Old Greene County
Facts and Figures, Portraits and Sketches,
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.
Original book provided by Celeste MacCormack and transcribed by Arlene Goodwin
The first church organized in Greene county was the Zion Lutheran church at Athens, which had the distinction of being one of three churches between New York and Albany. This church organization shows a set of records from 1704, and the Rev. Justus Faulkner was pastor at that time and up to 1723, when he died.
This church was located in “Loonenburgh” and entries concerning it were made in the New York Church book.
The Rev. Willhelm Chistoph Berkenmeyer was the second settled pastor and became the “settled minister of Albany and Loonenburgh” 1723, and in 1727 it was agreed that he should come twice a year to the church at West Camp, then organized as the Church of the Palatines.
The Rev. Berkenmeyer died in 1751, and was followed by the Rev. Knoll 1777, John Christian Leps 1783, Frederick Walburgh 1791, Frederick Ernst 1800, Frederick H. Quitman 1802, Philip F. Mayer 1813, Adulphus Rumph 1833, and he moved to the West Camp church. Thomas Lape 1838, Lysander Curtis 1854, Matthew Waltermeyer 1848, Augustus Bridgemen 1851, Isaac Kimbell 1853, William H. Emerick 1855, a native of West Camp, W. M. School 1858, Henry Keller 1865, Wm. Hull 1866, Philip Stroebel 1869, Wm. H. Emerick 1872, William Travers 1875, Philip Graib 1882. The present pastor is the Rev. Jacob S. Paul.
The old church seal shows a square edifice for the first building, and the present structure was a remodeling of the old one in 1856. The original communion set is in possession of the church. The records show names of parents and baptisms from 1704, and these names run into the thousands. They show that the pious generations of the Hudson valley for a great many miles found their wary to this church for membership and baptism.
We had Kocksshaky, Kostverlooren, Kinderhook, Klaverack, Tackanick, Klinkenberg, Tarbosch, Huntertown, New Kistatamesy, Flatke, Albany, De Groet, Notten Hoek, Hogelandt, Oost Camp, at the place down to 1730, and assortment of places from which some of the present villages may be selected.
Among the names recorded are some still familiar and others that are not familiar in Green county. The generations of these people would be a sight that include people from all quarters of the globe.
A man named W. D. Coons who has found his way from Greene county to Alta Loma, Texas, wrote us that the list of names we should get complete and that is the only sort of history that would be valuable. If we got them all he would be willing to purchase a book. Our hands are up, Mr. Coons, but pray don’t shoot. We honor the ancient records but we have neither the space nor the dispositions to print them all.
Of the early names there are Alversons, Van Hoesens, Halenbecks, Colliers, Dekkers, Haas, Klaews, probably now Clow, Lagrangies, Faulkners, Overbags, Worms, Lassings, Vosbergs, Van Loons, Schmidts, Kuhn, Keiffers, Hoogabooms, Hannesses, Bronks, Van Schaacks, Brandows, Boughards, Von De Karres, Haydoons, Millers, Hardicks, Carters, Scherps, Lehmanns, Jansens, Beckers, Wormers, Evertse, Minklers, Kloppers, Straubs, Silbernagles, Wodkoks, Brandaus, Schumackers, Valkenbugers, Deihls, Moons, Milius, Dingmans, Klauws, Kurtzs, Martins, Lampmans, Salsburgers, Bennets, Frees, Ostrandes, Rockfelders, Maccays, Braseys, Rosman, Moors, Stoppplebeans, Brandauws and Rauws, and so on indefinitely. We spell these names differently now.
The New Baltimore Reformed church was organized in 1923. For other organizations see towns.
The Reformed Dutch Church
It was not until 1733 that the Reformed Dutch church was established in Greene county, and three churches were started at the same time, one at Coxsackie, Leeds, then Old Catskill, and Claverack. Garret Van Bergen, and the Rev. George Weiss served all three of these churches.
The church of Coxsackie was at the Upper Landing and was torn down in 1798, when Henry Van Bergen gave land for a new church and this structure was torn down in 1861, and the present structure erected. Dominie Schuneman to whom we have referred preached at Catskill, and Coxsackie 1752 to 1794.
It was not until 1833 that regular preaching services in the new Reformed Church took place, and the Leeds church became known as the Reformed Protestant Church of Leeds and Kiskatom and the new church was known as the First Reformed Church of Catskill. Later in 1743 the Church at Kiskatom was organized separately.
The Reformed church at Athens started in 1826.
The Coeymans Reformed church originally a part of Coxsackie district was organized around 1736.
The Catskill Reformed Church has been a very prosperous organization, and has not only had a strong line of great preachers and broad minded men who have carried on the work very ably.
The Rev. Peter Lebaugh was the third preacher on the Catskill charge 1798, Henry Ostrander 1810, Peter Wynkoop 1814, Isaac N. Wyckoff 1817-36.
It should be borne in mind that the church at Catskill shares equally with the church at Leeds the honor of being descended from the old “Reformed Protestant Dutch Church in the Town of Catskill.”
Dominie Wyckoff continued to minister to the newly organized church at Catskill until 1836, when he was succeeded by the Rev. James Romeyn, who continued pastor until 1841. For about a year, Mr. Romeyn was assisted by Rev. D. D. Dermarest, father of two subsequent pastors. Rev. David Murdock next served the church from 1842 to 1851, his successor being Rev. Acmon P. Van Gieson, D. D., who was pastor from 1853 to 1855. Rev. Ransom Bethune Welsh, D. D., LL. D. who was minister from 1856 to 1859, was followed by Rev. John A. Lansing, D. D., who served from 1860 to 1866. He was succeeded by Rev. Francis A. Horton, who remained from 1867 until 1873. Mr. Horton was followed by Rev. John B. Thompson, D. D., who was pastor from 1874 to 1884. Rev. Evert Van Slyke, D. D., was then pastor from 1884 to 1896, he being succeeded by Rev. W. H. S. Demarest, D. D., in the following year. Rev. Alfred H. Demarest, D. D. succeeded his brother in 1901, remaining until his death in 1904. He was followed by Rev. I. H. Berg, and the present pastor is Rev. J. A. Dykstra.
The first church was burned in the fire of 1851. The present structure is very commodious and the interior shows artistic decorations and beautiful memorial windows. The building had been remodeled and the grounds beautified by a cut stone retaining wall, similar to that in front of the court house. The parsonage was visited by fire a number of years ago during the pastorate of Mr. Berg was remodeled and is a splendid building.
John A. Dykstra the present pastor came to Catskill from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has done grand work here. On Sunday, March 7th, there were taken into the church 117 new members, the record of the church. A strong preacher and a whole souled pastor. He was married in 1913 to Miss Irene J. Staplecamp of Holland, Michigan, and she is of great help to him in his church work, being the head of the Woman’s Society.
The present organization includes:
Elders: William Van Orden, John D. Ahreet, Amadee Raynor, George C. Fox, W. I. Jennings, and Charles H. Van Orden.
Deacons: C. Edsal Fiester, Henry R. Hinman, Frederick Fiero, Eugene Faulkner, Thomas J. Reilly.
Women’s Missionary Society—Mrs. J. P. Phillip, president.
Women’s Improvement Society—Mrs. Frank H. Kortz.
Women’s Society—Mrs. John A. Dykstra.
Sunday School—Rudolph W. Plusch, superintendent.
Christian Endeavor: Junior Society—Mrs. Clarence J. Travis, Supt. Intermediate—Mrs. John A. Dykstra, superintendent. Senior—Miss Martha Ernst, president.
Organist—Miss Winifred Wardle.
Chorister—John J. Ahreet, since 1880, 35 years.
The Episcopal Church
The Protestant Episcopal church was established along the Hudson river in the early part of the last century, and it appears likely that the first church was established by Rev. Ammi Rogers, in August 1801, when the Reverend gentleman was making a trip from Ballston to Bradford Ct., leaving the former place where he had been established to got to the latter, a new charge. Going down the river on a sloop the boat was becalmed at Catskill and he improved the opportunity to start a church organization.
The first church in what is Catskill was erected by the Episcopalians, as the Reformed Church was at Old Catskill. The first building was erected in 1804, and the second in 1841. This was following the fire of 1839. This church was built of brick, and was located on Church street where on June 6th, 1899 the last service was held, and the building placed on the market. It was in use for a short time as a dance hall, and a factory, and now is Post’s garage. We present a picture of the old structures as it now appears, and of the beautiful picture granite structure erected by Contractor Geo. W. Holdridge, and dedicated June 6th, 1899.
This building cost $55,000, and is probably the finest church along the river. The stained glass windows are works of art and the interior is commodious and beautiful. The present pastor is the Rev. G. H. Grout, who succeeded the Rev. M. Miller who went into the Western Missionary field. Mr. Grout came to Catskill from Delhi, N. Y., and it is certain that a more popular rector never was in charge of the work, which is going forward in splendid shape.
The early supporters of the first church in 1804 were Terrence Donnelly, proprietor of one of the early hotels to which we have referred, James Pinkney who wrote Sketches of Catskill, Mackey Crowell, publisher of the Catskill Packet, John Doane who lived to the century mark and a great man in Catskill, Barnet Du Bois, O’Hara Croswell, Peter Bogardus, Nathaniel Hinman, Stephen Calkins, Henry Selleck, Isaac Van Loan and Thomas Wright.
During the history of St. Luke’s church there have been 13 rectors: Ammi Rogers, John Reed, Joseph Prentis, Joseph F. Phillips, Louis L. Noble, Thomas Richey, E. Folsom Baker, William S. Chadwell, Robert Weeks, William H. Harison, Wm. L. Woodruff, Elmer P. Miller, and G. H. Grout.
The officials of St. Luke’s church are:
Wardens—Charles Trowbridge, Dr. Robert Selden; Walton Van Loan, treasurer; Addison P. Jones, assistant treasurer; George Harding, financial secretary.
Vestrymen—Edgar Washburn, Samuel C. Hopkins, Chas. Hopkins, J. M. Knap, George Purdy, David M. Post, Thomas E. Jones.
Women’s Sewing Society—Mrs. Geo. H. Grout, president; Mrs. Geo. Harding, vice-president; Mrs. Addison P. Jones, secretary; Miss Emily Marquit, treasurer.
Women’s Auxiliary—Miss Ruth Hall, president; Mrs. C. M. Crook, vice-president; Matilda Jackson, secretary; Mrs. Chas. E. Willard, treasurer.
Altar Society—Mrs. Joseph Spoor, president; Mrs. Dr. Goodrich, secretary; Anna Gardner, treasurer.
Men’s Society—Dr. Robert Seldon, president; Fred E. Craigie, vice-president; Mortimer Du Bois, secretary and treasurer; Thos. E. Jones, L. W. Richardson, Chas. J. Bagley, Arnold Grobe, advisory committee.
Donald Craigie, chorister; Margaret Craigie, organist.
Edgar W. Hall, commander of Boy Scouts.
Sunday School—Dr. Walter Conklin, superintendent; Miss Gertrude Gardner, secretary.
The second Episcopal church in the county was organized at Athens in 1806, at Greenville in 1825, Cairo 1832, Prattsville 1845, Windham 1850, and at Coxsackie in 1853.
See towns for further reference.
The Methodist Episcopal Church
The first Methodist Episcopal church in this section was erected at Coeymans, a stone structure in 1791, and it is likely that the other churches in this section trace directly to the church at that place, where the Rev. John Crawford was stationed.
Somewhere in the neighborhood of 1800 to 1806 there was formed in Catskill a church which had as its pastor Robert S. Barrett who was not only a carder of wool and an expert at dying but appears to have been a preacher when he was not otherwise employed. His first sermons were in the Episcopal church and later on at the court house.
The first church of the society was on Thomson street near the Irving school, and the building which cost $100 was used during the week as an “academy” and on Sundays as a house of worship. This was around 1824.
In December of 1834, $600 having been raised a building 34x40 was erected on this lot and the society commenced to flourish.
In 1846 the preaching circuit was Catskill and Coxsackie and each place raised the sum of $155 for the pastor’s salary.
In 1852 High Hill, Leeds and Catskill were the preaching circuit, and in 1855 Sandy Plains came in.
In 1864, High Hill was cut off the circuit, and the present church at the head of Main street was erected. Since that time the church has been enlarged, and Sunday School room and church parlors added. The grand Steere and Turner pip organ being a great improvement, brought about by the Atheaneum, at the head of which was John A. Foote.
The church has had a number of extensive revivals when large numbers were added to the membership, one under the pastorate of Alfred Coons, and another during the Chapman work here, but the greatest of all has been under the Rev. J. W. Tetley who added about 100 at a single service in 1915.
The Rev. Charles A. Holla, and the Rev. R. E. Bell were great preachers.
The line of pastors has been: J. Tackbury, D. Poor, Eben Hubbell, Abraham Davis, Philip Hoyt, Samuel G. Stevens, James Burch, William Hale, and Mr. Hale made his home in Coxsackie, 1852, Thomas Lodge, J. W. Macomber, William Stevens, C. M. Egglestone, O. P. Matthews and S. I. Ferguson down to 1864.
Since that time they are Revs. Z. N. Lewis, J. Millard, J. K. Wardle, Edmund Lewis, Angelo Ostrander, David McCartney. Those living are Revs. George Clark, Thomas Lamont, Alfred Coons, Charles A. Holla, Richard E. Bell Edmund L. Hoffecker, Frank Beale, Robert Knapp, Clark Wright, H. Y. Murkland, and J. W. Tetley.
The officers of the Methodist Episcopal Church are:
J. Clark Salisbury, church treasurer.
B. C. Sanford, Treasurer.
William H. Thorne, financial secretary.
Trustees: Charles E. Bassett, John A. Foote, George W. Holdridge, J. Clark Salisbury, Orliff T. Heath, Richard Van Hoesen, Willis A. Haines, J. Lewis Patrie, Cyrus E. Bloodgood deceased.
Stewards: Henry Van Bramer, Euberto Austin, B. C. Sanford, William H. Thorn, Elias Lasher, Herbert W. Terewilliger, Raymond E. Smith, Elmer E. Whitcomb, H. G. Bates, Edwin C. Hocmer, N. L. King, Silas Embree, O. A. Freer, George F. Moon.
Sunday School Superintendent, Addison C. Myers.
President Epworth League, Ruth Marshall.
President Ladies’ Aid Society, Mrs. Nelson Mattice.
President Women’s Foreign Missionary Society, Mrs. Van Gelder.
President Women’s Home Missionary Society, Mrs. Geo. W. Holdridge.
Organist, Mrs. William Driscoll.
Chorister, George Parks.
The first Christian Church was organized at Coeymans in 1812. From that center Jasper Hazen, the local preacher went out and organized churches at Freehold 1812, and later on at South Westerlo, Stephenville, Medway and Medusa. The church at Freehold is still regarded as the strongest of the number mentioned, and all are flourishing.
The Quaker church at Stanton Hill was built in 1833 by Jonathan Head of Oak Hill.
The Friend’s or Hicksite church near the same place was erected in 1840.
The Presbyterian Church
It is uncertain just when the first Presbyterian church was organized in Greene county. There was an organization at Durham in 1793 and in Greenville in 1789, and the Rev. Beriah Hotchkin the first American Missionary to cross the Hudson river from the New England settlements formed these societies. The Greenville Presbyterians met in a barn.
The church at Catskill was incorporated in 1803, and it may have been that the Rev. Beriah Hotchkin visited Catskill before the places mentioned first. The first organization at Cairo was in 1808. Ashland 1799, then Old Windham.
It is certain that the Presbyterian churches of Greene county organized in the early 1800’s are still energetic and thriving and a great power for good.
We have referred to the churches in a number of these towns elsewhere. The church at Catskill, has always been a leader in religious work, and strong in the mission field and bible word.
The first church was built in 1808, and in 1853 the building was remodeled as it now appears.
No other church in the state can boast of having had so few pastors. There have been but five men, towering giants in the religious work, who have remained long years in honored prosperity and loved by all. The first was the Rev. David Porter, 1803-1831, Theodore M. Smith, 1831-39, Gideon N. Judd, 1840-49; Dr. Geo. A. Howard, 1850-1890 and pastor emeritus in 1898, and lastly the Rev. Christopher G. Hazard, 1891-1915. And under these men the church had prospered. Pastor Hazard has also been at the head of the Greene County Bible Society. He is regarded as one of the finest pulpit orators that the church ever had.
The first meetings were held in the court house, and the first church had a double row of windows, as may be seen from the picture of Catskill taken in 1839, which we show elsewhere. The building adjoining the court house property.
The great Chapman revival occurred during the pastorate of the Rev. George A. Howard in 1890, and Dr. Howard had other prosperous revivals.
Dr. Hazard has continued to build up the church, and the revival of 1915 added about 100 to the church.
Following a fire which broke out under the floor in 1896 and did much damage, very considerable improvements were made in the building, and the new organ, gift of Miss Helen Mackey was built into the structure. New stained glass windows were installed and the church wonderfully beautified.
Among the men who have gone out from the church are the Rev. Charles O. Day, of Andover College. The Rev. Charles Hawley, the Rev. Geo. L. Weed and Edgar T. Doane to the missionary field.
The gifts of the Catskill churches to the mission field have been noteworthy.
The officials of this church are:
Trustees—Orrin Day, J. Henry Deane, John L. Driscoll, Josiah C. Tallmadge, Albert C. Bloodgood, Harmon P. Pettingill, Emory A. Chase, J. W. Kittrell, George S. Lewis, the latter being treasurer.
Elders Orrin Day, George S. Lewis, L. Carleton Austin, Charles A. Elliott, James D. Hopkins.
Sunday School Superintendent, Herman C. Cowan.
Christian Endeavor Society, Herbert Knapp, pres.
Women’s Home Missionary Society, Mrs. Harry Morris.
Women’s Foreign Missionary Society, Mrs. F. F. Henderson, pres.
Women’s League, Mrs. E. M. Sedgwick, pres.
Chorister, Charles J. Bagley
Organist, Lisle Embree.
Gloria Dei Church, Palenville
Gloria Dei Protestant Episcopal church at Palenville was organized in 1878, and the artistic stone church was erected the following year, the ground being a gift as well as portions of the structure.
The first organization of the Roman Catholic church appears to have been made by Rev. Father Farrell in 1830, at Hunter, and it was not until 1837 that the first church was erected. Among the pastors were Fathers Constantine, Carroll, Myers, Grattan, Reilly, Murphy, Cannane, and Delehanty.
The Roman Catholic church at Coxsackie was organized in 1845 and the first priest was the Rev. William Howard.
The Roman Catholic church, Catskill, was organized in 1854, and the church, a low wooden structure on William street was on the lot in the rear of the present church. During the pastorate of Rev. William Finneran, the new church was built, and he was instrumental in building the church at Cairo, in 1895.
History of this church and St. Patrick’s School elsewhere in book.
The church of Leeds was built during the pastorate of the Rev. Father Driscoll around 1870.
The church at Cementon was built during the pastorate of the Rev. Father Fitzgerald.
The Baptist Church
The Baptist church was first organized in Greene county in the town of Durham, at Hervey Street in 1788, and at Greenville Center in 1793. The preacher was Deacon Obed Hervey, who was an ordained minister but devoted most of his time to agriculture. Gayhead, Westerlo, Acra and Greenville Center worshippers held their meetings in barns in the several sections. The last named built a church, the first erected in 1817.
The New Baltimore church was organized in 1825.
The Baptist church in Athens was organized in 1832.
The First Baptist Church was organized in Catskill in 1803, and services were held in the kitchen of one of the members, Ketura Hill. Later on in the school house and court house.
The first church was erected in 1823, and John J. Ashley was at the head of the project, and he gave the ground upon which the present building stands. The first church proved too small and in January, 1840, a new church was dedicated. This building was in the great fire of 1851, and was destroyed.
The society was not so easily disrupted and soon had another church, which also on the 9th of August 1871 was a victim of the flames.
Still the ardent church enthusiasm and from the ashes came the stately and artistic building that is after a lapse of 41 years a grand building for any denomination to occupy. This building cost about $25,000. The debt last remaining was wiped out under the pastorate of Rev. R. H. Rollin, John D. Rockerfeller contributing a considerable portion that amount. It certainly through all its tribulations merged as the most prosperous Baptist church in Greene county.
John J. Ashley was superintendent of the Sunday School for 34 years, and Frederick Lynes one of the early supporters of the church was superintendent about 25 years.
The present head of the Sunday School is Robert Fenton, and C. K. Thompson is at the head of Junior department. The Sunday School is very prosperous condition.
The Revival of 1915 brought a great number of accessions to the church, and it also brought Pastor Hamm to the front as a strong pulpit orator and earnest worker.
The church has had the following pastors: Truman Beeman, Peter Thurston, John M. Peck, Reed Burrit, Richmond Taggert, Bartholomew Welch, Peter Simonson, John Dowling, Thomas Dowling, Henry Whitman, Samuel Wilson, Samuel B. Willis, George Webster, E. F. Platt, J. M. Hope, A. J. Chaplin, George Webster, William C. McCarthy, A. C. Williams, P. Franklin Jones, Barney B. Gibbs, Robert H. Rollins, Robert W. Elder, George W. Rockwell, Charles J. Burton, and the present pastor, Maurice R. Hamm.
To Mr. Hamm must be given the credit for the organization of the Boys’ Brigade, which has a complete uniform, and under the command of Wm. Heath, is an inspiration to the older members of the church. The Roster of the Brigade as shown in the cut which we print of the boys is as follows:
Names of early members pf Boys’ Brigade. Front row—Left to Right: Arthur Quick, Cecil Daniels, Norman Finch, Sergeant Warde Heath, Corporal Louis Plank, Floyd Hough, Corporal Albert Hock, Arthur Stewart.
Center row—left to right: Frank Boebler, Frank Knight, Leroy Yager, Arthur June, Arthur Scott, William Brandow.
Back row—left to right: Commandant and Chaplain Rev. Maurice R. Hamm, Earl Gardner, Bruce Brandow, Emund Reed, Corporal Leroy Tiffany, First Lieutenant Lester Butler, Corporal Wade Stewart, Sergeant Charles Beach, Captain Wm. Heath.
Officer of the First Baptist Church:
Senior Deacons—E. D. Green, Edgar Selleck, George O. Van Hoesen, Robert Fenton.
Junior Deacons—Ward Mc Laughlin, William Heath, Alfred Jewett.
Trustee—Robert Fenton, Clarence Travis, C. K. Thompson, Ward McLaughlin, E. D. Green, Amin Smith.
Clarence F. Travis, treasurer.
M. K. Brooks, clerk.
Mrs. Maurice Hamm, benevolence treasurer.
E. D. Greene, chairman Board of Deacons.
Robert Fenton, chairman Board of trustees.
Mrs. John P. Russ, President Ladies’ Union.
Mrs. Maurice R. Hamm, Leader Helping Hand Circle.
Robert Fenton, Sunday School Superintendent.
C. K. Thompson, Junior Superintendent.
Miss Eva Smith, Primary Superintendent.
Mrs. F. A. Jewett, Home Department Superintendent.
Alfred Jewett, Secretary
Ward McLaughlin, Treasurer.
William Heath, Capt. Boy’s Brigade.
Officers of the Baptist Young’s People Union of America—President, Alfred Jewett; Vice-president, Miss Irma Brandow; Secretary, Floyd Hough; Treasurer, Fred Teator.
C. K. Thompson was for 20 years secretary of the Sunday School.
Mrs. Egbert Beardsley, as superintendent of he junior department for many years, has attained distinction as a lecturer.
Mrs. Rosa Person, as organist, has served the church for a long term of years.
The church never was in a more prosperous condition and is a power for good in the community.
American Bible Society
The American Bible Society like the early evangelical church early appeared in the Green county field. It was not many years after freeborn Garretson, and the early circuit riders began to make their regular appearance in this section that the Bible Society made its appearance. Catskill, Cairo, Durham, Coxsackie and Windham were represented and the prime movers were the Rev. David Porter, the Rev. Peter Wynkoop, Orrin Day and others of Catskill. Rev. Beriah Hotchkin of Greenville, Ezra Post of Durham, Daniel Sayre of Cairo and Samuel Baldwin of Windham. That was in 1815. Rev. Beriah Hotchkin was made president, Elisha Wise secretary, and Orrin day treasurer. S. Sherwood Day succeeded Orrin Day, and George H. Penfield followed him. The society flourished and raised about $1000 yearly for their work which was the distribution of bibles free. It is still doing splendidly and under the direction of the Rev. C. G. Hazard, pastor of the Presbyterian church of Catskill.
The Catskill Y.M.C.A.
The Catskill Young Men’s Christian Association was organized in 1890, following the Chapman revival, rooms being fitted over the store occupied by C. L. and B. K. Van Valkenburgh, now owned by F. C. Mott. The first secretary was H. F. Standerwick of New York. H. L. Boughton, W. I. Jennings, Jeremiah Day, E. A. Chase and Orrin Day, being among the prominent backers. In 1902, the present building was erected on the lot of the Old Arcade at a cost of upwards of $40,000, of which about $30,000 was a gift of Frederick N. Du Bois, who has been its most prominent supporter.
The general secretaries have been H. F. Standerwick, Geo. Geyser, F. H. Austin, Herman C. Cowan, Howard C. Smith, Willis A. Haines, Orliff Heath, Elias Lasher, James P. Philip, David M. Post, Egbert Beardsley, and Josiah C. Tallmadge. Trustees: Emory A. Chase, P. Gradner Coffin, Geo. W. Holdridge, Josiah C. Tallmadge, and William E. Thorpe.
An Early School
Henry J. Fox, owner of the Ashland Collegiate Institute, was a brother of George C. Fox of Catskill, and he was also one of the professors of the school. The building was completed in 1857, and was five and a half stories high, with a wing of 100 feet, the main part being over 200 feet. It was one of the most complete schools of the early period, and part of a chain of great academies, there being one at Stamford, one at Warnerville, Charlotteville, Jefferson, Walton and Franklin. It had a great chapel, recitation rooms, library, laboratory, dining room and rooms for 40 pupils. It furnished a complete preparatory college education. All these schools have disappeared. The Ashland school was destroyed by fire in 1861, at the opening of the fall term, and was a complete loss.
Latin, Greek, French, Spanish, German and Italian were taught. Music, drawing, painting, surveying, astronomy, trigonometry as well as English branches were taught. The school was full at the time of the fire.
Among the graduates was James Harvey Van Gelder of Catskill and other prominent Greene county men. Mr. Van Gelder was awarded the gold medal, and graduated from Yale with the highest honors ever attained.
Among the early orders that have passed are the Sons of Temperance, Good Templers, Daughters of Temperance, which had organizations in most of the towns of the county. Lyman Tremaine, afterwards very prominent, was the great temperance orator.
Great temperance revivals followed in many sections and pledge signing was quite as much pressed as church revival work. The Francis Murphy movement was most successful, and in later years his son Francis, and one Thomas Doutney stirred up the pledge signers in a great wave of enthusiasm. The latter in the 80’s was, as I remember, the last.
Catskill Public Library
The Catskill public library was organized in 1893, when the library of the Catskill Schools were taken over as a gift, other books being added though the Board of Regents, and rooms opened on Main Street. Following a movement started by Judge Chas, W. I. Jennings, Frank H. Osborn, and others Andrew Carnegie was inducted to present Catskill with a library building, which was erected in 1902 at Franklin and Bridge streets. The gift followed the pledge of maintenance by the Board of Education of School district number one. The building cost about $30,000 and ample quarters in every way. For some time the kindergarten was conducted in the basement. Several exhibitions of paintings have been made there. The number of volumes is about 10,000. The librarian from the start has been Miss Emily Becker, assisted by Miss Delia Whitbeck.
The trustees are: W. I. Jennings, Fannie B. Wey, Mrs. F. J. Osborn, Miss Anna B. Phelps, E. C. Hocmer, and J. W. Kitrell.
Some Notable Men
Michael O'Hara - With the building of improved highways for the state came the difficult job of selecting a head in each county to take charge of the work. Greene county was fortunate in having a born road man, and Michael O’Hara, of the town of Hunter, was selected to fill the position. He is now in his second term and 77th year and has more than lived up to the reputation that nine years of road building in Hunter, the town of Good Roads, has given him.
The O’Haras have been residents of Hunter over 60 years.
Michael O’Hara is the son of John O’Hara, who came to this country from Ireland, as a bridge builder, and built the bridges on the Hudson River Railroad. He located first at White Plains, and in 1885 moved to the town of Hunter with his family.
Michael O’Hara was born at White Plains in 1850, and was married to Ella T. Haskin, who died June, 1913. He was supervisor of the town of Hunter 6 years, and chairman of the Board of Supervisors 2 years, and succeeded in greatly lowering the tax rate of his town. His son, Herbert O’Hara, former conductor on the Tannersville railroad, is postmaster of Haines Falls. John O’Hara and Mary O’Hara are living in Haines Falls.
The Day Family - There have been few families more closely allied to the early and later interests of Catskill and Greene county than the Days. Stephen Day was born at Colchester, Ct., in 1746 and was the son of John Day. In 1791 he moved with his family to Old Catskill and was engaged in milling at that place. He was one of the promoters and builders of the Susquehanna turnpike, which in its day was the greatest forward movement in the county. It therefore appears likely that he was connected with building of the famous stone arch bridge at Leeds. The old turnpike and its toll gate are a fragrant memory.
His sons were Orrin, Philo and Russel Day. Orrin Day was a great financier, and was also connected with the freighting business. In 1831 he established the Tanners Bank, becoming first president of that institution. At his death in 1846, his son S. Sherwood Day, became president of the bank, and Orrin Day, his son succeeded in 1885 to the presidency, a position which he still holds. So that from 1831 to 1915, three generations of the Day family have been at the head of the bank.
S. Sherwood Day was born in 1807 and died in 1885.
Orrin Day, his son, was born in 1845.
Orrin Day, grandfather of Orrin Day, was one of the founders of the American Bible Society in 1815.
Judson A. Betts - Judson A. Betts was born April 8, 1852, at Gayhead, town of Cairo, N. Y., and lived on the farm where he was born until 35 years of age. For seven terms he taught school in adjoining districts. At the age of 18 years he married Harriett E. Webber, who died in January, 1909. He has family of four children. In the year 1890 he moved to Catskill and in 1902 was admitted to the bar as an attorney and counselor at law, and is also admitted as attorney in the U. S. Courts. He attained his education by hard study at the rural district school and spare moments at home. He served as Clerk of the Board of Supervisors for several terms. In 1895 he was the Democratic nominee for County Treasurer and was defeated; renominated and elected in 1898; elected in 1901; defeated in 1904; and again elected in the fall of 1907. During his service as County treasurer the office has been well kept and no discrepancies have been found in his accounts. Recently Mr. Betts’ office was visited by the State examiners and his book reviewed. They O. K. his books and complimented his proficiency. Mr. Betts is prominent in his home village. He is a director of the Catskill National Bank, also a director of the Catskill Building and Loan Association; served seven years in the State Militia; is Past Chancellor of K. of P., and trustee in numerous estates. Mr. Betts is a member of the Christ’s Presbyterian Church of Catskill, is strictly temperate, and does not use tobacco in any form. He is cordial and generous and never turns hungry or needy from his door.
His son, Lee F. Betts, is associated in the law business with him, and was Sergeant at Arms under Governor Sulzer.
I. Wheeler Brandow - Among the men who have been doing business in Catskill for over 40 years is Ex-Sheriff I. Wheeler Brandow, who has had many interesting experiences and knows what it is to climb to the front under difficulties. In 1865, his father, Henry Brandow, one of the old residents of Hensonville, moved to Catskill, working for Mr. Dunham in the painting business.
Charles and George Brandow took up the painting business also, J. V. Brandow took up painting and later photography which he is still following. Mott Brandow and I. Wheeler Brandow went into the trucking business. I. Wheeler Brandow was but 17 years of age at the time, and by steady thoroughgoing work he made a success of his business. In 1882, when the West Shore railroad was finished through Catskill, he entered into an arrangement to purchase the bus lines of Philip Gay, Landlord Ellis and Enos Gunn, and heading off that much opposition, formed a partnership with George Bates, to operate a bus line to carry passengers and was very successful until the trolley line made its appearance. He was prominent as a political leader, and in 1895 was elected Sheriff of Greene county, serving 3 terms, and under his administration the county affairs were looked after in splendid shape. Subsequently he remodeled his Main street house, and embarked in the feed business, and associated with Messrs. Salisbury and Austin he is still in the same line. He is one of the men who has always helped to boom Catskill and who has ever lent a helping hand to those who needed help. He has represented the village of Catskill as trustee and water commissioner, and has always stood for the best interests of the town.
Dale S. Baldwin - Dale S. Baldwin, Supervisor of the town of New Baltimore comes of an honored Colonial stock. He is one of the youngest men ever sent to represent the town as its representative head and a man of many sterling qualities and possessing great business tact. He was nominated by the Democratic party and had the distinction of his nomination endorsed by the Republicans.
He is a son of Wm. H. Baldwin and Lillie Summers Jones of Philadelphia. His father’s people came from England in 1638 and settled in Connecticut, his mother’s people came from Wales in 1720 and settled in Pennsylvania, this his ancestors are those who followed the destiny of the nation from her birth. His great-grandfather, Col. Jonathan Jones was Captain of the first Penn. Colonial Volunteers.
His father entered the boat business in 1871 and purchased the shipyard from his uncles, J. R. & H. S. Baldwin in 1879 and many of the tugs, barges etc. that are plying the Hudson today and gifts to the river from New Baltimore’s sons.
Mr. Baldwin is in business with his father and also carries on the Circle Garage with his brother Harry J., at Albany. His other brother, Wm. H. Jr., is a Civil Engineer in the Government’s employ at Albany.
Mr. Baldwin is a prominent in his home in all social and church matters, he is Master of Social Friendship Lodge F. & A. M. and superintendent of the Dutch Reformed Sunday School. He was born April 18th, 1888, and is a graduate of the Albany Academy.
He was elected Supervisor in 1913 and his record in the Board is a good one.
John E. Huyck - One of the youngest members of the Greene county Board of Supervisors is John Huyck who represents the town of Durham. He is also the youngest man who ever represented the town in such an important position. It was a long step from the venerable Almerin Moore who served the town for many years to the genial and stirring young horticulturist John E. Huyck, who had never taken any prominence in the politics of the town. Pressed to the front by his many friends however he entered what was regarded as a hopeless fight, and he not only emerged with a full sized victory, but he has taken hold of the affairs of Durham and has shown a business acumen that has been remarkable. He has more than made good, and is one of the most brilliant men who have represented the historical old town of Durham. It will not be a “long way to Tipperary” for him this fall we judge.
Mr. Huyck was born at Oak Hill, Feb. 3, 1877. His father was Aaron Huyck who was one of the early settlers at Dormansville. He was born at Dormansville 1851, and married Miss Susan Traver.
The subject of this sketch, John Huyck, was married to Lottie W. Wood at Rensselaerville, 1904, and moved to the town of Durham, locating near Eagle Bridge in 1908, where he has a large farm. He was for a number of years in the news business at Catskill, the firm being Howell and Huyck, and then John Huyck.
H. Clay Ferris - H. Clay Ferris, who represents the town of Ashland in the Greene county Board of Supervisors, comes of a long generation of the Ferris family who settled in that section of the county long before the town was named. He has well proven his worth to the town in its most exacting position of responsibility. He was elected Supervisor in 1911 and again in 1913, and is one of the most popular men that ever served the Board. A jolly good fellow, whose nature is brim full of cheerfulness, a vocalist of ability he is always called upon to lead in that department when music is in order after the sessions of the Board.
He was born in Ashland, August 31st, 1885, married Mina F. Martin, Feb. 3d, 1909. He has one child, Marjorie R., born June 10, 1911.
He is a member of the Masonic Lodge.
His father was Clinton D. Ferris and his mother, Maggie C. Stewart. His ancestors came to this country in the early days. The first Ferris to come to this country was from Connecticut, four generations ago. His father was a son of Alden Ferris, a prosperous farmer and business man of the town of Catskill.
Dr. Sidney L. Ford - Dr. Sidney L. Ford, Supervisor of the town of Windham has represented that town in the Greene county Board of Supervisors since 1906, being honored with the office of the chairman of the Board and also of the Board of Canvassers, and also Coroner of county during the years 1899 to 1905 and from 1911 to 1914. He was one of the men to whom Greene county is indebted for the beautiful court house and jail, and who has always stood at the front in the matter of road improvements for the county, and has shown a deep interest in the various matters of import that have come before the Board of Supervisors.
He is not a wire pulling politician, and neither egotistical nor selfish in his political, town or personal affairs. He represents the best class of men and stands only for the best interest of Greene county. That’s what has given him a firm hold on the town of Windham and the men of Greene county. As a successful physician he practices for humanity sake, and as a business man he meets every obligation with cheerful readiness to perform well his part. We believe that he will reach the legislature halls.
Dr. Ford was born at Jewett N. Y., Feb. 28, 1865. Graduated at N. Y. University in 1891. He married Miss Grace Brill, of Oceanic, N. J., June 1st, 1893. He has one son, Newton B. Ford, born Oct. 17, 1899.
He is a member of the M. E. Church, Mountain Lodge 529, F. & A. M.. Greene County Medical Society, Rondout Commandery, Kingston, N. Y.
His father and mother were Horace N. Ford and Matilda Haynes Ford. The Fords came from Connecticut some time in 1700, and settled at Jewett.
Floyd F. Jones - Floyd F. Jones who represents the town of Cairo is another of the young men of Greene county who have come to the front and whose path is marked by the unerring evidence of a strong character and great business ability. He is the youngest man who ever represented his town in the responsible position of Supervisor, and he has shown marked ability to do things for the people he represents. He has not only highest esteem of this home people but is regarded as a brilliant man by all who know him. He was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1911 and re-elected in 1913, and Cairo will be pleased to have him at the helm for many more years.
In 1895-8 he represented Greene county as Deputy County Clerk under Henry B. Whitcomb, and his records during that term are specimens of the master penman’s art.
He is a member and Past Master of Kedemah Lodge 693, F. & A. M. of Cairo. He is also a member of Greenville Chapter _83, R. A. M. and a member and Past Chancellor of the Yondebocker Lodge 289, K. of P. of Cairo N. Y. and attends the Methodist Church at Round Top.
He is the owner of a large farm and boarding house near the village of Purling.
His father was Harrison Jones and his mother Eliza Fiero Jones. The Jones and Fieros were among the early settlers of Greene county and have been important factors in building up and promoting the interests of the town of Cairo.
Earl W. Jenkins - Earl W. Jenkins, Supervisor of the town of Halcott, is one of the young men of the Board of Supervisors, a thorough going business man in every way, and the town is fortunate in having such a capable man to look after its affairs. He is new to the political field, though he has served the town as collector.
He was born on the 11th of November 1873, and was married to Nora Kelley in 1892. He has two children living, Miss Georgania and Ward B. His father Arthur B. Jenkins was a member of the Board of Supervisors before him, being in the Board of 1873. He was born 1853 and married Esther M. Earle in 1870. Eli Jenkins, grandfather of Earle W. Jenkins, was one of the early settlers of the town of Halcott, where he moved form Delaware county in 1843. He married Emily Judd in 1844.
Supervisor Jenkins’s farm comprises 600 acres of the best land in Halcott, and he has over 40 head of cattle. He is a very successful farmer.
Elmer Kreiger - Elmer Kreiger, chairman of the Greene county Board of Supervisors is to be reckoned among the most prominent men who have represented the town of Prattsville in an official position. He had been in the board of supervisors since 1883 and was unanimously elected to the position of chairman in 1900 and again in 1915. He is not only a man of great executive ability, and indomnitable business push, but has always stood for the best interests of Prattsville, and no man in that section has been more highly regarded. He is no worthy cause ever appealed to him in vain.
He was born in Ashland in 1861 and was married to Carrie Clark Bouton of Prattsville, N.Y., in 1904. His father was Edward Kreiger of Prattsville and his mother was Mahalia Benjamin of Prattsville, N. Y.
The Kreigers were among the early settlers of Prattsville and the family originally came from Germany in 1847.
Supervisor Kreiger has for a number of years been connected with the Prattsville Dairy Company, which has made almost a many tons of good butter as Col. Pratt tanned hides in his great tanneries of Prattsville.
He is a member of the Masonic organization.
Abram V. Roraback - Supervisor Abram V. Roraback of the town of Lexington comes of historical stock and is one of the honored residents of that town who has made good.
The first member of the Roraback family who settled in the town of Lexington was John G. who came from Schodack, Rensselaer Co. N. Y., in the year 1840, and bought from Abijah Hard the farm one mile east of Westkill village. His wife was Euncie (or in Dutch Yun) Van Buren, a cousin of the Ex-President Martin Van Buren. Thus both came from good Kinderhook Dutch families and until 1829 Dutch was the language commonly spoken in the family.
They were accompanied by their six children, Lida, George Benjamin, Barent, Ann and John H.
Frame houses were few and far between in the Westkill valley, but as John G. and his sons were skilled workmen for those days, a substantial frame house soon took the place of the one of logs. Death early claimed two children, two went back to Albany, and two, George and John H., lived always in their adopted town. George married Elizabeth Hoose, whose ancestors also came from Kinderhook. Their only son, Barent Van Buren Roraback, lived on the farm of his father cleared 75 years ago, until 1915.
John H. Roraback married Eliza Allen, and until his death in 1912 was one of the foremost business men in the town. He was proprietor of the Vly Mt. House on the Beach Ridge, one of the most popular summer boarding houses in Catskill. Their only child, Abram B. Roraback, is now the well known Supervisor of Greene Co.
Mr. Roraback was born February 11, 1858, and was married Nov. 21, 1877 to Addie Thompson, daughter of John S. Thompson of Lexington.
Frank Nichols - One of the most genial men that we have met is Supervisor Frank Nichols of Athens, who since 1912 has represented that town in the Board of Supervisors of Greene county. He has filled many positions of trust in village and town, and always with credit to himself and profit to the community. Whether in matters of finance, religion or social function he has always made good and it is a pleasure for his native folks to do him honor.
The Nichols family came from England to this country and settled at Athens in 1800.
Frank Nichols was the son of Samuel Nichols and his mother was S. Cornelia Coffin of Athens, N. Y.
The members of the family were Edwin Nichols, John Nichols, Frank Nichols and Minerva Whiting.
Frank Nichols was born in 1853 and married Kittie Fowler. He is a member of the Episcopal church, Masonic and K. of P. lodges, Rescue Hook and Ladder Company.
He was Postmaster six years, president and trustee for the village several years, and is now President of D. R. Evart’s Library Board.
John Nichols, great grandfather of Frank Nichols was born at Waterbury, Conn., 1748, died at Athens, N. Y. 1815. Sylvester Nichols, his son, was born in Waterbury, Oct. 11, 1795. He also died in Athens.
In 1664, Sir Richard Nichols was sent by James II to America, and later became the first English Governor of the Colony which was thereafter known as as New York. We also find that one Francis Nichols in 1635 came to Stratford, Conn., from Lincolnshire, England.
Elmore Mackey - Among the early settlers of New York state were the Mackey family, and their generations are scattered over the county of Greene. A long and honored line, and the Mackey generations have spread from coast to coast. They have forged to the front in all the states of the Union, filling positions of trust in every field.
The first of the Mackey family to settle in this section was early in 1700, probably at Coxsackie, and William Mackey, father of Sheriff Elmore Mackey, was born on the old Mackey farm at Athens in 1820, and lived to be 80 years of age. His father was born in the town of Coxsackie but we are uncertain as to the date.
Sheriff Elmore Mackey was born at Athens, March 20, 1871 and was three times elected to the office of Supervisor of the town of Athens, each time getting a solid vote. He more than made good in the Board being one of its youngest members, and when it was announced that he had been nominated for Sheriff of Greene county on the Democratic ticket, the Republicans were unable to find a candidate to run against him, and his only opposition was Edward Mink, who ran on the Bull Moose ticker. As Mr. Mink polled but a few hundred votes, Mr. Mackey’s majority was around 3000.
Moving to Catskill and taking possession of the office of sheriff, with Mrs. Mackey to assist as matron, he has shown the full measure of usefulness and integrity, and the office has been ably taken care of.
Mr. and Mrs. Mackey also allied themselves with the work of the Methodist church and various reform movements in Catskill and have made a host of friends.
He is district deputy of the Greene County Odd Fellows, member of the Knights of Pythias, was chief of the Athens Fire Department for three years, and a member of the William H. Morton Engine Company of Athens, and also a member of the historical Zion Lutheran church of Athens.
Robert M. Mac Naught - District Superintendent of Schools, Robert M. Mac Naught, of Windham, N. Y., the subject of this sketch, was born in Delaware county, educated in the common schools, at Delaware Academy and at New York University. After finishing his work at New York University, he took up the study of law in the office of Judge John P. Grant, Stamford, N. Y.
Choosing, however to follow the teaching profession, he was elected principal of the Jefferson Union school, at the time immediately following its organization into a Union school. During his two years of service at Jefferson, he placed the school upon a firm foundation, increased the attendance of non-resident pupils and established the first graduating class in the history of the school.
Called to Windham in 1901 to the position of principal of the Windham Union school, and at the time immediately following a vote taken to change the district from a common to a Union system, and when the educational interests of the district were at their lowest ebb, he organized the school, prepared the courses of instruction, secured a large number of non-resident students, and, in a short time passed it through all the various graduations to the highest recognized standard of the state – a four years’ high school, maintaining each year a graduating class of young men and young women who invariably entered some higher institution of learning.
After serving 11 years as principal of the Windham High school. Prof. MacNaught was elected District Superintendent of Schools for the second district of Greene county, having the distinguished honor of being elected district superintendent of one of the districts of Schoharie county on the same day.
Superintendent MacNaught is deeply interested in lodge work. He is a member of St. Andrew’s lodge, F. and A. M., Hobart, N. Y., Past High Priest of Mountain Chapter, R. A. M. Windham, N. Y., a member of Rondout Commandery K. T. Kingston, N. Y., Cyprus Temple, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Albany, N. Y., honorary member of Working Lodge F. and A. M. Jefferson, N. Y., and Mountain Lodge F. and A. M., Windham N. Y., past patron of Mountain Chapter O. E. S., Windham, N. Y., past Noble Grand of Delaware Valley Lodge, I. O. O. F., Bloomville, N. Y.
As President of Windham Village Hose company and as Vice-president of the Greene county Firemen’s Association, his interest in firemanic matters is shown, and, as a school man, public speaker, lecturer, the “maker of the Windham High school” Superintendent Mac Naught is widely and favorably known.
Kortz’s since 1816 - The furniture business was first conducted in Catskill by James Kortz in 1816, in connection with undertaking, and hence for 99 years the Kortz family had been doing business in Catskill and it is not only the oldest place in that line in Greene county but the third established in the State of New York.
James Kortz was one of four brothers who came to this country from Germany and they settled at Buffalo. Later on James Kortz came to Catskill and started the business referred to in 1816. He continued it up to the time of his death in 1860, when his wife, Deborah Kortz, took charge of affairs, up to 1868, when William Kortz son of James Kortz succeeded to the business. For over 56 years he has been at the old stand of the Chair (35 years a sign.) For the past 27 years, his son, Frank H. Kortz, has been associated with him, and he has had the management for 15 years.
Recently they took a long lease of the property adjoining their store, and remodeled it in order to better accommodate their growing undertaking business. They have a splendid store and equipment up to date, with a larger stock than any two stores in Greene county.
William Kortz was married in 1872 to Ida Spencer, and they had 4 children, Frank H., James of Milford, Mass., deputy postmaster of that place, Katherine and Ruth, now Mrs. H. D. Van Derlyn of Yonkers.
For 4 years, William Kortz was coroner of Greene county, being first appointed by Governor Cornell, in 1881, and elected in 1883.
Frank Kortz was married in 1898 to Maude Abeel Millington of Catskill and has one child. He is a member of the reformed church.
Frank Kortz is a licensed embalmer and undertaker.
The new undertaking rooms that are being finished will be very fine.
Dr. Wilbur F. Lamont - Dr. Wilbur F. Lamont, one of Catskill’s greatest practitioners, was born at Richmondville, in 1863, and came to Catskill in 1889. His great practice drove him to an untimely death as he died in the hospital in Albany in August, 1912, at the age of 49 years. On the occasion of his funeral, Catskill business was all stopped and thousands were unable to get into the church. The bearers were Drs. Robert Seldon, Stanley Vincent, Frederick Goodrich, C. E. Willard, George F. Branch and F. C. Clark.
Dr. Lamont was married in 1890, to Miss Grace Johnson of Durham, N. Y., and she survives him, and one son Wilbur J. Lamont, who is in the course of his college studies.
William Lamont of Richmondville, Dr. Lamont’s father, a former assemblyman of Schoharie county died in 1908. Stanley Lamont a brother of Dr. Lamont died suddenly at Newark, N.J., where he was a professor in Newark Academy in 1914.
Howard Wilcox - Howard Wilcox, one of the Catskill’s oldest business men who died suddenly Feb. 11, 1915, commenced working for Mr. Willard in 1853 in the jewelry store in the building in which he was doing business at the time of his death, over 61 years. He came into possession of the business at the time of the death of Mr. Willard in 1885, and starting without a dollar made a great success of it. He was born, March 13, 1835, in Catskill and was 79 years of age, and although he was apparently in excellent health and his death decidedly unthought of, it appears that he had never fully recovered from an injury that he received in which his shoulder was fractured.
He was a member of St. Luke’s church Catskill, in which he always took a great interest, and for many years was connected with the choir, first as an alto and later as a tenor. The only social organization with which he was connected was Malaeska lodge, K. of P. In 1861 he joined the F. N. Wilson Engine Company and always took much interest in fire matters.
He was one of Catskill’s most unassuming men, though he was actively interested in every enterprise that meant the betterment of Catskill. Up to the last day of his life he was able to take charge of the most delicate piece of watch repairing or jewelry work, and was daily seen at his repair counter.
His father was the late Judson Wilcox, who came to Catskill in 1825, and who was born at Harpersfield, N. Y., December 25, 1794, and who died at Catskill, June 7, 1879. His mother Laura G. Wilcox was born at Cortright, July 13, 1804, and they were married at that place August 18, 1825, though Mr. Wilcox was then living in Catskill. She died Jan. 1900, at the age of 95 years.
Of the members of the family J. Hubbard Wilcox and Mrs. Wheeler Howard Wilcox are living in Catskill, and Edgar Wilcox at Glen Cliff.
Mrs. Howard Wilcox passed away about 40 years ago. Hiram Wilcox, their son, survives, and has been in the jewelry business with his father many years.
Willis A. Haines - The Haines family were among the early settlers in the
town of Cairo, and they were among the Palantines who came to this country from
Trustee Willis A. Haines of Catskill, was born at Round
Top in 1862. His father was Merrit J. Haines, and his mother Hannah C. Emerick,
whose antecedents were also Palantines and settled on the Loveridge in the
section known as Great Embocght, now a part of the town of Catskill.
He was married in 1886 to Middie D. Holcomb of Cairo, and their children are Pearl Haines, wife of Lester Minkler, Floyd Haines and Willis H. Haines Jr.
Mr. Haines has completed 30 years business at the Church street stand, and has a splendid business. He was first in the shop of George Smith, and for 22 years with Theodore Smith later with Fred Bouck, and now has his son Floyd in partnership with him, since April 1913.
He took over the wagon and sleigh business of Mr. Sage, and ice business of Mrs. John Avery, and is a large dealer in hay and straw, and takes care of all kinds of wood and iron work.
He has been president of the village of Catskill and is now a trustee, he is also a member and trustee of the Methodist church, a member of the Masons, Eastern Star and Rip Van Winkle Club, and a director of the Y. M. C. A.
Josiah C. Tallmadge - Josiah C. Tallmadge, county judge and surrogate of Greene county, was born at New Baltimore, July 15, 1853. He was the son of Thomas D. Tallmadge and Helen (Raymond) Tallmadge. He studied law at Windham, with Eugene Raymond, and was admitted to bar in 1874. He practiced law at Coxsackie and Windham. In 1889 he was elected district attorney of Greene county, and in 1900, county judge, being re-elected in 1906 and 1912, and he has the distinction of having served 14 years without having had a single case reversed. During that time he has been called to take charge of courts in Brooklyn, where hundreds of important cases came before him, in addition of the work of Greene county.
He is vice president of the Greene County Bar Association, member of the State Bar Association, and for three years was president of the National Association of Probate Judges. He is a member of the Academy of Political Science, former president of the Rip Van Winkle Club, director of the Catskill National Bank, vice president of the Catskill Savings and Loan Association, director of the Mutual Co-Operative Fire Insurance Company and of the Commercial Mutual Fire Insurance Company. Served as president of the Catskill Board of Education, trustee of the Catskill Presbyterian church, and Catskill Y.M.C.A., a member of Mountain Lodge 529, F. & A. M. and Catskill Chapter 525 R. A. M.
He was married June 12, 1878 to Ella M. Stanley, daughter of Dr. Peter I. and Sarah E. Stanley of Windham. Their children are: Leone S., now Mrs. L. T. Beach, and Edna, wife of Dr. E. E. Hinman of Albany.
The Tallmadge family has been one of note, N. P. Tallmadge was state senator in 1830 and James Tallmadge was elected lieutenant governor in 1824.
The Tallmadge family came to this country from England. General Benjamin Tallmadge was sent here by the English government and his son William H. Tallmadge was a colonel. The Tallmadges settled in Massachusetts, but the date has not been preserved.
Thomas D. Tallmadge, father of Judge Tallmadge was born at Westerlo, N.Y. about 1834 and was married to Helen M. Raymond, who was born in 1832. Thomas Tallmadge died at Oneonta N. Y., in 1900.
He had a family of 11 children, and remarkable indeed is the fact that all are living, the oldest being 63 years of age. The family consisted of J. G. Raymond Tallmadge; Josiah C. Tallmadge; Alice., Helen E., Edward C., Carolyn T., Matilda J., Thomas D., Benjamin L., Mae and R. Dewitt Tallmadge.
The latter named was called after the famous T. Dewitt Tallmadge, preacher of the Tallmadge generations.
Thomas D. Tallmadge, who is with Underwood & Underwood in New York, is the greatest Miniature artist in the country and take the lead in color over all others.
Benjamin I. Tallmadge is a prominent lawyer in Windham, Ed. Tallmadge was for over 30 years with John G. Myers at Albany, and Raymond Tallmadge for the same length of time with Van Slice and Horton at Albany.
Joseph Malcolm - Joseph Malcolm, a veteran of the Grand Army and at the head of the Malcolm Manu’s Co., Catskill, passed away after a brief illness, aged 74 years, October 1912. He served in the 49th Mass. Vol. He was a director of the Catskill National Bank. He is survived by his wife and son J. Lewis Malcolm, an attorney of Catskill, who was married to Miss Jessie Chase, a daughter of Justice Emory A. Chase.
George B. Van Valkenburgh - The subject of this sketch, Mr. George B. Van Valkenburgh, was born in the village of Lexington, and is the son of James M. Van Valkenburgh, deceased and Mary Alice O’Hara, at present residing in Catskill. He received his early education in the public schools in and about Lexington, and in 1890 was graduated from Manhattan college, in New York city. After a service of some duration with the firm of Barber and Zeigler, harbor distributors for the Pennsylvania Coal Company, Mr. Van Valkenburgh became secretary and treasurer of the Lexington Cooperative Creamery Association, in which capacity he retained his connection with the association until its sale to the Sheffield Farms, Slawson-Decker Company.
Taking a deep interest in political life from the time he attained his majority, Mr. Van Valkenburgh soon after that time became an active worker in the Democratic party, and in the year 1900 he was appointed clerk to the Board of Supervisors of Greene county, a position he held until 1910, when he was elected to the office of county clerk, defeating Edwin S. Anthony, of Coxsackie, who at that time was deputy county clerk under D. Geroe Greene, of Coxsackie, by substantial majority.
It was Mr. Van Valkenburgh’s good fortune to enter upon the discharge of his official duties in the commodious and handsomely furnished offices in the new county building, and it is not improper to say that the character of his services as county clerk has been in keeping with his surroundings indeed, under his administration many little improvements in equipment and system have been made possible. Mr. Van Valkenburgh was re-elected county clerk in 1913, defeating Dayton B. Smith, of Coxsackie. He is, and has been for a number of years a member of the Democratic State Committee. During the construction of the Ashokan reservoir by the Board of Water Supply of New York city, Mr. Van Valkenburgh served as commissioner from Greene County.
Mr. Van Valkenburgh has always taken an abiding interest in state roads, and it was largely due to his influence that the bill making the construction of the Clove Mountain Highway possible became law.
Fraternally he is connected with Kingston Lodge, NO. 550, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
Feeling that in the future his business interests would be identified to some extent with Catskill, he publicly announced his citizenship of that village by casting his vote at the Charter election held on Tuesday, March 30, 1915.
Major James Monroe Van Valkenburgh - Major James Monroe Van Valkenburgh, an old and honored resident of Greene County, was born in 1842, and lived the greater part of his life in the village of Lexington. Major Van Valkenburgh received his education in the Roxbury academy, and was still a youth when the Civil War broke out. He enlisted in the Eightieth New York Volunteers as 2nd lieutenant of Company G and was badly wounded at the second battle of Bull Run, while carrying his superior officer Col. George W. Pratt, from the field. For bravery upon the field of battle he was promoted to 1st. lieutenant on September 17 and was honorably discharged from service on January 13, 1863, his wounds having rendered it impossible for him to continue in the army. Returning to Lexington he built the Monroe House which he conducted for a number of years and for a number of years after the war he was also interested in mercantile pursuits. During the years of 1874 and 1875 Major Van Valkenburgh represented Lexington town in the Board of Supervisors, and upon different occasions he served his town as its superintendent of highways. He was the son of Lucas Van Valkenburgh and Amelia Peck. Major Van Valkenburgh passed to his rest July 7, 1913.
President Geo. C. Fox Opens West Shore Road - When the West Shore railroad was opened in 1882, George C. Fox then president of the village received an invitation from the railroad company to be present, and with the other members of the Board of whom Theodore Cole and William Smith were members hired a drum corps, and trotted out a cannon and there was a big celebration. It was a great event for Catskill.
Thomas Seifferth, Jr. - Thomas Seifferth Jr. of Hunter, who represents that town in the Greene county Board of Supervisors, represents not only one of the most important and progressive sections of the county, but he has shown that he possesses an executive ability that has rarely been seen in men who have for long years represented their town in political fields. He is energetic, thoroughgoing and has shown clearly that he is advancing the best interests of the town in every way. He is popular in the board, and has been appointed on the best committees, and his work whether in dealing with the taxes, roads or other interests has been noteworthy and commendable. He is a young man and never dabbled in politics. The office of supervisor came to him unsought and there is every reason to show that the confidence placed in him by the citizens of Hunter was not misplaced. A splendid official, and he will be retained indefinitely in all probability.
He was born June 23, 1878, at Platte Clove, town of Hunter, on the place where he now resides. His father, Thomas Seifferth, Sr., was born in Germany, 1832, and is still living with his son. His mother was born in Donegall Co., Ireland, 1830, and died at Platte Clove, in 1909.
Thomas Seifferth, Jr., married D. Frances Farrell April, 1903, and they have no children. He served as tax collector of the town of Hunter four years before being elected as Supervisor. He is the youngest man who has ever represented the town of Hunter in the Board of Supervisors.
The Seifferths came to town of Hunter nearly 50 years ago, and at that time there were only three or four houses where the village of Tannersville now stands.
Dayton B. Smith - The Smiths were before the flood and they have been after the flood, and as discoverers, pioneers, inventors, heroes and great men in all the walks and activities of life, the Smiths must have the award of priority. The mother of Columbus was a Smith, and Henry Hudson was indebted to the Smiths for his good ship Half Moon. There was Smiths in his hearty crew, and Smiths of the hardy sort that settled along the Hudson. Greene county has had thousands of them.
The Coxsackie Smiths settled in that section around 1700 and they are right on the job yet in every way.
Dayton B. Smith, who has represented the town of Coxsackie in the Greene County Board of Supervisors since 1910, has demonstrated that he is pastmaster in looking after the welfare of his town, and is likely to be kept right at the head of the column as long as he will consent to take what is a troublesome and thankless job generally.
He has been in business in Coxsackie since 1901. He was born in Coxsackie on June 20th 1874, and was married to Frances Doherty on Oct. 24, 1900. The members of his family are Ellen Doherty Smith, and Frances Simmons Smith. His father was born at Potter’s Hollow, Albany county, and married Juliette Simmons. The members of his family were Grace and Dayton B. Smith. Mr. Smith has represented the village and town as town clerk and Supervisor.
He is a member of the 2nd Reformed church, Ark Lodge No. 48, F. & A. M.; Eureka Lodge, No. 31, K. of P.;’ and of the Geo. H. Scott Hook and Ladder No. 1.
Walter J. Decker - The subject of this sketch, Walter J. Decker, was born at Hillsdale, N. Y., where he lived his boyhood days, and where he acquired the rudiments of a liberal education in the public schools. Of the first class organized under the rules and regulations of the State Normal College, he was not only a member but bore the distinction of being the youngest. While in this institution he applied himself with diligence, completed the course in the allotted time, graduated at the age of twenty and received a life license to teach in the public schools of the State of New York.
His first experience in teaching was in the public school at Canaan, N. Y., where he taught one year; then succeeded to the principalship of the Murray Hill Schools in New Jersey. Here he taught the higher branches and supervised the work in the grades for a period of eleven years; and it was avowed by the patrons and those in authority, that, under his management, the schools improved with each succeeding year.
While in New Jersey, he united with the St. Luke’s Episcopal church; became an active worker; served the Church in the capacity of junior warden and superintendent of Sunday School for five years. In 1896, he married Anna B. Kuehn, daughter of Henry C. Kuehn of Scotch Plains, N. J. Their home is now blessed with the companionship of three children.
In 1905, he resigned his position in New Jersey, and accepted the principalship of the Union School at Hunter, N. Y., in September of that year. By reason of observation, experience and years of study, he had acquired that degree of skill and efficiency which enabled him to discharge the duties of this position, not simply with entire satisfaction, but with a marked degree of success. Within two years after he assumed the duties of principal this school became a middle high school; within three years, a senior high school; and March 4th, 1901, it was advanced to a full high school, being approved in each instance by the State Department of Education for the attendance of non-resident academic pupils at the expense of the State.
The ability to teach, organize and discipline implies common sense, good judgment and foresight. These attributes and qualities of Mr. Decker were fully recognized and appreciated by patrons of the school, the Board of Education and the representatives of the State Department of Education.
The further progress of his career, the writer here observes, was determined by the success, training and experience which he had gained by his years of study and professional activity. In 1911 the board of school directors of the third supervisory district of Greene county, comprising the town of Ashland, Halcott, Hunter, Jewett, Lexington and Prattsville, elected him district superintendent of the schools, and he entered upon his duties January 1st 1912.
His preparation, experience and considerable judgment have enabled him to render efficient service. The communities have co-operated with him in bringing the schools to a high standard of excellence and more in accord with the ideas of present-day education. Thus the work of the schools has been brought into closer relation to the life of the people. While due emphasis has been placed on the fundamental interests, reading courses have been established for teachers and pupils. Domestic science and agricultural contests are conducted each year. Meetings for teachers and school officers are frequently held for the discussion of methods of teaching and to establish greater efficiency in school management.
Mr. Decker is identified with the Masonic fraternity. He is Master of Mount Tabor Lodge, No. 807 F. & A. M. and a member of Mountain Chapter, No. 250, R. A. M.
In the activities of life he has shown himself, by energy and stability of character, to be a man of cautious temper, unblemished integrity and exact sincerity.
Men are worthy, because of their excellence of character. In enterprise, promotion comes to them because, of their training, ability and character par-excellent.
John D. Smith - John D. Smith died at his home in Catskill March, 28, aged 65 years. He was a son of Luke Smith, an early resident of Catskill, and was in partnership with him in the shoe business. He established the Catskill Daily Mail in 1878, and in 1899 was postmaster of Catskill.
Byron Sunderland - The Rev. Byron Sunderland died at the house of his son-in-law, Bank President Orrin Day, in July 1901. He was born at Shoreham, Vt. In 1819, and graduated from Middlebury College. He was pastor of churches in Syracuse, and Washington where he was for many years chaplain of the Senate. He was also associated with T. Dewitt Tallmadge in his work at Brooklyn tabernacle.
Home Table of Contents Greene County Overview Home Page
Dear Old Greene County Homepage