Olden Time - Chapter Eleven
The First Settler, House and Wharf
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
The First Settler, House and Wharf—Many Notable Fact of Interest—The Reed’s Play a Conspicuous Part.
The first settler, who held a sort of squatter sovereignty over what is now called Middle Landing, was a French doctor, whose name was Claude Ducalon. A survey and division of Coxsackie Patent, between the Van Bergen’s and Bronk’s was made in the year 1784, and on that map, on lot No. 48 of the Patent, the house in which he lived was located, as being on the bridle path leading westerly to the Upper Village and on the site of the Malleable Iron Foundry. *(Malleable Iron Foundry, Superior Projector.) Lot No. 48 of the Patent belonged to the Van Bergen’s, before the year 1800, a part of the lot and built a wharf and small store house at the northeast corner of the ledge of rocks. The same site is now occupied by the storehouses of the Reed & Powell Transportation Company. A few years thereafter, about the year 1804, he transferred to Thomas E. Barker, Ralph Barker and William Judson about 20 acres of this purchase, and this included about all of what is called the Middle Landing today. Eliakim Reed also sold to the same parties lot No. 27 of the Patent, which lot he also bought of the Van Bergen’s. This lot No. 27 lies along the north side of the plank road, *(Plank Road—Sunset Boulevard. Highway from Judge Leets—Washington Avenue.) (so called) and is bounded on the west by the highway leading from Bailey’s corner in the Upper Village, southerly and the east by the highway leading from Judge Leets’s, southerly—it being the same land occupied by Nathan Hubbel and his son Edwin, years ago, for farming purposes, and now the possession of the heirs of John Brandow, Gero Green and others. Nathan Hubbel bought the land of Judge Bronk, in 1823, at $25 per acre.
The ledge of rocks upon the north end of which the wharf and store was built by Reed, extended southerly along the east side of River street up to a point near its intersection with New street, leading to the wharf of the Catskill and Albany steamers, and the buildings on the east side of River street was mainly founded on that ledge. The intervening space between the ledge and the bluff, or highlands, on the west, was river flat and covered at high tide so that the line of high water mark was along the sheds now belonging to the hotel of Wm. W. Cumming, and on southeasterly and southerly along the Winans brick building at the bluff, upon which the Session House. *(Session House, Ely Street. ) of the Second Reformed church now stands.
The first filling of this flat was commenced about where Main street now runs, and south of it, and the buildings on the south side of Main street were founded on this made ground, and the buildings on the north side were, for the most part, erected on piles driven into the soft bottom of the river. It was not until after the fire of 1854 that the brick buildings on the north side of Main street were erected on a substantial some foundation.
It seems, from the above, that Eliakim Reed was the first settler at Coxsackie Landing who built a storehouse and a wharf for commercial purposes, the first settler who bought land (where the business of Coxsackie is now centered) and a considerable block of land besides on the west.
He, with his brother Ezra, came to Coxsackie from Norwalk, Conn., before 1800. They were sons of Daniel Reed, who was born in 1697, and Daniel Reed was the grandson of John Reed, the progenitor of the Reed family in Coxsackie. Jno Reed was born in Cornwall, England, was a commissioned military officer in Cromwell’s army, and on the restoration of Charles II, he fled the country. He settled in Rhode Island, but moved into Westchester county, N. Y., in 1684, and afterward into the township Norwalk, Conn. He died in 1730, aged 98 years.
Daniel Reed built an extensive mansion on the paternal estate at Norwalk, which is yet preserved in good condition, and probably will be perpetuated into another century. The style of the house is said to be very antiquated, and altogether a very valuable relic of the "old days."
Ezra Reed’s children, the most of whom lived and died in Coxsackie, were: Sarah, who married Butler, and lived on the hill in a large yellow-painted house, a noted landmark, just west of the Upper Landing. She died in 1834, aged 68 years; Lois died in 1843, aged 76 years; Roswell died in 1839, aged 70 years; Epenetus died in 1847, aged 74 years; Lydia, who was the wife of Simeon Fitch, who built and occupied the brick mansion near the West Shore railroad, died in 1868, aged 61 years; Huldah married Dibble and died in 1853, aged 73 years; Ezra died in 1807, aged 24; and Aaron was born in 1771.
Eliakim Reed, first referred to in this article, after the lapse of a few years, retired, and was not a factor in active business thereafter, and two of the sons of his brother Ezra, Roswell and Epenetus, alone remained of the Reed family in Coxsackie. They continued in active business for many years, each living to a good old age accumulating a handsome competency. They married sisters of the Reed family but not near akin.
Of the children of Epenetus—nine in number—only two remained in Coxsackie as men of business. George, born in the year 1800, and Alexander, born in 1815, now both dead.
George Reed married Esther Kempton, *(Register, Trinity Church, Athens. Vol. I, records of marriage of George Reed to Hester Vempton, Sept 21, 1821) daughter of William Kempton, in 1822. Alexander Reed married Henrietta Backus, of Coxsackie. The only surviving son of George Reed –W. K. Reed—is still engaged in business at Coxsackie Landing, a hale and hearty man, just in the prime of life. It here occurs to us as a noteworthy fact, well worth recording and surely without parallel in the village, that some members of the Reed family in genealogical succession, from Ezra Reed the progenitor, down to and including his great grandson W. K. Reed, have been continuously, for upwards of a century, in active business in the town of Coxsackie.
Ezra Reed was also an early buyer of real estate. He owned, with other property, lot No. 30 of Coxsackie Patent, containing 48.7 acres, a survey and subdivision of which between eight heirs after his death was made by Abram Van Duck and Judge Leonard Bronk in the year 1818. In this division quantity and quality was considered so that the number of acres allotted to each heir varied somewhat. This lot No. 30 was located west of the intersection of Lafayette avenue with the highway running westerly from the Middle Landing to the Upper Landing.
You notice, Mr. Editor, that we have hardly made a beginning of the record of the business men of Coxsackie, but we will try to conclude the whole story in three or four papers.