HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CARLISLE
FIRST SETTLERS -- DORLACH GRANT -- NEW RHINEBECK -- RELICS -- MRS. PHILIP KARKER -- JUDGE BROWN -- GEORGE WILLIAM BROWN -- RE-INTERMENT OF JUDGE BROWN -- YOUNG FAMILY -- TORY FAMILIES -- OSTERHOUTS -- JOHN C. MC NEILL -- HILLSINGER -- SETTLEMENT OF GROVENOR'S CORNERS -- JOSEPH TAYLOR -- BENJAMIN YOUNG -- DURAND'S JOKE -- SQUIRE JOHN'S PLACE -- CARLISLE CENTRE -- FIRST SCHOOL HOUSE -- MERCHANTS OF GROVENOR'S CORNERS -- SETTLEMENT UPON THE TURNPIKE -- CARLISLE FORMED -- FIRST OFFICERS -- P. I. CROMWELL -- D. W. SEELEY -- SLOAN'S TAVERN -- HUNTINGTON TAVERN -- CARLISLE CHURCH -- CARLISLE POSTOFFICE -- HENRY M. BROWN -- KILLING OF KELLER -- FIRST STORE -- MERCHANTS OF CARLISLE VILLAGE -- JAMES BOUGHTON -- J. C. SELLECK -- ARGUSVILLE -- AARON MALICK -- MICHAEL VANDERVEER -- JOHN HYNEY -- PHYSICIANS -- MERCANTILE FIRMS -- JAMES SWARTHOUT -- NELSON BURNAP -- THE BEAR SWAMP -- HENRY I. MOAK -- CARLISLE SEMINARY -- CARLISLE FOUNDRY -- STEAM MILL -- ROBBERY OF PETER BECKER -- J. H. ANGLE -- FIRST MILLS -- ANCESTRAL CUSTOMS -- SELLECK'S CAVE -- DEATH OF PROFESSOR MC FAIL -- HIDDEN CAVERNS -- CHURCHES -- VALUATION OF TOWN -- EXPENSE OF TOWN -- SUPERVISORS -- BOUNDARIES OF TOWN.
The first settlers of Carlisle were John Philip Kerger (Karker), and Peter Young. The father of the latter came from Germany at an early date, and settled upon the Hudson, near the Camps, and was related to the Kergers. John Philip landed at Philadelphia, and came to the Hudson to visit his relatives, and then return to his native land; but failing to get a passage at the desired time, he concluded that fate decreed him to remain. He married a daughter of Young, and in company with his brother-in-law, concluded to settle among the Schoharie hills -- the German "Eldorado" of those early times -- by the "good account of ye fertilete of ye soile." They settled upon lands owned by a Young, (Karker taking three hundred acres), and built a house near the present residence of Solomon D., and Joseph Karker, the old man's great-grandchildren. Young purchased to the north of him, and built near the spot upon which Nicholas Young, a grandson, now resides.
Karker's father was a wealthy wine merchant, and was engaged extensively in the culture of grapes, and Philip selected the high ground near the mountain, with the intention of raising grapes. Upon his departure from the parental home, the father cut a silver coin in four pieces, giving each son a quarter, which was to be evidence of heirship to the father's property, upon his decease. Upon the old gentleman's death, the pieces were to be presented, and if they fitted perfectly, each holder was to receive a fourth part of the effects. During the Revolution, Philip's quarter was lost, and at the father's death, his share was not claimed.
The first land cleared in the town, was north of the "Rock school-house," in 1760. These farms were a part of "New Dorlach" patent, granted in 1730, (now called the Borst patent,) but not surveyed until the year 1753, by Isaac Vroman, and re-surveyed in 1797, by Johannes Lawyer, (the third land holder).
The original grant contained forty-five lots of six hundred acres each and nine of one hundred and three hundred acres each. In 1754 Johannes Lawyer (the second), Johannes Becker and others purchased an addition to the tract upon the east, extending from the Cobleskill creek to the north line of the original tract -- two lots in width, also one lot in width to the north of that and running west along the Dorlach line - four lots of one hundred and ninety-three acres each which is called the Becker patent. Lot number one, of the Dorlach grant, lies east of the mountain vulgarly called "Barrack Zourie." Numbers two and three cover the mountain. From the summit of this conical shaped mountain, originally called Owelus Sowlus - but now "Karker Mount" - as beautiful a scene presents itself to the north and northeast as can be found. Upon the north stretches the valley of the Mohawk, and beyond rise the hills and mountains of Fulton and Hamilton counties, while in the northeast those of Warren and Washington appear in the foreground of the Green mountains of Vermont.
Upon the southeast side of the mountain lies a small sheet of water, clear and of great depth having an outlet running in the Cobleskill.
A few years after the settlement of Karker and Young, several families moved here from Rhinebeck on the Hudson and the settlement was known as New Rhinebeck. Other families soon followed from Schoharie and Middleburgh. At the commencement of the Revolution quite a number of families could be found in this neighborhood. Prominent actors in the struggle were the Karkers, Young, Brown, Fichter, Borntheit, Kneiskern, Loucks and Manch or of late Monk. The descendants of all those pioneers are still here but as neighbors enjoy better feeling towards each other than their ancestors did, who were divided in a political point of view as Patriots and Tories.
Around this mountain cluster the Revolutionary historical associations connected with the town of Carlisle. Here upon its sides, were experienced all the hopes and fears, joys and sorrows, anxieties and aspirations peculiar to the Revolutionary days of the patriotic Karker, Young and Brown families. John P. Karker and sons were scouts during the war, leaving home and traversing the country day and night to watch the movements of the prowling foe, carrying messages and doing other dangerous and important services.
Madame Karker during the early part of the war, remained at home, while her nearest neighbors were loyalists, ever watchful of her family's actions and thirsting for their blood. She remained here regardless of danger, as a barricade to her fireside. Night after night she retired to a tree, which is still standing, and laid down upon the cold damp ground to sleep, fearful of being captured if she remained in the house. Two of her neighbors, fit companions of incarnate fiends, sought to capture and slay her, while her husband and sons were away; but being apprised of their design, she fled to the mountains, and hid beneath a shelving rock, with a babe upon her breast. Her pursuers were often in sight, and once stood upon the rock beneath which she lay concealed. The babe was restless and for fear it would betray her, she put a handkerchief in its mouth and nearly suffocated it before the Tories retired. The babe was Peter Karker, whose descendants live in the West, and are heads of families and begin to bear the marks of hoary age. Thus time glides on, carrying with it one generation after another, effacing all the works of man, except those found upon our blest governmental structure. Those labors and sacrifices are there enstamped, which will grow brighter and brighter, as age after age rolls on. During the war the most valuable effects of the Karkers were secreted in a fallen, hollow, basswood tree, upon the side of the mountain. Among the goods thus stowed away was the family Dutch Bible. A crevice in the tree admitted the rain and did damage to the book by loosening the binding and staining the leaves. It is now kept as a sacred relic by Solomon Karker, a grandson, living near the old homestead, whose family pride and veneration of his ancestors justify him in retaining by memory, and relating with fervency the many incidents connected with the lives of his noble sires. Soon such admiring children will pass away, and less care be taken of the "mementoes" handed down so carefully, and nothing left of the patriotic personal effects. Each year makes the number less, which ought not to be, but should with the greatest care be preserved for ages to come.
John W. Brown. -- About the year 1771, there came to New Rhinebeck, John Mathias Brown, a man whose after life proved him to be one of the "noblest works of God" an honest man. With a mind superior to those with whom his lot was cast, he was appreciated and was called upon to act in all business relations throughout this section of country and was found to be a just, practical, frugal and energetic man. He was born at the Camps in 1745, and came to "Weiser's dorf" with his father William, in 1752.
After marrying Gitty Hager, of Breakabeen, he settled upon the farm now occupied by Samuel Young. The land was purchased by one Waenig, a German, who purchased several of the Dorlach lots in the year 1770, and lived in an underground hovel near the present barn buildings. Governor George Clinton's attention was called to Mr. Brown's career and abilities, and he became one of his confidential friends and advisors. It is well known that Governor Clinton, as well as nearly all of the chief officials of those times, did not hesitate to listen to the voice of the common yeomanry of the country upon public questions and give heed to their reasonings.
During Clinton's "Tory war" of 1784, Clinton called upon Brown for his opinion, knowing he was located in the border settlement, in which that element was better known. As there were those who had not been "offensive" but who sided with the Crown through fear, and believing they would make good, law abiding citizens, Brown favored their right as voters which was effected by Schuyler and Hamilton in 1787.
This expression of opinion, led many of the over patriotic to cast the epithet of "Tory" upon Brown, which was unjust. Brown was commissioned Captain of a company of Tryon county militia, by Governor Clinton, but being lame he insisted upon the honor being bestowed upon some one else. But Clinton refused to change the appointment and furnished a horse for his use. If Brown had been a "Tory" Clinton would have known it, and if such had been the case, George Clinton would have been the last man to have placed any confidence in him. DeWitt Clinton's mind also was enraptured with his country's glorious achievements, and like a true patriot he desired to see her struggles and triumphs engraved upon history's page. The Schoharie and other border settlements drew his heartfelt sympathy and he requested Brown to write their early history, which he did in a manner so plain that the most simple can understand.
When we consider his stinted educational advantages (only six weeks schooling) and his meagre social opportunities in early life we cannot but wonder at the correctness of his language and composition. The Judge was a half-brother of Captain Christian Brown who early settled upon the James Becker farm in Cobleskill. His first wife died in 1796, and a few years after he married Elizabeth VanArnin, daughter of Captain VanArnin, of the Continental army, with whom he lived many years. The fruits of the first wife were eight sons and one daughter, viz: --
John, Elizabeth, Peter, George William, Henry, David, Abram, Jacob, Severenus.
The youngest of the children were Abram and David who were twins.
To give an idea of the poverty of the early settlers as well as their customs, under stinted circumstances, we will here state that these boys were nine years old before they possessed a hat. While plowing in the spring and fall, being barefooted and the ground cold, they were compelled, occasionally, to sit upon their feet in the furrow to warm them, and these, were the children of a Schoharie County Judge! It was not penuriousness on the part of the father, but poverty that compelled a sacrifice of bodily comforts. It was so with nearly all of the early settlers, they were extremely poor. Brown was appointed Associated Judge in 1795 upon the formation of the County, and held the office until the year 1820, when he resigned.
The fourth son of the Judge was George William, whose voracious appetite caused not a little merriment wherever he went. In drawing grain to market, as we have before mentioned, several neighbors accompanied each other, and the custom was to take their own provisions along in a dinner box; but that custom was dropped in George William's case, as he could not carry enough to appease his tireless appetite and quite likely he often went without eating until his return, but upon this particular occasion he was to dine with Russell Case, at what was formerly called Battleman's Mills, eight miles west of Albany. Perhaps his associate laid a plan to victimize the landlord and agreed to pay for the dinner, which was one shilling, a very small pittance for the amount of fun in store. George sat down to the table upon which was a roasted pig on a platter in front of him. Without ceremony he took upon himself the task of carving, and putting the meat down his throat as he carved without giving his fellow guests a morsel. No doubt the strangers present looked dumbfounded and were anxious to render assistance in exterminating the pig, but George understood his business, or rather his inward cravings, and ate the whole pig, "stuffing and all." Upon looking around for more with the earnestness of Oliver Twist, no doubt, he called the landlord and asked "Hash you got any more of dem leetle hocks?" Undoubtedly Mr. Case replied "nix."
At the age of twelve George was equal to the best of laborers, especially in chopping wood, and it was he that cut a goodly share of the timber which stood upon the line of the Great Western Turnpike through Carlisle, for the road's construction. He was a muscular man, that could endure any amount of labor, especially in devouring "leetle hocks."
On the 4th of July, 1879, the remains of Judge Brown and wives were re-interred in the Carlisle cemetery in the presence of many hundred people. The exercises were imposing. After Scripture reading by Rev. L. Lyon and prayer by Rev. C. L. Offer, the remains were delivered by the Marshal of the day, Nicholas Hanson, to the President, Hon. John M. Roscoe. Thirty-eight young ladies representing the States of the Union, (after the recital of a poem by Miss Mary Duesenbury) paid homage to the patriots by casting evergreens and flowers in the graves. An eulogium was delivered upon the lives and characters of Brown and his associates, the Karkers and Young, whose remains it was also expected to have placed beside him, but the relatives withheld their consent. The bones of the Judge were found, nearly entire, after a period of forty-one years interment. The brain was well preserved and was very large and weighty.
In 1778, when the Indians began their depredations in the Schoharie settlements, the patriots of New Rhinebeck made the house of Peter Young their rendezvous. Being but few in numbers, and the Tory neighbors becoming more venomous as their allies began to make their raids, this little company concluded to leave their homes and seek safety in the forts. A band of Indians assembled at a Tory's house in the neighborhood to capture them, upon which Peter Young started to take his wife, who was a cripple, to the Camps for safety; but fearing he would be unable to do so, she was taken to a small cave at the foot of the mountain and left there alone. Being supplied with provisions, she remained for several days in that place without being discovered by the Tories, whose houses were very near. The walls of this "rock-house," as it has since been called, for many years plainly showed the marks of the fires she built late at night, when all was quiet and danger of being seen had passed.
After the Indians passed off to other fields for murder and devastation, her husband returned and carried her to the Camps, where she remained until the close of the war.
Peter Young's children were: --
Jacob, Zachariah, William, Mathias, Jeremy, Christian, Christina.
Mathias was born on the 20th day of January, 1763, and was the first white child born in the present territory of Carlisle.
His children were: --
Benjamin, Richard, Solomon, Margaret, Elizabeth, Lana, (Mrs. Nicholas Osterhout.)
He died May 21, 1822.
The Fichter, Monk, Henry Kneiskern, and two of the Loucks families were loyal, and when the news of a Royal victory was heard, they expressed their pleasure by playing upon fifes. It is said the Fichter girls could play equal to any man. This family's house was the rendezvous of the Tories and Indians. The head of the family was Andrew Fichter, who in company with his brother-in-law, Michael Borntheit, came here from New Orleans, where they landed in 1750. Borntheit died childless, and Andrew Fichter was followed by his sons, Henry and Andrew. There remains but one of the family that bears the name, and soon it will be as extinct as that of Borntheit.
To the east of this neighborhood, Abram Osterhout, a native of Ulster county, settled in 1806. Here he reared a large family, that have been prominent in the political field, and energetic in the interest of the town and County.
The children were: --
Cornelius, Peter, John, James, Nicholas, Abram, George, Jacob, Chauncey.
Peter was elected sheriff in 1831. John and James were elected to the Assembly in 1843 and 1852, beside filling various other official positions, at all times proving themselves to be faithful and strictly honest officials.
In 1784, John C. McNeill, of Londonderry, a Revolutionary veteran, came to Charleston, Montgomery county, with his wife, and after a few weeks land hunting, concluded to locate in Carlisle. He began at once to clear the forest, and what proved most singular, felled the first tree upon the spot where he was buried many years after. The farm is now occupied by a grandson, Merritt McNeill. While clearing a site to place his house, his wife remained at Charleston, and he walked over daily and worked alone, the only white man north of the present turnpike, in the limits of the town. A short time after, one McCracken, another representative of the "Emerald Isle" settled upon the west part of the David Seeley, Sr., farm, but after 1805 moved farther west.
Between the years 1795 and 1810, the town was filled by immigrants from every part of the country, many coming from Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Jersey, owing to the idea gained during the war, of Schoharie being such a wheat growing section. With but very few exceptions, the descendants of the first settlers of the town remain upon their ancestral homes.
Immediately after the Revolution, Jacob and Peter Hillsinger settled at Little York, upon the farms now occupied by Adam and William. During the war, Jacob and Peter were employed as scouts, and spent much of their time in Old Dorlach, watching the movements of the Tories. After the invasion of the Schoharie valley by Johnson and Brant, a Tory of Dorlach, returned to his home, after assisting the British and Indians in devastating the valley, and was met by Peter and others, who were acquainted with his proceedings.
After a friendly salutation passed between them, Peter accused him of his complicity with the invaders, and leveled his rifle to shoot him, declaring he was not fit to live. Peter's companions turned the muzzle of the gun up as he fired, and saved the life of the Tory, but much to Hillsinger's disappointment. These brothers lived upon their possessions to good old ages, and were highly esteemed. Soon after Hillsinger's settlement, also came Frederick Ullman.
Frederick Ullman was a Mohawk scout of notoriety, who came to that valley immediately after the battle of Monmouth, in which he participated. His parents were German settlers of Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, and without doubt, were connected with some of the Mohawk German families which led him off to these parts. Ullman had the reputation of being the fleetest of foot of any man in the valley, which saved his scalp many times. He married a Keller, of Currytown, and settled upon the Fox place.
Reuben Parkinson, an Irishman, settled about the same time, upon the present Ullman farm, and after a few years exchanged with Ullman, and kept a tavern where the present one stands. Several of the Parkinson families were scattered over the town, in its earliest days, and were people of ability, and held prominent town offices.
Nathaniel H. Clark, a native of Rhode Island, and graduate of Yale College, settled upon the east of Little York, where William Roberts now resides, about the year 1828, and commenced the mercantile business. He was a pitiable cripple, being nearly helpless, but of active and extraordinary mind. The last few years of his life were spent in speculating in eggs, taking nearly one week in going to and coming from Albany, with his own conveyance.
He died in Albany, while on his way to his old home, to receive the care of brothers and other friends, at the age of eighty.
In 1794 or 1795, Moses Grosvenor, (we use the original name), settled at the corners bearing the family name, after locating at Lawyersville, with Dana and Redington, brother Yankees, for time. In 1804 a number moved up from Poughkeepsie, and settled in the present Baumis neighborhood, east of the Corners. They purchased their land of supposed owners, but after a few years the rightful ones came, and demanded the lands or purchase money. The most of them refused, and removed. The VanValin, Rich, Conklin, and Dean families, remained, and were Quakers. This settlement was called "New Poughkeepsie."
A few years after the exit from those lands, there came several families of Quakers from the Hudson, the principal ones being Moses and Jacob Dickinson, and the Underhills.
After the latter settlers came, New Poughkeepsie was changed to "Quaker street." Gideon VanValin kept an inn where Thomas N. Borst now resides and was followed by Lyman Hawes, from Connecticut, who settled upon Chauncy Grovenor's farm, and who was one of the first justices in the town and held the office for many years. His grandson, Josiah L. Hawes, was here born in 1822, and after fitting himself for the bar removed to Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he now holds the office of Circuit Judge in the 9th Judicial District.
About the year 1806 Andrew and James Griffin, Adam and Andrew Mickle came from Schodack, the two former as school teachers. Andrew at last settled west of the "Corners" and commenced keeping tavern in 1809, where his son now resides.
Dr. John Kelley was the first practicing physician at this place and settled in 1830. He afterwards removed to Esperance where he died, and was followed in the profession by Dr. Isaac Scott, who still remains. Dr. Scott is a native of Root, Montgomery county, and graduated at the Albany Medical College in 1848, and soon after settled here.
Farther to the west Joseph Taylor settled in the year 1811 upon a farm that had been occupied by a Hitchman family for several years. Taylor kept a store and built a distillery and was a very energetic business man. He purchased large quantities of flax-seed which he shipped to Europe, beside other grains, which proved successful speculations. "Uncle Joe's" sterling qualities, among which was a ready flow of wit and humor, were sufficient passports to the confidence and esteem of every one, especially the business portion of the whole country. He reared a large family of active business men, and gave to each a goodly "portion" and passed away in the year 1848, at the age of eighty-four, esteemed by all who knew him.
Joining the Taylor farm Gideon Young settled in 1801, having removed from the Angle Brother's farm, near Lawyersville. He also reared a large family, among whom were Hon. John G., Jacob and Gideon. The longevity of this family exceeds any other in the County, its members being as active and sturdy at the age of seventy to eighty-nine, as those of other families are at sixty to seventy-five.
The Snyder and Burhans families found in this neighborhood came from the Hudson, below Coeymans, in 1808, and occupy the best portion of the town in an agricultural point of view.
Benjamin Young, a brother of Gideon, Sr., before mentioned, built a house and kept a tavern in 1808 where Ira Young now resides. For many years the usual sports of horse racing, wrestling, flip drinking, card playing and many other immoral customs were tolerated seven days in a week. Uncle Ben, as he was familiarly called, was quite a horseman and kept his horses sleek and lively. Treat Durand, afterwards Sheriff of the County, lived with Uncle Ben and rode his horses while running, being a small lad. He was not satisfied with his daily fare as it consisted of too much johnny cake and supawn to suit his aspiring stomach. One day there being a crowd of bystanders and a challenge given to Uncle Ben to run horses, he requested Treat to bring out the horse and "run him." The horse not making very good time, being rather inactive, Uncle Ben asked Treat "Vat ish te mather of dee hoss?" "I don't know," replied Treat, "unless he has been fed too much johnny cake."
Young's rage knew no bounds, but the laughter from the crowd soon opened his understanding and the flip was passed at his expense, with "tam leetle tival" as a commendation for Treat's ready answer.
A short distance west of Uncle Ben's at the forks of the road John Severson kept an inn about the year 1820, in a house built by the father of Andrew Young, the historian. The property fell in the hands of John Young, son of Uncle Ben, and was known for many years as "Squire John's place." From this place to the school-house, east, was the race-course. The frequenters of those races were the farmers in, and from the adjacent neighborhoods and much to their discredit, their sports were carried to extremes, as the quiet of Sabbath was frequently broken by their drunken broils and other immoral proceedings.
To use the words of one of the "cronies," as they were called, but who, many years ago, like Saul of old, was stricken down to repentance by the glorious "light," "these places were hell holes." It is a fact which we are loth to chronicle, that from 1800 up to 1830, the morals of every neighborhood in our County were at a low tide. Intemperance carried a fearful sway even to the church altar, where might frequently be seen those whose breath was only fumes of liquor. It was not unusual for deacons to be habitual drinkers, and "members" habitual swearers, and the temperance advocate branded as a fanatic.
The Young, Loucks and Richtmeyer families now living here are near descendants of the first settlers of the County. The small hamlet east, for many years called "Bradt's Corners," was changed to "Carlisle Centre," upon the establishment of the postoffice in 1871.
Nathan Bassett originated this little hamlet, and lived here many years. During the counterfeiting days of 1830 to 1840 of paper currency as mentioned in Chapter IV, of this work, the law was very harsh with those who passed the "spurious" and many poor men, that received it for wages, were arrested on passing it for the necessaries of life, as the guilty were able to swear to anything that would save themselves and send others to prison. Bassett was a poor but hard working man, and happened to be the possessor of a two dollar bill which he passed and was sent to States prison for the offense, much against the desire of the majority of the people, as they believed he was innocent of intended criminality. But a certain few, whose pockets were at all times full of the "bad," swore poor Nathan to the grates. During his imprisonment, the news of William C. Bouck's election to the Gubernatorial chair, was made to him, upon which he quit work and gave three cheers for Bouck. The rules of the prison forbid such a demonstration and Bassett received a few lashes as a reminder of prison discipline, but, "I can't help it," said Bassett and gave three more. Upon Bouck's entry into office a petition was placed before him, with hundreds of names attached, for his release, which was granted and Bassett became a citizen again, and was known to the day of his death as a "thoroughbred, hardshell Democrat."
John W. Bradt commenced the mercantile business here in 1863, upon a small scale, but by enterprise and perseverance, enlarged his facilities and trade, and amassed a comfortable fortune in a few years.
The First School House in the town was built of logs, and stood in the present orchard of Nicholas Young, near the "Rock schoolhouse." At what time it was built, we are unable to tell, but it stood intact before 1795. The next one built was at Grovenor's Corners, in 1805. The first merchants at this hamlet were Allen & Knight, who were followed by John Snyder, in the building now occupied by Tobias Myres, as a residence.
D.D.L. & Jeremiah McCullock, carried on a store of general merchandise, for many years, in the building now occupied as such. In 1854, D.D.L., was elected sheriff upon the Whig ticket, which was an unusual event in "Democratic Schoharie." But his reputation as an honest, upright man, was an "electioneering" capital that the people admired, and during his term of office he made no cause for them to regret the choice made.
The co-partnership was dissolved upon his election, and Jeremiah continued the business for several years, but is now a resident of Albany City. The family came from Albany county as also did the Bradt, Mosher, Myers, and McMillen families living near.
Henry Best removed from Columbia county about the year 1805, and settled upon the present HonYost Becker farm, and ten years after upon that now owned and occupied by James McMillen. His son Henry became justice of the peace for many years, and was a business man. He is well remembered as the only "auctioneer," in a large circuit of country, for a long term of years.
Within the cemetery near the Union church, built in 1831, lie many of those who settled here when these fine farms were but a dense forest, while others are scattered around upon different farms, in graves unmarked, and covered with briars and brambles, and soon will be lost beneath the work of the plow and harrow.
William Clark came from Coeymans, in 1813, and settled upon the farm still known as the "Clark farm."
He settled when the neighborhood was a dense forest, and by hard labor and superior perseverance, cleared a large, productive farm before he died. His sons, Honorable William S. and Benjamin, were born upon this farm, and have been prominent in the political and educational affairs of the County. Near by Henry W. Larkin, a native of Rhode Island, settled after following the avocation of school teaching for many years. Mr. Larkin was an unusually eccentric man, of very industrious habits, and amassed a fine property. The Grovenor families living near, are the descendents of Moses Grosvenor, but have changed the name somewhat by dropping the s.
Upon the survey and building of the Great Western turnpike, many families from the Eastern States began to locate along the route, expecting it to be the great thoroughfare of the day.
During the spring of 1804, Rodger W. Lord, of New London county, Connecticut, settled upon the farm now occupied by Peter Runkle, and "kept tavern," the first one in the town.
The year previous (1803) John Sweetman moved from Charleston, N.Y., and settled where his grandson, Henry, now lives. He was one of the first justices in the town, and held the office nine years. His son, James, represented the district in the Assembly in 1827. A few years after his brother, Michael, together with David and Nathan Seeley, came and settled near.
John B. Roscoe, from Essex county, N.Y., settled with the Lord family in 1805, and was the first physician in the town, and the only one between Sharon Hill and Duanesburgh until the year 1812. He continued his practice nearly sixty years over a large extent of territory, and was a very successful practitioner; he was followed in 1860 by his nephew, R.J. Roscoe, who still continues the practice.
Carlisle Formed. -- In 1807 the town was formed from Cobleskill and Sharon, and was named by Mrs. John Sweetman, an estimable lady, after Carlisle Pierce, a prominent townsman. One hundred and twenty-three acres were laid out in village lots of one-half acre each, with three parallel streets running east and west, and same north and south, where the village now stands, making a very neat village plan. But while Livingston, the owner of the land, easily built a small city on paper, but few actual buyers came. They passed on, with the cry, "Westward ho!" But Carlisle was a town, and from the first records we copy the following: --
"At a meeting of the Inhabitants of the town of Carlisle, held this first day of March, in the year 1808, at the house of Benjamin Johnson, in the town of Carlisle, agreeably to an act of the Legislature of the State of New York, for that purpose, in the last Session, made and provided; the following persons were chosen to represent the said town the ensuing year, viz:"
Supervisor -- William Ferris. Clerk -- Henry M. Brown. Assessors -- Henry Kniskern, Peter Gordon, Mathias Young. Commissioners of Highways -- Lawrence VanWormer, Gideon Young, Silvanus Parkinson. Overseers of Poor -- David Lawton, Abram Kniskern. Constables -- Jacob Brown, James Kennedy. Collector -- Jacob Brown. Poundmaster -- Benjamin Johnson. Fence Viewers -- Bostwick Brown, John M. Brown.
Benjamin Johnson came in 1805 or 1806, and built a house and kept an inn, and sold the same in 1808 to Philip I. Cromwell, who came from Glen, (Charleston,) N.Y., and built the large building so many years known as "Cromwell's stand." Perhaps no man was better known from New York to Buffalo than Cromwell unless it was his brother landlord, "Zach Keyes," of Sharon Hollow; two fun-loving Yankees, whose practical jokes were themes of daily gossip by all travelers.
Cromwell's buildings were spacious, and his was the best establishment on the road. His variety of fowls and animals, and unique dovecot, were attractions, which in those days were seldom seen, and which to our youthful minds were beyond description.
The Cromwell house at a subsequent period was occupied by David W. Seeley, the patentee of the famous "wagon coupling" that did away with the "hounds" upon wagons and saved quite an item in the manufacture of the same. But few, if any, possessed greater enterprise and perseverance than Mr. Seeley, whose natural propensity found its greatest pleasure in "patent rights" and "horseflesh." He removed to Albany at a later period, where he still resides.
Sloan's Tavern. -- In 1809 Sturges Sloan removed from Sloansville and built a small house for another "tavern" where William Becker's fine residence now stands. As travel and custom increased he added to his accomodations, and at last occupied a goodly sized building, and was followed at a later date by Reuben Moak, William Thrall, Henry P. Kniskern and Peter W. Ferris, and still later by the famous Doctor Slingerland, whose medical genius was displayed upon boots and shoes instead of the ills to which the flesh is heir. But his remarkable cures and more remarkable surgical operations as told by him to strangers, gave to him the title of Doctor.
He was full of "big stories" that could hardly be called "lies," as he never told one to injure, but rather to amuse, a list of which would fill a large volume, all as he excused himself "to make everybody feel good."
In 1810 Elijah Huntington came from Franklin, Conn., with an ox team and one horse, also workmen, and built the present hotel building. Upon finishing and opening the house to the public he placed upon his sign "Tontine Coffee House." Much to his surprise the innocent Dutchmen that principally traveled the road supposed it to be a store and passed on, either to Cromwell's below or Sloan's above.
These landlords were amused by their questions "Vat kinds of coffee ish dot he keeps?" -- while others understanding the meaning, considered it a high priced establishment and would pass on for more "common coffee" and lower rates. Finding the inscription had a contrary effect upon his financial prosperity, he placed his own name in its stead and soon obtained his share of patronage. He kept the house many years and was a very energetic, yet eccentric man.
The Presbyterian Church was built in 1813, and left without paint, plastering or pews. Huntington's pride, led him to volunteer to remodel and finish it, and at quite an outlay he produced from the frame, one of the finest churches to be found in the County, which stood until the year 1853 when its lofty spire was taken down and timbers placed in the seminary.
The Carlisle Presbyterian Church was organized in 1803 with twenty-three members and held their meetings in private houses and Cromwell's tavern until the edifice was built.
There have been thirteen resident pastors.
Nelson Austin was the first, and while preaching was attacked with hemorrhage of the lungs and died within a few hours. His successors were as follows: --
Lyman S. Rexford. R. R. Demming. L. P. Blodget. Charles Wadsworth. William Clark. James N. Crocker. _______ Craig. Anson H. Seeley. Stephen Searles. Robert L. Jones. Cyrus L. Offer. Henry A. Lewis.
Mr. Wadsworth was the pastor in the church's palmiest days, from 1832 to 1845. The throng that assembled here to worship was unequalled by any in the County. Mr. Wadsworth lived in retirement for several years and died near Rochester in June, 1878, at the advanced age of eighty-nine.
Mr. Clark followed for a period of fourteen years and removed to Pennsylvania, where he died a true, noble Christian.
The pastorate of Mr. Seeley extended fourteen years in connection with the church at Esperance, in which he endeared himself to both parishes by his sturdy, conscientious Christian principles, which made him a man of great worth, and deeply mourned when he passed away.
Reverends Crocker, Craig, Searles and Jones, each zealous workers in the "vineyard," labored for a while and were called to other fields in which "the harvest is great." C. L. Offer, who took the charge in 1878, assiduously worked in the cause and received many into the church membership as "seals to his ministry" and was followed by Henry A. Lewis, in the fall of 1880, the present pastor.
This church was organized by Simeon Hosaik, of Johnstown, and previous to Mr. Austin's charge, preaching was performed by John B. Romeyn, of Albany, Samuel Smith, Thomas Holaday, William McMillian, Eliphalet Nott, A. Brandage and John Chester.
The Carlisle Postoffice was established in February, 1811, and Philip I. Cromwell received the appointment of "Deputy" after quite a struggle between him and Huntington, who accused each other of being neither "beast or human" in the petitions sent to the department.
Henry Brown, for several years a Supervisor of the town settled in 1806 where his son, Joseph I., so long resided, and now owned by William Cary. He kept a "tavern" which was burned, but rebuilt the present structure, in which the last town meeting was held in the second Cobleskill district, previous to the formation of the town of Carlisle. The season following the building of Brown's house, one Sibley erected the house now occupied by Jacob Kling, which was used as a "tavern" for a long series of years by David C. Richtmyer, William Thrall and Abram A. Kniskern. Below Henry Brown's, nearly opposite of William Hurst's was another "inn" kept for a long time by one Gauley, making eight on the turn-pike within the town, a distance of seven miles.
About the year 1830 there came to the eastern part of the town the Bradway Brothers, who settled upon the present farm of William Doty as "wagon makers" whose workmanship was unequalled by any other in the County. Much of their work is now in use not showing a fault, and said to be the lightest draft of any of the latest "improvement" in hub and axle.
From the year 1813 to 1840 a vast amount of potash was manufactured along the line of the turnpike, which was drawn to Albany by teams on heavy, broad rimmed wagons. One Keller, of Sharon, was upon a load and arriving at the summit of the hill west of Hiram Rockerfellow's, having occasion to alight to arrange the harness, he stepped upon a spoke of the wheel which threw him under the hind wheel, where he was literally crushed.
But few accidents happened along the line of this road, considering the amount of travel, and such occurrences as the one mentioned, in those days, made a greater impression upon the people, than the wholesale slaughter of travelers by railroads and steamers does upon us of to-day.
The first store in town was upon the turnpike, and kept by Cornelius Marshall an Eastern man, in the house now occupied by Stephen H. Kniskern, and for many years by Talmage Leek. Mr. Leek was a native of New Jersey, and came to the town as a saddler and harness maker, in the year 1813, he being the first one of that trade in the town. For six years from 1829 to 1835, he held the office of justice, with Charles Grovenor, John F. Taylor and Sylvanus Parkinson, and was esteemed as an upright and honorable man. Mr. Marshall removed his business to Carlisle village about the year 1814, in a building still standing east of Cromwell's.
In 1816 the building now occupied by A. A. Kniskern as a residence was built, and J. W. Taylor, Tobias Young, Alonzo Crosby, Sherman Corbin and Samuel P. Shibley followed each other in the mercantile business, within it. Dr. Nelson Beach, son-in-law of Cromwell, purchased the property and made a private dwelling of it about the year 1838.
Mr. Shibley built the present lower store in 1838, and in company with his brother George R., continued the business up to the year 1854, when a stock company was formed who purchased the goods and fixtures, and which proved to be an unsuccessful speculation.
D. Seely, Jr., & B. Mowers followed, and after them, came J. M. Falkner, Milo & Ira Auchampaugh, C. W. Taylor & Kelsh, D. D. C. Gaige & A. A. Kniskern.
J. W. Taylor built a "store" near "Sloan's tavern" in 1824, which was burned, and replaced by the present upper store, which was occupied for a time by Minard Harder, and since the year 1847 by J. H. & P. A. Angle, until quite recently, when the firm changed to J. H. Angle & Son.
James Boughton, a native of Columbia county, and who lately died at the age of ninety-two, was the first school teacher in the village district (No. 5,) and taught in a private house during the winter of 1807; he was followed by Reuben Parkinson and Charles Sloan. The first school-house was built upon the site of the present one in 1818, and John C. Selleck shortly after came from St. Lawrence county and engaged as teacher, which position he held for many years. He was afterwards employed in other districts, and served in that capacity for thirty-two years in succession, and endeared himself to thousands, who were related to him as pupils, for his strict integrity, Christian principles, and untiring efforts in the cause of education. Mr. Selleck was a close student of nature, and became a proficient geological scholar and a terse, expressive writer of both prose and verse. He died after a lingering illness on the 12th of September, 1878, aged seventy-five.
In 1785 when the northwest part of the town where Argusville and the pleasant farm homes that surround it are, was a dense forest and a greater part an impenetrable swamp, John Malick and family settled where Robert Ramsey's house now stands. He came from New Jersey, a thickly settled country, to this lone spot, not knowing of the presence of white settlers at a less distance than Currytown. Mrs. Malick came from a wealthy family, and was unused to labor, and much less to the privations of pioneer life. They built a log hut, in which they lived many years, and we can imagine in which Mrs. Malick passed many tearful days.
It is only a woman's love to husband and family that will dictate such sacrifices of comfort and happiness, and which is too often overlooked. Such self-denials show the true nobleness of the heart and character.
After they had passed a few lonely months in their rude house, one quiet morning their attention was drawn to the barking of a dog to the southward, which denoted a settlement. They set out at once guided by the barking, and emerged from the thicket at Myndert's, upon the present Sharp farm. No doubt they were pleased to find an old settler, and more so to learn of the settlement farther south. Twenty-five years before, this family wandered off here alone, and within that time had endured the horrors of the Revolutionary struggle as captives to the barbarous Tories and Indians, and lost the few personal effects which they had by industry and economy procured. But once more they were in peaceful possession of their home, and though humble "open wide" was the door to "lonely wanderers." There is a doubt whether a more hospitable people was ever known than the old stock of Germans that first settled Schoharie. A more free-hearted, sympathetic people ever lived, and when the Malick's received a welcome to their fireside, we know it was a hearty one, such perhaps as Mrs. Malick in her homesickness had longed to enjoy.
Mr. Malick brought a span of horses with him, and there not being any clearing for pasture, he took them daily to the Rhinebeck settlement for grazing. Late in the fall of 1785 he was upon the hill west of his house and heard some one chopping in a south-western course. He went to his hut and obtained his compass, and taking the "bearing" directed his steps by it, and found the Hiller family cutting logs for a house upon the present "Hiller farm," at Sharon Centre. The families immediately formed an acquaintance which ever after proved most agreeable.
During the year 1785 and up to 1800, the greatest influx of settlers occurred in this part of Schoharie and Montgomery Counties.
In 1788 Malick built a grist-mill upon the creek near his residence and for many years it was the only one between the Mohawk and West Kill, except a small "corn cracker," of which we will hereafter mention.
Here we can discern the genius that led this man to this isolated place. We perhaps thought it strange that any but an exile should make such a selection, as at that time large tracts of land were unoccupied nearer settlements, but in looking at the attractive mill site, and the constant flow of immigration, we do not wonder that Malick, with a mechanical brain wandered and located here.
Mr. Michael S. Vanderveer, long a near neighbor and particular friend of Mr. Malick, informs us that he was a practical surveyor, and land being cheap throughout these parts, he conceived the idea of settling here to follow that avocation, but was led to build a mill, which employed the most of his time. After a very few years' residence, he built a better house upon the ground on which Arnold's public house now stands.
The town line between Carlisle and Sharon, made by Captain Thomas Machin, of Revolutionary fame, and his son, Thomas, Jr., in 1806, passed between the mill and the house in an oblique manner, leaving the former in Sharon and the latter in Carlisle. A frame house was built in the log hut's stead, and as the family became larger and the country more thickly settled, the building was enlarged, and Malick kept an old-fashioned inn.
In 1828 Mr. Malick built another grist-mill, of late torn down, and gave the property to his sons, Peter and Aaron. The former bought the latter's interest, and the father gave him fifty acres of land, which are still owned by his heirs.
Mrs. Orville Hodge, Mrs. Robert Ramsey, and Mrs. Henry Lyker, are grand-daughters of the first settler, and we believe, the only descendents living near the pioneer's home. Mr. Malick died October 7, 1834; Mrs. Malick died June 7, 1814.
John Hyney moved from Stone Arabia with his father, and settled at Gilbert's Corners in 1796. In 1817 he purchased the farm upon which he lived so many years. There was a saw-mill upon the opposite side of the stream from where the present one stands, and the road ran across below the mill. As the "Malick mill" began to fail to meet the requirements of the increasing grain-growing community, Hyney built the present "Carlisle mill" in 1838. Mr. Hyney was a soldier in 1812, in Captain Kellogg's company with Aaron and Elias Malick, Charles Gordon, Abraham Wessel, and several others living near at that time.
When the Erie canal was first put in operation, Mr. Hyney built boats at Yatesville, taking the timber and lumber from his farm and mill, which in any other shape would find a poor market. It was but an example of his sagacity as a business man, which gained for him a large property. Mrs. Hyney is still living, and is over eighty years of age. She retains her faculties remarkably well after a long, industrious life.
We were pleased to meet with others here who have passed beyond the fourscore years, with minds strong, and forms erect and active. Luther Taylor, whose age is eighty-three, has the appearance of most men at sixty-five or seventy. He gave free scope to his retentive memory, at our visit, and would abash many younger men in recalling scenes and incidents with which he was acquainted in days long since gone by.
It is pleasant to meet such aged ones, when we find them free from the feebleness of mind and body that usually attends them. We are told that this little hamlet gained its appellation from the fact that so many copies of the Albany Argus were taken by the citizens. The post-office was established in 1840 and John Simmons Junior received the appointment as Deputy. Previous to that, the mail matter for this place was obtained at Carlisle and Sharon. Argusville for many years past, has been as busy a little hamlet as could be found in the country, but at present it is rather dormant.
Dr. Samuel Pettingill was the first physician and was a very successful practitioner. He remained many years and finally removed to Amsterdam where he died in 1874. Dr. J. S. Herrick, of Duanesburgh followed in a very successful practice for the period of seventeen years but was stricken down with disease in the prime of life and died in the year 1872 much to the regret of a large circle of admirers. Upon Dr. Herrick's death, Dr. I. S. Lowell, a graduate of the Albany Medical school, and student of Doctors J. & S. VanAlstine settled here and is the present physician and is, as were his predecessors -- of the allopathic school, and is meeting with that success due a careful, attentive and studious professional.
Several mercantile firms have been successful here. John Simmons we believe to be the first who was followed by Webster & Scott, Loucks & Co. and James Snyder. The latter amassed a fortune and removed to Illinois about the year 1855 and became an extensive farmer.
Orville Hodge came next in order, whose business qualifications and gentlemanly bearing, gained an unprecedented trade which enabled him to retire and hand over the business to Bellinger & Maloney in 1875. The latter firm was changed to Bellinger & Hyney, under whose management the only mercantile establishment of the place was carried on for a while when Mr. Harvey Bellinger, as now, became the proprietor.
Theodore Nevills commenced the same business here and after a successful trade of six years, a conflagration swept his property away together with adjoining buildings which have not been replaced.
Hon. John H. Salsbury practiced law at this place for several years, after acquitting himself as a successful school teacher. He was town superintendent of schools several terms, beside County Superintendent from 1843 to 1845 and ever exhibited a lively interest in the cause of education. He represented the County in the Assembly in 1858, and removed to Sharon Springs where he increased his business and became a popular lawyer. He was a self-made man -- studious in his profession, an energetic worker and a fluent speaker. After a lingering sickness he passed away and his remains lie here in the Lutheran cemetery beneath a plain marble upon which we read: DIED AUG. 21, 1870, AGED 63 YEARS.
James Swarthout was for a long time a resident and held the office of Justice for twenty-five years in succession and much to his credit as a jurist, not a single decision was reversed by higher courts and his labors, relating to his office were unequalled by any other in the County for the same number of years. They closed in the year 1876 as he became a resident of an adjoining county. He died January 20, 1881 aged seventy-two.
For several years Nelson Burnap was engaged very extensively in the tin and hardware business near the bridge, and was the most energetic man that the County produced, but by the lack of discretion his energy overbalanced his business and the latter "collapsed," giving the village a shock which its business characteristics have not overcome. He was after a few years succeeded by M. Hoag whose business was purchased by Ezra Yates, now in trade.
Passing on from this quiet spot towards Carlisle village, we pass by the "Bear swamp," that was, to within a few years back a large miry level covered with black ash chiefly, and inaccessible only in winter time. From it emanates Flat creek that passes through Montgomery county, whose rapid flow has ever been partial to "contract bridges" and tax-payers' grumblings.
Many fine mill-sites are found along its course, a few of which have long been occupied. From whence, or how the swamp received the name we are unable to tell.
Nearing Little York we pass by the late residence of Henry I. Moak, who served through the War of 1812 upon Long Island and in New Jersey, and removed from Albany county to this town in 1815. Mr. Moak was a genial gentleman of strict business qualifications, and held the office of "Justice of the Peace" nearly forty years, and represented the town in the Board of Supervisors in 1856. He was practical in his business relations and an able jurist, and served the people faithfully. He died in 1874, at the advanced age of eighty-four.
Carlisle Seminary. -- In the fall of 1852 a joint stock company was formed to build a boarding-school, at the village of Carlisle, in which enterprise many of the prospering farmers and mechanics of the community engaged. The season following, the building was erected and furnished, at a total cost of thirty-two thousand dollars, to accommodate three hundred boarders. It contained a large chapel, several commodious recitation rooms, and all the conveniences of a first-class and successful institution.
Speculative excitement ran so high that the immense structure was conceived, erected, furnished and started with "bright prospects" in a few months' time. But ere the season of 1854 closed, the institution began to totter and soon proved a financial failure. It nearly ruined many of the stockholders. Several attempts were made to revive it, but each proved unsuccessful.
A long litigation followed between the trustees and stockholders, which proved a very expensive affair and only crippled those engaged, the more.
The stockholders refused to pay certain debts which they contended the trustees contracted without power from and consent of them. The result was as in all other litigations that the attorneys engaged made the money. Several old and established mechanics and tradesmen were forced to part with their homes and seek new ones in the West, through the losses sustained in the building and failure of the Seminary. Among them was George Brown, who with his brother John W., for many years were engaged in wagon making and blacksmithing, and had become permanent and substantial business men.
The death of John W. Brown at an earlier date, removed one of those active, deep-minded men to whom communities are wont to look up to as superiors, without a display of pomposity, but reserved and unpretending. He was supervisor of the town in 1847, and had he lived, his abilities would have ensured a bright and useful official career.
The firm of S. P. & G. R. Shibley was seriously crippled, and while the former member sought a home in Missouri to regain his fortune, "Uncle George" delved early and late in the foundry for many years in his old age, to pay his honest indebtedness, which he did. He died at his native home, near Glen, Montgomery county, in 1872, assured by all to be "an honest man."
The Seminary building was taken down and a portion rebuilt as "Feathers' Hotel," at Rockville, and the remainder was drawn to East Worcester, Otsego county, to erect the "Thurber House."
Carlisle village was, previous to the Seminary mania, a busy, self-sustaining place, but her citizens believing that there were "millions in it" with the sincerity of Colonel Sellers, depended entirely upon the school to make the place, and dividends large enough to support them, and let their less pretentious enterprises drop, and when the institution failed, the place became dormant and remained so for many years. At present its business is on the increase, and will cope well with many larger villages with which it is surrounded.
The Carlisle Foundry was established in 1846, by Paige & Woolson, and is at present owned and managed by George Dwelly, who makes a specialty in the manufacture of plows of various patterns, that are sent to all sections of the country. Having all necessary facilities, the enterprise bids fair to extend to greater proportions.
The steam, saw and grist-mill, erected upon the site of the "Cromwell stand," by Nicholas Hanson, in 1875, adds greatly to the business of the place. In 1875 the old "tavern" building was burned -- it having been remodled to a mill -- and the present buildings took its place, which are furnished with a "run of stone," turning lathe, planing machine, and buzz-saw, which work up from eight to ten thousand logs per annum.
The tin and hardware establishment of C. D. Becker, is fast giving evidence of extended prosperity. Several "peddlers" are started from this shop who furnish tin and woodenware to a large section of country, while the home trade continues to increase through the proprietor's careful and determined management.
In 1802, Peter Becker, of Fox's creek, and his son, George, settled upon the farm now occupied by Andrew Relyea, and had made quite an inroad in the giant timber, when they were induced to rent, and purchase a farm upon the turnpike, which they did in 1819, and which is now owned by George Adams.
About that time a vast amount of spurious bank-notes flooded the country, of which Becker, in his innocence, received and was obliged to lose, and which, coupled with losses in Continental money in his father's family, destroyed his confidence in paper promises to pay, and every dollar his industry and economy obtained was in gold and silver, which were carefully put away, and which through a long series of years, amounted to several thousand dollars. It being known that he was the possessor of such treasures, a family named Sullivan, Irish renegades, conceived the idea of relieving the old man of his precious care, and in the fall of 1849, upon a certain night, his house was entered by bursting an outside door open with a huge stone, and the accumulation of years was swept into the robbers' bags and carried away. In the morning the neighborhood was aroused and a posse tracked them to their very door.
The family suspected, consisted of Michael and his wife, a brother John and one son Daniel, at home; the remainder, several in number, worked at different places. Michael, John and Daniel were arrested and tried before Justices Moak and Osterhout but not finding Daniel guilty he was released. John escaped the constable under whose care he was placed and Michael was the only one sent to jail to be tried at the circuit court. Upon searching the house in which they lived a belt of silver was found in a bed, amounting to one hundred and seventy-five dollars, and in the spring following Phoebe and Larry Bassett found beneath a stone in a pasture lot the sum of eight hundred dollars which they delivered up to the Becker family and received one hundred and fifty dollars as a reward. The whole amount reclaimed would not exceed over one thousand dollars, while that taken was supposed to be about eight thousand dollars. Michael was convicted in March 1850 and sent to the States prison for ten years. There were tracks of three persons found along the route taken by the robbers but after Daniel's release no one was arrested upon suspicion. Nevertheless a strong opinion prevailed that Mrs. Sullivan was the third party. While Michael was in jail she was admitted to his cell several times in the presence of the Sheriff, without any thoughts of mischief brewing; but one night the jailor was aroused by the cries of a prisoner, and repairing to the jail it was found that Sullivan and others confined, were effecting an escape, and that a more "sensitive" jail-bird was giving the alarm. Upon investigating, it was found that Mrs. Sullivan had stolen a saw mill bar from a mill in Carlisle and had smuggled it into the jail beneath an old style "mantle" or cloak. It was suspended by a cord to her neck and escaped the jailor's scrutiny.
The belt of money spoken of was found the next day, which was in readiness for Sullivan to take with him when his anticipated escape was effected.
George Becker was seized by the ruffians the night of the robbery, by the throat and held in a strangling grasp until the money was obtained and securely placed in the sacks. His life was nearly despaired of and months elapsed before he fully recovered. The father was blind and deaf with age and knew not of his loss until the robbers had left, and upon learning the fact he slowly sank away as if with a broken heart and died soon after.
Another daring robbery was committed in the village that was attended with boldness and strategy that deserves mention. On the night of January 1, 1873, the residence of J. H. Angle was entered by a burglar, while the family was absent a few minutes and took money to the amount of seven hundred dollars from the bed- room without molesting anything else, and not leaving a trace that would lead to detection. All efforts to obtain a clue to the guilty ones proved fruitless.
First Mill. -- It has been thought the first mill in town was upon the farm now occupied by William and Walter Larkin, and known as the "Samp mill," but years previous to the erection of it one stood in the north-east part of the town and was known as "Bryant's mill." It stood near the "Hilts Burton Bridge," and must have been built about the year 1790. Bryant, Stephen Crocker, (grandfather to Lewis and George Crocker,) David Lawton, Pierce Dwelly and _____ Montayne, came from Rhode Island, in 1788, and settled in this neighborhood upon lands still retained by their families.
Prior to the building of the latter mill, one Beauman (Bowman) built a grist-mill between Hamilton and Sosthenes Lawyer's homes, over a "rock hole," in which the water flowing from a swamp near, entered the ground. The water wheel was placed quite deep in the cavern and received the water from a shelving rock. This also was a "samp mill" i.e. without a bolting cloth and was used chiefly to grind corn.
At what time this mill was built we are unable to say, but it must have been immediately after the Revolution and was unoccupied many years before it was taken down. The swamp from which the water flowed furnished a full supply, during and for some years after the war, but of late years as the lands surrounding have become cleared of timber, but little water accumulates excepting in the spring, when the outlet becomes clogged with snow and ice. Thus it will be seen that the first mill was the "Beauman," the second the "Malick," and third the "Bryant," and the fourth the "Samp mill," built by John Brown, and after owned by _____ Blodgett, father of James F. Blodgett, of Cobleskill.
Mr. Malick's mill was the only one having a bolting cloth when first built. His mill also was furnished with a first class "Sopus Stone," and was more like a mill of today than any other in this section of the country. As a proof of the fact, he made forty pounds of fine flour from a bushel of wheat, which we have been told other mills could not do.
The milling in early days was done on foot, with a small quantity at a time, and as the people became better able, on horseback. Here we may relate a little incident that happened not far distant from our own neighborhood, to show a characteristic peculiar to the ancient Dutch, that of doing as their fathers did before them regardless of its impracticability.
A farmer's son was ordered to carry a bushel of corn to the mill on horseback, and the method was to put the grain in one end of the bag and a stone in the other, that would give nearly an even weight on both sides of the horse, thereby ensuring the rider of its safety in not slipping off. The young man objected to the stones and in their stead put in another half-bushel of corn, and after tying the bag caused an equal quantity to be placed in each end, and upon throwing it on the horse, proved or tried to prove, in a practical way that it would carry just as safely as if stones were used, and so much more grain taken. The father looked on with contempt, as a "new fangled notion," and ordered the boy to put the stones in the bag, asking him if he was not ashamed to think he knew "more ash your fadder or grandfadder did before you."
Caverns -- Selleck's Cave: -- There are several caverns in the town, the chief of which is upon the farm of Ira Young, and was discovered and explored by Prof. John C. Selleck, and bears his name. Its entrance is effected by a perpendicular descent of nearly fifty feet; coming upon a level it bears off to the west of south, and from its ceiling the most beautiful transparent stalactites are formed by the dripping waters of ages. Beneath are rare and curious shaped stalagmites upon the rock floor, rough and uneven. Many fine geological specimens are to be found within this ever dark aisle. Prof. McFail, of Carlisle Seminary, an accomplished gentleman, met an untimely death at its entrance after exploring the cave with others, in 1853. The Professor was on the rope used to draw persons up from the pit, and coming in contact with the outer air he fainted and fell back stricking upon his head, which badly fractured the skull, and from which he survived only a short time. Since that time, few if any, visits have been made to the cave. Logs have been rolled in, and a small stream running to it has nearly closed the entrance, which will in a few more years shut from knowledge, except by tradition, its existence. Several streams in the town emerge from the fissures in the lime rock, and after running upon the surface a short distance hide themselves, to appear again, perhaps miles away.
There are no doubt, many very attractive caverns within the town which are now, and forever will be unknown, wrapped in darkness and silence, save the gentle rippling of the pearly drops of water, that have been for ages and ages forming transparent pendants. In these hidden caskets of nature, beautifully arranged are earth's choicest gems, upon which, if the sun could but throw its light, the eye of man would be too feeble to behold.
Baptist Church of Argusville. -- In the fall of 1837 a great revival meeting was held at this place by different denominations and not having any house of worship, steps were taken for the organization of a society and the building of a church. The Baptists being in the ascendancy, organized in September of that year under the pastorate of Henry Topping then pastor of the Leesville Baptist church. Nathan Seeley, of Carlisle and George Button, of Anns were chosen Deacons. An edifice was erected in 1838 and built by incurring a debt and by subscription from the citizens. The Baptists were to have the first privilege of the pulpit and when not occupied by them, other evangelical denominations had the right of use. In 1841 the first resident pastor was settled, being Merrett House of Sandlake, but who succeeded him we are unable to learn, as the records were not to be found, upon our visit. The tide of emigration to the Western states from this locality began in 1847 and it told upon the Baptist membership to such a degree as to make it impossible to free the society of the building debt. Judgment was acknowledged and the building sold, the purchasers being Nathan Seeley in behalf of the Baptists and the Lutheran society. Preaching by the two churches was enjoyed -- alternately at first, but that of the Baptists soon ceased and the Lutherans alone occupied the house. Upon the building of the Lutheran church the old building was sold and removed -- the seats and desk being now in use in the "Root Centre church."
Evangelical Lutheran Church at Argusville. -- This church was organized on the 13th of February 1839 by Reverend Philip Weiting. Nicholas Kling and John Collins presided. The following officers were chosen: --
Nicholas Kling. John Collins. Peter VanValkenburgh. Deacons: Benjamin Lehman. John Bellinger. Jacob Moak. Trustees: Nicholas Kling. John Ressigieu. W. H. Davenport. Secretary: James Swarthout.
The society worshipped in the "Baptist church" until it became too small for their numbers. Their present substantial church buildings were erected in 1855. The following pastors have officiated: --
----- Rev. Philip Weiting. ----- J. D. Lawyer. 1848 -- Marcus Kling. 1849 -- Marcus Kling. 1850 -- Marcus Kling. 1851 -- Marcus Kling. 1852 -- Marcus Kling. 1853 -- Marcus Kling. 1854 -- Marcus Kling. 1855 -- Marcus Kling. 1856 -- Marcus Kling. 1857 -- Marcus Kling. 1858 -- Marcus Kling. 1859 -- Marcus Kling. 1860 -- Marcus Kling. 1861 -- Marcus Kling. 1862 -- Marcus Kling. 1863 -- Marcus Kling. 1864 -- Marcus Kling. 1865 -- Marcus Kling. 1866 -- Marcus Kling. 1868 -- J. R. Sikes. 1869 -- J. R. Sikes. 1870 -- J. R. Sikes. 1871 -- _______ Julian. 1872 -- L. E. Marsh. 1873 -- Augustus Bridgman. 1874 -- Augustus Bridgman. 1875 -- L. Ford, present pastor.
During Mr. Kling's pastorate this church was in connection with Little York and Centre Valley -- and under Mr. Sikes -- with Little York. The officers chosen in 1880 were: --
Deacons: Reuben Collins. John Bellinger. Clerk: Orville Hodge.
Universalist Church of Argusville. -- This society was organized about the year 1850 and they built and edifice in 1853 under the pastorate of Reverend J. D. Hicks. Reverend W. H. Waggoner officiated for several years and at present the society is only in name, the members being scattered and too few to sustain a preacher, their house of worship was rented to the Methodists in 1874 who still occupy it.
Methodist Episcopal Church of Arugsville. -- The organization was effected in May, 1874, and John Schermerhorn, M. M. McCann and Adam Conradt elected trustees. It is connected, as an organization, with Rural Grove in pastorate and worships in the house erected by the Universalists -- at a yearly rental.
This society is full of spirit, and progressive and will soon erect a church of their own or purchase the one they now use. The following ministers have officiated: --
1874 -- Charles Heath. 1875 -- Charles Heath. 1876 -- William Stanley. 1877 -- LeGrand Jones. 1878 -- LeGrand Jones. 1879 -- LeGrand Jones. 1880 -- Hamilton Allen, present pastor.
Methodist Episcopal Church of Grovenor's Corners. -- At what particular time this society was first organized we are unable to say, as the old records are not to be found. As far back as 1807, there was Methodist preaching in the house of Peter Mosher, upon the farm occupied by the late David Larkin. Mr. Mosher was from Coeymans, and a staunch professor of that doctrine. In all probability the society was organized near that time, making it one of the oldest in the County. The neighborhood being made up of immigrants from all parts, it must be supposed they were of various doctrinal beliefs, and they united in 1831 in the building of a church. The Methodists being in greater numbers, they have originally had the preference in the use of the house, but preachers of the Reformed Church of Lawyersville, Elder Ross of Charleston, and pastors of the Baptist Church of Sloansville, have from time to time held meetings here. This society was included in the Cobleskill circuit in 1832, and up to 1867. Since that time it has been connected with either Central Bridge or Sloansville in pastorate. The present pastor, Philip West, is the first one that has had the charge by itself. The society are now building an edifice.
Baptist Church of Grovenor's Corners. -- As far back as 1820, the Baptists of Sloansville have held meetings within this church, and from time to time awakened a religious interest, but did not legally organize until 1868, under the pastorate of Parley Grovenor. Since Mr. Grovenor's removal, the pulpit has been occupied by the Sloansville pastor.
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Little York. -- This organization was effected by Rev. M. Kling in 1848, and an edifice erected the year following. It was dedicated December 1, 1849, and Martin Tilapaugh, Elias Paige, and Peter Brown, were chosen trustees. Rev. M. Kling continued his pastorate to the latter part of the year 1859, when he was succeeded by Rev. J. R. Sikes, who remained two years; Rev. George Young followed from 1862 to 1863, when Rev. M. Kling was again called and still occupies the desk.
Carlisle Christian Church. -- This society was organized in 1878, and built the present edfice in the fall and winter of that year, with Rev. James Wright, of the Charleston Christian Church, as pastor. The present officers are: --
Deacons: Nicholas Hanson. John Ressigieu. William S. Brown. Milton Benson.
STATISTICS. The assessed valuation of the town in 1821 was as follows: -- Personal, $2,760. Real, $141,216. The number of taxpayers was 207. The assessed valuation of the town in 1880 was as follows: -- Personal, $66,510. Real, $629,113. The number of taxpayers was 461. The total expense of the town in 1827 was $97.75; and in 1880, $620.00. SUPERVISORS. The Supervisors of the town, with the date of their election, are as follows: -- 1808 -- William Ferris. 1809 -- William Ferris. 1810 -- William Ferris. 1811 -- William Ferris. 1812 -- William Ferris. 1813 -- William Ferris. 1814 -- Cornelius Marshall. 1815 -- Cornelius Marshall. 1816 -- Gideon Young. (Deceased) 1817 -- Lyman Hawes (Appointed in 1816, elected in 1817.) 1818 -- Henry M. Brown. 1819 -- Henry M. Brown. 1820 -- Henry M. Brown. 1821 -- Henry M. Brown. 1822 -- Henry M. Brown. 1823 -- Henry M. Brown. 1824 -- Henry M. Brown. 1825 -- Henry M. Brown. 1826 -- Henry M. Brown. 1827 -- John Young. 1828 -- William Ferris. 1829 -- William Ferris. 1830 -- William Ferris. 1831 -- William Ferris. 1832 -- Silvanus Parkinson. 1833 -- Ira Dewey. 1834 -- Ira Dewey. 1835 -- Ira Dewey. 1836 -- Samuel P. Shibley. 1837 -- Samuel P. Shibley. 1838 -- Samuel P. Shibley. 1839 -- Samuel P. Shibley. 1840 -- David Angle. 1841 -- David Angle. 1842 -- Chauncey Grovenor. 1843 -- Chauncey Grovenor. 1844 -- John Simmons. 1845 -- D. D. L. McCullock. 1846 -- John W. Brown. 1847 -- D. D. L. McCullock. 1848 -- Charles G. Kenyon. 1849 -- Barziliar McNeill. 1850 -- Barziliar McNeill. 1851 -- A. A. Kniskern. 1852 -- D. Angle. 1853 -- Samuel Pettengall. 1854 -- Chauncy Grovenor. 1855 -- Chauncy Grovenor. 1856 -- Henry I. Moak. 1857 -- Abram A. Kniskern. 1858 -- Abram A. Kniskern. 1859 -- Abram A. Kniskern. 1860 -- Abram A. Kniskern. 1861 -- Henry C. Lyker. 1862 - -Adam Hillsinger. 1863 - -Henry C. Lyker. 1864 - -Adam Hillsinger. 1865 - -Henry C. Lyker. 1866 - -R. J. Roscoe. 1867 - -J. M. Roscoe. 1868 - -J. M. Roscoe. 1869 - -J. M. Roscoe. 1870 - -J. M. Roscoe. 1871 - -J. M. Roscoe. 1872 - -J. M. Roscoe. 1873 - -J. M. Roscoe. 1874 - -J. M. Roscoe. 1875 - -J. M. Roscoe. 1876 - -J. M. Roscoe. 1877 - -J. M. Roscoe. 1878 - -J. M. Roscoe. 1879 - -George Burhans. 1880 - -George Burhans.
And all that part of the said County of Schoharie bounded by a line beginning in the northerly bounds of the County at the northwest corner of the town of Schoharie, and running thence southerly along the west line of the said town of Schoharie until it comes opposite the house lately occupied by Aaron Cole, Jr., thence westerly to the south side of the house now or late of George Loucks, thence westerly to the north side of the house now or late of John Angle, thence on the same course until it intersects a straight line running southerly from the northwest corner of the house now or of late of Wm. Ferris, thence northerly along the line so intersected to the northwest corner of the dwelling house last mentioned, thence northerly to a straight line to a spring at the west end of the house now or late of John Reddington, on the farm lately occupied by him, thence northerly in a straight line along the east side of the house now or late of John Malick, to the north bounds of the County, and thence easterly along the said north bounds to the place of beginning, shall be and continue a town by the name of Carlisle.