kill , 2 chains below or westerly from a spruce tree marked M. B., standing on the north side of the said brook, near the lower end of a fall of water in the said brook, which fall is about one mile and ¾ ths of a mile to the westward of the west end of the above tract of 3,900 acres, and from the said place of beginning runs N. E. 40 chains, then S. E. 22 chains, then S. W. 50 chains, then N. W. 22 chains, then S. E. 10 chains, to the place where the same 2nd tract began, containing 100 acres of land and the usual allowance for highways.
“3. And the third of the said tracts begins at a place on the east side of a brook or run called Schoharie Kill or creek, and at the south end of a piece of lowland which lies on the east side of the said brook or river, and on the south side of a brook called Chawtickiquack Kill, where it falls into Schoharie Kill, and from the said place runs N. 51 [degrees] E. 82 chs., then N. 59 chs., then N. 73 [degrees] W. 72 chs., then N. 12 [degrees] W. 20 chs., then S. 88 [degrees] W. 32 chs., then S. 64 [degrees] W. 42 chs., then S. 1 [degree] 30’ W. 104 chs., and then S. 76 [degrees] E. 40 chs., to the same Schoharie Brook or river, and then down the stream of the said brook or river to the place where the said 3d tract of land began, containing 2,000 acres of land, and the usual allowance for highways, making in all the three tracts 6,000 acres.”
“George the Third to Martin Garretson Van Bergen, * * * Jacob Wilkins, and seventeen others.
“Date July 11th 1767.
“To each a 78th part of 3 islands and 3 tracts of land in the county of Albany, on the west side of Hudson’s River. * * *
“The third of said 3 tracts situate on the west side of the Katts Kill Mountains, begins at a spruce pine tree standing on the north side of a brook, Chawtickiquack, and at the lower or west end of the low-land formerly marked with the letters M. B., for a corner of a tract of 3,900 acres granted to Vincent Matthews, Michael Dunning and others, and now known by the name of “Batavia,” and third tract running from said place of beginning N. 21 [degrees] E. 13 chs., then N. 55 [degrees] E. 120 chs., then S. 70 [degrees] E. 104 chs., then N. 77 [degrees] E. 106 chs., then S. 88 [degrees] E. 34 chs., then N. 313 chs., then west 497 chs., then S. 276 chs., then E. 30 chs., then S. 45 [degrees] E. 22 chs., then S. 30 [degrees] E. 100 chs., to the said spruce pine tree marked M. B. where the 3d tract begins, containing 14,969 acres and the usual allowance for highways.”
Daniel Lamoreaux settled in Windham village, in 1817, on a place now owned by Colonel George Robertson. He bought his farm of about 100 acres from William Stimson. He had 11 children, of whom only two, Hamilton and Abia, are living.
Solomon Munson and wife came to Windham about 1800, with their son Jarius. He came with Ebenezer Baldwin and remained with him a short time on the present Spring place, about two miles northwest of the village. In about a month he had located his property and built a log house, and was ready to make a permanent settlement on the present Washington Bishop place. Solomon Munson was an old man when he came here, and was killed in 1802 at the raising of a house on the Spring place.
Jarius Munson, who came with his father, Solomon, had five children. Lemuel H., one of these, who was born in 1806, and was married, in 1827, to a daughter of Silas Lewis, removed to Windham village. Silas L. Munson, his only son, was born in 1828, and married a daughter of J. Smith, in the autumn of 1849. They had one daughter, Alice. His second wife was Phebe Fuller and they had five children.
Silas Lewis, a surveyor, came to North Settlement previous to the arrival of Solomon Munson. He owned the grist-mill that was built by his brother Marshall. The first grist-mill built there stood a short distance below this mill. The machinery of the grist-mill was driven by an overshot wheel. The present grist-mill stands on the site of the first one. Silas Lewis had two sons, Arad and Silas Jr., and four daughters.
George Stimson sen., was one of the earliest settlers in the Batavia valley. He came from Framingham, Mass., in 1785, and built a brush shanty by the side of the great rock at the west end of Windham village, then returned and brought his family, consisting of a wife and several children. The first shanty was burned and another built. His sons were Jeremy, Nathaniel, George, Ephraim, Henry B., and William. There were five daughters. One of the sons remained in Massachusetts, and Henry B., later known as Rev. Mr. Stimson, was a lad of 13 when his father built his cabin. He assisted in the care of the family during seven years, and at the age of 21 entered school at Claverack, Columbia county. There he remained nine years, engaged in his studies, and working at cabinet-making to pay his expenses. He afterward spent more than a year in the study of theology with Rev. Mr. Fuller, of Rensselaerville, and in 1802 was ordained. He was soon afterward married to Miss Rebecca Pond, removed to Windham and took charge of the first Presbyterian congregation there. Under his care the society was regularly organized in 1803. In 1807 he taught school at Ashland.
The house now occupied by his daughter, Miss Rebecca Stimson, was built by Mr. Stimson in 1805 and was occupied by him till his death. He had been pastor of the church at Windham from its organization.
The first settler on the ground where Mr. Stimson built his house was a Mr. Cargill; the next was Mr. Martin, the father of Nicholas, Peter, and Frederick Martin, and of him Mr. Stimson bought the property.
Eleazer Miller located on the present farm of Hiram Davis, previous to 1805. He had three sons, Eleazer, Jere [or Jeremiah], and Abraham, and two daughters, Lucy and Polly. Lucy married Jesse Loomis, and Polly became the wife of Ransom Ives. No descendants are living but Mary, a grand-daughter and daughter of Jeremiah.
William Clark was an early comer to Windham. He located his farm, made a small improvement, and returned to Connecticut, to marry his intended. She died suddenly, and he returned alone. He finally married a Miss Thankful Rogers, daughter of Elihu Rogers, and located the Fancher, or present Richtmyer place.
Elias Fancher came to Windham about 1811 or 1812, and located on the place now owned by Pearl Lewis. He was a native of Connecticut, and came from there to Rensselaerville, Albany county, at the age of 17, and afterward to Windham. He married a Miss Lydia West, and they had five children. Of these, Lucius, the youngest, lives in Hunter, and Mary is Mrs. Richtmyer, of Windham.
Mr. William Clark first located the present Richtmyer place, and Mr. Fancher purchased it of him.
Philetus Reynolds was born in Old Stockbridge, Massachusetts, April 25th 1776. He married Dremania Saxton, in 1803, and moved to Windham, where his children, Calvin and Luther (twins), and Annis were born. He and James O. Gates bought the Carpenter farm, on which were a grist-mill and saw-mill. Mr. Stephen Spencer was his miller, and, as the machinery creaked somewhat discordantly, he christened the grist-mill the “old Fiddle,” a name which it bore during many years. He also dealt in horses, which he bought, fitted for market, and then took in droves to the market at a place called Bengall, in Dutchess county. He was also the builder of a hotel on the Cornell property, which he purchased in 1812. He removed from the county in 1816. Of his children, only Luther is still living.
Increase Claflin and his brother John settled on a soldier’s claim, on the farm lately owned by Pearl Lewis, and now owned by Lyman Turk. They came from Framingham, Massachusetts, about 1786, when, as family tradition says, there was no house nearer than Schoharie (Prattsville), on the west, and only one on the east side of the mountains. His oldest children were very young, and all came to Windham on an ox-sled. Increase and John had married sisters of Rev. Mr. Stimson. It is related that they burned elm timber to ashes, sold the ashes at Claverack, and procured flour, which they brought home on their backs, a bushel at a time, and each one in the settlement had a share. After land was enclosed, and they were able to keep cows, Dutch cheese was one of their luxuries.
They were subjected to all the privations and dangers of pioneer life. It is related that a panther was caught in a trap by one of the brothers. The animal had on the previous night taken from the log barn and carried away a calf. A primitive table was long preserved in the family. It was made of a trough set upon legs, and covered with a hewn puncheon. The only tools used in its construction were an ax and an auger.
Cornelius Fuller emigrated from Dutchess county as early as 1800. He first lived in Big Hollow, than at what is now Hensonville, on the farm now owned by Linus Peck. He afterward removed to what was known as Fuller’s Tavern, on the old turnpike. The house was built in 1812, the same summer in which Mr. Fuller went to the war. It is now the residence of John Holcomb. He lived here more than 50 years. His family consisted of eight sons and eight daughters, all of whom lived to be married. His wife died from the effects of a fall. She slipped on an apple skin and fell, breaking her thigh.
Mr. Fuller kept hotel at a time when the turnpike was much traveled, and he made money rapidly. He was a genial, affable, kind and benevolent man. Barney Fuller, a son of Major Cornelius, is a resident of Mitchell Hollow. He was born at Hensonville in 1809.
A Mr. Dewitt came, with his family, and purchased from Mr. Fuller his first place, the present Linus Peck place. None of his family are now in this vicinity.
Religious services were held in an old meeting-house near Fuller’s Tavern. The house has long since been demolished, and nothing is now know of it. It is said to have had an old-fashioned round pulpit, of the size of a hogshead.
Lieutenant Lemuel Hitchcock came from Connecticut, in 1793, and located in the southern part of the town of Durham. In the spring of 1795 he came to Big Hollow, with an ox team and sled, and located on the place now owned by Jabez Barnum. In the fall of 1794 he and his son Thomas had made a trip on foot over the mountain, and located a square mile of land in Big Hollow, on both sides of Batavia Creek but mostly on the north side. He had at this time a family of 10 children: Thomas, Lemuel, Zalmon, Antrim, Lucius, Lydia, Phebe, Mamre, Rhoena, and Tirza. His log cabin was located a few rods from the north bank of the creek, a short distance east from where the house of Jabez Barnum now stands. There he planted an orchard of apple trees, a few of which are still standing. Of the sons, Lemuel ultimately settled on a part of the old farm, where he died in April 1861.
Early in the present century Isaac Payne came from Connecticut to Big Hollow. He became a permanent resident, and there he died at the age of more than 90. He had one daughter, who married Samuel Bagley, and they lived on the farm now owned by George W. Drum. Mr. Payne was a quiet man. He identified himself with the Congregation church, but he was not as active a worker therein as his predecessor, Deacon Hitchcock.
Settlers in Big Hollow came rapidly after 1900. Samuel Bagley married Laura Payne, daughter of Isaac, and settled on the George W. Drum Farm.
Abraham Coffin located the Orton L. Payne place remained about 15 years, and removed to Cairo.
Joseph Pierce located at the upper end of the Hollow on the N. Newcomb place. He had three sons who all removed to Sullivan county.
Mr. Peck, grandfather of Erastus T. Peck, located the present Austin B. Hitchcock place.
Samuel Atwater came from Hamden county, and first located in Jewett. He came to the Hollow about 1817, and made an improvement on the Willis Chatfield place. He had two sons and one daughter by his first wife, Julia Hough, and by his second wife, Sarah Bronson, he had five children.
Winthrop Bagley was an early comer, and became connected with, or was at the head of a band of counterfeiters, who figured in Hollow in a mysterious way. They selected a secluded spot in the wilderness, on the southern slope of High Peak, on the Mc Glashan farm, now owned by Doxey Ruland. Bagley is said to have represented the gang outside. He attempted to buy out Deacon Hitchcock, whom he considered a dangerous man for them. They cut a road from their camp to within a few rods of the Elm Ridge road, running from Big Hollow to East Windham.
Abel Holcomb came from Granby, Connecticut, in 1802. He located in Jewett with a family of 10 children. He was a farmer, an Episcopalian, and a member of the Ashland church. Friend Holcomb was the second son of Abel, and Homer, his brother, the fourth. These two came from Jewett to Big Hollow in 1821, and located 640 acres of land, heavily timbered with hemlock, beech, and maple. One of their first enterprises was the building of the Holcomb saw-mill, in 1822, on their tract, now the Palmer Joslyn farm. They had a fall of 20 feet, and used a flutter wheel. They sawed the lumber for their tannery, and for their dwelling houses. The first house built was that occupied by Zeal Rose. The entire family followed from Jewett and untied their efforts in the erection of the different buildings. A blacksmith shop was built, and a brickyard started, first at the flat in the rear of the Methodist Episcopal church, and then in the rear of the old residence. In these yards were made the bricks used in the chimneys of the tannery, and other buildings. A store was built in 1826, and is now occupied by Z. Rose as a wagon house. The tannery was completed in 1827. It had a cast iron bark-mill, and a wood hide-mill, propelled by a 12 foot overshot wheel. It had 150 vats, and 2,000 cords of bark were annually used. This tannery was operated till about 1848, when it was purchased by Pratt & Robertson, who continued it till 1854.
Samuel Law early settled on Hough Hill, on the George Law farm.
Theron Hough gave Hough Hill its name.
Samuel Chapman came from Durham and located at Big Hollow village.
Harry Avery was an early settler, and an elder in the Presbyterian church. He located the Charles Butler place at Big Hollow village. He was a farmer. Samuel Avery, of Jewett, is his son.
Eli Robinson lived in a log house for many years. He was the father of Lucius Robinson, governor of the State of New York. Orrin, another son, now advanced in years, is a resident of Elmira, N. Y. A daughter is now Mrs. Doty, of Windham village. Both the sons attended school in the old log school-house at the Hollow.
Sanford Hunt, father of Washington Hunt, governor of New York State, lived on Austin B. Hitchcock’s mountain lot. When he first came to Big Hollow he engaged in the manufacture of potash on what is known as the old State Lot, bought of the State by James Robinson, afterward owned by James Robertson jr. and now by Chauncey Peck. He was afterward a permanent resident of Windham.
A grandfather of Mr. Hunt, Mr. Saxton, was an early settler.
Luther Ford, Wait Baldwin, and Harry Tuttle came in 1830.
Ambrose Chapman, an eccentric citizen, came in 1820, and built a chair factory on the farm of John Skelly, on the south side of the creek. About 1837 he moved his factory further up the creek to the place occupied by William McGlashan. It is said that because of a disappointment in early life he became a woman hater. He was a skillful mechanic, and he made hand hay rakes as well as chairs. His was one of the first factories in the Hollow. He died in 1878 an inmate of the poor house.
Eveleen Hayes was one of the first teachers in Big Hollow. She taught as early as 1816.
Isaac Payne built the first saw-mill in Big Hollow, in 1810, on the Jabez Barnum place. It was a small pioneer mill, and it did not run long.
Zalmon and Lemuel Hitchcock build a saw-mill on the Jabez Barnum place, then owned by Zalmon, in 1820. It was operated as late as 1854.
The Big Hollow paper-mill was built in 1850, by Lemuel B., Anson N. and John Hitchcock, brothers and William Coffin. Straw wrapping paper was manufactured for a time, then straw binders’ boards. It was not operated more than five years.
Mr. Mitchell immigrated to Mitchell Hollow in 1800, and located on the flats now owned by C. E. Brockett. Nothing definite is known of him, only that he lived and died in the log cabin he built, and was buried under an apple tree, still standing on the Brockett farm. This farm became the property of one Brown, who built the house afterward occupied by Sylvester Andrews. Mr. Andrews was a teacher.
During the year that Mitchell settled here, Deacon Elam Finch also came to this place from West Durham, and located on the farm now occupied by Frank Finch. Deacon Finch was one of the organizers of the West Durham Presbyterian church, and one of its first deacons. He retained his membership with the church as long as he lived. His family consisted of seven sons and four daughters. Sylvester Andrews and Deacon Finch erected the first frame houses in Mitchell Hollow.
In 1805, a man by the name of Fordham built a small farm house, a part of which he occupied as a store. During the same year, Messrs, Peck, Amos Smith, Robb and Williams settled in this valley, and built several log dwellings.
In 1810 Roswell Bump, a native of Dutchess county, moved to Catskill and thence to Mitchell Hollow, via Durham. His family consisted of nine boys and four girls. In “Old Times in Windham,” (1869), Rev. H. H. Prout says:
“Of these children eight are now living, occupying, with their descendants, positions of respectability and honor in various parts of the country. The custom was to chop and clear the land in winter, and sow it the first year in wheat, the next in rye. In one year Mr. Roswell Bump and his sons raised three or four hundred bushels of wheat, and for a part of the crop got $2.75 a bushel; but reserving part till the next spring, got only $1.50 a bushel for it. This was during the second war with England, 1813.”
On of the early settlements in Windham was by Manly Humphrey, about 1801. He had two brothers, Sylvester and Isaac, who located just over the line in Durham. Of the Humphrey estate, 160 acres are now owned by George Blakeslee, who has been a resident of the Notch for about 60 years. His parents, Ebenezer and Polly (Westlake) Blakeslee, came from Connecticut about 1819 with a family of seven children.
Richard Kirtland and David Lake also came early, and settled on what is called the Kirtland road. Uncle Fenton also located on the same street, toward Windham.
In 1816 David Lake and family settled here. They came from Connecticut. “Exemplary in general deportment, steady and unflinching in their religious calling, the heads of this family have left to their descendants a truly good name.”
Messrs. Platt, James Addis, Wolcott, Roper, Waterman, Burhans, and George Carr were early settlers in this valley, Carr’s son became noted as a teacher.
The first dam was built by Jared Clark in 1817, and a short time after he built a saw-mill, using the old fashioned flutter wheel and sash saw. The site is now occupied by a turning-mill and planning-mill.
Jehiel Judd lived on the present Robert Lee place.
William Nelson settled on the place now occupied by his sons, Robert and William, near Blakeslee’s.
John Robb located at the first house above William Finch’s, and next beyond Robb was Ebenezer Blakeslee. Joseph Atwood lived where Daniel Richmond now lives. Next below Richmond’s was Mr. Smalling.
Early Settlers of West Windham
Along the western border of the present town of Windham one of the first comers was Ebenezer Baldwin from Wallingford, Connecticut, about 1798. He built near where Mr. Spring now lives. His wife, Lydia, survived him, dying in her 102d year. His daughter, Annie, married Mr. Banes, of Rome, N. Y. Albert Barnes, distinguished as a preacher and Biblical scholar, was their son. The other children were Benjamin, Ebenezer jr., Samuel, and Timothy. He was a miller, a long time in charge of North Settlement grist-mill. He afterward moved to Durham and was miller there until his death, and was succeeded by his son, Jarvis. A younger son, Albert Barnes Baldwin, went to Kansas; he is now dead. Gary, the eldest, lives at Norwich, N. Y. Alathea married Benjamin Morss jr. Maria married in Durham, Evelina married and moved west.
Benjamin Osborn was a brother of Deacon Nathan. His wife was a Merrill from Connecticut. Their children were: Polly, who married Jacob Smalling; Comfort, who married a Mr. Fenton; Riley, who died recently on the homestead, past 80; Roderick; Buel; Lena and Angeline married brothers, Matthews, sons of Herman.
Ard Osborn married Caroline Frayer, sister to Catherine, wife of Silas Lewis jr. They had several children. Orrin Osborn was the youngest brother of Ard. Abijah and John Stone’s mother, Experience (Stimson) Stone, was a daughter of Captain George Stimson. John moved to Boston, Massachusetts. Abijah moved to Osbornville (Windham) and built one of the first dwellings there. His wife was Alathea Osborn, eldest daughter of Deacon Nathan Osborn. They had one son, Burrit C. Stone, deceased.
Asa Richmond married a daughter of Truman Tuttle, sister of Ezekial and Currance (Tuttle) Atwood. Their children were: Henry, Sarah, wife of Asahel Finch, Clarissa, and George.
Elihu Rogers came from Branford, Connecticut, about 1800. April 5th 1804, Betsey, his daughter, married James Robertson, father of Colonel George Robertson of Windham.
Eli Osborn moved to Danby, Tompkins county. His wife was a large woman, and coming to visit a Windham neighbor who was in Danby, drove up in a two seated wagon. Mr. Osborn occupied one seat and Mrs. Osborn the other. “Is that the way you ride?” inquired the visitor. “Yes,” said Mr. Osborn, “I have to go twice to carry my wife to church.” His son moved from Windham to Richford, Tioga county.
Jonathan Preston came from Connecticut. His brother Elisha built a log or block house west of the Ezekiel Tuttle house.
Dr. Elias Preston was an eccentric person, who spent most of his time wandering from place to place. He had much trouble with bad air in his journeys. He would climb into a tree to get above the obnoxious current, or try to get round it.
Colonel Enoch Blakeslee was about making a visit to Connecticut near the residence of the Doctor’s relatives, and asked him what message he had to send. “Tell them,” said the doctor, “that I have on two pair of pants and three vests.” He was quite a scholar, and wrote rhymes for the amusement of the young people at the houses where he staid.
Simon Cobb moved from this place two miles west, where Mr. Robinson first settled and where Albert Lewis now lives. His father, Miner Cobb, came from Connecticut among 10 pioneers; came first to Big Hollow.
Perez Steele sen., first settled on the plateau at the west border of the present town of Windham, but soon moved into the Colonel Simmons house on the North Settlement road, whence he removed to the present S. Munger place, built a house which was enlarged by him or his son Stephen, and opened it as a hotel. He was one of the founders and chief supporters of the first Presbyterian church of Windham, and for many years justice, and was elected to the Legislature. Farther east, near the Mitchell Hollow Brook, lived Mr. Fenton, and near him was Ephraim Stimson.
On the road from Suttons north, were Barney Fuller, James Addis, and Roswell Bump, one of whose sons Newton is living, and several daughters, among them Mrs. Joel Osborn, and Rebecca, wife of Orlando L. Newton, of Lexington. Daniel Kirtland, brother of Horace, was from Durham. The Kirtland farm became part of the Bump farm by purchase.
Giles Sutton was from Conesville. He settled where Wilsey Howard now lives. He had three sons: Thomas, who had a large family, many of the descendants living in the town; Ebenezer, who lives in Mitchell Hollow; and William, who settled in Sutton Hollow, where his son, Russell lives; another son, Giles lives at North Settlement. There were three daughters, two of whom married and lived in Durham. William Sutton’s wife was a daughter of Russell Gladding one of the early comers in Old Windham. Mrs. Gladding was a sister of Harris and Curtis Prout, sons of John Prout, a pioneer in the Batavia valley.
Most of the emigrants mentioned above, settled on one or the other of two converging roads, one running eastward from Silas Lewis’ house and past the head of the mill-pond, where Enos Osborn lives, and so to the east just north of the present burial ground, and down into Mitchell’s Hollow, terminating now at Windham village, but formerly above Windham, at Carpenters Mills. The other fork of the road, left the North Settlement road near Colonel Simmons’ house, forming a junction with the other near an old log house belonging to Benjamin Osborn, a little west of R. Finch’s house.
On the Windham Turnpike, east of Mr. Robb’s was Henry Caspers, whose daughters, Roxy and Sarah, still live there. Ebenezer Blakeslee had three sons, Abel, William and George; daughters, Cornelia, Abigail, Mary, and Martha. Simeon Jones, Amos Smith, Ira Smalling and Ebenezer Osborn lived on the west, where the road passes into Ashland.
War of 1812
When the government called for 10,000 men, to serve in this war, Captain Eli P. Robinson called out his company of militia and informed them of the call. He closed his remarks by saying: “I’ll go; who will go with me?” Nearly the entire company volunteered.
Henry Osborn remembers to have seen this company assembled at the church on the eve of their departure, to listen to a lecture by Domine Stimson. He remembers seeing the guard that was placed over their stacked arms thrust his bayonet through the thigh of a man who refused to heed his challenge. Colonel Robertson also remembers to have seen this company march by on their departure.
Minutes of the first town meeting held in the town of Windham, ULSTER County, New York.
"At a town meeting held at the house of Richard Peck, in the town of Windham, Ulster County, agreeable to the law of 1798."
Reuben Hosford, clerk:
"Voted that Alexander Boyd, John Tuttle, and Isaac Miles be a committee to conduct the business of the town as the law directs."
"And likewise the following persons was, by a plurality of votes, appointed to the office annexed to their several names in the said town of Windham. N. B.---Those officers are:
William Beach, supervisor; Samuel Gunn, town clerk; Ephraim B. Hubbard, Martinus Laraway, Munson Buell, assessors; Enos Baldwin, Benjamin Johnson, Darius Briggs, commissioners of highways; Justus Squires, Alexander Boyd, Richard Peck, commissioners of schools; Zephaniah Chase, John Tuttle, overseers of the poor; Elisha Thompson, Constant A. Andrews, Harmonius Garlick, Elijah Bushnell,Richard Jersey, constables; Henry Becker, collector; John Mabin, John Tuttle, Darius Briggs, Smith Parks, Martinus Laraway, fence viewers; Samuel Gunn, Samuel Aimes, Theophilus Peck, Justus Squires, Peter Laraway, pound masters.
Likewise voted that the next annual meeting for the said town of Windham should be holden at the meeting-house near Samuel Ives', and the meeting dissolved.
Reuben Hosford, Cl'k of meeting
The foregoing is a true copy.
Test, Samuel Gunn, Town Cl'k
We, whose names are hereto subscribed, being three of the Justices of the Peace in and for Ulster county, residing near the town of Windham, have at the request of Alexander Boyd, John Tuttle, and Isaac Miles, a committee appointed by a plurality of votes to nominate their town officers in the town of Windham, we do nominate and appoint the officers whose names are here uner written to the offices annexed opposite their several names in the said town of Windham, agreeable to a law of this State, in that case made and provided. In Testimony whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and seals in the town of Kingston, on this 12th of April, 1798. N.B.--Those crossed sworn. (cross-indicated by a *). [same list of officers as above, repeated]
John Hasbrouck [seal]
Peter Roggen [seal]
John VanGaasbeck, Jr. [seal]
The foregoing is a True Coppy of the Original.
Certified pr. Damuel Gunn, Town Clerk."
List of supervisors, town clerks, and justices of the peace for the town of Windham, 1798-1883.
Stephen Simmons 1800-1804, 1806
George Stimson 1805, 1807-1808
Isaac Buell 1809
Thomas Benham 1810-1814, 1818
Perez Steele 1815-1817
Jarius Strong 1819-1821, 1823
Asa Osborn 1822
Sidney Tuttle 1824-1825
Cornelius Fuller 1826
Zadock Pratt, Jr. 1827
Foster Morss 1828
Levi H. Alden 1829
Lyman Morss 1830
Russell Glading 1831-1833, 1836
William Tuttle 1834
Aaron Steele 1835, 1837
Stephen Steele 1838, 1840-1841, 1858
Jared Matthews 1839
Daniel B. Strong 1842-1843
Daniel B. Tuttle 1844-1846
Merritt Osborn 1847
Howland Macomber 1848-1849
Erastus T. Peck 1850
Austin Newcomb 1851
George Robertson 1852
Jared F. Matthews 1853
John Olney 1854, 1861
Jonathan North 1855
Thomas B. Holcomb 1856-1857, 1862
Richard Gorslin 1859
Isham Newcomb 1860, 1865-1866
James Loughran 1863
Barnard B. Osborn 1864
Noble P. Cowles 1867-1868
Alphonzo Cobb 1869-1870
Charles Stedman 1871-1872
Martin L. Newcomb 1873-1874
Arland H. Chittenden 1875-1876
Friend H. Holcomb 1877
Austin B. Hitchcock 1878
Milo C. Osborn 1879-1880
Cyrus E. Bloodgood 1881-1882
George P. Griffin 1883
TOWN CLERKS 1798-1883:
Munson Buell 1801-1812
Sanford Hunt 1813-1816
William Tuttle 1817, 1819-1821, 1823, 1832-1833, 1837
Samuel Reynolds 1818
Jesse Hollister 1822
Lyman Morss 1824-1827
Lauren A. Tuttle 1828-1829
Austin Strong 1830
Orrin Robinson 1831
Eli P. Robinson 1834-1836, 1839
Daniel Hunt 1838
Burrit O. Stone 1840
Harvey Sheffield 1841-1842
John Olney 1843
Hiland H. Hunt 1844
Gurdon H. Doty 1845-1846
Garry O. Baldwin 1847
Charles P. Hunt 1848
Charles Stedman 1849, 1861
Edwin Hunt 1850
Noble P. Cowles 1851, 1857
Gurdon H. Doty 1852
Watson Osborn 1853
Henry Bagley 1854
Augustus R. Macomber 1855, 1858
Lemuel H. Munson 1856
Harland Peck 1859
Henry Bagley 1860
Luman B. Hunt 1862-1863
Henry Bagley 1864-1866, 1868
Addison P. Roach 1867, 1877, 1879, 1881-1882
Luzern Smalling 1869
S. D. Kingsley 1870
Cornelius Hidecker 1871
Romain L. Parsons 1872
John E. Hitchcock 1873-1874
Lucius S. Graham 1875-1876
George H. Lamoreau 1878
Alvin E. West 1880
Anson R. Mott 1883
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE 1810-1883:
John Jones 1810
Jacob A. VanValkenburgh 1810-1812, 1831-1833
Ichabod Andrews 1810-1812
Abraham Camp 1810-1813
Ephraim Turney 1810-1813
Silas Lewis 1811-1813
Daniel Bloomer 1811-1813
William Beach 1812-1813
Years 1814, 1815 & 1816 are missing from list.
Isaac Mallery 1817
Abijah Stone 1817-1820
Samuel Reynolds 1817
Years between 1818-1822 are missing from list.
Levi H. Alden 1823-1831
Ira Smalling 1823-1825
Harry Kinsley 1829-1831
Nicholas L. Decker 1830-1833
Whiting Rice 1831-1834
Elijah Bushnell 1831-1835
Leveritt Munson 1832-1835
Merritt Osborn 1832-1835, 1862-1865
Peter Thorp 1834
Ambrose Chapman 1833-1836
Eli P. Robinson 1834
Levi Babcock 1834-1837
Laurence Winne 1835-1838
John S. Ives 1837
Howland Macomber 1838
Perez Richmond 1839-1842
Alfred Peck 1840
Nathaniel Ormsbee 1843-1845
A. M. Barber 1844
Daniel B. Tuttle 1847
Gilbert Townsend 1847
Alexander W. Rowley 1847-1850
Albert Chase 1848
Erastus Peck 1848, 1869-1874
Isham Newcomb 1848-1851, 1862-1875
Nelson Hitchcock 1851
Matthew Winter 1852
Isaac Brandow 1854
James Loughran 1854-1866
Alexander B. McGlashan 1858-1861, 1866-1869
Samuel W. Stimpson 1858-1868
Alphonso Cobb 1866-1869
Lyman Payne 1867-1870
David S. Merwin 1868-1883
Austin B. Hitchcock 1871-1877
Isaac B. Steele 1872-1883
Samuel D. Kingsley 1874-1877
George W. Graham 1875-1878
H. N. Ford 1876-1879
D. C. Tibbals 1878-1883
Platt O. Hitchcock 1879-1883
Palmer Joshlin 1881
John B. Hapeman 1882
The town officers elected in 1883 were: George P. Grffin, supervisor; Anson R. Mott, town clerk; Platt O. Hitchcock, Justice of the peace; Elbert R. Barney, assessor; Levi Matthews, commissioner of highways; Luzern Smalling, Zeal Rose, overseerers of the poor; Augustus A. Lewis, collector; Augustus A. Lewis, John Tompkins, Edgar B. Seeley, Thomas Cryne, constables; George H. Lamoreau, game constable; James Newkirk, Orson B. Baldwin, Addison P. Roach, inspectors of election; Moses B. Austin (full term, Addison S. Hayes (vacancy), excise commissioners.
Minutes of town meeting held October 23rd 1800:
“At a town meeting, held pursuant to legal warning, in the town of Windham, in the county of Greene, on Thursday, October 23rd 1800: William Beach, Moderator; Samuel Gunn, Town Clerk:
“Resolved, that it is the sense of this meeting that Catskill landing be the most proper place for the Court-house and Gaol for said county to be established.
“Resolved, also, that Stephen Simmons be appointed agent for and in behalf of the inhabitants of the said town of Windham, to apply to the Honorable, the Legislature, at their next session, for such part of the money to be raised, by lottery, for improving certain great roads within this State, as may be necessary for improving the public road through Batavia, in said town. And the meeting dissolved.
“SAMUEL GUNN, TOWN CLERK.”
The following resolutions have been passed at different dates:
“Resolved, that any person applying to the authority, and giving security for all damages that shall arise on account of his traps, shall be entitled to a permit to set the same.” Town meeting, 1800.
“Resolved, that Stephen Johnson be discharged from one-half the fine laid on him in the month of January, 1802, for selling spirituous liquors without license; the amount being $12.50, the one moiety due to the said town.” 1802.
“Resolved, that the Commissioners of Highways act discretionally in dividing the town into road districts, and proportioning the labor therein.” 1803.
“Resolved, that in whatever district a Poundkeeper shall be elected, a pound shall be built at the expense of said district.” 1806.
“Resolved, that $50 be raised out of the town of Windham, to purchase musical instruments for the use of the militia in said town, and the money when collected be paid to the town clerk, and he apply the same towards purchasing instruments as aforesaid.” 1807.
“Resolved, that two dollars be allowed for putting the map of the State of New York into a frame.” 1809.
“Resolved, that the Commissioners of Highways erect a set of stocks, near the meeting-house on the mountain, at the expense of the town.” 1819.
“Resolved, that if any person shall suffer his or her dog to go to meeting, he or she shall forfeit the sum of fifty cents for each and every offense, to be recovered and applied as aforesaid.” 1810.
“Resolved, that $100 be raised for the support of the poor by tax on the inhabitants of said town.” 1811.
“Voted, that the town meeting be altered to the first Tuesday in March.” 1823.
“Voted, that there be annexed to the By-Laws to prohibit drawing wood across a bridge or bridges with chains or dog wedges. That the offender or offenders pay a fine of one dollar for each and every offense, to be collection by action of debt, and paid over to the Poor Master for the use of the poor.” 1824.
Highways and Bridges
The Schoharie Kill Bridge Company was organized by an act of Legislature, passed March 30th 1802, with Stephen Simmons, Isaac Hardenbergh, William Beach, Medad Hunt, Martinus Laraway, and John Van Loan, directors.
A company was chartered to build a bridge across the Schoharie Kill, near the house (inn) of Martinus Laraway, in the town of Windham, in the county of Greene.
After building the bridge, what remained of the $10,000 authorized to be raised by the issue of 500 shares at $20 per share, was to be expended in repairing the road from the house of Daniel Harvey, at the foot of the Catskill Mountains. This road is called a “Poste Rode” in the papers containing the commissioners’ return of the opening of the North Settlement road, dated May 9th 1794.
It was first only a path through the forest along a line of marked trees following nearly the track of the old turnpike east and west of the mountains. Trees and other obstructions were got out of the way of the pioneers, sufficient to permit the passage of teams, ox teams and sleds, or wagons, and horses.
The Schoharie Kill Bridge (now the substantial iron bridge of Prattsville) has long been a free bridge, the franchise covering at present only the eastern section of the road, commencing at the east border of Ashland village.
The road from the bridge easterly extends up the valley of the Schoharie to near the junction with the Batavia Kill, thence following the valley of the Batavia, beyond Windham village, where they separate, near the old Carpenter Mills, the road bearing more to the eastward, while the Hensonville and Big Hollow road follow up the diminishing kill to its sources in the mountains. As it followed the windings of the stream, the road was longer than it is now.
A considerable space in the books of the company is occupied with the record of these changes. They were not accomplished without opposition from the landholders, sometimes compelling a resort to Legislative action.
In 1810 the Schoharie Kill Bridge Company, having been reorganized, held a meeting on the 5th of January, at the house of Medad Hunt in Windham. The directors were: Elisha Sheldon, president; Jehiel Tuttle, treasurer; Isaac Dubois, secretary; Peter Van Orden, Elisha Thompson. They were authorized to extend the road on the west end, from the house of John S. More, in Roxbury, to the intersection of the road with the Susquehanna Turnpike Company’s road, near the house of John S. Bradford in the town of Blenheim, Schoharie county, and on the east they were to open the road from the house of Daniel Harvey, at the foot of the Catskill Mountains, to intersect the road of the Susquehanna Turnpike Company, at or near Shingle Kill (now Cairo village), in the town of Cairo.
The chord of the arc of the road was to be not less than 20 feet. Provision was made to defend a suit brought against the company by Stephen Simmons and Daniel Gunn, for work done on the Schoharie Kill Bridge Company’s road. The company was to complete the road, in compliance with the provisions of the act, in four years. This being done, it was to operate to repeal the act incorporating the Schoharie Kill Bridge Company, passed March 30th 1802.
The company were empowered to erect three toll houses: one, two miles east of the bridge; another, two miles further east; and the third, not less than 10 miles from the second, and permitted to charge the following rates of toll, for every 10 miles of travel: 12 ½ cents for every wagon drawn by two horses, mules or oxen; 3 cents each additional horse, mule, or ox; every horse and ride, 6 cents; each additional horse, led or driven, 3 cents; every chair, sulky, chaise, or other pleasure carriage, with one horse, 12 ½ cents; every chariot, coach, coachee, or phaeton, or other carriage, 2 horses, 25 cents; every sleigh or sled drawn by two horses, mules, or oxen, 6 cents; the same proportion for any number, greater or less; every score of horses, mules, or cattle, 20 cents; every score of sheep or hogs, 4 cents; every stage wagon drawn by two horses, 12 ½ cents; each additional horse, 3 cents.
William Avery received $243.49 for building two toll houses and gates; one near John Brandow’s, the other near Sidney Tuttle’s.
Receipts of toll by Ira Hubbard, from May 1st 1811 to March 29th 1813, $1,119.68. Joseph Hincham, of Newtown (Elmira), November 13th 1800, was commissioner to inspect the road leading from Catskill Landing to Catharinestown, in Tioga county (Susquehanna Turnpike Company).
The extension of the Schoharie Kill Bridge Company’s road eastward from Widow Corry’s to the intersection with Susquehanna road, at Shingle Kill, to be ready in August 1812, for inspection by the governor’s committee. The east gate was on the old turnpike road, at the foot of the steepest part of the mountain, about 80 rods northerly from Isaac Butts’ dwelling; the west gate was near John Brandow’s hotel, now owned by Hon. B. G. Morss.
About the year 1826, $5,000 was raised by the company, and the new mountain road was laid out, considered by competent judges as a skillful piece of engineering, and the old road was given up.
In 1843 Sydney Tuttle and John Laraway were sent to Albany to oppose the passage of a law permitting the erection of gates to the westward of the junction of the Schoharie Kill Bridge Company’s road with the Susquehanna road, and east of the junction of that road with the Charlotta road.
The inhabitants of Windham, by the act of 1811, are to be forever free of paying toll at the middle gate, on condition that three-fourths of the highway work in the districts through which the road passes is assessed on the turnpike road.
The original board of directors were from the western part of the town. When the turnpike was given up beyond Prattsville, the management centered in Ashland, with D. B. Strong and Albert Tuttle as principal managers. Since another portion of the road eastward to Ashland has been thrown up, the management has been transferred to Windham village. The present directors are: Colonel George Robertson, Erastus T. Peck, Edwin Brockett, Hon. B. G. Morss, Alphonso Cobb, Martin L. Newcomb, and Harvey B. Sherman, all of Windham, except Mr. Morss.
The Windham Turnpike Company’s road, through the northern part of Windham, passed through Durham to its junction with the Schoharie Kill Bridge Company’s road near Acra. Lying between two great thoroughfares, nearly midway between and parallel to them, and having no independent connection at either end, it was not kept up as a turnpike many years.
The lateral roads were laid off as the back or hill country became settled. Two or more freeholders would petition for a road; the commissioners, at first from Freehold (Durham), then from Freehold and Windham, would examine the proposed route and lay off the road if they thought best. Dates from 1794 to 1802.
About 40 years since, Jared Matthews commenced the manufacture of buttons from tin and wood. His brother, Elbert, became a partner in the business. They afterward made buttons of papier mache. Their factory stood where the marble shop now is, and was a long two-story building. In this from 20 to 25 hands, half of whom were women, were employed. After a time the manufacture of wooden pocket combs was added, also dressing combs; and later the iron carpet bag frames. Jared withdrew, and the business was continued by Elbert, who manufactured button molds.
After the manufacture of buttons ceased, Mr. Hart, familiarly known as Cotton Hart, from Delaware county, established a small woolen factory. He manufactured flannels, cassimeres, and satinets, on a small scale. The business did not prove remunerative, and it ceased after about three years. The old factory stood empty about three years, and was then converted into dwelling houses.
About 40 years ago a manufactory of carpet bags or satchels was established by Matthews & Hunt, in the building now the harness shop of Mr. Thorp. Eight or ten men did the heavy work, and 40 women were employed. The goods manufactured here were sent to New York. The business was successful, and the firm established a store in Dey street, New York.
A collar factory was conducted by Hunt & Matthews in a building between the present furniture store and mill. It preceded the carpet bag factory. The collars (linen) were sent out to be stitched, but were laundried in the factory. The establishment furnished employment for many persons.
Mr. Dorlan Pitcher was a merchant, and also a manufacturer of collars. The work on his collars was done by hand.
Heman and Jared Matthews came from Southington, Connecticut, in 1824, and brought with them machinery for making shaving boxes. The rented a carding-mill building that stood about 15 rods below the Soper factory and saw-mill, and took water from the present dam through a race and flume to an overshot water wheel. They lived in a house on the present Parsons place. They continued business about two years, when the factory was burned. They then removed down the creek to the Abijah Stone mill property, which was located on the present Luther Newcomb place.
The Osborn distillery was built by Bennet Osborn and Abijah Stone in 1824, and was carried on about eight years. High wines were mostly manufactured here, but sufficient spirit was rectified to supply home demand, not a small item in their business.
About the same time another was built by William Tuttle and Hiram Clearwater, on the Merritt McLean place. It was operated on the same plan as the Osborn distillery, but on a smaller scale. It was discontinued after about four years.
Tuttle & Clearwater were merchants at the Old Fiddle settlement in 1830. At that time they established a tannery there. It was located a short distance up the stream from the Jackson Tannery, and on or very near the site of the present Soper shaving box factory. The machinery was driven by an overshot water wheel, and it had what was then a modern bark grinding mill. It had 35 vats.
William Tuttle, who was engaged in distilling, as elsewhere mentioned, engaged in the manufacture of potash, and at the same time carried on a store on the present Merritt McLean place, about 1822. His distillery was under the personal supervision of Hiram Clearwater, a professional distiller, afterward a partner at the Old Fiddle. This ashery, distillery, and store they discontinued in 1830, when they removed to the Old Fiddle and built their tannery.
Soper’s Shaving Box Factory was erected by Reynolds and Smith early in the 19th century. This building is located in Brooke Lynne, one mile east of Windham village. In 1825, Mr. John Soper, present proprietor, commenced to learn the trade of making shaving boxes in this building, and followed the business till 1875; then his son, Charles W. Soper, took charge of the business.
Mr. Soper has greatly improved the machinery, and now has facilities to not only make shaving boxes, but all kinds of fancy wood-work.
Tertius Graham came from Conway, Massachusetts, with his father, Samuel Graham, about 1800. They first located near Albert Steele’s, in Ashland, where they lived about one year. They then bought of Constant A. Andrews the property in Windham village, now known as the Matthews place, and owned by N. D. Hill; and on this they built a tannery (the first in Windham) previous to 1805. This tannery had an iron bark-mill, and a rolling stone falling-mill. It had 20 vats, and a capacity of about 2,000 pieces. About two cords of bark were used daily, and the leaches were warmed by steam. This tannery was operated till about 1832. Samuel Graham died in 1830, at 70 years of age, and Tertius, in 1859, at the same age. Edwin, George W., and Lucius Graham were the sons of Tertius and Polly (Guild) Graham. Mrs. Polly Graham died in June 1880, aged 81. Tertius Graham was a shoemaker, and for many years worked at his trade in Windham. His three sons learned the trade of their father. Edwin, the oldest, and Lucius, the youngest, of the three, have followed this business, the former since 1840, and the latter since 1850.
The second tannery built within the present bounds of the town of Windham was located on the old turnpike, on the Widow Loomis farm, and was built by Joseph Edsall. It was of small capacity, having vats made of hogsheads set in the ground, hand pumps for pumping the liquor, and no bark-mill, the bark being pulverized by pounding with a hammer. Mr. Edsall was in such a financial condition, that he was not able to hire workmen for his tannery or purchase hides. He picked up hides about the country, and tanned them on shares, then manufactured his share into boots and shoes for the settlers. This tannery was running in 1815, and for some years subsequently. Mr. Edsall finally removed to Prattsville, where he died at an advanced age. A son of his, James Edsall, has served two terms as State attorney in Illinois.
The Osborn Tannery was located near the lower end of the glen, 30 or 40 rods north from Main street, where Newcomb’s house is now located. It was built by Bennet Osborn and Abijah Stone, in 1823. It was what would now be called a small tannery. It had 20 vats, and the bark was ground in an improved cast iron bark-mill, which was driven by an overshot water wheel 10 feet in diameter. The building was 25 by 50 feet in size, and two stories in height. Tanning was then a slower process than it now is. This tanning annually converted 4,000 hides into leather.
What was first known as the Jackson Tannery, then as the Windham Tannery, was built by Samuel Reynolds and Clark Twiss about 1823. In 1828 it was sold to Bennet Osborn. In 1844 it became the property of Colonel Zadock Pratt and Colonel George Robertson. They conducted it nine years, when it was burned, and was rebuilt by Colonel Robertson in six days, as elsewhere related. Its capacity when rebuilt was 20,000 hides per annum. It was operated till about 10 years since.
The Big Hollow Tannery was built by Friend Holcomb, between 1830 and 1835. It had a capacity of 15,000 hides annually. It stood on the present farm of Nelson Hitchcock. Pratt & Robertson bought it in 1844.
The Windham grist-mill was built about 1810 by Bennet Osborn and Abijah Stone. In 1826 Daniel Hunt bought it. He run [sic] it till about 1850, then McComber, Hunt & Olney formed a partnership and converted it into a paper-mill and run [sic] it as such for five years. Succeeding the paper-mill in the same building was a furnace and machine shop, conducted by A. Newbury and B. G. Morss, under the firm name of Newbury & Morss. The manufacture of the Newbury Printing Press constituted a large portion of the business of this firm, though they also did job work, and gave some attention to agricultural implements. In this shop, ten or twelve hands were employed. A. and B. Newbury succeeded the old firm, and the brothers established a newspaper called the Centennial, printed on a Newbury press. In 1867 they sold out to Osborn and Raymond, and they converted it back to a grist-mill. This firm repaired the building and added new machinery. In the spring of 1883, Mr. Raymond sold his interest to H. C. Osborn, son of the senior partner, and the firm was styled M. C. Osborn & Son. They thoroughly overhauled, repaired, and enlarged the mill to double its former capacity. This mill contains three run of stones, and is capable of grinding 1,200 bushels of grain in 24 hours. It is doing a good business.
The house now owned by the Methodist Episcopal church, and used as a parsonage, was built for a hotel by Merritt Osborn, brother of the venerable Henry Osborn, and father of Colonel Milo C. Osborn.
The Munger Hotel, on the turnpike, was first built for a farm house, by Perez Steele, who came to Windham about the commencement of the present century. It was rebuilt for a hotel by his son, Stephen Steele. The latter was a popular landlord, and did a large business.
Ira Sherman kept a hotel at East Windham from 1836 to 1875. He was a popular landlord, and did a thriving business. He was postmaster at East Windham from 1840 to the year of his death. He was born in the town of Cairo, was a son of Samuel Sherman, and a first cousin of Major General William T. Sherman.
Captain Peter VanOrden, Sr., located and built the first hotel in the town of Windham, in 1788, at a point where the old turnpike intersects the new, near the East Windham toll gate. He was thrice married. By his first wife he had three children, by his second, three, and by his third, seven---in all thirteen. J. G. Brainard is a grandson. On his arrival in East Windham he bought 200 acres of land, built a log house and cleared about two acres. The surrounding region was then a wilderness, inhabited by bears, wolves, wild cats, panthers, etc. The house consisted of two rooms and a loft, which was reached by a ladder. He entertained many families of emigrants at his house; so many at times that he could not cross the floor without walking over their prostrate forms. He often arose on dark rainy nights, yoked his oxen, and taking hold of Old Bright's bow, in order to keep the track, went and drew the emigrant's wagon out of the mud where they had stalled. Such was pioneer life. At this place Peter VanOrden, Jr., was born in 1800.
The settlers in the town of Windham, like those from New England in other regions, were fully aware of the importance of education, especially in a country like this, where every citizen, no matter how humble, is called to exercise the elective franchise, and thus to wield his influence in shaping the policy of the government. At an early period, before a school system had been elaborated in the State of New York, the school-house made its appearance here wherever a sufficient number of children could be gathered, and the schoolmaster, with his birchen emblem of authority, was installed in his noisy mansion. These school-houses, like the dwellings of the pioneers, were rude log structures, with none of the conveniences of modern times, but in these were laid the foundations of sound practical education in many of those who afterward became prominent citizens, and whose influence among their fellow-citizens was potent.
The early school-house of Windham village stood near the bridge, on the turnpike, where there is an old saw-mill, between the small creek and the Samuel Reynolds place. It was built of logs, and was warmed, like all the school-houses of that time, by a huge fire-place in the end, with a stone back and no jambs. Here were gathered pupils from nearly the whole of what is now the town of Windham.
As time went on and the population increased, these primitive temples of science one by one disappeared, and in their stead arose more convenient structures. In the adoption of improved educational facilities, the people of this town have at least kept even pace with their neighbors, and not only can they point with a laudable pride to the distinguished men who have gone forth from the town, but they can justly boast of the general intelligence which prevails among the people here.
There are in the town 10 school districts, and of these the following statistics for the year ending September 30th 1883 are given.
No. of Children between 5 and 21.
Average daily attendance.
No. weeks taught.
Total cost of maintaining the school.
Value of school-house and site.
Union Society post-office was established in 1815 or 1816. It was kept by Major Cornelius Fuller, on the old road, in his tavern, which is still standing, and is occupied by John Holcomb. Previous to that time the settlers in this region received their mail through the Sidney Tuttle post-office in Ashland. In 1826, when the new turnpike was constructed, Colonel George Robertson was appointed postmaster. He kept the office at his house, then a hotel, now on the Thomas Brenaugh farm. It was kept there until 1838, when Colonel Robertson resigned, and Hiram Fox was appointed. He kept the office during five years in the new Fuller stand or Union House, now occupied as a private residence by Mr. Rockefeller. Mr. Grant succeeded Fox, and afterward Widow Bloodgood kept it for a time. It is now kept by David Davis, at his Union Society boarding house.
Bennet Osborn was the first postmaster in Windham village. He was commissioned by President Andrew Jackson about 1830. The office was kept in the store of Bennet and Henry Osborn, which was where Masonic Hall and Thorp’s harness shop now are. The name of this office was Osbornville till 1844, when Colonel Zadock Pratt, then a Congressman, procured the change to Windham Center.
This was before the time of envelopes, and at that time the regulations of the post-office department were such as to make the duties of postmasters far more arduous than at present. Although Bennet Osborn was the postmaster, these arduous duties were performed by his brother, Henry Osborn, still living.
At the time the name of the post-office was changed from Osbornville to Windham Center, Bennet Osborn was removed, and William S. Robinson was appointed postmaster in his stead.
At later periods post-offices were established at Hensonville and Big Hollow.
The mail was not carried by stage previous to the establishment of the branch of the turnpike from East Windham to Windham, but at first on horseback, by mail carriers, and afterward in one-horse wagons, up to 1826. None of the old post-riders are remembered, but Erastus Buck was the first to establish mail stages. Colonel Zadock Pratt underbid Mr. Buck and obtained the contract for carrying the mail, but Mr. Buck continued his trips, carrying passengers. These stage-coaches were very fine, and were drawn by four horses each. Many of the passengers over this route were raftsmen, who had gone down the Delaware River with lumber and came home via the Hudson River, Catskill, and Windham. As many as nine of these stages were sometimes seen at once in Windham, each nearly loaded with these raftsmen, and with merchants and business men.
The second church of Windham, or East Windham Presbyterian church, was formed by a committee of the Northern Associate Presbytery, which convened for that purpose December 10th 1822. The ministers present were Revs. Seth Williston, James Jewell, and David Harrower (the last by invitation). The laymen present were David Baldwin, of the first Presbyterian church in Durham, and Benjamin Hubbard, of the second church in the same town.
The original members were: William Evans jr., Harriet Evans his wife, Lemuel Hitchcock, Patience his wife; Theron Hough, Tryphena his wife; Susannah Payne, Samuel Chapman, Samuel Atwater, Eli Palmer Robinson, Molly Saxton, his wife; Samuel Bagley and wife; Lemuel Hitchcock jr., Hannah Hitchcock his wife; Antrim Hitchcock, Lois his wife; Zalmon Hitchcock, Sally Root, Rowena Hitchcock, and Abigail Chapman.
Ruling elders were chosen by the church, and ordained by Rev. David Beers, who was appointed by the Presbytery for the purpose, as follows: Lemuel Hitchcock, Harry R. Avery, Lemuel Hitchcock jr., Samuel Bagley, and Zalmon Hitchcock.
In 1826 this church, which had belonged to the Albany Presbytery, was connected with Columbia Presbytery. Several of its members were set off to the church in Jewett (Lexington Heights) by the committee of the Albany Presbytery, without the knowledge or consent of the church at Big Hollow.
Rev. Mr. Durfee, of Hunter, preached occasionally in this church until Rev. Alfred Gardner (who is still living, in Wisconsin) was ordained, September 23d 1830. The meeting-house was burned February 3d 1833, but was soon rebuilt. Rev. Mr. Gardner’s pastorate continued till 1854. His successors in the ministry were: Revs. John B. Fish, 1855-61; William Johns, 1862-65. After which the church was supplied, in part, by the pastors of the Windham village church, Revs. B. P. Phillips, Charles Kendall, and others.
Since 1875 Rev. Dubois Wyckoff has been the pastor, till 1882, when he returned to his former work in the foreign missionary field.
has been active in benevolent and Christian work. Though hemmed in by mountains,
it has not forgotten the wants of the world outside, but has been a constant and
liberal contributor for charitable purposes, as well as for the work of the
denomination with which it is connected. In doing this it has but perpetuated
and reflected the spirit of Deacon Lemuel Hitchcock, the pioneer of Big Hollow,
to whom the establishment and maintenance of the society is to be largely
Presbyterian Church of Windham
The Center Presbyterian church of Windham was organized on the 29th day of April 1834, with the following constituent members who received letters of dismission from the first Presbyterian church of Windham for the purpose of organizing this church.
Merritt Osborn, Clark Finch, William R. Robinson, William Doty, John M. Robinson, E. E. Kisttal, Stephen S. Keeler, Curtis Mattoon, Roma R. Ives, William Young, J. N. Cornell, Eli P. Robinson, Isaac N. Reynolds, James O. Gates, Alexander Reynolds, Reuben Smith, George Robertson, Elijah Fuller, Abijah Stone, Henry Osborn, Nathan Osborn, Orrin Stimson, Consider Camp, Thomas H. Southal, Julia O. Chapman, Rebecca Osborn, Alethea Stone, Sally Osborn, Lucretia Finch, Ruth Dunham, Fanny Hinman. Mary Robinson, Amelia Keeler, Julia N. Doty, Elener Osborn, Harriet Barney, Anna Reynolds, Loretta Reynolds, Desire Mattoon, Mary Osborn, Lydia Fancher, Rebecca Stimson, Mary Stimson, Jemima Smith, Mary Miller, Sally Sherman, Maria Robertson, Catherine Southal, Dredama Brockett, Lois Beers, Phebe Stimson, Emily Stimson, Lydia Barney, Keziah Goodrich, Eunice Robinson, Charry Henson, Electa Lamoreaux, Clarinda Ives, and Sally Ann Young.
The present house of worship was dedicated January 1st 1835. On the 13th of the same month Rev. Leonard B. Van Dyck was chosen the first pastor, and entered on his labors on the 15th of February. His pastorate continued till the last Sunday of December 1860, a period of 26 years, when he was released at this own request, on account of the failure of his voice. His successor was Rev. William Addy, whose pastorate commenced July 4th 1861, and continued during five years. His successor was Rev. B. T. Phillips, who was succeeded by Rev. Rufus King, and he by Rev. R. G. McCarthy, whose pastorate commenced October 1st 1876. The present pastor is Rev. Benjamin Parsons, whose labors commenced at the beginning of 1884.
There have been admitted to this church since its organization, 210 by profession of faith, and 200 by letters from other churches. The present membership is 146.
has a parsonage, and the total valuation of the church property is $10,000. The
church has no debt.
Methodist Episcopal Church of Windham
In the absence of any records of this society, it can not be learned when it organized, or who were the original constituent members. A society existed here more than 40 yeas since, and worshipped in the school-house that stood on the present farm of Daniel Tibbals. This was their place of meeting till the erection of the present church building in 1843. This stands on the main street, a short distance east from the bridge. It is a wooden building, with a seating capacity of 200. It was remodelled and beautified in 1867. The parsonage of the society was built for a hotel by Merritt Osborn, The estimated value of the church property is $7,000, and the society has no debt.
The following is a list of the ministers of the Methodist Episcopal church in what is now East Jewett, as nearly as can be ascertained. For many years that place (East Jewett) was connected with other places, forming a circuit bearing the name of one of these places. It is said that Windham was a part of Albany circuit in 1805, and it is supposed that East Jewett was connected with it. The name given herewith after 1823, when Durham circuit formed, are thought by Rev. Mr. Osborn, of New York, to be correct; and as the earlier names were taken from printed minutes, they are nearly, if not quite, correct:
1805, Seth Cowell, Henry Stead; 1806, Andrew McLain, Griffin Sweet; 1807, Zenas Covel, John Finnigan; 1808, Datus Ensign, Samuel Howe; 1809, Nathan Bangs, Isaac B. Smith; 1810, John Crawford, Samuel Merwin; 1811, John Crawford, Ephraim Sawyer; 1812, A. McKain, Jesse Hunt; 1813, Henry Stead, John Kline; 1814, John B. Mathias, William N. Stilwell; 1815, Luman Andrus, John B. Matthias, ____ _____, and John Crawford, 1816, Phineas Rice, Isaac Lent; 1817, Arnold Schofield, James Youngs; 1818, Andrew McKain, Bela Smith, 1819, Gresham Pierce, John Crawford. The following ministers were appointed by Albany circuit, which it is supposed, included Windham and vicinity. In 1820, the circuit was called Coeymans: 1820, Gresham Pierce, J. D. Moriarty; 1821, Daniel I. Wright, John D. Moriarty; 1822, F. Draper, Daniel I. Wright; 1823—this year Durham circuit was formed. 1823, Thomas S. Barrett, ___ ___ ___ ___; 1824, Jesse Hunt, Elisha Andrews; 1825, Jesse Hunt, Ira Ferris; 1826, Moses Armidon, Alexander Calden; 1827, Moses Armidon, David Poor; 1828, Cyrus Stillman, David Poor; 1829, Cyrus Stillman, Orrin Pierr; 1830, John Bangs Hiram Wing; 1831, John Bangs, David Terry; 1832, Eli Denniston, David Terry; 1833—this year, Windham appears on the minutes as the name of a circuit, with Henry W. Reed and Samuel M. Knapp, as ministers; 1834, I. Broadhead, W. W. Reed, D. Bullock; 1835, Philip L. Hoyt, Joseph H. Frost; 1836, Egbert Osborn, Goodrich Horton; 1837, Joseph D. Marshall, Goodrich Horton; 1838, Joseph D. Marshall, Goodrich Horton; 1838 F. W. Sizer, D. B. Turner; 1839, D. B. Turner, O. W. Munger; 1840, O. W. Munger, Russell Scott; 1841, O. G. Hedstrom, William F. Gould; 1842, William Lull, William F. Gould; 1843, William Lull, John Davy; 1844, Daniel I. Wright, Daniel Bullock; 1845, Daniel I. Wright, C. T. Mallory; 1846, Ezra S. Cook, C. T. Mallory; 1847, Ezra S. Cook, William B. Mitchell; (Windham and Lexington are both put together on the minutes in 1848 and 1849) 1848, Luther W. Peck, William B. Mitchell; 1849, G. C. Bancroft, W. F. Gould; 1850, Silas Fitch, Robert Kerr; 1851, Jason Wells, ____ _____; 1852, Jason Wells, Noble Lovett; 1853, James W. Smith, William Hall; 1854, James W. Smith, Asahel M. Hough; 1855, Aaron Rogers, Asahel M. Hough; 1856, William Goss, James M. Berger; 1857, William Goss, G. Woodworth; 1858, J. H. Champion, George Woodworth; 1859, East Jewett was set off and W. F. Gould appointed; 1860, G. B. Grippen; 1861, G. B. Grippen; 1862, J. P. Burgar; 1863, J. P. Burgar; 1864, J. G. Slater; 1865, W.W. Taylor; 1866, Aaron Rogers; 1867, Supplied by Elder; 1868, G. W. Martin; 1869 and 1870, Robert Kerr; 1871 and 1872, Joseph Elliott; 1873, 1874, 1875, O. R. Bouton; 1876, 1877, S. Merchant. Rev. J. P. Burgar came in spring of 1882.
The North Settlement Methodist Episcopal church was built in 1826.
village Methodist Episcopal church was built in 1837.
St. Paul’s Chapel, a mission of Trinity church, Ashland, was built in 1850-51-52. The most active persons in the erection of this chapel was Friend, Lot, Homer, Orator, and Carlos Holcomb. These brothers were the most liberal contributors toward the erection of this chapel, as well as active members of the congregation. Especially was this true of Orator. None of them are living. The building was consecrated about 1857, by Bishop Potter. Services were conducted in the chapel by rectors of Trinity church, till about 1870. In 1871 the building was sold to the Free Methodist society of Windham.
Free Methodist Church of Big Hollow
This society was organized June 24th 1871, with the following charter members: Ezra Holcomb and wife, Robert Winter and wife, Francis Maynard and wife, B. A. Ferguson and wife, Nelson Hitchcock and wife, John McGlashan and wife, Sarah Barker, Susan Mills, Monroe Mallery, Sally Rood, Isaac Chapman, Chauncey Johnson, Homer Barker, and Sylvester Winchell.
The church building was erected in 1875. The first officers of the society were: G. A. Ferguson, John McGlashan, Homer Barker, and Sylvester Winchell, Stewards: Francis Maynard, class leader. The first quarterly meeting was held in the grove in Big Hollow, June 8th , 9th and 10th 1871.
preachers have served this congregation: Revs. George Edwards, 1871; O. V.
Kettles, 1872; G. E. Ferrin, 1873, 1874; George Eakins, 1875, 1876; Frederick
Wurstin, 1877, 1878; James Bradbrook, 1879; and O. D. Seward, 1882, 1883.
The Hensonville M. E. Church
This church was built in 1874 and was dedicated February 17th 1875. The site cost $100, and the building $4,500.
The establishing of a church at this place was accomplished through the earnest efforts of Rev. Seney Martin and it stand a monument to his memory.
The pastor in charge at the time of the dedication was Rev. H. F. Odell. He remained here two months, then Rev. C. H. Travis assumed the charge till 1878. Rev. G. W. Woodworth was pastor from 1878 to 1881; Rev. A. B. Barber, 1881-84.
The church bell was bought by the Hensonville Ladies’ Aid Society and presented to the church. It cost $300.
Sunday-school, under the supervision of Mr. Albert Chase, is connected with this
Free Methodist Church of Windham Village
This is a branch of the North Settlement and Big Hollow circuit. The society was founded in 1871. Not having a house of worship, it bought St. Paul’s church at the west end of the village during the same year for $850.
Rev. George Edwards was the first pastor, followed by Revs. John Banta, George Ferrin, Frederick Wooster, James Bradbrook, and O. D. Stewart. The latter is still pastor of this society.
This church has a membership of about 20.
There are four public and several private cemeteries in the town of Windham. The former are located in the villages of Windham, Hensonville, Big Hollow and North Settlement.
In the spring of 1834 Bennet Osborn donated to the Presbyterian church the site it now occupies for a burial ground. Several interments were made here, but owing to the water from the creek pouring into the newly dug graves the ground was abandoned for burial purposes.
During the latter part of the same year the Presbyterian society bought of Colonel George Robertson the present cemetery lot, consisting of one acre, for $30. The remains of those interred in the Bennet Osborn cemetery were removed to the present burial ground.
The cemetery at Hensonville, consisting of about one-third of an acre, was given to public use by William Henson over 50 years ago.
Among the first interred in this cemetery were a squaw by the name of Proctor and a woman by the name of O’Brien. The latter was drowned while attempting to cross the brook near this village during a freshet.
The present burial ground in the village of Big Hollow was donated to the society at that place by Harry Avery early in 1827, and consists of about three-fourths of an acre of ground. The first person buried here was Mrs. Avery, the wife of the donor, in April 1827. The cemetery is kept in nice shape and is surrounded by a substantial stone wall.
The cemetery at North Settlement was first used in 1832. The land was donated by Silas Lewis jr., and consisted of about three acres. It has been used for the interment of their dead by the people of that vicinity to the present time. It was first graded and fenced by voluntary contributions of money and labor, and it is still kept in order in the same way.
Revival Lodge, No. 117, F. & A. M., was instituted in 1804 in the meeting-house in Batavia. Present, Jacob Morton, G. M.; Martin Hoffman, D.G. M.; Cadwallader Colden, S. G. W.; Philip S. Van Rensselaer, J. G. W.; Daniel D. Tompkins, Grand Secretary; officers of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York under whose jurisdiction the warrant was granted. The warrant designated Samuel Gunn, master; Thomas Benham, senior warden; George Robertson, junior warden.
The lodge was
organized at the house of John Tuttle, but soon removed to Captain Medad Hunt’s.
It afterward held its session at the house of Jon Prout, and again moved to John
Tuttle’s in 1810. The lodge had 87 members, all early settlers of Windham and
“Memorandum under date of April 22d 5805 . Donation of the jewels by Constant A. Andrews to the lodge. But if it should so appear that this lodge, No. 117, should lose its charter or warrant, the said jewels, or the amount of them which is twenty-two dollars shall revert back to
the said Andrews or his heirs or assignees.”
The jewels mentioned are in possession of Mountain Lodge, as successor of Revival Lodge, and are highly prized as memorials of the first lodge instituted in Windham.
Conspicuous among the members of this lodge were: Samuel Gunn and his two brothers, Asa and Daniel, Dr. Thomas Benham, George Robertson, Silas Lewis, Foster Morss, Ichabod and Constant Andrews, Abijah Stone, Jonathan and Samuel Reynolds, Isaac Buell, Reuben Hosford, Ephraim and George Stimson, Curtis Prout, George Miles, Roma R. Ives, Henry Goslee, Caleb Hubbard. Zadock Pratt, Medad Hunt, Chester Hull, Marshall Lewis, and Henry Osborn.
February 3d 1807, this lodge organized themselves under the title of
Harmony Mark Master Lodge, No. 31, F. & A. M., with Constant A. Andrews, master; George Stimson, S. W.; Thomas Benham, J. W.
In 1863 the lodge was reorganized. June 8th of this year it received its title,
Mountain Lodge, No. 529, F. & A. M.;--The following names are found in the warrant: Clinton F. Paige, G. M.; J. B. Yates Sommers, D. G. M.; Stephen H. Johnson, S. G. W; James Gibson, J. G. W.; James M. Austin, G. S.
The officers of the lodge were: Milo C. Osborn, W. M.; Daniel C. Tibbals, S. W.; James Loughran, J. W.
The lodge has 75 members in good standing and is in a prosperous condition. The neat and commodious lodge building, located in the central part of the village, is owned by this lodge.
officers are: J. C. Tallmadge, W. M.; E. Elliston, S. W.; A. P. Brewer, J. W.;
H. C. Osborn, S. D.; Curtis Nichols, J. D.; L. S. Graham, treasurer; A. P.
Roach, secretary; W. H. Moon, tyler; D. C. Tibbles, S. M. C.; Truman Johnson, J.
M. C.; O. R. Coe, chaplain. Meetings are held every Saturday evening in Masonic
Mountain Chapter, No. 250, R. A. M.:--On the 8th day of February, 1871, a charter was granted by the Royal Arch Chapter of the State of New York to Mountain Chapter, No. 250, R. A. M., of Windham. The first officers were: Milo C. Osborn, E. K.; William Woodvine, E. S.; Dr. P. I. Stanley, treasurer; J. C. Tallmadge, secretary; W. H. Moon, tyler. Meets every Friday evening in Masonic Hall.
Good Templars of Windham.—A lodge was organized November 12th 1868, by Rev. A. C. Fenton of Albany, with the following charter members: Rev. Charles Kendall, Rev. A. B. Parmentier, David S. Merwin, Alvin A. Burgen, Benjamin O. Smalling, Alfred W. Doty, John Bloodgood, Tremaine Bloodgood, Theodore H. Merwin, W. N. Graham, Daniel Haney, George C. Parmentier, W. F. Gregory, Elbert Parson, Addison S. Hayes, Amos O. Briggs, Nancy C. Vermilye, and Elizabeth Monroe.
The first officers were: David S. Merwin, W. C. T.; Alice D. Merwin, W. V. T.; Tremaine Bloodgood, secretary; Alvin W. Burgen, financial secretary; W. N. Graham, treasurer; Theodore H. Merwin, W.; Daniel Haney, O. G; Elizabeth Monroe, I. G.; Rev. A. B. Parmentier, chaplain; Nancy C. Vermilye, deputy marshal; Nancy J. Merwin, R. H. S.; Benjamin S. Smalling, P. W. C. T.; Rev. Charles Kendall, lodge deputy.
The present officers (January 1884) are: J. N. Slater, W. C. T.; Miss Ida Merwin, W. V. T.; Albert Chase, chaplain; Irving Merwin, secretary; Kenneth Schultz, financial secretary; P. O. Hitchcock, treasurer; Orlando Clark, W. M.; Miss Minnie Peck, W. D. M.; Miss Satie Haney, I. G.; Albert Bloodgood, O. G.; Miss Daisy Hitchcock, R. H. S; Miss Matie Martin. L. H. S.; Edward Haney, P. W. C. T.; L. D. Chase, L. D.
The lodge held
its meetings in the Hensonville school house until July 1872; since then in the
Good Templars’ Hall, in Hensonville. Meets every Saturday evening. About 500
names have been enrolled since the lodge was organized. The present membership
Catskill Mountain Chapter, No. 481, I. O. of G. T., was organized in Windham, April 6th 1882, and numbered 34 members. The first officers were: O. R. Coe, W. C. T.; Miss Emma Austin W. V. T.; J. A. Smith, chaplain; A. R. Mott, secretary; Miss Emma Austin, assistant secretary; Miss Alice Munson, financial secretary; Mrs. George Robertson, treasurer; N. D. Hill, W. M.; Miss Clara Steele, D. M.; Miss Alice Smith, I. G.; Charles W. Soper, O. G.; Miss Nellie Kerns, R. H. S.; Miss Georgianna Lewis, L. H. S.; George Bullard, P. W. C. T.; C. S. Lobdell, deputy G . W. C. T.
This lodge meets every Friday evening in the lecture room of the Methodist church. It is in a flourishing condition and has 79 members in good standing. The following is a list of officers that were installed February 2d 1884: C. S. Lobdell, W. C. T.; Miss Josie Smalling, W. V. T.; Charles W. Soper, chaplain; H. Munson, secretary; Clarence Brainer, assistant secretary; Miss Kittle Strong, financial secretary; Miss Rose Graham, treasurer; Thomas Cryne, M.; Miss Eleanor Kerns, D. M.; George Howard, I. G.; W. Clark, O. G.; Miss Lucinda Blakesley, R. H. S.; Miss Sarah McLean, L. H. S.; Ira Reynolds, P. W. C. T.; L. J. Smalling, G. W. C. T.
The Windham Dramatic Troupe was organized in the winter of 1882-83, and elected George Brandow, manager; George W. Osborn, assistant manager; J. C. Tallmadge, secretary; H. C. Osborn, treasurer.
The troupe had fine scenery and excellent music.
While Matthews’ carpet bag factory was running, an Odd Fellow’s lodge was organized a this village and for a while held meetings in the present Masonic Hall. Then rooms were rented over the store now occupied by Brockett & Strong. This lodge was kept up for about seven years. No record can be found of its organization or officers.
More than 30 years ago a fire company was organized here, and a small engine was purchased. A few years later another engine, called the “Yankee,” was purchased and another fire company was formed. A still larger engine was afterward procured and still another company organized, the first one having been disbanded. These two engines and several hundred feet of hose constitute the present facilities for the extinguishment of fires.
The Farmers’ and Villagers’ Fire Insurance Association of Windham was organized in 1857, under an act of the Legislature to authorize the formation of town insurance companies, passed April 11th of that year.
The first directors were: H. R. Potter, Sylvester Austin, Merritt Osborn, Isaac Brandow, Albert Chase, Hollis Frayer, and S. P. Ives. The first officers were: H. R. Potter, president, N. P. Cowles, vice-president, and S. P. Ives, secretary and treasurer.
The present officers are: A. Cobb, president; E. T. Peck, vice-president; and H. R. Potter, secretary and treasurer. The present directors are: H. R. Potter, A. Cobb, D. S. Graham, E. Graham, E. T. Peck, M. B. Austin, and H. Bagley.
Village of Windham
Nathaniel Stimson bought of the grandfather of Colonel George Robertson, about 1807, the land on which the present village of Windham stands. At that time what is now the residence of Truman Johnson had been built, and it was the residence of Mr. Stimson for a time. The next house, now the residence of Mr. White, and known as Woodvine Cottage, was built by Abijah Stone. The next was probably the Dr. Camp place, now owned by his son-in-law, Milo C. Osborn.
The land here at that time was only partially cleared, and was poorly cultivated. A spring was in front of Captain Bump’s house, later known as the H. R. Potter place, now owned by Martin L. Newcomb. This spring fed a large pond in which was an abundance of trout. An old hemlock tree, which had been blackened by lightning, stood on the bank.
The first hotel in the village of Windham was kept by Esquire Jesse Hollister, where Truman Johnson now resides. Mr. Hollister also kept a store in the same building. The frame of this building still remains. It was opened as a hotel and store about 1815. Mr. Hollister manufactured potash on the spot where is now the livery stable of Noah Hill. Mr. Hollister conducted the hotel about seven years, then exchanged it for the Judson Pond place, now owned by the Osborn estate. It was afterward kept by Bennet Osborn till he built the second hotel in the village, the Osbornville House, in 1829. Orrin Robinson leased this hotel when completed, and conducted it till the spring of 1832, when Henry Osborn became the landlord, and continued two years. He was succeeded by William Young, Mr. Starr, Mr. Belnap, and Nathan G. Osborn, who kept it till his death in 1872. Then Henry Bagley kept it till Mr. O. R. Coe took possession in 1879.
After Jesse Hollister closed his mercantile business, in 1822, the Osborn brothers, Bennet and Henry, took possession of the building and continued the business there until they built their new store across the street. The firm continued as B. & H. Osborn till 1828, when Obediah Stevens, a former clerk, was made a partner with Henry Osborn, and they did business as Osborn & Stevens three years. The firm then became H. & A. Osborn & Co., and consisted of Henry, Albert, a son of Bennet, and Bennet Osborn. This firm manufactured potash in connection with their mercantile business, and continued till 1834, when they sold to William Story. It was a prominent business house in those days.
Daniel Hunt, in 1831, built a store, which is now occupied by S. H. Atwater. When Osborn & Stevens dissolved, Mr. Stevens became a partner with mr. Hunt in his entire business, which included the Catskill Mountain Grist-mill. Stevens continued in the firm but a short time, and William Robinson purchased his interest. The firm continued to be Hunt & Robinson till the death of the latter.
Humphrey R. Potter, of Hensonville, built the present Smith store in 1827. He was of the family that located in Potter’s Hollow, in Albany county. He came to Durham at the age of 16, and served during four years as an apprentice in the cabinet business. He worked as a journeyman, then was a partner with David Cowles one year, then took B. Phelps as a partner and built the Fenton store. He continued in business there until he sold to Nelson Bump, in 1864. He has as partners at different times, John Olney, Bruce Phelps, and others. Mr. Potter did much for the business growth of Windham. In 1834 he built the store now occupied by Mrs. Jacob Wood, milliner, and Mr. Smith as a general merchant. He also built the house adjoining it on the east, and the house occupied by Bullard, the jeweler.
The Brockett and Strong stand was built in 1832, by William Young, and was occupied as a shoe shop. He built the house adjoining the property the same time. The house was sold in 1836 to Rev. L. B. Van Dyck, Presbyterian clergyman, and was occupied by him about 25 years. Mr. Young built the Colonel George Robertson mansion in 1836. He continued in the shoe business till his removal to Prattsville.
In 1874 the subject of connecting Windham with the “outside world” by a line of telegraph was agitated here in the columns of the Windham Journal. In January, 1875, a subscription was circulated to promote the enterprise, and in the same month a meeting was held at Windham, to take action concerning it. In February of the same year two meetings were held at Hunter, and the two proposed routes, one via East Jewett, and the other via Beach’s Corners, were considered. At a meeting held the same month at Rondout, the latter route was determined on, and the Schoharie Kill and Stony Clove Telegraph Company was organized, with a capital of $2,200, in shares of $10 each. The first directors were: Hon. H. S. Lockwood, E. M. Cole, D. S. Merwin, James Rusk, H. A. Towner, A. A. Crosby, and S. Coykendall.
The first officers were: Hon. H. S. Lockwood, president; D. S. Merwin, vice-president; and F. J. Hecker, secretary and treasurer. The construction of the line was commenced in June 1875, and it was completed in July of the same year. Early in 1883 this line was bought by the Western Union Telegraph Company, by which it is still owned.
At a meeting held in Cairo August 24th 1875, the Catskill, Cairo and Windham Telegraph Company was organized with a capital of $2,500. The first directors were: William Donohue, J. H. Bagley jr., Sellick D. Smith, A. L. Walters, W. N. Lennon, J. C. Butts, Levi Bloodgood, C. C. Peck, and E. M. Cole. William Donohue was chosen president; Walter N. Lennon, vice-president; John H. Bagley jr., treasurer; and E. M. Cole, secretary. The line was completed in October 1875. In the latter part of 1881 it was sold to the Western Union Telegraph Company.
The village of Windham, formerly known as Osbornville and Windham Center, lies along the Catskill and Windham Turnpike, 25 miles west of Catskill, and is 1,500 feet above tide water. This village, styled the “Gem of the Catskills,” is beautifully situated in the midst of some of the finest mountain scenery in the State. The village has a population of 350, and by the influx of summer visitors the population is doubled. The thrift and energy of the inhabitants is exhibited in the fact that the streets are well laid out, shaded, graded, and paved. The residences are neat and tasteful. There are many elegant cottages, embowered in rich foliage, and surrounded by beautiful lawns.
Windham, like all other places of enterprise, has an extensive commerce, which is daily increasing. The following is a list of those engaged in business at this village: merchants, Brockett & Strong, Levi Andrus, Hitchcock & Patterson, Moseman & Lewis; druggist Anson R. Mott; physicians, P. I. Stanley, and W. H. Mead; attorneys C. C. Peck, and J. C. Tallmadge; hotels, Windham Hotel, O. R. Coe, proprietor; Central House, H. A. Martin, proprietor; dentists, A. W. Doty & Son, F. M. Frayer; blacksmiths, George H. Lamoreau, G. H. Doty, John S. Snyder; wagon makers, George H. Lamoreau, C. L. Lobdell, L. J. Smalling; painters, George Brandow, E. L Mulford; millwrights, Miner Tibbals and David Tibbals; cooperage, Watson Briggs; cabinet shop, Potter & Newell; hardware, S. H. Atwater; grist-mill, M. C. Osborn & Son; shoemakers, E. Graham, Levi Andrus, L. Mellen, Lucius Graham; dealer in pumps, W. H. Moon; dressmakers, Mrs. E. Ellison, Mrs. T. Hollenbeck, Misses Emma & Clara Tibbals; milliners, Mrs. Jacob Wood, Mrs. Levi Andrus; jeweler, George Bullard; butchers, Levi Stead, and Jacob Wood; harness makers, Charles Stedman, G. M. Thorp; livery, Noah D. Hill & Son; veterinary surgeon, Jacob Turk; deputy sheriff, Palmer Brandow; marble and granite works, Kissock & Coon.
The Windham Journal
The first number of the Windham Journal made its appearance Saturday, March 21st 1857, under the management of W. R. Steele, editor and proprietor.
In his salutary remarks Mr. Steele said:
“After carefully figuring as to the positive amount of support that will be given by the citizens of Windham, exclusive of outsiders, and comparing our former support with it, we cannot for an instant doubt that a paper properly conducted will pay. The Journal will be published every Thursday morning, and will contain the latest news received by mail on Wednesday, condensed in such a manner as to give a variety of all foreign and domestic intelligence.
“On all political and sectarian questions the Journal shall be independent, binding itself to no political clique or faction. It will be devoted to literature, education, agriculture, wit and humor, foreign and domestic news, &c. We shall pay strict attention to all local matters, and endeavor to place before our friends an interesting family paper.”
The first paper was a neat 20 column paper, and was issued from the building owned and occupied by Potter & Newell. On the issue of the third number of the Journal there were 305 subscribers.
June 25th 1857, the Journal was enlarged and improved. July 9th 1859, the Journal was enlarged to a 28 column paper , and also was printed with new type, on clear white paper.
In 1859 the Journal had subscribers in every State in the Union except Arkansas, and the publisher claimed it had a circulation of 500 copies more than any other paper in Greene county.
In May 1861, Mr. Steele sold the Journal to Berrien Fish, a graduate of the law department of the Albany University, and a son of Rev. John B. Fish, formerly of Windham.
In January 1865, Cicero C. Peck bought one-half interest in the Journal, and from then till March 1866, it was published and edited by Fish & Peck. From March to October of the same year, Mr. Peck published the paper. In October 1866, Mr. Peck sold out to Eugene Raymond, who conducted the Journal till March 1867; then Edward M. Cole was associated with him. In February 1868, Mr. Cole retired, and Mr. Raymond continued its publication till May 1868, when he admitted as a partner Charles Woolhiser, who continued as such till April 1869, when he withdrew. In December 1869, Mr. Raymond disposed of one-half interest in the Journal to William Pavel, and from then till May 1870, the paper was published by Raymond & Pavel. In May 1870, Mr. Pavel sold his interest in the paper to Southmayd Reynolds, and the firm was styled Raymond & Reynolds till October 1870, when Mr. Raymond sold his part to John E. Hitchcock, and the Journal was published by Reynolds & Hitchcock till December 1871, when Mr. Reynolds, on account of poor health, disposed of his interest to E. M. Cole, a former member of the Journal staff. In March 1868 [sic – 1878?], Mr. Hitchcock retired, and Mr. Cole was sole proprietor to January 1st 1882, when, owing to ill health, he sold the Journal to Messrs. Peck & Cornell. October 19th 1882, Mr. Cole again bought the paper and still conducts it. The Journal is published every Thursday at $1.50 per annum, and has a large circulation.
The Great Freshet
The following is form the Windham Journal of April 21st 1870:
“On Sunday night last [April 17th] it commenced raining and continued with unabated violence until Monday night. About 6 o’clock P. M. Monday, the creeks in this vicinity had attained dimensions unequalled in the history of Windham. Sherman’s large dam, near the top of the mountain, gave way, emptying its contents into the already swollen Batavia, and causing it to overflow. About half past six a large tree came tearing down the creek, striking Colonel Robertson’s bridge, at the upper part of the village, breaking it in two. The pieces struck against the bridge at South street, but fortunately, the timbers being new, it resisted the shock. At about the same time the water came through from the Batavia Creek into Main street, near the M. E. church, and a perfect deluge swept through the village with rapidity truly appalling, and at the same moment the Mitchell Hollow stream burst over the bank at Doty’s blacksmith shop and made its way through the lower part of the village where travel had to be entirely suspended.
“Nearly every house on the south side of Main street was deserted, being completely surrounded by water. The cellars through the entire village were filled with water.
“The water poured down Main street in a savage mood, splashing against the trees and fences in a terrific manner. The streets were left in a pitiful condition, being badly torn up, and huge timbers, stone and drift-wood being piled up in different parts of the village.”
Mount Pisgah is a bald-headed mountain, five miles north of the village of Windham, and is annually visited by thousands. The view from the summit of this mountain is grand. The mountain was cleared in 1853.
Walter Doolittle bought of Thomas Doolittle, in 1876, 275 acres embracing the summit of Mount Pisgah. In 1880 and 1881, he constructed a winding road, nearly a mile in length, which made the peak accessible to carriages. The first vehicle made the ascent July 4th 1881. On the summit he built a commodious house, surrounded with an observatory, equipped with a telescope, through which the entire course of the Hudson from Catskill to Troy can be seen; and the Berkshire Hills, the Adirondack Mountains, and the State Capitol at Albany are also visible.
The fine outlook from Mount Pisgah, and the recent improvements that have been made there render it one of the most attractive points in the Catskill Mountains. After the completion of the road, in the summer of 1881, 300 people visited the peak; in 1882, 1,500 registered their names there; and in 1883 the number reached 2,500, besides about 1,000 visitors who did not register. About 600 carriages ascended the mountain in the summer of 1883.
The height of Mount Pisgah above tide water is 2,905 feet. Richmond Peak, a wild, inaccessible mountain near Mount Pisgah, is 3,180 feet in height.
As a place of summer residence, Windham holds out many inducements. It has the benefit of a clear, healthy atmosphere, and has long been a favorite place of resort for seekers of rest and pleasure. The drives on its well kept highways yield always a glimpse of beauty; and certain hillsides and shaded nooks reward the searcher and reveal the beauties of the place.
There are a number of well known and well patronized resorts in the village and scattered throughout the town, each capable of accommodating from 10-100 guests. The houses are attractive and pleasantly located, commanding excellent views of mountains, hills, and valleys; the rooms are spacious and comfortable; the proprietors are courteous and attentive; and the tables are supplied with everything seasonable and wholesome.
However great their anticipations may be, few visitors are disappointed in the beauties of the town or the hospitality of "mine host." Hundreds of visitors come here to pass away the summer months, and as a general thing go away satisfied.
Below will be found a list of summer resorts in and near the village of Windham.
Windham Hotel, O.R. Coe, Proprietor, is pleasantly situated on Main street, near the central portion of the village. By reason of a slight bend in the street, near the hotel, a commanding and picturesque view is had of the entire street, bordered by sugar maples, each of which produces its share of the delicious sweet. This house has been enlarged each year until it is now five times as large as it was when it became the property of Mr. Coe, in 1879. It is not only an ornament to the village but also a monument to the energy and enterprise of Mr. Coe and his no less efficient wife. While the original structure has been nearly lost in the new one, its prominence as an old landmark, as the first hotel in this place, remains, and its peculiar popularity has not abated. Neither has it, like many other hotels that have grown to large proportions, increased its scale of prices. Mr. Coe caters to the wants of the public in everything save that which intoxicates. Although this is a summer resort, guests are entertained during the entire year, and the patrons of this house consist largely of the better class of people who seek for quiet rest and homelike comfort. The season of 1883 was closed by a parlor entertainment given by the guests of the house, at which Hon. E. Raymond, in taking leave, said: "It is a compliment worthy of record, that scores of families and friends that had spent weeks at this house, united in asking him to tender to all those connected with the house their kindest and best wishes for their continued prosperity."
Woodvine Cottage is pleasantly located on Main street, in the central part of the village. This is one of the oldest summer resorts in this locality. The house was built by the proprietor, Moses White, in 1865, and has room for 25 guests.
The Glen House is pleasantly situated just on the outskirts of the village. This house was erected in 1882, by A. E. West, the present proprietor. It has ample accommodations for 40 guests.
Brookside Cottage was erected in 1877, by L.J. Smalling, who still retains Possession of the property. This house entertains 20 boarders.
The boarding house of Dr. P. I. Stanley was built by Charles Stedman, in 1866. The house is nicely located, and has a capacity of 16 guests.
Maple Shade House, the property of G. M. Thorp, is located in the village, and has ample accommodations for 16 guests.
The boarding house of William H. Moon is located on a rising eminence at the east end of the village. This house accommodates 16 guests.
Mott's Summer Boarding House is pleasantly situated on Main street, and has abundance of room for 12 guests.
Central Hotel, H. A. Martin, proprietor, was erected by Samuel Miller, in 1864. This hotel was purchased in January 1884, by Mr. Martin. This house is designed to suit the wants of the traveling public, and accommodates 30 guests.
The Boarding House of Dr. W. H. Mead is nicely situated on Main street, Windham. This is one of the prettiest places in the village. It has a capacity for 12 guests.
Fair View House is located at the western end of Windham village, affording a fine view of the mountains and valley. This house was built in 1848, by Colonel James Robertson, and rebuilt by Jared Clark, in 1858. The present proprietor bought it in 1863. It has accommodations for 15 guests.
The Farm House of Merritt McLean, one mile west of the village, has room for 20 guests. A farm of 140 acres is connected with the house.
Windham House was purchased by the present proprietor, Sherman Munger, in 1867. In 1869, he converted it into a boarding house. This house is pleasantly situated on the old Susquehana Turnpike, about one mile west of the village. A farm of 250 acres is connected with this house. It accommodates 75 guests.
Union Society, nearly midway between Windham village and East Windham, is pleasantly situated near the base of Elm Ridge. The Summer Resort of David Davis is located here. This building is a modern structure, and has ample room for 60 guests. For seekers of rest and quiet this house holds out many inducements. A bowling alley and post office are connected with this house.
Hensonville. This truly beautiful village is located two miles southeast of Windham, and offers many inducements to the lover of country life. This place is surrounded by a fine farming region, with excellent highways, and environed with mountains abounding in picturesque scenery. This village has a Methodist church, two stores, post office, and telegraph office, and several summer boarding houses.
The Bloodgood House, Bloodgood Brothers, proprietors, is a new house, and has a capacity for 40 guests. It is situated on a slight elevation overlooking the village, and is surpassed by no other house for the beauties of its surrounding mountain scenery.
The Boarding House of William H. Hitchcock is also located in this village. This house was erected in 1872, and has accommodations for 25 guests.
Big Hollow, so named from the large valley in which the the village is situated, is a small, romantic place, in which signs of modern progress are visible on every side. Churches of the Presbyterian, Methodist-Episcopal, and Free Methodist denominations are found here. Also a store, post office, and several other places of business.
Brook-Lynne is located midway between Windham village and Hensonville, and is one of the neatest and most picturesque places among the mountains. There are several very pretty places of residence.
The Osborn House, E. Osborn & Son, proprietors, is picturesquely situated in the beautiful hamlet known as Brook Lynne. The house is new and superbly furnished throughout. The rooms are spacious and airy, and it has ample room for 50 guests. A farm of 300 acres surrounds the house. A livery is connected with this resort.
Soper Place, John Soper, proprietor, is the third oldest summer boarding house in the valley, and was first opened for the reception of guests 18 years ago. In 1872 the house was enlarged and refurnished, and now has a capacity for 35 guests. The Soper Place, formerly known as The Evergreen Park House, is located on a beautiful mound overlooking the picturesque landscape that surrounds it. The house is partially surrounded by ornamental evergreen trees that greatly add to the beauty of the place. The rooms are large, airy and well furnished. The guests can enjoy boating, bathing and fishing on the premises, owned and controlled by Mr. Soper, who has provided the amusements usually found at summer resorts.
Colonel George Robertson
Colonel George Robertson was born in Windham, Greene county, New York, March 15th 1805, the eldest in a family of eight children. His grandfather, George Robertson, was born in Glascow, Scotland, in 1757, immigrated to America in 1774, and in 1775 entered the Revolutionary Army.
He married Lydia Garrett, an English lady, at Troy, New York, where he settled and owned what is now a large part of the city. He had three children, James, Mary and Samuel. His wife died and was buried in Troy. He moved from Troy and settled in Windham, near the last part of the last century, where he married for his second wife Esther Judson, who died without issue. He died in 1824.
Colonel James Robertson, eldest son of George Robertson, and father of the subject of this sketch, was born in Troy, July 21st 1779, came to Windham with his father. He married, April 5th 1804, Elizabeth, daughter of Elihu Rogers, a descendant of John Rogers, the Christian martyr. She was born in Branford, Connecticut, January 7th 1782, but at the time of her marriage she was a resident of Windham.
After his marriage he lived for a short time upon what was known as the Austin farm, in Windham village, in the house now owned and occupied by Truman Johnson. He then bought a farm of 130 acres, one-half mile east of Windham village, built a small house upon it (still standing), which he afterward moved back, and built in its place a hotel, which he carried on for many years, most of the time as a temperance hotel. His death occurred January 28th 1849, at the age of 69 years. His wife survived him many years. She died April 23rd 1871, aged 90 years.
Besides the above farm, known as the Colonel Robertson farm, he also owned and carried on a farm of 200 acres in Windham, known as the State Lot; also one of 200 acres, three miles east of the Colonel Robertson farm, now owned by Thomas Brenaugh. He was a thoroughgoing successful farmer. He was an elder, and a liberal supporter of the Presbyterian church. In addition to his own family of eight children, who reached adult years, he brought up and educated a number of children of other families, who were treated, in every respect, the same as his own. Upon reaching their majority, the boys received a Bible, a new suit of clothes, and $100 in money. In politics he was a whig, and took an active interest in local political matters. His children were: George, Samuel, Lydia, Philira, Garrett, an infant son unnamed, James Jr., Eliza Ann, Emily Esther, and Elbert.
Dr. Samuel Robertson, the second son, was born November 15th 1806, and married, December 1835, Elizabeth Hamlin. He was a graduate of Union College, also of the Berkshire Medical College. He practiced his profession a number of years in North East, Dutchess county. He afterward became connected with the furnace and iron business, in which he was very successful. He died in Canastota, September 27th 1883, aged 76. He left a wife and one child. The latter is wife of John Fowler, an attorney living in Syracuse.
Lydia, widow of Ahira Barney, is living in Windham village with her son, Elbert R. Barney. She has, besides the latter, two other children living, Sarah R., and Harriet Eliza.
Philira is the widow of D. H. Pitcher, now living at Saratoga Springs. She has three children living, Sarah, Helen and James R. Sarah is the wife of Elijah Parker, a merchant in New York City; Helen is the wife of B. W. Woodward, attorney at law at Watkins Glen, N.Y.; and James R. is a secretary of the United States Mutual Accident Company, New York city.
Garrett and the next child died in Infancy.
Eliza Ann married Dr. Leander Sutherland. Only one son is living, George Sutherland, a banker in Campbelltown, N.Y. Mrs. Sutherland died March 17th 1870, age 51.
James, a farmer and tanner, is living at Constantia, Oswego county. He married Margaret Camp, deceased. Two children are living, Romaine and Sarah.
Emily Esther married Dr. J.B. VanDyck, of Coxsackie, Greene county, and has one child, Libbie.
Elbert married Jeannette Camp. He was formerly a merchant in Windham, then engaged in the tannery business in Constantia, and is now (1884) living in Auburn, N.Y. He has two children, Elbertine and Georgiana.
Colonel George Robertson received his education in the common school at Windham, and one year in Huntington, L.I. He commenced teaching school when 18 years of age, and taught four winters, two in Ashland and two in Jewett. When not attending or teaching school, he worked on his father's farm.
October 24th 1827, he married Maria, daughter of the Hon. Jairus and Dosha (Bissell) Strong. Mr. Robertson was the fifth in a family of ten children, all of whom lived to adult age; all but one were married, and with one exception raised families. She was a twin daughter, Minerva, who married Hon. Albert Tuttle, being her twin sister. Her father was a prominent man in Greene county, and a member of the Legislature in 1818. Mrs. Robertson was born in Ashland, May 7th 1808.
In 1828 Colonel Robertson built a hotel on the farm then owned by his father, situated three and a half miles east of Windham village. This hotel he kept about 20 years, and for the last 10 or 12 years as a temperance hotel, probably the first temperance house in the county.
To show the changes wrought by railroads upon country hotels, the following item related to the writer by the colonel, is a marked illustration. One night he kept on his place 600 head of cattle and 13 drovers. The same night he caught a bear in a trap and served bear steak for breakfast. He also relates that he has counted 100 loaded butter teams passing his place in a single day.
During the period
of his hotel keeping, and in years thereafter, the colonel engaged extensively
in lumbering, tanning, merchandising and farming. He has been concerned in
seven sawmills, the sole owner of four situated in Windham, with an interest in
three others. He first became interested in the tanning business in company
with Colonel Zadock Pratt, under the firm name of Pratt & Robertson, at
Windham. This partnership was entered into September 6th 1844, and continued 10
years. In 1848 the firm bought the Big Hollow Tannery in Windham. On the 3rd
of October 1853, Colonel Robertson bought his partners interest in both these
tanneries, and ran them several years, or until the bark ran out. In 1849, in
company with his son, L.A . Robertson, he built a tannery in Middle Valley, on
Middle Creek, Wayne county Pennsylvania, which was run under the firm name of
L.A. Robertson & Company five years, when the colonel made over his interest to
In 1855, in company with his brothers, James and Elbert, under the firm name of Robertson & Borthers, he built and carried on a tannery in Constantia, Oswego county, and retained his interest therein until 1879, when it was sold to his son, L. A. Robertson. In 1856, in company with D. H. Pitcher, Dr. Samuel Robertson, and Dr. Sutherland, firm Robertson, Pitcher & Company, he built a tannery in Forestport, New York, and retained his interest therein for about 16 years. He also owned an interest, with his brothers, in the Parish Tannery, Oswego county. In connection with these tanneries, several general merchandising stores were run by the firms. The colonel was also interested in an extensive leather store in New York city for six years, under the firm name of Robertson, Butman & Company.
In his farming operations, Colonel Robertson dealt largely in stock, cattle, sheep, and wool. To the original 200 acres, he added 600 acres adjoining, making the home farm 800 acres. His dealings in real estate, in connection with his lumbering and tanning interests, were very extensive. He set out upon his farm, bordering the streets which ran through it, three miles of maple trees, 900 in all. Most of these have grown to be noble specimens of their kind, and all who shall, in years to come, enjoy their grateful shade, as they ride over this portion of the Windham thoroughfare, will have occasion to remember with gratitude the foresight of the man who planted them.
In politics, Colonel Robertson has been identified with the whig, anti-slavery, and republican parties, though too much engrossed with his extensive business affairs to either desire or seek public position. He has served his town one term as supervisor, and was elected a member of the Assembly in 1853, and a delegate to the State Convention at Syracuse in 1856. He has been a member of the Presbyterian church for more than 50 years, an elder over 40 years, an attendant of its Sabbath school over 60 years, and a number of years its superintendent. He was a delegate to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church at Cleveland in 1857, when a portion of the Southern church withdrew: also at Philadelphia, in 1863, the year of the Emancipation Proclamation, and was one of the 40 members who carried to President Lincoln the resolution of the Assembly approving the same. The great encouragement afforded the president by this action of the Assembly, and of other religious bodies, is a matter of history.
As illustrating the push and enterprise which have always been a prominent characteristic of Colonel Robertson in all his business operations, the following facts in history are offered:
When his saw mill in Windham was burned, the timber for a new mill was gotten out on Monday, framed on Tuesday, raised on Wednesday, enclosed on Thursday, machinery put in on Friday, finished and set to work on Saturday at 10 o'clock PM----thus building and putting a saw mill in operation in a little more than five days. This feat, however, was quite surpassed after the burning of the Windham Tannery. It was burned on Friday, June 10th, 1853. On Saturday the irons were picked up. With the timber for the frame growing in the woods Monday morning, a building three and one half stories in height, 40 X 210 feet, with a lintel 21 X 120 feet, was built and in operation on the Saturday following, in a space of six days; thus preventing damages to the stock on hand, to the amount of at least one third the cost of rebuilding. A fact worthy of mention, as well as affording a good example, is that in the 50 years of extended business, it has all been carried on and settled without a contested lawsuit on any of his own transactions. The title of colonel came by an election to the position of one of the State militia regiments.
In the spring of 1855, having purchased a house and lot in the village of Windham, he moved from the farm and has since resided in the village.
His wife died April 17th 1877, aged 68, at their home in Windham. It can well be said of her, she was a truly Christian woman, a devoted wife and mother, and respected by all who knew her.
The colonel married for his second wife, November 6th 1878, Esther Dorcas, widow of George Everlyn Merwin, and a daughter of Deacon Elijah and Mary (Robertson) Strong. Mrs. Robertson was born October 10th 1815, in Ashland. The following incident of her life constitutes one of the historic events of the place of her birth. When five years of age she wandered off up the Catskill Mountains after her brother, who had gone for the cattle, and was not observed by him until too far distant from her home to return with her then. Putting her in a safe place, and bidding her wait his return, he went on in pursuit of his estrays, and found them in the end, but not his little sister, when he returned to the spot where he had left her. She had become wearied of waiting, and started for home in the wrong direction. The whole neighborhood was aroused at once to search for the wandering child. The mountain side was the haunt of wolves, and guns were fired and torches kept blazing all night to scare them away. The next day she was found with her clothing nearly torn off from her by the brambles through which she had passed, and told her parents that when night came she lay down by a mossy rock and called for each one of the family and then the dog, and cried herself to sleep. Prayers were offered at her home by hearts bursting with gratitude to God for his sheltering care of their little darling in the lone woods through the dark night.
Her father, Deacon Elijah Strong, was a brother of Jarius Strong, father of the colonel's first wife, and her mother was sister to the colonel's father. She is a descendant in the seventh generation from John Strong, who was born in Taunton, England, in 1605, immigrated to America in 1630, and settled in Dorchester, Mass. Deacon Elijah Strong was born May 12th 1776, and married Mary Robertson. He was a farmer, hotel keeper, and a deacon in the Presbyterian church at Ashland (then Windham), where he died, October 3rd 1826. He was a man noted for his piety. His wife died at Elyria, Ohio, March 31st 1850. Mrs. Robertson's first husband, George Everlyn Merwin, was born in Durham, Greene county, January 22nd 1806, and married at Elyria, Ohio April 22nd 1837. He was a merchant there until 1859, when he removed to California, where he died, October 27th 1869. After his death his widow returned to New York State, and until her marriage to Colonel Robertson, she lived with her brother Dr. S.S. Strong at Saratoga. She was the youngest of the family. She had six brothers and two sisters, all but one of whom lived to adult age, were married, and all but two raised families. He brother, Rev. Sylvester Sandford Strong, M.D., is the founder and proprietor of the celebrated Saratoga Springs Remedial Institute.
By his first wife, Colonel Robertson had three children: Loring A., born November 12th 1828, for a number of years in company with his father in the tanning business, and at present time (1884) extensively engaged in the tanning business, and leather trade in New York city; James Henry, born March 5th 1833, died July 29th 1858; and Minerva S., born September 20th 1835, living at home.
Edward M. Cole, son of Ahaz and Caroline M. Cole was born October 26th 1844, in the town of Conesville, Schoharie County, NY, where he resided for ten years. In 1854 his parents moved to Johnson Hollow, in the town of Roxbury, Delaware County, and in 1857 moved to Windham.
The only school Mr. Cole attended was a district school, where he gained a common school education. In 1862 he entered the office of the Bloomville Mirror, Bloomville, NY, where he learned the "art preservative" under the guidance of S.B. Champion, proprietor of the Mirror. He was a member of the Mirror staff for upward of seven years. In 1861 Mr. Cole bought one-half interest in the Windham Journal, since when, with the exception of nine months, he has edited and published the paper.
He has been nominated for several offices in the county, but because of his desire to do justice to the public was defeated by small majorities. In his profession he has become eminent throughout the county, having engaged with great zeal in the controversy concerning the wrongs being done in this county, and for this was recognized as an able leader of public opinion.
Mr. Cole has been and is still ready to strike at the wrongs heaped upon the taxpayers by certain politicians, and they in return have fought hard against him. He is a stirring man and has accomplished a vast amount of good for the county by his determination to expose the manifold wrongs done the inhabitants of Greene. For this he has gained a host of friends as well as a few enemies.
Mr. Cole was instrumental in connecting Windham with the outside world by telegraphy, in building up a first class local paper, and in many other enterprises worthy of note.
The Windham Journal, of which he is editor and publisher, has a circulation of over 1,200 and its subscription list is daily increasing. It is ably edited and visits every State in the Union.
Mr. Cole’s grandparents were among the early settlers of Schoharie County, from Massachusetts, and were well known.
In the autumn of 1874, Mr. Cole married Josephine M., daughter of Hon. Stephen H. Keeler, of Bloomville, NY, and by this union has two children, Keeler M and Bessie Louise.
Henry Osborn was the tenth child of Nathan Osborn, a native of Connecticut, and a soldier in the Revolution. In 1799, Nathan Osborn with his family then consisting of eight children, came to North Settlement, in the present town of Ashland, where, on the 25th of November 1803, Henry was born. On their arrival at their destination, they built a log house, in which they resided three years, when they built a more capacious frame residence. This was burned in December 1804, and one of the children, eight years of age, was so injured by the flames that he soon died. The family returned to their original log dwelling, and soon the house was built in which the childhood and youth of Henry were passed. The same house, much remodeled, is now owned and occupied by Henry Cook. The common schools of that period afforded Mr. Osborn his only facilities for obtaining an education, but these he so utilized, that he was considered a better scholar than most of his associates at that time.
At the age of 20, or in 1822, he, in the company with an elder brother, Bennet Osborn, took up his residence in the present village of Windham, which then consisted of only five houses. He engaged in mercantile business, which he continued till 1836.
In 1840 he removed to Rensselaerville, where he was a merchant till 1848. He then bought a farm at Hunter, where he remained till 1864, when he removed to Tonica, LaSalle County, Illinois, where he was a wholesale coal dealer. On account of the health of his family, he returned to Windham, his present place of residence, in 1876.
Mr. Osborn served eight years as a school inspector in Windham, and for several years was a magistrate in Hunter, but he has never been an officer seeker.
In 1818 he became a minister of the Presbyterian church of Windham, and in 1828 he was ordained a ruling elder by Rev. C. H. Goodrich, which position he has ever since held. Mr. Osborn’s memory of the early development of this region is, in all respects, quite a distinct.
October 31st 1826, he was married by Rev. C. H. Goodrich to Sarah Loomis, a daughter of Oliver and Sarah Loomis, of Windham.
They have had three children: Helen, who still resides with her parents; Austin Melvin, now a judge of the Supreme Court of the State of New York; and Frances Rebecca, who died in infancy.
Mr. Osborn, at the age of 80, is in the enjoyment of robust health, and a clear intellect. Of his 12 brothers and sisters, only one, a brother, survives. Mr. Osborn has been an invalid for 15 years.
Edwin Brockett, the son of Robert Brockett was born in Durham in 1830. In 1855 he removed to Hensonville, where he engaged in mercantile business, which he continued till 1870. In that year he removed to Windham, where he followed the same business till 1881, when he retired, and was succeeded by his son, Charles Brockett, who continued the business here.
Mr. Brockett was appointed postmaster at Hensonville in 1861, and served in that capacity till his removal to Windham. In 1871 he was appointed to the same office in the latter place, and he has held it to the present time.
In 1855 he was married to Huldah Parsons, of Windham, and they had three children. In 1871 he was again married, to Mrs. Henrietta Peck, of Windham, a granddaughter of Judge Buell, and a daughter of Judge Goslee. They have one child.
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