Old Documents and Memoranda from Catskill

As found in Reminiscences of Catskill and transcribed by Arlene Goodwin


For the following interesting documents, as well as many others, the publisher is indebted to Mr. DAVID B. DUNHAM:

A LIST OF THE SCHOOL MONEY due to Each and Every Imployer of the School Taught by Elisha Bishop, under the Inspection of Barren Dubois and Saunders Haynes, Trustees, from the 17th of August, 1797, to the 17th of March, 1798:

Name:

No. of Days

f

a

d

qr.

George Brosnaham

156

1

7

4

¾

John Brosnaham

156

1

7

4

¾

John Rimph

52

1

7

4

¾

Edward Hayns

121

0

9

1

¼

Jesse Pratt

36

0

2

8

½

Besty Stodard

142

0

10

8

¼

Elisha Bishop

155

1

9

9

¾

Sally Bishop

121

1

9

9

¾

Polly Bishop

120

1

9

9

¾

Caty Dubois

165

1

9

9

¾

Sally Dubois

169

1

17

6

¾

Cornelius Dubois

165

1

17

6

¾

Peter Schoot

115

0

11

7

0

Jacob Schoot

41

0

11

7

0

Ginna Van Gorden

79

0

5

11

¼

John Dubois

78

0

11

8

¾

James Dubois

78

0

11

8

¾

James Bogardus

78

0

11

8

0

Lana Bogardus

77

0

11

8

0

Wessel Van Orden

78

0

12

0

½

Henry Van Orden

82

0

12

0

½

Jacob Stephens

55

0

11

4

0

Arastus Stephens

40

0

11

4

0

Henry Stephens

56

0

11

4

0

Benjamin Van Orden

78

0

5

10

¼

Harriet Lay

83

0

6

2

¾

Elizer Root

83

0

6

2

¾

Betsy Drake

95

1

10

2

¾

Anna Drake

41

0

10

2

¾

Charls Cammel

42

0

6

4

½

Sally Cammel

41

0

6

4

½

Joel Persons

29

0

2

2

0

Prescilla Addoms

9

0

0

8

0

Sally Spicer

6

0

0

5

¼

  2922 f10 19 11  

                             *********************************************************

On a leaf torn from the day-book of Mr. ORRIN DAY, the well-known merchant, and father of Mr. S. SHERWOOD DAY, we find the following reference to the uncle of Mr. THRUMAN WEED, under date of May, 18th, 1811:

JOSEPH WEED, Dr.
To 1 Blk, Coat…………………………………...40s.

If he goes Regularly to one of the Churches every Sunday for one year, and keeps away from the grog shops on the Sabbath, and reforms his moral conduct—then this to be a present.

On the left-hand margin are the memorandums:

1st Sunday in June, absent.
2nd " " "

And on the opposite margin, the following:

Mr. Weed attended public worship a few Sabbaths, but very soon broke off, and has not been seen in a church for several months.

March 27, 1812.

Then, Mr. DAY despairingly wrote, in a bold hand, across the entry, "Gave in."

********************************************

Allusion having been made in the Harmony Lodge Papers, to the Catskill Mechanical Society, we have been presented by Mr. JOHN BREASTED, with a copy of the "Charter and By-Laws of the Catskill Mechanical Society. There Rules of Order, &c., published by order of the Society, printed by MACKAY CROSWELL, Catskill, 1807." The following opening paragraph explains the laudable object of the Society:

Charter.

AN ACT of Incorporate the Catskill Mechanical Society.

Whereas John Blanchard, Stephen Root, David Thorp, Ephraim Baker, Nathaniel Hinman, Reuben Sanderson, Isaac Nichols, James Cole, Adonijah Baker, Henry Ashley, Benjamin Sole, Elisha Ferguson, John Hyde, Francis Botsford, Mackay Croswell, Lemuel Hall, Adonijah Sherman, Peter Breasted, John Doan, Richard Hill, Hiland Hill, John P. Bolen, Jehiel Preston, and Henry L’Homedieu, mechanics of the village of Catskill, in the county of Greene, have, by their petition to the legislature, represented, that they are associated into a body, under the name of "The Catskill Mechanical Society," for the relief of their unfortunate and indigent members, their widows and children, and other charitable objects, and pray to be incorporated into a body politic, for the purpose of securing and confirming the funds of said society to those benevolent purpose: And whereas the views of the said petitioners appear to be laudable, and worthy of legislative patronage and assistance—Therefore,
Be it enacted by the people of the state of New York, &c., &c., &c.

To this Act are appended the following official signatures:

State of New York
In assembly, February, 27, 1807.

This bill having been read the third time—
Resolved
, That the bill do pass.
By order of the Assembly.

M’Cord, Speaker.
State of New York.
In Senate, March 16, 1807

This bill having been read the third time—
Resolved
, That the bill do pass.
By order of the Senate.

JNO. BROOME, President.

In Council of Revision, March 20, 1807.
Resolved,
That it does not appear improper to the council, that this bill should become a law of this state.

MORGAN LEWIS.

Then follows the By-Laws, &c., signed by JOHN BLANCHARD, President, and ADJ. SHERMAN, Secretary:

The pamphlet concludes with the printed list of membership:
Members’ Names.

Ashley, Henry

Tanner

Blanchard, John

Cordwainer

Beach, Abijah H.

Saddler

Botsford, Francis

Tailor

Bolen, John P.

Saddler

Baker, Ephraim

Blacksmith

Baker, Adonijuah

Blacksmith

Benner, James

Mason

Breasted, Peter

Painter & glazier

Bounds, Matthew

Ship-wright

*Croswell, Caleb

Painter & gilder

Cole, James

Cabinet-maker

Croswell, Mackay

Printer

Doan, John

House & ship-joiner

Eells, Nathaniel

House-joiner

Ferguson, Elisha

Cooper

Gager, John

Ship-carpenter

Hill, Richard

Ship-wright

Hill, Hiland

Ship-wright

Hinman, Nathaniel

Cordwainer

Horton, David

Weaver

Hinman, Herman

House-joiner

Hyde, John

Blacksmith

Hall, Lemuel

Cordwainer

Homedieu, Henry L’

Wheel-wright

Lacy, John T.

Ship-carpenter

Nichols, Isaac

Cord-wainer

Ousterhout, Peter

Blacksmith

Olcott, John S.

Rope-maker

Preston, Jehiel

Clock & watch maker

Root, Stephen

Tanner

Sherman, Adonijah

Taylor

Sanderson, Reuben

House-joiner

*Stebbins, Josiah

Nailor

Selleck, Henry

House-joiner

Sanford, Simeon

Cordwainer

Sole, Benjamin

Ship-carpenter

Stocking, Jared

Blacksmith

Thorp, David

Cordwainer

Thayer, Hezekiah

House-wright

*Waight, Thomas

House-wright

*Webb, Eliphalet

Brickmaker

White, Shadrach

Cordwainer

N. B.—Those marked (*) are names of deceased members.

***************************************************

The following document was found among the papers of ISAAC VAN LOAN, and is endorsed on the back, "Question for the Philologan Society—1799:"

Can any one of the U. S. withdraw itself from the National Compact without General Consent, Or resist the National will Exprest through the organs of its magority without being Considered in a State of Rebellion?

**************************************************

Catskill Academy

Mr. S. SHERWOOD DAY has furnished us with a supply of memoranda, found among the papers of his grand-father, STEPHEN DAY, from which the following are selected, for the purpose of embalming the name of the old residents of Catskill. The first is a subscription paper, dated August, 23, 1793, "for the purpose of raising the sum of Four hundred pounds, to have an Academy erected at the Landing, in said town of Catskill—which sum is to be divided into one hundred shares, computing each share at four pounds." The subscribers were:

Names

Shares

Names

Shares

Stephen Day

2

John Sole

1

Thos. Thomson

4

Benjamin Nichols

1

Elnathan Fitch

4

Jane Dies

3

Alex. Thomson

4

John V. D. S. Scott

2

George Taylor

2

Abraham Overbagh

2

Noah Evensham

2

Isaac Van Loan

1

Joseph Graham

3

Kezia Camp

4

Gideon Ball

2

Reuben Webster

1

Beman Brockway

1

Darling Hamlin

1

Theophilus Demmack

1

David Van Bargen

1

Peter Raymond

3

Enoch Calkin

1

Josiah Rodgers

1

David Hamlin

1

M. Croswell & Co

3

David Marajan

1

Ira Day

2

Aaron Rumsey

1

Geo. & Tho. Hale

6

Egbert Bogardus

2

Wm. W. Wetmore

2

James Bogardus

1

Caleb Street

6

Andrew Brosnaham

1

Henry Pratt

1

Samuel Van Vechten

4

Cole & Newell

2

Samuel Haight

1

Wm. Van Orden

3

Gideon Brockway

1

Edward Boylston

1

Joseph Adams

1

Benjamin Van Orden

1

John Dubois

1

Matthew Bellamy

1

John Lay

2

Israel Gibbs

3

Hugh Fiddis

2

James Smith

1

Uriah Blaan

1

John Doan

1

John Bunce

1

Isaac J. Lacey

1

Hezekiah Van Orden

9

Edmund Ogden

2

   

"At a meeting of the proprietors of the Academy at Catskill Landing, at the house of NATHAN PADDOCK, Inn-holder, May 10, 1795, it was among other things resolved that 120 shares should be added to the number of already subscribed, subject to the regulation contained in the original subscription and rules established, in order to carry on and erect the said Academy—the shares at four pounds." The undersigned agreed, "to pay to STEPHEN DAY, GEORGE HALE, and CALEB STREET, the trustees of said Academy," for the number of shares set opposite their respective names;

Name

Shares

Name

shares

Thos. Thomson,

2

Levi Brownson

2

Reuben Webster

3

M. Croswell & Co

2

Nathan Paddock

1

Beman Brockway

3

Wm. Chapman

4

Gideon Ball

1

John Blanchard

2

Edmund Ogden

2

Jane Dies

1

Abijah H. Beach

1

Peter Raymond

1

Terence Donnelly

2

John V. D. S. Scott

2

Stephen Root

1

Stephen Day

4

John Lay

1

Ira Day

3

Gideon Brockway

1

Caleb Street

8

Hiland Hill

1

George & Thos. Hale

8

John Bogardus

1

Joseph Graham

2

   

******************************************************

Susquehanna Turnpike Road.

This eminent jurist, the late JOSHUA A. SPENCER, upon the occasion of this last visit to Catskill, remarked to his son-in-law, S. S. DAY, that he "believed the Susquehanna Turnpike Road to be the oldest chartered highway at this State." We have no other means now at hand to substantiate Mr. SPENCER’S conclusion, except by recourse to a file of the Western Constellation, where, under date of August 23, 1800, we find the following:

SUSQUEHANAH TURNPIKE.—Since the subscription books for the turnpike, road, from Salisbury, in Connecticut, to Wattles’ Ferry, on the Susquehanna River, have been opened, upwards of twenty five hundred shares have been subscribed, and they are filling up very rapidly. Some distance of the road is already laid out, and a company of gentlemen have contracted for making a part of the same, and began their work.

October 4th, 1800, the Western Constellation announced that "A Public Mail will commence running, on Tuesday next, from this town to Atheans (Tiago Point.) Mr. JOSHUA WHITNEY is the contractor for carrying it, and will perform the route once a fort-night. The mail will run between this town and Hudson twice each week. The mail days Tuesdays and Fridays."

On the 10th of the same month, that paper contained a communication, congratulating the people of Catskill upon the rapidity with which the Susquehanna Turnpike Road, from Salisbury, Connecticut, to Wattles’ Ferry, is progressing; that it "exceeds anything of the nature herefore known, and is at once an evidence of the wealth and public spirit of the inhabitants living on the Road, and also of the immense travel through Catskill to and from the Western Counties of this State. Notwithstanding the recent date of the act for establishing the Corporation, such has been the vigilance of the gentlemen appointed to carry it into effect. That the distance of twenty-seven miles, on the West side of Hudson’s River, will be made in the present, and fore part of the next season, seven miles of which is now nearly completed. Proposals have also been received by Directors, who are about to make contracts for finishing the Road on the East side of the River, to Salisbury line the next Summer, which is about the distance of 30 miles; so there is the fairest prospect of having 57 miles completed within 18 months from the passing of the act. The shares in the above Road have hitherto been chiefly taken up by gentlemen residing in Catskill, and its vicinity, from whose spirited exertions the Road will undoubtedly be completed much sooner than was contemplated by the Legislature.

A meeting of the Company was advertised to be held "at the Academy in "Athens, Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, on Monday, September 6th, 1802, at which time and place the proprietors are requested to attend, as business of the utmost concern, as it respects the proprietors in general, and the settlers, in particular, will be brought forward to be acted upon at said meeting." That this Turnpike Road was a great thoroughfare, at that time, is evidenced by a paragraph attached to the notice above mentioned, as follows: "The printers in the State of New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont are requested to publish the above as a matter of concern to many of their customers."

The next mention of this Company is a notice, signed by SAMUEL HAIGHT, Treasurer, dated January 12th, 1803. Announcing that "a dividend of four and an half per cent. for the period of six months (from the 12th of July last) is made on the capital stock of the Company."

*********************************************************

Catskill Bridge

In the same paper, under date of Sept. 13, 1802, we find the following:

The new draw Bridge over the Catskill Creek at the village of Catskill, is so far completed as to become passable. This elegant and highly useful structure extends about five hundred and fifty feet in length, and is of a sufficient height to give it a noble appearance. The strength and elegant simplicity of the work is highly applauded by every gentleman acquainted with architecture who had seen it. On Tuesday, that being the day of which it became passable, the gentlemen and ladies of the village assembled and crossed it in procession, preceded by music. On their return they were met by Mr. BURR, the architect, attended by his workmen, with the implements of their calling.

On behalf of the Villagers, the following address to Mr. BURR was then delivered:

Sir—The inhabitants of the Village of Catskill, finding their hopes so happily realized in a work under your superintendence and direction, joyfully embrace this opportunity of presenting to you a tribute of their unanimous approbation—And while we felicitate ourselves upon the prospect of encreasing commerce by means of an easy, safe and commodious conveyance to our markets from the most productive soil in our vicinity, we wish you, sir, to be assured of the high sense we entertain of your skill, perseverance and fidelity in the science which you profess—The implements of your occupation, sir, are justly considered by all true republicans as the noblest insignia of merit—And we sincerely wish that your performance here may redound no less to the reputation of the "Architect than to the ornament of our village and the public convenience.

**********************************************

An Ingenious Den.

We find the following in the Western Constellation, and reproduce it here as an unsurpassed specimen of the dunning art:

To Mr. Croswell—
Sir—
Please give the following a place in your Paper:

Not long since one of my creditors came to me for some money—I, being in a situation at that time by which I could afford him not the least assistance, very soon discharged him with—"I can’t pay you now—call again." He accordingly called again. "Well, HINMAN, have you any money for me now?" "No, upon my honor, I have not, sir." "I want to know," always being a gentleman, "the reason of your always being destitute of money? You seem to have workmen, a plenty of them, and all at work almost constantly. I cannot conceive," continued he, "why you have not money in abundance—you must dispose of a considerable amount weekly." I answered the gentleman in the following humble and mortifying manner: "You well know, sir, that you will not receive in payment for leather anything but money, and have a very good reason for so doing; because it will command the money. But, sir, let my shoe-knife get a rip at it, then see if it will command the money! No, the very instant my knife enters its borders it loses the demand of money—indeed, it loses its value, insomuch that it will procure nothing excepting TRUST. This article, I must confess, is so abundantly plentiful, that I have taken in a greater quantity than I know how to dispose of ; for I find that my creditors will not give me the price I have given for it; therefore, of course, I must either abandon the idea of receiving any more of that produce, or keep my shoe-knife out of the leather. ‘Of two evils chus the least.’ I shall therefore, (if I am correct in making choice) chuse the former; I am sensible, if I do not, that I must in a short time adopt the measures of many others before me, namely, to get ground over a-new; or, crawl into the big end of POOR RICHARD’S horn, and squeeze out at the little end, a poor—Bitch."

Those customers who have done, justice to me, will, I hope, accept the subscriber’s most grateful thanks for their custom and attentions.

NATHANIEL HINMAN.

N. B. it is wished that all those who are indebted to my books, would come forward and see that their accounts are crossed immediately, or pay the cost. Catskill, Feb. 15, 1808.

***********************************************

St. Paul’s Church of 1819.

The following is a record of the sales of Pews and Slips in St. Paul’s Church, Monday, November 1st, 1819:

No.

Pews

 

1

Donnelly and Adams

$ 18.00

2

Haight and Dorlon

12.00

3

James Pinckney

12.00

4

J. V. D. Scott and Jacob Van Voorhis

12.25

5

John A. Thomson

13.00

6

Seaman and Ashley

12.50

7

Capt. W. Britton

13.00

8

Isaac Dubois

12.25

9

John Dubois and Judge Abeel

8.25

10

Tho. O’H. Croswell

8.00

11

Egbert Bogardus

6.25

12

Jacob Van Orden

6.25

13

Palin and Limbrak

6.00

14

William Sturges

6.00

 

No.

Slips

 

19

Caleb Benton

6.50

20

Cap. James Bogardus

6.50

21

Cap. Van Loan

5.00

22

Adam Stewart

4.00

23

William Van Loan

4.50

24

Torhand K. Cook

4.50

26

Edwin Clark

4.25

27

Van Valkenburgh and Man

4.50

28

Peter Breasted

4.00

29

Charles Rogers

5.00

30

Cornelius Dubois

4.00

31

W. H. Wey

5.00

32

Andrew Brosnaham

4.50

33

Edwin Croswell

4.50

34

Saml. Baker

3.50

35

Hiram Comfort

3.00

36

R. R. Pennoyer

3.00

37

John Ashley

2.00

No. 25 was missing from the list.

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Real Estate Speculation in 1837.

The real estate speculative mania, in 1836-37, pervaded nearly all parts of the Union, and, to show that Catskill was not an exception to the rule, we have been furnished by JOHN VAN VLECK, Esq., with a copy of a book of 48 pages, printed in the New York in 1837, for the purpose of Improving the Town of Catskill, in the County of Greene, State of New York, and for other purposes." The officers of this Association were: GEO. S. DOUGHTY, Pres’t.; EVAN GRIFFITH, Treasurer; L. B. WOODRUFF, Counsellor; THOMAS DUGUID, Secretary.—Directors: H. F. TALLMADGE, PETER R. WYCKOFF, JAMES L. CURTIS, SILAS M. STILWELL, EVAN GRIFFITH, L. B. WOODRUFF. Trustees: J. R. PETERS, HENRY OGDEN, THEOPHILUS S. MORGAN.

This Association made large purchases of real estate in West Catskill—the DUBOIS farm, and other lands—which were laid out in city lots, on streets with high-sounding names, and this little book was issued to advance the enterprise. Accompanying the book were two maps; one, a "Map of two proposed routes of Canal by the way of the Schoharie and Catskill Creeks—also the Railroad now under contact from Canajoharie to Catskill"; the other, an elaborate map of the "Property of the Catskill Association." Scrutinizing the latter, we observe that, in the cedar grove near the present site of COOKE & HARDWICK’S brick-yard, was an Elysium—on paper—designated "Clinton Terrace"; while in the rear of the lower brick-yard was a triangular-shape Park-"St. Nicholas Park"—between "Lafayette Street" and "Cornwall Avenue," and fronting on "St. Nicholas Place." That well-known landmark, "Broomstick Hill," was handsomely laid out in city lots, numbered from 1 to 15, while from "Day’s Island" (at "the Rifts") over the hill to the present residence of ROBERT STORY, streets and lots were as plentiful as are brambles on the same locality at this day.

The resources of the Association were set forth as follows:
Capital Stock, in Lots, estimated at $746,000
Stock appropriated for the investment of land of the Association 74,600
Number of Shares 3750
Par value of each share 200

After setting forth, in language somewhat florid, the advantages of the location, and the then flattering prospective importance of Catskill, unrivalled by nothing less than New York, copies of Deeds of Conveyance in Trust are published at length, together with the Articles of Association, and reports (from the Village papers) of the proceedings of meetings held in Catskill, by those favorable to the project.

At a meeting held at the Court House, Feb. 10th, 1837, on motion of FRANCIS SAYRE, the meeting was temporarily organized by calling JACOB HAIGHT to the chair. A committee appointed for the purpose reported the following permanent organization: THOMAS B. COOKE, President; ORRIN DAY, JACOB HAIGHT, JOHN ADAMS and PETER SHAURMAN, Vice Presidents: IRA DUBOIS and CALEB CROSWELL, Secretaries. At this meeting a committee of fifty gentlemen was appointed "to prepare suitable memorials to the Legislature, praying to have such laws passed as will most effectually promote the trade and commerce of this place," &c. The President named AMOS CROSWELL, JACOB R GREENE, and HENRY M’KINSTRY a committee to report fifty names, which they did as follows:

Thos. B. Cooke

Horace Willard

Joshua Atwater

Orrin Day

J. R. Greene

Leonard Kinsley

John Adams

J. A. Thomson

Edm’d Hatfield

Ezra Hawley

Caleb Hopkins

Robins’n Hazard

Jacob Haight

Rob’t Dorlon

Edgar B. Day

Peter Breasted

Fred’k Hill

J. W. Baldwin

Hiram Comfort

Tuzar Bulkley

Geo. G. Hardenburgh

Isaac Van Loan

S. S. Day

H. M’Kinstry

P. T. Mesick

Abel Brace

Fr’s. I Marvin

Amos Cornwall

Judson Wilcox

Nathan Farrell

J. M. Donnelly

J. R. Sylvester

Peter Shurman

M. Watson

Ira Dubois

J. VanValkenb’n

Caleb Day

Geo. Marvin

Caleb Croswell

S. L. Penfield

John Abeel

Jonathan Rowe

Luke Kiersted

T. C. Atwater

Steph. Bosworth

F. N. Wilson

Jno. VanVleck

Ephraim Beach

The financial revulsion which soon succeeded these "flush times." Suddenly burst the bubble. And inflicted heavy pecuniary losses upon many of the enterprising citizens of Catskill. The effects of the collapse were painfully visible for several years in the Village, the prosperity of which was seriously affected in consequence, but after a season of sack-cloth repentance, the temporary blight was effaced, and the ancient town began a new career of growth, which has been unchecked to this day.


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