Olden Time - Chapter Nine
An Interesting Sketch concerning the Early Business Men
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
An Interesting Sketch Concerning the Early Business Men of Coxsackie Upper Village
And to the early business man, the merchants and others of upper Coxsackie village, not much is to be recorded which is noteworthy other than a simple statement of their names and places of business. This will refresh the recollection of a few the inhabitants of adult age and will be as well a matter of information for many of our fellow citizens of the present time.
The most familiar names which now occur to us are Archibald McVicker, Jno. K. Lusk, Simeon Fitch, I. B. Cottle, Isaac Hallenbeck, T. W. Gay, Jason Lusk, Richard McCarty, Walton Street and W. S. Stoutenburgh. All these were engaged in a general mercantile business, and buying besides largely, and exchanging with the farmers and owners of wood lands, goods for cooperage and lumber of all kinds. Staves were at that time a staple article of export to the cities.
Jno. K. Lusk, father of Rev. M. Lusk, built and occupied the house now owned by Altanta Whitbeck, *( Altanta Whitbeck lived at 258 Mansion St., West Coxsackie.) and his store was the building now occupied by S. Carman as a dwelling. The same property was afterwards used as a store and dwelling by his brother, Jason Lusk, father of Gilbert Lusk, who died a few years ago at Catskill.
Simeon Fitchís store was located on the site of the houses now occupied by the drug store of William Scribner and James Delamater *(Scribner and Delamaterís Drug Store was at 226 Mansion Street.) and opposite or east of the hotel now rented by Daniel Fiero, Fitch was a large farmer as well and employed constantly several teams and many men. He built the brick house now used as a hotel near the West Shore railway, in the year 1815. Upon his removal from Coxsackie the house and farm adjoining was conveyed to Tobias Teller. Teller sold to E. N. Hubbell and Hubbell sold to Jno. Raymond about the time of the building of the Athens and Schenectady railway. Besides the land adjoining the brick house on the south and east, Fitch was the proprietor of a large block of land in the Van Den Berg Patent, just south and west of the bridge of the Coxsackie branch turnpike road over Murdererís Creek. He was as a farmer enterprising and successful but somewhat visionary. His land in the Van Den Berg patent was located in school district No. 7 (the same district in which the writer learned his A. B. Cís) and as a sample of his visionary projects it may be stated that in the fall of the year 1827 he prepared on that land a block of some five acres as carefully as the diligent farmer of today would prepare the same for a crop of corn, manured the soil thoroughly, worked it into a fine tilth, marked it both ways in rows, three feet apart, and planted chestnuts as we plant corn today at the intersection of the furrows.
The boys of school district No. 7 were of course observant of this whole work and whenever afterwards they were inclined to go chestnuting all they had to do was to go the Fitch lot and help themselves to a full supply. As an example of the general thoroughness which characterized all his farm work the writer once saw him in the spring of the year accompanying one of his men to a piece of land which was to be seeded with timothy and clover. The man was a greenhorn and before commencing to sow the seed he was directed to go to a pond of water near by and sow, over the surface such a quantity of seed as would be to his employer, who was nearby, a satisfactory application.
The store and house of J. Boman Cottle and his father was located on the site of the present dwelling house of David Yeomans. *(David Yoemans Lived at _______?) Isaac Hallenbeckís place of business was on the site now occupied by William Farmerís brick-store *(William Farmerís brick store, 242 Mansion Street, West Coxsackie) and upon his death the business was continued by Mrs. Rhoda Hallenbeck and her brother, Wm. V. B. Adams. T. W. Gayís store was the present stand of Anthony Conine *(Anthony Conineís place was at 250 Mansion Street) who is engaged in a general grocery and provision and shoe trade. W. S. Stoutenberg, upon the death of this uncle, Walton Street, continued the business in the store now occupied by Aaron Whitbeck *(Aaron Whitbeckís law office was at 233 Mansion Street.) as a law office. Prentiss was a general cabinet and furniture maker about the year 1882 and occupied as a work room and residence the house of A. B. Hotaling, opposite the First Reformed church. Just east of that house was the blacksmith shop of the Griffenís, father and son, they lived on the opposite side of the street in the Elm Tree House (so called). Isaac Bachelor was a butcher and besides ran a general candy and confectionery store in a building which occupied the site on the which the new store of Jno. Whitbeck *(Present Whitbeck Building , corner of Mansion Street and Whitbeck Street.) is located. Jno. Carrol was a wheel-wright and lived in the house now occupied Dr. J. B. Van Dyck. He was the father of Thomas B. Carrol, who edited the Coxsackie Standard in the year 1836. He grew up in the shadow of William L. Marcy, governor of the state of New York, who assisted him in various ways and secured for him several very valuable government contracts for public printing which to him was a mine of wealth. I think Carrol still lives in Saratoga county on the banks of Saratoga Lake.
Tallmadge Fairchild *(Talmadge Fairchild was the Master of the Ark Lodge when it suspended during the Masonic agitation in 1816-1819, 1822, 1824, 1846 and was the first Master when it began functioning again.) was one of the early settlers in the village and lived and had a place of business on the lot owned by Mrs. Abbey Calkins on the north side of the street and east of the West Shore railway. He was a very worthy citizen, was justice of the peace for many years and succeeded admirably in the administration of affairs in his official capacity, Adjoining and east of Fairchild, lived Smith Delamater, a general carpenter and builder, and for the execution of fine work he had no equal in the village.
Adjoining his home lot, Nicholas I., Lampman built a brick house now owned by Morris Dolan, *(Morris Dolan lived at 199 Mansion Street, West Coxsackie) with extensive machine shops on the east side of the lot. This man Lampman was a born mechanical genius. He was inventive as well as practically expert. The old fashioned revolving hay rake was one among many others of this creation. He was very industrious but led a plodding sort of life and never seemed to prosper much. When the great octagon barn was built on the homestead place of Leonard Bronk, the builder was at a loss finally to frame the plates and rafters, and Lampman was called upon to finish the job which he completed in the most satisfactory manner.
The house now occupied by the Botsford family *(Botsford family lived at "The Pines", 187 Mansion Street.) was early in the century occupied by Phillip Conine who had a store on the home lot nearly opposite the residence of Jno. L. B. Silvester. E. Stebbins lived in a house just west of the present West Shore hotel *(The West Shore Hotel was next to the railroad on Mansion Street and was torn down when the underpass was built.) and had an extensive shoe business up street. He was a noted checker player. E. H. Taylor had a hat manufacturing establishment on the premises now occupied by Isaac Sharp *(The saloon of Isaac Sharp was at 243 Mansion Street.) as a saloon and James Carl had a hat business occupying the corner opposite the harness store of Wm. E. Bailey. The premises now owned by Bailey *(William E. Baileyís store was on the site of the present club house of Hose Co. No. 3, corner of Bailey and Mansion Sts.) was occupied by the family of Morris Batterson who carried on a heavy shoe business in one of the southern states, I think, Mississippi. One of the earliest tavern keepers was Seberry Fish who owned the stand now rented by Daniel Fiero *(Daniel Fiero did business at 232 Mansion Street.) His son Zeb Fish was for many years a general fish butcher at Coxsackie Landing. Joseph Hoyt occupied as a tavern the building recently used by Jno. H Whitbeck as a place of business near the West Shore railway. Wm. Chapman was a harness maker, owning the premises, house and shop, west of the brick store of Wm. Farmerís. William Bepac *(Franklinís printer read R. H. V. B.; "Bepac" wrong Spelled Bessac.) commenced his business career in a shop next west, as a jeweler and repairer of clocks and watches. He afterwards opened a store and conducted a very successful business on the opposite side of the street. T. W. Gay, beginning with a very small capital in the store now occupied by Anthony Connie, gradually in the course of years amassed a competency.
Richard McCarty was one of the early store keepers. He erected the building, as a residence, which was afterwards opened as a tavern by Joseph Hoyt. He was followed by David Blossom and Tom Carr later in the same business. Richard McCarty was appointed flour inspector in the city of New York, was president of a bank in the city and amassed a fortune.
Jacob E. Bogardus was a tanner and currier for many year. He lived opposite and east of the residence of J. L. B. Silvester in the house now owned and occupied by Sweet. He was assisted for many years in his business by his brother, Ephraim, who finally bought a farm north of the Upper Landing on the banks of the Hudson River.
Jno Taintor lived next west of Farmerís brick store where he had for years a candy and cake shop. He studied divinity and about the year 1830 he sought admittance into the Dutch church as a preacher. Leonard B. Van Dyck was a candidate at the same time. Taintor was never admitted into holy orders, and Van Dyck, on account of some unsoundness of doctrine or non-compliance with all the tenets of the Dutch church, was finally installed into the Presbyterian organization and preached for many years in the village of Windham, Greene Co. On account of voice failure he gave up preaching and returned to live in his native place and died at his residence in Coxsackie opposite the First Reformed church some twelve years ago.
Robert Burns was a cooper, and occupied as a place of business a building at the head of the street, which is now occupied by Wm. Farmer. Jno. Sharp lived in the house now owned and occupied by Daniel Vroman, *(Daniel Vrooman lived North of Mansion Street and East of the tracks. The house was torn down to build the underpass.) having a blacksmith shop adjoining.. Mr. Yale lived in the Masonís Lodge House, *(Masonís Lodge house, long the home of Ark Lodge, now a dwelling, 270 Mansion Street.) his daughter married Henry Whitbeck, a blacksmith, who soon emigrated to the west and landed at Chicago which was at that time only a small village. He was enterprising and far-reaching in his views, was soon engaged in heavy lumber transactions and is today a millionaire, living in Illinois.
Coxsackie had as knights of the shears some sixty year ago, Peter Havens, Boss Sanford and Wm. Frear. Frear was a very industrious man, the passerby at any late hour of the night, when lights were generally extinguished, could always locate him on his bench industriously plying his needle. His son, Wm. H. Frear, proprietor of the mammoth store at Troy, is one of the remarkable men of his day an age. He commenced his business career when a mere boy as a clerk in a dry goods store in the village of Coxsackie. He soon moved to the city of Troy and began business as a clerk, in the store of Flagg, on Cannon Place, an old merchant of the city. Flagg, getting to be an old man, soon retired from active business and having entire confidence in the business habits of young Frear, his integrity of character and general capacity and fitness for mercantile business, placed in his hands the good will of a business which he had been long years in establishing. From that time on Wm. H. Frear had been in his specialty very laborious, shrewd and enterprising and at last remarkably successful. His advertising bills are said to exceed $20,000 annually and he is rated today anywhere from a quarter to a half million of dollars.
The above recital of the business men of the upper village probably does not include all who were among the early settlers, but taken together with what is included in former articles, may be considered as a pretty full outline. A following paper will begin with the men and business of Coxsackie Landing.