Dear Old Greene County  

Section One

 Embracing
Facts and Figures, Portraits and Sketches,
Of Leading
MEN WHO WILL LIVE IN HER HISTORY
Those at the Front To-Day
And Others Who Made Good in the Past

by F.A. Gallt
Catskill, N. Y.
1915


Original book provided by Celeste MacCormack and transcribed by Arlene Goodwin


        Towns                 1915       1910                         Incorporated Villages

Ashland                          658          640                                         1915           1910

Athens                          2724         2720                  Athens         *1923           1956

Cairo                             1966         1841                  Catskill         5373           5296

Catskill                        *9023        9066                   Coxsackie   *2309          2494

Durham                       *1360        1475                   Hunter        *  405             408

Greenville                   *1550        1556                   Tannersville  758             660

Halcott                            353          331                       * Indicates a decrease

Hunter                          2944        2609                Eight show a decrease since the

Jewett                          *1014        1057                1910 census. The largest increase.

Lexington                   *  926        1054                was made in the town of Hunter.

New Baltimore          *1840        1936                 There a gain of 245 was made.

Prattsville                      887          781                 The town of Catskill shows a de-

Windham                   *1390        1438                 creased of 43 and the village an in-

                                   30,087     30,214                 crease of 77.

OFFICIAL LIST

 STATE

Governor                                       Charles S. Whitman, New York
Lieutenant Governor                   Edward Schoenick, Syracuse
Secretary of State                          Francis M. Hugo, Watertown
Comptroller                                  Eugene M. Travis,  Brooklyn
State Treasure                               James L. Wells, New York
Attorney General                         Egbert E. Woodbury, Jamestown
State Engineer and Surveyor     Frank M. Williams, Goshen 
Congressman                               Charles B. Ward, Liberty
State Senator                                 Charles Walton, Kingston     

COUNTY

Member of Assembly                  George H. Chase, Jewett
County Judge                                Josiah C. Tallmadge, Catskill
Sheriff                                             Elmore Mackey, Athens
County Clerk                                 George B. VanValkenburgh, Lexington    
County Treasurer                          Judson A. Betts, Catskill
District Attorney                            Howard C. Wilbur, Catskill
Superintendent of Poor                 Ira T. Tolley, Catskill
Election Commissioners               Thomas J. O’Hara, Prattsville, Charles A. Nicholas, Catskill
Commissioners of Equalization   Eugene Wayne, Catskill. Burton G. Dewell, Windham.
                                                           Frederick Holsapple, Copake Falls.
Coroners                                          William M. Rapp, Catskill. Claude D. Mulberry, Windham,
   
                                                        R.Y. Hubbard, Tannersville. I. E. Van Hoesen, Coxsackie
Chairman Board of Supervisors   Elmer Krieger, Prattsville
Clerk Board Supervisors               William B. Townsend, Coxsackie
Sealer of Weights and Measures  A. E. Ballou, Catskill
Loan Commissioner                       Robert F. Story, Catskill                     

APPOINTIVE LIST

Surrogate Clerk                                James Reilly, Catskill
Stenographer                                    Pearl R. Simmons, Catskill
Deputy Count Clerk                        Jasper K. Hotaling, New Baltimore
Copyist                                              Ethel Hallock, Catskill
Clerk Election Commissioners      Ralph Fancher, Catskill       
Clerk County Treasurer                  Mary A. Cooney, Catskill
Court of Appeals Justice                 Emory A. Chase, Catskill
Stenographer and clerk                    Georgania Jackson
Under Sheriff                                      Seymour June, Athens
Deputies                                         Charles Hitchcock, Athens      Ed. Griffin,Lexington
   
                                                      William Peck, Jewett     Martin Chamberlin, Prattsville
   
                                                       Marcus Deane, Catskill      M. Earl, South Cairo
   
                                                       Michael Lackey Jr., Tannersville Levi P. Corwall, Coxsackie
   
                                                       Daniel S. Vincent,  New Baltimore 

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
Elmer Krieger, Chairman
                      
Ashland—H. Clay Ferris                    Halcott—Earl W. Jenkins
                      
Athens—Frank Nichols                       Hunter—Thomas Seifferth, jr.
                      
Cairo—Floyd F. Jones                        Jewett—Frederick Goslee
                      
Catskill—J. Henry Deane                   Lexington—Abram V. Rooraback
                      
Coxsackie—Dayton B. Smith             New Baltimore—Dale S. Baldwin
                      
Durham—John Huyck                         Prattsville—Elmer Krieger
                      
Greenville—Lewis Hoose                 Windham—Sidney L. Ford
                                          
Clerk, William B. Townsend, Coxsackie

SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENTS
                    
1st District—Thomas C. Perry, Catskill
                    
2nd District—Robert M. McNaught, Windham
                    
3rd District—Walter J. Decker, Hunter
                            
(see Complete list under Schools)

COMMISSIONERS BURIAL OF DECEASED SOLDIERS
                  
1st District—J. Hubbard Wilcox, Catskill
                  
2nd District—John B. Van Wie, Coxsackie
                  
3rd District—David Vining, Big Hollow
                  
4th District—Edward Cole, Lexington

TOWN OFFICERS    1914-1915

ASHLAND

                              Supervisor                                   H. Clay Ferris
                             
Town Clerk                                 Arthur C. Lee

Justices of the Peace

                              Adee V. Ferris                            Samuel C. Clark
                             
William Currie                            Levi Tompkins

Assessors

                              Sanford H. Tompkins                   Lambert Cooke
                                                                      
Alvah Tuttle

Constables

                             Claude Sutton                               Frank Griffin
                            
Truant Officer                               James Adee

 ATHENS

                             Supervisor                                       Frank Nichols
   
                         Town Clerk                                     Richard Gilbert

Justices of the Peace

                          James E. Moore                               B. L. Edwards
                         
Orin Q. Flint                                    John D. Rouse
                         
Egbert M. Hallenbeck                      Collector

Assessors

                          Henry R. Van Woert                         Wicks B. Spoor
                                             
Cortland Van Valkenburgh

Overseers of Poor

                         Joseph Robbins                                  Ellsworth  Perry    

Town Auditors

                        Daniel W. Saunders                             Fred Best
                                                         
Thomas W. Perry

                                                                   Constables

                        Charles W. Hitchcock                           John H. Steele
                       
George G. Scott                                    Charles Jones
                                                     
Josiah Hallenbeck


CAIRO

                        Supervisor                                           Floyd Jones
   
                     Town Clerk                                         Harry Chadderdon

Justices of the Peace

                       Francis C. Burnham                             Ira Vail
                      
Charles A. Bassett                                Lysander Lennon

Assessors

                       Herbert H. Bogardus                            Thomas H. Morrison
                                                                James B. Edgerly

                       Superintendent of Highways            Warren Walters
                      
Collector                                                Irving Turner
                      
Overseer of Poor                                  Silas Finch

Constables

                       Florin P. Haines                                    Benjamin B. Bennett
                      
R. Baker                                                John Wiltse

CATSKILL

                       Supervisor                                              J. Henry Deane
                      
Town clerk             John McGee  (Edward Hall, acting clerk)

Justices of the Peace

                       Roscoe D. Miller                                    Ira B. Kerr
                      
Dr. James B. Rouse                                George W. Winans

                       Superintendent of Highways                   Frank G. Overbaugh

Assessors

                      William Joesbury        Lorenzo Overbaugh        Watson Vedder                          
                      
Collector                                                  James S. Millington

Overseers of Poor

                      John Obert                                                 Harris B. Edwards

Town auditors

                      Harry B. Morris            Nelson Mattice    Fred Timmerman
                                                         

Constables

                     John Fitzsimmons                                       James Fitzsimmons
                   
William Castle                                             Mina Easland

 

COXSACKIE

                    Supervisor                                                    Dayton B. Smith
                   
Town Clerk                                                  Armstrong J. Hotaling

Justices of the Peace

                   Edwin C. Hallenbeck                                     Harrie Mc Curtis
                  
William T. Haswell                                        N. A. Calkins

Assessors

                   Albert Pierce            John Scudder                Arthur King

                  
Superintendent of Highways                            Ambrose Day

Overseer of Poor

                   George Johnson                                                John S. Steele

Town Auditors

                  George S. Scott             Edward Webb         Theodore Palmer

                                                                     Constables

                   Charles Van Valkenburgh                                   Charles Sharp

 

DURHAM

                  Supervisor                                                          John Huyck
                 
Town Clerk
                                                        Fred Reynolds

Justices of the Peace

                  John S. Baldwin                                                 Z. A. Pratt
                 
Warren Finch                                                     George Allen

Assessors

                  Minthorn Smith           Romaine Spencer          Zina Rockfellow
   
              Collector                                                            Clarence O’Hara

                  Superintendent of Highways                        John Hull

                 Overseer of Poor                                               C. H. Richmond

 

GREENVILLE 

               Supervisor                                                             Louis Hoose
              
Town Clerk                                                           Ford B. Roe

Justice of the Peace

               Ira Hunt                                                                 Milton H. Beare
  
            Mitchell Sanford                                                   Elmer Flansburgh

Assessors

               Francis O’Hara                Madison Youmans      Omer T. Losee                                       

              Superintendent of Highways                                  Arthur Evans

Overseers of Poor

              Charles Horton                                                       Jacob Cameron
             
Collector                                                                  Irwin Cameron

 

HALCOTT

               Supervisor                                                             Earl W. Jenkins
              
Town Clerk                                                            James Whitney

Justices of the Peace

               W. K. Crosby                                                       Harry Bradley
              
E. C. Morse                                                          Arthur Wileman
              
Superintendent of Highways                          W. D. Griffin

Assessors

               John F. Van Valkenburgh       Luther Earle         Jacob Blish    
   
            Collector                                                               Arthur Gordon

               Overseer of Poor                                                  Herbert Dunham

 

HUNTER 

               Supervisor                                                            Thomas Seifferth jr.
              
Town Clerk                                                          Julius Dolan

Justices of the Peace

               George H. Falkner           Renwick Dibble           Richard Haines 

               Superintendent of Highways                                  Menzo Sharpe

Assessors

               George Byrne              Addison Traphagen    Claude L. Wiltse      
               Collector                                                                Herbert O’Hara

Overseer of the Poor

               Otto Gordon                                                            Charles Haines

Constables

               G. S. Hallenbeck                                                     Andrew Hill

 

JEWETT

              Supervisor                                                                Fred Goslee
             
Town Clerk                                                              Raymond Towner

Justices of the Peace

              Emmons Pond                                                           George Lockwood
             
Jacob Stotz                                                                  G. H. Chase

Assessors

              Dorland Peck                    John Gripman               Charles Tompson

                                                     
   
Overseers of the Poor

                                                  John Race                 David Barnum

 

LEXINGTON

             Supervisor                                                                  Abram Rooraback
        
    Town Clerk                                                                Robert S. Tuttle

Justices of the Peace

              John Kelley                       Christopher Reilly          Elmer Dunham

Assessors

             George W. Haner                   Romaine Kirk            Ransom Hogaboom

             Superintendent of Highways                      James G. Van Valkenburgh
   
         Collector                                                                     Robert Kirke

Overseers of the Poor

            Frank Patterson                                                           Romaine Van Valkenburgh

 

NEW BALTIMORE

                Supervisor                                                                  Dale S. Baldwin
   
            Town Clerk                                                                A. G. Nelson

Justices of the Peace

            W. C. Harden                                                             Hezekiah Austin
           
Wm. H. Hotaling                                                       Byron Mansfield

Assessors

            Melvin P. Hotaling                 Jaurdinette Carr       Isaac Travis

            Superintendent of Highways                                Barney P. Gardenier
     
      Collector                                                                    Wilbur S. Vosburgh

   

PRATTSVILLE

             Supervisor                                                                     Elmer Krieger
             Town Clerk                                                                   George R. Laverack

Justices of the Peace

          Pardy A. Peckham                 Shirley Cammer              Newell S. Griffin

          Superintendent of Highways                                           Frank Tompkins

Assessors

         Salem Beers                     Charles Shoemaker                Andrew Carman

         Collector                                                                            Arthur Doyle

         Overseer of Poor                                                               George Fowler

 

WINDHAM 

        Supervisor                                                                         Sidney L. Ford
       
Town Clerk                                                                       Arthur Roach

Justices of the Peace

        Demont L. Chase                    A. Newton Chatfield           Oswell R. Coe

Assessors

       Oscar Fuller                       Newell A. Peck                     Romaine A. Butts

      Superintendent of Highways                                         Omar Hitchcock

      Collector                                                                             Orwell Mc Lashan

Overseer of Poor

       Thomas Cryne                                                                      David Vining

Constables

       William H. Moon                    Burton R. Robinson            A. Melvin Stewart

 

The Patent Lines

Previous to the information of Greene County this section was mostly held under large Land grants or patents, and these sections were increased by purchases from the Indian tribes, We have not to refer to these in detail. 

                      Patent                            Date                             Territory

                      Von Bremen                  1653                             Catskill
                     
Loveridge                      1653                             Catskill
                     
Bronk’s                           1662                             Coxsackie
                     
Loonenburgh                1665                              Athens
                     
Coeymans                      1673                              Part of Coxsackie
                      
Catskill                           1678                              Catskill
                     
Korlarskill                     1678                              Coxsackie & Athens
                     
Van Vechten                  1686                              Catskill & Athens
                     
Lockerman                     1686                              Catskill
                     
Coxsackie                       1687                              Coxsackie
                      Hayes                              1687                              The Vly, Catskill
                      Baker’s                            1691                               Freehold
                      Fullerton                         1692                              Catskill
                      Hotaling                          1697                              Coxsackie
                     
Hallenbeck                     1717                              Greenville
                     
Kiskatomajie                  1718                              Catskill
                      Livingston                      1719                              Catskill
                      Beekman                         1719                              Catskill
                      Batavia                            1736                              Windham
                      Linzey                             1738                               Catskill
                      Stighkoke                        1743                               Coxsackie
                      Van Bergen                     1743                               Coxsackie
                      Maitland                          1743                              Coxsackie
                      Roseboom                       1751                              Athens & Coxsackie
                      Hardenburgh                  1751                              *1-3 of County
                     
Prevost                             1764                               Greenville
                      Maitland                          1765                                Durham
                      Seaton                               1767                               Durham
                      Baker’s                              1769                               Catskill
                      Bake Oven                       1771                                Catskill   
                      Stewart                             1771                                Durham

The first patent appears to have been Von Bremen’s, in 1653.
In addition to the patents there were hundreds of grants of lands.

*The Hardenburgh patent was the greatest of all and embraced Hunter, Lexington, Jewett, Halcott and portions of Prattsville and Ashland. 140,000 acres.

A large portion of the Hardenburgh Patent is still virgin forest and includes state lands.

The district of Coxsackie of which Freehold was a part extended from the Hudson River to Conesville in Schoharie county.

  Organization of Towns 

The organization of the several towns in Greene county was as follows:

Catskill, March 7, 1788, formed from Albany county.
Coxsackie, March 7, 1788, formed from Albany county.
Durham, (Freehold), march 8, 1790, from Coxsackie.
Windham, March 23, 1798, from Ulster county.
Cairo, (Canton), March 28, 1803, Catskill, Coxsackie and Durham.
Greenville, (Freehold), March 26, 12803, from Catskill and Durham
New Baltimore, March 15, 1811, from Coxsackie.
Hunter, (Greenland), Jan. 27, 1813, from Windham.
Lexington, (New Goshen), Jan. 27, 1813, from Windham.
Athens, Feb. 25, 1815, from Catskill and Coxsackie.
Prattsville, March 8, 1833, from Windham.
Ashland,  March 23, 1848, from Prattsville and Windham.
Jewett, Nov. 16, 1849, from Hunter and Lexington.
Halcott, Nov. 19, 1851, from Lexington. 

The Villages in 1859

According to an old gazetteer in 1859, Ashland had 400 population, 2 churches, and a collegiate institution, of Methodist denomination.
Athens—Incorporated 1805, population 1747, 5 churches.
Cairo—Population 353, 4 churches, Presbyterian and Baptist, organized 1799.
Catskill—Population 2520, 5 churches, 2 newspapers, 2 banks, and many mercantile and manufacturing concerns. Brick industry principal
Leeds—Population 450, 2 churches and mills.
Palenville—2 tanneries woolen factory and 18 buildings.
Coxsackie—Population 1800, 6 churches and academy, bank, newspaper, brick yards and ship building.
Durham—2 churches, 30 houses and population not given.
Oak Hill—Population 320 and 2 churches.
Cornwallville—15 houses, South Durham 10 houses, Centerville a hamlet.
Greenville—3 churches, an academy and 35 houses.
Freehold—church and 24 houses.
Norton Hill—16 houses.
East Greenville—1 church and 10 houses.
Halcott—West Lexington, only a post office.
Hunter—population 390, 2 churches and several factories.
Tannersville—3 churches, post office, and tanneries. Population not stated. It is said that the first settlers had their property confiscated by Whigs, and that these persons or families were Samuel, Elisha and John Haines, who trailed from Kingston through Mink Hollow, in 1791.  A man named Olmsted built the first grist mill, kept the first store and hotel according to this record and John Haines was the first birth in this section.
Jewett—2 churches and 14 houses. Formerly Lexington Heights.
Jewett Center—Postoffice.
East Jewett—Postoffice.
Lexington –2 churches and 27 buildings.
Westkill—1 church and 34 buildings.
Bushnellville—Hamlet.
New Baltimore—Population 709, Scutters, Willow and Little Island annexed from Kinderhook, 2 churches and ship yard.
Medway—Post office.
Prattsville—Population 617, 3 churches and several factories.
Red Falls—Population 231, cotton factory and paper mill.
Windham—Population 350 and 3 churches.
Hensonville—Population 134.
Big Hollow—2 churches and 12 houses.
Union Society—Post office.

There were 161 schools in the county, 11,869 pupils, and there were 15,591 males and 15,546 females.  There were raised 6000 horses, 12,000 oxen, 12,000 cows, 19,000 sheep, 14,000 hogs, 79,000 bushels of winter wheat and over 400,000 bushels of spring wheat, 116,000 bushels of potatoes, over 1,000,000 pounds of butter, 21,000 pounds of cheese and about 7000 yards of cloth woven.

The Villages of 1915

The following villages are located in the several towns;
Ashland—Ashland and East Ashland.
Athens—Athens and Lime Street.
Cairo—Cairo, South Cairo, Purling, Acra, Gayhead and Round Top.
Catskill-Catskill, Leeds, Palenville, Lawrenceville, Alsen, Kiskatom and Cementon.
Coxsackie—Coxsackie, West Coxsackie, Surprise, Urlton and Climax.
Durham—Durham, East Durham, West Durham, South Durham, Cornwallville, Hervey Street, Oak Hull and Sunside.
Greenville—Greenville, East Greenville, West Greenville, Greenville Center, Norton Hill, Freehold and Place’s Corners.
Halcott—Halcott.
Hunter—Hunter, Tannersville, Haines Falls, Edgewood, Platt Clove, Lanesville, Onteora Park, Elka Park and Sunset Park.
Jewett—Jewett Center, East Jewett and Jewett Heights.
Lexington—Lexington, West Kill, Bushnellville and Spruceton.
New Baltimore—New Baltimore, New Baltimore Stn., Result, Stanton Hill and Medway.
Prattsville—Prattsville and Red Falls.
Windham—Windham, Hensonville, Big Hollow, Brooklyn, East Windham and Union Society.

Population of County

 

Town

1810

1820

1830

1840

1850

1965

1875

1900

1910

Ashland

 

 

 

 

1290

1080

935

692

640

Athens

 

2030

2425

2593

2986

2978

3467

2891

2720

Cairo

2035

2353

2912

2812

2341

2341

2318

2176

1841

Catskill

4245

3510

4861

3458

5454

6679

7985

8566

9066

Coxsackie

4047

2353

3373

3799

3741

3561

3991

4102

3620

Durham

2944

2980

3039

2613

2600

2412

2209

1636

1475

Greenville

2304

2374

2565

2261

2242

2246

2031

1651

1556

Halcott

 

 

 

 

 

436

391

350

331

Hunter

 

1025

1960

2433

1849

1641

1564

2788

2699

Jewett

 

 

 

 

1452

1110

1114

1028

1054

Lexington

 

1798

2548

2902

2263

1520

1314

1153

1954

New Baltimore

 

2036

2370

2347

2381

2529

2664

2283

1936

Prattsville

 

 

 

2069

1989

1484

1121

775

781

Windham

3961

2536

3472

2670

2048

1591

1488

1287

1438

Total

19536

22995

29525

34957

33126

31710

32591

31748

30214

The population of Athens village 1956, Catskill 5296, Coxsackie 2949, Tannersville 660, Hunter 480, last census.

 

The County Buildings

Court House 

The old court house was erected in 1843, and stands today at the corner of Franklin and Bridge streets, Catskill, practically the same as when it was built. It was enlarged during the 80’s and some alterations and improvements made in front of the building.  At present it is owned and occupied by Catskill Lodge, F. & A. M., and a portion leased to the town of Catskill, for justice and town board purposes.

The new court house was erected in 1908-09, pursuant to a resolution of the Greene County Board of Supervisors, the aggregate cost being about $180,000.  It is without doubt the finest county building in the state.  It is built of Ohio sand stone and fireproof. The interior is finished with tirazza and inlaid floors, marble wainscoting, and hard natural woods. The Supreme court chambers, court room, supervisors’ rooms, and County Judge’s chambers are furnished with antique oak furnishings, and the carpets in keeping with the other fittings. The county treasurer, sheriff and election commissioners have excellent chambers. The vaults for records are fireproof and very spacious.

The building is located at the corner of Main and Bridge streets, and the surroundings are first class.  On the lawn is a grand fountain, the gift to the county of the late Senator William P. Fiero, of Catskill, costing a large sum of money.  The county jail costing about $10,000 is located in the rear of the court house, and the Carnegie Library costing $30,000, is across the street, as also are the Presbyterian church and Masonic Temple. Grand buildings that replaced unsightly structures. In the vestibule of the court house is the following tablet which tells the story of the beautiful structure.

Erected  1908-1909

Board of Supervisors—

Chairman, Charles A. Post                                                Clerk, Geo. B. Van Valkenburgh
Francis L. Dodge                                                                          Sidney L. Ford
Charles A. Post                                                                            Elmore Mackey
Charles P. Jones                                                                           William Townsend
William S. Borthwick                                                                  Edgar Roe
Lorenzo Van Valkenbaugh                                                        Renwick Dibble
George H. Chase                                                                         Van Resselaer Kirke
Edgar Palmer                                                                               Elmer Krieger

Building Committee

Charles A. Post                                                                             Elmer Krieger
Renwick Dibble                                                                            George H. Chase

Advisory Committee

Emory A. Chase                                                                           William S. C. Wiley
Josiah C. Tallmadge                                                                     Clarence E. Bloodgood
Frank H. Osborn                                                                           P. Gardner Coffin

Furniture Committee

William B. Townsend                                                                            Edgar Roe
Frank L. Dodge                              Van Resselaer Kirke                     Sidney L. Ford

William S. Beardsley, architect.

Peter Keeler Company, builders.

 

The county barn cost about $5000.  The barn and the retaining walls and side walks of the court house were built by George W. Holdridge of Catskill.

The Supervisors’ committee of 1909 reported the account of new Court House and Jail and Fixture.

Peter Keeler Building Company……………………$140,068
Fixed furniture…………………………………….…..  5,900
Metal furniture, Art Metal Construction Co…………….9,645
Furniture and furnishing, Derby Desk Co………………8,312
Lighting fixtures, Black & Boyd……..…………………..2,682
                                                                                              $166,601

Since that time many improvements have been made.

Corner Stone Laying

The laying of the corner stone of the new court house was made a great day in Catskill, and there were 400 masons present from all quarters of the county. The masons had charge of the exercises, and Hudson, Kingston, Albany, Prattsville, Windham, Coxsackie, Hunter, New Baltimore, Greenville, Oak Hill, Cairo, and other places were represented. Cairo alone turned out 40 masons. Lafayette Commandry of Hudson paraded in uniform. District Attorney Howard C. Wilbur was Grand Marshall, assisted by George A. Dykeman and F. L. Vedder. Hudson and Catskill bands furnished the music and the Board of Supervisors headed the parade.  The address was by Grand Master Charles Smith. Village papers, historical paper by Justice Chase, coins and documents were sealed in the corner stone.

Jail

The county jail was located on lands or site of the old academy which was purchased in 1801, and in 1803 work was commenced on the building, which was a brick and stone. This building was enlarged in 1862, and in the 80’s. The old cells were on numerous occasions given another sheathing of heavy iron until the time they were put in the hands of the junk man in 1909 they had six coverings and the old iron alone brought Mrs. Beardsley $800.  We present a view of the old structure, and also a view of the new Heidelburgh.  From the research of Justice Chase glean the following facts in regard to the jail and the court house, all of which are of great interest:

First, that the lands were purchased in 1801, of Ira Day, Stephen Day, George Hale, John V. D. S. Scott and Thomas Hale, and a later purchase in the same year of Abram Salisbury, Wessell Salisbury, and William Elting, being the lot and building whereon the academy was then standing. This academy became the court house. In 1812 it was decided to build a new court house, Ira Gay, Isaac DuBois, Orrin Day, Joseph Klein, Ezra Hawley and Lyman Hall gave bonds in the penal sum of $16,000 to procure a lot, and they secured the land on which the Masonic Temple is standing, and Orrin Day and Isaac DuBois were appointed a commission to erect a court house and a fire proof vault. There has been an idea that this building was destroyed by fire, but Justice Chase says that he can find no authority for this statement. 

The history of the jail shows that there was four executions taking place within its walls, the last one being that of Joe Waltz, the murderer of one Hoelcher, a scissors grinder; Warren Wood, John Kelley and Robert James being the others.  These men were all hanged, and the old ropes are stored away in the attic of the court house.  Balls and chains worn by them are in the possession of Mrs. Charles Beardsley, who bought the old jail.

Robert James murdered Patrick Flynn, a drover at East Durham. Judge Edmunds presided at the trial, in 1846.

John Kelley murdered Lucretia Lewis at Prattsville, in 1847. He was tried before Judge Willard.

Warren Wood murdered Hiram Williams of Greenville, in 1853, and he was tried before Judger Ira Harris.

Lyman Tremaine, Rufus W. Watson, Mitchell Sanford and Sidney Crowell were the district attorneys who prosecuted these cases.

There have been a great many other important murder trials since that time, but all resulted in lesser degree convictions.

The new jail is located on Bridge street and in the rear of the court house. It is a modern two story structure, of Ohio sand stone, with the apartments of the sheriff and his family facing the street and the jail proper in the rear, the entrance to the jail being from the alley, and into the office of the sheriff.  There are 30 steel cages, or cells, two hospital rooms, a padded cell. In all, 8 departments on 3 floors.  All the conditions are modern, with bath, toilet, steam heat and electric light.  The basement is supplied with bunks and is used for tramps. The present sheriff is Elmore Mackey of Athens, and Mrs. Mackey is matron. It is regarded as one of the best and finest jails in the state.

The Heidelburgh

No history of Greene county would be complete without a description of the Heidelburgh, one of the most charming homes or hostelries that is to be found in all Greene county, which Phoenix like has risen from the dust of the famous old Greene county jail. For while the original walls of 18 to 20 inches thickness of solid masonry remains, there has been added a sightly mansard roof and dormer windows, bringing into existence a large hall and 11 commodious rooms, where once was only a boxed enclosure that lead to the cupoloa.  And it was underneath  this cupoloa that Joseph Waltz, the scissors grinder murderer was executed.  From the beautiful rooms of the third floor is the grandest view of the mountains to be found in Catskill, and more than 60 miles of mountains are to be seen. On the second floor there remains the large hallway, and the extra wide doorways, but the cells that were devoted to prisoners, who had been guilty of lesser crimes, and to women if such there happened to be committed, have given place to a grand suite of connecting rooms, and all of the rooms are large, and have 12 foot ceilings. The staircase and much of the finishings throughout the house are from lumber that was sawed out of the oak planks that for 12 years had formed part of the jail.  These were sawed and fitted by Mr. Beardsley, who is a skilled architect and builder. Perhaps the greatest change is on the first floor where the large hall still remains; and the front door is the same.  The two steel plated cells, dark and repulsive, with their single window of about two feet square, studded with steel bars, have given place to a lovely dining room that is 20X50 feet. At the spot where hung the massive bunch of keys to padlocks that weighted about ten pounds now stands a handsome grandfather’s clock. There are parlors, the bridal suite, kitchen with the old jail range still doing service, and a refrigerator room. Underneath is the laundry, heating apparatus, etc.  The veranda has been extended and on the east side a handsome porch spans the driveway, and lends a colonial air to the structure. The entire structure is furnished throughout in a simple but luxuriant manner.

In it all there is never a dream of the scissors grinder or the pitiful creatures that were for 112 years incarcerated in the mouldy smelling and vermin infested dark and repulsive cells. Preserved in the attic are chains, foot clamps and iron balls that were attached to leg chains, branding irons that traditions says were used on the very bad prisoners, padlocks, handcuffs, with chains all for desperate characters.

When in 1909, Mrs. Beardsley bid the property for $3000, Catskill people thought that she had the ghost of Banco on her hands, and even Mr. Beardsley couldn’t just understand how she had come to get him that rummage sale stuff. Possibly he fumed a little and wondered how he was going to get rid of the double tier of steel cells, and how after all there could be anything worth saving in the structure.  Leave that to the genius and artistic Mrs. Beardsley and we have arrived at the solution of it all. She got the grandest view in all Catskill, and she got a home that would be a palace for the Caesars. Out of the ruins of the cells, she chased $10 gold pieces, that had been hidden away in the crevices of years, and out of the 80 tons of the finest Norway iron she found other treasure, and no sooner had it gone out that she had purchased the jail than Troy, Poughkeepsie, Kingston and Utica iron dealers began to offer her 30,35,40 and finally 50 cents per hundred pounds for the iron, and she closed with a Kingston dealer, who sent six men to cut off the bolts and get the iron in pieces so that it could be moved.  $800 for old iron and all she had to do was listen to the din and crash of the getting it out.  The old museum to which we refer, she has not yet disposed of, though it is of considerable value. Besides she has the commitment papers of a hundred years. The old cells had no less than six coatings of iron on them. Some of them bore the saw marks of John Kelley, the desperate criminal who escaped during the term of Sheriff Decker.

In it all Mrs. Beardsley showed a pluck and determination that is remarkable.  For two weeks she worked with bar and hammers to tear down a portion of the old 20 inch wall on the second floor in order to make a change that she wanted, and all the while Mr. Beardsley wondering at the increasing pile of brick in the rear of the jail did not know what she was up to.  She pried them loose and let them down in a pail attached to a rope. When he found it out, there were some men on the job very soon.

  It is a remarkable fact that within a stone’s throw of the Heidelburgh there are six other splendid dwelling which Mr. Beardsley has erected and which have successively been occupied by himself and his family. All built upon honor and splendid homes.  There is the Edgar Root place, the Philip Van Orden mansion, the Abram Joseph house, Clarence Sage’s house, the Newcomb cottage and the Michael Edwards place. This is in addition to many handsome homes and structures that Mr. Beardsley had built for others, during the long term of over 40 years as head architect for Edwin Lampman.

 Alms House

The Greene County Alms House is located at Cairo, and is a two story brick structure erected in 1883, which is credit to the county in every way.  It accommodates about ninety persons.  In addition to the main building which we show elsewhere, there is a two story frame building, which houses about 35 or 40 persons. In addition to the buildings referred to there are barns sheds, etc., and a farm of about 198 acres, of which 100 is under cultivation. The county house is heated by steam, has electric light, and all the conditions are excellent. Ira T. Tolley is superintendent and Mrs. Tolley matron.  The first structure cost about $5000. The present structure could not be replaced for $30,000. the farm was originally 10 acres, and about $500 worth of produce was raised. Very largely the farm now supplies the needs of the inmates in the matter of produce.  (See town of Cairo for further description of county house.)

Spirit of the Court House

We are indebted to Justice Emory A. Chase for further facts in regard to the lands occupied now by the court house, jail, and county barn:

The lot was a part of the Gysbert Uyt de Bogart Lands, purchased from the Esopus Indians, in 1684, and at that time was a forest. In 1738 it was a part of the Lindsay Patent, and passed to George Clark, who owned pretty much all of Catskill.  The county property comprised lots 12 and 13 owned by Egbert Bogardus and James Barker, also owner of a large patent.  On the map of property destroyed in 1851, we show a number of buildings, of which one of the most important outside of the three churches burned was the old Greene County Hotel, formerly known as Donnelly’s. This hotel is mentioned many times in the early reminiscence of Catskill. It was probably built close to the year 1800.

It’s a little bit remarkable that this site should have been the scene of so many interesting bits of history. It had many fires, subsequent to the fire of 1851, which was the most disastrous in the history of Catskill.

The fire of 1851 started on the west side of Main street and swept through to what is now Broad street. Only buckets of water were available and a north west wide carried the fire beyond control. The court house, now the Masonic Temple had one side burned. The residence of Rufus King, still standing, was partially burned. The small office of Powers & Day did not burn, being fire proof.

So much for the fires.

The Rev. Anson DuBois stated that in 1784, according to the statement of his grandmother, the court house lot comprised an orchard and that one day she was surprised to see a stranger enter the orchard, engage in prayer, at the foot of a tree. Then on rising take from his pocket a hymn book and begin to sing. Then he read a chapter, and delivered a sermon, being it appeared the first Methodist preacher to visit Greene county. He had a good congregation and at the close announced that in four weeks he would return and preach in the same place.

The beautiful court house, and the grand memorial fountain now mark the spot of the first gospel sermon. A curious and remarkable incident. Was it not the Spirit of the court house?

Not for many years after the organization of the county was any provision made by the Board of Supervisors for a surrogate’s office. John H. Cuyler, surrogate from March 29, 1800, to June 18, 1808; Dorrance Kirkland, surrogate from June 18, 1808 to March 15, 1810; and again from February 5, 1811, to April 18, 1838, maintained the surrogate’s office at Coxsackie.  John Adams surrogate from March 15, 1810, to February 5, 1811, and Lyman Tremaine, surrogate from June 7, 1847, to January 1, 1852, maintained the surrogate’s office in Durham.  The office was first opened in the court house by John Sanderson, surrogate, May 1, 1889.    


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