History of Greene County
1651 – 1800
J. Van Vechten Vedder
Originally published in 1927 by Authority of
the Greene county Board of Supervisors
Transcribed by Arlene Goodwin
Mrs. Vedder, the talented County Historian of Greene County, having requested that I supply copy for the first Report of the County Historian, it is my bounded duty and great pleasure to do so.
I take it that whatever is to grace these pages must be pronouncedly historic in character. Not yet has there been written a comprehensive history of this County, though certain very valuable publications detailing local historic fact and fancy, intermingled, have appeared. It is exceedingly difficult to measure or appreciate the true value of recorded incidents of to-day in the light of their significance to-morrow.
The broadmindedness of the Board of Supervisors of Greene County in establishing the office of County Historian, as was done in the session of 1924; and, also, to provide for binding the maps and records of the County in substantial and accessible form, should be a subject of pride and gratification to everyone. Interest in these matters should not cease, but increase as the years go by, and these worthy projects sustained.
In the space allotted me, it may be well to record here for permanent reference some facts relating to the County, its political unites, and a few references to early settlers and land titles.
In accordance with the spirit of the time fightings within and fightings without marked the earliest history of the section, as elsewhere. Both the English and the Dutch claimed the territory. The English based their claim upon Cabot’s discovery (1497) under Commission from Henry VII. In 1501 Henry VII issued a Patent to colonize the new world. But no colony was planted. Both the French and the English had colonies before the coming of the Dutch. The Dutch based their claim upon the discoveries of Hendrick Hudson (1609). Probably the first white settlement in the present State of New York was on Manhattan Island in the year 1612, by the Dutch. It has been contended that the first Dutch colonization was when the Walloons were brought over from Holland in 1623. The conflicting claims between the Dutch and the English as to the right to the territory of what is now Long Island and eastern New York, including what is now Greene County, brought about bitter controversies and hostilities.
In 1664 the English, by conquest, obtained possession of all the Hudson Valley and the lands claimed by the Dutch; and, while the Dutch for a brief time regained possession, it was soon forcibly repossessed by the English and ever remained under their rule until the present government of the United States was instituted following the Declaration of Independence.
It may be noted that while religious persecutions and adventure led to the settlements of New England and the English colonies, as they became known, the desire for gain by trade, and nothing else, led to the founding of New Netherland by the Dutch, under the Dutch West India Company.
The manorial idea of settlement was favored, and the original patron was Kilian van Rensselaer, but who never left Holland for this country. He sent a few settlers over in 1630. His manorial possessions included very extensive areas on both sides of the Hudson river. He claimed as far south as to include the present town of Catskill. This part of his title to lands was disputed by the Dutch governors and governor generals, and eventually was released to them. When New Netherland passed to the English in 1664, the Van Rensselaer estates were confirmed to the family and not confiscated, as the then patron (Jeremias Van Rensselaer) took oath of allegiance to the English Crown, and he renewed his patent under the Duke of York.
In 1632 a Judicial system consisting of a schout and a court of schepens was laid out for Rensselaerwick. It was the first local court established in New Netherlands. The first schout was Jacob Albertsen Planck, followed by Adraen van der Donck.
There were clashings and quarrels as to authority between the patrons and the director generals and the governors under the Dutch, creating, among other things, disputes as to earliest land titles.
Under the English, and the Duke’s Laws, so-called (The Duke of York’s laws) no purchase of land from the Indians should be valid without a license from the governor, and the purchaser must bring the sachem or right owner before him to confess satisfaction. See Chester’s “Legal and Judicial History of New York,” vol. I, 158-163.
Nov. 1st, 1683, the Colony of New York was divided into twelve original counties. Those having direct relation to the present county of Greene were Albany and Ulster. The dividing line on Hudson’s river, between these two counties appears to have been Murderer’s Creek, in the village of Athens.
It is interesting to learn that in 1797 the then town of Freehold had 20 schools, principally log huts, with 949 children attending school in that year. Compare this with the attendance in district schools to-day. See Land Papers, Vo., No. 5, Office State Engineer and Surveyor, Albany.
In 1795 the first attempt was made to establish a system of common schools by legislative enactment. See Law of 1795, Chap. 75.
The County was named in honor of General Nathaniel Greene of Revolutionary War fame. Its area is scarcely appreciated. It contains 643 square miles of territory as given by the Federal census of 1920. Some of the very wildest territory in the Catskill Mountains is within its confines, as, for instance, Platau Mountain, extending westwardly from Overlook Mountain to the Stone Clove. It is an absolute safe statement to make that no one person in the County has as yet fished in all its several streams. The Catskills, formerly often called the Blue Mountains, how they conjure eerie thoughts, with their legends and but half told tales of early settlers and hunters, striving against nature and wild beast! Halsey in his Old New York Frontier refers to Akra (Acra) as a settled place as early as 1754 mentioning a settler by name Beach; and that to stand off the wolves at night, on the slow journey from the Hudson to the Susquehanna through an unbroken wilderness, was a fearsome daily experience.
A reference to the political organization of the County, and of the several towns, disclosed by following:
The County was erected by Chapter 59 of the Laws of 1800, passed March 25, 1800, entitled, “An act to erect parts of the county of Ulster and Albany into a separate county.” There appear to have been two entire towns from Ulster County, and two from Albany County. These towns were Catskill and Windham (and a portion of Woodstock) from Ulster County; and Coxsackie and Freehold from Albany County. The act provides as follows:
“Be it enacted by the people of the State of New York, represented in the Senate and Assembly. That all those parts of counties of Albany and Ulster, beginning at Hudson river, on the line between the towns of Kingston, thence along the town of Catskill, running along the south east bounds of the town of Catskill, to the northeast corner of the town of Kingston, thence along the town of Kingston opposite to the southeast corner of the said town of Windham, thence along the southerly bounds thereof, to the county of Delaware, thence along the division line between the town and county aforesaid, to the northwest corner of said town, and to the southerly boundary of the town of Freehold, thence westerly to the most westerly extremity of the said town of Freehold, thence easterly along the northerly bounds of said town of Freehold, thence easterly along the northerly bounds of said town of Freehold and Coxsackie, to the north east corner thereof, thence to the middle of Hudson’s river aforesaid, thence down the middle of said river to the intersection of a line drawn from the place of beginning easterly on the course of the line first mentioned, and thence to the place of beginning, shall be and hereby is erected into a distinct county by the name of Green.”
“And be it further enacted. That all that part of Woodstock included in said county of Green, shall be, and is hereby declared to be part of the town of Catskill.”
By Chapter 123 of the laws of 1801 the state was divided into counties and the counties were bounded. The boundaries of the county of Greene are as follows:
“The county of Green to contain all that part of this State bounded southerly by the county of Ulster and part of the county of Delaware, as hereafter described: easterly by the middle of Hudson’s river; north and north westerly by a line drawn west from the southernmost part of Bearen island in said river to the southwest corner of the manor of Rensselaerwyck, and a line drawn from thence to the place where the line formerly run from the head of Katters creek issuing out the southerly side or end of a certain late or pond lying in the Blue mountains to small lake called Utsayantho intersects to Schoharie creek and westerly by the said county of Delaware.”
By Chapter 163 of the laws of 1801 the counties were divided into towns and bounded. The county of Green was composed of four towns, Catskill, Windham, Freehold and Coxsackie and are bounded as follows:
“And that all that part of the county of Green bounded southerly and westerly by the county of Ulster and by a line continued from the northwest corner of the town of Kingston in the county of Ulster to the head of Katterskill creek where the same issues out of the southerly side or end of a certain lake or pond lying in the Blue mountains and from thence in a direct course towards the small lake Utsyantho till it intersects a line beginning at the south bank of the month of the Murderer’s kill at Lunenburgh and running from thence north eighty degrees west to the said intersection and northerly by the said last mentioned line shall be and continue a town by the name of Catskill.
And all that part of said county of Green bounded southeasterly, southerly and westerly by the bounds of the county easterly by a line running from the northwest corner of Kingston in the county of Ulster, northerly by Catskill and by the southwesterly line of Catskill continued in the same direction to the bounds of the county shall be and continue a town by the name of Windham.
And all that part of the said county of Green bounded northerly by the county of Albany, westerly by Windham and the west bounds of the county, southerly by Catskill and easterly by Coeymans confirmation and a south line to be drawn from the southwest corner thereof to the town of Catskill shall be and continue a town by the name of Freehold.
And that all that party of the said county of Green bounded westerly by Freehold, southerly by Catskill, northerly by the county of Albany and easterly by the county Columbia shall be and continue a town by the name of Coxsackie.”
Chapter 52 Laws of 1803.
Town of Canton formed from parts of the towns of Catskill, Coxsackie and Freehold.
Town of Greenfield formed by parts of towns of Coxsackie and Freehold.
All those several parts of the towns of Catskill and Freehold lying west and southerly of the summit of Catskill Mountains shall be and hereby annexed to the town of Windham.
By Chapter 57 of the laws of 1805 it was provided: “That the town of Freehold in the county of Greene shall hereafter be called and known by the name of Durham.”
By Chapter 127 of the laws of 1808 the name of the town of Canton in the county of Greene was changed to Cairo. The name of the town of Greenfield in the county of Greene was changed to Freehold.
By Chapter 78 of the laws of 1809 the name of the town of Freehold was changed to the town of Greenville.
By Chapter 46 of the laws of 1812 entitled “An Act of alter the division line between the counties of Ulster and Greene” it was provided:
“Whereas it appears that ever since the erection of the county of Greene the division line between that county and the county of Ulster has been supposed to run form the northeasterly bounds of great lot number eight in the Hardenburgh patent then easterly to the north end of the Shens lake and the same line continues to the west bounds of the town of Kingston in the said county of Ulster: And whereas it also appears that by the act entitled “an act to divide the State into counties” the division line between said counties runs from the southwest bounds of said lot number eight to the north end of Shens lake which if adhered to would produce great inconvenience to the freeholders and inhabitants residing between the lines aforesaid, for remedy whereof,
I: Be it enacted by the people of the state of New York represented in senate and assembly That from and after the passing of this act the division line between the counties of Ulster and Greene shall begin at the point where the division line between the counties of Ulster and Delaware intersects the line run form the northeasterly bounds of great lot number eight in the Hardenburgh’s patent, thence southeasterly along the said line until it intersects the line run by Jacob Trombour junior in the year one thousand eight hundred and eleven for the division between the counties of Ulster and Greene thence along the last mentioned line easterly to the west bounds of the town of Kingston in Ulster County.”
By Chapter 45 of the laws of 1811 the town of New Baltimore was erected from the town of Coxsackie.
Chapter 15 of the laws of 1813 entitled An Act for dividing the town of Windham into three towns is as follows:
“Be it enacted by the people of the state of New York represented in Senate and Assembly That all that part of the town of Windham in the county of Greene lying east of the easterly line of great lot number twenty two in the Hardenburgh patent and south of the height of land between the east kill and the great hollow be erected into a separate town by the name of Greenland and that the first town meeting in the said town of Greenland be held at the house of Daniel Bloomer in said town; That all that part of the said town of Windham lying northwardly of the last mentioned line and of the height of land between Batavia and the south mountain settlement crossing the highway leading from John Tuttle’s to Abel Holcomb’s at a hemlock sapling standing on the east side of said road marked R. D. and crossing the Schoharie Kill on the south line of lot number eighteen in the subdivision of lot number twenty in said Hardenburgh patent and running from thence westerly to the county of Delaware be erected into a separate town by the name of Windham; and that the first town meeting in the said town of Windham shall be held at the house of John Tuttle in said town; and that all the remaining part of the said town of Windham shall be erected into a separate town by the name of New Goshen and that the first town meeting in the said town of New Goshen shall be held at the house of Abel Holcomb in said town.”
By Chapter 66 of the laws of 1813 the town of New Goshen in the county of Greene was changed to the name of Lexington.
By Chapter 211 of the laws of 1814 all that part of the town of Greenland in the county of Greene lying to the eastward of a certain line beginning in the south bounds of said town of Greenland eighty chains south eighty degrees west from the southeast corner thereof and to run from thence north twenty four degrees east to the Caderskill thence down the same to the east bounds of said town be annexed to and from and after the passing of this act shall form a part of the town of Saugerties in the county of Ulster and that the remaining part of said town of Greenland shall be a town by the name of Hunter.
By Chapter 43 of the laws of 1815 the town of Athens was erected from the towns of Catskill and Coxsackie.
Chapter 66 of the laws of 1816 perfects the boundaries of the town of Athens.
By Chapter 243 of the laws of 1822 part of the town of Saugerties was annexed to the town of Catskill.
By Chapter 251 of the laws of 1823 it was provided that the islands in the Hudson river or so much thereof as belongs to any of the inhabitants of the county of Greene known by the name of Scutters Island, Little Island, and Willow Island being parts of the town of Kinderhook in the county of Columbia county be and the same hereby are annexed to the town of New Baltimore, Greene County.
By Chapter 138 of the laws of 1822 it is reported “Whereas the town clerk’s office of the said town (Durham) and the records therein were consumed by fire on the 24th day of February last and whereas great inconvenience and loss may arise there from unless legislative aid be given, therefore,” provision is made for certified copy of the records.
By Chapter 54 of the laws of 1833 the town of Prattsville was formed from the town of Windham.
By Chapter 31 of the laws of 1836 the town of Durham was annexed to the town of Broome in the County of Schoharie.
By an Act of Page 150 of the laws of 1848 the town of Ashland was erected.
By an Act of Page 208 of the laws of 1848 a part of the town of Hunter was annexed to the town of Lexington. Chap. 125 passed Mch. 25, 1848.
By an Act on page 808 of the laws of 1850 the town of Jewett was erected.
By an Act on Page 705 of the laws of 1852 the town of Halcott was erected.
By an act on Page 722 of the laws of 1852 a part of the town of Jewett was annexed to the town of Lexington.
By Chapter 911 of the laws of 1866 the line between the town of Hunter and Jewett was changed.
In passing, it may not be amiss to call attention to a very curious situation that arose when the town of Jewett was erected. That is, a portion of the town of Hunter, lying westerly of South Jewett settlement, and against the mountain southerly of the Schoharie Kill, was not included in the new town of Jewett. This leaves a portion of the town of Hunter, in the location to which reference is here made, surrounded by the towns of Lexington and Jewett, like an island. This came to my attention in the process of my work as title examiner, and may be clearly demonstrated. It is a condition that should be corrected.
Space will scarcely permit reference to the grants of land and patents, conveying land to individuals or companies. The history of certain patents alone would take space sufficient to make a good size book, if fully written. Some of the principal patents are: Certain Great Lots of the Hardenburgh Patent, as Nos. 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 48 and 49, The State Land Tract, The Catskill Patent (so-called generally) Loveridge’s Patent, Treat and McLean’s Patent, Loonenberg Patent, and others.
I judge it will be of special interest here to give the names of the original owners of the tract known as the Greene’s Patent in the town of Cairo. Some residents of the County may trace back their ancestry to certain of these patentees.
The tract was granted to twelve officers and privates of the French and Indian Wars by the Colony of New York as follows:
Gabriel Woods, 50 acres, Lot No. 9,
James Smith, Lot No. 8,
Jas. S. Johnson, Lot No. 7,
Matthews Holland, 350 acres, date of conveyance Apr. 18, 1769,
Thomas More, 350 acres, dater of conveyance, 1769,
James Scott, 200 acres, Lot No. 6, date of conveyance August 11, 1768,
T. Millett, 350 acres, date of conveyance March 10, 1772,
Thos. Cowans, Lot No. 5,
Henry Green Shields, Lot No. 4,
John Black, Lot No. 3,
James Barker, Lot No. 2,
James Coleman, Lot No. 1.
It may well be that there are original maps and surveys of tracts or lots of land in the home of residents of the County that never have been filed with the County Clerk. It is suggested that this be done, for the benefit of all landowners. It is an important matter.
How changed on every hand are conditions in living form those earlier days of the County’s organization. When the first town meeting was held in the new town of Freehold, the inhabitants were given a week to come and deposit their ballots for the election of the town officers, while to-day the voting machine quickly registers the individual vote and quickly tells the result. In passing, it may mot be amiss to note that the first voting machine in this section for many years was installed in the town of Athens, Nov. 5, 1901; Henry I. Van Loan, Supervisor.
In conclusion let me urge upon all to confer with your town historian and the county historian relative to any subject deemed to be of interest. Preserve ancient documents and records, and refer them to someone qualified to advise relative to their worth. It is needless to remind that accuracy and fairness in statement are above all things to be faithfully observed. In this way permanent records of incalculable value will be preserved.
Just at present these things may not be well appreciated. But there is an awakening, and the day is not far distant when it shall be said of all who have aided this local history undertaking—right well did they serve us—we of coming generations—and such need of praise as we may give, and unbounded appreciation, shall be our laurel wreath to them.
January 15, 1927
Orin Q. Flint
When the first pioneer came to what is now Greene County, whether along Indian trails, on horseback through the forest, by canoe or sloop, looking for furs, mill-site or a home, he found it all a wilderness, its streams well stocked with fish, the forest filled with fur-bearing animals, and the soil of the valleys only waiting to be cleared of trees to produce, with little cultivation, large crops of corn and grain.
Here and there along the streams he found villages of peaceful Indians of the Mohican tribe, willing to trade rich furs for trinkets and beads.
Settlements were first made along the Hudson, for the mountain region was practically an impassable wilderness, with only here and there the log cabin of some adventurous trader or settler until after the Revolution, “when emigration from Connecticut and other eastern states began.” The Dutch had taken possession of the lowland of the valley by right of purchase from the Indians. Grist and saw mills were the first industries, and rude mills were set up or build on nearly every stream as fast as trails opened, the Dutchmen securing and utilizing the many water privileges; for Greene County abounds in streams and specializes in natural dams, fall, and cascades.
Timber was needed for the pioneer homes, the Dutch building chiefly of stone and the New Englander using rough boards, while grist mills furnished coarse meal and flour for the household, often carried for a score of miles along narrow forest trails. The Kings Highway in 1703, and the Susquehanna Turnpike in 1801, opened up the country and from that time settlements grew rapidly into villages and towns.
Greene County contains 643 square miles and has a population of 28,207, of which 930 are aliens. “In the first organization of the Province of New York into shires and counties (Nov. 1, 1683) what is now Greene County was included in the wide scope of Albany County, and so remained until March 24, 1772, when by act of Legislature it was divided into fifteen districts.” In 1718, the “inhabitants of Precincts of Catskill and Coxsacky, and all the inhabitants dwelling to the southward of Rensselaerwyck, on the west side of the Hudson River as for as the county of Albany extends,” were allowed to elect a Supervisor.
Of the fifteen districts formed in 1772 the principal were those two known as the “Coxsackie and Great Imboght Districts.” In 1788 another change was made and the towns of “Coxsackie and Cats-kill” formed. In the next few years these towns underwent various changes, until, after numerous petitions to the Legislature for and numerous petitions again a change, during which time meetings of the Inhabitants of Catskill for the purpose had been held at Martin G. Schuneman’s* Madison, (*Catskill Packet, October and November of 1792 (the meeting was held Nov. 20), and Petrius Souser’s (Jefferson), an act was passed March 25, 1800,* (Chapter 59, Laws of New York, 1800), erecting county “to be called Greene.”
The county was named after General Nathaniel Greene of the Revolutionary Army,* (*Occasionally the final e is left off in early records and at least on one map.), and was composed of the towns of Catskill, Coxsackie, Freehold and Windham, and, according to the late Judge Chase in his “Local History of Gleanings,” on “March 29, 1800, civil officer of the county were appointed by the council of appointment. * * * Immediately thereafter a struggle commenced between the people of the different settlements within the territory in regard to the location of the county buildings. It appears from old letters that there was a bitter feeling among the people growing our of discussion that followed, and such feeling grew in intensity until it was settled that the county buildings should be located at Catskill.”
Previous to this the location of the Surrogate’s office had depended upon the residence of the man holding the office. The first Supervisors of the new county were: Garrett Abeel, Catskill; Jonas Bronk, Coxsackie; James Thomson, Freehold; William Beach, Windham. James Pinckney was clerk of the Board for many years. The first County clerk was James Bill,* (*From Catskill Packet: Notice—The inhabitants of the county of Greene are hereby notified that the clerk’s office for said county is kept in the Main street of Catskill Landing, nearly opposite the house of Captain T. Donnelly. Catskill, June 12, 1800. James Bill.) and according to the late Judge Chase the first meeting of the Board was held at the hotel of Terrence Donnely, “which was situated substantially in the center of there front of the present county lot facing Main street. It has, therefore, come about that the rooms designed for the use of the Board of Supervisors in the present Court House are located substantially at the same place where the meetings of the first Board of Supervisors were held.”
The late James Pinckney states that James Bill, lawyer and County Clerk, “dressed in nankeen breeches, white stockings and buckled shoes, a perfect specimen of old school gentleman. He resided a the top of the hill on Thomson street, afterward known as the Coswell house, rebuilt and enlarged by J. Josebury.”
The act erecting the new county provided that “until further legislative provision the Court of Common pleas and General Sessions of the Peace should be held in the Academy in the town of Catskill, and in the dwelling house of John Vandenburgh, in the town of Coxsackie, alternately.”
There was no gaol or jail at this time, and prisoners were taken to Hudson and confined in one of logs on Warren street. In 1804 the legislature passed an act (Chap.33) directing the Supervisors of Greene County to raise $1,000 for the completion of the jail on “what is now the corner of Clark and Broad streets,” which seems to fix the date of its completion.* (* In 1801, Laws of New York, Chapter 40. Samuel Hale, Caleb Benton, Leonard Bronk and Stephen Simons were appointed commissioners to cause the gaol to be built. Different amounts authorized by Legislature to be raised for this purpose from 1801 to 1804 amounted to $6,167.34.)
“The first session of the Greene County Court of Common Pleas* (*A County Seal which is described as a “sword erect supporting a balance,” and the motto, “County of Greene,” around the seal, was adopted, according to Justice Alden Chest in “Courts and Lawyers,” at the first Court of Common Pleas. This is not the seal used to-day, on which is the date 1847.) was held May 6, 1800, with Leonard Bronk first judge, Samuel Van Vechten, Stephen Day and Thomas Barker, judges. The first Surrogate of the county was John H. Cuyler, and the first District Attorney” (Called Attorney General) was Ebenezer Foote.
In 1807 Greene County had her first murder trial. The murder took place in a house of ill repute kept by Nancy McFall on the road to The Point. The murdered man was John Scott of Coxsackie, and the supposed murderer one John Williams. An angry crowd pulled down the house of Nancy to the foundation. Williams was tried and found guilty; Nicholas Stiles accessory. Williams was to have been executed Dec. 22, 1807, but the presiding judge recommended a respite to the Governor, who consulted with Chief Justice Kent. The outcome was a reprieve and a final sentence was afterward imposed of five years.
TOWN OF ASHLAND
The town of Ashland was formed in 1848 from what was left of the western part of old Windham after Prattsville had been set off, and its history as a town is therefore largely of a later date that that of the present volume. The town is said to have been named from the home of Henry Clay, who had warm friends living there. John S. Ives was the first supervisor, serving ten years (1848-1858).
The highest mountains in the town are Huntersfield and Ashland Pinnacle; its principal streams the Batavia, Lewis creek and West Hollow brook. The “old Windham and Durham Turnpike, which, running nearly east across the north end of the town, entered Durham from below Mt. Pisgah, by way of Cornwallville, intersected the Cairo and Windham road near Acra. The Windham and Cairo turnpike was laid out and constructed about 1790, in part under the direction of Col. Stephen B. Simmons. Lacking a kettle large enough to cook for his workmen, he went to Catskill bought one and carried it home on his back. One of the industries of that day was turnpike yeast made by Mrs. Fowler, a soft yeast dried and cut into cakes for convenience of transportation during the building of the turnpike.”
Among the earliest industries were woolen factories or fulling mills of George Brainard and Bidwell; a brick yard and rope walk. Foster Morse had a mill and tannery. Between the years 1850 and 1855 the tannery business failed, owing to the exhausting of the hemlock bark, and cotton and woolen mills also suffered severely from their inland location, which caused very high transportation charges. In 1860 Ashland had a further business depression by the closing of the hat-making industry.
The town of Ashland lies in the northwest part of Greene County, its north and south borders occupied by two parallel spurs of the Catskill mountains, 800 to 1,000 feet above the valley. Batavia kill flows westward through the town at the foot of the south range. This stream is bordered upon the north by steep bluffs 150 to 200 feet high; and from their summits the surface gradually slopes upward to the foot of the north ridge near the northern border of the town.
The first public school house was of logs and stood on what is known as Argulus White’s farm. Six others are known to have been in town, some of which served the purpose of church as well as school.
As George Stimson was the first settler of Windham, so he was among the first at Ashland, coming here in 1785, when his family of four sons and five daughters came from Massachusetts. His son Henry became the first minister of the Presbyterian church.
Zachariah Cargill was early on the spot, and sold his land to Nicholas Martin, one of whose sons lived to be ninety-eight years old, dying in 1881. Dr. Thomas Benham came in 1793, the first doctor in the town, and traveled the rough roads and trails form many years on horseback with medicine in his saddlebags, never refusing a call to a sick-bed. It has been written of him that “he could never be hurried, but he always went.” Three of his sons became physicians, practicing in Greene and Schoharie counties. After many years his practice was shared by Dr. Harvey Camp.
Dr. Benham had for a neighbor (1793) Argulus White. Elisha Strong engaged in wood-chopping, and in 1787 brought his wife and seven children, purchasing the land now occupied by the village. Nathaniel Ormsbee was there in 1787, and was distinguished as having previously nearly lost his scalp in some Indian war, a ridge across his head testifying to the truth of the tale.
Samuel Ives came from Connecticut in 1780. Amos Cook settled at West Hollow six years later, and had for neighbors Asa Goodyear, Gilbert Ferris and the Munsons. There was a rough road into Schoharie county in 1794, and along this road lived Stephen Simmons, Jabez Barlow and Giles Lewis Sr. Beyond the house of Lewis the road was still a blazed trail. The next year Jacob Hitchcock settled between Barlow’s and Lewis’s, later moving form his log house to one of frame some distance away.
On the Batavia was Jedediah Hubbard, who, with is son Timothy, were deacons in the Presbyterian church. The Hunt tavern was beyond the church, and east of the Hunt house was the tavern of Jeheil Tuttle, who came to Ashland when there was but a blazed trail up the East Windham mountain, with his household goods fastened to two saplings drawn by oxen.
Jedediah Hubbard with his son Timothy, both deacons in the Presbyterian church, settled on the Batavia. Foster Morss came in 1799, his brother Benjamin about 1812. John Turney was owner of 365 acres in 1790.
The pioneers of this region were not greatly troubled by the Indians after the Revolution, although Indians followed the trail from the Susquehanna to the Hudson, and a few are said to have lived a mile north of the village, but the whites were harassed by the wild beasts of the forest, which killed their cattle and sheep. Wolves were the most numerous, and these were finally almost extinguished by wolf-hunts, when the men banded together, surrounding the mountains upon which wolves were known to gather in large numbers, when the men would close in on all sides and kill many of them.
The first homes were of logs until saw mills appeared on most of the streams, then frame houses were built, patterned after those of New England, with huge chimneys and bakery of brick. The stone house of the Dutchman is seldom seen among the mountains.
Solomon Munson came to this vicinity in 1800, and two years later was killed at a house-raising on the Spring place. Silas Lewis, who was a surveyor, came to North Settlement previous to Munson, afterward buying the grist mill of Marshall Munson.
Nathan Osborn with his family of eight children came to North Settlement in 1799. On their arrival he build a log house, and three years afterward a frame one which was burned in 1804. Returning to the log house, another was soon built. Nathan was soldier of the Revolution. Colonel Simmons had a house there and was justice of the peace and elected to the Legislature.
The village of Ashland was first Scienceville, than Windham (old Windham), and lies along the Batavia kill, the main street following the way of the state road, a somewhat different course than when a turnpike of early days. It was called “Scienceville” because of some families who settled there of more than ordinary education and who paid special attention to the establishment of schools of high standing.
The early history is little different from that of other villages along this stream, and it is second to none in beauty of location. From its “city of the dead,” on the mountainside, one looks down on the valley stream, where in summer is the perpetual green of grasslands and cornfields. In the early mornings herds of cattle pass through the “bar ways” to the mountain pastures, which year by year have crept farther and farther toward the summits, and the tinkle, tinkle of the cow-bells, which are no longer heard in the Hudson valley, is a pleasant thing to hear. The whole has been likened by travelers who know to a scene in Switzerland.
It was in and around this village that the first pioneers made their homes, a few Dutchmen and their families coming down from Schoharie before the Revolution, lured by the lowlands. During the Revolution, Indian and Tory on the trail made safe and peaceful living impossible, and the prudent Dutchmen returned to more protected areas.
After the war, Elisha Strong and several brothers named Stimson made the first permanent settlement. In 1789 there was the store of Sandford Hunt and the inn of Medad Hunt. Dr. Thomas Benham (1793) was the first physician, and Deborah Stone the first baby to begin life here. Ex-Governor Washington Hunt, son of Sandford Hunt, was a native of Ashland. It was a village of patriotic families from New England. Jacob Hitchcock Jr. was a sergeant of the Revolution. Samuel Ives and Jabez Barlow, the brother of Joel Barlow, Revolutionary poet and statesman, were among them. Jacob Thiel was a soldier of the war of 1812, and so were John and Philip Frayer, and George Denton, “who never returned to their homes.”
On the walls of Woodchuck Lodge, the home in Roxbury of the late John Burroughs, hangs a school-bag in which he carried his books when a student at the Ashland Collegiate Institute.
This institute opened on May 6, 1854, and burned in 1860. The main building had a front of over two hundred feet and was five and a half stories high, with a wing of one hundred feet which contained a chapel, recitation rooms, laboratory, etc. It had a library of 1,500 books. Its course of study included music, painting, trigonometry (plain and spherical), surveying, civil engineering, astronomy and the more common branches of learning.
There were Biblical lectures and students were to attend church in the village of Sunday mornings and at the institute chapel in the afternoon. The associate principals were Rev. Henry J. Fox and C. Rutherford, A. M. In a lot back of the building was a rock, where I am told John Burroughs wrote his first essay. Students came from Catskill, Albany and New York.
A few days ago I was up where the building stood, looking down on the village, valley, creek and mountains beyond, with Tower Mountain where there is a beautiful little spring hidden from strangers, and this verse of Burroughs’ poem “Waiting” came to mind:
“The waters know
their own, and drew
The brook that springs in yonder heights.
So flows the good with equal law
Unto the soul of pure delights.”
(The County Historian s indebted to Mrs. Peter Rucka of Ashland for drawing and description
of Ashland Seminary)
PIONEERS AND THEIR
Dr. Thomas Benham
Dr. Thomas Benham was the first doctor in the town. He traveled over the country from one farm to the other on horseback with his medicine in his saddlebags. He is said to have been slow and sure, never permitting himself to be hurried but always ready to answer any call. He would never see a patient until he had a smoke. He was of a cheerful disposition and his presence acted as medicine upon his patients. Three sons followed his profession. The roads at first were little better than a path with blazed trees to show the way.
George Stimson, after his family came, removed to Windham to Ashland, and Henry his son became the first minister of the Presbyterian church, marrying Rebecca Pond. Henry had studied theology with Rev. M. Thomson of Oak Hill and Rev. Samuel Fuller of Rensselaerville. The Rev. O. B. Hitchcock has described him as “wielding a potent influence over the mature and rising generation. His appearance was commanding even in extreme age, fully six feet in height, erect, spare and muscular. He had strongly marked features, nose, brow, chin and cheek bones all prominent; the whole contour of his face expressing intelligence, strength of will and decision of character. He was sincere, devoted and self-denying.” He was pastor of the Presbyterian flock at Ashland for 24 years; his only charge.
Elisha Strong made the first permanent settlement after the war by West Hollow brook and owned the land upon which the village now stands, about 1785. He engaged in wood chopping and two years later brought his wife and seven children. He built a house which stood near where his son Elijah afterward built a tavern. Another son Jarius had a brick store and dwelling. Houses were first of logs then as saw mills were built, frame houses became the fashion, and brick yards in turn furnished bricks for home.
Among the earliest settlers was Nathaniel Ormsbee, who came in 1787 and married Sally Hull. In some Indian war he had nearly lost his scalp. He was a tavern keeper.
Foster Morss came in 1799. He was the father of Burton G., founder of the Red Falls Manufactory. John Prout came the same year. In 1790 Jacob Hitchcock, and in 1795 Amos Cook settled in West Hollow. Gilbert Ferris was one of the earliest settlers. Peter Brandow and sons came from Leeds after the Revolution. The Hunts, Whites, Mallorys, Munsons, Hubbards, Tuttles and Lewises had a part in the first settlement. Abram Dudley was the first miller.
TOWN OF ATHENS
By Andrew D. Peloubet
The town of Athens was erected by Act of the Legislature by Chapter 43 of Laws of 1815, and passed February 25th, 1815. It was formed from the towns of Coxsackie and Catskill. The Village of Athens had been erected in 1805.
The line that separated these
two towns began at the mouth of the Murderer’s Creek, where it empties into
the Hudson River, on its south bank, and ran diagonally across the town, to near
its present southwest corner.
The project of erecting a new town had been agitated for some time previous to the enactment of the Statute (by a Legislature of New York state) erecting the new town, and undoubtedly came from the desire of the inhabitants of what is now the Town of Athens, to have a local town government. The following is an extract of the Act as entered on the Town Minute Book:
“Beginning on the west bounds of the Hudson River, in the Town of Coxsackie, near the southerly point of an island called Paddocks Island, at the Buttonwood tree, and from thence running north seventy-three degrees, west four hundred and four chains, intersecting the Schoharie Turnpike Road, near what is called the Hoogeberg, or High Hill, then along the northerly side of said Turnpike, to a creek called Potick Creek, then down said stream to the corner of the Town of Catskill, Coxsackie and Canton (now Cairo), near where a fulling mill formerly stood, owned by Ezekiel Benton.
“From said corner, south sixty degrees, west along the Canton line sixty-four chains to the Catskill Creek, then down along the said Creek, one hundred and ninety-six chains to a small buttonwood tree standing on the east bank of Catskill Creek, thirty chains above or northerly of the dwelling house of Martin G. Schuneman.
“From said tree, south sixty-three degrees, east thirty-seven chains to the Athenian Turnpike Road, and South fifty-five degrees and thirty minutes, east one hundred and ninety-eight chains to what is called the Corlear’s Kill, crossing the said stream, then along the said Kill, forty-seven chains to the aforesaid Hudson River, near the dwelling house of Garret Pierse, and from thence to the place of beginning.
“The first town meeting to be held at the house of Joseph Seeley, in the village.”
The house here referred to was built by Joseph Seeley, and herein he kept a Tavern. This house is a part of the present Howland & So store building on Second Street, and said town meeting was held in the east part of the present store, on the ground floor.
At the meeting, Isaac Northrup, the founder of the Village of Athens, was elected the first supervisor of the new town, and the first town clerk was Henry Wells.
Athens had an historical event that is not generally known, but which is a matter of record. The land upon which our beautiful village is built, is one of the first places in this state upon which the foot of white man trod. In the Journal of the Voyage of the Half-Moon, the vessel in which Henry Hudson discovered the noble river that bears his name, this record is given, and I want to quote the Journal as far as it relates to that event.
On the night of September 15th, 1609, and during the day of the 16th, the Half-Moon lay at anchor just above the present site of Athens. Here they were visited by the Indians, and the crew bought corn, tobacco and squashes from them, and in return gave the Indians glass beads, and other trifling articles.
On the 23rd, Hudson, having sailed to above the present site of Albany, and explored the river as far as the rapids, in a small boat, became convinced that he had not discovered the coveted Northwest route to India, set sail and proceeded down the river. On the 24th they had fair weather and northwest wind. Sailing down the river the Half-Moon ran aground the men went ashore and gathered chestnuts. Abut ten o’clock at night, the tide being at flood, they were able to get off the mud and anchor in deep water.
On the 25th they had south wind, so they rode at anchor and went on shore to look at the land on the west side of the river. There they found good ground for corn, and other garden vegetables, “and with a great store of goodly oakes, walnut trees, Chestnut trees, and Ewe trees, and a great store of slate for houses.”
In my humble opinion, it is an undisputable fact, that the Flat mentioned here is the Flat that lies in the middle of the river between our village and the City of Hudson. In those days there was no vegetation on the Flats, as I have been informed by very old residents, and when the tide was at its flood point, this Flat was invisible, being entirely covered with water. The wild rice we see growing and flourishing each September, and that warns the inexperienced mariner of our time, is an importation of recent years. I have been told that the late Dr. A. H. Getty’s father imported the seed, and sowed it on the flats and bays and to-day it has multiplied until it is growing at all the bays and flats in this vicinity.
The spot on the Flats where the Half-Moon grounded is undoubtedly opposite that which we at the present time, call the “Oil Dock.” In support of this opinion, and, I might add, in positive proof of it, are the ledges of slate rock at this point, where the Indians had a large encampment. The soil for many acres thereabout is sandy loam, and it was here that Hudson found the “good ground” on which the Indians raised the corn and tobacco that they gave to the explorers.
I have been a collector of Indian relics for a number of years, and the arrows and other stone implements found on this camp site are the most beautiful in form and the finest in workmanship that I have found anywhere in our town. Archaeologists tell us that the prehistoric inhabitants here were the Algonquin Indians. It is thought that the period at which they first occupied this territory was about three thousand years ago.
The largest Indian flint quarry
in eastern United States is situated in the Town of Coxsackie, just over the
Athens town line, and it was from flint quarried there that the tribes of local
Indians produced their flint arrows and other flint implements which they used.
The only records we have of the existence of the Algonquins here are the
stone relics they left behind them and which are occasionally found on the
various camp sites they occupied. The
polished stone axes that are found here and elsewhere in this State were all
produced by the Algonquins.
Morgan, the Historian, tells us that the Indians of the other nations did not produce or use these axes, and there are other men contemporary with the early history of the colonization of our State who have left the same written record.
At the time of the discovery and colonization of this territory, it was occupied by the Mohicans, and the Delaware Indians. The Mohicans owned the land from Coxsackie Creek west to the mountains and north to the Adirondacks, and all the lands east of the river, from New York to Champlain Lake. The Delaware Indians owned the lands on the west bank of the river to the Catskill Mountain, and from the Catskill Creek south. It appears that the land between the Catskill and Coxsackie Creeks was neutral property, where the hunting and fishing were free to both tribes.
How long ago the Delaware and the Mohicans came into possession of this land is not known. From Indian traditions it appears that a few years previous to the coming of the white man, the Mohawks, a tribe of six nations, conquered the combined forces of the Mohicans and Delawares, in war; and Indian tradition also tells us that the decisive battle of this war was fought on Rogers Island, a short distance below our village, on the opposite side of the river.
Before this war, the Delawares were a warlike people, but from then on to the time of their migration and disappearance from our land, they never again put on war-paint and gave battle to their enemies in this section. It appears that the Mohawks made no effort to expel the Mohicans and the Delawares from their lands, but on the contrary their hunting and fishing parties made frequent peaceful excursions into this part of the country to fish and hunt, and part of them made this their permanent home.
The Black Rock farm, situated in the southern part of our village, on the bank of the river, in prehistoric times was the site of a large Indian encampment. This place was called Makawomue, a reputed name of one of the early Delaware chiefs. The soil for about ten or twelve acres about this camp is black. This is caused by camp fires having been burning there for a great number of years. This camp site in later years was occupied by the Mohawks, as nearly all the relics found there are of Mohawk manufacture.
To the student collector of Indian relics, the arrow point or other stone implements of the Red Man has its individuality. It is in many cases possible, by its shape and characteristics, to identify the tribe to which its maker belonged. The pieces of the broken pottery found on this site (in all cases that have come under my observation) have embossed decorations that are characteristic of the Mohawks; and the arrow heads, in a large percentage of cases, are the war points as made by them. This is the only Indian camp site in our town where this kind of relics may be found in large numbers.
At the time of the granting of the Loonenburgh Patent, the land here was claimed by the Catskill Indians, and by them was called Caniskek. The Catskill Indians were sub-tribe of the Delawares. The Black Rock camp, and the camp on the Harmon Van Woert farm, at the Oil Dock, were undoubtedly fortified camps, as each one is situated for defense, and covered six or more acres of land; and they are the largest sites in our town. There are many other places in our town where one or a dozen families have camped, and where a few relics have been found. The last appearance of descendants of the Indian owners of the land in our village was about the year 1852.
For many years previous to this date, each Spring there would come to Athens a very old Indian and his squaw.* (*Indian’s names was Nelse and that of his squaw Till.) They would camp on the bank of a small stream that ran parallel with and about two hundred feet north of Union Street. In those days there were very old willow trees standing there, and this old Indian couple would build a shack in the shade of one of these trees, living there about six months of the year. My mother (whose maiden name was Isabelle Briggs) has often told me that when a little girl she and other children would go there to see them make willow baskets, and the old Indian would boast of his Delaware ancestors, and say that his great-grandfathers owned the land upon which our village is built.
The original purchase of the land by the white man was made in 1665, and the following is a copy of the original deed, on file in Albany:
“Inasmuch as Jan Clute and Jan Hendrickson Bruyn, and Jurian Tunise (Glazemaker) have shown at the sessions of the Court of Albany, the consent at their request of the Governor of New York, and the Indians, to purchase a certain parcel of land lying on the west side of the North Rive, over against the Claverack, near Fort Albany,
“So them having appeared before him, the underwritten Sec. of Albany, five Indians; namely, Sackamoes, Mauriata, alias Schermerhorn; Keisie Way, Papeuna, Masseha, owners, who declared in the presence of the afternamed witnesses, that they sold, granted, and conveyed as by these presents they do grant and convey, in real and actual possession to the aforesaid Jan Clute, and Jan Hendrickson Bruyn, the said land, called Caniskek, in magnitude stretching along the river side of and from the land of Peter Bronk to the fly which lies on the point of said land, behind Berren Island, and so running into the woods on the south, and on the north, even to Katskill Path, and that for a certain sum in goods which the grantors acknowledge that they have received from the buyers, and therewith are completely paid, and said grantors waive their former title and declare Jan Clute and Jan Hendrickson Bruyn to be the rightful owners thereof,
“And promise to free said lands from all actions, claims and demands, of the other Indians who lay claim to some portion of said land or the right to set deer traps.
“Done at Albany, this 20th day of April A. D. 1665.”
The title of the land was confirmed by a patent granted by Governor Richard Nicolls.
When the first patent for the land was granted in 1677, by Governor Nicolls, there was no name given to the land in the Patent. In the confirmation Patent obtained by Jan Van Loon and others, July 28, 1688, and given by Governor Thomas Dongan, the name “Loonenburgh” was applied to the recited track of land. In the interval between the granting of these Patents, the name Loonenburgh had been given to the land embraced in the original Patent, and may have been given to honor and perpetuate the name of Van Loon, but this is not positive.
The Loonenburgh has often been confused with the name Lunenburgh (a city in Holland), and some people have advanced the theory that this place was named in honor of that city, but this theory can be discounted by the fact that other places in this vicinity have taken their names from those of the first settlers in that particular vicinity. I will recite only two such instances, to with—Spoornburgh Road, and Jacksonville; familiar names to our generation, and given to the honor of those two family names—Spoor, and Jackson.
The history of Loonenburgh for the first hundred years of its existence is the history of a very few families. Jan Van Loon and his descendants have occupied a very prominent place in the life of the community, from the granting of the Loonenburgh Patent to the present time. The first house of which there is an authentic record was built by Jan Van Loon on the ground now occupied by Richard Lenahan’s shipyard. We can still see, in the foundation of the dwelling house there, a stone taken from the original dwelling, and bearing the following inscription: 1731, J. V. L.” * (*Another stone, bearing the date 1706, is show in Beers Greene County History but cannot be located at the present time.) Undoubtedly there were other houses built here previous to this one, but their location and by whom they were built had been lost in the passing of time, as deeds to the parcels of land along the river were given by the original patentees following the original grant to them in 1665.
Christianity, the vital factor in making this the greatest country in the world to-day, was early manifested by the founders of our town, in the erection of a house of worship. The Records of Zion Lutheran Church of our village show that as early as the year 1703 the Reverend Justus Faulkner was officiating as Pastor to this congregation; and we can claim, even in the absence of any written record to confirm it, that this congregation had its beginning previous to the year 1700 A. D. We know, from the experience in organizing other churches in our Village, that it takes several years of preliminary work before the actual organization is effected and a minister installed.
Of the events that go to make up history of an exciting nature, very few indeed are recorded. The geography of Loonenburgh was not in the scope of the thrilling history-making events that are found in the annual of our neighboring counties, and the struggles incident to the founding of our national government. The lives of the Dutch burghers and their descendants, who founded and inhabited Loonenburgh, were not ones of excitement and enterprise. William S. Pelletrau, A. M., in his History of Athens, as published in Beers’ History of Greene County, likens the life of the Dutch burghers to the inhabitants of the world before the flood—“they married wives, they planted, they builded,” and that living on their Bowery farms, the family and servants composed a man’s social world, except when on Sundays he met with the Dominie of the church and the few neighbors scattered at wide intervals from each other.
To me, this appears to be too much of a strait-jacket definition of their lives; it is too confining. We know that the Dominie mentioned here traveled between New York and Albany in his Pastorate, and incidentally he brought news of the outside world, which is so necessary to every people, no matter how remote may be their habitation—and the Dutch were not different from other nationalities in this respect.
The Dutch had settled here over a hundred years before the Yankees came. The number of families residing in Loonenburgh just previous to the founding of the Village of Esperanza, in 1794, was approximately fifty. With the coming of the Yankees, the whole order of things changed. The Dutch settlers were forced to compete with the shrewd incoming Yankees in the struggle for a livelihood and wealth, and we at this distant date are able to judge that the Dutch did not come off second-best in the struggle!
The founding of the “town” of Esperanza was purely a speculation. The success of the founding of the City of Hudson caused a company of men to plan to establish a city on the west bank of the river that would not only be a rival of the City of Hudson but would be the connecting link between the upper and central part of the state with New York City, and also the terminus of the present Erie Canal, even that early date anticipated. At that particular time there happened to be a celebrated French engineer and surveyor by the name of Pharmix, who was making a tour of the Hudson River valley. This man the company of speculators employed to survey the tract of land purchased from Albert Van Loon. (This tract of land formed what is now the Upper Village.) A large map was engraved, and the following legend appears thereon:
“A PLAN—of the Town of Esperanza, situated on the West Bank of the North River, opposite Hudson, laid down in lots, 25 feet in front, and 100 deep. This place is situated nearly at the head of Deep Navigation of the Hudson River. It is directly East from the Military lands, and is supposed to possess more important commercial and local advantages than any other point on the River, the road for some hundred miles west passing through a fine and improving country to which this is the nearest port.
These maps were circulated for the purpose of attracting to the new village men who would purchase lots and build their home and business place thereon. These maps are now very rare. I have seen but two copies; one, Mr. Charles W. Stranahan presented to the county, and is now in the Green County Clerk’s Office, and the other is in the possession of Counselor O. Gates Porter.
The success of this enterprise was shortlived; the grandiose expectations of its founders did not materialize, and the speculators soon found themselves financial straits and were forced to make partitions of their holdings in the company. And so ended the dreams and hopes for a great city of Esperanza.
About this time another speculator was attracted by the advantages of the natural situation of the land forming what is now the lower Village, for the establishment of a large city. Thus, on April 30th, 1800, Isaac Northrup purchased the farm of John M. Van Loon, containing about two hundred acres, and in 1801 had a survey made and a map drawn by John D. Spoor. The success of this enterprise was immediate, and attracted men of superior class to build on the new purchase.
The Village had increased in population to such a great extent that it was thought necessary and advisable to be incorporated as a Village. Therefore, on April 2nd, 1805, the Legislature passed an Act incorporating Athens as a Village. In the incorporation, the Village of Esperanza was merged with the lower Village, and the combined settlement was named Athens.
There has been quite some controversy as to how and why the Village was named Athens, and it have never to my mind been satisfactorily explained just why it so named.
For the first years of its existence, the Village had a rapid development and growth, as the following extract copied from Spofford’s Gazetteer for the year 1813 indicates:
“Athens, a flourishing Post-Village on the West bank of the Hudson, opposite Hudson City, five miles above the Village of Catskill, principally in the Township of Catskill, Greene Co., and 28 miles South of Albany. It is incorporated as a Village under the government of a Board of Trustees, and embraces an extent of one and a half miles along the river, and about the same distance back. The site of this place is pleasant, on a gentle slope toward the river, and the situation is very eligible for trade. This is within four miles of the head of ship-navigation; the shore of the Hudson is bold, its channel inshore, and the soil principally a light sand or sandy loam or gravelly loam, very excellent for the site of a large town. A small part of the area as incorporated is within the Township of Coxsackie. Its intercourse with the surrounding country is facilitated by numerous roads, and its trade is of auspicious promise.
“Athens has now one hundred and fifty houses, and contains near one thousand persons, including all descriptions. It has one Lutheran church, three school-houses, and a market-place, and extensive ropewalk, a large distillery, a potter of stone-ware, a tallow-chandlery, and some other small manufactories. There are eight vessels employed in the trade on the Hudson, and considerable shipping is annually built here. This place was formerly called Loonenburgh, Esperanza and finally Athens, by act of incorporation.
“The very great extent of back country that must always pour its surplus products into the trading towns, in this vicinity, will produce in time a great city near the head of ship-navigation, and Athens has a commanding position.
(signed) C. S. & J. A. “
Note: C. S. undoubtedly refers to Castle Seeley.
The Indian implements shown in the illustration were collected by the above-named collaborators from various States of the Union, particularly Florida, Missouri, and New York.
No. 1, Sinus Stones—These stones were used by the Indian for removing fat and rounding strips of skin to be used as bow-strings. The original grooves in these stones may be plainly observed.
No. 2, Kuires—As crude as these may seem, they were used in a most efficient way in removing skins from animals and for almost any purpose for which our present-day knives are used.
No. 3, Tomahawk or axe—These were used for the same purpose as our modern axe. Also in war or massacre the Indian always used this death-dealing implement. It is believed that the axe or tomahawk together with his bow and arrows were always carried by the Indians as “standard equipment.”
No. 4, Spud—this implement was used mainly for peeling bark from trees, also removing skins from animals. This is a well-made implement and shows that the Indiana could create tools of symmetrical design for efficient use.
No. 5 and 5A, Arrow-Heads—These are fine specimens of their choicest creation. No. 5A is a “spiral” arrow-head which was so constructed that as it sped through the air it assumed a twirling motion and when it hit its object it had a boring effect. This is quite similar to the present-day system of rifling, which gives a bullet a ‘twirl” and keeps it on a straight course. To make death a sure thing, the Indian often dipped his arrow heads in poison snake venom.
No. 6, Spear Points—These were used on larger shafts that the arrow for the purpose of throwing or fighting in close quarters.
As small a field as this collection covers, it is sufficient to show us that the Indian had a well-developed brain and used it.