Olden Time - Chapter Sixteen
Early Settlers and Representative Men of Coxsackie
Transcribed by Arlene Goodwin. From the book entitled, "Ye Olden Time, as compiled from the Coxsackie News of 1889" written by Robert Henry Van Bergen, together with notations by Rev. Delber W. Clark, and edited by Francis A. Hallenbeck, 1935
Early Settlers and Representative Men of Coxsackie
In a former article, some time ago, reference was made to Ambrose Baker and Lewis Baker as business men at the Upper Landing, and some statements were given as to the amount and character of their trade, and to avoid repetition we will not again refer to those gentlemen, only to say that Ambrose Baker was largely engaged in brick making sixty years ago, as well as other lines of business. He furnished the Croton water works with a large part of the material used in its construction. Other matters were also referred to about the Upper Landing which might, perhaps, have properly been incorporated in this paper, for all of which the reader is referred to that article.
The father of Isaac Wells *(Robert Henry Van Bergen had telescoped the Wells family almost as successfully as the Bronk family. The first James Wells is reputed to have been here about 1720. His wife’s name is Annaetje. After arriving in Coxsackie he presented three children for Baptism; Edward, 1748, Annietje, 1753; and Abraham, 1757. He seems also to have been the father of James H., who married Mareytje Siberse. Joseph I. who married Maria Hoes, and William I. who married Catharina Bronk. Isaac was the son of the second James. Robert Henry Van Bergen had carried him back to the beginning of the century.) was probably the earliest settler, and built the house, about one hundred and sixty years ago, which had been owned and occupied by Isaiah W. Briggs for almost fifty years. Mr. Briggs came to Coxsackie when a boy, nine years of age, and after he arrived to man’s estate was for thirty years or more a boatman on the river, and afterwards in the meat market business at Coxsackie Middle Landing. He is yet a pretty well preserved man, 77 years of age. (Since this article was first published Mr. Briggs has died at the ripe age of 80 years). Isaac Wells succeeded his father in the occupation of the house and for a while kept a tavern.
The children of Isaac Wells were: one daughter (Maria) who never married, and four sons, names respectively Aaron, Richard, Jacobus and Edward. Richard was a lawyer in New York city, acquired a competency, lived at Hudson after his retirement and died there years ago. Isaac Collier, son of our fellow townsman Phillip Collier, married one of the daughters. Jacobus Wells!—who has not heard of "Cobe Wells," the pedagogue?—a man of native ability, but very remarkable for his oddities and waywardness, very uncommon eccentricities of character. He died poor and forsaken by those who should have been his friends in his extremity. Edward occupied the place of his uncle Edward for years, and years ago moved west.
Isaac Wells ran a ferry seventy years ago from a point just east of his house. The boat used was a scow and propelled by oars in the hands of himself and his sons, but was only used when the weather was fair and the wind was slack. The ferry route across the river was between what is now known as the "Wells Island" and "Rattlesnake Island," and the landing in Columbia county was almost opposite his house, on what is known as the Sickles’ fishing ground. The first ferry franchise, however, between Albany and Hudson, was granted to Ephraim Bogardus in the same year 1800, and he was followed by Isaac Wells.
Nathan Hubbel once lived in the Wells house and manufactured brick on the yard afterwards occupied by Amos Puffer and east of the present residence of Fred Noble. Carman and Holmes followed Puffer in the same yard.
Charles Bartlett was engaged in trade early in the century, had a store along the old highway and a storehouse on the wharf just east of the house formerly owned and occupied by Elias Gates. His brickyard was north of the Gates house, and he was the pioneer—the first brickmaker at the Upper Landing.
Charles Titus was another early settler. He had a store west of the ice house built by Woodford, and made brick near the site of the brick stables erected by E. N. Hubble. Ashley Roswell was another early brickmaker. His yard was on the property now owned by Patrick Bourke; and he was followed by Mackey and others.
Joseph Street made brick on a yard near the site of Hiram Gate’s house. John Miller also had a yard near the grounds afterward occupied by E. N. Hubble.
On reading the above we conclude, of course, that the brick business at the Upper Landing, in the early years, was a very important industry. Indeed it was, and the business men of that day had very rose-colored notions about their future. As we have noted in a former article, they were progressive. They introduced water for household use in the year 1806, from a point three miles away, and laid out on paper village lots, and besides projected many enterprises and made many movements in anticipation of an increasing population and a growing place. But in after years, in the working of natural events, which it is not worth now to discuss, there was apparently a diversion of business toward the Middle Landing, and the Upper Landing, as a place of business, has been on the wane ever since.
Minor Hubbel built several houses at the Upper Landing, and one of the first was the house now occupied by Elias Gates. Titcomb was a baker and occupied the corner afterwards owned by Cummings Carman. Carman died of cholera in the year 1849.
George Hill kept a tavern in the house *(this should be the present residence of Frank F Bedell, at the corner of Mansion Street and Lafayette Street.) afterwards occupied by Ambrose Baker as a residence. There is a tradition about the disappearance of a pack peddler who was last seen at that house. An investigation was had and diligent search made, but no discovery which implicated any one in the taking off of the peddler was ever made, but a very decided suspicion against a certain party was long entertained.
Jacob and John Cuyler were early settlers. They lived in the house now owned by Charles Bogardus. Jacob never married, and John was the father of the Cuyler family in Coxsackie. His daughter, Eliza married Van Duzen, of Hudson; Catherine married Walton Street Stoutenberg; Susan married Garret Heermance, a lawyer; Jane married John Anable, of Hudson. It is said that Catherine was the favorite niece of Jacob, and that by will he bequeathed to her an extra thousand dollars.
We come now to notice of E. N. Hubble, not because he was an early settler, but was more recently very largely engaged in the manufacture of brick. He was the largest manufacturer at the Upper Landing, in fact the largest ever in the town. He bought the property of Charles Titus at the Upper Landing some thirty-five years ago, which had a frontage on the river and extended back over the clay hills, embracing about forty acres of land. He built wharves and laid out, just west of the Albany and Greene turnpike road, very extensive yards; had two steam engines in use, besides iron and wood shops and harness shops for the repairing of his running gear; had some fifteen teams of horses in use all the while, drawing wood and brick. He built the long row of brick stabling, yet standing along the highway, for the accommodation of his horses. He also built what is now known as the "Brick Row," as dwellings for the use of some of the men in his employ. His employees, in various capacities, numbered two hundred men, more or less. He manufactured about ten millions of brick annually, for years.
E. N. Hubble, all through his business career in the town of Coxsackie, was a man of remarkable executive ability, and besides, politically, had the entire confidence of his party. He was elected supervisor of the town of Coxsackie in year 1857, and re-elected for three successive terms. He was elected Member of Congress from this Congressional district shortly thereafter. After the expiration of his term he returned to his native place and built the house now owned and occupied by Dr. Van Slyke. He occupied that mansion for several years and finally, in the year 1875, failed. Business reverses, which he could not control or surmount, were before him, and he succumbed to the inevitable. He moved West to Michigan, where he is now engaged in business.
R. H. Van Bergen
The above paper is the last one of the series of the "Ye Olden Time" articles, republished in THE NEWS, at the urgent solicitation of many subscribers.
These writings will be continued during the current year, as the spirit moves and we have leisure in a somewhat different vein perhaps, but yet, we hope quite as acceptable to the general reader as any heretofore published.