Dear Old Greene County  

Section Two

 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


Henry Hudson 

The discoverer of the state of New York, and the first white man to look upon the great river that bears his name, was born in obscurity and his life bark passed to the great beyond following a mutiny of the sailors on the ship who set him afloat with his son and seven sailors on the dark waters of the bay that also bears his name. Christopher Columbus sailed from Genoa, his native town, and discovered America.  John and Sebastian Cabot set out, in 1497, from England, discovering Newfoundland in 1497, and then explored the Atlantic coast as far as Florida.  Hudson also was an English navigator and was in the service of the Dutch, but no one knows the place of his birth. He sailed from Holland in the service of the Dutch East India Company in a small ship known as the Half Moon, leaving Amsterdam April 4th, 1609, and anchored off the Highlands in September of the same year.  He passed a month in exploring the waters of the river, and went as  far as Albany. He was attacked by bands of Indians who came out in their canoes, but had no trouble in preventing their doing any damage.  At Catskill, where anchorage appears to have been made, he was met by friendly Indians who brought corn and vegetables to him. Old writers tell us of an Indian tradition that refers to the coming of the Half Moon, which they regarded with awe and reverence the arrival of the great boat.  Compared with the birch bark canoes of the native the Half Moon was 75 feet in length and her sails appeared as the wings of a great white bird which seemed to float without energy. The river they called the Mahicannittuck. On a subsequent voyage his tragic death occurred. The murderers went unpunished, so far as law and justice were concerned.

Robert Fulton

Inseparably connected with the history of the Hudson should be woven the invention of the steamboat, which was distined to render the Hudson River the most important in the world. Robert Fulton was born in Little Britton, Pa., in 1765, and his energies appear to have been along the line of mechanics. As early as 1801 he invented a plunging boat which was calculated to do exactly what the to-day submarines have accomplished in warfare. He successfully demonstrated the possibility of blowing up a boat, but the British government discouraged the project. The first steamboat on the Hudson River was built by him and made the trip from New York to Albany in the spring of 1807. In 1814 he invented another submarine, to carry 100 men and the government approved the plans, He died in 1815, however, before the boat had been completed, and nothing came of it.

Catskill and the Hudson River

As Greene County has been indebted to her beautiful mountains for her fame, so has she from the beginning been indebted to the Hudson for her wonderful transportation facilities. Of this transportation the Hudson River Day Line has for over sixty years been a great factor, and the enterprise of this company and its extensive advertising of the Catskill district has had much to do with the growth and prosperity of Catskill and the entire county. 

In the earlier days such day boats as the “Armenia.”  212 feet long, the “Alida” 276 feet long and the “Francis Skiddy,” 322 feet long, made a history in passenger steamboat transportation. Then the “Daniel Drew,” the “Chauncey Vibbard” and the “Mary Powell” made better history and became more famous, and these were followed in turn by the “Albany,”  “Hendrick Hudson,” “Robert Fulton” and “Washington Irving” of the present time, which steamers make without doubt the greatest quartette of river carriers in the world.

The great silver highway that led captive Hendrick Hudson and the million navigators of sloops, and schooners, brigs, and ships of the early times, may have lost some of the primeval forest whose reflections were shimmered in an ever spreading, ever opening picture of beauty, but the added charm of civilization remains, and in ever growing beauty and color has a greater charm as the years go on. We saw in the pageant of the Hudson Fulton Celebration, the canoe of the Red Man, the hardy sailors of the Half Moon, the sprightlier navigators of the Clermont, and like Lilliputs they crept in the shadows of the great steamers and floating palaces of the Day Line, and the ancient Hendrick lost in the comparison—though all his greatness and glory remain.  These old boats that took days to get up and down the river were classics of their time.

But imagine Hendrick Hudson, navigator, on a velvet settee on the Hendrick Hudson, of 1915, listening to the daily concert of the Metropolitan Orchestra, under the direction of Martin Van Pragg.

Imagine him, if you will, in the midst of such scenes as today press the entire shore of the Hudson. After having aeroplaned to New York and then taken the boat at Debrosses street, passing the several towns and cities shown in map on the preceding page, dining sumptuously, and at 3 p. m. stepping off the boat at Catskill Point, where the Indians in canoes once met him. Hustling into a Mountain Railroad train or waiting auto, and in an hour’s time standing at the summit of the distant blue line that threw its charm across the picture—the Catskill Mountains, sentinels of creation, and crowning glory still of the great region discovered by himself, Sept. 2d, 1609.

In Eastman’s History of New York, 1829, we find that on one of the trips of Henry Hudson up the river, in which he spent ten weeks getting as far as what probably was the mouth of the Catskill creek they were met by a party of Indians, and that after the usual exchange of corn and skins, Hudson left the Indians with axes, hoes and stockings. The following year when Hudson again sailed up the river they found the same Indians wearing the axes and hoes attached to their necks as ornaments, and the stockings being in use as pouches for tobacco.  Hudson then put helves in the axes and showed them how to chop down trees, This was round 1610.

From documentary works we have obtained a number of views that are appropriate in connection with the early history of the Hudson, and the subsequent development of steamboating. For the views of the Hudson River Day line steamboats, and of some of the first boats, we are indebted to the management of this line.

The Clermont was 133 feet long and 18 feet beam, 8 feet hold. Speed 4 miles an hour. Those who saw the replica of this old boat as she appeared with the Half Moon in the great celebration of Catskill will remember with what slowness she traveled up the river, holding the great fleet to a speed of 4 miles as she for the first and last time traversed the Hudson under her own steam.

The Clermont made two trips a week, and it took from 30 to 36 hours to cover the distance. This was an improvement on the stage trip however, which took from three to four days, never less than 3 days. The stage fare was $10 to Albany, $21 to Buffalo. The steamboat fare to Albany was about $8.

The following is a reproduction of the very brief announcement that appeared in the columns of the American Citizen on Monday, Aug. 17, 1807.

Mr. Fulton’s ingenious steamboat, invented with a view to the navigation of the Mississippi river from New Orleans upwards, sails today form the North river near the state prison, to Albany. The velocity of the steamboat is calculated at 4 miles an hour; it is said that it will make a progress of two miles against the current of the Mississippi; and if so will certainly be a very valuable acquisition to the commerce of the western states.

The fare from Albany to New York is now $1.50 by day line, and competition had brought the night trip to $1 excursion.

The Catskill Evening  Line steamers for a number of seasons made round trips to New York the same day, leaving Catskill at 6 A. M., and returning to Catskill at 8 P.M.  and all for $1.25.

The early Catskill steamboating shows Bogardus & Cooke, and probably members of the Day family were in business around 1800. Following came Donnelly, Cook & Co., F. N. Wilson after whom Wilson Fire Company is named, and William Wilson forming the Company. Then came the freighting firm of Penfield, Day and Co., Sherwood Day, Orrin Day and Samuel Penfield previous to 1812. Later the Penfield firm sold to Charles Beach, Isaac Pruyn and William Wilson, and about this time the steamboats, Frank and Washington were put on the line. The Wave, the Star, the Pratt and the Rip Van Winkle were the barges. The Frank was the first Catskill steamboat, the date of which is not certain. C. L. Beach & Co. owned the Utica, and afterwards the Thomas Powell and the Sunnyside, these boats were used by the government as transport during the 60’s in the war period. Then came the firm of Cornell, Horton & Co., and Black & Donohue who changed the name of the company to The Catskill and New York Steamboat Co.  They built the Catskill which was burned at Kingston. The Charlotte Vanderbilt another boat of the line was sunk by Belden’s steam yacht the Yosemite.

The stately Kaaterskill, and Onteora known as the River Queen and the commodious and beautiful Clermont have brought the line into favor and note.

The McManus another well known boat of the company was burned as also was the Steamer Redfield, rated fine boats in their day. The Walter Brett went the route and was finally broken up by wreckers. The Kaaterskill a grand boat with double decks of state rooms was a floating palace. After serving on the Catskill route she was taken to Albany and ran on the Capitol City Line until the fall of 1914 when she was taken to the wreckers at New London.

Another of the earlier boats was the General Sedgwick and the Escort, both being used in war times as transports.

While the company has been prosperous it has been unfortunate in the loss of so may fine boats worth a large some of money and has suffered a number of fires at their storehouses, the last one of three wiping out the large and completely filled storehouse on the dock at Catskill. They had also very severe fire losses at Hudson.

Other boats familiar to Catskillians are the Eloise, formerly on the line between Catskill and Hudson, sold to New York parties and ran on the East river, and The Steamer Isabella still running on the Catskill Hudson route. This boat has been remodeled a number of times and is in fine shape.

In 1911 there was placed on the Catskill Evening line the freighter known as the Storm King, a commodious boat that is doing well.

The boats running between Catskill and Albany, have been the City of Hudson, a splendid boat, with shapely lines and very fast. This boat took the place of the Peter G. Coffin, and was destroyed by fire in the 80’s. Then came the General, and the Ursula will be remembered as a beautiful propeller, and very popular. This boat made her last trips in 1913, and in 1914 near the close of the season the Phillips came on the line.

Among the men who have been connected with the company and who have always worked hard for the success of Catskill and Greene county as well, were Charles L. Rickerson, Edwin H. Snyder and George M. Snyder, the present head of the company being Charles M. Englis of Brooklyn. The Snyders and Mr. Rickerson passing away within the recollections of the writer.  William J. Hughes has been treasurer of the company for a long term of years, and is regarded as one of the ablest men in his line in the state.  As treasurer of Greene County for a number of years his work was of the highest character.

We have not space to refer to the boats of many other lines. The Steamer Livingston has for many years been doing business between Saugerties and Athens, stopping at Catskill each way. Capt. Winans has been at the head of the enterprise. The Newburgh line boats, Martin and Tremper make regular landings at Catskill.

Among the old skippers who navigated the stormy waters of the deep sea were some of familiar name, though not of face. Capt. Van Loan, Barnet DuBois, James Bogardus, Abram Post, Capt. Jacob Dunham, who had stories of adventure in the West Indies and capture by the pirates, for Catskill and Hudson were to be reckoned with, and Hudson in particular had her valiant tars chasing great whales in quest of that essential and useful commodity whalebone and whale oil.  The steel trust has wiped out the whale bone trust, and the Standard Oil magnates have put one over on the blubbering whale.  Whale oil and tallow candles have had to pass from  their positions, and it’s just touch the button for light. There was old Admiral Drake, Captain Britton and Captain Hyde, who passed their log book tales of far off lands and terrible adventures, until they were looked upon as most remarkable men. Thurlow Weed, one of the great newspaper men of the state and founder of the Albany Journal is said to have worked as a cabin boy on a Catskill sloop that belonged to Capt. Brommy Funda. In those days the Hudson furnished great sturgeon, and the fishermen frequently made hauls of thousands of herring and shad. Even down to the early 70’s, it was not uncommon for great quantities of spoiled fish to be carried on the land as fertilizer.

Among the early steamboat disasters and the worst of them was the wreck of the Swallow which happened on the night of April 17th, 1845, while on her way from Albany to New York. Opposite the village of Athens the boat struck a rock, since removed by the government, and broke in two. Over 40 person were drowned. 

    On Wednesday afternoon July 26, 1852 the Henry Clay was destroyed by fire near Yonkers, while making a regular trip. Nearly 100 persons supposed to have perished. Some were burned and others drowned.

We are able to show two fairly good representations of these early disasters.

Last September a New York man with a 40 foot steamboat came into the Catskill creek, and started to sail right on to Oak Hill. He was hailed at the bridge and replied that he had a map showing that he could go right on. He did, but just beyond the railroad bridge he went on the rocks.

Capt. Isaac Van Loan was owner of the sloop Delaware, which in 1818 was one of the speed boats on the Hudson between Catskill and New York City.

Of Captain Joseph Allen it is narrated that verging on 80 years of age, one day he had a heated argument with one Wm. Pullen and Pullen was forcibly ejected from Allens’ premises. Allen explained that Pullen called him an old liar and he threw him off the stoop.  

The Railroads, Early and Modern

In 1825 Wood in his article on railroads says:

“Nothing can do more harm to the adoption of railroads than the promulgation of such nonsense as that we shall see locomotive engines traveling at the rate of 12 miles an hour.”

Mr. Wood should see the Chicago through trains pass Catskill on their 20 hour schedule at 60 miles and more an hour, or some likely aeroplane like Glen Curtis’s going down the Hudson river at 100 miles an hour.

So far as the early railroads were concerned, the Catskill and Ithaca road was simply projected.

The Catskill and Canajoharie was built to Cooksburgh in 1838. It was a failure, as the engine wouldn’t work. The state pledged $200,000 toward the construction. The Catskill Bank bought it for $11,000 and sold to Hiram VanSteenburgh who took up the iron for junk and made some money out of it.

Coxsackie and Schenectady—never built.

Schenectady and Catskill—never built.

The Saratoga and Hudson River Road was built and some of its grade may be seen today. It had a terminal at Athens and great promise. Daniel Drew the steamboat man sold it in 1867 to the Central and they abandoned it.

The West Shore railroad opened for business in 1882.

The Stony Clove road was opened in 1882.

The Catskill Mountain Railroad also in 1882.

The Kaaterskill Railroad in 1883.

The Tannersville Railroad in 1892.

The Otis Elevated Railroad August 4th, 1892.

The South Cairo and East Durham road –never built.

Several trolley roads were projected but never built, though work was started on one from Coxsackie to Greenville, and some work was done on the Catskill to Oneonta line.

The Catskill street railroad was built in 1890 and finished in Leeds in 1892. At the present it is being operated by a receiver for the second time. Among the men who have spent large sums to make the road a success are F. N. Du Bois, H. C. Cowan, and William P. Fiero, formerly senator, now deceased.

It may be interesting to note that the Catskill Canajoharie railroad was along with a number of other roads an expensive proposition for the state.  The state loaned $3,478,000 to the building of six railroads, and the Catskill road got $100,000. The roads were all failures and the state lost $1,000,000 in the enterprises. The capital stock of the Catskill road was $1,000,000 and no one knows what it cost. The Albany-Schenectady road built about the same time, 17 miles, cost $1,711,412 and the Catskill road was built to Cooksburgh, 26 miles.  It is a fact that the first 300 miles of railroad cost over $15,000,000. And nobody ever said the stock was watered.  Even the Erie railroad was unable to pay its interest and had to be advertised for sale.  The Ithaca road brought $4500. The Catskill road, as we have stated, $11,000.

We are indebted to Mrs. Benjamin Wiltse for the illustration of the locomotive and the coach passenger cars that ran on the Catskill-Canajoharie road in 1838. the train had very busy time and every coach was loaded. This train passed the foundry of Benjamin Wiltse every day during the time the road was in operation, and Mr. Wiltse who is remembered by many persons in Catskill as one of the pioneers of early business enterprise of Catskill, was the inventor of an arrangement whereby sand was spilled on the track of the road ahead of the wheels of the coaches for the purpose of preventing their slipping. The locomotive burned wood and this was carried in a tender with a couple barrels of supplies water, and stops were made along the line to get water or wood when needed. The cars were modeled after the old stage coach of the wild west pattern, and the wheels were flanged to keep then from leaving the tracks.  From 12 to 18 people could be accommodated in each coach. William Layman of Catskill one of the old time Methodists was the engineer of this road and Wm. Layman not only managed to get all the speed possible out of the locomotive, but he was also the owner of one of the fast engines that have been known to have been the undoing of good Methodists. And he was not altogether adverse to permitting his horse to show heels even on the Sabbath, daring to indulge in a horse race on Main street.

Early one Sunday morning he had the temerity to get the best of another nag that had been known to travel fast, and good Brother Humphrey declared that he would have him churched, and made a complaint, which resulted in a trial before that august body of early ecclesiasts. Brother Layman won out. It was the vote of Benjamin Wiltse which turned the scale, and when he argued that he was a great lover of a horse, and that even a trustee of a church wasn’t to blame if his horse chirked up a bit when some old plug tried to pass him it was an argument that was irresistible.  Alfred Foote is said to have been on the side of Mr. Wiltse. Mr. Wiltse was during most of this life a class leader and official of the church, and to his last day treasured the tickets of early members of his class. In no other way then by these tickets could members of the church get into the love feast of the church.

The Otis Elevating Railroad was considered one of the most remarkable pieces of engineering in the world at the time it was built. By means of a cable over one mile in length the cars are drawn to the summit of the mountain, and elevation of 1600 feet in ten minutes. The hoisting being by means of a great stationary engine at Otis Summit. The cars pass over a tramway with several very high trestles. There are stations at Otis Junction and also at Otis Summit.  The cars are equipped with automatic clutches which operate in case of a break in the cable.  Charles L. Rickerson was the first superintendent of this road and also of the Tannersville Railroad, opened the year following the completion of the Otis Ry. Allen Banks was the engineer, being succeeded by William Driscoll, who is the present engineer. This road cost about $275,000 and has been practically rebuilt.

The Catskill Mountain Railroad was built to open up the Mountain section and operates to Palenville, Cairo, Leeds, South Cairo, Lawrenceville, and the Mountain House or Otis Summit, Haines Falls and Tannersville, in connection with the Otis and Tannersville Rys. John L. Driscoll was the first Superintendent for many years. Charles A. Beach followed, up to the time of his death, when Thomas E. Jones was elected to the vacancy.  John T. Mann and the Beaches were the projectors of the road. 

The West Shore Railroad Company has valuable property at Catskill and spent a large amount two years ago in order to obviate the crossing the tracks to get to the depot. Probably more than $100,000. The new depot is a beautiful structure and cost about $25,000. this replaced to old depot that was destroyed by fire.  In making these improvements the store house of Salisbury and Austin was torn down and moved to another location. Forty feet of embankment was cut away for a quarter of a mile and new tracks laid. The bridge at Catskill is 90 feet above tide water and 1300 feet long. It was a marvel of engineering skill. It was rebuilt without the loss of a single trip by any train.

The first station and freight agent at Catskill was W. E. Torrey. He was succeeded by O. A. Freer who after 16 years is  still at the head of the freight department.

The several passenger agents have been Robert Welsh, F. R. Gallagher, J. N. Bell, John Garrigan and E. E. Woodruff, who is still selling tickets, after 14 years of service.  James Mc Nee has been in the baggage department over 8 years. The old depot was burned Dec. 6, 1909, and the new depot was opened June 6, 1912. After the fire in 2 days time a temporary depot was built.

County Highways 

The original roads in Greene county were simply trails over which Indian tribes traced their way. With Catskill, Athens and Coxsackie as starting points the early settlers found their way into the interior and made settlements reaching as far as the Delaware and Susquehanna rivers. Later on came the wagon roads and turnpike roads and still later the state and county built roads. Even at the present time these roads are in process of perfection, as the methods and materials to make them lasting.

Great progress in the right direction is being made by the highway department of the state, and a second installment of $50,000,000 is being used, of which Greene county, thanks to her efficient boards of supervisors, and other officials, is getting a very considerable portion.

With the active co-operation of Hon. John B. Riley, State Superintendent of Prisons, the experiment is being tried of utilizing convict labor in the building and maintenance of this and other county highways, and a convict camp has been established at Palenville. This road runs to the top of the Catskill mountains, is a very heavy piece of construction, and very careful cost data is being kept to determine the value and feasibility of utilizing convict labor on our roads. It is believed that a large saving can be made to the State, particularly in the construction of some roads in the less thickly settled parts of the State, and that some of the roads can be completed which otherwise would be impossible unless a saving were made by the use of such labor.

The first road was from Catskill to South Cairo, and since that time there has been constructed and extension of this road through South Cairo, Cairo, Acra, and to South Durham, this last being completed in 1914. The river road from Saugerties to Albany county extending through Alsen, Catskill, Athens, Coxsackie, and New Baltimore was completed in 1914. There is also a road from Coxsackie to Greenville, Windham to Prattsville, and the state is constructing a road from Palenville to Haines Falls, about 4 miles, using prison labor from Sing Sing prison and Dannemora prison. The prisoners are housed and taken care of at Palenville in structures built by the state.  This road will be of an 8 percent grade, and will open the west end of the county to the Hudson river towns. Assemblyman J. Lewis Patrie introduced the bill for this road and secured the appropriation, in 1913, and in 1914 Assemblyman Geo. H. Chase secured the passage of the bill for the construction of the road under convict labor. George B. Van Valkenburgh, Clerk of Greene county, was the originator of the project. It is expected that the road will be completed in 1915 or 1916.

50 convicts are at work on this road and some of the grades are 175 feet above the gorge of the creek bed.  The buildings occupied by the convicts have been erected by the state and are located near the camp of District Attorney Howard C. Wilbur and we are able to show views of these through the courtesy of the State department.

The need for this road may be seen when it is shown that during the year 1914 there were a dozen bad accidents in which heavy vehicles crashed into the gorges and passengers were injured. Wrecking crew were in constant demand all summer. In winter the old road is barely passable at the best, and part of the time not at all.

In connection with roads it is appropriate to refer to some of the covered bridges. There is one of these in High Falls, and one at Cauterskill, which are at least 100 years old. There was one in Woodstock, (See picture on page 55) that was taken down a few years ago, and others have disappeared. In 1802, a 556 foot bridge was constructed across the Catskill Creek at what is now Bridge street. When this was torn down in 1882, Hiram Van Steenburgh built a pontoon bridge of oil barrels which was used until the completion of the present bridge. Part of this bridge was carried out by high water in the fall of 1903 and two men were drowned. The body of Captain Michael Moran, and Wm. Dwyer who was on the bridge and jumped to his boat, was not recovered until the following spring. Patsy Williams, Jack McNary and Fred Bigelow were carried down with the bridge but managed to get ashore.

The upper town bridge in Catskill was condemned in 1906 and the beautiful concrete structure  was erected in 1907. This was during the term of Supervisor Henry S. Van Orden.

The old toll gates have been almost forgotten. They were scattered all over the county, and were a considerable drain on the travelers. The toll ranging from 5 cents to 25, and the gates were pretty close together. The Susquehanna, Coxsackie, Albany and Greene, Little Delaware, Schoharie, Athens, Hunter, Cairo and East Kill, Catskill and Ulster, Blue Mountain, Cauterskill were the principal turnpike roads that were chartered by the state and most of these roads paid the stockholders. The supervisors purchased those that were not abandoned and they are now maintained by the state and taxed raised in the several towns. In Greene county under the appropriation of two sums of $50,000,000 and under a special appropriation of $190,000 many state roads are being constructed and maintained.

History had honored and pictured the famous old stone arch bridge at Leeds, probably the oldest in the county. We do not know who built it or the date.  It was in the 1700’s.

We are indebted to Clerk Van Valkenburgh for the following figures of roads built and under process of construction in Green county.

Completed Roads

Name of Road

Miles

Total Cost

Cost Mile

Catskill-South Cairo

5.6

$58,721.30

$10,486

Greenville-Coxsackie No. 2

5.56

67,298,02

12,103

Greenville-Coxsackie No. 1

4.63

57,436.19

12,432

Hunter-Windham No. 2

3.39

37,390.96

13,980

Lexington-Prattsville

4.19

55,847.00

13,300

South Cairo-Cairo

3.15

35,911.91

11,401

Cairo Hamlet

0.46

5,600.00

12,180

Saugerties-Catskill No. 3

1.94

31,876.07

16.603

Saugerties-Catskill No. 2

3.87

54,950.00

14.190

Hunter-Jewett Center

6.13

102,888.30

16.780

Cairo-Windham

6.27

83,644.15

13.340

Cairo-Windham No. 1

3.39

42,556.00

12,550

Catskill Village

1.97

15,555.00

7.980

Paving West Bridge Street

0.23

13,500.00

 

Catskill-Athens

5.97

78,452.50

13,140

Athens-Coxsackie

4.06

46,000.00

11,330

Coxsackie Village

2.21

15,100.00

6,830

Coxsackie-Ravena No. 1

4.62

54,359.60

11,760

Coxsackie-Ravena No. 2

2.7

31,254.62

11,570

Palenville-Haines Falls

4.

190,000.00

 

 Ashland road under construction, also road between Athens, Prattsville and Grand Gorge.

  Greene County’s share of second bond issue    $565.000
 
Two-fifths for State Highways                                226,000

Threads of the History Fabric

The publishers of this work might well be accused of slighting the subject if they failed to mention as concisely as possible some of the well worn threads that have formed a part of history fabric concerning the very remote period. Some of these have come to be regarded in the light of fable possibly, but they can be had at your estimation of them. A gun, two shirts which appear to have been a valuable commodity, and iron kettle and whiskey and rum—no so much rum, but just enough—appears to have formed the good and sufficient collateral for which a large part of the land adjoining the Hudson river was acquired. Men of today and some Indians would still be willing to take on some of the rum if not the second hand shirts, at times for something that is worth more.  And Gysbert unt der Bogert, a forerunner of many well trained Bogarts and Vandebogarts is said to have made this first purchase. One of these men Jean unten Bogart is said to have been a minister. So it took the Dutch to beat the Indians, even as now the Dutch have faculty of getting in first. 

It was the Dutch settlers who left us the pleasantries of Bomptje Hook, Hans Vossen Kill, Emboeght, which to say the least are far easier to handle than the many keeks that the Indians bequeathed to them and of which we still have some.  There was the Wachachkeek, the Wichquanchtekak, the Patchquaik and the Assiskowachkeek, and the Potikeek, and we are reminded  that the latter is the source from which illustrious Catskillians will get the aqua that will quench thirst as well as the Dutch rum did.

Bogart got rid of his lands in 1703 to his son-in-law Helmer Janse and after that John Lindsey got them and they became the Lindsey patent. There were five houses in that patent. The inn of Peter Schutt, grandfather of L. P. Schutt, below Catskill, the house of Egbert Bogardus, near what is now head of Main street, Catskill, a house near what is now the DuBois drug store, the residence of the historical Madam Dise, 1768, near the continuous kiln of the brick company. This brave old structure was very sightly and regarded as a mansion. Johannes Van Gorden had a house at Femmen Hook, now the headquarters of the brave fire laddies of Bomptje Hook, now known as the Point.

The Fitzsimmons, Gavigans, O’Briens, Delmores, Quinns, and others not so Dutch, have taken sway at the Point however, and the region along the Water street lack in characters of great note. Joseph Reilly, the custodian of the fortunes of that section and greater Catskill being the most notable.

Through the courtesy of Paul R. Morrison we are able to present a splendid half tone of the Old Stone Jug, so that we have views of the first five houses in Greene county. Madam Dise, the owner of this old land mark, passed away within its walls in 1768 at the age of 78 years. She was regarded as a most remarkable woman, benevolent and very pious, though she was married to a man who was shiftless, and dissolute, being addicted to the use of strong drink. The old house was regarded with reverence by the earlier natives, and when it was torn down it was supposed that all sorts of valuables would be found stored away in hidden places, but beyond a few coins nothing was discovered. The old crockery and old furnishings  were scattered among relic hunters. Madam Dise was the daughter of one Gillett, a Hollander, and related to one of the early governors of the State of New York. We believe that she was also related to F. N. DuBois, tracing back on his mother’s side of the family.

The last resident of the place was Kitty Hopkins.

On the Van Vechten patent, Indians, Van Schaacks, Van Vechtens, Van Bremens, Spiegels, and other Dutchmen tilled the soil.

The Corlaers Kill Patent had more Van Vechtens, Bronks, Salisburys, and Van Bergens, whose generations remain.  There were some five houses on this patent of which one building belonging to the Van Vechtens was a grist mill, the Rushmore mill.

Another of the famous old houses of Greene county is located on Jefferson Heights, on what is known as the Prindle Place. The house is a combination of brick and stone, and was erected by the Rev. Schueman in 1768. The bricks in the structure were made by slaves employed on the place, and most of the bricks came from the pond which forms a part of the cemetery.  The house still contains the old brick bake oven, and this has been in use by the Prindles since they have occupied the place, which has been in the possession of William Prindle since 1856. One of the rooms was known as the spinning room, and here the darkies made the cloth used in making sheets and clothing. For a time Addison P. Jones owned the property. It was occupied by Peter Carl for 21 years, and William Salisbury lived there for 6 years.

Going on towards Leeds at the foot of the Hill is the Abner Austin House, and this house was patterned after the Old Stone Jug. Old in appearance it was built in 1855. It was built on the property which comprised the mill in the glen. The old mill was erected in 1808 by Abner Austin, and was torn down in 1903, because it was a menace to those who visited it.  The store house was transformed by Carleton Austin into two fine little cottages.

The Dubois’ and Overbaughs

We have gone at length into the  history of the Du Bois family, because their generations have been the men and women who have made up very largely, the history not only of Catskill, but also Greene county, and the surrounding counties, and thus extending are practically all over the entire country.

Louis Du Bois born in 1626, at Wicres, France, a Hugenot refugee, landed at New Amsterdam in 1660, and there were then 200 houses scattered over Manhattan Island and in all 1400 population. There was a fort and an old Dutch church, a wind mill and the virgin forests. Broadway was then Heere Straat, the Lord street.

The town had an inn keeper, a captain of the militia, Martin Kregiere, and the Rev. Megapoliensis dispensed the gospel in Dutch. There were many other refugees.

The DuBoises left New Amsterdam (New York), found their way up the Hudson and a sloop, landing after many days in the “Esopus Country” sailing up the Rondout Creek. Others of the party went on the Saugerties.

Louis De Bois took up his home at Wiltwyck, now Kingston, or at Hurley, and here his wife and three children were taken captives by the Indians, who destroyed Hurley, 1663. He helped to build the first church and the second and the third at Kingston.

The Indians wiped out Wiltwyck, the dead laying as sheaves behind the mower, 12 women and 31 children were carried away. The church was spared.

A Wappinger Indian who had been captured was impressed to guide a party of soldiers who went to the rescue of the captives. 45 men, and Louis Du Bois was among the number. The party started July 4 and on September 5 came up with the Indians. There was a bloody fight and the prisoners were recovered. Mrs. Du Bois was tied to a tree and surrounded with faggots and was singing hymns as a prelude to being burned to death. It was his descendents who came to Catskill. A great family it appears to have been.

The Rev. Anson Du Bois was a member of the old Leeds Dutch church and became a preacher of  note, being located at Kingston as pastor in 1854, and was also ordained as a home missionary by the Classis of Greene, subsequently he was located at Flatlands, L. I.

We are able to show a very good picture of him, as also of several other early members of the Du Bois family who have achieved distinction.

Peter Du Bois was buried at Fishkill in 1837, and his generations are all over the country.

Cornelius Du Bois of whom we are able to show a picture became very wealthy and devoted his life to the relief of suffering humanity. He was one of the founders of the Humane Society, New York in 1787, and was an official of the house of refuge, New York City Hospital, Mariners Society, Eye Infirmary, Pauperism Society and of the chamber of commerce and many banks. He died in 1846.

Capt. Theodore Du Bois of whom we also present a portrait, was lieutenant commander of the Albatross which formed a part of Faragut’s fleet and passed the batteries of Port Hudson. He was commander of the Suffolk which laid the cable to the West Indies.

Of Benjamin Du Bois of Catskill we learn that he was not only the owner of all Catskill, but that he was one of the original members of the Dutch Church in Catskill formed in 1732 and was a deacon, under pastor Geo. M. Weiss.  Over the Dutch church at Caatsban, built in 1732, is carved the names of Benjamin, Solomon  and Huybartus Du Bois.  He was very religious. He was also a Colonel of state troops and served in the Champlain, Mohawk Valley, Schoharie and other campaigns. The Indians one night determined to capture him but were deterred. He celebrated at his home the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. His son, Grant Du Bois was a missionary in the employ of the American Tract Society, 1836-53. Cornelius, another son was a scout under Tim Murphy the Indian fighter. He built the old block house on the Shafer farm at Schoharie.

Of Isaac Du Bois we are told that he built the court house in 1812.

Ira DuBois in 1830 founded the Catskill Messenger later changed to Catskill Examiner.

Joel DuBois served in the revolution and lived at Kiskatom.  He was regarded as the strongest man in the section, and of enormous physique.

The Loveridge Patent 1770 comprised five lots.

Lot 1, commenced on the Catskill Creek opposite the old Stone Jug, and continued along the same to Caters-kill, 915 acres. On this section were the lands of Huybartus Du Bois, with the old stone house now occupied by Miss Josephine Hopkins, and Benjamin DuBois opposite and beyond the Salisbury mill, here was another old stone house, erected 1730 by Benjamin Du Bois, and torn down in 1911  (See picture)

Lot 2, comprised 1575 acres. The line ran from the Plattekill in the Vly to the Caters-kill. Isaac Du Bois owned the river and creek front to the Dise place. Cornelius DuBois lands adjoined. There were lands of Jurian Overbaugh in the Fvyke of Smith and three lots of Overbaugh.

Lot 3, adjoined lot 2 and ran from the Hudson river to the Caters-kill, 1515 acres. On this were the Fieros, at Caters-kill, Trumpbours, Saxes, Spahan and Bergers.

Lot 4, adjoined and ran from the Abeel place in Caters-kill to the end or point of the Vly on the Hudson river, containing 1415 acres. Milligan occupied the Streeke, Van Orden Dumond and two families of Van Ordens occupied the balance of the land.

Lot number 5, adjoined and ran from the Quatawicknaack and Cauterskill to Maquas Hook on the Hudson, 1215 acres. Dedrick, occupied a section on the Kings road,  Martin, Person and Van Vechten occupied the balance.

The old deed was signed by eight Indians: Wannachatquatin, Mamanuehaqua, Cunpaer Unsawanneck, Wanninmauwa, Tawwequannis, Anneke Natekimoot.

This Deed to Wm. Loveridge 1866, and recorded in the county of Albany, and is from “Thomas

We are indebted to Robert F. Story of Catskill for a picture of Madam Jane Dise, wife of Major John Dise of the English army who owned the old Stone Jug, one of the first five houses in Greene County. This picture was taken at the time Mrs. Dise was about 16 years of age, and hence is nearly 200 years old.  The picture from which our copy is taken is an oil painting in splendid preservation as to color, canvass and frame, a full length portrait, two thirds life size.  It was purchased by Mr. Story at the time the property was sold, and is one of the most valuable relics of the early colonial times.  To Mr. Story we are also indebted for interesting facts in regard to the early residents of the Catskill section of the Loveridge Patent, as the descendents of these early families make up the generations of Catskill and Greene as well as other counties.

It is interesting to note in regard to the old deed that we referred to on page 111 that it was signed “Thomas Dogan, Capt. General, Governor in Chief and Vice Admiral of the Province of New York under his Majesty, James the II, King of England, Ireland, Scotland and France, and Defender of the Faith.”

A part of the consideration was the payment of 200 merchantable beavers. And there are no more beavers in Greene county. Possibly Loveridge got them all.

In the inventory of the personal property of Benjamin Du Bois is listed “One negro girl and a pair of andirons 36 pounds and 10 shillings. Two Negro boys at 50 and 30 pounds. A flax break, smoothing iron, slice, 1 schipple, landthorn, 2 trammels hatchet, chamber pot, a weaver’s loom, spinning wheels and reels. All these articles practically unknown today. This list was made in 1797.

Louis Du Bois first in America was born at Wicres, near Lille, France, 1626, came to America in 1660, located at Kingston, was father of 10 children. Solomon came to Catskill in 1759.

Benjamin Du Bois settled at Catskill in 1727, and in 1762 built the old house still standing near the town bridge. (See picture)

Of the second generation at Catskill, Sarah Du Bois married Pietrus Overbaugh. Children, Benjamin Overbaugh and Catherine Overbaugh.

Solomon Du Bois lived in the old house at Caterskill (1730) and had two children. On the grave of his wife is the inscription “Anno 1778, Merte, 27, is mein vrow in den Heerin outslappen” translation: March 27, 1778. “Now is my wife sleeping in the Lord.”

The will of Huybartus Du Bois in 1806 witnessed by Barent Du Bois, John Bogardus and Egbert Bogardus, Dorrance Kirkland being Surrogate, probated the will in 1809.

Isaac DuBois took possession of the Hopnose farm in 1762. Joel Du Bois served during the revolution in the regiment of his uncle, Cornelius, which was stationed in the Mohawk valley. The Du Bois cottage of that date is the old homestead now owned by F. N. Du Bois and has always been in the possession of the family. It has been remodeled and is a most beautiful structure.  A celebration of the surrender of Lord Cornwallis took place within the walls of the old mansion. Col. Anthony Van Bergen of Coxsackie, and Capt. Samuel Van Vechten served with Lieut. Col. Cornelius Du Bois. A Block House of Cobleskill was called Du Bois Fort after Cornelius.

After the death of Isaac Du Bois his son John occupied and held the place for 45 years, then John D. Du Bois, and then Jacob Van Orden 1859, then the Whittakers and then F. N. Du Bois.

The children of Solomon Du Bois were Benjamin, Catelientie, Sarah and Rachel, who never married and died at the age 99 years.

Catelientie marred Edward Whittaker, and had 6 children, Solomon, Henry, William, Benjamin, Margaret and Joel.

Sarah married Barent S. Salisbury. He was a prominent American officer of the Revolution, being in the battles of German town and Monmouth.

The children of Huybartus Du Bois were John, who married Caty Dise, daughter of Madam Jane Dise. Treintje married Gosie Hermance 1st and had four children, Lana, John, Polly and Rachel. Polly married Ira Canfield. Rachel married Benjamin Sole. Treintje married Michael Phillips for her second husband.

Treintje had for her third husband John Du Bois a cousin, and lived with him for 23 years at the Point. 

Rachel Du Bois married Abram Hoffman and had 6 children.

Lana Du Bois married Abram Elmendorf, and had two children, Annatje and Huybartus.

Lidia married John Sole. Issue Huybartus Sole.

Geertrey Du Bois married but the record is missing.

Catharinetje Du Bois married Peter Bogardus and had three children. Egbert, Catty and Sally, Egbert was most of this life collector of taxes in Catskill.

Barent Du Bois was a scout, under Generals, Sullivan, Hand and Lafayette. Served with Murphy the Indian fighter.

Arraeynnje Du Bois married John Mallory. Abraham married Jennie Grant of Stamford. Annatje married Joel Du Bois.

Kana Du Bois married Abram Fonda, and had 4 children, of whom Lana married Gen. Wm. Salisbury. Of her children Cateline married Rachel Dewey. Rachel married Lewis Bennan. Ebellena married Henry Du Bois. And Helen Salisbury married Elbert Reed.

Achie Du Bois married Jacobus Bogardus, and had four children, of whom Jannett married John M. Donnelly, a prominent Catskill merchant 1842, and Betsey married Dr. Jacob Greene.

That record brings us to the 6th generations in America. In which the families named are: Du Bois, Whittakers, 4 generations Peter Eckler, William, Margaret and Benjamin Eckler, the Elys, Fieros, Goodwins, Darts, Hallenbecks, Van Loans.

Barent Du Bois was Indian agent for the government.

Samuel Du Bois was sheriff of Greene county.

The generations of Abraham Du Bois were mostly in Delaware county.

Col. John Du Bois married sisters,  Catty and Jeannette, daughters of Jane Dies. His children were John D. father of Frederick N. Du Bois, owner of the old homestead and who presented Catskill with Y. M. C. A. building. Jeannette, James, Catherine, Ira, Joel, Isaac and Lanah. Jeanette married Cornelius Du Bois. Catherine married Oliver Ashley. Marcia Ashley married David Becker, and Libbie Becker married Johnathan Palen, who ran the tannery at Palenville around the 1830’s.

Ira Du Bois founded the Catskill Messenger, now Examiner.

Joel Du Bois married Sally Hunter.

Isaac Du Bois married Catherine Hunter. He was justice of Kiskatom over 20 years.

Jeannette Hunter married Cornelius M. Abeel at Kiskatom, Frances Hunter married Wm. Linzey. 

Generations of Peter Du Bois and Catherine Van Orden, Benjamin, John P., Robert, Eliza, James, Mary, Edwin, Rhoda and Cornelius.  Cornelius became captain of the 53d Colored Inf. and served through the rebellion. He conducted the Pine Grove house, Palenville, up to the time of his death in 1913.

Ellen Du Bois married Isaac North. Emma married Rev. O. Van Kuren, Joseph Allen married Julia Teator. Mary married Col. B. B. G. Stone the artist of Catskill.

Grant Du Bois married Catherine Lamouree. Isaac married Cathrine Van Voris.

The children of John D. Du Bois were Lewis, Philo, Ann, Jeannette, William, James, Addison and Frederick Nelson.

Ann married Peter Whittaker, Mary married Henry Van Gorden.

Johan Peter Overbaugh settled at KayKout in 1722, and died in 1732, being buried on the East side of the KayKout in the cemetery on the Everts place below Catskill. This is said to be the first and oldest tombstone so far as the records show.  His sons were two, Johanis and Johan Jurry. Johanis had four children, Marytje who married Peter Snyder. Catherine who married Godfrey Brandow, Annatje who married Gystrect Osterhout, Elizabeth who married Johannes Dederick.

Johan Jurry married Catherine Smith, and his son Johan jr. married Hannah Conyes, grandmother of Mrs. F. N. Du Bois, and also of Robert Story’s mother. Their children were Frederick , Jacob, William Rebecca, (mother of Nelson Du Bois) Hannah and Rachel.

Frederick Overbaugh married first Catherine Mallory, 2d Hannah Overbaugh a cousin. Jane Overbaugh married Francis Story, whom many Catskillians remember and one of the Catskill’s foremost residents.  Their children were Anna J., Robert F., John James, Frederick, Margaret, Martha, Francis, Bella and Jacob, all of whom are dead excepting Robert F. Story, many years loan commissioner, and Martha.

The extent of these generations is quite remarkable.

The Van Ordens and Overbaghs appear to have lived will and increased on the Loveridge lands from the Revolutionary period to the present time, and the Persons, and Posts have filled their generations and survive. Ignatius Van Orden served in Col. Van Bergen’s regiment in the revolution.

The first tax list showed that in 1786 there was collected 61 pounds, $240 and that 16 persons paid all the tax.

The Patron’s store at Kiskatom is the oldest frame building standing and dates into the revolutionary period.  Another frame building on the Godwin place near by was blown down a few years ago.

The Catskill patent taking in Leeds and the Potic region had several nations of Indians more Dutch of whom the Bronks, Van Bergens, Van Deusens, Salisburys, Vedders, Van Vecthens and Whitbeck were the chief residents. There were five nations of Indians, Delawares, Mohicans, Penacooks, Nanticokes, etc., and recently the moving picture people made in this section pictures covering Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans.

The Salisbury House built in 1705, is still standing, having been remodeled somewhat. It was famous for its age and also for the number of antiques of great value that its owners treasured. These were disposed of a few years ago and passed into the hands of speculators and treasure hunters, the descendents of the late Claudius Van Deusen getting some of them. Some of the furniture badly broken brought remarkable prices. This house, the old stone bridge and the stone church made history for the pretty hamlet of Leeds. And descendents of the Colonial families remain. This strip of land continued south as far as High Falls, and west of Valje Kilje near the Wolcott mills.

Other settlers who came here to escape the privations of Palentinate were the Fieros, Webers, Newkirks and Sachs and Dominie Shuneman,  whose grandchildren are said to state that his sermons were used by the negro servants to start fires in the kitchen of his tavern. He preached one Sunday in Old Catskill. And the next in Coxsackie. He carried a gun with him most the time.  His remains are in the burial ground in Jefferson, where he was laid to rest at the age of 81 years, in 1794.

The next minister George Michael Weiss also preached in Catskill and Coxsackie. His salary included house, garden and fire wood. The old church at Leeds, still standing, was built during his pastorate in 1798.

On the road from Leeds to Kaaterskill were three houses at this period, Jurry Planck, Garritt Van Bergen, and Gystert Osterhoudt and at Kaaterskill falls was a grist mill, and saw mill built in 1733, and near this mill was the old stone house built in 1730 and torn down in 1911.

The story of the capture of David and Anthony Abeel by the Indians lends some excitement to the chapter of 1780, as well as the plan that failed, to carry off Cornelius Du Bois then living in the old stone house now occupied by Josephine Hopkins in West Catskill.

In all this early history we fail to find the names of mention of physicians and it may have been that there were none. It is certain that the men and their noble wives lived generally to the 80’s or 90’s and that they were in their meager circumstances generous, industrious and hard working men, who had few if any laws and needed none. Even the old intoxicants appear not to have effected their even frame of mind.

Within a stone’s throw of the second Catskill Mountain railroad bridge is the Van Vechten house, 1690 and just across the railroad tracks on the summit of a knoll shaded by trees of perhaps a century’s growth is the burial lot of the Van Vechtens. The residence of which we are able to show a fine view. Taken by the writer of this book, is in excellent repair and has not undergone much change.  The old grave yard is practically as it appeared in 100 years ago. Many of the stones are broken off and the others are pointing in various lots, and are without any inscription some of them, and others chiseled out by the Van Vechtens without doubt. The trees have grown since the last interment, and one stone is enclosed in the growth of a tree and cracked in two pieces. At the entrance of this plot is a painted slab announcing that:

Dircke Tunisse Van Vechten was born on the River Vecht, Holland.

A slab that is 24 inches in height and 6 inches at the top in breadth and about 9 at the bottom, and ordinary piece of blue stone, rough and ragged, announces:

W. V. Orden, Dyed 23 Oct. 1777.

There are 7 ordinary stones, small boulders that rise above the ground six or eight inches, other graves have no stones at all.

The last burial in this plot appears to have been John Van Vechten, in 1879, at the age of 93 years.

Other buried here whose graves are marked are Teunis Van Vechten and Judea, his, wife, Jacob Van Vechten, Samuel Van Vechten, Eleanor, Anna and Catherine Van Vechten, Samuel Washington Van Vechten, William Schuneman Van Vechten.

On a slab in the old house is inscribed:

William Washington Van Vechten born Jan. 13, 1799, died August 25,1854.

Teunis Samuel Van Vechten born Jan. 20, 1784, died Jan. 25, 1850.

Peter Van Vechten born Feb. 15, 1794, died Aug. 29, 1854.

Jacob Van Vechten, born July 13,1788, died Sept. 14, 1871.

John Van Vechten  born Nov. 24, 1785, died Feb. 3, 1879.

Abraham Van Vechten born Oct. 12, 1791, died Sept. 29, 1885.

Rev. Samuel Van Vechten, born Aug. 4, 1786, died Jan. 18, 1875. Louisa Van Vechten, his wife born Aug. 30, 1803, died Jan. 18, 1875.

Catherine Van Vechten, born June 9, 1802, died Dec. 14, 1805.

Near the old house is a heavy granite monument announcing the place where the Indians and others forded the creek.

The old house is the property of Mrs. Huntington and Mrs. Knox of New York, and had many old treasures the curious are not allowed to see.


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