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
It was not until 1848 that the boundaries were set for the town of Ashland and portions of Prattsville and Windham were taken to form the few thousand acres that comprises the town. The principal village or hamlet is Ashland and the section is devoted chiefly to dairying, some summer boarders taken. The earliest settlers to whom reference is made by the old residents comprise the Stimpsons, Martins, Prouts, Ponds, Ferrises, Lees, Tuttles, Disbrows, Dodges, Hitchcocks, Brandows, Smiths, Suttons, Boughtons, and while in years later many of their representatives have drifted towards the eastern centers of the population adjoining the river many of the time honored names are conspicuous. People of Ashland have always been remarkable for longevity, and the spirit of religion has always predominated in this section.
In 1790 was built at Old Windham, now Ashland the Presbyterian church which is doubtless the oldest church on the mountains. The first pastor was Henry Stimson who preached for six months, alternating with an appointment at Jewett Heights. The church at Ashland has always been regarded as one of the strong organizations of the county. The society was incorporated in 1801. The record of pastors is incomplete. The present pastor is Samuel Warrender.
The Episcopal church at Pleasant Valley appears to have been organized in the same year, 1799, the articles being filed in Ulster County. The church building was erected in 1814. The first pastor however was the Rev. Philander Case, and the number of men who have served the church has been remarkably small. Rev. Joseph Berry from 1803 to 1817, the Revs. Samuel Fuller and James Tompkins served from that period to 1831, the Rev. O. F. Holcomb to 1843, Rev. Thomas Judd to 1863. The present pastor is R. R. McDonald Bleeker.
The early industry was the getting of hemlock bark for the many tanneries that flourish along the Batavia kill. Gideon Brainard established a woolen mill, and a man named Bidwell had a carding and fulling works. There was a grist mill at North Settlement and a number of saw mills. Lyman Morse and Jarius Strong conducted tanneries. Cider mills also flourished.
The first public tavern as they were known was built by Medad Hunt at Batavia, John Tuttle, Jacob Benham, and Jehliel Tuttle also had taverns of the early period. There are many of these old time taverns all in disuse the past 30 years scattered along the roads that reached from the rural sections to Catskill. And these accommodated the drovers and freight wagons that found their way to the river markets.
The town of Ashland has been on a steady decline in population since 1850, when it had 1290 inhabitants. In 1865 there were 1080, in 1875, 935, in 1880, 899, in 1900, 647, and since that time the population has lost about 40 persons. The entire county has shown a decrease of 4 per cent in population in the past ten years, and a loss from 1850 of about 3000. The population in 1850 was 33,126. It is now just under 30,000.
The men who have served Ashland as supervisors are:
John Ives, Daniel B. Strong, Joshua Draper, Sylvester B. Hitchcock, William S. Boughton, Lyman Robinson, Isaac Van Schaack, Wm. Myers, Austin Smith, Peter Stanley, Nathaniel O. Ormsbee, Albert Tuttle Jonas Smith, Albert Steel. Egbert B. Dodge, 1868, Edgar Smith, Joseph Saxe, Archibald Tompkins, Hiram B. Clark, Wilbur F. Lee, now of Catskill, Giles Sutton, Darius B. Prout, Clinton D. Ferris 1885, ’88, Wilbur F. Lee 86-87, Daniel W. Hyatt 89-90, Thomas W. Jeralds 91-92, Giles Sutton 93, Frank Finch 94-95, Samuel A. Barlow 96-97-98, Herbert R. Steel 99-1900, Levi Tompkins 01-02-03, Homer Tompkins 04-07, Francis L. Dodge 08-11, H. Clay Ferris 1912-15.
A remarkable giant willow tree standing on the Prout farm is the production of a willow whip which was stuck into the ground in 1798. In 1913 a ton of cement was used in filling a cavity that had decayed into the tree.
The Methodist church at Ashland was organized in 1841 and meetings were held in the school house. A church was erected in 1843. A. S. Lakin was the first pastor. The Rev. H. L. Seaman is the present pastor, and he also supplies the pulpit of the church of North Settlement.
The Catholic church which building is fast falling into decay has not been used for religious services in the past 20 years.
One of the old landmarks that was formerly the Old Ashland House is owned by Christian and Lee and is used as a farm house.
Many years ago one of the first seminaries in this section was located at Ashland in 1853, but was burned in 1861.
There has been no big fires during the past 30 years.
Among the industries of the town the principal one is the big creamery of the Sheffield-Slauson-Decker Co. and practically all of the milk in the town is taken to this creamery.
Another industry is the saw mill and grist mill of D. D. Tompkins.
The business of the town is taken care of by F. L. Dodge, store and postoffice.
A. B. Munson, hardware store, hotel. No. License.
S. L. Lee, general store. John Jordon, blacksmith.
There is a mail route from Ashland to Hunter. Free Rural route from Prattsville to Ashland. D.D. Tompkins carries the mail and Vernon Chatfield the free rural.
There are three cemeteries in the town, Pleasant Valley, Sutton Hollow and West Settlement.
The oldest house in Ashland is that of Darius B. Prout.
The farm occupied by Supervisor H. Clay Ferris has been occupied by five generations of Ferrises, and the first house was of logs, and constructed by the great grandfather of Mr. Ferris, and who was one of the pioneers of the town.
Reaching Athens from Catskill over the state road the first place that comes into prominence is a large brick structure that was built by General Haight in 1812, and which is known as the Gantley House, being the property of Daniel W. Gantley, another war veteran, who came up from New York and spent most of his life at Athens, passing to the other side in 1881 at the age of 94 years. The marble steps, the old brass knocker on the front door, and the entire interior are exactly as Mr. Haight constructed them. The interior of the mansion has the exquisite charm of the most elaborate architecture and furnishings of the Colonial period. The place is owned by Thomas Van Loan, and occupied by Eugene Van Loan and family, and it was the courtesy of Mrs. Van Loan which gave the writer access to the building, and a description of it. The beauty of the interior is heightened by the display of 105 paintings, the work of the world’s great artists. The first parlor has its old time red velvet carpet, and the rear parlor or gallery floor a beautiful mosaic of inlaid work of highly polished wood of different colors. The winding stair case at the end of the great hall is most impressive. The brick were brought from Holland.
Mrs. Haight was Jane Van Loan, one of the well known family, so closely interwoven with all the history of Athens. For the Van Loans, the Nichols, Spoors, Hallenbecks, Van Woerts, have the honor place among the early comers to the county.
Early as 1800 Athens village was simply a farm, owned by the Van Loons. The old stone house, of which we present a view was the first structure in 1726, and it is at the upper end of the town and was in modest proportions to the Gantley house. The present occupants are Nelson Hotaling and Lester Kisselburgh.
John Van Loan paid $3000 for the farm that is now the village of Athens. A burying ground being reserved from the land.
Condrak Flack was buried in Episcopal ground May 4, 1789 at the age of 76 years. He operated a ferry across the Hudson.
Teunis Van Vechten, Johannes Brandow and Joachim Jansen owned Lot one, of what was the town of Athens.
Van Vechtens deed was dated October 15, 1757, and the lot extended from the Hudson River nearly to the Potic creek. The Van Vechtens appear to have gone south as far as the Catskill creek, where the Van Vechten house now stands.
In 1780 there were about 20 families settled in the entire town. The Hallenbecks and Van Loons predominated and remain today. Also Cloughs, Brandows and Van Bergens.
The town Esperanza was projected before Athens village, and a part of this land was Dooper Island upon which the steamer Swallow was wrecked in April, 1845, 40 lives being lost. We present a picture of the wreck from an old print. Benjamin Haviland built the first house in Esperanza. John G. Voogd started the brick industry, followed by Wm. P. Alcott. Joseph Colson had a hotel in Esperanza and Samuel Hamilton was a magistrate in 1811. He died in 1851.
In 1801 John Spoor made a map of the portion of Athens which is in existence at Washington. Joseph Seeley built the first hotel in Athens and his son, Castle Seeley, was postmaster of Athens for 20 years.
In 1802, and for 12 years, Russell Leffingwell carried on a distillery near the ship yard, and he also erected a dwelling about the time that the Haight house was erected.
The first supervisor of the town was Isaac Northrup in 1815, then came Henry Wells, William Tolley, Sylvester Nichols, Castle Seeley, Eli Pierce, John Clough, Benjamin Haviland, Casper Van Loan, Wm. Morton, Henry Van Loan, Alonzo Green, Isaac Whitbeck, Geo. S. Nichols, 1851, Isaac Whitbeck, David Whitein, John I. Hallenbeck, Isaac Van Schaack, Prentiss Hallenbeck, Wm. K. Reeves, Dr. John H. Wheeler, Joseph Robbins, Enos Edwards, John Beardsley, John Pennington, Henry Straban 1871-73, Harmon Van Woert 73-83, Clark Porter, William T. Nichols, Thomas H. Briggs, Harmon Van Woert, Jere Brooks, W. C. Brady, H. I. Van Loan, John K. Van Woert, W. C. Brady, Elmore Mackey now Sheriff, and Frank Nichols.
The village officials are Frank S. Howland president Claude Whiting, Mark Brennan, James Lynch and Frank Beardsley trustees. Henry R. Van Woert clerk, W. C. Brady treasurer, Nelson Clow collector. Assessors, the board of trustees.
The first clerk of the village of Athens was Henry Wells.
So far as the church organizations are concerned the first church was the Lutheran and that was organized in 1704 and was one of the few between New York and Albany, and the Rev. Justice Faulkner was the preacher. The particular spot being known as Loonenburgh, after the Van Loons undoubtedly. The church of the Palentines at West Camp was in this circuit.
Albert, Matthias and Jan Van Loon in 1721 gave deed to the church lands. The first church was erected in 1724. This building was square and had four roofs shaped to a V and with spire steeple. This building gave place to the present structure. The Rev. Jacob S. Paul is the present pastor.
The Trinity Episcopal church was organized in 1806, at Loonenburgh, and the building was erected in 1813. The Rev. Mr. Prentice was rector and General Samuel Haight was the principal contributor, $275 for pew rent. Dominie Prentice was killed in 1837 when a stage tipped over at Coxsackie. From 1833 to 1835 the Rev. John Griggs was rector. Rev. Howard Whitney is now rector.
The Methodist church was organized about 1820. The Rev. W. A. Greenleaf is the present pastor.
The Dutch Reformed Church was organized in 1826. The Rev. David Abeele was the first pastor and he went out as the first missionary to China. Other pastors were the Rev. C. Von Kleef, Joseph Wilson, Jefferson Wynkoop, Edwin Holmes, Joseph Wilson, Wm. A. Cornwell, J. R. Tallmadge, Rev. Mr. Betts, W. D. Buckalew, C. Spaulding, Allen D. Campbell, Herman Vanderwoert. The Rec. H. G. Hergie is the present pastor.
The Baptist church was organized in 1832, and its full list of ministers has not been preserved. The present pastor is the Rev. Walter C. Bishop.
The Roman Catholic church was organized in 1871. Rev. Father Gillin, present pastor.
The old burying ground on the Northrup place contains the mortal remains of Jan VanLoon, Matthias Van Loon and many of the early settlers.
The Athens Rural Cemetery is a part of that lot, and was incorporated in 1847.
Mt. Hope Cemetery is also a part of the same lot on the Esperanza purchase. More of the Van Loons are buried here, and it is announced on one of the stones that Albertus Van Loon departed this life with a cancer.
The Clark family, honored residents, trace back to Samuel Clark 1615, William Clark 1712, Reuben Clark 1743, Nathan Clark 1787. He started a pottery at Athens in 1808. His partner Ethan Fox founded the Baptist Church at Athens. Edward Clark was born in 1811, and he became a part owner of the Singer Sewing machine company, the copartnership being I. N. Singer & Co. and to Mr. Clark goes the credit for organizing the Singer Sewing Machine Company with a capital of $500,000. Nathan Clark died in 1891.
The brick industry in Athens is conducted by three prosperous firms. William W. Rider whose plant has a capacity of 100,000 brick per day, and who has had the plant since 1875.
N. Gladfelter has a plant of 50,000 capacity.
Joseph Moyonne has a patent dryer with a capacity of 50,000.
Wm. C. Brady and his father before him, an undertaking firm of long standing, have conducted the interment of more than 3000 persons mostly in these cemeteries, and W. C. Brady has buried more than the entire present population of Athens. He has complete alphabetical record with dates and ages which is most remarkable.
Morton Steamer Company, of Athens, has the following officers: President, Charles Hitchcock; vice president, Charles B. Miller; forman, Ray Weeks; 1st ass’t, Alex. Fyfe; 2nd ass’t, Leonard Ford; secretary and trustee, Theodore Gritman; treasurer, James Holmes.
The Ice industry is one of the most important. The big hoses are: American Ice Company, Willis A. Winne, Hudson River Ice Company, J. Brooks Co., Theo. Evory Ice Company, E. E. Briggs, F. R. Howland and Son, Dwyer Brothers and Rafferty, Arrow Ice Company, and Avery & Eichhorn.
The Athens Textile Company employs a large number of persons.
The H. F. Dernell Company manufactures ice tools, and Mr. Dernell invented the ice plow.
Travis Brothers operate a foundry.
C. F. & M. G. Webber also have a foundry.
Howland and Son, Marine railway.
Richard Lanahan, ship yard and marine railway.
Henry I. Van Loan, wholesale fruits.
T. A. Briggs and Son, barrel mfrs. and garage.
John Self, motor builder.
Wm. C. Brady, undertaker
M. Harvey, newspaper
Estate W. H. Stewart, hotel, Abram Post
Alvin Brooks, Norman Cooper, and Frank S. Howland are grocers.
Henry Du Bois, Henry Edwards, druggists.
F. W. Leek, dry goods.
Thomas Low, hotel.
Gifford & Porter, law
Orin Q. Flint, law.
E. C. Van Deusen, physician.
One of the splendid buildings that attracts attention in Athens is the Evarts Library, of which we present a very good engraving. This building costing, a large sum of money, is complete in every way and endowed to the extent that it costs the village not a penny in any way. It was the splendid gift of Daniel Evarts and wife of Norwich, Ct., both of whom are deceased, and were formerly residents of Athens. The fund is in bonds that produce every three years a surplus of about $500, and this amount is further invested by treasurer Wm. C. Brady as it comes in. The building was constructed by Reilly & Acker, of Utica. The Librarian is Mrs. Mary B. VanLoan, and the trustees are Frank Nichols, Emory E. Briggs, W. C. Brady treas., Henry R. Van Woert, clerk.
Previous to 1862 the crossing of the river at Athens had been by means of primitive ferries the first of which were operated by large scows, and up to 1862 the locomotion for the ferries was obtained by means of a horse power similar to that used on threshing machines. The J. T. Waterman was built by W. A. Fletcher and the engine of that date is still in use on the J. T. Power which was built in 1872 and is the oldest ferry boat on the river. The Power in 1914 carried 2862 automobiles across the river. Frank Beardsley is captain. Marin Cooke, engineer, Herman Lanfare, pilot.
One of the big fires was that of 1874 in which the White Elephant property was destroyed.
Another big fire in 1870 wiped out a block of frame buildings which may be seen in the cut presented elsewhere.
Still another large fire occurred in 1913.
The Osborn Hose which was one of the old time hotels was destroyed in the fire of 1878 and the Brooks opera house building was erected on the site of that hotel.
Among the prominent residents who have passed since 1883:
Wentworth Allen, ship builder 1884.
Abram Bedell, 1890.
Col. John Beardsley graduate of the West Point Military academy, a veteran of the Mexican and Seminole war, Col. 9th Cavelry in the Civil war. He was one of the West Shore Railroad Commissioners who apprised the lands during the construction of the road. He laid out Fort Worth. Died in 1906, aged 89 years.
George C. Brady, father of Wm. C. Brady, Died 1880, aged 89 years.
Capt. John Benjamin Briggs, oldest river pilot, and was
on the old Vibbard. Died 1903, aged
Thomas Braiser, 1905.
Caleb Coffin, glue manufacturer, president village, died 1885, aged 60 years.
Nathan Clark in pottery business, and early settler, part owner of Singer Sewing machine business. Died 1891, aged 72 years. Two Nathan Clarks are still honored residents of Athens.
Capt. Ira Cooper, died 1903, aged 80 years. He was a brick manufacture and operated a fleet of sloops around 1820.
Enos R. Edwards, ship builder with his brother, and also supervisor and postmaster. Died 1898, aged 76 years.
Theodore Evory, built half the ice houses in Athens. Died 1908, aged 62 years.
Augustus Goeller, justice and police justice 30 years. Died 1914, aged 73 years.
Charles W. Howland, firm Howland and Son, hardware, groceries, lumber etc. Died 1905, aged 70 years.
Woodbridge Little King, a prominent farmer, died 1905, aged 93 years.
Richard G. Low brick manufacturer, old line Democrat, died 1896, aged 85 years.
Peter Magee, ship builder, sheriff for 3 years, died 1899, aged 61 years.
Wm. Mackey, father of Sheriff Mackey, died 1903, aged 80 years.
Samuel H. Nichols, justice of peace, village clerk, assessor, member of assembly, member of Governor’s commission to condemn W. S. Lands, died 1911, aged 89 years.
Prosper Peloubet, pres. Mt. Hope Cemetery Assn., President of trustees, and Old Line Democrat, died 1884, aged 76 years.
Joel W. Porter, brickmaker, died 1889, aged 61 years.
Wm. S. Rainey, died 1876, aged 75 years.
Robert Titus, pres, of village, brick manufacturer, died 1901, aged 73 years.
Lewis Wolf, builder, pres. Of village, trustee, director of Evening Line Steamers, also Hudson River Ice Co., died 1904, aged 75 years.
The Athens Casualty List of 1914:
Charles Smith engineer Storm King crushed to death April
Martin McDonald, strangled in coal bin, August 14th.
Charles Destadio, a brick kiln caved in on him Aug. 19th.
W. Ray Hallenbeck, shot to death by Worthy Tolley, Sept. 15th.
Louisa Kroll, died in auto accident Oct. 13th. and her husband died under operation Aug. 13th.
In 1814 it was discovered that the middle ground between Athens and Hudson was very inconvenient to river travel and an act was passed by the legislature granting to Athens and Hudson the right to establish a lottery for the purpose of raising $10,000 which was to be used in removing the middle. The middle ground is still there.
Mrs. M. E. Harvey conducts the Athens News.
The town of Cairo was formed in 1803, portions of Catskill, Coxsackie and Freehold being taken, and it was called Canton up to 1808 when the name was changed to Cairo. The town contains over 36,000 acres of land and a considerable portion was held under the Salisbury, Van Bergen and Barker patent, the Barker patent being over 6000 acres of land. This extended from Woodstock to Durham, and Mr. Barker figured very largely in the early history of the town. He lived to be 93 years of age and his descendents the Taylors, Dedericks, Whites, Olmstead, Salisburys as well as the Barkers are to be found throughout Greene county today. The Barker burial ground was located in a meadow on the McWilliam’s farm north of Cairo.
James Barker, who is great, grandfather of Mrs. Ira T. Tolley, matron of the Almshouse, was given a grant of land under Governor Andros in 1680 of 6000 acres of land which now forms a large part of Cairo. There were other patents and sub-divisions of land but James Barker was the only one to settle on the grant. James Barker was a member of the English bar, and came to this country previous to the Revolution. He settled first at Catskill and later on went to Cairo. Abram and Francis Salisbury had lands to the east of the Barker patent. James Barker was a patron, and a slave owner, and it was he who defended one of the Salisburys, who was accused of the murder of one of his slaves, and he secured an aquittal. Barker died a the age of 93 years. There were 23 families that came to this country with Mr. Barker. Their names we are unable to state.
The old graveyards may have some of them in the following list:
Samuel Earle died 1858, aged 100 years.
Benjamin Upham died 1799.
John Balis died 1789.
David Brewster, born 1758 , aged 83.
Hannah Brewster, his wife, aged 96.
Catherine Earle, born 1764, aged 92.
John Pine, born 1773.
In 1823 there was made up a list of slaves in the town. There were 11 of them, all minors.
The Strope family, who lived in the first log house, were murdered by Indians. Early industry comprised chiefly getting out hemlock bark for the tanneries.
One of the most conspicuous of Cairo men was Judge Daniel Sayre, who was born at Southampton in 1765. He owned 1000 acres on the Shinglekill and organized a church at Acra in 1804. He was a member of the Assembly in 1804 and in 1806 judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Greene county. Four of his children were burned to death in a fire that destroyed his home in 1808.
One of the honored families of Cairo is the Schermerhorns. Frederick in 1780 was captured by the Indians after the massacre of other members of the family (Stropes) and carried into captivity, was sold to the English and was forced to enlist. He served with 50 whites and 100 Indians and finally managed to escape, returning to Cairo. He lived for a time on the Barringer place at Kiskatom and erected a log house near Round Top. He died in 1846, aged 76. His son went into the cattle business and then into mercantile lines at Cairo.
In 1832, Col. Ira Day and John Palen had tanneries that turned out 18,000 sides of leather annually. The Forge, Woodstock and Acra were the points of these industries. The grist mill, wood turning of mountain souvenirs and saw mill are about all that remain. Hon. Lyman Tremaine was the owner at one time of the mill at Woodstock.
Men living in Cairo today still cherish the memory of the Hon. Augustus Hill, who was born in 1810 and died in 1899, an old line Democrat and a member of the legislature in 1871. His grandfather, Obadiah Hill, witnessed the execution of Major Andre, the British spy, who had plans of the fortifications at West Point, given him by Benedict Arnold.
Cairo has no regular fire company although it has an organized effort of citizens that has as its head W. Burr Hall as chief, and Gaston Wynkoop and Druggist, R. A. Austin are assistants. Fire protection is from water works and a hand engine of the old times, and good work is accomplished.
The school system is excellent, and at the head is Edward E. Richmond, principal, Hope L. Fordham, preceptress, Mary D. Halloran, pre-academic, Mary C. Timmerman, 4th and 5th grades and S. Edna Story, primary. Geo. W. Squires, Andrew P. Freese and N. M. Howard are trustees and R. A. Austin, treasurer.
The Cairo Electric Light company gets its power from the large dam at Woodstock, which furnishes power for Catskill, Tannersville, Palenville, Haines Falls and other places.
The Greene County Agricultural Society which has been the great county fair of generations was organized in 1819, and John Bagley of Durham was its first president. Daniel Sayre of Catskill was one of the first exhibitors of premium grade cattle. The first premium award was $149. The organization received from the state $200. The organization has been uniformly prosperous and has a splendid plant accommodating about 10,000 persons, and the annual fair is still a red letter event, with the horse trot a feature always.
There is but one landmark of the period of 1867 left in the Cairo business world and that is O. Post who has been conducting a harness shop since that time and for 43 yeas in the building where he now is. The business of Cairo at that time comprised of Ed. and Jason Stevens, general stores, Tremaine and Weeks, store, George Person, hotel, now Walter Brothers, Benjamin Waldron, hotel, David Grannis and Elijah Wells, wagon shops, Harlow Hine, painter, Henry Steele, shoemaker, Charles Nailor, blacksmith, Henry Hotchkin, undertaker, Dr. King, physician, Dr. Noble. Physician. One Hotaling ran a stage line of four horse coaches from Catskill to Cairo and there were two lines from Cairo west, one to Windham and the other to Gilboa. Later on these line were operated by Churchill.
The Hon. Luke Roe Was supervisor of Cairo 5 years, 1858-70 and 1866-67. Also Loan Commissioner of County.
Dr. Levi King was famed the county over for his medical skill. He had 9 children, and practiced in Cairo for 52 years. He celebrated his golden wedding in 1876. His father served in the Revolution. Dr. King was born in 1799 and was 78 years of age.
Francis G. Walters, whose death occurred last fall, was 82 years of age, and was for many years with his brother Ambrose Walters, owner of the hotel that bears their name. He was sheriff of Greene county and also member of assembly.
Samuel Earle built a log house in Cairo in 1793. He lived to be 100 years of age and owner of 900 acres.
Other of the old timers were John Howell, Harvey D. Peck, Orman Burhans and John Rouse. Born in the 1700’s and rounding out the century.
The father of Thurlow Weed, later of Catskill, is said to have been one of the early settlers.
The Greene county alms house is located at Cairo. It is in line with the other splendid buildings that stand as a credit to the county. The situation is not only charming, but everything that could lend a charm to the place and make it attractive for those whose last days are to be spent as the wards of the county, has been done by the men who have represented the county in the board of supervisors, and the very capable man who for the past seven years has had the management of the place. The beautiful grounds and entire premises are swept and garnished as for parade, and throughout the house everything is as snug and inviting as the best home to be found in the county. From the reports that are filed every year by the several committees, local, county and state, there isn’t an institution of the sort that makes a better show. Mr. Ira T. Tolley and his estimable wife, who is matron of the institution, deserve lasting praise for their care and painstaking effort. The house usually has from 74 to 90 inmates, who are well housed, well fed, contented, and happy. Our view of the building shows the splendid shape it is in. And it is most remarkable that the care of these people, and of the dairy of 12 cattle and the tilling of 196 acres, should be taken care of by 4 persons outside of Mr. and Mrs. Tolley. One farmer, and one assistant, one cook and a woman to assist Mrs. Tolley, do it all. The annual report shows that the farm produce goes a long ways toward paying for the upkeep of it all. The house has electric lights, fire protection, fine water, sanitary plumbing, and commodious and well kept outbuildings, and the evidence of great care is everywhere. Mr. Tolley was elected in 1906 and took the office in 1907. He was re-elected in 1909 by about 600 and in 1912 by over 1200. Mrs. Tolley, in addition to the cares of the place, is very active in church work. She is organist for the Presbyterian church, and a worker in the Sunday School, as well as the King’s Daughters. Mr. Tolley is also a member of the Presbyterian church and a contributor to every worthy object. Before he was chosen superintendent of the county house he was for 25 years in charge of the business of the Catskill Mountain railroad at Cairo, and for 12 years a justice of the town. Religious services are held at the county house every two weeks by the Rev. Mr. Edgeton, rector of the Episcopal Church. It may be interesting to note that James Barker, who was great great grandfather of Mrs. Tolley, held the original grant of land, some 6000 acres, extending from Cairo to Durham.
There were several factories started at the forge, and at that place is standing at the present time a very old mill of which we have not the date. Several of these mills have been destroyed by fire. Frank S. Decker of Catskill formerly owned one of these mills, Capt. Byington had a wooden clock factory for making the Grandfather clocks. There was a factory that made spinning wheels and looms, a nail factory, and Lucius Byington had a saw mill that has been operated by many generations of Byingtons. It was built in 1808. Anson Wright had a furniture factory, Egbert Paddock made grain cradles, and Egglestone, Porter and Ackley made buckets, of which they made 5000 per year. Paul Raeder for 20 year had a scythe factory and a grist mill.
The first Methodist organization was at Sandy Plains, in the house of Henry Weeks. The church at Cairo was organized in Cairo in 1814, and these two churches were supplied by circuit riders who also preached at Leeds. Benjamin Hine deeded the lot on which the Cairo church was built in 1849, and this building, now occupied by the Schermerhorns as a feed store, is in good repair. The organizers of the church were Edward E. Stevens and Sally, his wife. The early records were lot. The present church has as its pastor the Rev. H. D. Chace, who also preaches at Round Top.
The Sandy Plains church was erected in 1837, and since rebuilt.
The Presbyterian church was organized by the Rev. Beriah Hotchkin in 1799, and had three members. The Rev. Richard Williams was the first pastor. The records were three times destroyed by fire. The Rev. A. P. Freese was for many years pastor of the church. The Rev. Mr. Steelman was the last pastor in 1914, bur resigned.
Calvary Episcopal Church was organized in 1832. The Rev. Ephriam Punderson was the first Rector, and for several years the membership was 8 persons. The Hon. Henry Meiggs and George Wicks were among the contributors in the 70’s to wipe out the last of the church debt. The present rector is Octavius Edgelow.
Kadema Lodge 693, F. and A. M. was organized 1859, with William Freese as master. Has about 100 members, and has just finished new lodge building known as Masonic Hall.
Knights of Pythias meets in Masonic Hall. Claude J. Goff is chancellor commander. It has about 60 members.
Old Fellows. Meet at Wick’s Hall.
Maccabees Lodge, reorganizing.
Eastern Star. Mrs. Charles M. Smith, matron, About 70 members.
George W. Squires conducts the Cairo Herald.
The town of Catskill was constituted in 1792, and was a part of the county of Ulster, according to an act of 1798. Upon the formation of Greene county in 1800, it was taken from Ulster with portions of Woodstock, and all that part of Catskill that lay west of the Mountain line was attached to Windham. Further territory was taken from Athens in 1815. Hezekiah Van Orden was the first supervisor and William Van Orden, Jr., clerk, in 1789. There were about 80 persons who were on the rate list, of what was called, Great Imbocght. They included the Abeels, Van Ordens, Person, Dumond, Overbaugh, Burger, Sax, Trombour, Musier, Fiero, Dederick Mower, Acker, Fox, Richtmyer, O’Brien, Hallembake, Brant, Sax, Britt, Strope, Duwit, Moore, Spaan, Woolf, Schram, Hill and others, antecedent of the present families.
Many of these people were also slave owners.
Reference to the schools, churches and taverns are found elsewhere in this record. Also reference to many of the early industries and persons.
Catskill Village had 5 dwelling in 1787, but in 1792 it had increased to such importance that a newspaper was established by Mackey Croswell, called the Catskill Packer, a facsimile of which, through the courtesy of the Catskill Recorder, we have reproduced. The growth was very rapid, and the village was soon the most important along the Hudson River, and around the year 1800 there were 2000 inhabitants, and it was announced that Catskill was to become the third, if not the second city in the state. In 1803 there were 12 wharves and a great trade had sprung up, which comprised freighting to New York and the shipping of goods to the interior of the state.
Catskill village was incorporated in 1806, and Stephen Day was the first president. The trustees were Garret Abeel, James Pinkney, John Blanchard, Caleb Benton, Hiland Hill, Stephen Root, Isaac Nichols; Orrin Day and John Du Bois were assessors; Isaac Du Bois was treasurer, and James Benton, collector.
A seal was adopted which resembled a potato bug with an x for a head.
Corporation bills for money were adopted in 1815.
Catskill was on the direct line to Ithaca, Delhi, and Binghamton. The building of the Schoharie and Susquehanna turnpike which started from Catskill and extended to Wattle’s Ferry on the Susquehanna river was one of the greatest events next to the building of the New York Central railroad and the Erie Canal, and for a great many years Catskill was the outlet of trade from the interior of the state. At the head of the turnpike project were Stephen Day, Pres., Martin Schuneman, Benjamin Van Orden, George Hale and others. This road had a capital stock of $12,000 and it was operated until 1856 when the line was operated only as far as Durham.
Many other turnpikes were built and operated, of which the Albany and Greene, Schoharie, Athens, Little Delaware, Blue Mountain, Cauterkill, Bristol now Malden, had turnpike roads, and the Canton Bridge company had a toll bridge a toll bridge at Canton, 1805, near F. C. Plusch’s. These turnpikes brought into existence many stage lines. Terrence Donnelly operated the first of these, under an act of the legislature, 1803. One of these lines was from Catskill to Unadilla, another to Ithaca, and all this helped to make Catskill the most important place on the Hudson.
The Catskill Agricultural and Horticultural Association was formed in 1865. Addison P. Jones, Isaac Pruyn, John H. Bagley, J. B. Hall, John T. Mann, Theodore Cole, Jacob Meech and Edgar Russell were the directors. The fair grounds were on the John B. Foote farm, in Jefferson. The grounds are now an orchard. The last fair was in 1873.
Catskill has four fine and well kept cemeteries: the village cemetery on Thompson and Spring streets, Catskill Rural, St. Patrick’s and Jefferson cemetery.
The present members of the Board of Trustees of the Catskill village are: Clarence Travis, Pres., Willis A. Haines, Philip Walsh, Henry R. Hinman, Oscar A. Freer. Clerk, Louis B. Decker; Collector, L. R. Magee; Assessor, William Joesbury; Corporation Counsel, Louis B. Malcolm.
The first organization of a fire department was in 1806 when a hand engine was in use, and all owners of property were compelled to have at least two buckets for fire purposes.
In 1825 Engine Company No. 2 and Engine Company No. 3 were organized. Two new engines were purchased in 1853. Seven cisterns were built in 1836, and these were filled up a few years since. Every Ready Company was organized in 1654 (likely 1854, SH), and F. N. Wilson Company the same year. Protection Engine Company, now Number One Hose and formerly Wiley Hose, was organized in 1855. F. J. Silsby Company, now Osborn Hose, was organized in 1874. Citizens Hose Company was organized in 1869. Citizens Hose Company and the Number 1 Hose Company own two of the finest parade carriages in the state. Citizens Hose Company was first to appear with a dazzling white dress uniform which, has been widely copied. In fact the several companies of Catskill have a uniform that leads all other fire companies. Each company occupies a splendid house, and own much of their equipment. Number 1 Hose has an auto fire truck, which is of great service in getting the apparatus quickly to a fire.
The Wilson Fire Company, Geo. Webster, forman, has in their possession one of the hand engines first used in this section. They got it in 1900 from Stephen Vining of Windham, and it was built in 1783, and is known as the Yankee. We show a picture of this curious little fire fighter, and it will be seen that it is still ready for business.
Not least of the fire companies is the Bomptje Hook Company Number 50, with a truck and hose house at the Point. John Fitzsimmons is president of this organization and the annual banquet is always an occasion of note.
The chief engineer of the fire department is Henry Place.
There is also a hose house on Broome street and a small house on Depot street equipped with cart an apparatus. In fire fighting Catskill leads the volunteer companies of the state.
The telegraph fire alarm system of boxes was installed in 80’s and the alarm is a bull whistle at the electric light station.
The Catskill water works were commenced in December, 1883 and finished in April, 1884, a pumping system, which with the mains and hydrants cost about $160,000. There are over 13 miles of mains, and about 130 hydrants. The water pressure is 80 pounds, and affords a fire protection that is unsurpassed. The plant has a good revenue and the outstanding bonds amount to only $37,000. They are due in 1916.
The member of the Catskill water board are: M. Edward Silberstein, Eugene Wayne, P. Gardner Coffin, E. A. Bennett and J. Clark Salisbury. In 1914 the board installed a hydrochlorite system for the purification of the water, which has since tested 100 per cent pure.
The superintendent is Egbert Beardsley, who succeeded William Comfort about ten years ago. Mrs. Beardsley is bookkeeper; William Shufelt, chief engineer; John E. Norton, night engineer; Patrick Dwyer, night fireman.
Catskill village has two fountains supplies with water from the spring on the H. L. Boughton lot, very excellent water for drinking purposes.
The police system of Catskill has Roscoe Miller. M. Miller as justice, Ira B. Gay as chief of police, Joseph Reilly patrolman, and in addition special officers are appointed for special service and important occasions.
At the head of Main street is located Pruyn Park, the very generous gift of Bank President James P. Philip, and this has been very well equipped and is well patronized in the summer. The village fathers also arranged a miniature park at the head of William street. The children of the schools are equipped with an out door gymnasium, the gift of J. P. Philip.
Catskill had a number of Insurance Companies. These are the Co-Operative, the Commerical Mutual, the Hon. O. V. Sage being president, and Hon. C. E. Bloodgood, secretary. The Catskill Mutual has William J. Hughes, as president, and Geo. Harding, secretary. These companies do a large business.
The Mercantile Co-Operative had William W. Bennet at the head.
The Catskill Savings and Loan Association was organized in 18879 as a building and loan association. It has an investment of $174,282. At the head of the corporation is Percival Goldin, pres.; Josiah C. Tallmadge, vice-pres.; Thomas E. Jones, sec’y; P. Gardner Coffin, treasurer, and William W. Bennett, attorney.
Among the Social Organizations of Catskill which have not already been mentioned are:
The Rip Van Winkle Club, Catskill, was organized in 1886, the Hon. James B. Olney being president. The club has flourished ever since and now owns a fine property on lower Main street. Willet C. Hunter is present.
Hendrick Hudson Lodge, I. O. of F. was organized in 1846. The present officers are: N. G., Frank Packer; V. G., Isaac R. Fitchett; Fin. Sec’y, J. G. Miller; Rec. Sec’y, Robert E. Brant; Treas., Clarence Travis.
Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Improved Order of Red Men, Knights of Pythias, Knights of Columbus, Protected Home Circle, Royal Areanum, Ancient Order of United Workmen, Modern Workmen of America, Deutscher Understeutungs Verein, Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Catskill Gun Club, Catskill Fish and Game Club.
The prominent business houses and dealers are:
Bottling Works—Bove & Coglianese.
Bakers—V. DelaMorte, William Klepser, William Deitz, Waldorf.
Bank—Catskill Savings, Tanners National, Catskill National
Barbers Shops—F. A. Kline William E. Brooks, Dominic Disantis, Con. Hammer, August Franz, Amin Smith, Alex Yannoni.
Blacksmiths—Willis A. Haines & Son, John Person, Theo. M. Smith, D. Delong, Harry Gehbauer.
Books and Stationery—L. R. Magee, Van Gorden & Co.
Brick Mfrs.—Tidewater Paving Co., Washburn & Co., Percival Goldin & Son.
Butchers—C. C. Bloom, Chasm. Ernest, Wm. Conine, Geo. Drumgold.
Candies—Catskill Candy Co., A. Cunningham.
Catskill Building & Loan Assn.
Cider and Vinegar—Amos Post, Signor & Nicoll
Cigar Manufacturers—Frank Knolls, G. Knoll, W. R. Maguire, P. A. Obert, C. Schaller, Con. Hammer.
Carriage Repository—Willis Haines & Son.
Catskill Glass Works.
Cement—Alpha Company, Alsen Co., and Sterling Corporation.
Clothiers—Abram Joseph, J. L. Goldberg, F. A. Stahl, Butler’s.
Coal Dealers—Wm. J. Hughes, Wm. H. Henderson, Chas. E. Place, O. V. Sage, Raymond Smith.
Dentists—W. A. Conklin, G. A. Englert, E. A. Bennett.
Electrical Contractor—Fred B. Horne.
Electrical Supplies—Electric Light Co.
Fish and Motorcycles—Field & Field.
Flour and Feed—A. Raynor, Salisbury & Austin.
Foundry—Catskill Foundry & Machine Works.
Florist—Henry Schmidt, Geo. Person, Henry Hansen.
Furniture and Undertaking—William Kortz, Deane & Deane.
Druggists—F. C. Clarke, L. B. Decker, E. M. Sedgwick, William L. Du Bois.
Garage—Amos Post, Peerless, Vermilyea Brothers, Catskill Automobile Co., Easton Beahr.
General Stores—The H. L. Boughton, L. R. & W. A. Doty, E. C. Church, Philip Richman, A. Richman, Fred Conklin, Geo. C. Church.
Groceries—Britt Brothers, Fred Woolhizer, William Davis, Howard C. Smith, Charles Ernest, Schubert Brothers, Hallenbeck Brothers, Frederick Palmatier, P. V. R. Timmerman, Clarence Travis, Geo. Swartwout, B. Coglianese, J. Battagalino, Matthew Shield, Etta Webber, Claude Garling, Waggoner Brothers, James Reardon, Lewis Van Loan.
Hardware—Day & Holt Co., Catskill Hardware Co., Frank Martin, Beardsley & Son.
Hair Dressing—E. Mink.
Harness—William Earle, J. M. Rouse.
Hotels—Central, Columbia, Commercial, Exchange, Hotel Dicarlo, Golden Stairs, Lynes Hotel, Germania, Rudolph, Hoy’s, Loud’s, Smith House, Saulpaugh, West Catskill, West Shore, Temperance Hotel, Irving Café.
Ice Cream—Pruyn Brandow, J. Valente, Arthur P. Fox, D. Mamaris.
Ice and Hay---Willis Haines, Ray Smith
Junk and Second Hand Goods—C. W. Ray.
Jewelers—J. A. Hill, Prentiss Hallenbeck.
Knit Goods—Union Mills Company
Liverymen—Bogardus & Son.
Lumber—Catskill Supply, Crawford & Smith.
Notions—Harry Smith, Wright’s, Florence Joesbury.
Marble Dealer—C. A. Noble.
Masons and Builders—Geo. W. Holdridge.
Music Store—H. N. Warden.
Photographs—Clark’s Kodak Store, Paul R. Morrison, C. E. Van Gorden.
Physicians—Geo. L. Branch, Frederick Goodrich, Wm. M. Rapp, L. B. Honeyford, Charles E. Williard, Robert Selden, Geo. Warren, Dr. DeSilva.
Plumbers—Adams & Spencer, J. F. Barnard, Day & Holt, Harry Boyne, Henry Hinman, H. T. Jones & Sons.
Printing—Daily Mail, Catskill Examiner, Catskill Enterprise, Catskill Recorder.
Restaurants—Exchange, New York, Smith’s.
Real Estate—O. T. Heath, J. L. Patrie, Geo. Harding.
Shoe Parlor—Harper Brothers.
Shoe Manufacturers—Louis Di Caprio, Camile Yannoni, Tony Peppi.
Shoes—Ahreet & Clussler, John J. Henderson, F. P. Smith, Welsh Est.
Sporting Goods—Michael Cimorelli.
Transportation—Catskill & N. Y. Steamboat Co., Catskill Ferry, Catskill and Albany Line, Saugerties and Hudson Line, Catskill Mtn. Ry., West Shore Ry., N. Y. C. & H. R. Ry., Catskill Street Ry.
Tailoring—S. Fontanella, I. Schmuckler.
Tea and Coffee—Union Pacific Tea Co., Atlantic & Pacific Co.
Telegraph—Postal Cable, Western Union.
Telephone—New York, Catskill Mountain.
Theatres—Irving Theatre, Nelida Theatre.
Union Mills Company.
Well Digger—Amos Post.
Wholesale Grocers—Salisbury & Austin.
Hudson Fulton Celebration
The greatest celebration ever held in Greene county was the Hudson-Fulton, Sept. 25 to Oct. 9, 1909. The crowd was variously estimated at from 10,000 to 12,000. The expense was borne in part by the state and the balance between $3000 and $4000 Catskill. The flotilla was met about two miles from Catskill, and escorted to the landing while the war vessels fired salutes, and the military bands and parade bands filled the air with their music. The fire alarm and all steam whistles were also tooted. This naval demonstration started in New York city, and wound up by visiting Newburgh, Pokeepsie, Kingston, Catskill, Hudson, Albany and Troy. Some of the great war vessels and some of the world’s greatest floats failed to reach Catskill on account of the depth of water being too shallow.
Program for the Day:
10:00 A. M.—Committee met and escorted the flotilla to
10:00 A. M.—Erection of flag pole and raising of flag at Greene County Home for Aged Women. Address by the Hon. Wm. P. Fiero.
11:00 A. M.—Arrival off Catskill of the Half Moon, Clermont, naval squadron, merchant marine, excursion boats and pleasure craft. Reception of the Half Moon by Athabasca Tribe of Red Men in canoes, bearing gifts of corn, etc.
9:30 to 11 A. M.—Concert by bands.
11:00 A. M.—Reception of all naval visitors.
12:00 noon—Address by Hon. Charles E. Hughes, Governor of the State of New York.
2:00 P. M.—Grand Parade.
3:30 P. M.—Special excursion to Catskill Mts. Under the auspices of the Holland Society.
4:00 P. M.—Baseball, Catskill against Coxsackie, for championship of the Hudson Valley. Catskill 7, Coxsackie 4.
4:00 to 5:00 P. M.—Band concerts.
4:30 P. M.—Reception to Governor Hughes.
8:00 P. M.—Pyrotechnical display.
9:00 P. M.—Military subscription ball at the Armory, under the auspices of Company E.
First Division—Visiting Marine and Sailors.
Second Division—Company K, N. G. N. Y., Pokeepsie, Company M, N. G. N. Y., Kingston, Company E, N. G. N. Y., Catskill, Morris Guards of Atlantic City, N. J.
Third Division—George HJ. Scott Hook & Ladder Company, Coxsackie, D. M. Hamilton Steamer Company, Coxsackie, Coxsackie Hose Company No. 3, D. W. Morgan Hose Company, Coxsackie, Osborn Hose Company, Catskill.
Fourth Division—Hunter Hose Company, Jacob Fromer Hose Company, Tannersville, Junior Hose Company, Tannersville. Citizens Hook & Ladder Company, Tannersville, Hose Company No. 1, Catskill.
Fifth Division—Cornell Hook & Ladder Company, New Baltimore, Laflin Hose Company, Saugerties, Windham Fire Company, F. N. Wilson Fire Company, Catskill.
Sixth Division—Rescue Hook & Ladder Company, Athens, Morton Steamer Company, Athens, Makawomuc Engine Company, Athens, Citizens Hose Company, Catskill.
Seventh Division—G. A. R., Athabasca Tribe of Red men, Carriages, Business Men’s floats.
Next to the great Hudson-Fulton celebration, the greatest celebration ever held in Greene county was that of Old Home Week, Oct. 4 to 7, 1908 in Catskill. The ball was set rolling on Sunday with services in the several churches and St. Patrick’s church had a parade in memory of the Rev. William P. Finneran, unveiling his monument. Attorney William E. Thorpe made the address at the cemetery, several thousand person being present. The church parade was half a mile long.
The Rev. C. G. Hazard, the Rev. R. E. Bell, the Rev. E. P. Miller, the Rev. Mr. Rockwell, the Rev. Clark Wright, the Rev. W. H. S. Demarest, were among the Sunday speakers.
Monday was devoted to a business men’s parade.
There were in line:
Ashland Band, Greene County Society, Watson Post, G. A. R., W. B. Grant, Com., Hudson City Band, Athabasca Tribe of Red Men, with float, Catskill Council K. of Columbus, with floats, Knights of Maccabbes, with floats, Protected Home Circle, with float, Pruyn Drum Corps, Holy Name Society, Floats of all leading business houses.
Tuesday was devoted to School Parade and Carnival.
Catskill Schools pupils dressed in white carrying flags and banners, St. Patrick’s school wit two floats, children carrying large flag.
10th Regt. Band, Albany, 3d Battalion 10th Regt., Company E. Catskill, Capt, Saulpaugh, com., Company F., Hudson, Company K, Pokeepsie, Hudson Band, Jacob Fromer Hose Co., Tannersville, Hunter Hose Company, Pruyn Drum Corps, Hose Company 1 of Catskill, Veteran Firemen, Athens Band, Morton Steamer Co., Athens, Saugerties Band, Osborn Hose Co., Catskill, Co. F. Drum Corps, Hudson, Mackawomuck Engine Co., Athens, F. N. Wilson Fire Co., Catskill, Rogers Drum Corps, Hudson, Rescue Hook and Ladder Co., Athens, Cornell Hook and Ladder Co., New Baltimore, Gartland’s Band of Albany, Citizens Hose Co., Catskill.
At the armory, 2000 people listened to addresses by Pres. Charles A. Elliott, Ira B. Kerr, Wm. E. Thorpe, and others. The Trojan Quartette entertained.
Exercises at the Nelida theatre comprised addresses by Hon. William P. Fiero, Mr. Colvin and others, The list of home comers ran into the hundreds. All were handsomely entertained by relatives or the committee.
The elections for November, 1915, resulted in the election of George H. Chase, Assemblyman, over John Sanford, Charles A. Post for Sheriff, over Frank D. Overbagh, both of Catskill, and of William B. Donahue for County Clerk, over Geo. B. Van Valkenburgh, both of Catskill. The Board of Supervisors was carried by the Republicans by 9 to 5.
Ashland—H. Clay Ferris, R.
Athens—Harold R. Evory, R.
Cairo—Floyd F. Jones, R.
Catskill—Herman C. Cowen, R.
Coxsackie—Albert W. Pierce, D.
Durham—William C. Latta, D.
Greenville—Lewis Hoose, D.
Halcott—Eli C. Morse, R.
Hunter—Elmer E. Pelham, R.
Jewett—George E. Lockwood, R.
Lexington—George D. Rappleyea, R.
New Baltimore—Dale S. Baldwin, D.
Prattsville—Elmer Krieger, R.
Windham—William J. Soper
J. Henry Deane
J. Henry Dean was born Nov. 22, 1855, at New Baltimore, at the place called Deane’s mills. His father, Francis W. Deane, was a miller at that time and continued at that profession in the town of Westerlo, Albany county, between Indian Fields and Dormasville, until 1866, when he gave up the mill and moved to a farm at Greenville, which is still owned by J. Henry Deane.
On Nov. 22, 1876, J. Henry Deane married Mary C. Losee, daughter of Stephen A. Losee, and in the spring of 1879, moved to Austin, Illinois, where he entered the employ of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, with office at Chicago. He remained with the company and on a visit to his old home he was induced by his father to return to the farm, which he did in 1884. He remained on the farm for 4 years, but prices for farm produce were so low (hay selling for from $8 to $10 per ton) he decided to give up the farming which he did in 1888, and moved to Catskill, where he entered the employ of the Catskill Mountain railroad Company. He remained with them for 2 years, when he gave up railroading and became a clerk in the furniture store of Post & Deane, after first going to New York City and taking a course in embalming, with Prof. A. Raymond, recognized as the best teacher of the art in this country. In 1892 he purchased the interest of W. A. Post in the furniture and undertaking business, and the firm of Post & Deane was changed to Deane & Deane, Dr. J. A. Deane, an uncle, being the senior partner. In 1910 George A. Deane, his son, purchased the interest of Dr. J. A. Deane, and the father and son became partners. Their increasing business demanding more room in 1914 they moved to their new store No. 439-441 Main street where they have one of the largest and finest furniture stores in the state.
During his residence in Catskill, J. Henry Deane has served as president of the Rip Van Winkle Club, president of the Board of trustees of the village of Catskill, coroner of Green county for 4 years, and is now serving his third successive term as supervisor of the town. Mr. Deane is associated with the Masons, Rip Van Winkle Club, Red Men, Protected Home Circle, and is a trustee of the Presbyterian church.
Catskill Savings Bank, Catskill,
This institution which is the only one of its kind in the county was incorporated by Chapter 96 of the Laws of the State of New York, passed April 1, 1868.
Its first Trustees were its incorporators, none of whom survive, namely:
S. Sherwood Day, John Breasted, Samuel Harris, Rufus H. King, Jacob H. Meech, George Griffin, Elijah P. Bushnell, Frederick Cooke, John H. Bagley, Jr., Burton G. Morse, John A. Griswold, Luke Roe, Edwin N. Hubbell, Sheldon A. Givens, Charles L. Beach, George Beach. George Robertson, Isaac Pruyn, John M. Donnelly, Francis N. Wilson, Nelson Fanning, Manly B. Mattice, Edgar Russell, and Joseph Hallock.
Its present Trustees are Orrin Day, Jeremiah Day, W. Irving Jennings, Emory A. Chase, William Palmatier, Lucius R. Doty, Charles E. Bassett, George S. Lewis, William H. Van Orden, Frank H. Osborn, Albert F. Bloodgood, William J. Hughes, Omar V. Sage, Addison P. Jones and James Lewis Malcolm.
The following Trustees have served as President since the bank’s organization in the order named: John Breasted, S. Sherwood Day, Rufus H. King, Joseph Hallock, Manley B. Mattice and W. Irving Jennings.
The executive officers for many years have been and are: W. Irving Jennings President, Emory A. Chase 1st Vice President, Jeremiah Day 2nd Vice President, and Secretary, and Orrin Day Treasurer.
From its organization until June, 1909, the business of the bank was conducted in the banking room of the Tanners National Bank of Catskill, since which time it has occupied its new building, shown on the head of this page, No. 343 Main Street.
The bank’s total resources January 1, 1915, based on investment or amortized value of securities were $3,797,400.55, which are carefully invested as required by Law and subject to the supervision of the State Banking Department.
George W. Holdridge
George W. Holdridge was born in the town of Catskill,
Greene county, October 20, 1847. His father was James Holdridge and his
mother, Sarah Lane, James Holdridge was a son of Isaac Holdridge and Hannah Pettit.
The Holdridge family of English descent and moved from
Connecticut to Lexington, Greene county where they lived until 1814
when they moved to Catskill and purchased a tract of land situated at the foot of Round Top Mountain, part of which is now owned
by the shale brick company.
The Pettit family came from France and settled on Long
Island. Later they moved to Hurley, Ulster county, and from there to
Lexington. Hannah Pettit had two brothers, Amos and Hezekiah, who resided in the town of Lexington. Hezekiah was born in 1779
and died in 1852. For fifty years he was pastor of the Baptist church on Lexington flats, being widely known as Elder Pettit. He
served without pay most of the time.
Andrew Lane, father of Mr. Holdridge’s mother came from England and settled in Dutchess county. About 1800 they moved to Ulster county. He served in the 2d regiment during the Revolutionary War.
At the age of 13 George W. Holdridge came to Catskill and was apprenticed to A. & B. Wiltse in the foundry that is now the Catskill Machine Works, and was to receive $50 per year until he became 21. But after 8 months he received $4 and went to work for John Hardwick and Robert E. Ferrier, where he ran the engine for 3 years, doing his own firing, and shoveling daily 16 loads of sand into the pit. He received $1 per day and board. At the close of the brick season he went to work for William H. Finch, to learn the mason’s trade.
In 1865 he listed in the U.S. Navy, going first to the Vermont and later the Shenango. The boat was sent south and arrived at Charleston, Feb. 18, 1865, the morning following its evacuation by the Rebels. The city had been set on fire, and he helped put it out. Later on they captured a Rebel boat, the Olivia, laden with cotton.
Sailing down the Black River they dispersed 300 Rebel Guerilla Cavalry and took a large quantity of provisions from them. Being transferred from the Shenango to the Kansas they were ordered to the West Indies, later to Brazil and the Falkland Islands. They had many rough and exciting experiences, and plenty of hardship, and at one time for 15 days were on an allowance of a half pint of water per man. April 13, 1867, he was paid off and discharged from the navy.
In 1868 he started to work for L. S. and William Smith at Catskill, and in 1870 formed a partnership with William Ruland as contractor and builder. In 1881 he went by himself and since that time has forged to the front as one of the best builders of brick and stonework in Greene county. Among the many splendid structures that he has erected are the Catskill Armory, St. Luke’s church, the Young Men’s Christian Association building, the Carnegie Library, the Irving School building, the Grandview School building, St. Patrick’s Academy, Parochial residence, number 1 and number 5 engine hoses, and the Rowena Memorial School building at Palenville, a picture of which is to be seen elsewhere this book. And many other structures.
He was a member of the Catskill fire department from 1871 to 1888, and 2 years chief. He served the town of Catskill as collector 1872-3, trustee of the village 1894-96, being president of Board in 1896. In 1897 he was honored by the county by election as sheriff, serving with distinction during 1898-1900, the jail being then as it was the time Mrs. Beardsley purchased the property. (See account of Heidelberg.)
Mr. Holdridge has always taken an active part in the upbuilding of Catskill, and had been a trustee of the Catskill Methodist church since 1892.
He was married to Hannah M. Dederick Jan. 4, 1871, and had 5 children, Frank, who died at the age of 13 years, Harry, who was killed by the cars at Alsen, Jan 16, 1910. Harry was married to Anna May Richardson, Sept. 6, 1905, and they had one son, George Frederick. There are now living Walter H., Florence, and May Holdridge. Walter married Adaline Craigie of Catskill and they reside in New York where he has a fine medical practice. They have one son, Walter Henry. Florence married Frank H. Cooke. They are living in Catskill and have one child, Marie Holdridge. May is still living at the old home.
On July 1, 1908, Mr. Holdridge married Marie Burger, who takes an active interest in church, Y. M. C. A. and firemanic work as well as her home on Division street.
Mr. Holdridge has a large and well equipped contracting supply plant on the West Side, and employs a large number of skilled mechanics who are generously paid and always take great interest in his work.
The residence of Mr. Holdridge on Division street, adjoins his supply plant, and is a very handsome building, located on a well kept terrace and surrounded by a flower garden.
Free and Accepted Masons
The institution of Masonry early appealed to the
prominent citizens of Catskill, and within ten years of the close of the
Revolutionary war, when a time of settled peace had given opportunity to the
people in the long harassed Hudson river valley to turn their minds to other
things than war, on the 11th of December, 1792, to be exact, a
petition bearing ten names asking for organization of a Masonic lodge at
Catskill was forwarded to the Grand Lodge.
The petition was granted, and Harmony Lodge No. 31, F. & A. M., was
instituted by charter dated September 3, 1793, signed by Robert R. Livingston,
Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York. The Charter members of
the lodge were Jacob Bogardus, Stephen Day, Samuel Haight, Rufus Stanley, George
Taylor, Dr. Thomas Thomson, Hezekiah Van Orden, and W. W. Wetmore, men whose
names survive as landmarks of an earlier time in Catskill history. Samuel Haight was the first master of the lodge, Stephen Day
senior warden and Dr. Thomson junior warden. The lodge increased in membership
up to the year 1800, when it numbered 48, after which it declined and probably
went out of existence in 1805.
The second Masonic lodge organized here was Catskill Lodge No. 302, F. & A. M., by charter dated March 4, 1818, signed with the illustrious name of M. W. DeWitt Clinton, then Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York. There were thirteen charter members, and the first officers were: Caleb Benton, W. M.; Cornelius DuBois, S. W.; Thomas Hale, J. W. This lodge occupied rooms which had been fitted up for the purpose by Francis Botsford, in the third story of the building now known as the Selleck building, at the corner of Main and Thomson streets. These rooms were plainly but substantially furnished and at that time were considered ideal lodge rooms. No. 302 held together during the height of the anti-masonic wave that swept over the country from 1827 to 1830, having an active membership of 40 in June, 1829, but it declined after that date, becoming extinct on the 4th of June, 1835.
It was another generation that again revived Masonry in Catskill, a quarter of a century having elapsed before the institution of another lodge here. This took place in 1859, when by dispensation granted February 10th, Catskill Lodge No. 468 was organized with the following charter members: John H. Bagley, jr., James Becker, Peter Baurhyte, Samuel DuBois, David S. Manchester, George L. France, Luke Kiersted, Rufus H. King, A. Melvin Osborne, T. C. Palmer and Isaac Pulver. The lodge first met in a hall in the Cook building at the corner of Main street and Bank Alley, now occupied by the Grand Army of the Republic, and here it was formally instituted June 27, 1859, with the following officers: John H. Bagley, jr., W. M.; T. C. Palmer, S. W.; James Becker, J. W.; Samuel DuBois secretary; Rufus H. King, treasurer; Isaac Pulver, S. D.; A. M. Osborne, J. D.; D. Manchester, tyler.
On the 1st of May, 1863, the lodge room was moved to Martin’s hall in the building now occupied by Beardsley’s hardware store. Some five years later Charles E. French erected a building further up Main street, nearly to the corner of Church street, and the lodge leased the third floor of this building from the 1st of January, 1869. Ten years later, on the 1st of May, 1879, another move was made, to the Oliver Bourke building, in the hall now used by the Knights of Columbus. The stay here was longer, but in 1894 another move was made to what is known as Cowles hall, which was in fact the old location in the French building, over the present location of the telephone exchange.
But as the lodge grew in numbers and influence the question of owning a building was brought to the front, and a building fund was started and added to each year up to 1907, when it was used in the purchase of the Irving House property at the corner of Main and Clark streets. This property was, however, soon after taken by the county as part of the location of the new court house, so the matter rested for another year. In 1909, on the advice of the trustees of the lodge, Ira B. Kerr, I. Wheeler Brandow and William H. Hallenbeck, and of the worshipful master, J. Henry Deane, the old court house property, at the corner of Franklin and Bridge streets, was purchased from the county. Extensive alterations were made in the building to fit it for Masonic purposes, with the result that here is one of the finest lodge rooms along the Hudson river. The new rooms were first occupied at the communication of September 1st, 1910, and the building, now properly designated the Masonic Temple, was formally dedicated to the uses of Free and Accepted Masonry with impressive ceremonies on the 7th of February, 1912. Howard C. Wilbur, worshipful master, made the presentation, and the dedication ceremonies were conducted by M. W. Robert Judson Kenworthy, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York, and the following staff: John J. MacCoun senior grand warden, Christopher C. Molienhouer junior grand warden, Jon H. Sanford Deputy Grand Master, William E. Stevens Grand Chaplain, H. Greeley Brown Grand Secretary, Mayhew W. Bronson Grand Treasurer, Jacob C. Klinck Grand Marshal. There were more than 400 Master Masons present on this occasion, members of Catskill Lodge and visitors.
Under the auspices of Catskill Lodge No. 468, F. & A. M., the corner stone of the new Greene Co. court house was laid with proper ceremony, Thursday, Nov.12, 1908 (A. L. 5908), at 1:15 P.M., by the Grand Lodge of the Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York. The acting officers of the Grand Lodge present were: R. W. Charles Smith Grand Master, R. W. Samuel Stern Deputy Grand Master, R. W. Ira B. Kerr Grand Senior Warden, R. W. Richard A. Anstin Grand Junior Warden, R. W. Sanford W. Smith Grand Treasurer, R. W. Henry Hudson Grand Secretary, R. W. William W. Chace Grand Marshal, Bro. Clark Wright D. D. Grand Chaplain, Bro. William J. Beardsley Grand Architect. Lafayette Commandery No. 7, Knights Templar, of Hudson, Edward W. Scovil, E. C., served as escort to the grand officers. There were in attendance representatives from the following Masonic Lodges: Ark Lodge No. 48, Coxsackie; Oak Hill; Catskill Lodge No. 468, Catskill; Mountain Lodge No. 529, Windham; James M. Austin Lodge No. 557, Greenville; Kedemah Lodge No. 693, Cairo; Social Friendship Lodge No. 741, New Baltimore; Mount Tabor Lodge No. 807 Hunter.
The successive worshipful master of Catskill lodge have been: John H. Bagley, jr., Charles C. Givens, John H. Bagley [2d time], James E. Nearing, Jacob S. Philip, James E. Nearing [2d time], A. Melvin Osborne, John H. Bagley [3d time], James Becker, Charles H. Pierson, John F. Sylvester, George C. Fox, Charles H. Pierson [2d time], Stephen M. Bagley, William J. Hughes, Charles H. Pierson [3d time], Orrin G. Selden, Abram P. Kerley, Will R. Post, Charles H. Bennett, Robert Selden, William W. Bennett, George H. Warner, William R. Maguire, Henry T. Jones, Samuel B. Doty, Charles G. Coffin, Charles E. Carey, William R. Maguire [2d time], Ira B. Kerr, Frederick A. H. Dewald, J. Rodney Magee, W. Plat Fisher, J. Henry Deane, George H. Terns, Howard C. Wilbur, Archie D. Clow.
Catskill lodge is in the 15th Masonic district, of the State of New York, which comprises Greene and Ulster counties. It has produced two grand lodge officers, R. W. John H. Bagley and R. W. Ira B. Kerr, both of whom held the position of District Deputy Grand Master. The lodge grows steadily influence and membership, its active list in 1914 carrying 236 names. The lodge officers for 1914 are as follows: Claude H. Heat, W. M.; Jon Henry Felter, S. W.; George A. Deane, J. W.; R. D. Miller, Secretary; James P. Philip, Treasurer, Frank L. Vedder, S. D.; Lewis R. Magee, J. D.; Earl C. Sandt, S. M. C.; George W. Parks, J. M. C.; Jeremiah E. Crawford, Edward M. Sedgwick, Stewards; Rev. G. H. P. Grout, Rev. J. W. Tetley, Rev. Wallace J. Gardner, Jay D. Hopkins, Chaplains; J. Lewis Patrie, Marshal; Frederick Becker, Tyler. Regular Communications of Catskill Lodge are held every Wednesday evening at 7:30. Later—Officers for 1915, John Henry Felter, W. M.; Frank L. Vedder, S. W.; Leis R. Magee, J. W; Roscoe D. Miller, Secretary; J. P. Philip, Treasurer; Earl C. Sandt, S. D.; George W. Parks, S. D; Seth T. Cole, S. M. C.; Euberto Austin, J. M. C.; Frank S. Mackey, Elmer E. Whitcomb, Stewards; Rev. G. H. P. Grout, Rev. J. W. Tetley, Rev. Wallace J. Gardner, Jay D. Hopkins, Chaplains; J. Lewis Patrie, Marshal; Clarence A. Noble, Tyler; William H. Hollenbeck, Ira B. Kerr, I. W. Brandow, Trustees.
Catskill Masonic Club organized in 1912 to give members of the order greater advantages for social intercourse. All master masons are eligible to membership and can become members of the league of Mason Clubs on payment of a small fee. The club rooms are located on the ground floor of the Masonic Temple and are open every day and evening in the year. Its past presidents are James P. Philip, Jay D. Hopkins and Claude H. Heath. Present Officers: Archie D. Clow, president; Clarence A. Noble, J. Henry Felter, vice-president; Euberto Austin, treasurer; Earl C. Sandt, secretary; Frank L. Vedder, collector; George H. Warner, George S. Lewis, Jay D. Hopkins, J. Henry Deane, Howard C. Wilbur, Howard C. Smith, Charles H. Arbogast, governors.
We are indebted to F. E. Craigie, editor of the Examiner for the history of the Masonic lodges of Greene county.