This profile of Putnam County and accompanying engravings was excerpted from "Historical Collections of the State of New York" published in 1841 by S. Tuttle, 194 Chatham Square, New York, Publisher. The authors were the well-known John W. Barber (author of the Connecticut and Massachusetts Historical Collections) and Henry Howe (author of 'The Memoirs of Eminent American Mechanics'). A later, more commonly found, edition of this work was published in 1845.
In their preface Mr. Barber and Mr. Howe credit earlier gazetteers as sources of some information - Spafford's Gazetteers of 1813 and 1824, and Gordon's Gazetteer of 1836. The engravings were "with few exceptions, copied from drawings taken on the spot by the compilers of the work." All spelling and punctuation are as in the original.
From "Historical Collections of the State of New York"
Putnam county was taken from Dutchess in 1812; greatest length 21, greatest breadth 12 miles. The Highlands extend across the western part. The highestest pont is about 1,580 feet above the Hudson. The remainder of the county, though generally uneven, has some handsome plains, with a soil various, and some of it fertile. The mountains abound with iron ore of good quality. Butter, beef, wool, calves, lambs, sheep, fowls, and the many other species of "marketing" are produced here in great quantities for the New York market, and their returns are rapidly enriching the producer. The evidences of prosperity are everywhere visible. Within a few years the lands have doubled in value and price. The county is watered easterly and centrally by the main branches of the Croton. It is divided into six towns. Pop. 12, 825.
CARMEL, taken from Frederickstown (now Kent) in 1795; centrally distant 106 miles from New York, 55 from Albany, 16 E. of the Hudson river at West Point, and 18 from Peekskill. Pop. 2,263. Carmel, the county seat, is a small village beautifully situated upon Shaws lake. Red Mills is a small village on the Muscoot river, 8 miles SW. of Carmel.
KENT, originally named Fredericktown and organized in 1788; from New York 60, and from Albany 101 miles. Pop. 1,830. Milltown, 7 miles NW., and Coles Mills, 3 miles N. from Carmel, are small settlements on a branch of the Croton.
PATTERSON, originally named Franklin, and organized in 1795. Pop. 1,349. Patterson or The City, formerly named Fredricksburg, in the valley of the Croton, is a small village. Towners and Haviland's Hollow are names of post-offices.
PHILIPSTOWN was organized in 1788; centrally distant from New York 53, from Albany 95 miles. Pop. 3,814. This town extends the whole length of the west end of Putnam county on the Hudson. Some of the most prominent peaks of the Highlands are in this town, viz: Sugar Loaf, Bull Hill, Break Neck, and Anthony's Nose. This last is situated at the entrance of the Highlands, and is about 1,000 feet in height. During the revolutioin, a large boom and chain extended across from the foot of this peak to Fort Montgomeryy, on the opposite bank of the Hudson. The village of Cold Spring is situated 10 miles west of Carmel, on the bank of the Hudson, about one mile and a half above West Point. It is principally inhabited by the families of the officers and workmen of the West Point foundry. There is here 1 Presbyterian, 1 Baptist, 1 Episcopal, 1 Methodist, and 1 Catholic church; 171 dwellings, 11 mercantile stores, and 1,250 inhabitants.
The West Point foundry is situated about three fourths of a mile SE. from the village of Cold Spring. It was established in 1816, and is at present the largest establishment of the kind in the Union.
The establishment employs 400 men, and is divided into the following branches, with a foreman at the head of each branch, viz: an iron foundry, a brass foundry, pattern, smiths', machine and boiler shops. There are attached to the foundry, 3 air furnaces, 3 cupolas. In the smiths' shop there is 1 trip-hammer of seven tons weight, and 2 tilt-hammers - one of 1,000, and the other of 500 lbs. Shafts of 19 inches diameter have been forged here, weighing 12 tons, and they are prepared to forge shafts of 2 feet diameter. The machine shop contains 28 turning lathes, and 3 planing machines for iron. The consumption of the principal materials was as follows during the year 1840. Pig iron, $140,000; coal, $33,000; bar iron, $29,000; boiler iron plate, $14,500; copper, $44,640; total $261,140. The principal articles manufactured during that time were water pipes for the Croton water works; steam engines and sugar mills for the West Indies; steam engines and cotton presses for the southern states; flour mill, with 2 water wheels and 8 run of burr stones, for Austria; flour mill and 3 run of stones for Halifax, N.B.; engines, boiler, etc., for the steam frigate Missouri; heavy wrought iron swork for the steam frigate Mississippi. Steam engines and boilers, both high and low pressure, are manufactured likewise; flour, rice, sugar, oil, and saw-mills, sugar kettles, cotton presses, hydrostatic cylinders, brass and iron cannon, bells, shot and shells, heavy and light forged work; castings of all sizes, either of composition or iron.
This dwelling, named after the unfortunate owner, Col. Beverly Robinson, is romantically situated on the east bank of the Hudson, about two miles below West Point, near the base of the "Sugar Loaf", one of the lofty peaks of the Highlands. Dr. Dwight, who in the year 1778 spent several months at West Point, has given the annexed account of this dwelling and its original possessor.
"A part of this time I resided at the head-quarters of General Putnam, then commanding at this post; and afterward of General Parsons, who succeeded him in the command. These gentlemen lodged in the house of Col. Beverly Robinson; a respectable native of Scotland, who married a lady of the Phillips family, one of the wealthiest, and most respectable of the province of New York. With this lady Col. Robinson acquired a large landed estate lying in Phillipstown, Fredericktown, and Franklin, as they are now called; and for the more convenient management of it planted himself in this spot. Here he had a spacious and convenient mansion, surrounded by valuable gardens, fields, and orchards, yielding every thing which will grow in this climate. The rents of his estate were sufficient to make life as agreeable as from this source it can be. Mrs. Robinson was a fine woman; and their children promised every thing which can be expected from a very hopeful family. His immediate friends were, at the same time, persons of the first consequence in the province."
"When the revolutionary war broke out, Col. Robinson was induced, contrary as I have been informed to his own judgment and inclination, by the importunity of some of his connections to take the British side of the question. To him it appeared wiser and safer to act a neutral part, and remain quietly on his estate. The pressure, however, from various sources was so strong against him, that he finally yielded, and carried his family with him to New York, and thence to Great Britain. His property was confiscated by the legislature of New Yorok, and his family banished rom their native country. It was impossible for any person, who finds an interest in the affairs of his fellow-men, and particularly while residing in the very mansion where they had so lately enjoyed all which this world can give, not to feel deeply the misfortunes of this family. Few events in human life strike the mind more painfully than banishment; a calamity sufficiently disastrous in the most ordinary circumstances, but peculiarly affecting when the banished are brought before us in the narrow circle of a family; a circle, the whole of which the eye can see, and whose suffering the heart can perfectly realize. Peculiarly is this true, when the family in question is enlightened, polished, amply possessed of enjoyments, tasting them with moderation, and sharing them cheerfully with their friends and neighbors, the stranger and the poor."
When Arnold had obtained the command of West Point in Aug., 1780, he established his head-quarters at "Beverly", where was meditated that act of treachery which has stamped his memory with everlasting infamy. At the time the news of the capture of Andre was received by Arnold, General Washington and his officers, together with the traitor, were seated at breakfast, in the lower room, to the left of the small tree seen near the centre of the engraving.
The annexed, from the pen of a late visitor, is extracted form the Knickerbocker for Sept., 1840.
"The commander-in-chief, at the time of the capture, was on his way from Hartford, and changing the route which he had first proposed, came by the way of West Point. At Fishkill he met the French minister, M. de la Luzerne, who had been to visit Count Rochambeau at Newport, and he remained that night with the minister. Very early next morning he sent off his luggage, with orders to the men to go with it as quickly as possible to 'Beverly", and give Mrs. Arnold notice that he would be there at breakfast. When the general and his suite arrived opposite West Point, he was observed to turn his horse into a narrow road that led to the river. La Fayette remarked, 'General, you are going in a wrong direction; you know Mrs. Arnold is waiting breakfast for us.' Washington good-naturedly remarked: "Ah, I know you young men are all in love with Mrs. Arnold, and wish to get where she is as soon as possible. You may go and take your breakfast with her, and tell her not to wait for me; I must ride down and examine the redoubts on this side of the river.' The officers, however, with the exception of two of the aids, remained. When the aid arrived at 'Beverly'*, they found the family waiting; and having communicated the message of General Washington, Arnold, with his family and the two aids, sat down to breakfast. Before they had finished, a messenger arrived in great haste, and handed General Arnold a letter, which he read with deep and evident emotion."
"The self-control of the soldier enabled Arnold to suppress the agony he endured after reading this letter. He rose hastily from the table; told the aids that his immediate presence was required at West Point; and desired them so to inform General Washington, when he arrived. Having first ordered a horse to be ready, he hastened to Mrs. Arnold's chamber, and there, with a bursting heart, disclosed to her his dreadful positon, and that they must part, perhaps for ever. ** Struck with horror at the painful intelligence, this fond and devoted wife swooned, and fell senseless at his feet. In this state he left her, hurried down stairs, and mounting his horse, rode with all possible speed to the river. In doing so, Arnold did not keep the main road, but passed down the mountain, pursuing a by-path through the woods, which Lieutenant Arden pointed out, and which is now called 'Arnold's Path'. Near the foot of the mountain, where the path approaches the main road, a weeping willow, planted there no doubt by some patriot hand, stands, in marked contrast with the forest trees which encircle and surround it, to point out to the enquiring tourist the very pathway of the traitor."
"In our interesting visit, we were accompanied by the superintendent, Major Delafield, and in the barges kindly ordered for our accommodation, we were rowed to 'Beverly Dock', and landed at the spot where Arnold took boat to aid his escape. He was rowed to the 'Vulture', and using a white handkerchief, created the impression that it was a flag-boat; it was therefore suffered to pass. He made himself known to Captain Sutherland, of the Vulture, and then calling on board the leader of the boatmen who had rowed him off, informed him that he and his crew were all prisoners of war. This disgraceful, and most unmanly appendix to his treason, was considered so contemptible by the captain, that he permitted the man to go on shore, on his parol of honor, to procure clothes for himself and comrades. This he did, and returned the same day. When they arrived in New York, Sir Henry Clinton, holding in just contempt such a wanton act of meanness, set them all at liberty."
"When General Washington reached 'Beverly', and was informed that Arnold had departed for West Point, he crossed directly over, expecting to find him. Surprised to learn that he had not been there, after examining the works he returned. General Hamilton had remained at 'Beverly', and as Washington and his suite were walking up the mountain road, from 'Beverly Dock', they met General Hamilton, with anxious face and hurried step, coming towards them. A brief and suppressed conversation took place between Washington and himself, and they passed rapidly to the house, where the papers that Washington's change of route had prevented his receiving had been delivered that morning; and being represented to Hamilton as of great and pressing importance, were by him opened, and the dreadful secret disclosed. Instant measures were adopted to intercept Arnold, and prevent his escape, but in vain. General Washington then communicated the facts to La Fayette and Knox, and said to the former 'more sorrow than in anger.' 'Whom can we trust now?' He also went up to see Mrs. Arnold; but even Washington could carry to her no consolation. Her grief was almost frenzied; and in its wildest moods, she spoke of General Washington as the murderer of her child. It seemed that she had not the remotest idea of her husband's treason; and she had even schooled her heart to feel more for the cause of America, from her regard for those who professed to love it. Her husband's glory was her dream of bliss - the requiem chant for her infant's repose; and she was found, alas! as man a confiding heart has oft been found,
'To cling like ivy round a worthless thing.' "
PUTNAM VALLEY, recenty erected from Phillipstown, is situated in the mountainous region of the Highlands; from Carmel centrally distant W. 9 miles. Iron ore is found here. Pop. 1,659.
SOUTHEAST, organized in 1795; from Albany 113 miles. Joes Hill is a beautiful and romantic eminence extending W. from Connecticut into this town. Pop. 1,910. Milltown, 8 miles E. of Carmel, and Hatsville, are small settlements.
* The property now belongs to Richard D. Arden, Esq., and adjoins his own romantic and beautiful "Ardenia," whence no "visiter" (sp) departs, who can ever forget the generous "Highland welcome." Mr. Arden, with a true patriotism that does him honor, has permitted no alteration of the interior of the house. The same low ceiling, large and uncovered joists, the same polished tiles around the fire-places, and the absence of all ornament which marks the progress of modern architecture, preserve complete the interest which the stirring incidents of that period have flung around the "Robinson House."
** We also visited this chamber, which remains unaltered. Over the mantel is carved in the wood work: "G. WALLIS, Lieut. VI. Mass. Regt."
Donated to Putnam County NYGenWeb
by Martha Perry Magill, Asst. State Coordinator, NYGenWeb
& Conrad Vogel, former Putnam County resident
Copyright © 1998
All Rights Reserved.
© 1998-2002 Cathy Horn. All Rights Reserved.