Olden Time - Chapter Eight
A Short Sketch of Teachers and Surveyors
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
A Short Sketch of Teachers and Surveyors of Fifty or Sixty Years Ago.
In continuation of our last article, we may now refer briefly to the early teachers and surveyors of our town. If was altogether through the efforts of the brothers Schermerhorn that the Coxsackie Academy was founded and organized. They were the first teachers about sixty years ago and they were extraordinarily successful. They attracted many pupils from abroad, particularly that class of young men who were preparing to enter college, but the field here was too narrow for men of their calibre and after the lapse of a few years they removed to New York where they soon became well known and popular with a wealthy class of gentlemen who sought for the instruction of their boys they very best teachers without regard to cost. The outcome was that they had as patrons the most wealthy class and at prices for tuition which now would seem fabulous. The younger brother was married soon after going to New York and died suddenly on his wedding tour. The elder continued his labors up to a few years before his death, which occurred three years ago. He was a genial gentleman and yearly visited Coxsackie, remaining some two or three weeks, renewing his old acquaintances and taking everybody by the hand with a pleasant greeting.
In the early years of the century Jno. Wigram, a man well educated, had considerable fame as a teacher, most of the early surveyors were among his pupils. Abram Van Dyke, J. L. Bronk, the early lawyers of Coxsackie, W. V. H. Heermance, Casper I. Hallenbeck, Anthony M. Van Bergen and Jno. D. Spoor were the most prominent surveyors before the year 1820. After that date A. M. Van Bergen answered about every call for surveying in Coxsackie and New Baltimore and surrounding towns up to his death in the year 1852.
The writer has now in his possession almost all the surveying memoranda of A. M. Van Bergen, Abram Van Dyck, Jno. L. Bronk and Jno. D. Spoor, a very valuable collection of papers; valuable because many disputes and differences between adjoining property holders can now only be rectified and adjusted by reference to those papers. They should in the course of time pass along into the hands of some gentleman well qualified as a surveyor and civil engineer to make the best use of them.
The attention of the people of the town of Coxsackie was some time ago, in an article published in THE NEWS, called to this fact and the suggestion was made that there youth to be in the new Coxsackie school a place for students under a competent instructor whose specialty should be surveying and civil engineering but the Board of Education stand aloof and makes no effort in that direction.
There were several select schools in town sixty years ago. We have already noted the fact in a former article that the Rev. Henry Ostrander taught a select school early in the century in the Upper Village, but later on Van Dyck & Bronk employed college graduates to teach and prepare their boys for college and a limited number of others had the advantages of that school.
Judge Van Bergen also employed a lady teacher, Miss Dickinson, to instruct his daughters, in music particularly. There were also several other such schools similarly organized but the teachers are not now well remembered.
In our next article we will refer at some length to the former business men of what is now West Coxsackie.