Olden Time - Chapter Ten
Facts Connected with the Lower Landing
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
Facts Connected With the Lower Landing—The Division of Lots—Ship Yard—Capt. Isaac Smith—The Freighting Business—A Company That Did Not Succeed—First Hotel.
What is now called the Lower Landing was included originally in lots No. 46 and 47 of Coxsackie Patent. This land was purchased by Peter Bronck of the Indians in 1662, and this purchase together with adjoining territory was confirmed by a patent granted by Colonial governor, Richard Nichols, five years thereafter. Peter Bronk died in the year 1685 and Jan Bronk was his only heir and successor. The first record we have of any transfer of this land was a deed from Peter Bronk, a descendant of the original, to Israel Gibbs, a citizen of Catskill, in the year 1794. Before this transfer there was only one house at the Lower Landing; this was occupied by Mollie Wells who perhaps held a sort of squatter sovereignty over that territory for a long time. That house was located north of the house lot formerly owned and occupied by Charles Bartlett and now owned by Hyatt, and the locality was known as "Mollie Wells’ Point." But after the conveyance to Gibbs, as above stated, it was known as "Gibbs’ Point." This conveyance by the Bronks to Gibbs embraced fifty acres of land including roads, taking in all of the land east of the Albany and Greene Turnpike and a portion north and west of said road.
In the year 1810 a survey of the land was made by Abram Van Dyck and a part of the same was laid out into
Small Building Lots,
Nine in number and containing in all about eight acres. These small lots fronted on the highway as it now runs from the lower Knickerbocker ice house northerly. They were numbered beginning on the south side and adjacent to the Bartlett property. Lot No. 1 and lot No. 2 was conveyed to Chaplin and were one hundred and fifty feet in front breadth, upon those lots the potash works were located. Lot No. 3 was opposite the wharf built by Gibbs, fifty-two feet in breadth and conveyed to Elam Gibbs; lot No. 4 was fifty-two feet in breadth and conveyed to Jno. Luck; lot No. 5 was fifty-two feet in breadth and conveyed to Abram Van Dyck; lot No. 6 was fifty-two feet in breadth and conveyed to Jno. Lusk; lot No. 7 was ninety feet in breadth and conveyed to Jno. Gibbs; lot No. 8 was seventy-five feet in breadth and conveyed to Jno. Gibbs; lot No 9 was seventy-five feet in breadth and conveyed to Jno. Gibbs; lot No. 9 is now occupied by Casper Clow; lot No. 8 by Milliard Hallenbeck and lots below by D. M. Hamilton, the heirs of Capt. Jno. Smith and others farther on. These lots are now bounded on the west by a small run of water but the first grants extended westerly about four hundred and thirty feet.
The balance of the land was laid out into lots of larger area. Lot No.10 was located on the west side of the above tier of nine lots and was bounded on the north by the small run of water, before alluded to, continued on westerly, on the east in part by the tier of nine building lots and in part by Hudson river, on the south by the line of lot No.40 of Coxsackie Patent and on the west in part by lot line of No. 46 of Coxsackie Patent and the Albany and Greene turnpike road and contained sixteen acres. This lot was conveyed to Elam Gibbs. Lot No. 11 was not sold in 1810 but was retained by Israel Gibbs, the purchaser of the whole tract, and contained six acres. This lot was bounded on the north by the highway, as it then was located, up to its intersection with the Albany and Greene road; on the south by the run of water before mentioned; on the east by the highway and lot No. 9 of tier of building lots and on the west by the Albany and Greene road. Lot No. 12 was located between the highway and the river, contained two acres and was conveyed to Jno. Gibbs, Elam Gibbs, and Jno. Lusk Lot No. 13 was located north of lot No. 12 between the highway and the river, contained four acres and was conveyed to Jno. Lusk. Lot No.14, located west of the Albany and Greene road and north of the Lower Landing road, was conveyed to William Van Noot and contained six acres. Lot No. 15 was located west of the Lower Landing road, contained about three acres and was conveyed to Jno. Lusk.
The First Wharf
The first wharf was built at the Lower Landing in the early years of the century by Elam Gibbs opposite lots No. 2 and No. 3 of the small tier of lots. Those lots No. 2 and No. 3 are now owned and occupied by Dora Delamater and William Cochran. *(These are near the corner about 119 South River Street.)
One of the earliest business enterprises inaugurated at the Lower Landing, in the early part of the century, was the building of the
by Samuel Goodrich. He built the brick house about seventy years ago now owned and occupied by Edward Hyatt, but did not build any vessels of very heavy tonnage during his ownership of the shipyard.
He was followed by William Mayo in the year 1830, a man of remarkable pluck and enterprise. He built many vessels. We now remember the propellor "Mayo, " built for George Reed, the barge "Coxsackie," built for Barker & Kirtland and the propellor "Davis", built for A. Davis, of Stuyvesant, Columbia Co. Jno. L. Myers succeeded Mayo and he after the lapse of several years sold his yard to the Knickerbocker Ice Co., about the year 1873 and the large Knickerbocker ice house is now located on the site of the old shipyard.
We have no account, by tradition or otherwise, that the Gibbs family, who were the first owners of all the land about the Lower Landing, ever contributed anything toward its material growth and prosperity, except perhaps the building of a small wharf.
Jno. Bartlett, father of Charles Bartlett, was one of the earliest settlers and had charge of the wharf upon which were landed the passengers of the New York and Albany boats.
When Samuel Goodrich left Coxsackie, Charles Bartlett bought his residence, the brick house referred to, and the land adjoining on the north up to the lane, now separating the house lots of Wm. Cochrane and Henry Lewis (deceased). Bartlett was a surveyor and in the 1810 laid out into building lots the whole area of the Middle Landing. That work was so clumsily performed that even up to this late day hot disputes occasionally occur among the lot owners as to their respective lines of division. Bartlett also kept a store for years in a building which has for a long time been known as the "Pink House." It is located just south of the residence of Thomas Smith and has been transformed into a barn.
Bartlett had some
about the future of Coxsackie Landing. He set out many trees—elms and others—about his residence, the growth of which today gives a very ancient aspect to the whole place. He kept deer in the park surrounding his house. He contemplated building a block of dwellings and perhaps with this end in view and to supply the necessary capital he was induced to give an insurance company a lien upon his property. There was some misapplication of funds and the result was a mortgage foreclosure. The property was sold and Bartlett left Coxsackie about the year 1840.
Captain Isaac Smith
who has born and grew up to man’s estate on Long Island, was engaged for years in a coasting freight trade along the island and finally, in the pursuit of his legitimate business, drifted up the North river before the year 1825. He stopped at Coxsackie and found a cargo of brick, manufactured by one French (who lived in the house now occupied by Cuyler Vosburg), *(Cuyler Vosburgh lived on the lot now vacant in the southwest corner of Ely and Church Street.) waiting transportation to New York. He commenced a freight business at once and in conjunction with French, a partner, made brick largely. He moved his young family to Coxsackie and occupied a small house on the present site of the residences of D. M. Hamilton and he kept a small store in the house. He soon afterwards, in the year 1833, built a double house *(Present double house at the right angle turn toward beach on South River Street.) on the site of the old house. The one was occupied by himself and the other by his friend, Capt. Platt Smith. The same houses are now owned by D. M. Hamilton and the heir of Capt. Jno. Smith. After the building of the new houses he opened a store in a building which he thus occupied for years, located near the south west of the present office of D. M. Hamilton. He was afterwards in partnership with Capt. Isaac Van Schaack in brick making and at the time was enlarging and extending his freight and transportation business to New York in all lines of farm products. He bought property all about the Landing and in the year 1826 applied for and received from the state a grant to land under water opposite the tier of small building lots referred to at the beginning of this article. This brief outline at once suggest the conclusion that to the business enterprise and tact and perseverance of Capt. Isaac Smith the initial growth and material prosperity of Coxsackie Lower Landing is principally due. There was to be sure a fortunate concurrence of circumstances which had been outlined in a former article, which materially aided and abetted his business career.
The Freighting Business
There was in the freighting business a formidable opposition at the Middle Landing and it was not until about 1840, when his son Capt. Jno., and his son-in-law, D. M. Hamilton bought out his plant, that the business, as conducted by those gentlemen, proved to be a sort of balance wheel on all the freighting business at Coxsackie Landing. They were remarkably successful as business men and enjoyed the entire confidence and good will of all with whom they had business relations.
Another enterprise inaugurated at the Lower Landing in the year 1836 was a Farmers’ Freighting Co., very promising in its inception but in result disastrous to all concerned. This was a sort of joint stock company composed of farmers mainly, eighteen in number each contributing five hundred dollars to the common stock. Among the stockholders were, Aaron Butler, Obediah King, R. Edget, Dave Webber, I. W. Lampman and some fifteen others whose names are now not remembered. They purchased the barge "Fishkill", appointed Halstead as captain; continued business for two years without much success and finally abandoned the original organization. Capt. Isaac Smith and Benjamin T. Burroughs bought out the whole concern and the freighting business, under the firm name of Smith & Van Schaack, was for a while continued.
Another enterprise at the Lower Landing was the stowing of ice in the "old ice house" (so called) located just north of Hamilton’s main bulkhead line. This was about forty years ago. The machinery for elevating ice as now used was not then in use and the ice cakes were hoisted into the building one by one by horse power. Hiram Van Steenburg, of Catskill, and W. Radford, a wealthy merchant of New York, were at the head of this work.
Sterry Baker built the
which was the house now owned and occupied by Thomas Smith *(Thomas Smith lived at 123 South River Street.) as a dwelling. He was sixty years ago, a wagon builder by trade and had a workshop near the bridge over Coxsackie Creek, west of West Coxsackie. He afterwards ran the flour and plaster mill now owned by Van Bergen Brothers in the town of New Baltimore and from thence moved to Coxsackie Landing. He died long ago. As a master of builder and contractor.
was a man of note in his specialty in this community. He built and lived in the house now occupied by Counsellor Hisserd. He made a large property but the liberal spirit of the man forbade any very great accumulation.
Other items of interest in respect to the Lower Landing have already been noticed in former articles of which we do not make any note here because it would be useless repetition. But the above, although incomplete in many ways we hope will add a mite to the general stock of information. And it is proper here to acknowledge our indebtedness to our fellow townsman, D. M. Hamilton, for many statements and some history which is fast running into oblivion.
A following article will include the Middle Landing which is a broader field and will probably make two papers for publication.