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Copyright, 1898, by 
Daniel Niles Freeland. 

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/if «s a ^oA:e^ of grateful appreciation of many kindnesses 
received hy both me and mine, and intended to preserve, 
for the entertainment and instruction of their children, 
the memory of the history, incidents and sayings of by- 
gone age and generation. When I came to Monroe fifty 
years since, I found then living many venerable people, 
remarkable for intelligence and clearness of memory, their 
range of vision extending almost to the War of the Revo- 
lution. Finding also I was standing on historic ground, 
the thought entered my mind to gather up some of the 
conversations and experiences of these aged ones before 
they shoidd be called to the land '"''from whose bo2irn no 
traveller returns. ^^ From their lips much of the mate- 
rial was gathered. It was first a lecture, the very ink 
of which had almost faded out. But an urgent request 

having come from many sources that the material might 
have more permanent form^ I have consented to give it 
to the many-fingered prmting-press ; and although ^^ of 
making many hooks there is no end,'^^ I ask the indul- 
gent attention of those more particidarly interested in 
such a work. For more recent material I have been in- 
debted to a number of living friends, to whom I tender 
most hearty thanks. In my personal reminiscences I 
have studiously avoided intrusion into the sanctities of 
private life ; if alluding to faults, only presenting them 
as a background to virtues ; if mentioning humorous in- 
cidents, they are thrown in as a pungent spicery to make 
the menu more palatable, and playftdly present the 

features of the Ancient Past. 






I. The Cheesecock Patent 1 

II. The Field Book and Survey 11 

III. Distribution of the Lands. Maps of Lots . 17 

IV. Indians and Indian Nomenclature 20 

V. Physical Features 25 

VI. Organization of the County of Orange and 

Town of Monroe 33 

VII. The Early Settlement of the Town .... 38 

VIII. War of the Eevolution 44 

IX. The Story of Claudius Smith 56 

X. The Dawn of Peace 63 

XI. Home-building in the Olden Time 66 

XII. The Iron Industry of Monroe 74 

XIII. The Milk Business 78 

XIV. Industries of the Home and Farm .... 81 
XV. The Dress of the Olden Time 91 

XVI. Courtship and Marriage 96 

XVII. Mills and Smithy 100 

xviii. Innkeeping 106 

XIX. Merchandizing 110 

XX. Schools and Education 116 

XXI. Physic and Physicians 125 



XXII. Lawyeks and Litigation 132 

XXIII. Churches and Clergy 137 

XXIV. The Cause of Temperance 156 

XXV. Hunting and Fishing 160 

XXVI. Militia Training 169 

XXVII. The Singing School 172 

XXVIII. The Debating Society 177 

XXIX. Love of Liberty and Patriotism 180 

XXX. Biographical Sketches, Military and Civic . 184 

XXXI. Early Eoads 215 

XXXII. Erie Eailway 219 

XXXIII. Appearance of the Old Village 229 

XXXIV. Landmarks of Monroe 237 

XXXV. Recent Occurrences 243 



HAYINGr noticed that other parts of the county 
of Orange have received marked attention, and 
had their historians and investigators, while the town 
and village of Monroe seem to have been passed by, 
we have thought it would be of interest and some- 
what of the nature of a return for hospitalities re- 
ceived in said town, to investigate its early records 
and traditions and throw them into the form of a 
historic monograph for future preservation and study. 
The importance of this is evident from the fact that 
the old people are rapidly passing away, and unless 
some one should volunteer to gather up what they 
remember, they soon will have been gathered to the 
grave, "where there is no device nor knowledge." 
After a few years the opportunity will have gone 
irrecoverably. He, therefore, who has been cotem- 
porary with some of these aged ones is conferring a 
favor on the future in obtaining their reminiscences 
and giving them permanent form. The fact that so 
much must be derived from tradition, and that the 
historical documents and data are so meager and scat- 

tered, makes the task no easy one. When others have 
preceded us, they have chosen to dwell upon the mis- 
deeds of its famous marauder, rather than upon the 
achievements of its hetter citizens ; and the rudeness 
of its early population ; and its rocks rather than its 
progress in wealth, culture and all the elements of 
modem life. So they have conveyed a false impres- 
sion of its character and resources, until, indeed, 
some of its own people have been inchned, in view of 
our contemplated task, to say, " Can any good thing 
come out of Monroe ? " Our answer is of old, " Come 
and see." We purpose now to take compass, chain and 
knapsack, and endeavor to find some of the ancient 
landmarks, run some of the old courses and gather 
up such information concerning Monroe as will tend 
to reproduce, for the instruction of the present genera- 
tion, its topography, its ancient manners and such 
historical incidents as will exhibit its progress to the 
present day. 

When the first survey was made, Charles Clinton 
noted in his Field Book that the needle pointed to the 
wealth of minerals which its very rocks contained. 
So its wealth, historical, archaeological, social, ethical 
and religious, attracts the needle of our affection, ex- 
citing our interest and study after years of absence. 
And now we propose as a labor of love to take com- 
pass and chain, and revisit the Highlands and Valleys, 
or Cloves as they were called, reviving personal remi- 
niscences, verifying historical incidents and bringing 
to record the results of some original investigations. 




WHEN King John demanded of certain nobles of 
England by what authority they held their lands, 
they laid their hands on the hilts of their swords. 
But when any old settler of the town of Monroe was 
asked a similar question, he answered as promptly, 
and with as much of right, " By the grant of Queen 
Anne, in the document called the Cheesecock 
Patent." But if questioned further as to the reason 
for the name, and who procured the Patent, and 
when and how the lands were surveyed and dis- 
tributed, he could give little information. When we 
asked the question fifty years ago, Why is so singular 
a name given to that instrument ? we were told a cer- 
tain English Lord Cheesecock was active in its pro- 
curement. But in looking over books of heraldry and 
English history, we could find no such name, either 
among the nobility or the common people. We 
then tried to solve the mystery by connecting it with 
some dairy product or cheese cook or expert, but it 
failed to furnish a solution. Then we fancied that 

2 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

the lay of the land might afford a clue, in the frequent 
occurrence of rounded knolls like Woodcock, Pedlar 
and numerous similar formations in this region, which 
might be likened to haycocks or even rolls of cheese. 
But that required too much imagination for the mat- 
ter-of-fact people who were trying to find a home in 
the wilderness where they could have liberty to wor- 
ship Grod and found a new commonwealth. We then 
turned to the document itself, and found that it grants 
a certain tract of upland and meadow. Now in the 
Algonquin tongue the name for upland was Chis^ up — 
hauli^ land, and there it is the Highland Patent. 
The term " patent " or " letters patent " was applied to 
a document issued by an authorized party, granting 
an exclusive right to a tract of land or other property 
for a term of years. The sovereigns of England were 
accustomed to issue such letters patent to favorites 
and friends, parceling out and conferring the lands 
the government had acquired on this continent, as if 
feudal lords of the soil. As these lands were imper- 
fectly surveyed and were acquired some from the In- 
dians and some from the Dutch government, it is not 
strange that there should be confusion in the boun- 
daries and conflict in the grants. This very patent 
to which we refer was the occasion of no small liti- 
gation, while the grant on the northeast of it, the Cap- 
tain Evans patent, had to be recalled. 

During the governorship of the colony of New 
York by Edward Hyde, under the title of Lord Corn- 
bury, his rapacity and prodigahty led him to give out 
the public domain with a lavish hand. It was through 
him, and probably at his instance, that the Cheesecock 
Patent was granted by Queen Anne. A copy of it is 
in the office of the Secretary of the Province of New 

The Cheesecoch Patent. 3 

York, in the Book of Patents begun a. d. 1695, folio 
353-355, recorded at the request of WiUiam Smith 
and Co., the 2d day of June, A. d. 1736. 

The following is the text of that remarkable docu- 
ment — a facsimile of its abbreviations, capitals and 
other peculiarities : 

Anne by the Grace of England, Scotland, ffrance and Ireland 
Queen Defend'' of the faith &c. To all to whom these Presents 
may in any wise Concerne Sendeth Greeting, Whereas our Loving 
Subjects Anne Bridges, Hendrick Ten Eyck, Dii'ick Vandenburg, 
John Cholwell, Christopher Denne, Lancaster Symes and John 
Merritt, by their humble petition Prsented to our Right, trusty 
and well beloved Cousin Edward Viscount Cornbury, Captain 
General and Governour in Cheif in and over our Province of New 
Yorke and Territories Depending thereon in America and Vice 
Admiral of the same &e. in Council Have Pray'd our Grant and 
Confirmation of a Certain Tract of upLand and Meadow Scituate 
Lying and being in the County of Orange Called Cheesecocks be 
Bounded to the Northward by the Patented Lands of Captain 
John Evans and the Patent of Doctor Bridges and Company to 
the Westward : by the said Bridges &c? and the West side of the 
high hills, called the high Lands to the Southward by the Patented 
lands of Mr. Daniell Honan and Michaell Howden and to the East- 
ward by the Christian Patented Lands of Haverstraw and Hud- 
son's River the which Petition wee being minded to Grant KNOW 
YEE that of our Especiall Grace Certain Knowledge and meer mo- 
tion wee have Given Granted Ratified and Confirmed and in and 
by these P'sents for ourselves our Heires and Successors Doe Give 
Grant Ratify and Confirm unto the sd Anne Bridges, Hendrick 
Tenicke, Dirick Vandenburg, John Cholwell, Christopher Denne, 
Lancaster Symes and John Merritt all and Singular the Tract of 
Upland and Meadow above mentioned and all and Singular the 
Hereditaments and Appurtenances thereunto belonging within 
the Bounds and Limitts above in these presents mentioned and 
Expressed together with all woods and under woods Trees Timber 
feedings Pastures Meadows Marshes Swamps Ponds Pooles Waters 
Watercoui'ses Rivers Rivoletts Runs and Streams of Water ffishing 
fouling hunting hawking Mines and Mineralls Standing growing 
lyeing and being or to be used had and enjoyed within the Bounds 

4: Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

and Limmitts aforesd. and all other Profitts benefitts Privledges 
Libertys Advantages Hereditaments & Appurtenances whatsoever 
unto sd. Land and Premises or any Part or Parcell thereof belong- 
ing or in any wise appertaining in Seven Equal Parts to be Divided 
(Except allways and Reserved out of this our Present Grant all 
Gold and Silver mines.) 

To Have and to hold One seventh part of the Tract of Land and 
premises aforesaid with the Appurtenances hereby Granted or 
meant mentioned or intended to be hereby Granted as aforesaid 
unto the sd. Anne Bridges her Heires and Assigns forever to the 
only proper use and behoof of the sd. Anne Bridges her Heires 
and Assigns forever one other Seaventh part thereof to the sd. 
Hendrick Tenicke his Heires and Assigns forever to the only 
proper use and behoof of the sd. Hendrick Tenicke his Heires and 
assigns forever one other Seaventh Part thereof unto the sd Dirick 
Van den burgh his Heires and assigns for Ever to the only Proper 
use and behoof of the said Du'ick Vandenburgh his Heires and 
assigns forever one other Seaventh Part thereof unto the sd John 
Cholwell his Heires and assigns forever to the only proper use and 
behoof of the sd John Cholwell his Heires and assigns forever one 
other Seaventh Part thereof unto the sd Christopher Denne his 
Heires and assigns forever to the only Proper use and behoof of 
the sd Christopher Denne his Heires and assigns for Ever one 
other Seaventh Part thereof unto the sd Lancaster Symes his 
Heires and assigns for ever to the only proper use and behoof of 
the sd Lancaster Symes his Heires and assigns forever and one 
other Seaventh part thereof unto the sd John Merritt his Heires 
and Assigns forever to the only proper use and behoof of the sd 
John Merritt his Heires and Assigns forever (Except as is herein 
before Excepted) TO BE HOLDEN of us our Heires and Suc- 
cessors in free and comon Soccage as of our Mannor of east Green- 
wich in the County of Kent within our Kingdome of England 
Yeilding and Paying therefore Yearly and every year frome hence- 
forth unto us our Heires and Succsso" at our Custome house at 
New Yorke to our Collector upon the feast day of the Annuncia- 
tion of the blessed Virgin Mary (Commonly Called Lady Day) 
the Rent or Sume of twenty Shillings Currant Money of our 
Provincee of New York Provided always and these p'sents are 
upon this Condition that if no Improvement be ah-eady had or 
made upon the sd Land and p'misses hereby Granted nor any Part 
or Parcell thereof that then and in such case they the sd Anne 

TJie Cheesecock Patent 5 

Bridges Hendrick Tenicke Dirick Vandenburgh John Cholw" 
Christopher Denne Lancaster Symes and John Merritt theire 
Heires and Assigns some or one of them shall within the time and 
Space of three Years now next following from and after the Date 
hereof Settle Clear & make Improvement of and upon the sd 
Lauds and Premisses hereby Granted or of and upon some part or 
parcel thereof in Testimony whereof we have Caused these our 
Letters to be made Patents and the scale of our Province of New 
York to our sd Letters Patents to be Affixed and the same to be 
Recorded in our Secretarys Office of our sd Province Wittnesse 
our Right Trusty and welbeloved Cousin Edward Viscount Corn- 
bury our Captain Generall and Governour in Cheif in and over 
our sd Province of New Yorke and Territorryes Depending thereon 
in America and Vice Admirall of the same &c in Council at our 
Fort in New Yorke the twenty-fifth Day of March in the Sixt 
Yeare of our Reigns Annoq Dm 1707 

Geo Clarke. 

I do hereby Certify the foregoing to be a true Copy of the 
Original Record Compared there with By me 

Lewis A Scott Secretary. 

The only terms in the document that need explana- 
tion are "free and common socage." Socage, we 
learn, was a legal term derived from the feudal system. 
It was the fee or consideration upon the rendering of 
which rights and privileges in land were gi'anted. 
There were two kinds of socage — free, or common, and 
villein. The former was a certain fee in money or 
honorable service; the latter a certain service that 
might be base or menial. The socage of the Cheese- 
cock letters patent was twenty shilhngs cun*ent 
money, to be paid yearly as prescribed. A manorial 
grant Uke that at Pelham Manor to Lord Pell was 
without socage, making him lord of the manor with 
absolute control. The heirs of the old Cheesecock 
patent, if not originally, yet soon afterward, became 
lords of the soil by the right not merely of pick and 
shovel, but of their good rifles and swords. 

6 CJironicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

The original of this patent cannot at present be 
traced. It is in possession either of some of the 
heirs, or may be among the records of the Court of 
Chancery, where so many of its disputed points had 
to be settled. It must have contained the signatures 
of the Indians from whom the land at first had to be 
purchased. The late Peter Townsend stated that he 
saw the original, and that the Indian signatures were 
attached to it, with their totems. They were these : 

Mekingomack, his O mark. 
Sqawgus Ugh qiad, her 4 mark. 
Tephanjck, his ^mark. 
Onickotop, his ;\ ^ mark. 
Ajoaqueae, his /-/ mark. 

These appear on a copy in possession of G. R. 
Conklin, who has it in deeds of lots 2 and 5 of the 
Cheesecock Patent. 

Now there was also a seal attached to the patent. 
The old seal of Wilham and Mary, according to cus- 
tom, had been defaced and a new seal brought out to 
the Governor of the Province of New York by Colonel 
Nott of Virginia, in 1705. This seal is that of Queen 
Anne. A copy of it has been furnished us, by the 
courtesy of William Cowie, counselor in things ar- 
tistic, and a drawing* executed by the American Bank 
Note Company is given in this volume. 

* See title-page. 

The CheesecocJc Patent. 7 

The reverse is inscribed : Anna Dei. Grra. Mag. 
Brit. Fran, et Hib. Regina, Fid. Defen. Nov. Eb. Sig. 
(Anna, by the grace of God, of Grreat Britain, France 
and Ireland, Queen, Defender of the Faith. Seal of 
the province of New York.) On the obverse are the 
arms of the Stuarts — namely, the usual insignia of 
Great Britain, with a Greek cross and the legend 
Semper eadem ("Always the same") below. 

The first step toward the securing of this patent 
was taken in December 13, 1702, when a convention 
was made with certain Indian proprietors to secure 
possession of the land. Their names were Maringo- 
mack, Skawgus Ughquad, Topainick, Onickotapp, and 
Aighquahaeroe. They were Indians of the Minsies 
subtribe, whose totem was the wolf. They were a 
branch of the Lenni-Lenape and part of the Algon- 
quin nation. They had their villages and tribe or- 
ganizations and territorial possessions. The several 
subtribes were known by their totems, such as Wolf, 
Turkey, Turtle, painted on their wigwams and blan- 
kets. The chiefs of one of these subtribes agreed in 
the presence of William Merritt, Esq., one of her 
Majesty's justices of the peace for Orange County. 
The document is addressed to all Christian people. 
" Know ye that we — then are mentioned their names 
— native Indians, proprietors of a certain tract of 
land and meadow, situate, being and lying in the 
county of Orange, called Cheesecocks, bounded to the 
North by the Patent lately granted unto Captain John 
Evans ; to the West by the high hills of the High- 
lands ; to the South by Honan's Patent ; to the East 
by the lands of Haverstraw and Hudson's River, for 
a certain sum of money and goods to us in hand paid 
at and before the ensealing and dehvery of those 

8 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

presents, by Doctor John Bridges, Hendrick Ten. 
Eyck, Dirick Yandenburg, John Cholwell, Christo- 
pher Denne, Lancaster Symes and John Merritt. 
The receipt whereof we do hereby acknowledge our- 
selves therewith fully contented and paid. We have 
given, granted, bargained, sold and confii'med, and do 
by these presents give, grant, bargain, sell and con- 
firm, for us and our Heirs forever unto the above 
named Doctor John Bridges, Hendrick Ten Eyck, 
Dirick Yandenburg, John Cholwell, Christopher 
Denne, Lancaster Symes and John Merritt, all that 
certain parcel of land, etc., bounded as above men- 
tioned. To have and to hold the said, before recited 
Tract, of upland and meadow unto the said Doctor 
John Bridges, etc., their heirs and assigns, to the sole 
and only proper use and benefit and behoof of the 

This document differs in its terms from the former 
only in specifying what is included in these general 
gifts, namely : " Together with all woods, underwoods^ 
trees, timbers, floodings, pastures, meadows, marshes, 
swamps, pools, ponds, waters, water courses, rivers, 
rivulets, runs and streams of water," etc. This docu- 
ment was signed and sealed at Haverstraw, on the 
twelfth day of June, 1701. In addition to the signa- 
tures of the first-named Indians is appended that of 
Toparonick (his mark). It was also sealed and de 
hvered in the presence of Andrew Myer, Ida Myer, 
and Nonowitt (his mark). 

"Then appeared before me, William Merritt, Esq., 
one of her Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the said 
County, the within named Andrew Myer, and Ida 
Myer, two of the witnesses to the within Deed, and 
declared upon the Holy Evangelist, that they saw the 

The Cheesecoch Patent. 9 

within Indians seal and deliver the within instru- 
ment as their voluntary act and deed." 

Again it will be noticed that it was " a certain tract 
of upland and meadow," not mountain alone, as some 
rival claimants would contend. The boundaries ap- 
pear quite indefinite. It is bounded on all sides by 
other patented lands, the only natural boundary 
designated being the west side of the Highlands. 
What is meant by these was for a time a subject of 
dispute. Some of the neighboring patentees would 
insist that these Highlands were the East Mountains 
stretching from the Clove to Haverstraw, and that 
the patent ceased where the western slope of these 
mountains merged into said Clove. But when the 
viewers looked down on the rich valleys stretching 
north and south, and saw mountain ranges bound- 
ing them on the west, they put a larger construction 
on the language of the patent, and made it include 
these Highlands as well. They had this in their 
favor, that it was a tract of " upland and meadow," 
and this embraced both. How far west they would 
have pushed their claim we know not ; but no doubt 
they would have claimed the western slope of Sugar- 
loaf and Bellvale Mountains, if it had not been that 
they met with a point of resistance in a certain Dr. 
Bridges and the Wawayanda patentees. They were 
just as ambitious of pushing their claim eastward as 
the proprietors of the Cheesecock were of extending 
their claim westward. In after years, when settlers 
flowed in, disputes ran high with regard to the titles 
to the lands. A tribunal then had to be appointed, 
which sat at Greycourt or Greycoat Inn (so called be- 
cause of its sign of a colonial soldier in coat of gray). 
This tribunal conceded to the proprietors of this 

10 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

patent their right to the tract from Groosepond Moun- 
tain and the Great Beaver Meadow, which was Grey- 
court Meadow, to the Highlands, inclusive, as far as 
the Haverstraw boundary and the Jersey line. 

The patent required this land to be occupied within 
the space of three years. We know nothing of its 
history until the year 1735. 



A SURVEYOR named Charles Clinton was em- 
ployed to survey the lands under the patent. 
This gentleman had emigrated with his family, a short 
time previously, to the vicinity of New Windsor. 
He was afterward known as Lieutenant-Colonel 
Clinton. His sons were George and James Clinton. 
His grandson was De Witt Clinton, an eminent 
statesman and governor of the State of New York. 

When Charles Clinton commenced his survey on 
the river, Haverstraw village seems to have been al- 
ready begun. For when he started out he warned 
its inhabitants to show him their boundary, for the 
eastern boundary he was to find was that of the Chris- 
tian patented lands of Haverstraw. These people 
seemed to have rather confused ideas of their own 
limits, and, like others, were inclined to push their 
claims as far as possible. But he terminated the dis- 
pute by making Monetcong Creek his base, and com- 
menced running his courses toward the northwest. 

He divided the mountain into great lots running 
parallel with the northwest hne, and numbered them 
from one to seven. These contained five or six thou- 
sand acres apiece. The mountains south he divided 
into lots runniQg at right angles with the former, and 


12 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

running to the Jersey line. The smooth land in the 
valley was subdivided into smaller lots containing 
150 acres apiece. He carefully recorded his surveys 
in a field book, and kept a sort of journal of each 
day's labors and incidents, sometimes mentioning 
the state of the weather — a storm, for instance ; his 
stopping to repair a wigwam ; his having to dispense 
with horse and carry his provisions on his back. 
Most of the time he had an assistant or two ; but at 
one time was without a chain-bearer, when he paced 
the ground with his watch in his hand, reckoning a 
minute equal to two chains. He was very exact and 
careful in his surveys, considering the nature of the 
ground he had to traverse. He proves his work from 
time to time, correcting errors. At one place he al- 
lows a link in each chain on account of the uneven- 
ness of the ground, calculating it will measure that 
much less when the land is cleared. 

In surveying large lot No. 3, he says : " I selected 
an object in a very thick beaver dam, took a tree a 
considerable distance forward, and in my way went 
to a tree that I observed to be in the line. I set the 
compass again, being in some doubt about the tree I 
had taken, and when the needle settled I could not 
take my former tree. I then took a back sight to the 
station I had left, and my compass would not agree 
to it. Then returned to the said first station and set 
there again. Found the same tree I had formerly 
taken to be in the hne according to the position of the 
needle, by which (I inferred) there was something at 
or near that station that attracted the needle. Here 
set the compass a piece forward and took a back sight 
and found a variation of 10°. Went again back to 
said first station and set the compass a few yards for- 

The Field Book and Survey. 13 

ward in tlie line, and found I had there but 6^ varia- 
tion ; and a piece further I found I had but 2°. I 
could not find either iron ore or lodestone near this 
place, nor many rocks. It appeared a plain ridge. 
This is the first place I observed that minerals or ore 
in the earth will attract the needle. Dr. Golden hav- 
ing sent his son with me to make remarks on this 
curiosity (accounts of which I have given you), there- 
fore will take no further notice of it here." 

This same fact he records in connection with other 
parts of the survey, in one instance mentioning that 
he ran the line by guess rather than by the needle. He 
speaks of iron discovered by the Indians near where 
the O'Neill and Mount Basha mines are at present. 
Lot No. 18, where the Grreenwood Iron Works are, 
he designates as suitable for iron works. At Tucseto 
he calls attention to the fall of the watercourses and 
their suitableness for manufacturing pm'poses, but 
cautions in one place against raising the water too 
high, for fear of spoiling a fine swamp suitable for 
meadow. When such lowlands were the only re- 
source for forage, they were considered of a value far 
beyond what they are estimated at present unless 
carefully drained and cultivated. 

When he is surveying lots 68 and 69 he speaks of a 
high mountain which he calls Mount Bashon, and the 
pond near by, but he does not name the pond. Mom- 
basha may be only a con^uption of Mount Bashon. 
The Long Pond he names as such. The body of 
water north of it he calls the Pond with a round 
island in it ; so that it is more properly Round Isl- 
and Pond. The pond commonly called Duckcedar is 
Tuxseto on the earhest map of the region. The 
origin of the name is probably Indian. 

14 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

Bald Hill, near the present village of Monroe, is so 
called in the Field Book, probably from some outcrop 
of slate rock on its side, free from timber, giving it 
the appearance of baldness. 

Lot 43, containing 276 acres, was situated " on a 
sudden bend of the ' Ramerpo.' " It contained " 100 
acres of barren and very bad stony land in ye N. E. 
side of it, and in ye N. W. end. The rest of it is 
good land. There is some low land and good swamp 
in some places upon ye River. I take it to be equal 
to any other middling lot, for it has plowland and 
meadowland sufficient for a settlement." This and 
lot No. 16 are the site of the present village of Mon- 
roe, while the bend of the Ramapo has been enlarged 
into the village mill-pond. 

Over on the ridge not far from Hazard's Pond he 
came to land which he pronounced very poor. He 
was seeking some tract suitable for a parsonage. But 
one evening he broke off, dissatisfied, and said he 
should seek for land somewhere else. Shortly after- 
ward he happened upon a piece which he numbered 
24, a lot of 150 acres, which he selects for a parson- 
age, and calls it " a choice good lot." This was held 
by the Presbyterian Church in this place as a glebe 
until the year 1804, when it was exchanged for a part 
of lot 16 at the village of Monroe, containing 58 

A few additional extracts from the Field Book will 
not be uninteresting. For the selection of many of 
these items I am indebted to the courtesy of Civil 
Engineer Fred. J. Knight. 

Page 306, Clinton says : " Being all abused by the 
rain, he built a wigwam." 

Page 301, he mentions his first observation of the 

The Field Booh and Survey. 15 

influence of iron ore on the needle. This was in lot 
4, one of the large mountain lots, afterward Green- 
wood. He finds similar traces of iron in lots 9 and 10. 

Page 321, he refers to a meadow which had been 
" dammed by beavers." When he came to lot 54 he 
found a negro named Solomon Peterson, who had 
built a hut there. Here, near a swamp, he had cleared 
a piece of land. The entire lot comprised 263 acres, 
and on it were two free negro settlements. (See page 
269, lot 54.) This is the Samuel Webb place. 

In surveying lot 61, he came upon the cabin of 
Casper, a free negro, settled here by Hendrick Nan- 
derlinden near a heap of stones, in a cleared field, near 
a brook named Paskak. Page 222, on lot 62, he comes 
on the settlement of Ari King, purchased from this 
same Nanderlinden, and with improvements made by 
the latter. This is the Jeptha Clark place, and 61 is 
the Samuel Bull place. In running the line at lot 69, 
he came upon the stone house and cleared land of 
Abraham Hoppers. These lands he formerly pur- 
chased from Dr. Johnston. "I did not run the line 
lest he should stop us, by what we were informed of 
others. Therefore to avoid an unnecessary quarrel we 
did not mark it." This lot is in what is known as 
Dutch Hollow. The small stream through it was 
called Saddle Piver. Through it ran the road from 
Goshen to Ramapo. 

He mentions an Indian settlement on lot 52, the 
place of the late Dr. G. M. Roe, where peach and pear 
trees were seen. On page 234 he alludes to corn- 
fields. Several times he took refuge in wigwams, 
which also he repaired. Indian paths are mentioned, 
some indistinct, crossing the Clove to Wawayanda, 
Haverstraw and Ramapo. In lot 64, easterly from 

16 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

Bull's mills, was another Indian settlement. He lodged 
at wigwams near Sugarloaf. On pages 338 to 345 
he speaks of the road from Groshen to Stirling, and 
on page 34 of a path from Hazard's to Ramapo, 
" scarce noticeable it is so seldom used." 

The surveyor laid out the tract in fourteen large 
lots, containing about 5000 acres apiece, and 106 
smaller lots containing 150 acres. A part of these 
lots was included in the county of Rockland when 
that county was organized. Lot 43, on a bend of the 
Ramapo, which he speaks of as barren, is the site of 
the village of Monroe. 

Lot 44 was the Letts farm, in which was a round 
island with a hassocky point running down to it. 

Lot 61, the S. S. Bull farm, contained a pond 
which he designates as Second Pond. Mombasha 
is simply the pond near Mount Bashon. Lot 35 is 
the D. V. Howell place, on which was a great Bald 
Hill well timbered on the northwest side, while the 
rest was barren. This was the late glebe of the Pres- 
byterian Church. The first lot set apart for that pur- 
pose was the farm of the late Andrew YanValer, 
which was so stony in one spot that an Irishman 
declared the old de'il was carrying stones in his apron 
and spilled them out to spite the deacon. 

The copy of the Field Book from which these ex- 
tracts have been made was the property of the late 
David Lynch. It is now owned by Major T. B. 



AFTER the survey the lands were allotted to the 
XjL members of the company owning the patent. 
We find different names from those of the original 
patentees. Now they are reduced to six, and are as 
follows: John Chambers, Philip Livingston, John 
McEvers, Catherine Symes (wife probably of Lan- 
caster Symes), William Smith and James Alexander. 
Chambers and Livingston were members of the Legis- 
lative Council, as was also William Smith, who was at 
one time Chief Justice, and then Governor of the State, 
in 1701. The family seat is in the neighborhood of 
Haverstraw. James Alexander was also called Lord 
Stirling because of a claim upon an earldom and 
estates of that name in Scotland. He owned a beau- 
tiful estate at Ringwood, was one of the company 
forming the Stirling Iron Company, and was father 
of Lord Stirling, who took such an active part as a 
general officer in our War of Independence. 

We would remark in passing that the map-makers 
of the county have not done this town nor themselves 
justice in their attempts to represent the boundaries 
of the patent. In the map published in 1859 by 
Corey and Bachman of Philadelphia was the first 
serious mistake. The surveyor seems to have mis- 
3 17 

18 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

taken the scale of the old map of the patentees. He 
started out by making his lots too large on the east, 
which had the effect of pushing them all bodily the 
distance of about two lots or more too far to the 
west. When he came to lay his map of the patent 
on his map of the town, " the bed was shorter than 
that he could stretch himself on it, and the covering 
narrower than that he could wrap himself in it." 
The result was that he had to omit the whole tier of 
lots that touch the foot of Sugarloaf and Goosepond 
Mountains, while he was forced to change the entire 
shape of others. Hence the map is useless so far as 
finding the location of lots and patent hues is con- 
cerned, and is in constant conflict with all the ancient 
deeds and surveys of the place. The atlas of Orange 
County published by Baskin and Burr of Newburg 
repeats the errors, and unfortunately puts them in 
more permanent form. It is hoped that some one of 
Monroe's own sons will some day make the needful 
correction and produce a map of the town worthy of 
its ancient reputation. 

The map published in this volume is a beginning 
of better things. It is a facsimile of the handiwork 
of Civil Engineer Fred. J. Knight, made expressly for 
this work. 

In glancing over the old maps and noticing the dis- 
tribution of the lots, we find that a large proportion 
of them, some forty-five, are marked with the name of 
William Smith. He bought the Cholwell and the 
Ten Eyck portions, each being the one half of a 
seventh of the patent, and still another similar por- 
tion audited to J. Berger and wife. This circum- 
stance explains the origin of the name given to that 
part of the tract, namely. Smith's Clove, Upper and 

Distribution of the Lands. Maps of Lots. 19 

Lower. It is an error to suppose that it derived its 
name from tlie famous cowboy of that name who put 
the bar sinister on its fair escutcheon. 

At the time the survey was made, other parts of 
the county of Orange had been cleared, and a numer- 
ous population was flowing in upon them. In 1731, 
which was a few years earlier, there were 1969 persons 
in the county. New Windsor was occupied about that 
tune, Newburg was laid out in 1719, while Christo- 
pher Denne, one of the Cheesecock patentees, located 
a residence for himself on the Otterkill as early as 
1712, and sent Sarah Wells, an adopted daughter, 
under the care of three friendly Indians and several 
young carpenters, with cows and dogs and imple- 
ments, upon a sloop, by way of the river, to New 
Windsor, to proceed across the country to his settle- 
ment. He and his wife started the next day, and 
came by way of the Ramapo, at whose falls he 
stopped, reaching the Otterkill one day later than 
Sarah Wells and her escort. Shortly after she met 
with a young English mason named William Bull, 
from Wolverhampton, to whom she was married at 
Grey court Inn, by Friends' ceremony. They after- 
ward located on a tract of land purchased from Chris- 
topher Denne, on the Wawayanda Patent, built a 
stone house still standing, and called the place Hamp- 
tonburgh. Here they raised a family of twelve chil- 
dren, from whom sprang the several branches of the 
Bull family which settled in different parts of Monroe 
and Chester, and helped develop the wealth, enter- 
prise and intelligence of those towns. 



AT the time of the survey this section of country 
-Ol was a wilderness inhabited by the aborigines 
and a few white men who seem to have squatted 
upon the land. Clinton several times mentions his 
meeting with the settlements and wigwams of the 
former. He took refuge more than once in wigwams, 
some of which were deserted, which he repaired. He 
found a settlement upon the Dr. Gr. M. Roe place, on 
which were growing peach and apple trees. Another 
settlement was at Sugarloaf , where he spent a night. 
These Indians were friendly. Hendrick Hudson 
found them so when his little ship, the Half Moon, 
ascended the Hudson River, until his crew gave them 
fire-water, and quarrels occurred, and then war. They 
danced their war-dance, or kmtekaue, on the top of 
Shawangunk or Dans Kammer. After several mas- 
sacres of the whites about Kingston, the Indians were 
subdued and a treaty of peace was made. 

The Indians of this region were of the Algonquin 
family, the Lenni-Lenape or Delaware tribe, and the 
Minsies subtribe. The dominion of the Delawares 
extended from Kingston to Greorgia, south, and from 
the Atlantic to the Mississippi. Their castle was at 
Philadelphia. North of Kingston were the Six Tribes. 
East of the North River were the Mohegans, also a 


Indians and Indian Nomenclature. 21 

branch of the Algonquins. Their language was a very 
perfect one, although unwritten. Rev. George Ehot 
was the first to reduce it to writing. He found it 
difficult, because he desired to inculcate Christian and 
moral ideas, and had to build up his words of many 
syllables to clothe them, especially in translating the 
Scriptures. Thus, to express repentance it required 
nine syllables, and sinful lusts could be appeased with 
no less than thirty-three letters. 

The Algonquins had musical ears and softened the 
gutturals and harsh consonants into such euphonious 
words as Wyoming, Wissahickon, Minisink, Manhat- 
tan, Monongahela, Mamakating. They had stronger 
expressions for the rugged features of nature, as 
Schunemunk, Shawangunk. It is of interest to trace 
the meaning of some of these Indian names ; for, like 
other geographical names, they sometimes reveal a 
bit of history, ethnography or sociology. Thus, Wyo- 
ming means " broad fields " ; Coxsackie means " owl 
hooting " ; Minisink, " many islands " ; Seawanhaka, 
" place of wampum-making " ; Manhattan, " bad chan- 
nel," referring to the East River; Shawangunk is 
" white man's mountain." Shunam was a contemp- 
tuous expression for the white man; Schunemunk 
signified " the mount of the signal-fires," because the 
Indians had a castle or pahsaded fort on the east 
end. Onk always means "high land," and auk and 
haka signify " place," while pogh signifies " stream " or 
"river" : thus, Potomac is the "river of the tomahawk." 
Ramer is " many " ; hence Ramer-po is " the many- 

Mombasha has been one of the moot points in 
Monroe history ever since the first survey. Clinton 
gives us no help, for he simply mentions a pond with 

22 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

a high mountain near by, which latter he designates 
Mount Bashon. Most historians so call the pond or 
lake. Even the Heine Club accepts that designation. 
Mombasha then becomes a corruption. But we re- 
mind the advocates of this theory that Dr. Eager 
mentions the burial of an Indian brave at Mombacus 
somewhere in this vicinity. A learned Grerman 
schoolmaster translated the word, " King of Min- 
erals." Ruttenber makes basha mean " death," and 
derives the name from a battle or a cemetery. Some- 
times we have leaned to the opinion that the female 
sachem Basha Bashika, whose name is given to a 
kill or stream further west, may have been the Debo- 
rah of this region. But further researches give as 
its meaning, " the ensign of bloody battle," mom 
meaning "pain, agony," and basha, "the ensign of 
battle." See " Dictionary of the Delaware Language," 
by M. S. Henry, in Franklin Library, Philadelphia, Pa. 
Tuxedo is another obscui^e name. The vulgar pro- 
nunciation is Duckcedar. Dr. Eager claims this is 
correct, and the vulgar have corrupted it into Tux- 
edo. He says it was so named because of the ducks 
and cedars that abound there. Others suppose it to 
be of Spanish origin, like Toledo, even claiming there 
is an estate on Long Island with similar name. But 
the difficulty is, there was no Spanish settler in the 
region. Clinton calls it " Tucseto," and so do the 
earlier maps. Let us try our Indian measuring-line 
upon it. Tuck, in Algonquin, aud even in Chinook 
jargon, means " fresh water." Thus the North River 
was called Mohicannituck, the "flowing water of the 
Mohegans." Pawtuxet is applied to the falls of the 
Merrimac, and means "leaping fresh water." The 
terminal in Tuxedo we regard as a verbal one, and 

Indians and Indian Nomenclature. 23 

means "flowing," so that Tuxedo, according to our 
theory, is the "lake of clear flowing water" : rightly 
named because of the cascade by which the water 
entered it, and the natural fall mentioned by Clinton 
by which it left it. Clinton speaks of its fine water- 
power, and a valuable meadow that must not be over- 
flowed by raising the water too high. 

The term " Cheesecock," applied to the patent, 
yields even more satisfactory results if regarded as 
an Algonquin word. Residents of Monroe once 
imagined it was borrowed from some English Lord 
Cheesecock, but there was no record of any such 
person. When we apply our etymological test to it, 
it gives a different result. Chis in Algonquin is 
"high," and kauk is "land." Thus, Pas kauk is 
"burnt land"; Montauk is "the land of the oaks"; 
Mount Kis ko or kauk is " the mountain of upland." 
So Cheese cock, or better, Chis kauk, is the Patent of 
the Highland, as its very contents demonstrate. 

The Indians of this tract were generally disposed 
to be friendly, so long as the white man kept his 
word with them ; and we read of no complaint under 
the Cheesecock Patent ; but under the Minisink 
Patent the Indians were not paid for their lands 
which early began to be settled. Wrongs under the 
Penn Treaty exasperated this same tribe, the Min- 
sies or Lenape, who had their fort at Philadelphia. 
Hence the incursions upon the frontier settlements 
along the Susquehanna and Delaware up to Port 
Jervis and beyond. Minisink suffered terribly. 
Homes were burned, women and children butchered, 
cattle driven away, till the region was nearly depop- 
ulated. Block-houses were built to protect the few 
who were brave enough to resist. At the close of 

24 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

the French and Indian War the Indians were paci- 
fied by paying them for their lands, and they re- 
mained friendly until the Revolutionary War, when 
the Tories stirred them up, and the English sent 
agents among them to engage their arms against the 
patriotic frontiersmen. During the years 1778 and 
1779 the whole frontier was ablaze with the flames 
of war. The Tory element gave it peculiar horror, 
because neighbor betrayed neighbor, and even brother 
a brother. Brant and his Tory alhes had their 
camp at Oghkawaga, now Binghamton. They per- 
petrated the twin massacres of Wyoming and Mini- 
sink, deeds of cruelty burned into the memory of the 
nation. The latter of these raids aroused the whole 
region about Minisink, and an expedition was 
promptly fitted out to punish the savages. They 
were under the command of Colonel Hathorn and 
Lieutenant-Colonel Tusten. The brave band plunged 
into the forest as far as the mouth of the Lacka- 
waxen, and there fell into an ambush prepared by 
Brant and the Tories. The Spartan band fought 
bravely till ammunition failed, when the scene closed 
with a butchery from which only about thirty es- 
caped. This was the historic battle of Minisink, 
commemorated by a monument at Goshen containing 
the names of the brave martyrs of Liberty. The 
date of the battle was July 22, 1779. 

Monroe, being situated so far from the frontier, did 
not suffer directly from these incursions of the In- 
dians. The strain upon Monroe and drain of men 
was in the direction of the Highlands, where the 
fiercest struggle was with the flower of the English 
army, which was doing its utmost to control the navi- 
gation of the Hudson. 



BEFORE we speak of the early settlement of this 
tract, it is well to glance at some of its physical 
features, and see what inducements it held out to 
settlers, and how they were hkely to shape their des- 
tiny ; for the very character of a people depends upon 
their environment. The Unes of the Patent were so 
indeterminate on account of the contiguity of other 
patents, that they had to be settled by arbitration, 
both on the northwest and along the Jersey line, 
where a "gore hne" was claimed reaching to Tuxedo. 
But when these lines were adjusted it left the town 
nearly the shape of a trapezoid. The three rectangu- 
lar sides impinged, on the southeast, upon Rockland ; 
on the northwest, upon Cornwall, and Highland on 
the north, touching Blooming Grove, and on the west 
Warwick, the apex just reaching the Jersey line. 
The tract consists of "upland and meadow," as the 
Patent describes it. The valley of the Ramapo en- 
ters on the south — the only direct route on this side 
of the Highlands near the river to the north. The 
valley widens at Greenwood, and divides into two, 
called "Cloves" — the Upper and Lower Smith's 
Clove. These are hemmed in by lofty mountains : 
Highlands to the southeast ; Schunemunk to the north- 
4 25 

26 Chronicles of Monroe in tJie Olden Time. 

west ; Bellvale Mountain on tlie west ; and Sonthfield 
Mountains on the south. These valleys swell up into 
knolls and ridges with noble prospects and inviting 
sites for homes and hamlets. The mountains break 
from ridges to single peaks between which nestle vales 
as quiet and restful as many in Scotland. Indeed, the 
region has been called the Trosachs of America, be- 
cause so like the same in Scotland. 

In travelhng through this region, scenery of sur- 
passing beauty strikes the eye of the tourist ; and if 
he be an artist, he will want to place his easel or use 
his kodak. But his aesthetic taste will not seldom 
revolt at the uncanny names which the early settlers 
gave to lakes beautiful as Windermere or Loch 
Katrine. The entire water system of the town is 
remarkable. The Indian Ramapo, or " many waters," 
well expressed the fact. The stream of that name 
rises in the Round Island Pond, a most beautiful 
sheet of water, where the Indian youth raced their 
canoes to win their dusky brides ; but now the re- 
sort of their fair successors from every part of the 
county. The wooded island called Chestnut Island, 
and the sunny sloping shores, offer sites for cottages 
and villas of rare beauty. This spot is really the water- 
shed of the level portion of the town ; for the Long 
Pond, or Walton Lake, as it has been more euphoni- 
ously called, lies but a few feet away, and yet sends its 
waters through Craigville and Chester, furnishing a 
mill-seat for the former, and domestic supply of 
water for the latter, and then empties into Murderer's 
Creek, now Moodna, and so reaches the Hudson far 
away from the water of its neighbor, the Ramapo. 
This latter furnishes seats for many mills and fur- 
naces, so great is its fall. It receives the waters of 

Physical Features. 27 

Mombasha at Southfield, where it affords valuable 
mill-power. This lake is about two miles from Mon- 
roe village. While it is picturesque in surroundings, 
it presents the remarkable phenomenon of floating 
islands which break away of their own accord and 
carry their masses of tangled bushes wherever the 
wind steers them. The abundance of fish in this and 
other lakes invites the disciple of Izaak Walton to 
cast his line and lot here. 

A club-house has been built on the border of this 
lake, making it a very popular resort. Mr. Geo. 
R. Conklin has bought a number of acres in this 
vicinity, and is building beautiful cottages, so that it 
is becoming quite a villa. Water-works are built 
here, for the water of this lake supplies the village of 
Monroe. A fine road has also been laid out, which will 
connect this lake with its rival the Tuxedo, and make 
one of the most picturesque driveways in the country. 

Another confiuent of the Ramapo is Wild Cat 
Brook. It brings down the waters of the mountains 
below Southfield, over the rockiest of beds, and 
rushes out near the site of the old saw-works. It is 
full of speckled beauties, and has given us more than 
one enjoyable outing. Tuxedo Lake is another source 
of supply of this remarkable river. Charles Clinton 
refers to it in his Field Book, speaking of a fine marsh 
in the neighborhood, and the fitness of the lake to 
furnish power, but advises not to raise the water too 
high and spoil the marsh or meadow. He calls it 

After passing through various forms of spelling 
and definition, from the vulgar Duckcedar of Eager 
to the fanciful Truxillo of Ruttenber, it has settled 
down to that of Tuxedo, which is the lake of fresh 

28 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time, 

sparkling water, full of fish, with picturesque rocky 
shores adapted to just what it has been made, a park 
for residences and every rural and athletic sport. 
It was laid out by Pierre Lorillard in 1885, who 
fenced it in and stocked it with deer and wild boar, 
and other game, making it, with its villas, club-house, 
and church, one of the most beautiful parks on the 
Atlantic slope. 

But we have not begun to exhaust the lake system 
of Monroe in the mention of these lakes; for the 
whole region of the Highlands is covered with them. 
Wherever you drive or walk, they burst upon your 
view suddenly on a mountain- top, in a forest or dell, 
where least expected. From Summit Lake up in the 
northeast corner, there is a continuous chain of lakes 
all the way down past Greenwood to the Ramapo, 
where most of them empty. There are Two Ponds, 
Echo, Carr, Cedar, Niggar, Cranberry, Slaughters, and 
others, till we are lost amid their commonplace names. 
They belong to a limestone region, the waters of 
which have dissolved out the mineral and left these 
picturesque basins, beside which mountaineers love 
to dwell, and sportsmen to camp. 

Poplopens Pond is named after a warrior of that 
name, who had his castle on its banks. The pond flows 
through a creek of that name, and empties through 
Buttermilk or Highland Falls into the Hudson. 
Woodbury Creek rises in Hazard's Pond, now Crom- 
well Lake, on the banks of which is a fine hotel kept 
by Oliver Cromwell — a most delightful resort. The 
stream furnishes the power for the tannery and grist- 
mill at Highland Mills, flows past Woodbury and 
joins the Moodna made famous by N. P. Willis' resi- 
dence and writings. 

Physical Features. 29 

The geology of Monroe has an important bearing 
upon its settlement and history. It is one of the 
principles of physical geography that the physical 
features of a country largely influence its morals. 
People of effeminate tastes gravitate toward warm 
alluvions like the valley of the Jordan, but the men 
of grit choose more elevated plateaus, where there 
are flints, sand, lime and iron. Such regions furnish 
the master minds and heroes of the world. Provi- 
dence destined this region to be the abode of no 
mean race. The more mountainous portions of the 
town would be classified with the azoic period of 
the world's construction ; the rocks being mostly of 
the primary class. The Highlands are part of the 
great Appalachian range which forms the eastern 
framework of the continent — the earliest with the 
Rockies to be hfted out of the primeval ocean. 
Monroe is literally old Monroe, 

" Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun. " 

The materials of these rocks are mingled in dif- 
ferent proportions: feldspar, mica, quartz; yielding 
hornblende, gneiss, syenite and granite. Sometimes 
these materials have scorned admixture, and pushing 
all rivals aside, have been heaved up and congealed, a 
splendid crystalline column, as is the case in a remark- 
able instance with quartz. Beds and veins of iron, 
magnetic, specular, crystalhzed and even granular, 
have also been laid down along with these rocks; 
iron adapted to every purpose, from malleable cast- 
ing, for a door-latch, to the sheet-anchor of an iron- 
clad, or a twelve-inch rifled gun. Beds of limestone 
were also stored in close proximity to these deposits 
of iron, while sand for moulding and fire-clay were 

30 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

within easy reach. But where is the fuel ? Timber 
of best grades abounds, but wasteful man demands 
something more economical. It was the hope of 
some that coal would be found in some of these 
strata. A premium offered by the State stimulated 
the search; but nothing was found beyond a little 
hgnite, after opening a shaft on Pedlar Hill. The 
sandstone of that locahty is the floor of the coal- 
measures. Schunemunk is of like formation. On 
the southwest are coarse conglomerates, which be- 
come more and more fine toward the eastern extrem- 
ity; at one spot presenting an upheaved mass of 
graywacke, as if nature would give an object lesson in 

Still further east, where the mountain spreads out 
into a wide plateau, a rocky acropohs lifts its rugged 
head, composed of coarse conglomerate. On the sur- 
face of this great stone page nature, with iceberg or 
glacier, has scratched long lines, which the scientist 
interprets as the record of prehistoric time. In some 
instances the flints in this stone pudding are cut 
directly in half. On the lichens that blacken its 
sides, giving the spot the name of Black Rocks, are 
scratched the names of those who have scaled these 
heights, and left their monogram on the stone page and 
some of their ashes " in Memory's sacred urn." As 
we descend Schunemunk on the south, we see the 
moraines of glaciers fringed with boulders, the lighter 
of which can be traced far down the valleys, inter- 
mingled with shell rock, oolite and even with Labra- 
dor spar, showing that some time in the hoary past, 
when this planet was fitting up for man's abode, ice 
and flood swept over these vales and the mountain- 
tops were covered. These will account for the de- 
posits of clay, sand, gravel and hmestone. But heat, 

Physical Features. 31 

as the third factor, was necessary to metamorphose 
many of these and give us the beautiful crystals of 
iron, serpentine, quartz and calc, all of which invite 
the student of nature. It boasts also some rare min- 
erals, as brucite, xanthite and spinelles, fine shell 
impressions, pyrites. One mineral, not found else- 
where, has been named monroeite. Silver was dis- 
covered near the Haverstraw border very early and 
worked ; but as no evidence of it has transpired 
except the abandoned shaft, it may be set down as a 
failure. Utility has rather been the motto in laying 
out Monroe. Here are rocks of every material from 
granite to statuary marble, and every tint from Pa- 
rian whiteness, through shades of gray, green, pink, 
red, to the blackest porphyry. Mica, asbestos and 
slate abound. Even slate pencils of talc were found 
on the slopes of Bald Hill by the school-boys of a 
former generation. 

A quarry of mica has recently been opened near 
Mombasha by the Mombasha Mica Company, from 
which fine sheets of the mineral are obtained, prom- 
ising Monroe a new source of wealth. Perhaps it 
might surprise a stranger to see even the Houser 
ironstone put to a useful purpose ; but inasmuch as 
it bids defiance to juvenile jack-knives, it has been 
found useful for school-house material. There was 
no lack of good timber in this region for coahng, 
fuel, building, or even hoop-poles. These last were 
long called " Clove wheat." But let us not suppose 
that it was adapted only to the growth of timber. 

The forests were full of trees yielding an abundance 
of beech nuts, chestnuts and hickory nuts, with vines 
twining over tree and rock, purple with wild grapes, 
hedgerow and bush offering their tribute of luscious 
berries. These forests swarmed with red deer, moose 

32 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

and squirrel, with flocks of wild turkeys, partridge, 
pheasant and woodcock; and the lakes and streams 
were ahve with salmon, trout, pickerel and catfish. 
Thus it was "a goodly land" from the beginning; 
offering to the settler at least subsistence at his arrival, 
even in midwinter, with promise of good in abeyance, 
to cater to both taste and profit. 

Soils of great fertility were laid down here ; yes, 
brought from distant hills to furnish slope and 
meadow. Here are alluvions of great depth and good 
grain-lands ; but what the town is best adapted for is 
grazing. The grasses, like those of the Blue Grass 
region of Kentucky, contain just those elements 
which yield fattening and milk-producing quahties. 
Had the mountains of Monroe been only a mass of 
rock, like some parts of Scotland, they might have 
been abandoned to the heather and become great 
solitary sheep-walks ; or if they had been only pic- 
turesque vales and quiet nooks, there would have 
been a temptation to some lord of the manor to 
make it his park and country-seat. Heaven had a 
better destiny in store for it : hence mingled rocks 
and soils so as to invite the plow, scooped out the 
water-courses to attract the loom and forge, hid away 
such materials as would bring hither the herdman 
and artisan, the abhorrence of lordly pretension and 
elegant leisure. Monroe, from its very physical con- 
stitution, was predestined to be the home of honest 
toil and fi'ugal industry. In the vicinity of what was 
to be the greatest city of the New World, and on the 
route of its best approaches from west and north, 
wealth and prosperity ought to be its sure reward, 
and doubtless will when the wisdom of men is able to 
master the situation. 




HAYING taken an eagle's view of the land, before 
we proceed further it is in order to speak of 
the organization of the county, which preceded that 
of the town. Orange County was organized in the 
year 1683, under the reign of William, Prince of 
Orange, from whom it takes its name. It then em- 
braced all of Rockland and part of Ulster County. 
These were first set off in 1691. 

The precinct of Groshen was erected in 1714. In 
1764 it was divided into Cornwall, Blooming Grrove, 
and Cheesecocks. In 1801 the form and title was 
changed from precinct to town. The name of 
Cheesecocks was exchanged for Southfield. On the 
6th of April, 1808, it was resolved to drop the name 
of Southfield and take the honorable and historic 
name of Monroe. This was done in honor of James 
Monroe, who, having achieved distinction in the War 
of the Revolution, where he served as aid to Lord 
Stirling, had been honored by the government 
with high diplomatic commissions, and still further 
was chosen by the people to the Presidential chair. 
For such distinguished public services his many ad- 
mirers in this vicinity deemed it fit to honor him 

5 33 

34 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

still further by naming this historic town after him, 
and under a name of which it has ever been proud it 
has won its place in history. The first town meet- 
ing was held while yet called Cheesecocks, in May, 
1799. James D. Secor was chosen clerk, and Michael 
Hays, supervisor. All the institutions of the town 
were put in operation in 1808. 

The following is the hst of supervisors : 

Michael Hay. 

Moses Cunningham (6 years). 
John Coffey (2 years). 
Abeaham Letts (8 years). 
John McGtaeeah (1 year). 
James Cromwell (1 year). 
James Campbell, Je. (1 year). 
James Weygant (9 years). 
Robeet Fowlee (1 year). 
Hudson McFaelan (16 years). 
Chaeles Townsend (2 years). 
Lewis H. Roe (1 year). 
Moegan Shuitt (33 years).* 
Chauncey B. Knight in 1864. 
Edwaed Seaman (3 years). 
John G. Eael (1 year). 
Joseph Rake (2 years). 
Chaeles T. Knight (5 years). 
C. Feed. Lamont (13 years). 

In the year 1863 a movement was set afoot to 
divide the old town of Monroe into three towns. A 

* Served from 1849-1881. This, we believe, is the longest consecutive 
period for which any man held an elective office in this State. 

Organization of Orange and Monroe. 35 

petition was sent to the Board of Supervisors, which 
was granted at its annual meeting. The names of 
the new towns were, respectively, Monroe, Highland, 
and Southfield. Monroe held its new town meeting 
March 22, 1864, electing Chauncey B. Knight as 
supervisor, and a full set of officers. Highland did 
hkewise, choosing its old favorite Morgan Shuitt, 
with others. The town of Southfield organized in 
like manner, Josiah Paterson having been elected 
supervisor ; but the records of the proceedings, for 
some unaccountable reason, are not in the archives 
of the town of Monroe. This whole piece of politi- 
cal surgery was at length disapproved, and the dis- 
jecta membra were brought together and reunited be- 
fore they had grown cold. In 1865 the legislature 
was asked to overrule the action of the Town Board, 
and restore the old town to its pristine glory. 

But notwithstanding the lessons of the past, we 
must chronicle a similar triple subdivision at a more 
recent date. 

In December, 1889, the Board of Supervisors, upon 
representation of the diverse interests of different 
parts of the town, resolved to redivide the same into 
three parts. Three new towns were erected — named, 
respectively, Monroe, Woodbury, and Tuxedo. The 
hnes were run so as to give Monroe 1150 acres; 
Woodbiu-y, 23,000 ; Tuxedo, 50,000. The first super- 
visor of Tuxedo is J. Spencer Ford ; the first super- 
visor of the new town of Woodbury is John A. Pat- 
erson; and the first supervisor of Monroe is C. F. 
Lamont ; the second, elected in 1897, is George K. 

Before we drop this subject it is well to remember 
a few additional facts, namely : that the fii'st subdi- 

36 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

vision of the town was made in war times, when it 
was desirable to get control of a majority in the 
Board of Supervisors, and it was so carved with a 
view to that end. The plan failed, so that in a short 
time even its advocates desired the reuniting of the 
fragments. When the desii'e returned in 1889 to 
divide again, the reason now given was that the 
town was too large and its interests were too diverse 
for harmonious government. 

The Board of Supervisors resolved that the town 
should be divided on the old hues, only that the names 
of Highland and Tuxedo should be substituted for 
Woodbiuy and Southfield. This was duly passed 
upon \>j the legislatiu'e and signed by the governor. 
Now the boundary hne between Monroe and Tuxedo 
had not been clearly determined by careful survey, 
or at least had not been marked by monimients. 
Hence when the Heine Club desu'ed to construct a 
road from Mombasha, where they were constructing 
a park, to Southfield, it became a practical question, 
says Mr. A. B. Hulse, how much of this road must be 
paid for by each town. Hence a question as to the 
division hne. The men who were with the 1863 sur- 
veyor said "it crossed Mombasha Pond, but they 
did not know where." In this emergency, when war 
seemed imminent, Mr. Fred. J. Knight, the surveyor, 
came forward and established the line. He pointed 
out that the line of 1863 must have been a trial or 
random line, the true hne never having been run. 
This decided the matter, and to one of her loyal sons 
was Monroe indebted for the saving of fair Mom- 
basha to the territory of his native town, " to which," 
says om* informant, " Nature intended it should be- 
long." But the mountains in which Monroe once 

Organization of Orange and Monroe. 37 

gloried have been rent from her mantle and tm'ned 
over to her sister towns. Sic transit gloria ! 

The town, thus shorn of its ancient proportions, 
enters upon a new epoch of history, which it is hoped 
will be as worth chronicling by some future historian 
nourished on its own soil as has been the past. 



WHILE the emigrants from England and HoUand 
were locating along the Wallkill, the valley of 
Mamakating and the Neversink, clearing farms, build- 
ing homes, villages and churches, the rough moun- 
tain slopes and cloves were passed by and remained 
a wilderness, undisturbed by white men, except, per- 
haps, by some Indian trader or trapper, some lover of 
adventure or traveller, who found that the valley of 
the Ramapo was the natural and nearest route to 
Manhattan Island. In course of time, as early as 
1742, came a few settlers who staked out their 
claims and set up their log cabins. These settlers 
were not the mere overflow of more thickly popu- 
lated parts of the county, but many of them immi- 
grants from abroad, by the way of Connecticut and 
Long Island. Among these were such names as 
John, David, and Hophni Smith, John Belcher, 
Robert Brock, Henry Cock, John Bull, Solomon 
Townsend, A. Cunningham, David Compton, Solo- 
mon Cromwell, Joseph Davis, John Earl, Alexander 
Galloway, Wilham Fitzgerald, Ehjah Green, Samuel 
Knight, Henry Mapes, Daniel Miller, Joseph Pat- 
erson, Alfred Cooper, James Wilkes, and Jas. Secor. 
Others could be mentioned, but these are the most 


The Early Settlement of the Toivn, 39 

familiar. Some of their name occupy the ancestral 
acres, but most of the original estates are now held 
by another generation, who, though just as ancient 
and honorable in ancestry, yet have come into the 
town later. The reason why the lands of the Patent 
were not sooner taken up was that the original pat- 
entees, being wealthy, did not care to dispose of their 
lands. Some were held by the same families till 
after the Revolution. The desire was to hold a pa- 
troon relation to the settlers like the Van Rensselaer 
patentees in the more northern part of the State. 
Having no motive to sell, and no disposition to come 
and settle themselves, squatters soon came in and 
gave it an uneviable reputation. Such neighbor- 
hoods naturally attract the lawless and desperate. 
The broken nature of the country, the numerous 
caves and inaccessible cliffs,' would afford safe hiding- 
places for desperadoes and their plunder. But this 
condition of things could remain only until the more 
orderly organized themselves into a community, and 
brought law as well as pubUc opinion to bear upon 
them. The oncoming of the Revolutionary War de- 
layed the reformation of morals and the estabhsh- 
ment of order. The career of Claudius Smith, the 
notorious cowboy, gave an unsavory reputation to 
the Clove ; and the recent " History of Orange Coun- 
ty" even goes so far as to attribute its name to him, 
whereas it is well known that it received its name 
long before, from William Smith, one of the original 
patentees. As an illustration of the reputation which 
it had early acquu*ed among its neighbors, it is related 
that when a tramp settler appeared before a Dutch 
justice over in Warwick, and was warned to leave the 
town, he asked, " Where, then, shall I go ? " The jus- 

40 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

tice answered promptly, " Yy, go to Schmit's Clove." 
From the nature of the case there would be frequent 
disputes over the ownership of land and trespasses 
of cattle, so that lawsuits were of constant occur- 
rence. Then there were horse races and trainings, 
accompanied with drinking-bouts, and often rude 
wi'estlings and more serious combats. One of the 
matrons spoke of a flat rock near the village, where 
some of these rude contests occurred, when a new- 
comer would leap from his horse and make the chips 
fly like a whirligig. As these were days of travel in 
primitive style, by saddle and stage, there were many 
public houses encouraging social drinking and treat- 
ing. Loungers .were always hanging around, and 
neighbors dropping in to hear the news from the 
city or seat of war; hence there was abundance of 
idleness and dissipation. On one convivial occasion 
the revellers literally raised the roof of a well-known 
tavern, and tried to tear it from its place. But, as is 
often the case, these wild carousals were not the work 
of those at home. They naturally attracted those of 
like tastes from abroad, and these, feehng less re- 
straint, would go to greater lengths. One of the old 
men said " the boys of Sugar Loaf came over to have 
a lark with the Monroe boys, and we had a good 
time, but we were the hardest of the lot." Liquor 
was largely accountable for this condition of things. 
It was sold at every comer grocery. Their old ledgers 
to-day bear testimony to the excess to which the 
traffic was carried. The accounts of the common 
laboring man show how much of his hard earnings 
went for liquor. At first it was rum which came by 
way of the West Indies. Whisky followed when the 
orchards began to bear. There was a still on the 

The Early Settlement of the Town. 41 

Still Brook, near the old village; but the chief 
source of supply was Blooming Grove, where were 
many distilleries. The brown jug and demijohn trav- 
elled back and forth on that road around Pedlar Hill, 
which might account for its crookedness, and give it 
the name of the "jug-u-lar vein." The late John 
Brooks, one of the earliest advocates of total absti- 
nence, went over to that town and delivered a lecture 
on the subject. He said they resented it as an im- 
pertinence. It is well known that neighboring towns 
were accustomed to look down on the Clove and call 
it the " Kitchen of the County." It is related that a 
young couple signified their intention to take up a 
tract of land in Monroe, rather than remain on the 
old homestead, with its fertile fields. When the 
old folks could not prevail upon the young couple to 
change their purpose, they said: "Well, go to the 
Clove and live on lye bread the rest of your life." 
It was one of time's sweetest revenges when the 
farm they took became a model farm, and the young 
wife became the boasted bread-baker whose wheaten 
loaves ehcited the inquiry : " How do you mix your 
bread to have it always light ? " "I mix it with 
judgment," was her reply. We cite attention to the 
jog in the northwest boundary of the town. It re- 
minds us of the wart on the nose of old Oliver Crom- 
well, the Protector, and, by the way, progenitor, if 
we may credit their tradition, of families of that name 
in Monroe. The artist wanted to omit the wart in 
his portrait, but he forbade the omission. 

The jog originated in a desire on the part of 

dwellers on the summit of Schunemunk to attend 

town meeting in the more convenient valley on the 

southeast. As soon as the town was organized and 


42 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

requisite officers appointed, the wheels of business 
were set in motion. The first subjects of legislation 
were the offering of bounties for the slaughter of 
wolves and other predacious animals which infested 
the wilderness and annoyed the early pioneers. Ear- 
marks were recognized to be placed on stock ; for as 
soon as swamps and forest were cleared herding and 
stock-raising were introduced. Then troubles came 
fi'om the herdmen of neighboring towns allowing 
their cattle to trespass on the newly cleared pastur- 
ages; to prevent which, stringent measures were 
threatened, if not enforced. 

In such conditions of society, litigations would 
naturally spring up. Not merely would there be diffi- 
culties concerning the ownership of stock, but trou- 
bles about boundaries of farms and wood lots, pastures 
and marshes; for these last were most desirable 
ranges before the plow and more recent grasses had 
changed the face of nature. But towering above 
these petty lawsuits, which constituted the entertain- 
ment of the early settlers, were the disputes over the 
Patent lines. We have already alluded to the lavish 
and careless manner in which those lands were given 
to favorites by royalty. The same lands were some- 
times given twice, the lines overlapping. So much 
trouble came about the Evans Patent on the northeast 
that the Patent had to be recalled. Troubles arose 
over the Kakiat Patent and the New Jersey State 
line ; that commonwealth claiming a gore line that ex- 
tended up as far as Tuxedo. Then the Wawayanda 
Patent lines were as indefinite as the Cheesecock. 
Naturally this interested all along the borders, and 
aroused such animosity that it became a border war- 
fare. Commissioners were appointed, and through 

Tlie Early Settlement of the Town. 43 

the offices of Aaron Buit, who sat with the commis- 
sion at Grreycourt in 1801 and helped settle the 
question, the present zigzag line was fixed as the 
western boundary between Monroe and Warwick ; 
while Carpenter's Island in the Delaware was made 
the northwest extremity of New Jersey, where it is 
marked with a monument which has three sides, one 
toward New York, another toward Pennsylvania, and 
the third toward New Jersey. The other extremity 
of the last-named State's boundary is a bolt in a rock 
on the Hudson, directly southeast. The line is 
marked by monuments of square stone every few 



BUT, pending these boundary disputes, a more seri- 
ous question disturbed the pioneers of Monroe — 
the question of national independence. Before the 
Declaration of Independence the control of the navi- 
gation of the Hudson was regarded as a most wise 
strategic measure. Parliament ordered it kept open 
to their forces, and sent Sir Henry Clinton with a 
powerful fleet to keep open communication with Can- 
ada. Congress also resolved upon measures for the 
obstruction of the river even as early as 1775. The 
Provincial Legislature concurred and appointed a 
secret commission. This latter suggested the erec- 
tion of forts at the mouth of Poplopens Creek, and 
the stretching of a boom and chain across the river 
to Anthony's Nose. Forts Montgomery and Chnton 
were built, the latter being on the south side of the 
creek and hence in Monroe; a chain was also con- 
structed with a boom and put in place as suggested. 
It may be of interest to inquire as to the origin of 
this chain. The " Encyclopedia of American Biogra- 
phy " gives credit for the construction of the " famous 
chain " over the Hudson to Samuel Wheeler, an emi- 
nent blacksmith of Philadelphia, who, it represents, 


War of the Revolution. 45 

was recommended by Greneral Mifflin in answer to an 
express wish of General Washington for a person to 
make such a chain. Mifflin said there was such a 
man in his command, but he could not do the work 
there, but could at his forge at Philadelphia. At the 
Wecaco forge, it is said, the famous chain was made 
and transported across the State of New Jersey and 
up the west bank of the Hudson to Fort Chnton, 
where it, together with a boom, was stretched across 
the river a half-mile to the promontory opposite. 
Now here are two improbabilities : 

First. That an order should be given for such a 
work so far away, when there were iron- works mthin 
easy reach : viz., Forest of Dean, Stirling, New Wind- 
sor, and Poughkeepsie. 

Second. That such a weight of iron in such 
shape should be exposed to the risk of passing the 
enemy's lines — a risk greatly enhanced by the vigi- 
lance of Tory spies and cowboys all along the route. 
It could have weighed scarcely less than 150 tons. 
It would have taken fifty ox-teams upwards of five 
days to accomplish it. 

We get a clue to the construction of that chain in 
Colonel Boynton's " History of West Point." He tells 
us that a part of it was sent from Lake Champlain, 
where it had been used to obstruct the river Sorel. 
The balance was made at the Kemble forge, of iron 
from the mines of Livingston Manor. Thence it was 
floated down and stretched across the river from the 
mouth of the creek that separated Forts Montgomery 
and Clinton. 

These forts were under command of Governor 
George and General James Clinton. The garrison 
consisted of about 600, mostly untrained militia. 

46 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

They were the yeomanry of the neighborhood, who 
were mustered as minute-men to defend their own 
mountain citadels. When the exigencies of home or 
harvest required, they were permitted to exchange 
the sword for the plowshare. A system of beacons 
and signal-fires was agreed upon to call these brave 
men to their post, and the moment they saw the 
signal on yonder hills, leaving plow in mid-furrow 
and bidding adieu to those at home, shouldering gun 
and knapsack, they joined the hardy band ascending 
the mountain path. 

In October, 1777, Sir Henry Chnton manoeuvered 
his fleet and forces so as to deceive General Putnam. 
Not so Grovernor Chnton, who hastily adjourned the 
legislature, mustered the militia, and occupied the 
two forts just mentioned. The crafty Briton landed 
his forces on the east side of the river, then hastily 
transported them across to Stony Point, where he 
landed about 4000 men. At daybreak on October 
6, the advance-guard, consisting of 500 regulars 
and 400 Tories, under Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell, 
marched around Dunderberg to the foot of Bear 
Mountain; while the main column of 1200, under 
General Vaughan, moved to a position on the right. 
General Tryon, with the rear-guard, remained in a 
valley where the force separated. A small force was 
sent out from the forts to meet the enemy with a 
single cannon, but were easily dispersed. Campbell's 
advance attacked Fort Montgomery on the rear, and 
Vaughan swept down on Fort Chnton. The resist- 
ance was of the bravest character ; but the garrison 
was not sufficient to guard such long hues of defense. 
Surrender was refused, whereupon a bloody scene 
occurred. Some prisoners were taken, but, hopeless 

War of the Revolution. 47 

of resisting such an overwhelming force, the re- 
mainder escaped and made their way to the camp at 
New Windsor. Among those who escaped were the 
governor and his brother James Chnton, the latter 
wounded by a bayonet. The attacking force lost few 
men, among whom, however, was Lieutenant-Colonel 

Another memorable hero of that engagement was 
Colonel WilHam Allison, ancestor of Monroe fami- 
lies. He was commander of the Goshen regiment, 
sharing that honor with Colonel Tusten, and taking 
command alternately. It was Colonel Tusten's turn 
when the battle of Minisink was fought, where he 
fell. But it was Colonel Allison's turn when the 
Enghsh moved to attack Fort Montgomery. His aids 
were Captains Woodhull, Tuthill, and his own son 
Lieutenant Micah Allison. When it was known that 
the British troops were moving up the river, he 
threw out the signals to summon the yeomanry from 
the suiTounding country, among whom were the 
minute-men of Monroe. In the fierce conflict that 
ensued Colonel William Allison was among the hun- 
dred or more prisoners taken, who were imprisoned 
some in the old sugar-house, others upon a prison 
ship, the horrors of which will never be forgotten. 
Which was the place of the colonel's confinement 
does not appear, but a letter is in possession of Mrs. 
C. B. Knight, written from Long Island while he was 
a prisoner under parole. A commission is also in 
existence making him brigadier-general, signed by 
Grovernor George Clinton, and dated 1782, a facsim- 
ile of which is in the history of the AUison family. 
His son Lieutenant Allison was among the killed, 
and no doubt was cast with the rest in a smaU 

48 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

pond in the town of Monroe, and close at hand, where 
their remains presented a most pitiful spectacle and 
illustration of the horrors of war. We may state in 
passing that Colonel Allison had two daughters, 
Mary and Sarah. The former was married to Dr. 
William Elmer and the latter to Sheriff W. D. 
Thompson. Dr. Elmer, of Monroe, traces his de- 
scent from the former, and Mrs. Chauncey B. Knight 
from the latter. The Allisons of Chester spring 
from a collateral branch. After the engagement the 
chain was taken up by the enemy, a garrison was 
placed in the forts, and the name of Fort Clinton was 
changed to Fort Vaughan. The British commander 
then sailed up the river to Kingston, which he 
burned. But, hearing of the defeat of Burgoyne, 
he beat a hasty retreat down the river, withdrawing 
all his forces from the fastnesses of the Highlands. 

Soon occurs another incident of interest to the 
denizens of this old town. We refer to the construc- 
tion of the second chain. The importance of ob- 
structing the river became still more apparent now, 
because of the ease with which the enemy's fleet had 
passed the former obstructions and the havoc that 
had been made with mills, towns and forts, so that 
Albany was the only city lying between them and 
Canada. It was apparent, also, that more formidable 
means must be devised. General Hughes first wrote 
to General Gates, November, 1777, stating that he, 
with the Clintons and an engineer, had visited the 
fortifications on the river, and had decided that forts 
be erected at " the West Point," and that a chain and 
chevaux de frise be stretched across to Constitution 
Island. It was followed by a correspondence between 
Governor Clinton and Generals Gates, Putnam and 

War of the Ee volution. 49 

the commander-in-chief. The last so emphasized the 
necessity as to pronounce it of infinite importance. 
Accordingly measures were taken to fortify West 
Point, and that was selected as the place best fitted 
to stretch a chain and boom, because the river was 
narrowest at that point and could be swept by artil- 
lery on the shore. And still further it had the ad- 
vantage of being situated at a sharp bend of the river 
where the vessels would lose the wind and their 
momentum, and be compelled to tack. Radiere was 
designated to engineer the fortifications and Deputy 
Quartermaster-General Hugh Hughes to superintend 
the chain. 

General Putnam, who had command, in a letter to 
General Washington referred to the former chain as 
made of " bad u'on." With this hint. General Hughes 
repaired to the firm of Noble, Townsend & Co., whose 
iron-works were situated at Stirhng, on a lake of the 
same name, just over the border of Monroe in the 
town of Warwick. This extensive plant consisted of 
23,000 acres of land, a furnace, forge and anchory. 
These were established in 1752, before the foundation 
of the government, and had the honor of making the 
anchors for the first United States frigate. Deputy 
Quartermaster-General Hugh Hughes visited Stirling 
February 2, 1778. The traditions of the Townsend 
family are that the visit was made on Sunday morn- 
ing and the visitor arrived in a heavy snow-storm. 
The order was given and the work instantly started. 
Articles of agreement were drawn, in which the said 
Noble, Townsend & Co. agree to furnish, on or before 
April 1 ensuing, a chain, an iron chain * of the f ollow- 

* The links of the chain, as seen at Glen Island, N. Y., measure 45 inches 
in length, 12 inches in breadth, the bar iron being 4:)4 inches square. 


50 Chronicles of Monroe m the Olden Time, 

ing length and quality : that is, in length five hundred 
yards, each hnk to be about two feet long, of the 
best Stirling iron, two inches and one quarter square, 
or as near thereto as possible, with a swivel to every 
hundred feet, and a clevis to every thousand feet, in 
the same manner as those of the former chain. 
Twelve tons of anchors of sizes needed were in- 
cluded. For this work the United States government 
stipulated, through its agent, to pay at the rate of 
forty pounds for every ton dehvered. In case there 
should occur some variation in the value of the 
money, they were to be paid 400 pounds sterhng for 
the chain. For six weeks, night and day, seven fires 
were kept at forging and ten at welding. Sixty men 
were granted furlough from the army to assist in the 
work. The work was completed within the time 
contracted for. The chain was divided into sections 
of ten links each, loaded on ox-carts and hauled to 
New Windsor, where it was dehvered to Captain 
Machin to be put together at his forge, thirty miles 
from Stirling, but the roads part of the way were 
doubtless very rough. Besides, the weight of the 
chain, which was one hundred and thirty-six tons, 
made the task of transportation a formidable one. 
From the bill of Captain Machin it consisted of iron 
"wrought into booms, bolts, chains, swivels and 
bands." The several parts were put together and 
floated down the river; the boom on April 7, the 
chain on the 16th, and all was in place on the 30th. 
General Heath, who properly belongs to Monroe, 
wrote a description of the chain and its adjustment ; 
stating that it was fastened to poles about sixteen feet 
long, sharpened at the end, with a collar cut in the 
middle, and secured to the chain by staples. Anchors 

War of the Revolution. 51 

were fastened at proper distances to keep it from 
swaying, and great bolts held it to the rocks at either 
end. He says the chain was fixed with great dex- 
terity by 280 men, without accident. The boom was 
placed in front, and consisted of logs put together 
with lighter links and placed horizontally, so as to 
break the force of a sailing vessel before it could 
reach the chain. According to this same wi'iter, it is 
evident that the structure was swung around in the 
winter, to protect it from injury by the ice. Now this 
was the chain that General Ai'nold was said to have 
weakened, by removing a link, at the time of his at- 
tempt to betray West Point into the hands of Major 
Andre. But how he could have removed it for pre- 
tended need of repair, without suspicion and without 
destroying its integi'ity, no one can divine. Of his 
treachery, however, there is no question. 

Benedict Arnold had been a very brave officer, and 
for valuable services had received many honors. But 
some disappointments had soured his temper and un- 
dermined his patriotism. The temptation was pre- 
sented and the opportunity came. Sir Henry Clinton 
wanted West Point, the Gibraltar of America, and 
conceived the idea of resorting to bribery, the force 
of arms having failed. The time was favorable. 
Both sides were weary of the strife. Congi'ess was 
divided ; the treasury empty ; the money depreciated ; 
the brave men unpaid. A deep cloud rested on the 
cause, which even the aid of France did but partially 
alleviate. Then it was Arnold opened a secret cor- 
respondence with Major Andre, Adjutant-General of 
the British army. The former wrote under the name 
of Gustavus ; the latter under that of John Ander- 
son. It was discovered that Gustavus was no less 

52 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

than the distinguished commander of West Point, to 
which post he managed to secure his appointment in 
order to carry out his traitorous scheme. Arnold 
made his headquarters at the Beverly Robinson 
House, which stands on the east side of the river, 
about two miles south of West Point. In Arnold's 
letter of August 30, 1780, the transaction is attempted 
to be disguised under the guise of a business venture 
in tobacco to be exchanged for ready money; but 
some difference in regard to the goods, and delay in 
obtaining the kind, would postpone the arrangement 
some days. The money for which this Judas was to 
betray his country, according to this letter, was 300 
pounds sterling. After a number of notes it was ar- 
ranged that Arnold should meet Anderson at Dobbs 
Perry ; but a strange course of Providence frustrated 
the plan. Nothing daunted, Arnold laid another 
plan, which came near succeeding. Anderson, or 
Andre, with Robinson, sailed up the river in the 
British ship Vulture, to a point near the house of 
Joshua Hett Smith, which is still standing, situate 
two miles from Stony Point. This Smith was son 
of one of the proprietors of the Cheesecock Pat- 
ent. He was a man of education and refinement, 
hospitable, and largely trusted by the officers in the 
patriot army. 

According to his journal, he had a brother in the 
Clove who lived about three miles from the public 
road. This brother is supposed to have been the 
father, Claudius Smith, the famous cowboy. How- 
ever this may have been, certain it is, both were in 
sympathy in their opposition to the cause of inde- 
pendence. Their methods were very diverse, but the 
animus was the same. 

War of the Revolution. 53 

The house of Joshua Hett Smith was chosen for 
the try sting-place of the conspirators. Robinson 
wrote to Arnold, under pretext of anxiety about his 
property, aiTanging the meeting. Washington came 
with his staff to King's Ferry, met Arnold, who talked 
about the Vulture, which was in sight, and also showed 
Robinson's letter. The commander frowned on the 
proposal ; yet the traitor took not the warning, but 
rushed on his fate. After a futile attempt to meet 
Andre at Dobbs Ferry, he succeeded in his scheme 
on the night of September 21, 1779. Smith had sent 
his family to Fishkill. Then, with two of his ten- 
ants as boatmen, with muffled oars he was rowed to 
the Vulture. Meanwhile Arnold, with Smith's negTO 
servant, both on horseback, rode to a clump of fir 
trees, about two miles distant on the shore. Smith 
brought Andre to the spot, and here the two plotted 
till daybreak. Afraid of detection, the boatmen re- 
fused to convey the British officer to his ship ; hence 
he and Arnold were compelled to seek concealment 
in Smith's house. After breakfast the firing of artil- 
lery was heard from the shore opposite, and from the 
window the Vulture was seen to swing out and drop 
down the river. The plotters remained in conceal- 
ment and close confinement all day. At evening 
Arnold returned in his barge to the Robinson House, 
while Smith and Andre crossed to the east side of 
the river, to try and reach New York. Smith parted 
from him on the first night and joined his family at 
Fishkill. Andre took the river road, disguised in the 
clothes of Smith. When about a half-mile from 
Tarrytown three brave pickets sprang out upon him 
and ordered him to halt. Upon careful search of his 
person, they found documents, in Arnold's handwrit- 

54 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

ing, giving full details of the disposition of forces 
about West Point. Neither persuasion nor money 
moved his brave captors. The commander of the 
post was inchned to send the papers and prisoner to 
Arnold; but by a strange dispensation of Providence 
the letter failed to reach the hands of Arnold, who 
was quietly awaiting developments. Meanwhile Wash- 
ington was on his way from Hartford to meet Rocham- 
beau. He spent Sunday evening with Joshua Hett 
Smith's family at Fishkill, and rode in the morning to 
the Robinson House to breakfast with Gleneral Arnold 
and his family. While seated at table with his host 
and his family, a messenger arrived with the missing 
note to Arnold. With coolness he arose with an 
apology, and repaired to one of the chambers, in- 
formed his wife of his misfortune, kissed his sleeping 
infant, and- left the house suddenly, as if to cross by 
his barge to his post ; but instead he was rowed by 
his boatswain to the Vulture, which was at anchor 
below. Washington was surprised that he had not 
been at the Point, and crossed to the Robinson 
House, where Lafayette and Knox handed him the 
papers concerning Andre. Convinced of Arnold's 
treachery, he exclaimed," Who, then, can we trust ? " 
That night every garrison and picket was put on the 
alert. Joshua Hett Smith was arrested, and, together 
with Andre, was confined at West Point. Both were 
sent to Tappan and tried. Smith was handed over 
to the civil authorities, but Andre was condemned to 
be executed as a spy. While his candor and amia- 
bility commended him to the mercy of the com- 
mander-in-chief, who would gladly have spared him, 
yet the condition of the army and the country con- 
stituted the military necessity that seemed to demand 

War of the Revolution. 55 

the execution of this truly brave officer. He was 
executed at Tappan, on October 2, 1780. 

Smith was sent to Goshen and confined in the jail ; 
but afterward escaped, went to England, returned, 
and died in New York. 

Arnold also fled to England. He was seen after- 
wards by an American party, to whom an English- 
man said : " He is the only American who has not a 
friend in his own native land." 



NOW while these events were occurring in the 
Highlands, against the dark background was 
projected another figure that did not lend one re- 
heving tint or hne. We refer to Claudius Smith, the 
notorious cowboy. That title was apphed to ma- 
rauders who robbed farmers and others of their stock 
and valuables, and drove the former to the British 
headquarters, at this time at New York. They 
worked in gangs and robbed the loyal Americans far 
and near. The valley of the Ramapo was theii* favor- 
ite stalking-ground, because of its lonely solitudes 
and caves. Now Claudius was the Robin Hood of 
this gang. He was of English parentage, coming 
into Monroe from Southold, L. I., with his father. It 
is supposed that he was related to Joshua Hett 
Smith, of whom we have been writing. His father, 
David Smith, lived off the village road, on what has 
been known as the John Goff place. His wife is said 
to have been Jerusha Rumsey; and whatever may 
have been her political sympathies, she shows her 
disapproval of her son's career in his quotation of 
her words on the gallows, when he kicked off his 
shoes : " Claudius, you will die some day like the 


Tlie Story of Claudius Smith. 57 

trooper's horse." His father was buried in the old 
part of the cemetery on the lane, and on the old red 
tombstone are inscribed these lines : 

" Here lies the body of David Smith 

" Esq'r whose alms he 

" has Dispersed abroad his 

" works and faith is still before his God his name 

" Shall Long on earth remain 

" while envies Sinners freat in vain 

" My advice is to both Old and Young 

" to make their calling and Election 

" sure and to work out their own 

" Salvation with fear and trembling 

" the Deceased composed this 

" work some time before his Death " 

Born in April 15 in the Year of 

1701 Died in Year 1787 

The above is a facsimile of this quaint epitaph, for 
the elucidation of which we are indebted to a friend 
who to the zeal for the " ancient past " in Monroe 
adds the patience of Old Mortahty. He says the 
capital letters and spelling are exactly the same as 
on the tombstone. It is interesting as a sample of 
the learning of the day and the orthodoxy of the old 
man. The allusion to his "alms Dispersed abroad" 
savors of the trumpet of the Pharisee. But we for- 
bear, lest we should be classed with " envies Sinners " 
who "freat in vain." 

As the son of such a father, better things might 
have been expected of Claudius. But his environ- 
ment was one of lawlessness. Then he embraced the 
Tory principle of resistance of the will of the people 
as expressed in the Declaration of Independence ; 
adhering like many others to the cause of the so- 

58 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

called "good King Greorge." While the patriots 
were fighting for liberty with Briton and his Indian 
allies, Claudius and his gang were raiding their 
farms and homes in the Clove. He was a man of 
stalwart frame, and proud of his stature and strength. 
On some pubhc occasion, said the late J. Harvey Bull, 
he boastfully said, " Here I stand hke a pillar of old 
St. Paul's Church, and I defy any man to move me." 
Whereupon Ben Havens replied, " I will remove the 
pillar with my sledge-hammer fist," suiting the action 
to the word. Claudius lived in a cabin made of 
plank set perpendicular and hidden in the brush that 
skirted the roads that crossed opposite to Cunning- 
ham's mill and what afterwards was the late John 
Knight's garden. Part of the foundation was plowed 
up by the latter, and bits of crockery were found. It 
was a suitable den for the laying of his plots and mak- 
ing his forays upon the neighborhood and hiding his 
plunder. Other lawless characters joined his gang, 
and with them those who claimed to be loyalists 
sympathized and lent their aid. He had three sons 
who inherited his cruelty and became his confeder- 
ates in crime. These rough outlaws would rob their 
neighbors of their cattle and drive them down the 
Ramapo valley to Suffern, where they would dis- 
pose of them to the British army whose outposts 
were established there. Hence they were called cow- 
boys. But they were not content to rob from the 
fields, but broke into dwellings at night or while the 
men were absent on military duty, terrified the women, 
and stole food or money if they could find it. Some 
of his apologists have asserted he stole from the rich 
and gave to the poor. But it is characteristic of 
that class of villains that they try thus to atone for 

The Story of Claudius Smith. 59 

their Heaven-daring crimes. Even Captain Kidd was 
" the gentlest man that ever cut a throat or scuttled 

The rough nature of the country favored these 
marauders. The mountains, and specially the Rama- 
po, were full of caves and dens where they could con- 
ceal both themselves and their plunder. There was 
such a cave near Man-of-War Rock ; another, near 
Indian Kill, which the daughters of the late Peter 
Town send called Libalcad, composed of the initial 
syllables of their respective names. Another hiding- 
place was somewhere between Monroe and Blooming 
Grove. The flues of the old Elmer Earl House were 
another place of concealment. Here in later years a 
mechanic was driven to madness by the cruel joke of 
companions, who hoisted a pumpkin cut to represent 
the face of the outlaw and illuminated by a candle, 
after the young man had rethed for sleep. 

Claudius displayed great cunning and adi'oitness in 
his depredations. Like Ishmael, "his hand was against 
every man and every man's hand against him." Some- 
times he would seek to cripple a neighbor, perhaps 
on some petty pretext, as when he carried off the still- 
cap from the distillery of Mr. Bell on the Still Brook. 
Again, he would break in on the slumbers of some 
family whose head was absent in the trenches, insult 
the women, and rob the house of food or treasure and 
carry off i^oultry or cattle, as his fancy or need dic- 
tated. When he had gathered a sufficient number of 
cattle and sheep in one of his hiding-places, in the 
shadows of evening he would drive them down the 
Ramapo pass to Suffern, where the Britisli army had 
its outposts. He and his band would skulk back 
again and spend the proceeds in some of his dens, the 

60 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

caves or cabins of confederates, in revelry and feast- 
ing. But such a career could not continue long. His 
very success in crime encouraged him to greater 
deeds of cruelty. While making a raid in Blooming 
Grove with his band, he entered the house of Major 
Nathanael Strong ; and when that brave soldier re- 
sisted the ruffian, Claudius deliberately shot him. 
This was the culmination of his career. The crime 
enraged the community, and led Governor Clinton to 
put a price on his head. He now became an outlaw, 
and was hunted down hke a wolf. His brothers and 
companions were included in the same ban. He was 
hunted out of the country, fleeing to Long Island, 
hiding away where he thought himself unknown. 
But the feet of an avenging Nemesis were soon on his 
track. Major Brush, of Orange County, hearing of 
his hiding-place, raised a band and found him at Oys- 
ter Bay, where he arrested him, took him over to Con- 
necticut, from whence, by a requisition from Governor 
Chnton, he was brought and dehvered to the sheriff 
of Orange County, at Goshen, who ordered him 
chained to the floor of the jail for safe-keeping. He 
was afterwards tried at the court-house at Goshen, 
January 13, 1779, and executed on the 22d, with five 
of his companions. It is worthy of mention that a 
sermon was preached at the scaffold by the pastor of 
the Presbyterian Chui'ch, the Rev. Ezra Fisk, D.D., in 
the presence of 50,000 spectators. His text was 
Numbers xxxii, 23 : "Be sure your sin will find you 

The sermon was very solemn, and from the unu- 
sual circumstances was calculated to make an indeh- 
ble impression. He was buried in the grounds of the 
Presbyterian Church, in the southwest corner, that 

The Story of Claudius Smith. 61 

being regarded as a sort of public property. Within 
the memory of some living, a citizen of Groshen who 
was lame and walked with a crutch broke through, 
his crutch or cane penetrating the neglected grave. 
This led to the taking up of the bones, which were 
stowed in a shop near by. My informant relates that 
a citizen applied to a well-known blacksmith to make 
him a carving-knife. The knife was made, but he 
had no buckhorn for a handle. A happy thought 
struck him. He went to the spot where the bones 
of the famous marauder lay neglected, and took a 
thifijh bone and worked out a handle for the carving- 
knife. A startling instance of poetical irony ! Vig- 
orous means were taken to exterminate the gang after 
Claudius' death. One of his followers was shot on 
Schunemunk; one left his bones whitening over on 
the East Mountain, above the Ramapo. His son 
Richard fled to Nova Scotia. 

Efforts were made by the credulous to find the 
treasure of the robber; but, Hke that of Captain Kidd, 
it never materialized. Indeed the people had nothing 
but Continental money, and but little of that. To 
illustrate its depreciation, it is related that one of the 
fanners sold a cosset lamb about this time for 500 
Continental dollars to a foraging party. 

The disorder and terrorism caused by Tory and 
cowboy led the commander-in-chief to send detach- 
ments fi'om the army to guard the roads through the 
Clove. A cavalry camp was established at Highland 
Mills, on the Morgan Shuitt farm ; another at Monroe, 
near the bridge, on the D. Knight property. It was 
on the west side of the stage road, the second lot 
from the homestead now the residence of Clarence 

62 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

The following are the epitaphs of two noted Revo- 
lutionary attaches buried near Ringwood, New Jersey, 
in the Ramapo Valley : 

In Memory of 


geographer and surveyor-general to the army of 

The United States. 

Son of the Rev. Ralph Erskine 

Late Minister at Dumfernline in Scotland. 


September 7, 1735. 


October 2nd, 1780. 

Aged 45 Years 

And 25 Days. 

In Memory of 


Clerk to Robert Erskine, Esq. 


At Dumfernline in Scotland, 
December 2nd, 1778, Aged 33 Years. 

I am indebted to Mr. Mahlon J. Brooks for these 
inscriptions. He says that the graves are side by 
side. The stones are laid flat, on brick-work about 
two feet high, covering the whole grave. The letter- 
ing of the two stones is very plain, except the names 
of the two places in Scotland. 



AFTER such a storm there is alwaj^s a ground 
X^ swell. It was some time before the bitter feel- 
ings engendered by the contest were allayed. We 
must not forget that the War of the Revolution was 
really a civil war. It occurred among subjects of the 
same government, and was a movement to throw off 
allegiance to a king and set up a new form of govern- 
ment. Such a radical question not merely separated 
neighbors, but divided families. It became an inter- 
necine war, and that is proverbially bitter. The 
cruelty of it is illustrated by the career of Clau- 
dius Smith. Now even this had a sequel after he 
was executed. Some of the gang who had been in 
hiding determined to avenge on neighbors their 
leader's death. They selected Henry Reynolds, a 
Friend, as the object of their vengeance, because he 
had been active in giving information against him. 
He lived in the stone house now standing by the 
brook on the Grignoux place. 

They came at midnight and surrounded the house, 
which the inmates barred. Finding they could not break 
in, they chmbed on the roof and tried to descend the 
chimney. But one of the ladies opened a pillow and 
poured the feathers on the fire, which was too much 


64 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

for them. They then retired, but returned again 
when Mr. Reynolds was at home. They entered, pre- 
tending they were commissioned to look for deserters. 
They took Mr. Reynolds, tied him to the lug pole, 
and hung him in the chimney while they searched for 
treasure. But his daughter Phoebe cut him down. 
Then they caught him again and suspended him. 
They also cut him with their swords and knives, leav- 
ing him for dead. His daughter cut him down again, 
and, assisted by other members of the family, dressed 
his wounds and saved his hfe. He hved to a good 
old age (eighty-three years), and showed his scars as 
honorable mementos of the encounter. The plucky 
daughter also gave the alarm to the neighbors, who 
pursued the miscreants, wounding one and shooting 
another. One, named Kelley, was found dead on East 
Mountain, and on him were the clothes of Friend 

The brave daughter Phoebe was married afterwards 
to Jeremiah Drake and removed to Sullivan County, 
where she reared a family, and is mentioned, with an 
account of her adventures with great interest, in 
Quinlan's " History " of that county. 

The proclamation of peace was hailed by every true 
patriot and reflecting mind with sincere joy. It is 
recorded of Peter Townsend, then a young man, that 
he rode on horseback all the way to New York to see 
the British fleet evacuate the harbor. Warm wel- 
comes awaited the return of the brave soldiers 
to their homes. But these they did not find in a 
prosperous condition. Buildings had been burned, 
cattle stolen, fences thrown down, and fields and 
gardens overgrown with brush and weeds. But the 
Anglo-Saxon is not one who sits down in despair, 

The Dawn of Peace, 65 

but has wonderful recuperative energy. He betakes 
himseK at once to rebuild. He starts again the plow. 
His axe rings through the forest. He lays out new 
roads and projects new enterprises, looking with hope 
for their realization in the future. He has had 
enough of war and ruffianism. He believes in the 
regeneration of society, encourages home building, 
immigration, the setting up of the school, the organi- 
zation of the church and all those institutions that 
belong to a well-ordered society. He crowds out the 
lawless, who retire to the mountains. The disloyal 
find it uncomfortable to remain, and some move to 
other parts, or learn to hide their pedigree or hold 
their tongue. 

Now come in most of the modern families who 
engrafted upon the old form a new society, the foun- 
dation of Monroe of the present. 

It is an interesting matter of history that James 
and Charles Webb came fi'om Groshen in 1798 and 
bought each 300 acres on opposite sides of Mombasha, 
dividing it through the middle. Their father was 
Samuel Webb, who was seven feet in height. He 
was killed in the Minisink war by the Indians, who 
boasted they had killed the biggest man in the settle- 
ment. His brother was also very tall, measuring 
more than six and a half feet. Samuel Webb, Jr., 
was the son of Charles, succeeding him in ownership 
of lands in the east side. He had also a sawmill 
below the outlet where was an old road soon to be 
reopened to afford a beautiful drive about the lake 
and to connect with that from Tuxedo. Cyrenius 
and the late J. Madison are the sons of Samuel Webb, 
and they or their heks still occupy the same tract, 
now for a hundred years in possession of the family. 



THE log cabin is the prototype of the homes of 
Monroe. Under these thatched roofs rich and 
poor ahke rested. By these rude firesides the best 
of her sons learned their first lessons of hfe. In one, 
it is said, the Father of his Country did not disdain to 
rest. But it was not long before an evolution began. 
Soon the sawmill arrives, and lumber is drawn for a 
" lean-to." Then there is a stoop, with rude benches, 
where the family receive neighbors, crack nuts, and 
tell the news. But soon comes an honest pride. The 
log cabin must go. A neighbor of more means has 
started with a frame house, and so the cabin is con- 
verted into a stable, and in its place rises the dry- 
goods box, which is topped out with gambrel roof and 
two-story piazza ; this again passes through a white 
elephant period, or "Crazy Jane," at last efflorescing 
into a Queen Anne with all the modern improvements. 
Some, however, " to the manner born," conceived, 
more in accord with the fitness of environment, that 
in a country of granite rocks stone is the proper ma- 
terial for the homestead ; hence persons like Harvey 
Bull, John Brooks, and Dr. Carpenter built their 
stone mansions, at once enduring monuments of their 
sturdy good sense and taste. One of these gentlemen 


Home Building in the Olden Time. 67 

would point to some of the stones of the corner and 
tell the story of their quarrying with loving pride. 
But let us look outside on garden and farm. Would 
you know what it cost of toil to subdue a little piece 
of ground for garden, we call to remembrance a small 
piece cultivated by Phineas Brooks opposite the 
Granite House. Year after year the old man toiled, 
throwing out the stone till he had a huge pile, enough 
to macadamize rods of road; and still there was 
plenty. Asking Sammy Gregory to explain then* 
origin, he said, " He guessed they growed." But we 
need not smile, for one of the old furnace-men at 
Southfield remembered " when Tom Jones' mountain 
was no bigger than a coal-basket." These pioneers 
had to content themselves with the simplest and 
coarsest esculents of the garden, and the humblest 
modes of taking care of them. It was related of one 
of the careful dames that she took her turnips to bed 
with her to keep them from freezing, finding them 
but poor bed-fellows. The dirt-cellar was soon thought 
out, and became a necessity. The Hessian had gone 
home, leaving behind only his curse, the wild daisy. 
But his cauliflower and sprouts and Antwerp berries 
were a better legacy. The love-apple developed into 
the tomato. The black-bog Irish potato found a 
friend in the Rev. E. P. Roe, who gave us the perfec- 
tion of tubers. And since that the cornucopia of the 
world has been pouring in seeds of plants and flowers 
from the uttermost parts of the earth. The puckery 
crab-apple of the Indians has been superseded by the 
Newtown pippins, dominies, and seek-no-furthers of 
the orchards. Deacon Van Valer used to say, " Never 
plant a shade tree when a fruit tree will do as well." 
His farm was an orchard, and when, nearly eighty 

68 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

years of age, a neighbor laughed at him for continu- 
ing to plant and graft, he said : " I not merely expect 
to gather fruit from these trees, but to pick from this 
ladder which I am making." And he did. 

If it was so hard to make a garden, what must it 
have been to clear a farm? The sturdy woodsman 
would soon clear up the timber ; but the rocks and 
boulders with which every rood was strewn were 
enough to appal any but one of these hardy sons of 
toil ; particularly when we remember the rudeness 
of their appliances : the pick, the crow-bar, hammer, 
wedge, the gunpowder, the oxen, and stone-boat. 
No dynamite, no stump and rock extractor. But co- 
operative industry was the order of the times. Stone- 
bees were made, and neighbor came to the assistance 
of neighbor. 

The good dame did her part in the kitchen, turning 
out the pot-pie and other appetizing productions of 
hands well taught in the culinary art. At such times 
the best stories were told. Toasts were drunk in the 
old-fashioned cider, for as yet total abstinence was in 
its cradle. With mirth and jollity the rocks were 
torn up as by giants; the stones " snaked" towards 
the Umits of the outlined fields, to be broken up on 
the moiTow by the fence-builder, who would rear 
them into the characteristic fences of the town. Mr. 
John Brooks buried the stones on his farm in great 
holes dug for the purpose. But let us hear him tell 
the story of his labors : 

'"Twas thug by honest toil 
I smoothed the rugged soil, 
For forty years or more, 
TiU orchard, grass and grain 
Spread o'er the barren plain, 

Home Building in the Olden Time, 69 

Where nothing grew before. 
By powder, picks and sledges, 
By levers, bars and wedges, 
By prying, splitting, mauling, 
I brought the rocks to reason, 
As rebels were from treason. 
And fitted them for handling ; 
In fences rough and strong, 
In fields square and some oblong. 

Then took they proper station. 
As they came struggling through 

The rubbish of creation. 
As each redeemed spot, 
Grew to a garden plot, 

A longer breath I drew, 
Took courage from the past. 
And prayed that I might last 

To put the hard task through. 
And now in fact 'tis done 
As I planned when I begun. 

And tho' 'tis true that I 
Shall ne'er receive the gains. 
The needful for my pains, 

These fields shall never die. 
Whate'er shall be my fate. 
E'en up to death's dark gate. 

Thro' health, wealth, want or pain. 
The fame I fought for most 
Will be this honest boast, 

I have not lived in vain ! " 

John Brooks. 

How well expressed! Let the young men who 
have entered into possession of these ancestral acres 
learn what they cost, and not be ashamed of the 
farmer's profession, — for such it is, — nor ever turn 
away in scorn from the homestead farm even, although 
the moss covers the roof and the cricket steals in by 
the hearth. 

The implements of the farm were very rude at first. 

70 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

For example, the plow used was what was called the 
" hog plow." It had a rough beam, with share of 
wood shod with iron that had to he taken to the 
smithy to be sharpened. It was followed by the Eng- 
hsh plow, which had a movable coulter that would cut 
the sod and lay it over a curvihnear mould-board in 
even fiu^rows. What would one of those gray fathers 
have said had he been told that his grandson would 
ride behind a spanking team upon a sulky plow of 
steel, over a carpet-like sod, and lay it smooth as a 
floor, and another follow after, di'opping com from a 
patent planter, to be covered also by machinery ? This 
was that same maize which they had received from 
the Indians, who taught them to plant it when the 
oak leaves were as big as squiri'els' ears, and to go to 
the brook and bring two shiners for each hill of corn. 
" Succotash" was an Indian term, as was " kintakaue"; 
and after eating the one the other helped digest it. 
This was the elementary lesson of that primitive time. 
But sagacity early discovered that Monroe soil 
was best adapted for grazing; hence attention was 
turned to pasture fields. But no cultivated grasses 
were kno^Ti till comparatively recent times. Meadows 
and marshes were relied upon to fui'nish forage and 
hay. The hay cut with the scythe was raked by 
hand, forked upon poles, and carried out or stacked 
up, till winter brought frozen ground that would 
bear up team and wain. Mr. Samuel Webb could 
recollect when the first Timothy Hui'd grass seed and 
red clover were introduced. It was an era in agri- 
cultm^al history — a revolution. The marsh is out- 
shone by the meadow, and the milch cow and sleek 
steers are seen grazing over the clovered plain. The 
wooden hay-fork and home-made rake give way to 

Home Building in the Olden Time. 71 

better tools. But for many years scythe, sickle and 
the clumsy cradle held the field before anything better 
was thought of. The present generation can remem- 
ber when the carpenter left his bench, the clerk the 
counter, and the smith his anvil, to take part in the 
labors of the hay and harvest field. The country 
was one vast hive of industiy. There was tiu-ning 
the grindstone, the boy's spectre, which kept saying, 
" Beware of the man who has an axe to grind" ; and 
whettings that filled the air with clear metallic strains ; 
hanging of scythes, which Webster regarded as suc- 
cessfully done when he hung it in a tree ; then the 
march of the peaceful procession across the field, 
with even step and gi'aceful sweep as well timed as 
an aria in HandeFs " Seasons." 

Then came the little army with hand-rakes draw- 
ing hay or grain into windrows, to be followed by 
binders if grain, or tossing into hay-cocks or mo^Hng 
away if hay. All this had to be done by hand, with 
rude tools and slow ox-teams. It made weeks of 
frolic and hard work for field hands and wives and 
daughters ; for all were interested, and not seldom 
could be seen the fail* hands of Ruth bearing, if not 
the sheaves, at least the basket of lunch for the tired 
reapers. But how all is changed now! First came 
the horse-rake ; then the momng-machine. The last 
came in 1854. It was the Ketcham machine, cum- 
brous and heavy, galling the necks of the horses, and 
unwilhng to back down when it struck stump or 
rock. This gave way to hghter and more convenient 
inventions, the acme being reached when the reaper 
and binder came into the field. Then, when the horse 
hay-lifter and mower followed, the burden of fann- 
ing was also lifted, and the problem of gathering the 

72 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

crops with few hands was solved. Indeed, if such 
improved machinery had not been introduced, much 
of the crops during the Civil War must have been 

Vehicles passed through similar evolution. First, 
the cart ; then the wagon without springs ; then the 
spring seat. In these rude, lumbering things they 
even went to church. Chairs were set in them when 
a number rode. On one occasion, when at a later 
period the custom was repeated, after the load had 
been deposited at the church door one of the little 
girls in the congregation, seeing the wagon and chaii's 
pass the window, observed that " some one was mov- 
ing." One of our older citizens remembered distinctly 
the time when the first springs were introduced and 
the gossip they occasioned. 

Oxen also constituted the earliest beasts of burden. 
They snaked out the stumps on week-days, and took 
the family to church on Sunday. Moonlight rides in 
the one-horse open sleigh were then undreamed of. 
The patient ox was better adapted to the slow work 
of subduing the wilderness. Experiences with them 
were sometimes odd: as when a green son of the 
Emerald Isle yoked a pair of steers facing each other, 
and said, "Did yees ever see the loike?" or when 
John Fowler's cattle stepped on a large snapping- 
turtle ; and on another occasion, when he left them 
yoked to feed near a fence while he went to dinner, 
and found one of them choked down by a large black- 
snake. He cut the throat of the ox and dressed the 
carcass. Attention was largely paid at first to the 
raising of cattle for market, but this gradually gave 
way to the dairy business, and the development of 
the best milch cow has been the aim and effort since. 

Home Building in the Olden Time. 73 

The scrubby native animal mth crumpled horn had 
to give way for the coming of the Holstein, Jersey, 
Alderney, and lastly the chef d^muvre, according to 
one of our best cattle-raisers, the belted stock. Fifty 
years ago the butter-producing quality was the aim, 
when the very bank-notes of Orange County took on 
a butter hue. But in 1841, when the Erie Raiboad 
was constructed and sent its first train into this 
region, keen eyes saw the advantage of sending milk 
to the great city ; and ever since the Moni*oe farmers 
have turned their attention to milk. 




THE surveyor Clinton calls attention to lot No. 
3, which he calls " the great iron lot." Twenty 
thousand acres in this vicinity were sold by James 
Alexander, Lord Stirling, to a London company who 
established the Stirling Iron Works in 1752. The 
anchory and forge were built over the line in War- 
wick, but the mines are largely in Monroe. When 
owned by Messrs. Noble and Townsend the great 
chain was forged, as we have already described. The 
Forest of Dean Furnace was started before the Revo- 
lution, but the fall of Fort Montgomery forced it to 
close, and now it is an unsightly ruin. Queensboro 
continued till the War of 1812, when it extinguished 
its fires. The Augusta works were estabhshed in 
1783 by Solomon Townsend, for the manufacture of 
bar iron and anchors; but the plant was removed 
elsewhere, leaving a picturesque ruin on the banks of 
the Ramapo. Greenwood Iron Works were estab- 
lished in 1811. At the opening there was a proces- 
sion, each workman bearing the tool of his branch of 
work. Songs were sung, toasts drunk, speeches made, 
an ox roasted, and dinner served. Messrs. Robert 
and Peter P. Parrott were the owners. This furnace 


The Iron Industry of Monroe. 75 

furnished the iron from which most of the cannon 
used by the government during the late Civil War 
were made. Now the fires of this historic fui-nace 
have been extinguished ; the well-known and respected 
manager, Mr. P. P. Parrott, is dead; the property has 
passed into other hands, the scene of toil turned into 
a park, and its name changed to Arden. 

Southfield Iron Works came into the possession of 
Messrs. William and Peter Townsend in 1827, and 
have had a memorable record. For seventy years the 
fires glowed and the huge engine puffed, the molten 
stream poured forth, and weird figures moved in the 
lurid firelight, while on every hand were signs of 
thrift and labor. How sweetly came the sound of 
tinkling bells across the valh^y, as the cows of the cot- 
tagers returned from the mountain pastures ; and how 
restful the notes of the whippoorwill in the gloam- 
ing, when around the old homestead played the grand- 
children of that old couple who knew so well how to 
"welcome the coming and speed the parting guest "! 
But the scene is all changed now. Some of the fam- 
ily return to spend the summers, but the fires of the 
furnace are out, the long breath of the engine is no 
longer heard, the teams are released, the men dis- 
charged, and their honored employer and his benevo- 
lent wife are resting on the cliff yonder, whither 
sturdy hands, not without tears, carried them a few 
years since. 

The scene was a very different one some sixty 
years ago, when the iron industries of the country 
flourished, as will be seen from the following lines 
from the fertile pen of our town poet, the late John 
Brooks, who was employed as clerk and storekeeper 
for the Stirling Company about the year 1832 : 

76 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

" Mr. Peter Townsend : 

I send you by our lazy brawny, 
Chuckle-head and a Montawney, 
Eighty-four bars well-wrought and strong, 
Two tons, one hundred fourteen pounds ; 
Send us some Indian and some flour 
Immediately, if in your power. 
Send us some shoes, we're out of leather ; 
We can't go barefoot this cold weather. 
Bill Babcock wants a pair ; also his wife ; 
'Tis twelves both wear. 
Some of our dames do scold and pout, 
Because our tea does not hold out — 
Three and a half pounds allowed per week ; 
For I'm so dumb I've not yet found 
The art of making from three pound 
Just sixteen quarters. Must I serve 
The first that come, just like the rest ? 
Or will you send a little more ? 
Three and a half and sometimes four. 
Send me the news, for I want to know 
How Adams and Old Hickory go. 
Some of us will want some money 
For training ; therefore I'll just dun ye. 
Two shillings each will pay stage fare, 
And as much more will keep us there. 
But send as much as you can spare. 
The coaling jobs go on right well; 
But on the forge there lays a spell. 
And where 'twill end no one can teU ; 
Tho' now she thumps away like Sheol. 
Now when you and your better half 
Are reading this, 'twiU make you laugh. 
'Tis childish verse wrote with pot-hooks 
And trammels. I remain. 

Yours, John Brooks." 

Now if these lines have little merit on the score 
of rhetoric, they are worthy of preservation as 
giving a picture of the times, and of some of the cus- 

The Iron Industry of Monroe. 77 

toms in that mining region. Supplies were fnmished 
the families from the company's store. Estimates 
were made on the basis of three and one half pounds 
of tea to a family. But as the clerk had not learned 
the art of making sixteen quarters from three pomids, 
it was obvious that he must have some more tea, or 
there must be an unequal distribution. Other touches 
of humor will be appreciated by those who were fa- 
miliar with the author and his times. 

The last generation witnessed much greater activity 
in the ii'on industry than the present. The time was 
when the mines near by were all worked, the smoke 
of furnaces mingled with that of cabins in the moun- 
tains, teams toiled along the roads from Bull Hill, 
Forshee, Rye, Hogancamp, O'Neal and Frederick mines. 
But, owing to several causes, a change has come over 
the scene. The exhaustion of timber, the necessity 
of using costlier fuel and of penetrating deeper for 
the ore, have all conspired to produce the present con- 
dition. When foreign supplies are exhausted and 
tariffs are better adjusted, the iron-men will again 
look to these hills, and with better machinery take 
out the rich metal which the magnet indicates is still 
stored there. 



THE all-absorbing business of Monroe is producing 
and selling milk. We may say there was a pre- 
destination for it in the very composition of the soil 
and in the situation. But it did not materialize until 
the Erie Railway was organized and laid to Monroe. 

The first train ran through in 1841. It created a 
great sensation at the time, as we describe elsewhere, 
and opened up a new channel of industry not merely 
for the town, but the county also. Hitherto the 
county was famous for butter. Shortly after the 
opening of the road, Mr. John Milton Bull conceived 
the idea of utilizing the new means of transportation 
for the benefit of the farmer, by shipping his milk to 
New York. It was soon caught up and put in prac- 
tice. John Milton, Jesse and Ira Bull, in the spring 
of 1812 started the enterprise. When the business 
was in its infancy we are told that varied receptacles 
were employed, such as cans, churns, and tubs. 

Cloths were placed under the covers to prevent 
leakage. The early cans had no handles or flanged 
lids, but were carried by a bail. We are also told 
that the brakemen bolted upon bringing the empty 
cans back, because they were so hard to handle. The 
farmers were their own collectors. The price began, 


The Milk Business. 79 

as we are informed from the books of a farmer, with 
one and three quarter cents per quart for summer and 
two for winter ; but went up to four, five, six, and 
even seven cents during the late war. At first the milk 
was cooled in troughs, sometimes lowered into wells. 
The supply of milk was small, so that farmers would 
borrow and lend or club together. The scarcity of 
ice rendered it difficult to keep the milk; hence it 
was shipped twice a day. All kinds of business re- 
ceived an impulse. New needs were created. Milk- 
wagons, cans, milk-houses and cooling-tubs, ice- 
houses and ponds, better cows, better barns and 
stables, different feeds and new methods of farming, 
all were in demand. The big churn was out of use, 
the churning-machine dilapidated, the dog dead, and 
the very piggery deserted. " Yes," said one old gen- 
tleman who had been used to the old regime, and who 
was vexed that a storm or accident had tlrrown hun- 
dreds of quarts of milk on his hands and the good- 
wife could find no means of disposing of it, "we 
want a new kind of woman." 

It brought a new age, if not a new kind of woman. 
For ever since the labor of the milking-yard, the 
handhng of heavy cans has fallen upon men ; while 
she is released to attend to her own realm in home 
and social life. After the introduction of this new 
business it was found it was not without its own 
irregularities. Now it was a combination of middle- 
men, then an over-supply, again a cut in price on 
milk or feed ; then an increase in competition from 
the opening of new roads and widening areas of milk 
supply. But the great obstacle to the prosperity of 
the farming community has been the uniform rate of 
shipment by the Railway companies for long and 

80 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

short distances. A gleam of hope shines in from a 
recent decision of the Supreme Court, bringing the 
interstate commerce regulations to bear on the case. 
To remedy some of the difficulties above referred to, 
creameries were instituted. Monroe and Turners 
were early in the field. The Farmers' Creamery, or 
Monroe Dairy Association, has shown what farmer 
managers can achieve in conducting a cooperative 
business. The two other creameries, one for the col- 
lection of milk, the other for the manufacture of 
fine cheeses, are built on the lake, and another is 
conducted at Satterly town by the Neuenswander 



OUR sketch would be imperfect if we did not 
advert to the industries of the home. In the 
early days of farming, the farm was expected to yield 
nearly all things needed for subsistence, clothing, 
and comfort, and the housewife was expected to 
adapt them to the needs of the household. As in 
Bible times, " she looketh well to the ways of her 
household. She riseth while it is yet night and 
giveth meat to her household. She seeketh wool 
and flax and worketh wilhngly with her hands. She 
layeth her hands to the spindle ; her hands hold the 
distaff. She is not afraid of the snow for her house- 
hold, for all her household are clothed in double gar- 
ments." How true in every particular except the 
spindle and distaff ! But its more advanced sister is 
there in the flax and woollen spinning-wheel. All the 
linen used for bed, table or clothing was the product 
of her hands ; sometimes from the hetchelling to the 
final bleaching. So with the wool. She carded and 
spun and knit, and sometimes wove. The very name 
"wife" was derived from weaving, she being the woof; 
while spinster was from the art of spinning, and was 
then an honorable name for married and unmarried 
alike. How the needles flew in those days, verifying 

11 81 

82 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

their supposed derivation, ' ' ne — idle " ! The travelUng 
tailor would " whip the cat " from house to house 
statedly, to help make up or cut the garments for the 
men. Such despatch could sometimes be reached in 
those days, that it is said that the wool was on the 
sheep one Sunday morning, when marriage banns 
were published, and on the next Sunday, when the 
couple were to be joined, the same was on the bride- 
groom. The hides raised on the farm came home in 
shoe leather. Then the travelhng cobbler came around 
and shod the family, from father down. The father 
sometimes tried his hand at cobbling, and on one 
occasion had not time to trim the sole of his boy's 
shoe before school, where he called forth the derisive 
remark, " They be big enough for oxen." But the 
cuisine must not be overlooked. When we consider 
the conveniences, it was a marvel. The huge, clumsy 
fireplace, with its crane and pot-hooks, its hearth and 
oaken bench, its glowing coals and steaming vessels, 
was always an object of unique interest. 

Before the Dutch oven came, the fowl was hung 
up by a cord before the fire, and the frying-pan, with 
its long handle, was propped up by a stick. The oven 
received special care in construction and manage- 
ment. It must be heated with good chestnut oven- 
wood ; carefully brushed out when the proper tem- 
perature was reached ; no ashes must cling to the loaf 
of bread or cake. What experience and care were 
required ! Yet out of that oven would come a mar- 
vellous supply of most delicious brown loaves and 
cake, sometimes six kinds from the same dough. She 
was an alchemist, and if she had not found the phi- 
losopher's stone, she certainly out of that stone shrine 
of hers brought some masterpieces which the old 

Industries of the Home and Farm. 83 

men never ceased to praise : pumpkin loaf, succo- 
tash, crackling, apple pot pie, venison steaks, short- 
cake, oily koeks, crullers, Sally Lunn, and her chef 
d^oRuvre, black fruit-cake, the glory of the wedding 

The housewife had to manufacture so many things 
from the very foundation. Her yeast she must ob- 
tain from her own hop-vine, or borrow it from a 
neighbor over on the turnpike, whose skill is perpetu- 
ated in the name. Her sweetening comes from the 
maple-trees, and, at her will, becomes either molas- 
ses or sugar. Her cider can be converted into vme- 
gar if she wishes, supplying the place of mother to it. 
Cider apple-sauce supphed the place of sweetmeats. 
Her kitchen is a laboratory. Tins shine like silver ; 
tubs are scoured to marvellous whiteness; churns and 
butter-tray are sweet as a heifer's breath; and her 
broom, the work of her old man, constitutes her 
sceptre, which all have in sacred awe. 

Rock-oil had not been struck as yet. Spermaceti 
was a luxury too expensive for common use. Illu- 
minating material must be found on the farm. Beef- 
tallow was utiUzed. Candles were made by twisting 
a cotton wick and dipping in melted tallow until 
they were of sufficient size. These primitive hghts 
were dim and dirty, requiring the snuffers and fre- 
quent attention. They were used in church and 
home. By them, the family read and the minister 
wi'ote his sermon. He gave notice of evening service 
'' at early candlehght." The thief in the candle and 
the flickering flame in the socket were often an ob- 
ject lesson for him in his dimly hghted chapel. 

Characteristic featui^es of the hearth in those days 
were the andirons, innocent of spot; the shovel. 

84 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

tongs, and bellows ; the crane, with its row of pot- 
hooks, so often cited by the schoolmaster as a com- 
parison for the writing-lesson. Building the fire on 
such a hearth is a fine art, the very test of a good 
prospective wife. Back log and top log must be there, 
and kindhngs rightly laid. The old man may insist 
upon bringing in the first over the highly polished 
floor with the pony; then there is a small hurricane 
about his ears, for the ancient housewife, as the mod- 
em, " went," as was said, " for the last dirt." The 
wood in order, she will soon have it lit, even if she 
has to take the axe herseK and make better kind- 
lings. Where is the fire to come from ? If she has no 
embers from last night, carefully covered up, she must 
either go to a neighbor's to borrow, or she must draw 
on some home device. 

There were no matches sixty years ago. Flint and 
tinder-box were necessary articles of furniture. The 
tinder was of home manufacture — no other than 
scorched rags. When these were not at hand, the 
fiint-lock gun, hanging over the mantle, was taken 
down to give a spark. An old lady described to the 
writer her experience in an effort of that kind, when 
she pointed the gun up the chimney, fired it, and was 
thrown on her back by the recoil, her grandsons 
having loaded it with shot without her knowledge. 
One was mischievous enough to say, " Lay still, 
granny ; there are three more loads in it." 

Now upon the glowing hearth the skilled housewife 
will prepare most of her simple repast. The potatoes 
and roasting ears are pushed into the coals ; the grid- 
dle is hung on the crane ; the tea-kettle sings a merry 
song; the baby is crowing in the cradle, ready to 
spring into the sinewy arms of the bronzed son of 

Industries of the Home and Farm. 85 

toil when he comes in from the fields or milking-yard ; 
then when the group gathers about the humble board, 
parents and rosy-cheeked, sun-kissed boys and girls, — 
for fashion has not entered there to cui*se with child- 
lessness, — when that group is formed and grace is 
said. Heaven smiles, and out of the Oracle come the 
words, " Thou shalt eat the labor of thine hands. 
Happy shalt thou be. It shall be well with thee. 
Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine, thy childi'en as 
olive-plants around thy table." 

Come with me to the spring-house, where the milk 
is conveyed from the milking-yard. Everything is 
scrupulously clean about the spot. The dames of 
that day, although not all Wesleyans, remembered 
John Wesley's aphorism that " cleanliness is akin to 
godliness." Even the cat and dog had to respect 
such religion, and wait until the milk was strained, 
before they received their share. The milk was 
strained to the last hair ; for the process of setting 
the milk, skimming the cream, and handhng the par- 
ticles of butter is sure to bring any lurking speck to 
light. What a sight are those shining pans, filled 
with the creamy fluid, set afloat in the silvery pebble- 
paved spring ! What a curiosity it would be now to 
see the big churn operated by a machine with in- 
clined wheel and lever, the motive-power being a 
huge dog or a sheep ! We knew of a minister visit- 
ing in a neighboring town, who had never seen the 
Hke, spring from his bed upon hearing the thud of the 
dasher against the floor and the bleat of the impatient 
sheep, and actually get out of the window to inquire 
what it meant, intimating that he thought it some 
new device of the adversary. The labor of the chum 
was periodic and not hght, as even the dog learned 

86 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

and would manage to have an engagement elsewhere 
on that day. A dog with a log chahied to his neck, 
going for parts unknown, was not an uncommon 
sight. At such times we have seen the wheel mounted 
by an Irish boy, and sometimes a girl; the jolly 
face peering out through a hole made for it over the 

The parlor of the housewife is dainty, with its 
quaint furniture, first efforts of the family in art, 
vases of bachelors' buttons, dried immortelles, a hor- 
net's nest, birds' eggs, sea-shells, fragments of coral, 
and curios picked up on sea or land, — a place so 
sacred that it is opened only for a wedding or birth- 
day party. Her bedroom is not less neat, with its 
canopied bedstead, valance, small pillows and feather- 
bed, all of live goose feathers ; and she knows it, for 
did she not pluck the geese herself ? The covering of 
that bed is her own handiwork; the wool of the 
blankets she spun, the linen she drew from the 
distaff, the counterpane of blue and white, with her 
own name woven into it, she carried to the weaver's 
herself, and every thread in it she had handled. If 
there is a quilt, you cannot count the pieces ; but she 
will tell you the history of every one. But come and 
see her jewels. Like Cornelia, you must wait till 
they come in from school or field. They are a splen- 
did lot, assorted sizes and sexes. Girls counted in 
that age as well as boys. They are not a pale, nervous 
crowd, made up by the French tailor and modiste. 
They are dressed in linsey-woolsey or calico and 
homespun ; and yet they have their simple pleasures, 
content because they know not the glamour of 
modem fashionable folly. An occasional spinning- 
bee, or a husking frolic, or a straw ride, with 

Industries of the Home and Farm. 87 

merry companions, was enough for them. The 
mother, however, must make a trip to New York 
once in a while, to eke out suppUes which she can- 
not find on the farm or at the country store. She 
wants some Bohea, Merrimac prints, a bit of silk or 
ribbon, an outfit for the daughter; and she cannot 
step on the cars or steamboat, but must ride to Corn- 
wall and take a sloop. She takes butter and eggs to 
trade with. She must take mattress and bed-clothes, 
also provisions. The captain will allow her to boil 
her kettle over his fire, but otherwise she must care 
for herseK. Neighbors would go in company, and 
often more than a week would be consumed in sight- 
seeing and bargaining. Amusing incidents occurred 
on some of these trips. On one occasion a neighbor 
was taking a coop of live chickens by sloop to market. 
The rats invaded his coops and killed the poultry, 
whereupon he was very loud in his denunciation, and 
threatened to scuttle the boat and send the whole con- 
cern to Davy Jones's locker if the loss was not made up 
to him. On another of these trips the sloop was 
becalmed, and the captain said that the women had 
knit up all his wind. They were pretty sure to widen 
the realm of experience and thought ; for there were 
few books and papers then — a Bible, catechism, some 
old volume of sermons, a novel, and an almanac 
would comprise the family library. But the trip 
would bring a book, a new fashion, or some new re- 
cipe. The Navarino bonnet came in that way, and 
the pillow-sleeves and the hoops. But it was not 
till the railroad was laid that modern fashions and 
conveniences were adopted. Fifty years ago there 
were but one piano and one pipe-organ in the village. 
A sewing-machine came about the same time as the 

88 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

mowing-macMne. It was rude, and soon got out of 
order. It was handed over to the minister to repair ; 
for in those days it was said, " What he did not know 
was not worth knowing." He paid himself for his 
work by making with it a pair of overalls, and every 
seam gave way, it being one-threaded. What rapid 
strides of improvement since ! A house now without 
a Singer or a Domestic, a piano or an organ, a 
steam-heater and a bath-room with hot and cold 
water, is an exception about Monroe. 

If the farmer's wife was such a model of adapta- 
tion to her sphere, her husband must be no less so. 

''Adam delv'd and Eve span," 

farming has been not merely one of the most honor- 
able of vocations, but has required the most of both 
physical and mental energy. It is not commonly 
thought so, because in many countries the farmer 
class are oppressed and so burdened that they have 
no opportunity to educate themselves or their fami- 
lies. Then, again. Nature is so beneficent that often 
a very dull person may be able to " tickle the earth 
with a hoe and make it laugh a harvest." But here 
especially there is room for the exercise of the largest 
intelligence, and the best there is in man. The 
farmer has to do with soils and fertihzers ; he must 
bring some knowledge of chemistry to bear on this 
department. So must he know of plant life, its laws 
and enemies. He has to do with cattle and other farm 
stock ; he must be a herdman, and know not merely 
how to care for these in health, but also in sickness. 
Then he must be a carpenter, and be able to repair 
his tools and vehicles, and in these days be a machin- 

Industries of the Home and Farm. 89 

ist, for the implements and appliances of the farm 
are such now that one must know how to manage a 
lathe, a windmill, a steam-engine, and sometimes a 
dynamo. Farming is not the dull round of crass igno- 
rance, or the amusement of elegant leisure. It is 
worthy the name of a profession. To do it well de- 
mands a technical education. But some will acquire 
this without the aid of the college. An observing mind 
on the farm will gather up facts, elaborate them by 
experience, and make his deductions so wisely that 
even the college-bred is compelled to come to him for 
help. Monroe had a remarkable illustration in one 
of its sons, the late John H. Knight, who was chosen 
to take charge of the New Jersey State Farm, under 
the superintendence of Professor Cook of Rutgers 
College. John managed that farm for this institu- 
tion for years with great success, his experimental 
knowledge being necessary to verify and illustrate 
the theories and deductions of the books and the 
class room. 

Mr. Knight returned to his native town to give his 
neighbors the benefit of the knowledge he had ac- 
quired, and still further aided the interests of this 
dauy region by introducing a fine breed of cattle, 
namely, the belted, or Dutch, breed, realizing what 
the Monroe farmer has been always studying to find 
— the ideal milch cow. 

It will be of value to some of our readers to present 
certain facts in regard to the belted cattle just re- 
ferred to. I am indebted for the following communi- 
cation to the Hon. A. B. Hulse : 

"The Hurd Register of the Dutch Belted Cattle Association 
states as follows : The original Dutch name, still used in Holland, 
is Lakenf eld cattle ; laken being a sheet to be wound around the 

90 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

body of the animal. Their breeding dates back to the seventeenth 
century, when cattle interests in HoUand were in the most thrifty 
condition, and this type and color, being established by scientific 
breeding, decidedly the highest attainment ever reached in the 
science of breeding. The historian Motley has well said, ' These 
are the most wonderful cattle in the world.' " 

They were controlled by the nobiUty of Holland, 
and they are up to the present time keeping them 
pure. They are not inclined to sell or part with them. 
They have a broad band or belt around their body, in 
white, while the rest of the body is black, making a 
very beautiful and imposing contrast. They are 
above the average size, commonly known as business 
size. The early importers in the United States were 
D. H. Haight of Goshen, New York, who made three 
importations; the Hon. H. Coleman; and P. T. Bar- 
num, our national showman. The Haight importa- 
tions were carefully bred on a farm in Orange County, 
New York. The noted Holbert and Knight herds 
were also established from this importation by careful 
selection. These famous herds comprise the founda- 
tion of most of the thoroughbreds in America. Some 
of the finest specimens of this noted breed, now in 
this country, are descendants of the late John Knight's 
herd. He was not an importer, but a breeder of some 
of the finest specimens of these cattle ever bred in 
this country. 



THE men wore at the close of the Revolution 
cocked hat, corded knee-breeches, with stockings 
and low shoes. These were adorned with buckles at 
knee and ankle. The wealthy had them of silver, 
with quaint inscriptions, such as : 

" When money 's low the ring must go ; 
If that won't do, the buckles too." 

The neckwear was a collar and high black silk or 
satin stock, that held the head up very prim. The hair 
was tied in a queue. This, when worn by the school- 
master, was always a point inviting attack from the 
average small boy. The vest was flowery, long, and 
flanked with wide pockets, in which was the inevitable 
snuff-box, which was constantly offered in compli- 
ment, and tapped before the delicious powder was ap- 
plied to the nose. The coat had high collar, and the 
top-coat long skirts with broad pocket-flaps. One of 
the elderly ladies said that she remembered seeing one 
of these old men in such a dress, and as he was a man 
both of wealth and fine physique, with silver buckles 
and sometimes a silk dressing-gown, she was much 
impressed by him. The boy was the man in minia- 
ture, with modifications ; in many instances the father 
and older brothers made over. He was a happy boy 
who was shaken down into his own buckskin trousers 
to wear the same till they were ready to be cut up 


92 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

for foot-ball or top-cord. The summer boy belonged 
to the barefoot regiment. It was his dehght to shed 
his shoes with the first blue-bh'd, even though he had 
to warm his feet on the ground where the cows had 
lain, in^dting her ladyship to rise for his accommoda- 
tion. A city lady once expressed pity for such a boy, 
and was about to offer him money to buy shoes, sup- 
posing it was caused by poverty, but was checked by 
the remark that he was no waif, but the son of one 
of the best famihes in Monroe. 

The clothes were usually made in the house, the 
goods woven sometimes and dyed. Butternut-chips 
and oak -balls and indigo formed the little stock of 
dye-stuffs and gave sufficient variety of tint. The 
travelling tailor would come at set times with his 
goose and lap-board, and make up the clothes of the 
men folks, as they were called. 'Nijah Barton was 
the travelling newspaper and poet of the time. He 
would sing of 

" The old brown overcoat aud apple-tree buttons." 

For even the buttons were often home-made. The 
shoes were made by the travelling shoemaker, who 
came with lap-stone and last. He was a true disciple 
of St. Crispin, and knew well how to fit the boy with 
his Monroe ties, and the young man with his first 
high boots. Copper-toes and patent-leathers were 
alike unknown then. This sort of trade itineracy 
was called " whipping the cat." The shoemaker was 
as full of story and humor as his itinerant co-laborer. 

'' Rap, rap, rap ! 
Aud he shook his paper cap ; 
While his lap-stone on his knees 
Echoed back his ecstacies. " 

The Dress of the Olden Time. 93 

The dress of the fairer part of creation we approach 
with more of self-distrust, — probably may show our- 
selves as much mystified and perplexed as was Mark 
Twain when he exchanged satchels with a young 
lady, and opened hers at his hotel, supposing it was 
his own. 

"We dressed," said one good dame, "not as we 
would, but as we could." The working, every-day 
garb was a short gown and sku't; a check apron for the 
kitchen, and a white one if a neighbor happened in. 
The big chintz sunbonnet was always at hand, to slip 
on if there was an errand out in the sunlight; for 
there was the same care then as now to guard the 
complexion from tan and freckles, particularly on the 
part of the younger women. " The young girls wore 
flats," said a dame of seventy, " and we tied them 
down over our faces, and carried umbrellas to screen 
us from the sun." No such famiharity from Dan Sol 
or any of the mascuhne persuasion was permitted till 
their preordained alter ego came along. One old 
man said, " I sat up with her to feed some httle pigs 
that had lost their mother, and when it got kind of 
tedious I just kissed her because I thought it had 
never been offered her before." It must always be 
remembered that the pink sunbonnet shaded eyes as 
bright and cheeks as soft and fair, with hands as 
white and hearts that beat beneath the plain white 
kerchief as warm as any to-day. Then also was 
there the same love of dress, the same fickleness of 
fashion. The old attics reveal to-day some of the 
quaint articles of costume with which the fair dames 
appeared on state occasions. Here is an enormous 
bonnet of straw, that would be as unwelcome at the 
play as some of the modem plumed aureolas. A 

94 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

pair of buckram frames tell the story of pillow- 
sleeves, big as those a missionary's wife found to 
contain stuff enough to make her child a dress. 
Then there were gowns of textures oft as dehcate 
and tasteful, if not as rich and costly, as now, just as 
varied in pattern and often far more elaborate in 
adornment; for much of the lace and other trim- 
ming was made by their own deft hands, which were 
seldom idle. It is a mistake to suppose that all the 
artistic fabrics and forms are modern. Silk- weavers 
seek the antique for beauty of pattern, and costumers 
revert to Dolly Varden, Mother Hubbard, Marie-An- 
toinette, and Madame Pompadour when they want 
to bring out something to astonish. 

Now and then a bridal dress has survived the 
wreck of time, recalling a sentiment which in all 
ages brings out the best that is in human nature. 
The veil and wreath were then, as now, the bride's pre- 
rogative. Perhaps a dainty slipper appears, filled once 
by some fairy foot that perchance has lost its light- 
ness. But how it once tripped down the stair, amid 
the shower of rice, that night she went out a young 
bride! Among these treasures is a tortoise-shell 
comb, around which the hair was piled in wondrous 
folds of rich profusion. One little curl of gray re- 
mains on a remembered face, a relic of former beauty 
not all yet faded. The engagement rings seldom 
were of diamond, but a plain circlet of gold, on 
which sometimes was inscribed the couplet : 

" I hope in time 
You may be mine." 

The wedding-ring did not often convey a large 
amount of worldly goods, but it was not the fickle 

The Dress of the Olden Time. 95 

bauble of fashion to be shifted with every change of 
fortune, but taken for better and for worse. The 
miniatures of the olden time reveal many striking 
forms and beautiful faces. Perhaps the artist flat- 
tered them. There were no sun-pictures to bring 
out the imperfections as in more recent days. But 
hfe then was just as real as now, having hke virtues 
and vices, foibles and follies, cares and pleasm^es. As 
we look upon those who have survived them, we are 
looking as it were upon veterans who liave come 
through many a conflict, or upon craft that have 
weathered many a storm. We may smile at their 
weaknesses and quaint ways, but let us think how it 
will be with ourselves when the next generation 
shall be retrospecting our age ; bringing out fi'om 
the attic our old hats and gowns, our stovepipe hats 
and flower-garden bonnets of all the colors of the 
rainbow, our stiff collars and pointed shoes. Some 
day the college professor will show to the students 
our clumsy steam-engines and dynamos, and the pop- 
ular lecturer will set the house in a roar with a de- 
scription of a modern girl whirling through the ave- 
nues on a bicycle, in bloomer costume. Oui* boasted 
triumphs will seem child's play to the twentieth- 
century savant. 




E have read in an old album at Monroe the 
hnes : 

" In vain may old folks scold and watch, 
And barricade the house ; 
For surely Love the girls will catch, 
As cats do catch the mouse." 

— Experience. 

We must not forget that these wrinkled faces and 
stooping forms were not always thus. A gleaming 
eye, a snowy curl, some rehc, ribbon, or jewel, re- 
mind us that there was beauty then, and tender hearts, 
and hearts to love as well. There were quiet lanes, 
and narrow bridges over babbling brooks, where was 
" only room for twa." And bits of romance would 
find their way even into lives amid these rugged 
rocks and humble homes. The big fireplace — what a 
spot to woo and dream and forecast the future ! The 
very mode of building the fire was an index of the 
skill of the hands ; the manner in which it burned 
an omen of the success of the future wife. The re- 
plenishment of the fuel and the stirring of the coals 
gave frequent occasion for mutual help and coopera- 
tion. The very crackle of the chestnut logs gave a 
name to the pleasant pastime. When the fire ceased 


Courtship and Marriage. 97 

to need attention, the youth would get out his jack- 
knife and whittle ; and if the old man should look in, 
it would be to see if the whittling ultimated in any- 
useful end. Thus he was carving his own destiny. 
And the maid would ply her needles and " widden or 
narrow," take up or drop a stitch, and give her answer 
to the burning question, according to the form it 
took, either sock or mitten. Rival lovers would try 
to sit one another out. A fine horse and buggy or 
cutter would give opportunity to promote the lover's 
scheme. With what vim they sang : 

"Jingle, bells; jingle, bells; jingle all the way : 
Oh, what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh ! " 

Often it would result in a ride to the parson's, or 
in a message to bring the parson to her door. 

" I want you to marry me to this 'ere gal," said a 
swain to the minister. " But you seem to have two ; 
I can marry you only to one." '' Oh, well, come into 
the parlor and I will tell you which one." The 
choice was made ; the knot tied. Both knelt with 
their backs to the man of God, the groom disclosing 
a huge pair of brogans from his overcoat pocket. 
The ceremony over, he said : " I came away without 
my pocket-book ; I will settle to-morrow." It is need- 
less to say to-morrow never came. 

The same minister rode out to a log cabin in the 
woods, for a similar pur[3ose, and was met at the 
door by the groom, who was anxious to have the con- 
tract made as binding as the law allows, and addressed 
him thus: "Did you bring one of them things? — 
them, ah — certif 'cat's ? " 

He was assured everything was prepared to per- 
form the ceremony aright. After some confusion as 

98 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

to their relative places and the proper answers to be 
given, they were tied together. Then from the hps 
of paterfamihas came the query : " Sam, did you 
settle?" Sam settled; and as the dominie called for 
his horse, it was said to him : " We would like to 
have you stay to tea, because we have tea things, but 
you are in a hurry." The next day they expressed 
regret that he did not stay, for they had two kinds of 
cake : gingerbread and biscuit. 

The marriage ceremony was seldom performed in 
the church at that day, at least in Monroe, but 
mostly at the home of the bride, or at the house of 
minister or justice of the peace. When the marriage 
took place at home, it was an event that excited the 
whole neighborhood. There were dressmaking and 
brewing, baking, and general furbishing for weeks. 
Cook-books and patterns ready cut and marked could 
not be bought then. The experienced talent of the 
parish was called in, and many an original trousseau 
and novel delicacy was the outcome. When the 
bride could make her own attire, and her mother 
cook the entire menu, that was something to boast of. 
One such feast we recollect, in which there were 
nine courses, all of home production. 

A wedding party was the scene of great merri- 
ment, seldom of intemperance. The music was fur- 
nished by native talent. One of the old dancing- 
masters was of so serious a turn that he would 
practise on his violin and read his Bible at the same 
time. While a wedding was at its highest, the rude 
boys would come and serenade the couple with horn 
and tin pan, which they called " riding skimbleton." 
Sometimes they proceeded to great extremes, such as 
placing a stone on top of the chimney, or snatching 

CotcrtsMp and Marriage. 99 

food from the stove. A sharp lesson was adminis- 
tered to them once, when the doctor offered them 
wine in which tartar emetic had been placed. A 
very sick crowd was laid out on fence and wood-pile. 
On another occasion they fired a gun just as the 
ceremony was in progress. The bride nearly fainted. 
This time the perpetrators were arrested and fined. 
And yet weddings and skimbletons continue as of 



THE flour and feed mill was needed almost as soon 
as the country began to be settled. The primi- 
tive mill was a private one, consisting of a rude, hol- 
low stone with a rounded one for pestle. With these 
the com was pounded as the settlers could learn from 
their Indian neighbors. The bolting was done with 
a fan, as in Scripture times. Samp and hominy were 
the common food at first. But soon there would be 
a longing on the part of some goodwife for some 
wheat or rye flour to try her hand upon. We are 
informed of one of the early settlers who walked to 
the river and brought home a bag of flour on his 
back. But it was not long before a flour and grist 
miU was built in the Clove. In the old records it 
bears the name of Cunningham's Mill. It was built 
by some one of the Smith family, for the deeds show 
that Hophni Smith sold the property to Abner Cun- 
ningham for £480 in 1788. The latter sold in 1806 
to Nicholas Knight, yeoman of Smith's Clove. The 
deed mentions the stone arch of the bridge, a white- 
oak bush as a monument, the raceway and mill, with 
house, in lot No. 43 of the Cheesecock Patent. 
The stump of a white-oak tree is on the south side of 
the highway to-day. 


Mills and Smithy. 101 

The machinery of this mill was mostly of wood. 
The bolting was done by hand. An old musket was 
found in the mill, which Daniel Knight undertook to 
take apart, when the load exploded and injured liis 
eyesight. He was conducting a customer down to 
the basement when the old man fell. Mr. Knight 
said: "Did you miss the steps?" He rephed : "I 
missed the top one, but I hit all the rest." A saw- 
mill stood a little west of the gi'ist-mill, and most of 
the timber of the neighborhood was sawed there. 
The old dam gave way in a freshet while owned by 
Daniel and Jeremiah Knight, but was rebuilt with 
greater strength. 

When it came into possession of Chauncey B. 
Knight the mill was entii*ely renovated. The wooden 
machinery was taken out, and the latest improve- 
ments, even a new wheel, introduced. But the 
water-power was soon found to be inadequate to the 
increased dimension of the wheel and heavier ma- 
chinery, especially in a dry time. This led its owner 
to build a steam-mill in the village near the depot, 
which has done its work for more than a quarter of 
a century, and under the management of Messrs. 
Chas. Knight and Greo. R. Conklin is doing yeoman 
service to-day. The scene now is very different from 
the mill scenes of seventy years ago, when the 
farmer's boy came on an ambling nag, with a bag of 
grain divided for a saddle, and the plethoric ends 
swinging on either side. The dusty miller, after nag- 
ging him, helps unload and swing the grist within 
his dusty domain, and then proceeds to toll it before it 
is emptied into the hopper. Now the farmer drives up 
with sturdy team, weighs it on the platform scale, 
himself with it, and straightway loads a ton or two 

102 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

of reed, weighs, drives off and fills his bins at home, 
from which he feeds his splendid herd with the inde- 
pendence of a lord of the manor. 

It is related that a portly yeoman expressed some 
surprise that his loaded wagon weighed so much 
more than he expected. " Oh ! " said his little grand- 
son, " Grandpa, you forget you were in the wagon, 
and weighed yourseK." 

Another well-remembered mill near Monroe village 
was the old fulUng-mill. It stood on the bank of 
the Outlet Brook, near the mill-pond. It was the 
property of Nicholas and afterwards of Daniel Knight. 
The history of its acquisition is worthy of record. 
According to the deed, Philadelphia Cock sold to 
Nicholas Knight her one-half dower right in the 
property — the fulling-mill and house and 181 acres 
of land — for the consideration of five shillings. No 
doubt there must have been some unexplained encum- 
brance assumed by the purchaser. 

Now this mill, after running many years, was over- 
hauled and put in order by the late Horace Hall. 
Although he had no previous experience, he repaired 
it and acquired therefrom a reputation for hke work 
throughout the neighborhood. He lived to tell of it 
until recently, when he died, September 8, 1892, in his 
eighty-fourth year. 

It is often asked by the present generation. Of 
what use is a fulling-mill, and what is the process 
of fulling? 

The wool, after shearing and washing, was brought 
hither by the good dame who had no conveniences at 
home, nor sufficient skill, and was further cleansed, 
bleached, and carded by great cylindrical cards into 
roUs. It was then ready for spinning, and skilled 

Mills and Smithy. 103 

housewives preferred to do this with their own deft 
hands, spinning-wheels being necessary furniture 
of every well-regulated household. But sometimes 
circumstances rendered it expedient to have the 
subsequent processes finished at the mill. It was 
then woven into cloth or blankets, rolls of flan- 
nel, or coverlets, which were then put into troughs with 
fuller's earth or suds and soaked and pounded, then 
hung on frames with tenter-hooks and dried. When 
it had been thus cleansed and shrunk, it was folded 
and laid on an iron table, with a heavy iron plate laid 
on the cloth, while a powerful screw pressed the 
plates together until the material had every drop of 
moisture pressed out of it and was ready for the 
draper and tailor. 

This was an important industry in the early days, 
when the shears and knitting-needles were common 
implements, and gi*eat factories and merchant tailors 
were unknown. 

The old house that belonged to the fulling-mill is 
still standing, just beyond the road across the pond. 
That road was not tliere in the days of the mill, but 
was built about 1858. 

The Seamanville mill is an old one. It belonged 
to Daniel Miller, who is remembered as the person 
who gave the land on which the old Presbyterian 
church stood, and the present burial-ground. It had 
been owned and operated many years by Charles 
Tm'ner, son of the late Peter Turner. The mill had 
the reputation of grinding very fine flour. There 
were a sawmill and distillery on the Still Brook, some 
of the timbers of which, or the dam, can still be seen. 
So at Turners there was an old sawmill, and after- 
wards a grist-mill. 

104 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

Highland Mills and Tannery have been in posses- 
sion of the Cromwell family many years, and have 
given name and business to the Lower Clove. 

Other mills might be mentioned, as, for instance, 
the fishing-rod and tackle factory of the Messrs. 
Hall, and the iron bedstead factory at Sonthfield. 
Few parts of the country are more favored than this 
old town with water-power and desirable mill-seats. 

The blacksmith was an important individual in a 
rural community, even in very early times. The 
plow had to be shod, tools had to be made ; for 
there were no great factories in those days to turn 
out tools by steam. The country smith made the 
hoes and coulters and axes, often the carving-knife and 
chisel. In such a stony country the horses and even 
the oxen must be shod. The shop stood by some 
cross-road to catch customers, and was a mere shanty, 
but the resort of many a traveller and neighbor. 
They come with broken wagons and shoeless horses, 
and as they stand under the grimy shed about the 
glimmering forge their voices are heard above the 
ringing anvils and the puffing bellows. Not seldom 
are important questions of town politics and social 
ethics settled here. One of Rogers' groups repre- 
sents the sturdy smith illustrating a siege in which 
he took part, the parallels of approach being drawn 
in the scales and dust at the foot of his anvil. 

We remember that when our village geologist visited 
the shop of WiUiam Hudson he discoursed learnedly 
about oxygen and hydrogen. But the man of the 
leathern apron said, " He need not talk to me about 
his oxygen and cowdrogen, for I do not beheve in 
them." But he did know how to make an ax or 
adz, and Hudson's tools were the best in the market. 

Mills and Smithy. 105 

He could also shape and temper a penknife blade. 
He had never heard of the spectroscope, yet he 
would watch the play of color when he was forging 
an axe, as the color changed from straw to pink and 
pink to blue, and when the desired tint was reached 
out he would snatch it and plunge it into oil or water, 
and produce a choice tool, while he did not pretend 
to any scientific explanation of the process. He 
died of apoplexy, in the height of his usefulness. 

Cortland Rumsey, of Turners, was another skilled 
workman of the forge. He could repair even so deli- 
cate an instrument as a watch. 

He also, like many others, felt the hand of 
Death, before whom the strong bow themselves, while 
the fah*est wither like the flowers of spring touched 
by the frost. 




AMONG- the earliest avocations was that of keep- 
JTjl. ing houses of public entertainment. Their 
evolution has been the reverse of some others. The 
ancient caravansary became a hostelry ; that, a cof- 
fee-house ; then a tavern ; and that a saloon, where 
only liquors are drunk and drunkards made. At 
that stage the publican becomes the synonym of sin- 
ner. But in the early settlement of the country, or 
before it was settled, and when modes of travel were 
primitive, there was a necessity for houses of enter- 
tainment where the traveller could stop and rest his 
beast and refresh himself. If there was a bar, it 
was because every one used liquor freely, not even 
excepting the minister. People travelled then on 
horseback, or by private conveyance, or by stage- 
coach, which had its regular routes, carrying, besides 
passengers, the United States mail. Wherever it 
was convenient for such to stop for rest or change 
of teams, a hostelrj^ would spring up. All the way 
from New York, on the great stage route, were such 
places of entertainment. The Clove was a good 
day's journey from the city. Starting from Hoboken 
in the morning, travellers would find it convenient to 
rest, after fifty miles, at Monroe village ; hence the 
importance of its hotels. There was one at the old 
or upper village very early. This old hostelry, ac- 


Tnnheepiny. 107 

cording to Homo, was presided over at different 
times by Brewster Tuthill, Isaac Van Duzer, Peter 
Ball, Daniel Vail, Sylvester Gregory, and Hophni 
Smith. Town meetings and elections were held at 
the old tavern, and many were the questions outside 
the ballot-box which were settled in blood between the 
athletes of the Upper and Lower Cloves and South- 
field. It would be deemed a very tame election in 
which three or four of these contests did not occur. 
It had, for a sign, two men ; some said it represented 
Aaron Buit and Alexander Hamilton shaking hands, 
something that modern bruisers do before they fight, 
but it is more likely it was the landlord welcoming his 
guest. When Monroe moved to its present site the 
hotel went with it, and was kept in the WiUiam Sea- 
man house. Here the old stage would rumble up 
with the sound of bugle, and while the obsequious 
landlord would help out the dust-covered passenger, 
boots would snatch bandbox and bundle, horses 
would be changed, the mails be delivered, and the 
whole place be agog. All are curious to see the 
strangers and learn the news. There are some 
anxious faces, parents inquiring after absent sons, 
friends asking in regard to an accident or battle, 
lovers looking for letters; but the scene takes on 
more humorous coloring as Jehu jokes with the 
boys, or flirts with the barmaid ; or the old bar-room 
loungers come up to be treated by some politician 
seeking votes. John Van Bui'en came thus to 
Monroe, and apologized for public drinking to the 
tavern loungers, much to their amusement. The 
Monroe Hotel was first kept by De Witt McGan'ah ; 
afterwards, at the newer site, by John Goff. It was 
here, in 1854, at a Fourth of July celebration, that the 

108 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

toast was given, " The Monroe doctrine, the doctrine 
of Monroe." 

Another hotel stood where the Granite House now 
is. This was kept by the father of David Lynch. 
It had a sign painted by a wandering artist, repre- 
senting on one side a high-stepping horse, elegantly 
caparisoned, and ridden by a neatly dressed rider, 
who, on the air proceeding from his mouth, says, 
" Am going to law." On the reverse is the same 
horse, spavined and starved, while the man walks be- 
side, saying, "I have been to law." It probably told the 
experience of mine host, as of many others. This 
sign was such a curiosity that visitors were usually 
taken thither to see this work of an old master. 

There was another hotel at the other end of the 
viUage, to intercept the traveller from the other di- 
rection. It stood where Alfred Carpenter's house 
stands. It is related that the lazy landlord would 
send a boy to lead a traveller's horse up and down 
the scrub-oaks when he wanted him curried. There 
were plenty of such curry-combs in those parts then. 
It is also related that a lady and her daughter were 
riding from church on horseback ; they took refuge 
from a shower under the hotel shed; when the 
young lady looked down upon her white dress, what 
was her disgust to see it covered with fleas ! We 
are glad to say substantial dwellings and happy 
homes occupy all these sites now. Other routes 
through the Clove had places of entertainment well 
known at the time ; such, for instance, as the hotels 
of John Coffey, Greorge Wilkes, John Galloway, and 
M. Dickerman. 

These were on the lower road, the grand route to 
Newburg and the river towns. Through this beau- 
tiful valley rumbled the Albany coaches, carrying 

Innkeeping. 109 

many a celebrity of the State, army, and society. 
But now all is changed, the splendid trains of the 
Erie Railway sweeping back and forth, bearing 
freight and passengers, like the countless corpuscles 
of an artery, to the great life centres beyond. Nor 
would a history of public entertainment be complete 
without mention of Peter Turner, who had the fore- 
sight to perceive that the Erie Road would have to 
pass through the Clove, and would need an eating- 
station within fifty miles of New York ; hence his 
choice of the location now called by his name. Here 
he had a sawmill first, then erected a grist-mill ; 
afterwards he built the hotel at the bottom of the 
hill. His restaurant was well known by every trav- 
eller, and was famed for its coffee and crullers. This 
afterwards developed into the splendid Orange Hotel, 
which was under railroad management, the moving 
spirit of which was the late James Turner, son of 
Peter Turner. This fine structure was burned, and 
the old hotel and restaurant recovered their ancient 
and unrivalled fame. 

The late George Goff informed me that his father, 
Michael Goff, kept a house of entertainment on the 
old Bloomingdale road, just out of New York, before 
he moved to Central Valley ; and that Thomas Addis 
Emmet, the Irish patriot, when banished, was enter- 
tained by him. The best rooms were given up to 
liim and his suite. Mine host and his family took 
the rooms over the stables. George Goff was born 
during the time, " hke his Master," as he used to say, 
'' in a stable." Michael Goff afterwards removed to 
Central Valley, where his son John Goff was born, 
who bought the hotel at Monroe, one of the best- 
known in the county. He married Phoebe, the sister 
of Peter Turner, but left no children to succeed him. 



ANOTHER occTipation early in vogue was that of 
J-JL merchandizing ; first the peddler came through, 
hke Harvey Birch, with his pack of wares. He 
would spread out his trinkets and gaudy kerchiefs 
to captivate the servant, with tapes and needles, a 
tablecloth or dress pattern, for mistress, a jackknife 
for the boy, or " specs " for the old man. There was 
more of respectabihty about it then. Indeed, in the 
old country the peddler was the Christian colpor- 
teur, conveying secretly the sacred classics to Swiss 
chalets nestling in deep glens or on dizzy crags. The 
coming of the travelling merchant was always wel- 
come, and was rewarded with rest and refreshment. 
But as wants multiply, something more permanent 
and expensive is needed ; hence the country store. 
Look in on its bewildering variety of goods. You 
can hardly get in, for the boxes and samples of vege- 
tables and fruits. Your progress is impeded within 
by cases of shoes and enormous boots. There are 
showcases containing all sorts of ribbons, laces, em- 
broideries, with all those little dainty things called 
notions by the fairer part of creation. Vis-d-vis with 
them is another, catering to coarser tastes : full of pipes 


Merchandizing. Ill 

and snuff-boxes, cigars and tobacco, colored sticks of 
candy and bull's-eyes. Gaudy prints adorn the coun- 
ters on one side, while the shelves are plethoric with 
textures to suit every age and taste, from overalls 
for father to pinafore for " sis " ; from a lawn for the 
bride to a scarf for the dominie. In battle aiTay, on 
the other side, are all sorts of hardware, from a 
sickle to a razor, a monkey-wrench to a carpet-tack. 
Further on are groceries, wet and dry : tea, coffee, 
molasses, vinegar, starch, candles, sugar, bacon, cod- 
fish, and mackerel. Overhead are all descriptions 
of tinware and bits of sheet-iron for stovepipe, for 
the merchant must do some of the work of the tinker. 
Harness and saddles and horse-blankets are for sale 
till the harness-maker comes. Then there are seeds 
and bulbs and plants ; often hay and feed. What a 
medley of smells, particularly in the cellar, where are 
the cheese and butter, fish and pork, and oils for 
paint or illumination ! 

The store is an attractive place in a countiy vil- 
lage. Women come to shop, but men love to sit on 
the barrels and talk and smoke, or eat crackers and 
cheese. All the petty happenings of the village are 
brought to light and discussed. One old man de- 
clared that he could not stub his toe behind the barn, 
or his old cat have kittens, but some one would re- 
port it. 

When Mr. Goff fell into his well, he bet that before 
he was dry some one would report it. 

When political campaigns were rife, discussions 
would run high, and sharp words be spoken. On 
one occasion two neighbors were discussing some 

question ; one of them said : " You lie under a 

mistake." At first the other was ready for a blow ; 

112 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

but when he heard the entire sentence he relented, 
saying : " Next time I want you to put your words a 
httle closer together." We recollect a man from the 
mountain coming in and asking if the merchant had 
any superb cheese. Just then a young man burst 
into a laugh. " Who is he '^ " said the irate customer. 
When informed he said : " He is a pusillanimous 
poor creetur'." A young druggist came to town and 
started business. He was inclined to be somewhat 
stilted in phraseology, and would talk of things in 
juxtaposition. Stepping into a store where the late 
Matthew B. Swezey was busy, he inquired what he 
was doing. He replied : "I am extracting the sugar 
from this barrel, and it is so contiguous to the bot- 
tom of the barrel, I am rather ambiguous whether I 
can extricate it." A pebble was handed me by one 
who had read a little of Lyell or Hitchcock, and an 
answer desired as to its nature. I described it as a 
water-washed pebble of milky quartz, veined with 
graywacke. "You 're mistaken," said he; "it is the 
petrified fruit of the Lepidodendron." One of the 
merchants had sent up a pattern of rather gaudy vel- 
veteen to the house of a Friend, for what was called 
a waistcoat. Next day his wife returned it, with the 
remark that it was not comely, as it was " all vanity 
and moss." " I want some Merrimac calico," said a 
lady. Several pieces were exhibited. She astonished 
the salesman by saying : " You call it Merrimac, but 
I '11 guarantee it was made in this country." One even- 
ing, when a store was closed, the frequenters of the 
store brought out a pack of cards and began to play. 
They were regarded then with such holy horror, that 
they were played clandestinely, as the very work of 
the devil. On the occasion referred to the minister 

Merchandizing. 113 

visited the store rather late. Seeing a light, he en- 
tered, when, lo ! the contraband was out of sight, nor 
would have been suspected, had not one of the old 
gentlemen naively said : " Well, you nearly ketched 
the boys playing kiards ! " 

The early groceryman sold Uquor from his store. 
Before the temperance reform it was customary so 
to do. Nor was it a small part of their trade. Then 
it was considered necessary to take a drop of some- 
thing for every ailment and almost every stage of 
duty. The nurse must wash the baby in it ; the old 
man must take it for his nightcap. The harvesters 
must have it in the field. The goodwife must have a 
little to keep off the megrims, and even the minis- 
ter did not refuse what he called spiritual refresh- 
ment. It is not strange to find, upon looking over 
some of the old books, the frequent repetition of 
such items as " N. E. Rum, Apple-jack, Brandy and 
Cider." These, with tobacco, were the largest pur- 
chases of some of the mountaineers and miners. 
Whenever there was a little balance over, it used to be 
said that they took it out in these poisons. But time 
has Tvi'ought a change for the better, and a corner 
grocery for the sale of hquor belongs to the regions 
of barbarism or caricature. 

The first store in Monroe was at the upper \dllage, 
and was kept by Timothy Little, who married a 
daughter of Rev. Mr. Baldwin. His successors were 
Griffen and Vyle, with Matthew B. Swezey for clerk. 
When business forsook the upper village and settled 
around the present site, John McGaiTah built the 
hotel for his son De Witt, and a storehouse for 

It is an interesting fact in regard to the father of 

114 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

John McGrarrah and great-grandfather of Messrs. 
Theodore and Eugene, that he was a member of the 
State legislature when the Erie Canal bill was before 
that body, and that he voted for the bill. But for 
that enlightened act he was burned in effigy by his 
political opponents ! 

On the opposite corner was the store of Matthew 
B. Swezey, who sold out to Chauncey B. Knight, 
the former continuing as his clerk. 

Grates W. McGrarrah built a store at the further 
end of the village, where, in 1843, he conducted busi- 
ness till 1847, when he died, much respected as a 
merchant and beloved by friends. 

Henry Bertholf succeeded him, and he was suc- 
ceeded by the sons of Mr. Gates McGarrah, Theodore 
and Eugene, who conducted the store in partnership 
for many years ; it at last closing out with the latter, 
February, 1896. 

Chauncey B. Knight built the brick store on the 
raihoad corner in 1853, and occupied it until 1858, 
when he moved across the track and entered upon the 
raih'oad business. William S. Howell succeeded him. 
He took Jesse Strong in partnership. Manning F. 
Ten Eyck and Horace Swezey were clerks. B. 
F. Montanye succeeded. Afterward the store was 
burned, and two handsome brick stores took its place, 
one built by Greo. Eeed, the other by Q-. W. Conk- 
lin. These became, respectively, a drug-store and a 
store for general merchandise. The drug-store was 
burned, but has since been rebuilt, making altogether 
a noble block. 

In the latter building are offices and lodge-rooms, 
toilet-room, and water-power for different uses. The 
department store of Paddleford & Co. is on the main 

Merchandizing. 115 

The moving spirit of this last enterprise is Geo. R. 
Conkhn, who with Chas. T. Knight has a feed-store 
and steam-mill opposite, where from that centre they 
manage branch estabhshments at Chester, Goshen, 
Warwick, and Vei'non in a neighboring State ; while 
they advise with two of Monroe's sons in like busi- 
ness at Florida, N. Y. Thus this little village has 
wide-awake business men and appliances. Gilbert 
Carpenter, also on the diagonal corner, not to be out- 
done, has placed in his feed-store a telephone ex- 
change plant by which a dozen neighbors can not 
merely send orders, but converse privately together, 
even playing over a piece of music or detailing a bit 
of domestic news. Soon he expects to extend his 
hne so as to take in the wide, wide world. 

William Bertholf has his tin and stove store, but 
from it also go out the wires of the Postal Telegraph, 
operated hy his brother Frank. 

Thus Monroe is true to its antecedents, and follows 
up the footprints and spirit of the scientific minds of 
the olden time. 

Henry Mapes dealt out drugs for many years, but 
has taken up business of a natm-e more grave. 

John Gregory is worthy of mention. He is the 
only siu'viving merchant of the ancient past. He is 
upwards of eighty years of age, and conducted the har- 
ness business more than fifty years ago in the upper 
part of the village. About 1870 he built a fine store 
and dweUing nearer the railroad, and there has re- 
sided since. His son Lester has changed the busi- 
ness, but his venerable father now alone wends his 
way to post-office and church, to find in this last, 
as of yore, the rest that comes to the weary. We 
could speak of others, younger, but they must wait 
until some new historian is bom. 



THE earliest mention of a school in Monroe is of 
one held in the Presbyterian Church building at 
Seamanville. After that a log school-house was 
built just west of the church. John Brooks went 
to school here. Kinney McManus was the master, 
and he was a weaver by trade. He knew how to ply 
the shuttle of education as well, and fasten at least 
the three R's into the texture of the child mind. 
Here our poet and philosopher got his first start in 
education. The stone school-house followed, built 
of Houser iron-stone, a peculiar rock of this vicinage, 
well adapted for the purpose, because the u-repres- 
sible jackknife could make no impression upon it. 
Hiram Dean, or Danes, is remembered by some when 
a dreadful wen had di'iven him into retirement to a 
little cabin on Ryder Hill. He was a man of limited 
education, but a good penman. John Brooks was 
one of the teachers there ; also his brother Fletcher. 
The former prided himseK, next to scholarship, upon 
the art of making a quill pen. James Cromwell and 
John also wielded the sceptre here ; also Simpson 
and O'Strander, David Lynch and Andrew Van 
Valer, McCuUough and Brewster Tuthill. These 
were followed by Murray, of whom the wits said: 


Schools and Education. 117 

"Nothing was made in vain, since Murray could 

The teacher of that day, said one of them," feri'uled 
the scholars, mended pens, set copies, and made his ink 
of white-oak bark, at the close of the school." He 
boarded around, and collected his own dues — namely, 
$12 a month. The school-house was heated by a 
fireplace. An incident is remembered of the cotton 
clothing of a little girl taking fire, after which the 
teacher requested the parents to dress their children 
in woolen clothes. The text-books were the Eng- 
Ush " Reader," Daboll's " Arithmetic " and " Colum- 
bian Orator," and Murray's " Grammar." We have 
forgotten to mention that he said the teacher would 
sometimes thresh out several shocks of rye, to eke 
out a livelihood and keep his hand in good trim for 

Education at that day was compulsory in a differ- 
ent sense from the present. The master's sceptre 
was the ferrule, — a rod bound at the end with a ring 
of iron, — hence called a ferrule, from ferrum^ u*on. 

The iron-stone of the school-house was significant, 
and a type of the ages. Here the lines of Goldsmith 
well apply : 

" There, in his noisy mansion, skilled to rule, 
The village master taught his little school. 
A man severe he was, and stern to view ; 
I knew him well, and every truant knew. " 

Playing truant was not uncommon in days when 
education was made so dreary, and was punished 
with severity. The swuuming-pool, the orchard and 
the woods offered great temptations to the little pris- 
oners. On the other hand, the hill and toboggan- 

118 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

slide and the ball-game had their counter attractions, 
and many a jolly carnival had the boys and girls to- 
gether, raising shouts that made the very welkin ring. 

Among them were scholars who caught a ghmpse 
of the value of education, and prized the book more 
than the ball. Despite the obstacles that lie along 
the path of learning, nevertheless, they scaled its 
heights and enrolled their names in the Temple of 
Fame. The teacher often had as thorny a road as 
the scholar. When he had to board out his little 
stipend he sometimes had hard fare. One we knew 
was forced to take up his quarters in a log barn, and 
was tormented all night long by the serenading of the 
cats that haunted the place. Some made themselves 
at home anywhere, careful, however, to select the 
good places, where they were quick to find the apple- 
bin, nut-closet, and cider-barrel. 

Nor was he slow to learn the good qualities of the 
farmer's daughter, and by and by come and claun 
her for his bride. 

When the district grew larger there was a demand 
for more room. Then they rose up and built a new 
school-house, a few rods further south. This time 
they chose wood for the material. They set it on 
the roadside, far from the temptation of brook or 
orchard, and where the milk- wagon could easily pick 
them up at the close of school. They put a belfry on 
it, but hung no bell. The oaken benches of the old 
school-house were exchanged for seats and desks 
suited to the sizes of the children. But the ABC 
was still often driven in like nails, as the children 
sung, and one of the pupils who was polished off 
there testifies. 

But mental, like vital, force is invincible, and out 

Schools and Education. 119 

of this institute, as one of the teachers dignified it, 
graduated a goodly company who have done brave 
work in many walks of life. A remnant of these 
call themselves " the old school," and deUght to meet 
occasionally and recall the episodes of school life 
over the historic cup "that cheers but not inebri- 
ates." The teachers of this day, too, were strong, 
enthusiastic, and made the best of the imperfect ap- 
pliances and methods of the tune. At the head we 
place the name of Brewster Tuthill, a man of strong 
individuahty and iron will, who would brook no 
drones in his Httle hive. 

Among the many who taught in that school-house 
was one who, in the judgment of one of his pupils, 
excelled them all. This was the Rev. John J. Thomp- 
son, pastor of the Presbyterian church. He taught 
five days in the week, and preached on the Sabbath. 
His pupil says : " As a teacher he could not be ex- 
celled; as a man, noble, pure, unselfish, living only 
for the good of others. He was the type of a perfect 
Christian gentleman." 

Daniel Hallock held the post for a number of 
years, — a man severe, but skilled to rule. Neil Camp- 
bell brought the fervor of the " canny Scot " to his 
task, loved his profession, and let his benevolent 
heart and hand reach to the poor during the plague 
of the cholera. He exchanged the teacher's vocation 
for that of merchant, married one of his pupils, and 
died early. Mr. Hawkhurst made companions of his 
pupils, took part in their skirmishes and sports, yet 
maintained all the dignity and authority of the 
master, and so was reckoned a successful teacher. 
He afterwards entered, the ministry of the Methodist 

120 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time, 

Our friend Greorge K. Smith brought the experi- 
ence of the farm into school hfe and estabUshed a 
reputation as a skilful instructor, securing for him- 
self the position of school commissioner, which he 
held for a number of years. He was playfully called 
Harvey Birch, because during the later years of peda- 
gogic life "the law of love outlived the rusted rod." 
With him teaching was not a stepping-stone to some- 
thing more lucrative, but he pursued his profession 
till he entered the shade of honorable retirement and 
cheery companionship, in a beautiful home near the 
scene of his toils. 

Mr. Baker will also be remembered among the 
teachers of this time, from the circumstance of the 
change of his name to Knickerbocker, by the State 
legislature, for personal reasons. 

After a while (1857) the district outgrows the yel- 
low school-house, and the demand comes for more 
room. Then occurs one of those disturbances of the 
public mind which always attends the discussion of 
the question of a new school-house. Some want the 
old enlarged; others want the old rebuilt on the 
same site. Villagers want it in the village ; some 
are afraid of the gardens and the noise, and would 
see it as far away as possible. The stone-age people 
want it of stone; the wooden, of wood. A compro- 
mise was effected after a stormy time. A lot was 
bought from the Presbyterian Church, on condition 
of building a fence between the lots. The posts 
were set, nothing further done. The lower story of 
the building was built of stone, to please the stone- 
age people, and the upper story of wood, to satisfy 
the others. The abecedarians were under the care 
of a lady teacher below, and the grammar classes 

Schools and Education. 121 

were upstairs, under the. care of a male teacher, who 
was also principal. The method of education takes 
a stride forward now. It is more analytical. As 
one of the teachers said, " I teach my scholars to tear 
sentences all to pieces and get at their construction 
and meaning." It is now more of a system of edu- 
cation, drawing from the mind what it knows. In 
other words, it is taught how to think, the point at 
which true learning begins. A wide-awake teacher 
named Kane marked this period of transition from 
the old to the new. Mr. Robert F. Todd succeeded 
him. He was a most thorough educator and dis- 
ciplinarian. He married Miss Louisa McGrarrah, 
entered mercantile business, and has since died. 
Mr. George N. Greene was a teacher much beloved. 
One of his favorite phrases for the profession was 
that of " mental gunnery," or " teaching the young 
idea how to shoot." He married Miss Mary Ann 
Seaman, and entered a partnership with her father, 
WiUiam Seaman, in mercantile business in the village. 

Myron D. Stewart succeeded Mr. Greene, and left 
a good record both as a man and teacher. He pos- 
sessed considerable individuality, mental force and 
magnetism. He was a good disciplinarian, and yet 
his scholars loved him. His patriotism was very 
marked during the troublous times of the Civil War. 
He was called to be principal of one of the Middle- 
town, N. Y., schools, where he died at his post at an 
early age, and loftiest tributes were paid his memory 
by pupils and comrades of his profession as well as 
his pastors. 

Then a candidate for the school, although a grad- 
uate of Yale, was refused, on account of his juvenile 
appearance ; Mr. Kirby was chosen, although he was 

122 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

still more youthful. He disappointed none. He, 
after years of service here, was made professor at 
Cornell, and sometime was geologist to the Emperor 
of Brazil. 

Mr. Owen enlivened his instructions with the pop- 
ular college songs, and stepped from the birch to the 
quill, becoming editor of the " Fishkill Journal." 

Mr. M. N. Kane was one of the most thorough and 
efficient of these teachers, a great enthusiast in his 
school work, and winning the encomiums of many pa- 
trons. He afterwards studied law and entered upon 
a large law practice in this village and in Warwick. He 
showed his appreciation of Monroe by wedding one 
of the former pupils of the school. Miss Emma Boyd. 
Mr. Arthur Knox followed his example by marrying 
Miss Sarah Charlton, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. 
Frank Charlton. He, too, did excellent work as prin- 
cipal of Monroe Academy. He afterwards studied 
law, but preferred the profession of teaching, which 
he has followed at the city of Binghamton, N. Y., 
with honor and success. 

Mr. N. B. Chase was very highly esteemed as an 
accomplished teacher. After his term here he took 
charge of a school at Cornwall, N. Y., where his long 
continuance shows rare staying qualities. 

Mr. J. D. Brownell was a scholar of winning mod- 
esty but high scholarship. He afterwards taught at 
Chester, N. Y., and turned his attention to the study 
of medicine, and is reported to have a good practice 
in Brooklyn. 

Mr. A. Magoris must not be forgotten. After a 
splendid record as teacher, he studied medicine and 
became a specialist in his profession, giving atten- 
tion especially to the ear and eye. His office is at 
Binghamton, N. Y. 

Schools and Education. 123 

The Academy had also many lady teachers who 
are held in high esteem — namely, Miss Mary Ann 
Seaman, afterwards Green; Miss Elizabeth Boyd, 
afterwards Still ; Miss Elizabeth Webb, afterwards 
McGarrah; Miss Elsie Cumngton, afterwards Smith; 
Miss Mary E. Knight, afterwards Conklin ; Miss Carrie 
Conklin ; and Miss Sarah Howell, who held her posi- 
tion as principal of the primary department for an 
unexampled term of years, thus showing her ability 
not merely to be content, but to please. Many are 
the graduates of the school to-day who hold her in 
loving remembrance, and are grateful to her for 
teaching them not merely how to navigate the sea of 
science, but to honor the needle in the home hfe. 
She emulated the example of Dorcas in having her 
class make up comforts for the poor. She thus 
showed that she had the right view of education, 
namely, not merely teaching the three R's, but char- 
acter-building, fitting them for this workaday world 
of want and suffering. 

Now, in the year 1884, after the usual agitation, it 
was resolved to abandon the old stone and wooden 
structure and build a new one out on Main street, 
on the breezy hill north of the village. The new 
building is of comely architecture, commodious, well 
equipped with convenient class and assembly rooms, 
handsome fui'uitui'e, and every appUance necessary 
for the present improved methods of education. It 
is well lighted, heated, and ventilated. It has been 
elevated to the rank of a Union Graded Academy, 
and attracts pupils from surrounding districts. Its 
principal, Eichenberg, is one who achieved distinc- 
tion in one of the schools of the old town, namely. 
Turners, and therefore may be supposed to be almost 
" to the manner born." He has an accomphshed staff 

124 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

of lady educators, worthy successors of those re- 
cently mentioned, keeping up the reputation of Mon- 
roe for a desire to reach a high standard of education. 
An interesting ceremony of dedication was held, in 
which the clergy and prominent citizens took part. 

One of the speakers said, " Let us call it the Tem- 
ple of the Wingless Victory ; for as at Athens it was 
said. Wisdom is now come to stay, and laid aside her 
wings. And so they built to her the little temple 
that bears that name on Mars Hill." 



THE Indians had theii* medicine-men, a strange 
mixture of empiricism and superstition. They 
did know the virtues of many herbs, and so far as 
this part of their phaiinacopoeia was concerned, the 
practice based upon it was of value in the absence of 
more scientific knowledge. When the white man 
came, he had the same need, and even more, for the 
healing art. Bringing no physician with him, and 
remote from any, he would have recourse to the 
Indian to learn the names and uses of the herbs 
about him, and, if observing, would bring to his aid 
old remembered remedies, the nostrums of his ances- 
tors, and add a few discoveries or experiences of 
his own. Thus there would arise some men, and 
oftener women, who would be a sort of authority in 
cases of sickness or disease. The remedies and methods 
of some of these self-constituted doctors were often 
absurd and nauseating. One old dame cured burns 
with powwowing over the patient. Another applied 
a carrot poultice. Fish-worms dissolved in whisky 
was then' sovereign remedy for fever and ague, but 
the patient preferred to bait his fish-hook with the 
worms and take the whisky straight. White-oak 


126 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

bark peeled upwards from the south side of the tree 
was given as an emetic, and peeled downward as 
a cathartic. Tansy, feverfew and catnip were favor- 
ite remedies of nearly every housewife, while hem- 
lock seed was sown by one at every corner, the 
minister getting a double portion. Picra was given 
every spring as a tonic. It came to be associated 
with the Shorter Catechism, because often adminis- 
tered together, the result being that both were put 
in the same category. It was some time before the 
educated physician came in, and when he did he 
had no little prejudice to contend with. He often 
found, instead of taking, they were ready to give 
advice. It was not unusual for the physician to 
find his prescriptions superseded by the nostrums 
of some grandam, or himseK bowed out to make 
way for some charlatan, with his pain-killers and 
magic madstone and wizard oil. It was a common 
prejudice to regard the art of healing as a matter 
of empirical craft, rather than of scientific study 
and investigation. To some it was claimed it was 
a divine gift, and, if a seventh son of a seventh 
son, a touch was sufficient to heal even scrofula. 
These people knew more than all the doctors. It 
was enough for one of these magicians to hold a hair 
of a distant patient to diagnose the disease and pre- 
scribe unerring remedies. The mountebank once 
declared officially that quinine would eat away the 
bones if taken as prescribed by the regular prac- 
titioner. But there were often well-intended inter- 
ferences, by visitors or members of the patient's fam- 
ily, which were exceedingly exasperating at times. 
On one occasion one of the disciples of ^sculapius 
was portioning out a powder for a patient, when a 

Physic and Physicians. 127 

kind-hearted little woman put her hand on the doc- 
tor's shoulder, and said, " Now, doctor, don't give him 
anything ha'sh." He sprang to his feet indignantly, 
and said, " Who is doing this ? " In the olden time 
the physician carried his remedies in his saddle-bags, 
for he had to go on horseback to many places. 
When gigs and phaetons came in use, one had his 
made very narrow so that no one could ask to ride. 
Nevertheless, a lady asked if she could ride with hmi 
to her home. He told her to get in, while he leaped 
up behind and stood on the axle, holding the Hnes 
over the top. The pay was small at first. There is 
on the town books a charge of fifty cents for a "bleed" 
by Dr. J. R. Andrews. The profession was regarded 
as a benevolent one by some, who forgot that the 
physician, besides having obtained his knowledge at 
large cost, had a family to support and must keep 
up with the literature and procure the best appU- 
ances of the art. But, notwithstanding, many of his 
visits were gratuitous. He generously included the 
clergy and their famihes in his gratuitous Ust. 

The earliest physician in the town of whom we 
have any knowledge was Dr. Baker, and of him we 
know little more than that he resided in the hamlet 
to which he gave the name of Baker town. 

The next in the memory of the old people was Dr. 
A. Gates White. He lived on the property now 
owned by the Brooks family. He exchanged it for 
the parsonage lot of the Cheesecock Patent, then 
owned by the Presbyterian Chui'ch, known later as 
the Van Valer Farm. He was regarded as a physi- 
cian of no mean skill, and was a man of such high 
character that his patients were willing to name 
their children after him. 

128 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

Dr. Joseph R. Andrews was the third in order of the 
physicians of the olden time. He was born in the 
town of East Haddam; Middlesex County, Connecti- 
cut, in 1778. He came to Monroe to practise soon 
after entering upon his profession, and married Juha, 
daughter of Nehemiah Clark and sister of Mrs. 
Stephen Bull and Nathanael and Henry Clark, well- 
known citizens of Monroe and Oxford. The doctor 
was quite tall, and when we knew him was erect in 
bearing, benevolent in countenance, with abundance 
of long, silvery hair. He visited his patients on 
horseback, with his medicines in a saddle-bag, a true 
physician of the old school. He was very highly es- 
teemed both as a physician and a citizen. He was 
honored with the office of justice of the peace for 
years. He died October 18, 1849, aged seventy-one 
years. He survived his wife but a few weeks ; her 
death occurring August 30 of the same year. Their 
children were Fannie (Mrs. Elijah Smith), Sarah, 
Ehzabeth, Andrew, and Joseph. His epitaph, " De- 
parted worth," is no false praise. 

Dr. Ethan B. Carpenter was graduated at the Uni- 
versity of the State of New York and the College of 
Physicians and Surgeons in the year 1833. He prac- 
tised for six or seven years in Monroe. He retired 
from practice for five years, engaging in mercantile 
business at Elmira, New York. He then returned to 
his native town and engaged in farming, becoming an 
enthusiast in this new vocation. He was honored 
with an election to the State legislature, occupying 
a seat in the Assembly during the winter of 1852-53. 
He was a man of intellect, strong character, and de- 
cided convictions. He was a warm politician of the 
Jeffersonian school, wielding the power of a leader 

Physic and Physicians. 129 

over his constituency. As a practitioner he was re- 
garded as eminently sagacious, and was frequently 
called in council long after he had retired from prac- 

Dr. John C. Boyd was the only son of Rev. John 
and Margaret Gaston Boyd. He was bom in Mon- 
ticello, New York, December 2, 1819. After his 
school education in the village he was matriculated 
at Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania. Before 
finishing his course, he entered Jefferson Medical 
College at Philadelphia. He was graduated March 
1, 1841. He entered upon practice at Monroe, where 
he pursued his profession until the infirmities of age 
compelled him to retire ; and even when too feeble to 
drive any distance, his old patrons would have no 
other, having such confidence in his skill. Dr. Boyd 
was a physician of rare gifts and qualifications for 
the opportunities of his day ; keeping himself well in- 
formed in all the fresh discoveries and advances of 
his profession. He was studious, a constant reader 
of the medical journals, and a member of the Medi- 
cal Society of Orange County, in which he took gi'eat 
interest. His constitutional temperament rendered 
him sometimes brusque, but it was usually toward 
those who put some real or fancied slight upon his 
professional etiquette. Those who knew him best 
found in him a warm friend, a cheery visitor, a faith- 
ful family physician of the old school, painstaking, 
and not merely sympathetic, but, when a case was 
critical, deeply anxious, watching the issue with 
a woman's tenderness. His field of practice was 
a wide and hard one, taking in the mountain and 
mining region, to cover which required many a 
weary drive over snow-clad hills and weary vigils in 

130 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

many a humble cabin. He was the warm friend of 
the Church, being a generous contributor of the 
Presbyterian Church, of which, late in life, he be- 
came a member. He placed the clergy of all denom- 
inations on his free list, and most assiduous were his 
attentions to them and their families. He died De- 
cember 8, 1892, in the seventy-third year of his age. 

Dr. Emmet Seward Elmer was the son of Henry 
D. and JuUa Ann Elmer, and was born at Unionville, 
Orange County, New York, December 30, 1849. 
After attending the schools in his own native village, 
he studied at Mount Retirement Seminary in New 
Jersey; then at Chester Academy, New York. In 
1872 he was graduated from Ann Arbor Medical 
College. In 1874-75 he attended medical lectures 
in New York City, and was house physician in the 
hospital on Blackwell's Island for a time. His 
studies all the while were kept up either at Bellevue 
or the College of Physicians and Surgeons. About 
1877 he settled in Monroe. He was highly esteemed 
by his fellow-practitioners and patients. His love 
for the microscope and readiness to explain its use 
greatly interested the young. October 18, 1887, he 
was married to Miss Sarah, daughter of Morgan 
Shuitt, Esq., and removed to Central Yalley, where 
he pursued his practice tiU his death, October 26, 
1893, in the forty-fourth year of his age. He was 
brother of the Rev. Oscar Elmer, to whom we are in- 
debted for these facts. 

Dr. Frank Grignoux was the son of Claude Gi- 
gnoux, a silk-weaver of Lyons, Prance. His mother's 
maiden name was Adele Christina, an English lady. 
The ancestors of the family were Huguenots, but his 
father was a Cathohc. Several of his forefathers 

Physic and Physicians. 131 

were soldiers, and one was rewarded for bravery 
at the battle of Waterloo, fighting on the side of 

The doctor was a nephew of Regis Gignoux, an 
artist of note. His father emigrated to Staten Island, 
New York, where the doctor was born. He was edu- 
cated at St. Mary's College, Maryland, where he was 
a diligent student, judging from the numerous testi- 
monials of scholarship in possession of the family. He 
was graduated from the College of Physicians and 
Surgeons under Dr. Willard H. Parker, who pro- 
nounced him a most promising young surgeon, 
having unusual steadiness of nerve for a surgical 
operation. After the usual hospital practice he 
served as surgeon in the Army of the Potomac, the 
battle of Antietam furnishing his first experience of 
the realities of war. He married the only daughter 
and settled on the homestead of Judge Miles Hughes, 
in the upper village of Monroe. Here he devoted the 
most of his time to farming, but was always ready 
for consultation with brother physicians, who were 
glad to avail themselves of his skill in surgery. He 
died October 1, 1883, aged forty-two years. 



WE have already alluded to the fact that Monroe 
in its early history was the scene of no little 
litigation, for the reason that the boundaries of the 
Patent and the subdivisions of it were ill defined and 
poorly surveyed. Lines overlapped ; monument trees 
and stones, the simple landmarks, were likely to be 
removed innocently. With poor fences and inclo- 
sures, cattle would stray and trespass and so enhance 
the causes of dispute. 

It used to be said, " It required more gumption to 
cross Broadway, New York, than to be a country jus- 
tice." But men that had not merely crossed Broadway, 
but battled with the milkmen of Hester Street and 
followed up the tricks of middlemen, brought to the 
tribunal of justice in a country town no little shrewd- 
ness and common sense. They were not chosen, 
many at least, because of party influence, but be- 
cause they were men who possessed more than average 
sagacity to understand some of the plain principles 
of law, and also how to apply the equities in its ad- 
ministration. The cases that came before them were 
usually petty cases of disorder or theft, some dispute 
over trespass or an estray in which often a little good 
sense coupled with good advice could adjust the affair 


Lawyers and Litigation. 133 

without cost to court or loss to client. A litigious, 
grasping justice had it in his power to stir up jealousy 
between neighbors and keep the community in a 
state of chi'onic war, or could pour oil on troubled 
waters and still the tempest of strife by a few strokes 
of magisterial common sense. Monroe was blest 
with some such justices of the peace. But of others 
in the olden time we have heard the complaint that 
they loved to encourage litigation, and kept neighbor 
in feud with neighbor, and so were accountable for 
much of the unrest of the early times in Monroe. 

One might have thought from the lesson taught by 
the sign in front of the Lynch tavern, — the badly 
dilapidated horseman and his pitiful confession, '^I 
have been to law," — that lawsuits would be very un- 
common ; but, on the contrary, they were very numer- 
ous. In early days, when there were few excitements 
and amusements, a lawsuit, a horse-race or a funeral 
was a time of general concourse. Lawsuits were 
commonly held at the country tavern, and the tavern- 
keeper found it more of a harvest than the counsel 
or the court. Of course at times there were very 
serious questions to be settled, but as a general thing 
much of the litigation was petty and ought to have 
been settled by arbitration. We have heard a case 
referred to a justice in which the parties were joint 
tenants of a bit of land on which they raised poultry 
and were in dispute as to the broods of turkeys and 
chickens. Their classification of the httle and the 
big httle ones gave the justice a harder example than 
he had with his own corn when the hail beat it down, 
and he said : " I am in doubt whether I had better 
amputate or splinter up." Another justice had a 
perplexing case submitted to him for decision. An 

134 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

Irish lady had a dog that thought himseK a high 
commoner and ranged around among the gardens of 
Dubhn at his own sweet will. During these preda- 
tory excursions he unearthed some of the tubers of a 
brother Hibernian and disturbed the order of his 
garden beds. Exasperated, he caught the trespasser 
just as the milk-train had hauled up at the station, 
when the happy thought struck him to put the pris- 
oner in an empty car, close the door and send him on 
to parts beyond. When this became known to the 
owner of the dog, she had him arraigned before Squire 
Seaman. Never was a man of the law so perplexed 
to classify the alleged crime. The Irishman pleaded 
he just thought a ride would be good for the "baste," 
and he put him in the empty car to take a ride to 
Oxford. It was not maiming nor assault, not trover 
nor trespass, petit larceny nor grand. As soon as the 
justice could obtain silence, — for both wanted to plead 
at the same time, — he dismissed the case. Another 
memorable instance along this line was the Dorking 
case. A kind-hearted neighbor had procured from 
us a dozen fine Dorking fowls, remarkable for their 
pure white plumage and the presence of a fifth toe in 
place of a spur. One of those pettiest of felons, a 
chicken-thief, came one night, forced the lock of the 
hen-house and bagged the whole lot. Suspicion fas- 
tened upon a neighbor of unsavory reputation ; search 
was made at his house, where white feathers gave 
him away, while inquiry at Turner's restaurant fur- 
nished indisputable evidence in the feet of fowls 
five-toed attached to birds bought recently from the 
suspected party. He was arraigned and tried before 
the justice. A five-toed chicken foot was shown in 
court, together with a list of the latest quotations of 

Lawyers and Litigation, 135 

the fancy poultry-market. Dorkings at that date 
were marked at from eleven to twelve dollars per 
pair. This brought the pecuniary claim to over fifty 
dollars ; and as the breaking of the lock was an in- 
dictable offense, the court pronounced the prisoner 
guilty of burglary and grand larceny, and gave him 
the full penalty of the law, namely, six years in the 
penitentiary. Such exemplary damages put a pause 
to chicken thievery for a while. It is matter of 
record that the tender-hearted prosecutor relented 
toward the prisoner and after two years procured his 
pardon. But the generosity of his benefactor was 
rewarded by the culprit stealing a fine colt from 
Peter Townsend, Esq., for which he was sent up to 
serve out his full sentence. 

Monroe has had its roll of lawyers as well as phy- 
sicians. The persons who conducted cases before the 
justices were often lay practitioners who, having 
read Blackstone and the Revised Statutes, brought 
no little shrewdness and common sense to bear in 
elucidating points of law and evidence. If a pro- 
fessional ventured to enter the arena, he would be 
handled without gloves, particularly if it were a Jury 
trial. It is a common observation that the man of books 
is outwitted by the child of nature and experience. 

We remember an instance in which the help of a 
neighboring lawyer was sought, and while the man 
of learning was making up the res gestm, he happened 
to apologize to his client for a smoky chimney, and 
wish he would go up and investigate the cause. 
When he had so done a bill was handed him for 
counsel fees, whereupon his witty chent said, " I, too, 
have a charge of like amount for ad\dce about the 

136 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

Thomas L. Carpenter, son of Dr. Ethan B. Car- 
penter, studied law and was admitted to the bar in 
1868. He practised in New York and in the West. 
He is now connected with the Postal Telegraph and 
Cable Company of New York City. 

John Charlton, son of Mr. Frank Charlton, of this 
village, was graduated at the New York Law School, 
has been admitted to the bar and is employed in the 
law oface of Henry W. Taft, Esq. 

Robert M. Gignoux and Claude, his brother, were 
the sons of Br. Frank Gignoux ; were born in Mon- 
roe; graduated at Yale University; studied, the former 
at Yale and the latter at the New York Law Acad- 
emy, and after admission to the bar practised for a 
time at Monroe, but soon removed to the city, where 
they have an office on Nassau and Cedar streets. New 
York. They are reported to have a large practice. 

Fred. Hulse, son of Jesse Hulse and Euth Webb, 
studied law at the New York Law School, and 
distinguished himself by his studiousness, winning 
both honors and premiums. 

Mr. M. N. Kane, although not a native of Monroe, 
deserves to be enrolled with its sons, having taught 
in its school and married one of its fair daughters. 
Miss Emma Boyd. He has a beautiful home in 
Warwick, and a law office there and in Monroe. He 
has the honor to be corporation counsel of the latter. 

To the legal roster must be added the name of 
Lewis R. Conklin, son of Geo. R. Conklin and Isa- 
bella Roberts. He studied at Exeter Academy, New 
Hampshke, at Yale College, and at the New York Law 
School. He enters his profession with high aspira- 
tions and bright promise of success. 



THE churclies and clergy of the olden time are 
worthy of notice. Provision was made in the 
Patent, or rather in the survey under the Patent, for 
religious worship ; the surveyor, no doubt carrying 
out the instructions of the patentees, sought out a 
lot for a parsonage, and rejected one as too poor, set- 
tling upon lot 24. This is the present Peter Bush farm. 
A log hut was built here, beside a spring, probably 
for the minister ; but the spot was too remote from 
business centers for a church. The Presbyterians 
were the first to enter the field. The first sermon 
known to have been preached in this vicinity was 
dehvered by Silas Constant, then a hcentiate, under 
the care of Morris and Orange, known as an inde- 
pendent presbytery. He was stationed at Blooming 
Grrove, and according to his own journal was accus- 
tomed to preach at the Clove. He began his work 
April 20, 1783, and was ordained September 25, 1784. 
About the former date he delivered a sermon to a 
congregation assembled under an apple-tree standing 
in the southeast corner of the orchard of the late 
Robert Fowler, Esq. The tree, shattered and broken, 
still remains; but the generation who knelt and 
prayed there, together with the preacher, have long 
18 137 

138 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

since entered on their rest. The fruit borne by this 
tree is of delicious quahty, subacid, flushed, and ten- 
der as a strawberry. Being nameless and unclassi- 
fied, it has been christened the Presbyterian apple. 
It is perpetuated in grafts in several Monroe or- 
chards. This first sermon was not without its fruits, 
for the people arose immediately to build. Daniel 
Miller, mill-owner at Seamanville, gave a lot of about 
two acres near by, for church and burial-ground. It 
has been considerably diminished since by encroach- 
ments. Timber was cut, probably on the spot, for 
the meeting-house, as it was called. Neighbors of aU 
denominations were called out to the raising. Ne- 
hemiah Clark was among the number. When the 
neighbors stopped for him on their way to the scene 
of operation, he had just been made happy by the 
birth of a daughter. Whether he went on to share 
in the natal joy of the parish, deponent saith not. 
We only know that she was afterwards married to 
Stephen Bull, and was known by a large circle of 
friends as Aunt Betsy BuU. The family Bible con- 
tains the record : " Elizabeth Clark was bom the 
5th month, 28th day, 1783." This was the day the 
first church building was erected in the old Town 
of Cheesecock. The building was not inclosed till 
long afterward. The preacher preached from the 
carpenter's bench and the people sat on the siUs. 
School was held in it during the week, and neighbor 
Sutherland's sheep would take refuge in it by night. 
The congregation was not organized till May 17, 
1784, by Rev. Amzi Lewis, of Florida, and Rev. Silas 
Constant, at the house of Mr. John Bell of Baker- 
town. The name taken was " The First Presbyterian 
Congregation of Cheesecocks." Archibald Cunning- 

Churches and Clergy. 139 

ham and William Miller, Jr., were chosen deacons. 
Afterward, say the minutes, " the church agreed to 
have a stated meeting, monthly, for business, conver- 
sation, and prayer." The names of those composing 
the church were : Archibald Cunningham and wife 
William Miller, Jr., and wife ; John Miller and wife 
Thos. Davenport; Thos. Davenport, Jr., and wife 
Samuel Hall and wife ; Jas. Lewis and wife ; Jane B., 
wife of Timothy Smith ; Mrs. Jonathan Archer ; — a 
little handful of corn whose fruit has since begun to 
shake like Lebanon. This religious movement was 
the result of an act of the legislature granting hb- 
erty of worship and regulating the organization of 
congregations, passed April, 1784. There were de- 
vout souls in the little flock, who deplored the low 
state of religion in the community, and the desolate 
condition of the congregation. Among them was 
good Mrs. Archer. Falling one day over the rude 
timbers, the people rose up and resolved to finish the 
building. They put in windows, door, floor, square 
pews, gallery, pulpit, and sounding-board. It was 
treated to two coats of paint, one in front, white, the 
other red, in the rear. But it was done so badly 
that one old man said he " could have thrown the 
paint on from a cup and done better." The sermons 
in those days were very long doctrinal discourses, 
with an intermission at noon, when the people 
lunched among the graves of the chui'chyard. The 
dominie would take the opportunity to answer in- 
quiries, converse with the childi'en, for there was no 
Sunday-school, thus becoming acquainted with the 
wants of his flock. We do not know whether to 
wonder more over the endurance of the minister, or 
the patience of the people. One old gentleman, it 

140 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

is said, got tired, and going ont, said, " I will go home 
and get my dinner, and if you are not through when 
I get back, I will hear you through." 

It is related of one of the younger men that he 
would sit with his back to the minister in the old 
square pew and take a nap. One Sunday he had 
driven a pair of colts before his sleigh to the church 
with his sister. He had much trouble in tying them 
under the old trees. Just as the minister was about 
closing, his sister trod on his toe to awaken him, and 
he, dreaming it was his colts stepping on his foot, 
sprang to his feet and exclaimed, " Whoa, whoa!" 

The music of those days was of a primitive order, 
like everything else. The precentor stood up and 
gave the pitch with his pitch-pipe, and the choir 
joined in. The tunes were marvellous with their 
fugues and trills, while the doleful minors, particu- 
larly on a communion occasion, made the service 
seem like a funeral. One Sunday, when the choir 
had chosen a hvely air, one old man said it sounded 
like "picking up chips." When an attempt was 
made to bring in a cello, a deacon took it and threw 
it out on the grass. When, later on, a melodeon was 
brought in, a stern Scotchman arose and bare witness 
against the profanation by walking out and slamming 
the door. But we must not get the impression that 
there were no skilled musicians or sweet singers then. 
Deacon Van Valer built several pipe-organs, and his 
daughters could all play and sing. They and Wm.Y. 
Mapes' daughters, with some others, under the lead- 
ership of the late Yirgil Y. Thompson, poured from 
the gallery of that old church strains of music com- 
pared with which " Italian trills are tame." But now 

" They are gone, all gone from their mountain home, 
And their song is not heard o'er the hills to roam." 

Churches and Clergy. 141 

There were no stoves in the sanctuary then. The 
matrons had their small foot- stoves, which they filled 
with coals and took with them. They were intended 
for the feet, but were sometimes held in the lap. The 
rest of the congregation must he kept warm by the ser- 
mon. The sanctuary was also without hghts. When 
there was an evening service, tallow candles were 
taken and snuffed, — if there were no snuffers present, 
with the fingers, a feat some prided themselves upon, 
effecting it without burning the hand. What dis- 
comforts, the young will say : to walk half a mile, 
with no overshoes, through slush and zero weather, 
to sit in a cold church and listen to an hour's dis- 
course on some abstruse point of theology or exege- 
sis. But there was many a weary soul comforted in 
that old house of Grod, and not a few of the young 
as well as the old brought into the fold of God. One 
aged mother was received by baptism at her home 
when eighty years of age, and five generations were 
present. Seed was sown early and late, and none can 
tell " which shall prosper, whether this or that." 

This old structure stood unaltered till about 1840, 
when a movement was started to remove to the vil- 
lage, then feeling the boom of the coming railway. 
One party strongly advocated such a move. Others, 
interested in building up Seamanville, desu'ed it 
should remain where it was, claiming all that was 
needed was a renovation. These latter prevailed. 
The square seats were taken out, the sounding-board 
removed, the pulpit remodelled, and a stove put in. 
Thus it remained for another decade. Meanwhile the 
other party went out and joined with the Methodists 
in organizing the Methodist Church of Monroe. 

The Presbyterian congregation was not incorpo- 
rated until April 13, 1804, when the Court of Com- 

142 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

mon Pleas granted application for the same. Samnel 
Grregory, Grilbert King, Samuel Webb, George R. 
Fowler, James Smith and Isaac Bull were the first 
trustees. The court also granted permission to lease 
to A. Gates White, as long as wood grows and water 
flows, parsonage lot No. 24 in the Cheesecock Patent, 
containing 150 acres, for the consideration of one 
tenth part of a cent if demanded. Then the trustees 
purchased for a suitable residence for their pastor. 
Rev. Howell Powell, 58 acres of land from A. Gates 
White, situated on the east side of the stage road in 
the village, said White to pay the sum of £200, 
without interest, for one year; afterwards interest 
annually, till all was paid. Thus the farm on the 
road to Turners was exchanged for the John Brooks 
place, and here the early pastors lived. This was 
afterwards exchanged for a tract of 35 acres nearer the 
church. If the former was a stone quarry, the latter 
was mostly a narrow strip between two farms and 
stretching across the summit of Bald Hill. It had 
the advantage of elevation, from which the pastor 
could literally oversee his flock; but by reason of 
situation it was anything but a fruitful hiU. The 
dominie was informed by one of his parishioners 
during a haying frolic that " he saw the last grass- 
hopper departing over the hill." After eighteen years 
of happy residence there, this was sold and the present 
glebe was bought, and on it was erected the com- 
modious manse. 

It may be of interest to note that the incorporation 
was once permitted to lapse, through default of elec- 
tion of trustees. Application was made to Commis- 
sioner Francis Letts for the renewal of the charter, 
which was granted January 23, 1822. 

Churches and Clergy. 143 

The salary for the first seventy years amounted to 
about 300 dollars per annum in cash, the use of parson- 
age and glebe, together with an annual donation visit. 

This last was a pecuhar institution, but adopted 
then by most feeble rural congregations. On a cer- 
tain eve, the community were invited to the manse 
to pay their respects to the minister and his family. 
They would come, young and old, laden with gifts, 
from a quarter of beef, or a load of wood, to a pair of 
slippers for the minister, or a tidy for his wife. A 
sumptuous table was spread by the hands of the 
ladies, and all sat down to eat. We have read of the 
astonishment of some ministers to find that the men 
ate up all the women brought, and the mixed multi- 
tude turned his house into bedlam, rummaged the 
bureaus, tumbled the beds and made the raven over 
the study door utter his melancholy " Nevermore." 

We never saw it thus in Monroe. The refinement 
of its people made such a scene impossible. Those 
who have given the world the laughable pictures 
from which the general impression has been formed 
of the rudeness of the occasions must have lived 
among an uncultured people. With us the gifts were 
generous ; leaving larder, bin, barn and woodpile full. 

While the large proportion of the gifts were in 
hard cash, it was never reckoned as an equivalent of 
salary. Instead of rudeness, we experienced the most 
tender consideration and loving ministries, not merely 
in seasons of joy, but much more of sorrow. When 
the death angel entered the parsonage, kindher hands 
never came to minister in the name of Jesus, brav- 
ing even the deadly breath of contagion. The record 
of such deeds is written in the book of God's re- 

144 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time, 

A Christian lady, Mrs. Jonathan Witherhee, now 
gone to her rest, related the following incident : 
When I was a child I wanted to attend a donation 
visit at the manse. Her father, mother, and elder 
sister were going. "Why cannot I go^" she said. 
" Because every one carries a gift," said her mother, 
" and you have none prepared." Whereupon she at 
once sat down and secretly knit a pair of stockings 
for the pastor's daughter. Then, after the family 
had driven to the scene of festivity, she came on 
horseback, bringing her unique gift, doubly precious 
because the free-will offering of her own childish 
hands. Truly it could be said, " She hath done what 
she could." 

An eye that can sweep the horizon of the past 
must discern a marked progress in the intellectual, 
moral and spiritual condition of society. We have 
seen how much of intemperance and immoraUty fol- 
lowed the War of the Revolution. Then, too, the 
atheism of the French Revolution had scattered its 
seeds everywhere. The Druid Society of Newburg, 
which so boldly profaned the most sacred things, ex- 
erted a baleful influence upon the growing Christian 
institutions. It were not strange if these winged 
seeds found lodgment in the fertile soil of Monroe. 
This will account for the slow progress of the church 
in early times. The ministers of that day found that 
while they slept " the enemy sowed tares." But they 
were men of faith, good deeds and full of the Holy 
Grhost. Their very difficulties drew out the very 
best that was in them. So far as we have studied 
them, they were men of blameless lives, judged, as 
they must be, by their time. Social customs were 
tolerated then that are tabooed now by all good 

Churches and Clergy. 145 

people. Judged by the moral standards of the time, 
they were men of lofty purpose and high integrity, 
far-reaching authority and influence. 

Two sermons still extant demonstrate that one at 
least, the Kev. Simeon Jones, who preached more 
than a century ago, was a man of clear intellect, logi- 
cal power and large acquaintance with Holy Scripture. 

These men understood their commission to be to 
preach the Word. The acute speculations of to-day 
had not eaten out their faith. They bravely asked, 
"What saith the Scripture?" And so left not the 
flock to wander in the mazes of doubt, but pointed to 
heaven and led the way. Thus grew up around 
them many a noble character. Listen to one. 
When some one rudely asked, " Grranny, what busi- 
ness have you and I to be staying here to cough and 
suffer'?" she meekly replied, "Because it is the will 
of my Heavenly Father." We congratulated one 
aged mother upon the bestowment of her name on a 
grandchild, and asked if she were not proud of it. She 
said, " I have nothing to be proud of, but much to be 
thankful for." A venerable man dechned the offer 
of certain rehgious books, on the ground that they 
were not original, but all plagiarized from one book 
which he already possessed, — his Bible. 

Thus while all the former ministers are gone to their 
rest, their works follow them. They need no letters of 
commendation. They could say, "Ye are our epistle." 

The following is the full hst of ministers who have 
served the church, namely : 

The Reverend Silas Constant, 1783-. 

" Simeon R. Jones, served one year. 

" David Baldwin, served four years. 


146 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

The Reverend Howell Powell, 1804-1806. 

PoRTEE, served 18 months. 

James H. Thomas, 1814-1816. 
John White, 1823-1824. 
Hosea Ball, 1824-1826. 
John Boyd, 1826-1834. 
John Jay Thompson, 1836-1846. 
Daniel N. Feeeland, 1847-1881. 
Thomas Thomas, 1882-. 

The Sunday-school was organized in October, 

The church in the village was dedicated February 
15, 1853. Sermon preached by Rev. Wm. D. Snod- 
grass, D.D., from Ecc. v : 1, — " Keep thy foot when 
thou goest to the house of God." 

Rev. Hosea Ball was born May 11, 1792 ; married 
Sarah Helms of Southfield, New York, September 12, 
1817 ; studied theology with the Rev. Silas Con- 
stant; came to Monroe in 1824 and supplied the 
Presbyterian church for two years, during which 
there was no little religious interest under his min- 
istry. He organized the Sabbath-school while min- 
istering here. He preached at the old church at 
Seamanville, and during his residence in Monroe 
taught school at Buttermilk Falls five days of the 
week. He was settled also at Greenburg and 
Dobbs Ferry, in Westchester County. The latter 
portion of his life was spent on his estate near South- 
field, where he engaged in farming and stock-raising, 
but was often called upon to preach and solemnize 
marriages among the peasantry, by whom he was 
highly respected. His sermons and other papers 
full of interest are in possession of his daughters. 

Churches and Clergy. 147 

residing in the village of Monroe, and show him to 
have heen a man of earnestness in his profession and 
possessed of no mean talent. He died January 1, 

Rev. John Boyd was horn December 14, 1762 ; 
died at Monroe, 1842. He was married to Margaret 
Gaston, April 10, 1806, by William Boyd, his brother. 
He was graduated at Dickinson College, Carhsle, 
Pennsylvania, May 7, 1788 ; licensed to preach the 
Gospel, December 21, 1791, at Chamberstown ; was or- 
dained and installed, April, 1794, at Carlisle ; preached 
at Tuscarora and Falling Water, Virginia, from Octo- 
ber, 1794, to 1801, for £100 Pennsylvania currency for 
two thirds of his time ; preached as supply for two 
years; called to Newton and Hardwick, Sussex 
County, New Jersey, April 13, 1803, for the sum of 
$250 at each place ; resigned 1811. He preached at 
different places, mostly in New Jersey, until the year 
1820, when he went to Monticello, where he preached 
until 1826, when he came to Monroe. He served 
this church as pastor until 1834, when he retired and 
dwelt among his congregation, honored and beloved 
until the day of his death. His children were Mary, 
unmarried ; Elizabeth, married to Mr. Frank Wood- 
hull; Margaret, married to Mr. Thompson of Ha- 
gerstown, Virginia; Matilda; and John Cumming, who 
was a twin. He became an eminent physician. The 
daughters are remembered with their mother, Mrs. 
Margaret Boyd, as ladies of unusual charms of person 
and manner. The family lived at the manse on the 
site of the Brooks mansion till Mr. Boyd built the 
late homestead in 1823, which was occupied until 
the death of Mrs. Dr. Boyd in 1896. 

Rev. John Jay Thompson was born in Goshen, 

148 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time, 

New York, and studied theology with the Rev. Ezra 
risk, D.D. He married Sarah, sister of Nathanael 
Webb, Esq., elder of the Presbyterian Church, and a 
well-known teacher and editor. The first settlement 
of the Rev. Mr. Thompson was at Centreville, Grreene 
County, New York, whence he removed to Monroe in 
1836. He served the church with great devotion 
and fidelity until 1846. During a portion of the 
time he taught in the public school, where he won 
the affection of the pupils by his gentleness and 
scholarship. The esteem in which he is still held 
illustrates the poet's line, '' The law of love outlasts 
the rusted rod." Removing from Monroe, he taught 
at Bloomingburg, New York, several years, and died 
June 12, 1849. His funeral sermon was preached 
by the Rev. E. D. G. Prime, from the text, " The 
righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart," — 
Isa. Ivii : 1. It was a beautiful tribute to a faithful 
servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Mrs. Thompson 
died March 10, 1888. She spent most of the time in 
Monroe, where she was a true " mother in Israel," de- 
voted to every good work. Their children were : 
Mary, wife of C. B. Knight ; Sarah, wife of Mr. Stick- 
ney ; Grace, wife of David Felter ; Juha Caroline, 
editor of "Woman's Work for Women," who died in 
Philadelphia ; J. Howard, who died at Port Byron, 
New York; Benjamin W., whose biography appears 
elsewhere, and Margaret Boyd, wife of Rev. C. B. 
Newton, of Lahore, India. 

The Rev. Daniel Niles Freeland was born in Phila- 
delphia, May 15, 1825. His ancestry on his mother's 
side were early identified with the history of that city 
and of the American colonies. His great-grandfa- 
ther was with Washington during the darkest hours 

CJmrches and Clergy. 149 

of the Revolution, at Valley Forge and the crossing 
of the Delaware, and his brother was editor of " Niles' 
Register," the journal pubhshed at Baltimore that 
rendered notable service in supporting the cause 
of freedom. Another grandfather, Daniel Goodman, 
was one of the founders and an officer of the Second 
Presbyterian Church in the days of Whitefield, from 
whose ministry it sprung. 

He attended the preparatory of the University of 
Pennsylvania under Rev. S. W. Crawford, D.D., and 
was specially prepared for college by the late Henry 
D. Grregory, afterwards Vice-President of Girard Col- 
lege. He entered the university in 1840, and gradu- 
ated in 1844. He entered Princeton Theological Sem- 
inary in the same year and graduated in 1847. He was 
called to the Monroe Presbyterian Church in the fall, 
and was ordained and installed pastor on March 9, 
1848, by the Presbytery of Hudson. 

The sermon was preached by the Rev. H. Milne, of 
Milf ord, Pennsylvania. The charge to the pastor was 
given by the Rev. John Newton Boyd ; the charge to 
the people by the Rev. Robeii; McCartee, D. D., of 
Goshen, New York. 

On the 21st of September, 1848, he was married by 
the Rev. C. C. Cuyler, D. D., to Mary E., the second 
daughter of Robert Burwell, of Philadelphia. 

He served this church for thirty-four years, being 
called from it to a pastorate at Pelham Manor, a new 
enterprise on the Sound. He served this church as 
pastor for eight years, when, his health failing, he re- 
signed and entered on a service as stated supply to 
the churches of Hawthorne and Waldo in Florida. 
After six years in this field, his sight failing, he re- 
turned North, resigned active ministerial work and 

150 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

entered private life, living among Ms children, in whose 
Christian homes he enjoys a serene old age. 

Rev. Thomas Thomas, the twelfth minister and 
third pastor, was born at Avernqueron, Wales. After 
the usual common-school education, he was prepared 
for college at Whitestown, near Utica, New York. 

He was matriculated at Union College, Ohio, and 
graduated in 1877. He entered Alleghany Theologi- 
cal Seminary, taking a one year's course, completing 
his studies at Union Theological Seminary, New York, 
taking a two years' course. He received the degree 
of A. M. from the New York University. He was 
ordained and installed at Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania, 
where he preached seven years. He was called to 
Monroe in 1882, where he was installed pastor of the 
Presbyterian church, and after sixteen years of effi- 
cient service remains intrenched in the love and loyalty 
of his people. He married Miss Lillie Taylor, daugh- 
ter of John Taylor, an elder of this church. 

A bright cluster of olive plants gather about their 
table, and are full of promise for the future. 

The new Presbyterian church was built in the vil- 
lage, and the old white meeting-house, at Seamanville, 
was abandoned to the moles and the bats. The latter 
had hterally taken possession of the attic. The occa- 
sional appearance of one in the room below was a sign 
for general inattention to the sermon, particularly on 
the part of the small boy. The evil one seems to pre- 
fer that form to that of an angel of light. A swarm of 
bees usurped part of their domicile one Sunday. They 
had ahghted just under the eaves of the rear of the 
church the day before. During the service they sent 
their warriors into the auditorium to investigate the 
situation. They did not ahght on the Ups of the min- 

Churches and Clergy. 151 

ister, but among his locks, warning him to unwonted 
earnestness, too. Even the hum of the busy workers 
failed to produce drowsiness with the habitual sleeper. 
The dominie thought to balance the account with the 
bees next day, but found that a neighbor, Austin 
Miller, had scratched his name on the red siding, 
which, according to the bee-hunter's code, gave him 
claim to honey and swarm. So transient are the sweets 
as well as the glory of the world ! 

Such of the material of the old building as was 
available was used in fitting up the basement of the 
new. The frame was sold to Nicholas Cock and Sons 
and was moved to Cornwall, for a wagon-maker's shop. 
The piece of ground left was literally God's acre. 
For seventy years it had been a cemetery. 

" Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree shade, 

Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap. 
Each in his narrow cell forever laid. 
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep." 

Mingling with them are the ashes of one of the pas- 
tors, of two pastors' wives, and the children of four. 

For years this beautiful piece of ground was un- 
fenced, trespassed upon by wandering cattle and 
made a potter's field for paupers. One of the pastors, 
shocked at such a condition of things, circulated a 
paper and obtained subscriptions for the building of 
a fence. The stone wall was built by the late Henry 
Hunter. The granite pillars were procured from the 
Pierson Granite Works at Ramapo. Iron gates were 
purchased and put in place to guard the sanctity of 
the ground. Intrusted with such an heirloom, it be- 
comes the sacred duty of the congregation to guard 
and keep it in neatness and order, in memory of those 
" who are not dead, only gone before." 

152 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

A bell was presented by Mr. Lewis H. Roe, of Port 
Henry, New York, in memory of his father, Genest 
M. Roe, M. D., who for many years was mling elder 
in that church. The bell weighed one thousand 
pounds, and cost four hundred and fifty dollars. The 
inscription on the bell is "Blessed is the people that 
know the joyful sounds." It was hung in the belfry 
May, 1873. A handsome communion service was pre- 
sented by a summer visitor and worshiper, Mr. James 
K. Dunham, who was also an officer of the Broadway 
Tabernacle under the pastorate of Rev. Wm. M. Tay- 
lor, D.D. The pulpit Bible was the gift of Mrs. Han- 
nah N. Freeland, of Philadelphia, mother of the pas- 
tor of that name. The following have served in the 
eldership of this church : 

Aechibald Cunningham, John Tayloe, 
Samuel Geegoey, J. Waeeen Helme, 

Andeew Van Valee, S. C. Van Vliet, Je., 


David Smith, Geoege R. Conklin, 

John K. Roe, Eugene McGaeeah. 

Messrs. Young, Conklin and McGarrah are the 
present board. 

The Methodists very early held rehgious services in 
the town. They worshipped in the old mill of Nich- 
olas Knight, in a room where stood an ancient spin- 
ning-wheel, says my informant. Its thread and 
spindle were not inapt reminders of the brittle thread 
of hfe and destiny. Sometimes they met on Forshee 
Hill. They did not erect a church until 1840. It was 
dedicated in the winter of 1841. 

The public mind at that time, as well as business, 
awoke after a long depression into new life. The 

Churches and Clergy. 153 

Erie Railway was organized a short time before, and 
the track was laid to Monroe. This changed its site 
from the upper to that of the present village. The 
Methodists were quick to discern the advantage of 
their present location. 

It started from the first with a numerous and ear- 
nest membership. The blessing of the Spirit of God 
has made the church largely instrumental in pro- 
moting the spiritual weHare of the place, and has 
contributed many a lively stone to the temple 
not made with hands. It has given also several 
of its sons to the ministry, as George Ezray and 
Seely Tuthill; while several of its clergy, as Rev. 
Messrs. Hoyt and Hearn, have bequeathed their 
work to their sons, well remembered here. That 
church also has had many worthy names on its roU, 
such as David Bull and Franklin BuU, Walter Roberts, 
Nathan Strong, Elisha Stevens, Samuel Cooley, and 
Peter Ball. The church edifice, very plain at first, 
was remodelled under the pastorate of Rev. D. 
McCartney, struck with lightning under that of Rev. 
Mr. Hearn, and is now a model of beauty and conve- 
nience. The congregation owns a fine manse in the 

When fii'st organized, Monroe was included in a 
circuit embracing Vail's Gate and other points. The 
clergy filled a number of appointments and some- 
times made their residence elsewhere. Usually there 
were two incumbents to supply the circuit. 

The following are the names of some of the older 
and best-remembered ministers: Revs. T. F. R. 
Mercein, N. Humphreys, J. M. Hawkhurst, R. A. 
Shm-ter, J. Millard, D.B. Turner, W. Blake, E. Dennis- 
ton, M. M. Curtis, U. Messeter, S. H. Saxe, D. D. Gil- 

154 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

lespie, J. W. B. Wood, R. M. Eoberts, D. McCartney, 
Z. N. Lewis, Greorge Hearn. Some of tlie more re- 
cent appointments are Revs. J. B. Hoyt, E. Heroy, 
and Gr. W. Downs. 

The Society of Friends also early held religious 
service in the vicinity, first at the house of James 
Cromwell, for about ten years. The Blooming Grrove 
house was built 1815, that in the Clove about 1780, 
rebuilt 1820. The separation took place in 1828 
when the orthodox severed from the other portion 
and built a house for themselves. While their num- 
bers have diminished in the neighborhood of Mon- 
roe, their young people having entered other com- 
munions, they still retain their strength in the lower 
part of the town, where their simple virtues and 
piety exert a beneficent influence on society. 

The Episcopal congregation in Monroe at first 
worshipped in the Presbyterian, and then in the 
Methodist Church, building a house of worship in 
1869, when it was dedicated by the Right Rev. 
Henry Potter, D.D., and placed under the care of the 
Rev. Chas. Babcock, rector at Greenwood and after- 
terwards Professor of Architectui'e at Cornell Uni- 
versity. He was succeeded by the Rev. Henry M. 
Dows, who served the church for many years, and 
left a record for scholarship, earnestness, and piety. 
Its corporate name is Grace Protestant Episcopal 
Church of Monroe. Its present rector is the Rev. A. 
H. Ormsbee. The congregation from small begin- 
nings is pushing its way among older churches, show- 
ing notable zeal and desire to build up society in the 
knowledge and life of the Saviour of the world. 

The Roman Catholics have long held services in 
the town, but for many years in private houses or 

Churches and CJergtj. 155 

halls. At length they purchased the house built by 
John Jenkins in the village. Tliis they fitted 
up as a chapel. They gave it the name of the 
Church of St. Mary's. In 1896 this was removed 
and a beautiful house of worship was built and con- 
secrated by Ai'chbishop Corrigan, with the name of 
the Church of the Sacred Heart. 

The chui-ch is an ornament to the village, and 
much is hoped from it in training those of that de- 
nomination in the ways of truth and uprightness. 

Its priesthood have been Fathers Byrnes and 
Hughes. Fathers Hannigan and Ward officiate at 



THE temperance cause has had earnest champions 
in Monroe. We have stated that John Brooks 
dehvered a temperance lecture in Blooming Grrove 
when he was a young man, long before the Washing- 
tonians or any of the modem reforms were thought 
of. The venerable man said some resented it, be- 
cause they regarded it as personal. There were 
many stills at that time in that town. But Monroe 
was not without at least one, on the Still Brook, kept 
by a Mr. Bell. It was not regarded as inconsistent for 
a Deacon Griles to have a distillery, or a minister of 
the Grospel to accept a glass of wine from the side- 
board of a parishioner. We have heard of one divine 
who would repair to the house of a good deacon after 
morning service and take what was called " a wee bit " 
to brace him up for the second, or afternoon, service ; 
and of another who was accustomed to send away 
his demijohn for what was supposed to be molasses. 
When the messenger brought it home on a stormy 
evening, he was asked if he would not step in and have 
something to keep out the cold. He said, " No, I thank 
you ; I took a little of the molasses out of the jug." 
It was not unusual to have such spu'itual refresh- 
ment at funerals and even ordinations. Bills are ex- 


Tlie Cause of Temperance. 157 

tant — although, happily, not in the archives of a 
Monroe church — which contain, among the items of 
expense for such an occasion, a gallon of old Jamaica 
spirits. What wonder there should be scenes un- 
wortliy such occasions, and cases of intemperance 
calling for the censure of the church ! With such 
examples in high places, it were not strange if the 
youth grew up to regard such indulgence as not 
merely pleasant, but manly. One of the young men 
said he was startled, on his way from college, to hear 
the name of his own father quoted in the bar-room 
in justification of social drinking. But that was a 
feature of the time. Conscience had not awakened 
to the enormity of the evil. And yet even then 
there were those who, like the sons of Rechab, 
frowned upon it, and did what they could to stay the 

For the last sixty years the pastors in the town 
have been earnest advocates of temperance. It was 
always advocated on a Scripture basis that " Wine is 
a mocker, strong drink is raging, at last it stingeth 
like a serpent, and biteth like an adder." On one oc- 
casion Rev. Cyrus D. Foss, then Methodist Episcopal 
pastor at Chester, New York, afterwards bishop, de- 
livered a memorable sermon in the Presbyterian 
church, from the text, " Eveiy tree that the Lord 
hath not planted shall be plucked up," in wliich he 
compared the tree of intemperance to the deadly 
upas, poisonous in root, branch, blossom, and fruit. 

A reform club was organized about twenty years 
since that flourished for a time, mnning many from 
the saloons ; and in a pleasant reading-room, fur- 
nished with books and games, and having discussions 
every week, much good was done. But it was al- 

158 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

lowed to languish and at length come to an end. 
Yet good came out of it, and some who were reformed 
stood firm. 

The ladies of Monroe have always felt a deep inter- 
est in the temperance cause, and well they may, for 
it is usually woman that feels the heaviest weight 
of the curse, when she sees the strong arm of hus- 
band palsied, or the boy for whom she has prayed 
caught in the irresistible threads of the octopus 
of drink. They have encouraged speakers and 
attended meetings and bidden every effort to bar 
the current that has sometimes threatened to 
destroy all that is fair and promising. They have 
now an organization of their own, a branch of 
that society instituted by the late Miss Frances E. 
Willard, the W. C. T. U., and it is hoped it may save 
many a victim and throw up such a barrier against 
the saloon as shall be mightier than a wall of granite. 
A sanitarium for the application of the " gold cure " 
has been planted just beyond our border ; while we 
welcome it as a humanitarian institution, it is sad 
there should be such a need. The true gold cure is 
the old motto,"' Ohsta principiis^'' ("Resist beginnings"), 
and the still higher one, " Touch not, taste not, handle 

An incident of the reform club is worth relating. 
Some of the leading laity and older clergy had been 
very active, when one of the former playfully said : 
" We have heard from the old stagers, now let the 
young colts have a chance," meaning the young men. 

This brought out the happy rejoinder from the 
Rev. George Hearn : " Yes, put up the old horses 
that have pulled you over the hard, dusty road, and 
bring out the young team and show up their points. 

Tlie Cause of Temperance. 159 

Hitch them up, while the passengers rest awhile. The 
driver takes the reins, the bugle sounds. The colts 
prance and curve their necks and switch their long 
tails, but the coach does not move. The driver 
uses the whip, the hostlers take them by the bit, but 
they refuse to move in the direction wanted. ' Take 
them out,' says the driver. ' Give me the old stagers 
for work.' When they are hitched and the signal is 
given, off goes the stage amid the cheers of all inside 
or out." Quite true of other enterprises that advance 
only when the willing take hold. 



EVERY nation and people have their recreations. 
Such are characteristic of the time and locahty. 
Hunting and fishing are among the most primitive, 
becoming almost part of the necessary toil. The 
early settler feels a twofold pressure : that of clearing 
the forest of dangerous animals, and, being remote from 
market, the need of getting supplies for his table 
from forest and stream. Rifle and rod are his indis- 
pensable companions. Then there was plenty of 
game. The Dutch navigators declared they saw, from 
the Half Moon as they sailed up the Hudson, in the 
forest, lions, unicorns, and other fabulous beasts. 
The fire-water they drank probably confused their 
vision and their zoology, as is not unusual. One of 
the old people said he had seen in the meadow, just 
above Grreenwood, tracks of panther and bear, where 
they crossed from one mountain to another, and those 
of wild turkeys as thick as chicken tracks about the 
hen-yard. Clinton mentions the presence of beavers 
and their work in constructing their dam. One well- 
known citizen tells of being pui'sued by a wolf when 
sent for the cattle on East Mountain. That leap and 
that howl, and his wild ride over the rocks, he never 
forgot. A party were going up to a certain fortune- 


Hunting and Fishing. 161 

teller's on Rye Hill when a bear met them. They 
suddenly lost their faith in the supernatural, leaving 
the witch of Endor to study the stars alone that night 
and wonder why the heavens were so unpropitious. 
Ursa Major sometimes put in an appearance in these 
terrestrial parts, if we may credit the story of the 
Prim Swamp bear-hunt of a later day. It seems the 
report was circulated in the village that a bear was 
seen in the swamp beyond the village, whereupon 
every huntsman was abroad with gun and pitchfork. 
A goodly number of dogs and boys followed. A 
Frenchman called Chevaux de Frise volunteered to go 
in and drive the animal from his lair. Like the boy 
Putnam, into the den he crept, then fell back, fol- 
lowed by the growling beast. Instantly the pack of 
dogs rushed in. As he wheeled, the little Frenchman 
grabbed the bear by the long hair on his haunches ; 
then followed, said my informant, one of the wildest 
battles ever seen. The dogs yelped, the bear growled, 
the Grallic hunter was swung right and left in a wild 
tussle. One old man cried, " Hold him ! hold him ! " 
then threw away his gun and fled. When the bear pre- 
sented a vulnerable side where he could be shot with- 
out injmy to his brave antagonist, Mr. David Knight 
drew a bead on him and laid Bruin low. 

Panther and wild-cat would often steal down from 
the mountains where they denned and seize a shoat or 
calf, when the whole neighborhood would turn out to 
hunt them to their lair. Even the women were good 
shots, and knew how to defend their poultry-yards 
from possum and hawk. Sly Reynard would occasion- 
ally depredate upon the harem of the old gray goose, 
perhaps kilhng the " very one she was saving to make 
a feather bed " ; then there would be a fox-chase in 

162 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

earnest, — no "purp and anise-seed affair," but a wild 
tear around Pedlar Hill and Woodcock, resulting in the 
trophy of a red or a silver pelt. Deer were not infre- 
quent in the forests at quite a late period. In hunting 
these beautiful animals, it is related of one that he was 
so excited upon seeing a splendid buck approach, that 
he snatched his ramrod and stuck it into a log and 
dropped his rifle, being too excited to fire. Another 
was posted on one of the shores of Mombasha to watch 
for a deer, while others would drive him into the lake 
from the other side. As a fine buck came swimming 
toward the former huntsman, he attempted to seize 
him by the horns, when the agile beast lifted him on 
his antlers and tossed him headlong into the thicket, 
with his suit nearly torn from his body. Such were 
some of the sports and hair-breadth escapes of those 
stalwart men and women of old Monroe. 

It is not singular that Izaak Walton should have 
many disciples in this region. For, as we have seen, 
there was much water there. The lakes and brooks 
were stocked with fish even when the Indian roamed 
the forest. He speared the salmon, as he leaped 
the falls of the Ramapo, and from his birch 
canoe enticed perch and pike to ingenious snares. 
The surveyor speaks of a trout-brook, near Sugar- 
loaf, where was an Indian settlement ; so that these 
speckled beauties antedated the white man. Pick- 
erel and black and rock bass were an importa- 
tion of recent date. When Mr. Jonah Brooks caught 
his first four-pound bass, he insisted upon going 
home, because it was glory enough for one day. With 
what devotion many followed this apostolic avocation, 
even the dominie, of whom a wag said he always 
knew when his barrel of pork was out, for he would 
see him with his rod on his shoulder ! 

Hunting and Fishing. 163 

What a joy to plunge into the soHtude and whip 
some wild stream, wading, climbing over slippery 
rocks, and skittering a gaudy fly over riffle or pool! 
There one gets at the very heart of Nature, and if 
he have a knowledge of the gentle art and golden 
patience, he is not likely to come home unrewarded. 
A fishing fever usually was of days' duration : one 
the preparation, in which the bait of minnow^s or 
crickets were captured, or flies made. We say 
made, for Mr. Townsend captured a splendid trout 
with a fly made of a yellow envelope and a bit of 
red sealing-wax. It was a grotesque sight to see 
several gentlemen on their knees in some bit of stubble 
chasing crickets and grasshoppers. The collection 
of rents, and sowing of tares by the housewives in 
consequence, was a standing joke. The bait must 
be preserved aUve, and if it were minnows, they were 
placed in the spring. Then, long before dayhght, the 
jolly party would be off. All day long they would 
toil, often returning with the spoils of the beautiful 
lakes which afford young and old so much of in- 
nocent enjoyment. Sometimes there were amusing 
experiences. Mr. John Goff slipped in while fishing 
through the ice. He took out his pocket-knife and 
cut ridges in the ice to grip with his fingers. But 
they slipped. He then induced his dog to bring his 
mittens, which lay on the ice. These he let freeze 
in the ridges, and thereby he pulled himself out. 

Allen Knight hooked a big turtle at Mombasha. He 
was weak and sickly at that time, and found the huge 
terrapin too much for him. 

As he was about taking a plunge, Mr. H. J. Bertholf 
caught him by the waist, then Mr. C. B. Knight re- 
inforced the rescuing party, and all came ashore to- 
gether, not omitting the rebellious hardshell. Two 



164 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

dominies had fished all day and taken nothing. A 
fisherman called for help ; his boat was full of water. 
He had caught one of these snappish creatures, and 
was holding him down with his oar. The dominies 
offered help. " Why don't you tie him ? " asked one. 
*' I never heard of tying a snapping-turtle," he re- 
sponded. Then the man of the cloth showed him 
how to put his anchor-rope in his mouth for a bridle, 
and when his head was drawn in, draw the rope 
under the shell and tie a fiat knot over his tail, and he 
was secure. 

" Well," said the other dominie, " this is a great note, 
that a dominie should teach an old fisherman how to 
tie a turtle." " Well," responded the fellow, " what 
these dominies don't know, there 's no use knowing." 
Then he filled their empty basket with fish. We can 
vouch for the truth of this. For the next we rely on 
tradition : that a drunken fisherman was drowned one 
Sunday. When he was fished out, and his wife sent 
for, her lament was in the memorable words : " Poor 
Joe, he went fishing fifty times on Sunday, and never 
got disowned before." 

The fishing advantages of Monroe, and the many 
sports of the woods and streams, always make it an 
attractive spot. How many congenial spirits it brings 
together for innocent amusement, and what advan- 
tages it offers for summer visitors and permanent 
residents ! Cottages and club-houses are springing 
up at present on crest and lakeside, but there are still 
some shaded nooks where the lover of nature can 
fill his fernery or trout-basket unmolested by the world 
of fashion and folly. 

The people of the olden time had other amusements 
beside fishing and hunting. They had stone-bees and 

Hunting and Fishing. 165 

raisings. The women liad apple-cuttings, quiltings 
and spinning-frolics. The yam or flax would be given 
out, and at an appointed time and place the material 
would be returned, and there would be a feast, possi- 
bly a dance of the stately minuet or Virginia reel. 
Corn-huskings were not uncommon in bringing young 
and old together in innocent frolic, resulting in many 
a wedding. Horse-racing was a favorite sport, de- 
fended on the ground of improving the stock of 
horses. The lane was the race-course. But it was 
found that racing-day attracted such a motley crowd, 
and was attended with so much drunkenness and dis- 
order, that public opinion at length suppressed it. 

Snakes of different species have abounded, as might 
be expected in such a stony region. Not merely the 
harmless garter and saucy milk snake that ghdes in 
and out of the milk-house, and the insinuating black 
snake that robs the robin's nest, but the deadly rat- 
tler and copperhead. These two last, like theii' moral 
counterparts, the thief and the murderer, den together, 
leading some to suppose that they are merely male 
and female. But the close student of nature puts 
them in different classes. They both ahke are hated, 
and reahze the truth of the divine promise, "I will 
put enmity betwixt thee and her seed." One of our 
ladies climbed to a nook on the East Mountain, where 
she was accustomed to go to read and sew. Suddenly 
she found herself in the midst of a circle of rattle- 
snakes, which had come out of their dens to sun them- 
selves. Heads were erect, tongues flaming and rattles 
ringing out alarm and defiance all about her. There 
was little chance for retreat. Plucky maid ! She picked 
up stones that lay around in abundance, she pelted 
them right and left, till she made a way by which she 

166 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

could make a safe retreat, and lived to recount to her 
children her adventure and draw the lessons of life 
it clearly taught. Often these and their congeners, 
the pilots, would be thrown up with a forkful of hay 
upon the hay- wagon, when the low meadows were the 
scene of such labors. It was not an easy question to 
settle which were the safer post, that of pitcher or 
loader. A fight with a lively rattler at such a time 
was excelled only by a scrimmage with a nest of hor- 
nets or yellow- jackets. 

Not many years since a rattlesnake was killed in 
Mrs. Carpenter's garden in the village. One of our 
savants begged the carcass to experiment with and 
test it as an article of food. He had eaten alligator 
and couter in Florida, and assuming that all things 
are given for a useful purpose, whether fish, flesh, or 
fowl for food, he was determined to carry out his 
theory. After considerable difficulty he persuaded 
his sister to cook some of the rattler. He tasted it 
and said, " It has a wild-gamy flavor." He then took 
some on a httle dish to the good lady in whose garden 
it was killed. When he offered her the present, she said, 

"B ,set that dish on the end of the piazza. Thee 

has enough rattlesnake to supply all the village." It 
is needless to say that this experiment was not a suc- 
cess in adding this new dish to the cuisine of Monroe. 

Rabbit-hunting was more of a pleasure to those 
who participated in it than to the farmer; for, as the 
game took refuge not seldom in the stone fences, rods 
of fence were often torn down, costing $1.50 a rod, to 
capture a poor little rabbit worth but a shilhng. 

Bee-hunting and bee-raising were sources of amuse- 
ment to some. The skilled bee-hunter knew how to 
follow the honey-makers to their improvised hives in 

nunting and Fishing. 167 

trees and old buildings, showing skill in follow- 
ing them, and knew how to capture their stores 
without the sound of trump or shout of battle like 
the Japanese warriors. But a common method of 
bringing an escaping swarm to a halt was to summon 
the whole household, and, armed with pans and stove- 
pipe, fill the air with horrible discords, enough to rend 
the ears of the listener and bring every musical ear to 
surrender. The watchful apiary seldom had to resort 
to such methods, because a swarm always ahghts near 
by before it starts to its more distant destination. 
Then there were some, like the late Nathanael Thomp- 
son, who could handle them with perfect ease, uncar- 
ing if ever receiving a sting. Others were not so 
successful in their management. One of the minis- 
ters loved bee-culture, but had constant difficulty with 
them. They used to swarm when he was absent, or 
on Sunday when he was occupied. One evening he 
sent for a neighbor to help him hive a swarm in an 
apple tree. The skip was washed with hickory leaves 
and made ready. Then the swarm was coaxed reluc- 
tantly into the hive. But a number of stragglers 
alighted upon the persons of the operators. The 
neighbor found some inside his trousers, and played 
some fantastic tricks before the windows of the par- 
sonage, where ladies were assembling for a prayer- 
meeting. The dominie carried some bees on his 
clothes into the meeting, where the sting of one 
chided his dullness, and the presence of others kept all 

Hornets and bumblebees, so called, were a great 
annoyance in the harvest-field, particularly the low 
meadows. We have seen a general stampede from 
these wild marauders. One old mower, however, loved 

168 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

to fight them, and would beg that they be left undis- 
turbed till evening, when he could have the pleasure 
of burning them out. In resisting one of these fiery 
httle animals, he gave himseK such a rap on his knee 
that he had to leave the field. His employer, the 
dominie, too, carried to the pulpit a swollen eye as 
the result of a similar encounter. 



IT may not be improper to include militia training 
among the amusements of the time, although it 
had a more serious intent. Under the old militia law 
all able-bodied men over eighteen years of age were 
required at stated times to assemble for military drill. 
The militia of the three towns, Monroe, Cornwall and 
Blooming Grrove, formed the ninety-first regiment of 
the nineteenth brigade, fifth division of the army. In 
this town there were three ununiformed companies, 
yclept barefoot companies, and one uniformed com- 
pany. The latter were dressed in a neat suit of white 
and gray, with hat adorned with red and white feathers. 
The officers were in gayer uniform and cocked hats. 
The ununiformed appeared as fancy or necessity dic- 
tated. They were required to provide their own 
weapons ; and such a variety of dress and weapons, 
from an old flint-lock musket to a hickory cudgel, has 
scarce been seen since the days of Sir John Falstaff. 
There were company drills, officer parades and general 
training. The last was supposed to embrace aU the 
virtues of the others, while it absorbed the greatest 
attention. For days there would be a brushing of 
feathers, burnishing of old muskets, and pipe-claying 
of belts. On the gala day might be seen the multitude 
22 169 

170 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

wending their way to the campus on the flat. Motley 
groups of all classes, conditions and color, of men, 
women and children, in all sorts of vehicles, or on 
foot, in all their holiday apparel, were seen hastening 
to the proud spectacle, each afraid it would be over 
before he should get there. Strategic places are 
chosen, booths set up for the sale of gingerbread, 
card cake and beer, the volunteer commissariat of the 
citizen army. Soon the brave soldiers are seen with 
homespun suits and motley weapons, and the band 
at their head, and their gaily caparisoned officers on 
their proud horses, as fully ahve as their riders to the 
glories of the pageant. The word of command is given, 
the line is formed, or attempted to be formed ; for it 
is difficult to get some of those barefeet in line, and 
some of those shillalahs to ground at the proper 
moment, and keep the eyes right from wandering to 
the groups of the fair or the tables of the commis- 
sary. But when arranged to suit a military eye, they 
go through all the evolutions of the field, with drum, 
fife, flag and guidon, proud of the service they were 
rendering their country. Of course, in such volun- 
teer soldiering, composed of such a motley throng, 
there would often be scenes of merriment. It was 
related of one of the officers that he was very impa- 
tient of any breach of order, and would charge down 
upon a noisy group and snatch the loudest from the 
field and drop him in the graveyard near by. Nor 
were the officers exempt from being the target of wit, 
for it is still told that one of these forgot the manual 
and ordered his men to haughey around a mud-pud- 
dle. The drummer of this regiment was George 
Mapes, a member of an old family remarkable for 
musical gifts. Greorge excelled them all, and was the 

Militia Training. 171 

pride of Monroe. He was said to have had a trial 
match with the drum-major at West Point, and to 
have compelled the strutting man of the bearskin 
hat to throw up his baton in despair. Little is said 
about the fifing. Perhaps it was not so essential as 
the drum, or possibly it may have been nothing to 
brag of, as was the case later on, when the fifer said, 
"If I come to a note I cannot play, I do not 
play it"; this giving it a Wagnerian effect. Under 
such inspiring strains the column would march and 
counter-march, charge and retreat, till the sun would 
sink in the west, when the order of dismissal would 
pass along the line, and then would ensue such a 
stampede and intermingling of the motley throng, 
soldier and civilian each breaking for home, glad 
when this mimic war was over. But while it seemed 
a burlesque, it served to keep the old military spirit 
ahve; and even after the law was repealed which 
appointed public militia trainings, the martial flame 
was kept alive which broke forth in sober reality 
during the Rebellion, and impelled some of Monroe's 
best and bravest sons to go to the front and jeopardize 
their lives for Liberty and Union. 



THE country singing school was another source of 
amusement. Far back in the history of the 
town, it was the custom to engage a singing-master 
to drill the young folks in music. That divine art 
was needed then, as now, to beautify home and social 
hfe; and where there was no instrument in the 
churches, it was essential not only to be able to sing, 
but to read music. Hence the winter class in music 
was a desideratum. A Yankee singing-master would 
come into the county with his violin and establish 
classes in every neighborhood. Congenial souls and 
harmonious voices would interchange visits, thus 
promoting neighborliness and wider musical culture. 
It is a well-known fact in ethnology that certain 
tribes and families are musical, while others are inca- 
pable of distinguishing musical tones. Gottschalk's 
" Last Hope " to some is little better than a Chinese 
march in which there are no semitones. The man 
who has no music in his soul, if not always "fit 
for treasons," certainly loses much of the sweetness 
of hfe. Monroe had its full share of good voices, or 
the possibilities of such. For singers are both born 
and made ; that is, voices which in the rough seem 
very unmusical, can be taken and trained and pohshed 


Tlie Singing School. 173 

so as to yield satisfactory results. This work of find- 
ing and training both voice and ear was the task of 
the singing-master. When the raw material pre- 
sented itself for the first time, and was put through 
the elementary principles, it were enough to discour- 
age and distract the cultured ear ; but the same voice 
by and by will sound the deep diapason, or sigh 
through the semitones, with marvellous skill. The 
singing-master needed to have a stock of good-nature 
and patience. The law of the survival of the fittest 
prevails here, as elsewhere in nature. The early 
forms and nomenclature made the task of master and 
pupil hard then. The former talked of breves and 
semibreves, crotchets and quavers, semi- and even 
demisemiquavers. The parts were divided into so 
many classes that it was difficult for one to tell whether 
the voice was fitted for air, or second soprano, or 
counter, alto or tenor, baritone or bass. With all 
these fine distinctions, there were voices that could 
not be classified; the only alternative being to be 
asked to desist. Some wiseacre tried to simplify the 
art by inventing the buckwheat notes ; thus trying 
to aid the ear by the eye. But the system yielded 
no better results, and hence was soon abandoned, hke 
many labor-saving expedients in education. There 
must be a certain amount of toil to acquire any 
treasure in the school of life. The prizes in music 
are at the goal of the stadium. But we fancy the 
race was needlessly hard in those days. Probably 
taste and fashion had much to do with it. Glance at 
the old tunes used in church : Devizes, Russia, Invita- 
tion, with its fugues, the gloomy minors, China and 
Windham, associated not merely with the funeral, 
but also with the communion. The numerous trills 

1 74 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

required great flexibility of voice, and tlie intricate 
fugues as great accuracy of time. But the pupils were 
catechized upon dynamics and rhythm, and exercised 
in appoggiaturas. Sweeping up and down the gamut, 
vaulting over bars, and holding breath at rests, they 
acquired the skill to meet the difficulties of that 
divine science. One of their favorite exercises was 
the round, and they swung " Old John Cross," beat- 
ing in the ABC till they were as dizzy as the school- 
boy whirling under the rod, and shouted " Scotland's 
Burning" with cries of "Fire!" sufficient to arouse 
the whole village. If they shed tears over some piti- 
ful minor, they were all in good humor again over 
'* Cousin Jedediah." Now they try some old Grego- 
rian chant, and then are asking, " Don't you hear the 
ripe fruit falling ? " They try some sweet strain of 
Mendelssohn, and even aspire to the intricacy and 
grandeur of the " Grand Hallelujah." All through the 
Civil War they sang the " Star Spangled Banner," 
" Rally Round the Flag," " Tenting on the Old Camp 
Ground," and other patriotic songs, not merely train- 
ing their voices, but firing their spirit of patriotism 
at home, while brothers and fathers were maintain- 
ing the honor of the old flag in the field. 

These singing- school exercises usually culminated 
in a concert in which the whole musical talent of the 
place would be laid under contribution, neighboring 
help called in, and a grand programme would be given 
with instrument and voice. Although the strains 
have died away, the memory remains of solos, duets, 
and choruses, grave and gay, from the "Little farm 
well tilled" to the oratorio of " Esther," with its intri- 
cate variety of action and personality. Sometimes the 
convention would come, and then the whole county 
would send its best voices to be trained by some spe- 

The Singing School. 175 

cialist like Professor Palmer or Perkins in a whole 
week of song. 

The earliest mentioned teacher of singing in Monroe 
was Professor Converse. He was the father of Pro- 
fessor Charles Converse, the composer. The father 
was very popular in the olden time, and regarded as 
the model of a singing teacher, painstaking, tactful, 
and patient. Andrew Van Valer rendered good ser- 
vice to the cause of music. He and his daughters 
for a long time took the lead in the music of the 
church. He built four organs, a piano, with violin 
and cello. He was a man of remarkable energy, de- 
cision, versatile talent and robust piety. He died at 
Watkins, New York, March 14, 1882, aged ninety- 
four. His was a fruitful old age. 

Professor I. B. Swezey was engaged many succes- 
sive years in teaching music in Monroe. Notwith- 
standing his peculiar theory and phrases about the 
shock of the glottis and tacting tones, he gave such 
attention to voice-culture as to develop some excellent 

Professor L. L. Ross also was a favorite. He had 
a choice collection of humorous songs, several of 
which were original, and were often encored ; such as 
" The little brown jug, with its glug, glug, glug," 
" How many might have gone to Washington if it had 
not been for you," and " The httle farm well tilled." 
" The little wife well willed " was another favorite, 
and struck a responsive chord in many a heart. Pro- 
fessor Ross's work culminated in bringing out the 
oratorio of " Esther" with no little success. 

Out of all this devotion to the art grew a choral 
society which flourished for many years, and gave 
concerts every winter, whicli formed a most delight- 
ful social amusement. The leader in this was Mr. 

176 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

Eugene McGarrah, who to his large acquaintance 
with music, vocal and instrumental, added exquisite 
taste, and by his sincere love of its highest forms 
enthused others and so gave the public many a musi- 
cal treat. Above and beyond his companions, facile 
princeps, he sought to educate them up to his stan- 
dard, and we believe not without a degree of success. 
Several musical compositions have proceeded from 
his pen — among them an original Te Deum and some 
church tunes. 

Others who were among the sturdy supporters of 
the singing school were Henry Mapes and wife, the 
Misses Boyd, the Thompson brothers, and many 
others whose names we have not space to recall. 

The musical entertainments of Monroe were often 
indebted to performers from other towns, among 
whom were Professor John Marvin, Jesse Strong and 
Wilham Howell. We mention with special emphasis 
the name of Samuel Marvin, brother of John. His 
bass voice was of wonderful depth and richness. He 
was often present to inspire with his manly face and 
genial manner, to help swell the anthem or take his 
part in duet or solo. He was called, in the freshness 
of his manhood, to go up higher and take his part in 
that grand " Hallelujah " whose voices are like those 
of many waters. He died March 23, 1881, aged forty- 
two years, six months, eleven days. 

Other sweet singers who have made the walls of 
the old meeting-house ring, and thrilled many a tired 
toiler in the home, are among the white-robed choris- 
ters, while some who loved and survived are saying : 

"Oh for the touch of a vanished hand, 
And the sound of a voice that is still ! " 



ANOTHER source of amusement was the Debating 
/\ Society. There is a period in intellectual de- 
velopment when it is awaking from sleep and, toss- 
ing off its environment, wants to try its nascent 
powers. As soon as a community gets leisure from 
the toil of settlement, it aspires to grapple with other 
problems. It has its renaissance, or revival, of 
reason. Like a child with a new knife, it desires to 
try its edge on everything alike, even the old heir- 
looms, family portraits and furniture. With it the 
results of experience, the institutions of the past and 
even the deductions of science and philosophy are to 
be tested, and hence are brought to the crucible and 
scales. Milton says, " Let all the winds of doctrine 
loose." Truth has nothing to fear, so it be untram- 
meled. Even with respect to great established faiths 
there is always room for discussion, and an inspec- 
tion of the sohd foundations on which they rest 
tends often to confirm and convert the traditional 
faith into the faith that is the substance or demon- 
stration of " things not seen." 

Moiu'oe had its waking up in the forties, when en- 
terprise in the shape of the iron horse came snorting 
up the Ramapo. New families were coming in, new 
enterprises starting. They caught a glimpse of the 
23 177 

178 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

Milky Way, and concluded to stir the star-dust witli 
their chariot wheels. The society met in the shop of 
John Jenkins, where minerals, magnets, books and 
curios confronted the members. The moving spirits 
were John Brooks, Dr. Ethan B. Carpenter, Alfred P. 
Hulse, Brewster Tuthill, David Lynch, Abner Howell, 
John Jenkins, George Goff, James Cromwell, Jonah 
Brooks and Ebenezer Earl. Judge White and Matthew 
Howell, of Blooming Grove, would sometimes come 
over and take a hand in the contest. The meetings 
were conducted with parliamentary precision and 
were largely attended. The questions discussed took 
a wide range, embracing subjects political, meta- 
physical, moral and theological. In these tourna- 
ments many a spear was broken, many a proud 
knight in the armor of sophistry put hors de combat. 

A brave matador would leap into the ring only to 
find himself on the horns of a dilemma. Some self- 
confident debater would broach some utopian theory, 
or tangle himself in some casuistical knot, when a 
sally of wit would bring him to his senses. One of 
the exciting questions discussed was " Is married life 
more conducive to human happiness than single?" 
One of the older men argued that it would be more 
so if there was as much care taken in selecting part- 
ners as was exercised in the improvement of stock. 
Just here some wise woman spoke out and said, 
" Then they would not take you." But all their 
theories were as thistledown, for each followed the 
bent of his inclination, looked up his missing rib and 
took his place in the more serious battle of life. 

When the next generation came on the stage, there 
was a desire to repeat the experiment of a debating- 
society. This met in the basement of the Presby- 

Hie Debating Society. 179 

terian church. Some of the old war-horses, such as 
Alfred Hulse and Dr. E. B. Carpenter, survived to 
help on the enterprise. To these were added A. B. 
Hulse, Theo. McGaiTah, Job Mapes, Geo. Ezray, 
Chauncey Newkirk, Roe Pilgrim, Joseph Andrews, 
Henry Mapes, Samuel Bull, Geo. K. Smith and the 
author. The interval from 1854 to 1859 was full of 
exciting political and economic questions, and these 
were debated with no little zeal and seriousness. 
There was no time for the hackneyed questions of 
such societies when the country was seething with 
the problems of the Missouri Compromise, the Fugi- 
tive Slave Law, and the extension of slavery into 
free temtory. These and other serious questions 
were debated with great earnestness, and much in- 
struction was elicited. But as the issues approached 
the momentous period when the appeal was taken 
from the forum to the field, the society closed. The 
tendency of these discussions some were inclined to 
regard as evil, because of assaults upon estabhshed 
faiths. But, when buttressed in truth, such assaults 
are as futile as the waves against a rock of adamant; 
while the exercise of investigation and discussion, 
even though it strike a rock, is salutary, helping to 
mental discipline and character-building. It is our 
opinion that these contests tended to awaken talent 
and fit some of its members for the legislature, legal 
profession and editorial chair. 

A village library gi-ew out of the first Debating 
Society, but it had only an ephemeral existence ; and 
a reading circle from the last. Both have merged into 
the Christian Endeavor and Epworth League, and it 
is hoped they may be longer lived, founded as they 
are on a religious basis. 



MONROE was forward in every good cause. Its 
people, male and female, were liberty-loving, 
patriotic, and aspiring after higher planes of order and 
right. This was well illustrated in the wish of one of 
its aged men that he could live to see constitutional 
hberty established throughout the world. As far 
back as 1808 the Fourth of July was observed in a 
public manner. A procession, civic and military, was 
formed at the upper village. Seventeen young 
girls, dressed in white, rode in procession to the old 
church, Mr. Moffat heading the column, carrying a 
hberty-cap. Our informant, Mrs. Daniel Knight, said 
she rode beside Miss Galloway. The bonnets they 
wore stood out like a wheat-fan, and were tied down 
over their ears. The oration was delivered by her 
brother, Mr. John Brooks. In the evening there was 
a feast and merrymaking. 

The next occasion of patriotic interest was the 
celebration of Grreek independence in the year 1832. 
That brave people had succeeded in breaking the 
yoke of the unspeakable Turk, and every lover of 
liberty and classic fame sympathized with the strug- 
gling Greeks. The Rev. John White was the moving 
spirit in Monroe. He aroused the people to con- 


Love of Liberty and Patriotism. 181 

tribute, and considerable money was raised to aid the 
cause. A grand public meeting was held at the old 
historic church. Navarino bonnets, in honor of the 
decisive battle, were worn by all the ladies. The 
frame was of pasteboard, covered with ribbons and 
flowers to suit the taste. One of the old men de- 
clared that when he saw a woman dressed in one of 
them, it looked like a canoe coming. 

A second Fourth of July celebration was held in 
Monroe in 1855. A procession was formed, with Mr. 
John Jenkins as marshal, dressed in an officer's uni- 
form of the olden times. It proceeded to the new 
Presbyterian church in the village, where an oration 
was delivered by Charles Winfield, Esq., in the presence 
of a large assembly. Refreshments were served by 
the ladies in the unfinished basement. A public ban- 
quet was given at Goff's Hotel, at which speeches 
were made, and the famous toast given, " The Mon- 
roe doctrine, the doctrine of Monroe." 

Another occasion worthy of mention was the ob- 
servance of Centennial year — 1876. It was celebrated 
by an entertainment at the Presbyterian parsonage, 
consisting of an exhibit of relics of the ancient past, 
and an old-time supper at which the ladies appeared 
in Lady Washington caps and antique costumes. It 
was astonishing what an array of old things were 
brought out from garret and biu^eau. There were 
spinning- w^h eels for flax and wool, cards and combs, 
hatchel and break, brass candlesticks and snuff- 
dishes, andirons and bellows, a clock of the reign of 
Louis XIV, finger-rings and brooches, old silver and 
china, samplers and needlework, a warming-pan, foot- 
stove and old tinder-box and flint. Mrs. Dr. Gignoux 
contributed fine old miniatm*es of the family, and 

182 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

Mrs. Alfred Hulse loaned tlie wardrobe of little Miss 
Nancy Brewster, a dwarf relative of her family, who 
was presented to General Washington, and received 
by him with marked favor. She was scarcely over 
three feet high ; her slipper would fit a child of five 
or six years. This entire entertainment seemed to 
materialize the olden time with its modes of life, and 
bring the gray fathers and mothers, with their quaint 
attire and industries, in moving panorama before us. 

This brings us to consider another illustration of 
the love of liberty and patriotism on the part of these 
people. As years rolled on, the institution of slavery 
came to be regarded more and more as a stain on the 
escutcheon of the country, as well as a blot on civili- 
zation. The question had been thoroughly discussed 
in the debating societies of the town, and although 
there were strong minds in favor of the constitutional 
recognition of it, yet sympathy would always lean to 
the side of the oppressed. The reading of Mrs. 
Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin "and Helper's volume 
on slavery kept alive the excitement. This cul- 
minated in the firing on Fort Sumter. The Sunday 
when the news arrived the whole community was set 
ablaze. Flags were hoisted, groups of anxious men 
assembled, and plans and possibilities were discussed. 
When troops were ordered from West Point, and 
marched across the East Mountain and boarded the 
train with their cannon at Turners, the excitement 
reached its highest pitch. Then men enlisted in ear- 
nest. Monroe contributed the noblest of its sons. 

This, of course, enhsted the profoundest love of 
mothers and sisters. One mother wished she had 
more sons to give. The ladies and children met to 
work in aid of the noble organizations which were 

Love of Liberty and Patriotism. 183 

looking after the welfare of the brave boys in the 
field. The school children scraped hnt. The young 
people met and peeled fruit, diied and baiTcled it. 
Old Unen and soft flannel were contributed ; in short, 
everything that could minister to the sick or wounded. 
More than a thousand dollars' worth of useful articles^ 
were sent. And when the slaves began to come in, 
after the Emancipation Proclamation was published, 
supplies were sent to them ; one good dame begging 
the outworn glasses, and putting them in the cases 
as helps to learn to read. After the victory at Grettys- 
burg there was a wild demonstration on the street. 
The Parrott gim which the patriotic had bought by 
subscription was brought out and hauled along the 
street, one of the prominent citizens mounting it amid 
wild huzzas. Afterwards it was fired. But the most 
satisfactory demonstration was when peace was pro- 
claimed. Then the whole village w^as illuminated. 
The event was celebrated by patriotic sermons and 
anthems of thanksgiving. 

The recent war with Spain called out some of this 
latent patriotism, and the sympathies of the best 
people were with the administration in the endeavor 
to deliver the Spanish colonies from her inhuman and 
tyrannical government. Flags were displayed, the 
national colors were worn by the citizens of the place, 
and the greatest enthusiasm was manifested when 
news of the illustrious victories of our army and navy 
arrived. Monroe was represented at the front by at 
least one volunteer — namely, Henry Brewster Car- 
penter, son of Ethan B. Carpenter, Jr. He was a 
member of Company F, 71st New York ; he returned 
from Cuba, and died of fever in his native village, 
September 12, 1898. 



AMONG those who went to the war was John For- 
J^\. shee, bom November 20, 1836, son of Barnard 
and EHza Forshee. After studying medicine and 
serving as surgeon at the Sailors' Snug Harbor and 
on the Panama Steamship Line, he enhsted in the 
Army of the Potomac. He was appointed assistant 
surgeon of the 66th New York, and then surgeon 
in the 11th New York, with the rank of major. 
He was in all the battles of the Peninsula under Glen. 
McCleUan. There, amid the marshes and during the 
forced march, he was taken with dysentery and came 
home to die. Among his last words were : "Who is 
in command ? " He died November 25, 1862, amid 
the gentlest of ministries from a loving mother and 
sisters. " After Hfe's fitful fever he sleeps well." 

Another young man of great promise who went to 
the war was J. Howard Brooks. He was the second 
son of John and Sarah Brooks. After his brother T. 
Benton had enlisted, he joined him in the field with 
Serrell's Topographical Engineers, operating in Ten- 
nessee and Kentucky. Afterwards he entered the ser- 
vice, and was with a company of sappers and miners 
at Petersburg, where he was shot while on the in- 
trenchments. He died a few hours afterward, dming 
which he expressed the warmest yearning for his aged 


Biographical Sketches^ Military and Civic. 185 

father and mother and sister at home. His death 
occurred August 9, 1864, aged twenty-fom* years, six 
months, two days. 

The following lines are selected from a poem full 
of the deepest pathos, penned by his venerable father : 

He loved his dear country, aud prompt at her calling 
He laid all his home joys and fond hopes aside. 

He sought the front ranks, aud there, bravely falling, 
A patriot brave and a martyr he died. 

For the last time on earth on that manly stature, 
On that comely form and face, we have gazed ; 

On that fair ensemble, and that noble nature, 

Which all who knew him and all who saw, praised. 

"We look for his coming when past the cars rattle ; 

We turn with fond look to the opening door; 
Alas ! he comes not, he has fallen in battle. 

Except in our dreams, we shall see him no more. 

Then farewell to comfort while here we shall languish ; 

My hopes all lie buried with him that has died. 
My lot is to weep, my life is but anguish, 

Until I find rest in a grave by his side. 

A neat monument was erected to this brave young 
soldier, a number of patriotic citizens taking this 
method of showing their sympathy for his memory 
and the cause in which he fell. On the occasion 
of its erection, General Tliomas Francis Meagher 
uttered the sentiment : '* Great cities have their ar- 
chitectural piles and mausoleums, but the true mon- 
uments of a rural community are her brave sons." 

Major Thomas Benton Brooks says : " I had the 

good fortune to be born in Monroe, N. Y. (June 19, 

1836), and, better still, to be the son of Sarah S. 

Ketchum and John Brooks. As if this w^ere not good 


186 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

luck enougli for one person, the most intimate friend of 
my boyhood was my cousin, the late John H. Knight, 
whose superior, on the whole, I have never known." 
Benton received his early education in the district 
school, and it was most carefully supplemented at 
home. His first matriculation in the school of use- 
fulness was in assisting his father on his farm of fif- 
teen acres. He describes him as "an old-fashioned 
farmer of small means, who sometimes gathered his 
grain with a sickle, and cleaned it with the wind." At 
the age of thirteen he drove a yoke of big Devon oxen 
hauling sand, lime and stones for the " Granite House," 
which was erected for a homestead in 1849. The task 
which particularly tried the young farmer was the 
picking and burying of small stones on this emphati- 
cally stony farm. He also assisted his father in the 
work of surveying, and exercised his ingenuity in in- 
venting an instrument for the measurement of angles. 
With this goniometer, assisted by his young com- 
panions, he triangulated and mapped Knight's mill- 
pond, loving it better than any other sheet of water he 
ever knew 'twixt the Grolden Gate and Golden Horn. 
When about sixteen years of age he taught the dis- 
trict school in Eagle Yalley for three months, for the 
marvellous sum of ten dollars, " boarding round." 

About this time the surveying party of a proposed 
railroad from New York to Oswego came up the 
Ramapo Valley, which he joined as axeman. After 
cutting his hand so badly that he could not swing the 
axe he was promoted to be chainman, and then rod- 
man. The projected road having fallen through, he 
entered the service of the Erie Company, and was 
first leveller and then transit -man while the double 
track was being constructed. 

Biographical Sketches, Military and Civic. 187 

From this he stepped to the position of assistant to 
the city surveyor of Paterson, N. J., at a salary of sixty 
dollars a month. About 1853 the Topographical and 
Greological Surveys of New Jersey were organized un- 
der Dr. Kitchell. Mr. Brooks applied for a position, 
but was offered nothing better than the place of axe- 
man at half the salary he was getting. 

Though ad\ised against it, he accepted the position. 
It was part of his duty to carry the heavy, awkward 
plane-table for the surveyor, and in doing this he had 
a chance to learn the use of the instrument by watch- 
ing the work closely. Plane-tables were at that time 
scarcely introduced into this country, and were used 
only on the Coast Survey, and there chiefly by for- 
eigners. In this case the surveyor was an Austrian 
who was so dissipated that he soon became unfit to 
do the work. Within a few months Mr. Brooks suc- 
ceeded him as topographer, with geological duties, at 
sixty-five dollars per month, and retained the position 
until the work so injured his eyes that he had to give 
it up. The next winter found him in Florida, where 
he obtained work, first as linear land-surveyor, and 
then as " ordinary seaman," pulling an oar or the chain 
and recording observations for a United States Coast 
Survey party working on the Gulf of Mexico. He be- 
lieved he knew more about the use of the plane-table 
than did the chief of the party, who, however, did 
not seem to think so. Confidence in his own abihty 
to "work his way up" always marked his career. 

When the survey was finished he added an ex- 
perience to his Hfe of which he often speaks as 
having been valuable and deliglitful. He shipped as 
" landsman " on a cotton-ship and " worked his pas- 
sage" home. There "I got my first taste of salt 

188 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

water," he says, " and made the acquaintance of Jack 
Tar, with whom I have been on good terms ever 

By this time he had come to the conclusion that 
surveying and engineering is a profession, and not a 
trade as was at that time beheved by many. He 
entered the then recently organized School of En- 
gineering of Union College. A part of the two years' 
course he was instructor in field-work, and graduated 
in 1858 as civil engineer, taking the highest marks. 
The degree of M. A. was conferred upon him a few 
years later. It was the wish of his friend and pre- 
ceptor. Professor Gillespie, that Mr. Brooks should 
succeed him as head of the Engineering Department 
of Union College ; and had Mr. Brooks been willing, 
he could undoubtedly have had the position. 

Dui'ing his college vacations he made a topographi- 
cal survey of the "Augusta tract," owned by the 
Lorillards and now the site of Tuxedo Park. He 
was assisted by his brother John Howard and his 
cousin Fletcher B. Brooks. This was followed by 
surveys of the great Stirling estate, and later by that 
of the large mountain iron and forest properties then 
known as the Grreenwood and Bamapo, and others ex- 
tending along the Bamapo Valley from Monroe to 
Suffern, and from Grreenwood Lake to near the Hud- 
son River. During this period he spent a winter 
(1858-59) in Philadelphia, attending lectures at the 
embryo School of Mines of the University of Penn- 
sylvania, where he received his strong bent for the 
study of rocks under the instruction of the poet-geol- 
ogist Prof. J. Peter Lesley, teacher and founder of 
Topographical Geology. This brings us to the period 
of the War of the Rebelhon. 

Biographical SlcefcJies, 3IiJifary and Civic. 189 

After the disastrous battle of Bull Run he resolved 
to enlist, and did so as private in the 1st New York 
Volunteer Regiment of Engineers, Company A. He 
recruited a part of his own company in the mountains 
where he was best known, and from the number of 
those with whom his professional work had acquainted 
him, and excellent soldiers they were. 

The records of the New York Commandery of the 
Loyal Legion, of which he is a companion, summa- 
rize his services thus : 

Brevet-Col. Thomas Benton Brooks, U. S. V., was 
mustered into the service as 1st Lieutenant, Com- 
pany A, of 1st New York Volunteer Engineers (Col. 
Serrell's), September 10, 1861. Promoted to Captain, 
and later Aide-de-camp, with rank of Major, August 
17, 1863; resigned October 6, 1864. Brevetted Lieut.- 
Col. U. S. Volunteer Engineers, March 13, 1865, for 
*' distinguished services at the siege of Fort Pulaski, 
Georgia"; Brevet-Col. for " gallant conduct during the 
operations against Charleston, S. C, and meritorious 
services during the war." He had part in Dupont's 
expedition against Fort Royal, S. C. Served most of 
the war on the staff of Major-Gen. Q. A. Gillmore, 
including operations on Folly and Morris Islands, 
S. C. ; was assistant engineer in the siege of Charles- 
ton, S. C, and reduction of Fort Wagner; served 
temporarily on the staff of Major-Gen. B. F. Butler, 
and was wounded at Drury's Bluff, Va., May, 1864. 
He was on cavalry duty with Gen. Gillmore against 
Confederate Gens. Morgan and Duke in Kentucky ; 
served as topographical engineer temporarily on the 
staff of Major- Gen. S. C. Carter in East Tennessee, 
also that of Major-Gen. A. E. Burnside. After the 
capture of Fort Wagner, S. C, he received the Sum- 

190 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

ter medal. His reports are embodied in Gillmore's 
" Siege of Fort Pulaski and Siege of Charleston." 

" He is one of the most noteworthy cases, of which 
there were so many, of extraordinary military capacity 
suddenly developed in young men whose training 
had heretofore been exclusively in civil pursuits." 
(John Hay, " Life of Lincoln," Yol. VII, p. 483.) 
Gren. Peter S. Michie, of West Point, in an address to 
the " Veteran Association of the Department of the 
South," says of him (see Brooklyn Proceedings, 1893, 
p. 27): 

" Unquestionably the central engineer in the siege 
of Fort Wagner, defending Charleston, is our gallant 
comrade Col. Brooks. Ordinary language cannot do 
justice to his self-sacrificing devotion in the dan- 
gerous and difficult service to which he was assigned, 
nor to the full measure of his manhood in its success- 
ful performance. Endowed with an active mind and 
extraordinary energy, with vigorous physical powers, 
these were continually drawn upon until he had almost 
reached the limit of human endurance. He was a 
most indefatigable worker, peculiarly fertile in ex- 
pedients and in emergencies, indifferent to personal 
danger when duty demanded it, and in every respect 
an inspiration to the whole command." 

While serving at the siege of Petersburg, Va., his only 
brother, Lieut. John Howard Brooks, also of the New 
York Volunteer Engineers, fell while on duty in the 
trenches August 9, 1864. He was a gallant, accom- 
plished young officer who would have risen to distinc- 
tion in the army or in civil life. After this event, at 
the request of his parents. Col. Brooks resigned and re- 
sumed the practice of his profession. His first work 
was on the Greological Survey of New Jersey, this 

Biographical SJcetches, Military and Civic. 191 

time under his valued friend Prof. Cook. While at 
work in the iron regions about Ringwood he became 
acquainted with Abram S. Hewitt, Peter Cooper and 
his son Edward, who o^vned the Ringwood estate. 
Through these gentlemen he was offered a position 
with the Trenton Iron Company, and had for a time 
general charge of the iron mines, acting also as pay- 
master. About this time he fiUed for a short time a 
similar position with the Greenwood Iron Company, 
under its late owner, Peter P. Parrott. He laid out 
the "new road" from the O'Neal mine to Greenwood 
furnace. Messrs. Cooper and Hewitt induced him to 
go to the iron regions of Lake Superior in the 
interests of the Iron Chff Company, which owned a 
vast property near Marquette, Mich., with head- 
quarters at Negaunee. The Hon. Samuel J. Tilden 
was president of the company. Col. Brooks was 
made vice-president and manager. He remained 
three years with this company, surveying, buying, 
building and running charcoal furnaces and opening 

He married, January, 1867, his schoolmate Hannah 
Hulse, daughter of Albert P. Hulse and Harriet Tut- 
hill. Their children were Howard (died at Munich, 
Germany) ; Stella, wife of Rufus S. Woodward; Alfred, 
assistant geologist on the United States Survey, now 
(1897) on leave of absence to attend the International 
Geological Congress in Russia; Hildegard, bom in 
Dresden, reclaimed for her country by the Union flag 
which was hung over her cradle ; and Mary Potter. 

He now entered on private work as prospector and 
mining engineer. Soon after he took charge of the 
Economic State Survey in the iron region of the 
Upper Peninsula of Michigan. 

192 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

In 1873 he took Ms family abroad for several years. 
Though broken in health, he took much unfinished 
State work with him. In London and Dresden he 
completed his reports on the Michigan and Wisconsin 
iron regions, returning several times to America on 
professional duties. Fred. J. Knight was with him in 
the field and in Dresden, assisting him in topographi- 
cal, magnetic, and geological work. At this time he 
was made a fellow of the Geological Society of Lon- 
don, and corresponding member of the Geological So- 
ciety of Edinburgh. 

In 1876 he brought his family to Monroe for a 
winter, and then moved to Balmville, north of New- 
burg, New York, where he bought "Glen Hathaway" 
on the Hudson. He said of the place : " It is a little 
Cosmos. I have never seen another seventeen acres 
with more varied attractions." 

When his wife's serious illness and his own failing 
health no longer permitted him to continue his pro- 
fessional duties, he turned his attention to farming. 
He bought Oak Grove Farm in New Windsor, and 
moved there in 1883, soon after the death of his wife. 
When he became obliged to spend the winters in the 
South for his health, he interested himself in stock- 
raising in southwest Georgia. With his friend and 
business associate. Professor Pumpelly, he bought, or, 
rather, built up, by several purchases, Roseland plan- 
tation, eight and one half square miles, in Decatur 
County, Georgia. Their idea that the best use to 
make of the worn-out cotton and forest lands of the 
South is to turn them into pasture was at that time 
a new one. He still finds log-cabin life in the Piney 
Woods healthful, delightful, and economical, charac- 
terized as it is by the pleasure of riding and driving, 

Biographical Sketches^ Military and Civic. 193 

by the cheer of the sunny chmate, and of the " Hght- 
wood " fires on the hearth. 

In 1887 he married Miss Martha Giesler, a Prussian 
lady, and in 1889 the whole family went abroad for 
two years, for the education of the children. The 
major, being a true Cincinnatus, takes time to write 
articles for the pubhc journals, giving the world the 
benefit of his scientific and practical observations and 
experiences througli a life of varied and remarkable 
activity. Had he not broken down in health before 
middle age, he might have achieved gi'eat things. 

Benjamin W. Thompson was the second son of the 
Rev. John J. Thompson, pastor of the Presbyterian 
church of Monroe, New York. He was born in 
Middletown, New York, in 1833. After school-days 
he entered the employ of his brother-in-law, Mr. 
Chauncey B. Knight. His health failing, he went to 
Florida, and engaged as tutor in the family of Col. 
F. L. Dancy, State Engineer, residing on his planta- 
tion at Orange Mills, on the St. John's River. Here 
he remained one year, when, his health having been 
restored by the soft air and out-of-door exercise, he 
removed to Jacksonville in the same State, and en- 
tered the store of Mr. Little as clerk. In August, 
1856, when the yellow fever broke out and a large 
proportion of the people fled, he, with a number 
of other devoted young men, offered his services to 
the alcalde of the city to nurse the sick. He re- 
mained on duty at Camp Detention until the plague 
subsided. A vacancy occurring in the branch house 
at Fernandina, Florida, Mr. Thompson was chosen to 
fill it ; but, pending the negotiations, he discovered 
that the fii'm included the sale of liquor in their 
business. To this his conscience would not allow his 

19-i Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

consent. Wlien they yielded to his conscientious 
scruples, dropping both the sale of liquor and Sunday 
traffic, he entered the firm, and did a flourishing busi- 
ness under the style of Ellis, Macdonough and 

About this time Mr. Thompson became interested 
in the building of a Presbyterian church at Fer- 
nandina, of which he was chosen elder and Sunday- 
school superintendent. His sister, Miss Caroline 
Thompson, came South, and while engaged in teach- 
ing became his companion and most efficient co- 

His health becoming impaired, he resigned his 
business and rested awhile; but as soon as his 
strength would admit, he started business again with 
J. D. Gould, of Delhi, New York, in Fernandina. 

In January, 1861, the legislature passed the Or- 
dinance of Secession, when a new epoch commenced 
in the life of Mr. Thompson and his sister. At once 
active mihtary operations were begun. Every able- 
bodied man over nineteen years of age was required 
to report for daily drill, unless enrolled in some mili- 
tary company. As the latter seemed to offer less 
annoyance, he, with other Northern men, joined such 
a company. But he soon discovered he had fallen 
into a trap ; for the order was pubhshed that such 
companies must enter the service of the State, under 
penalty of confiscation of goods. Now came the 
crisis. A reign of terror prevailed after the fall of 
Sumter, which made it expedient for Northern peo- 
ple to flee. Mr. Thompson disposed of his goods, and 
with his sister and several others ran the gauntlet 
amid great perils, reaching the Northern lines in 
safety. He now went to Port Byron, New York, 

Biographical Sketches^ Military and Civic. 195 

where his brother Howard resided, and there pur- 
chased the " Port Byron Gazette," which he edited 
with success till he felt it was his duty to enter the 
service of the country whose cause he pleaded so 
earnestly. In ten days he recruited a full company, 
and was chosen its captain. This was Company F 
of the 111th New York. His regiment was ordered 
to Harper's Ferry, where, after a short engagement, 
the whole command was surrendered by Glen. Miles, 
pending which, the general was shot. Captain Thomp- 
son was sent with these troops to Chicago, to be held 
until exchanged. When this exchange was effected 
they were armed anew and shipped to Annapolis, 
where his command was joined to the Army of the 
Potomac. When Greneral Lee invaded Pennsylvania, 
June, 1863, Captain Thompson made that memorable 
forced march to Gettysburg, during which so many 
brave boys succumbed to fatigue. Such a march 
puts every military virtue to the test. Captain 
Thompson fell out, after a day's march of thirty-three 
miles ; but on the eve of the 1st of July he reported 
for duty, and took his position at the head of his 
company, now drawn up at the foot of Seminary 
Hill, at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Here they re- 
ceived the fire of the rebels under General Lee, and 
Captain Thompson described it as a keen blade of 
flame sweeping the entire crest of the hill above 
them. A shell exploded against the very rock behind 
which his men were lying down, wounding him se- 
verely. Yet he fought through the entire battle from 
exposed positions, and with no other rations than 
such as could be obtained from the haversacks of 
dead rebels. 

On the morning of the 5th he could muster but ten 

196 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

able-bodied men, and liis own feet were so swollen 
that he had to go into hospital for treatment. As 
soon as recovered, he reported again for duty. He 
was now promoted to the rank of major. At his own 
request, he was appointed to the command of the 32d 
United States colored troops. His regiment was or- 
dered to Charleston, where it was located at Hilton 
Head. Here he met the lady, Miss Adeltha Twitchell, 
who was engaged in teaching, whom he afterward 

Major Thompson was soon promoted to the post 
and rank of provost-marshal at Hilton Head, and 
thereafter provost-marshal-general of the Depart- 
ment of the South, by General Gillmore. He was 
made also flag-of-truce officer, with the rank of 
lieutenant-colonel. This important position brought 
under his control many Confederate officers and civil 
officials of high rank, governors, and even Jefferson 
Davis himself. Prisoners, rebel and Union, were at 
his disposal. He organized the expedition sent to 
meet the prisoners liberated from Andersonville, who 
were marching, or, rather, dragging themselves, to- 
ward Jacksonville. He sent out a train-load of sup- 
plies to meet them, and when met, according to his 
description, they were the most forlorn crowd that 
civilized warfare ever witnessed : haggard, starved, 
diseased, covered with vermin, gaunt, with staring 
eyes as of famished beasts rather than men. Many 
died before the train met them, and others before they 
could be conveyed to a place of comfort. We need 
not say with what assiduous attention, sympathy, and 
care Colonel Thompson ministered to them. He was 
tempted to try a httle of military u'ony upon Jefferson 
Davis and other rebel leaders by putting them for a 

Biographical Sketches, Military and Civic. 197 

while on hardtack, that they might taste some of the 
rigor to which many a brave Union soldier was sub- 

In the Slimmer of 1865 his regiment was mustered 
out of service, when he retu'ed to private hfe. He 
removed to WilUamsport, Pennsylvania, and there 
married Miss Twitchell, whom he had met while in 
command at Charleston. He had charge of Dodge's 
Mills for a time, then became cashier of the bank- 
ing-house of Taylor, Weed and Co. He was also 
secretary of the Fire Insurance Company. He was 
appointed Indian agent by the United States Gov- 
ernment, during which he endeavored to correct some 
of those abuses which General Grant so strongly 
condemned. But when a Democratic administration 
came in, he was superseded by a political appointee. 
He has since been engaged in commercial business in 
Minneapolis, and in an enterprise having as its object 
the redemption of a large tract of land in one of the 
Northwestern States, by turning the stream of a river 
over the barren tract. 

AKred Preston Hulse was the son of Jesse Hulse, 
of Blooming Grove, where he was born February 4, 
1805. He was sent to the country district-school, 
which in those days was very primitive. Its text- 
books were Daboll's " Arithmetic," MmTay's " Gram- 
mar," and the " English Reader." Yet these, well 
instilled, have laid the foundation of many a scholar 
and noble character. Daniel Webster had httle be- 
yond these and " Poor Richard's Ahnanack " with 
which to start upon his intellectual life. But a few 
simple tools such as a jackknife do wonders in the 
hand of a boy of brains, and that was what young 
Hulse must have been. He certainly knew how to 

198 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

make good use of tlie few educational tools placed in 
his hands, often sometimes better than a fortune. 
He soon graduated from the oaken bench and carved 
desk to the plow and team. This continued his edu- 
cation along practical lines, and fortified him with 
good health. He early married Harriet Tuthill of the 
same town, a lineal descendant of the old Puritan 
elder Brewster. When they united their fortunes to 
fight the battle of life, his father insisted they should 
settle on the ancestral farm. But the ambitious 
young man disdained to depend upon other human 
arm than his own. Looking beyond his own beauti- 
ful valley, he saw there was good land in the Clove, 
and at once resolved to go thither. His father, in- 
dignant, said: "Well, go there, then, and eat rye 
bread the rest of your days." They went, and, pur- 
chasing the farm between Monroe and Turners, known 
as the Archer farm, there they hung the crane, and 
reared their family of two boys and four girls. Mr. 
Hulse was endowed with a mind of remarkable 
power, quick in penetration, inclined to rapid gen- 
eralization and deduction of principles and axioms, 
which he enunciated with Emersonian terseness. He 
was an inexhaustible reader, purchasing new books 
on his favorite topics regardless of cost ; and during 
his noon spells would He on the floor, drinking from 
such artesian wells as Comte's " Positive Philoso- 
phy " or Carlyle's " Hero Worship." He was impa- 
tient of authority and established faiths ; he sought 
to investigate for himself and formulate his own faith 
and philosophy. This naturally threw him into an- 
tagonism with conservative minds ; but he was a gen- 
erous debater, a good neighbor, a patriotic citizen, loyal 
to his country in its struggles, faithful, accounting 

Biographical Sketches^ Military and Civic. 199 

for his personal property when the government had 
need of funds. He was one of Monroe's representa- 
tive men. His home, plain in its furnishings, was 
one of unusual attraction for the brightness of its 
conversation, its overflowing good humor, and un- 
bounded hospitality. Mrs. Hulse was always ready 
with her kindly offices where there was sickness or 
want ; and was that good housekeeper whose bread 
had the reputation of being always light, to whom a 
neighbor said : " With what do you mix your bread?" 
She replied : " I always mix it with judgment." Mr. 
Hulse died February 26, 1887, and Mrs. Hulse, De- 
cember 27, 1884. 

John H. Knight was born on the old homestead 
November 23, 1827. He was the son of Daniel C. 
Knight and Catherine Brooks. From his earliest 
boyhood he was remarkable for a thirst for know- 
ledge, and stands as an example of that sort of genius 
which consists in application. He did not enjoy the 
advantages of what is termed a liberal education, but 
was sent to the common school of the district in 
which he always lived. In the words of a friend: 
^' Long before he arrived at manhood he had read 
every book of travels, biography, natural history, 
fiction, and science that was in the old district-school 
hbrary, and many others of hke character, which he 
obtained from other sources." He considered his 
own native town a field worthy of his study, spending 
many leisure hours in investigating its fauna and 
flora till he became an authority on such subjects. 
He was an original investigator, disdaining authorities, 
preferring to gather the data himself, and draw his 
own conclusions on every subject to which he turned 
his attention. But while clear and decided in his own 

200 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

convictions, lie was modest in their annunciation, 
always manifesting a spirit of charity and liberality 
toward those of others. He was an ideal agriculturist? 
enthusiastic in his vocation, practical, bringing all his 
energies to bear to make it honorable and get from it 
the best results. After bringing the home farm to a 
high degree of productiveness, he took up other pieces 
of land in the vicinage, and made gardens of them. 
This gave employment to large numbers of field- 
hands, whom he paid hberally, and from whom he 
exacted no more than was just. Their tears to-day 
bespeak the esteem in which he was held. His sin- 
gular success along these lines led to his selection to 
take charge of the model farm of the State of New 
Jersey, under the care of Rutgers College, situated 
near New Brunswick, from 1865 to 1868. Here, with 
Professor Cook listening to his suggestions, he was 
able to make experiments with manures, soils, seeds, 
and implements on a hberal scale, and furnish data of 
scientific value, not merely for himself, but for every 
farmer throughout the country. This appointment 
did not unfit him for the quiet or the thrift of the 
home agriculture upon his return to Monroe, for he 
devoted himself to the development of the ideal 
milch cow, which he believed he found in his beauti- 
ful Netherland, or belted, stock. Throughout his life 
he was always studious of what would promote the 
best interests of his fellow-men, unselfish to a fault. 
He was genial and bright, a good conversationalist, 
a man of sound judgment, of strict integrity, tem- 
perate, and always on the side of good morals. He 
was married February 13, 1861, to Millicent, daughter 
of Weeks Seely, of Oxford, New York. He was 
brother of Chauncey B. Knight and of Mrs. J. Henry 

Biographical Sketches., Military and Civic. 201 

Bertholf. He died March 3, 1883, lamented by all 
who knew him, an irreparable loss to the whole com- 
mmiity in which he lived, as well as to the farming 
interest he so well represented. 

From local causes, such as bold mountain scenery, 
with noble landscapes, wide fields for enterprise and 
skill, and, still further, with such a grand history of 
men and events forming the background, it does not 
surprise us that Monroe should have been the home 
of no httle varied talent. It has had farmers and 
gardeners and dairymen, who were on the alert for 
every improvement in their vocation. Were there 
better seed, feed, or appliances, tools or machinery, 
there were those always ready to adopt them. John 
K. Roe and Alfred P. Hulse were the first to intro- 
duce the mowing-machine. Monroe was early in 
the field to adopt the plan of soiling and of storing 
ensilage. The Paterson brothers were the leaders 
in the last improvement. Horse-forks and elevators 
to unload hay had early advocates, while model barns 
and stables have been the outgrowth of no little dis- 
cussion and experiment. Monroe has had its inven- 
tors and original investigators. J. Milton Bull was 
the first to suggest the milk business. Benjamin Bull 
invented the platform scale and cutting-box. David 
Mapes invented, as he thought, a pei'petual motion 
which was ingenious, but lacked continuance. John 
Jenkins found a new mineral among our hills, and 
named it Monroeite. He also discovered the use of 
calc-spar for lamp-stands and other ornaments. 
Bailey Cooley was sanguine over the supposed discov- 
ery of coal. A trace was found, but not enough to 
claim the State premium. Carving a ham suggested 
to John Boyce the imitation of the femoral socket in 

202 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

the construction of a shaft-clip. John Miller in- 
vented the automatic coupler, and constructed a hub- 
borer and a hand sawmill. Charles Clinton invented 
a movable cork for horseshoes, and a cannon com- 
posed of hoops and staves, also a shell and steam-en- 
gine ; A. B. Hulse, a safety railway frog for switches ; 
John Bouton, a self-locking window-fastener. But 
even where there was no original inventive genius, 
Monroe has been rich in sound practical talent among 
her mechanics, merchants, and artisans. 

Professional artists she does not boast, but some 
choice amateurs have graced her annals. Poetry is 
one of the arts that flourish on such a rocky soil. 
Painting and sculpture wait for a more advanced 
civihzation. Poetry is indigenous to virgin soils and 
mountainous regions. David drew additional inspira- 
tion from the hills of Bethlehem and the mountains 
round about Jerusalem. Homer was the blind poet 
of Scio's rocky isle. Burns and Scott were under the 
spell of snow-clad Ben Nevis and the crags of lofty 
Ben Lomond. Joseph Rodman Drake composed his 
" Culprit Fay " hastily one summer day, amid the 
Highlands of the Hudson. We are not surprised that 
Monroe, therefore, should have those who, having 
tasted of Clove water and bathed in old Mombasha, 
should plume their wings and try the flights of poetry. 
Ebenezer Earl sometimes wrote verses. We recol- 
lect one political satire. 

Mr. William Van Duzer, the son of Samuel and 
Ursula Van Duzer, was born in Monroe, and spent his 
early years here ; but most of his life was spent in 
New York City, or at the Capitol, where he was engaged 
in one of the departments of the Federal government. 
He found leisure to write at least one poem, which is 

Biographical Sketches, Military and Civic. 203 

full of pathos and sentiment. It seems to have been 
written at different periods of his life, which it di- 
vides up into twelfths : twice six, three times six, till 
twelve times six is reached, which probably closed 
his life and song. He was characterized by urbanity 
and a fund of humor. His memory was well stored 
with reminiscences of the olden times in Monroe. 

Miss Kate Arnell was much beloved as a writer of 
occasional verses, which were held in high esteem, as 
she also was, among the generation gone by. 

John Lamont, father of Charles Lamont, Esq., and 
grandfather of Fred. Lamont, supervisor of Monroe 
for many years, had a portfolio full of verses which 
had the ring of the heather and braes of the home of 
Burns and Scott. One of his, entitled " AU Things 
are Falling," was full of deep philosophy and solemn 

Among the most prominent of the older literati of 
Monroe was Mr. John Brooks. His father emigrated 
from Blagg's Clove and settled in the village of Mon- 
roe, where he made weavers' shuttles of apple-tree 

John was born in 1784. He went to school at the 
log school-house kept by McManus near the old 
Presbyterian church at Seamanvllle. Afterwards he 
taught in the stone school-house above the village. 
He was appointed one of the justices of the peace by 
Grovernor De Witt Chnton in 1819, and the name of 
S. S. Seward is attached to his commission. He was 
storekeeper for the Stirhng Iron Company in 1832. 
He was sent to represent Orange County in the sixty- 
eighth session of the New York Assembly at Albany, 
which commenced January 7, 1845. 

He belonged to the liberal wmg of the Democratic 

204 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

party, and claimed that he had his political creed 
straight from Thomas Jefferson. He took an active 
part in the debates of that legislative body. An im- 
portant measure was the amendment of the State 
constitution, toward the adoption of which he con- 
tributed an influential part. After his return he built 
the Grranite House, where he spent the remainder of 
his life in farming, surveying and reading until his 
death. He was a man of varied gifts, thrifty, honest, 
industrious and hard-working. He was well read in 
books, but was well acquainted with nature and men. 
He was a good debater and an interesting conversa- 
tionahst, his utterances being the fruit of long years 
of observation and experience in different walks of 
life. He was an ardent patriot and lover of liberty, 
giving two of his sons to the cause of his country. 
On his death-bed he expressed his desire to live only 
that he might see constitutional government estab- 
lished throughout the world. 

The loss of his younger son in battle at the siege 
of Richmond much impaired his vigor of body and 
mind. He died November 17, 1871, in the eighty- 
seventh year of his age. 

We have already quoted one or two of his poems. 
We will now add another, more modern than they, 
but no less crisp and epigrammatic. It was written 
at Escanaba, while on a visit to his son Benton, who 
was employed as overseer at the iron-works at that 

" We have plenty of books on all art and science, 
From pigmies and punsters quite up to giants 
Who think they have found all nature's reasons, 
Uncaring how guilty they might be of treasons, 
Or change in indestructible forces, 

Biographical Sketches^ Military and Civic. 205 

Tracing her out through all her dim courses; 
Which forces, like matter with which they unite, 
May change ad infinitum^ themselves infinite ; 
That all the imponderables of earth, air and ocean 
Are found out at last to be nothing but motion j 
That they are covenanted one to another, 
And may be transmuted each into other. 

They chop metaphysics in so learned a way, 
You cannot understand one half that they say — 
'Tis doubtful, I think, if even do they." 


The rest of the poem is of pohtical cast, referring 
to the exciting questions of the day, and would not 

Mrs. Sarah Brooks, his wife, was no less remark- 
able as a woman and mother. While busy with 
her housekeeping she took charge of the education of 
her children, having them read and study beside her, 
while her deft hands were busy with needle and 
bread-tray. She was a careful reader, ahve to all the 
questions of the day, and knew how to impart what 
she read to her children. She was a consistent mem- 
ber of the Methodist Episcopal Church, industrious, 
energetic, patriotic. When she had lost a son in the 
service of his country, she wished she had more sons 
to give to the cause of freedom. 

Monroe had other prominent men in the past 
whose names are worthy of mention, such as Robert 
Fowler, Esq., a man of refinement and culture and 
fine presence, a justice of the peace and member of 
the Assembly. 

Miles Hughes, Esq., brother of Col. Samuel Hughes, 
was a prominent public man who occupied positions 
of trust. He was much respected. 

206 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

Hudson McFarland was a citizen of Sonthfield, 
where for many years he was a political leader. He 
is remembered as a man of large brain and sagacity, 
who filled a number of official positions. 

Peter Townsend, son of Peter and grandson of 
Solomon Townsend, was, like his ancestors, one of 
the iron kings who developed the mineral and busi- 
ness wealth of the old town. He was a man of large 
capacity and application to the industry to which he 
was devoted, generous to his employees, and with a 
fund of good humor ; while his hospitahty, adminis- 
tered by his charming wife, Mrs. Caroline Parrish 
Townsend, was boundless. It was a sad day when 
their rugged workmen carried them out and laid them 
to rest on the cliff on the old homestead at Southfield. 

Peter P. Parrott was another of the iron kings. 
He was brother of Robert Parrott, of Cold Spring, 
N. Y., who was associated with him in the u*on busi- 
ness. Under the supervision of the former, the iron 
was taken from Monroe mines, smelted at the furnace 
at Greenwood and shipped to the works at Cold 
Spring, and during the Civil War was manufactured 
into the celebrated Parrott guns, the method of mak- 
ing and reinforcing which was their own invention. 
They introduced also the manufacture of mineral 
cotton, used for fireproof packing and filling. The 
slag, while incandescent, was made to flow in the cur- 
rent of air from the blowers, and was scattered hke 
snow-flakes to lodge and cool in a large chamber. 
He said at that time there were only two others like 
it in the world. 

Mr. Peter P. Parrott was a man of remarkable 
cheerfulness, geniality and energy. He had been a 
whaling captain in early life, and long retained his 

Biographical Sketches^ Military and Civic. 207 

fondness for the freedom and adventure of that kind 
of hfe. His conversation was bright, his manner most 
cordial toward neighbor and employee. His home 
was situated above a lovely glen, looking down upon 
lake, forest and garden, teams passing and furnace 
engines throbbing and sending out their pillars of 
fire and smoke; and here, with a bright family circle 
about him, he seemed the very favorite of fortune. 
But the fall in the price of iron and the cost of trans- 
porting fuel rendered it necessary to close the works ; 
and now the whole place, from Wilkes' almost to 
Southfield, has been converted into a park, under the 
name of Arden, the family name of Mrs. Peter Par- 
rott. A beautiful Episcopal church and rectory re- 
main as mementos of the taste and character of the 
former owners and controlling spirits of the place. 

Morgan Shuitt, Esq., was for many years one of the 
most prominent citizens of Central Valley, where he 
exerted a controlling influence in its politics and 
public affairs. It is enough to state concerning him 
that he was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 
1849, and was reelected to that post each year there- 
after until 1881, having served thirty-three consecu- 
tive years, the longest term of service of any elec- 
tive officer in the State. 

Mr. Shuitt was a born leader of men. He had the 
rare honor of having accorded to him both ability and 
honesty by his political opponents. He is another 
of the shining marks that have been a target for the 
King of Terrors. 

Peter Tui*ner was a leading citizen of Tui'ners. He 
and his wife came from Buttermilk Falls, and founded 
the hamlet bearing their name very early in the cen- 
tury. He started a sawmill and then a grist-mill. 

208 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

He said the people then were so disorderly that he 
had to mark out a line about the premises beyond 
which he forbade them to intrude. He soon built 
the hotel at the foot of the hill. When the Erie 
Company was organized he saw what a favorable 
location he possessed for an eating-station on the 
railroad. He then built the restaurant, and after- 
wards had an interest in the Orange Hotel. He was 
a successful manager, and gave his house the reputa- 
tion of setting a good table. His son James suc- 
ceeded him, and was regarded as the prince of 

Elmore Earl was highly esteemed in the same ham- 
let, and for many years exercised the office of justice 
of the peace. He was honest and capable, leaving 
behind him a good record for fidelity. 

The roll of worthy sons would be incomplete with- 
out the name of Chauncey B. Knight. He was the 
eldest son of the late Daniel and Catherine Knight, 
both prominent in the memory of the present genera- 
tion. His parents belonged to a long-hved family, 
but he was called away in the very midst of his days 
of usefulness. He was born on the homestead in the 
village, and received his education at the district- 
school. He was lame in early life, using a crutch, 
yet was able to hold his own in the sports of his com- 
panions. He turned his attention to mercantile pur- 
suits, and entered into partnership with Gates W. 
McGarrah in 1845, at the corner of Church and Main 
streets, for the sale of general merchandise. In 1846 
the latter built a store near the depot, and dissolved 
the partnership with Mr. Knight. The latter then 
continued the business on his own account, with 
Matthew B. Swezey as clerk. In 1849 he built the 

Biographical Sketches^ Military and Civic. 209 

brick store opposite the railroad station, and removed 
his business thither. In 1851 he was appointed sta- 
tion agent by the Erie Company, when, in connec- 
tion with it, he turned his attention to the lumber and 
coal trade, together with that of floiu' and feed. He 
renovated the old mill, putting in a new overshot 
wheel, with other improvements. When the wheel 
was found inadequate, he built the steam-mill and the 
present office. In 1861 he was appointed postmaster, 
retaining the office till the day of his death. In 1864 
he was elected supervisor of the town, retaining the 
office till the town was consolidated. He formed a 
partnership with George R. Conklin for the sale of 
floui*, feed, coal and lumber in 1863, which continued 
harmonious till it was dissolved by death. He was a 
trustee of the Presbyterian church for upwards of 
thu'ty years ; also its treasurer, taking great interest 
in the management of its temporalities. 

In 1846 he married Mary, eldest daughter of the 
late Rev. John Jay Thompson, and his children were 
five — namely, Charles T., his successor in flour and 
feed at Monroe; Fred. J., civil engineer; Henry B., 
merchant at Goshen; Caroline T., wife of Rev. O. 
Elmer, of St. Paul, Minnesota ; and Mary T., wife of 
George R. Conklin, head of several branches of busi- 
ness centering at Monroe. 

Mr. Knight was a man of integrity, honest in busi- 
ness, a kind father, a friend of the wage-earner, a 
patriot, and a man of affairs, to whom many looked 
for counsel in different walks of hfe. He was a man 
of public spirit, to whom the village of Monroe was 
largely indebted for many improvements. He at- 
tached his friends very strongly to him, having that 
rare quality of bonhomie that makes one a welcome 

210 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

companion in business or recreation. He was fond 
of the manly sports of field and stream ; and those 
who shared these recreations with him will never 
forget his untiring patience and his genial conversa- 
tion at the camp-fire or on the trail. 

He died July 24, 1880, much lamented by friends 
and business men, who came from distant parts of 
the county to testify their regard for him. His 
memory is tenderly cherished by those — of whom the 
writer is one — who have been indebted to him and his 
goodwife, who was his inspiration in every good 
work, for hospitality shown and shelter given when 
the whirligig of time had made them waifs on its 

His home was often called the Home of the 
Friendless, so often it offered shelter to relative 
and neighbor. It was one of those Monroe homes 
whose latch-string always hung out. 

To this symposium of worthy sons we might invite 
many other spirits. Some still in the flesh are hardly 
less memorable. But there would be a manifest want 
of symmetry, and even justice, if we passed without 
notice the fairer portion of Monroe, namely, her daugh- 
ters. They have contributed to its reputation and 
helped shape its destiny in a quiet way not less than 
its sons. They have not filled professors' chairs, nor 
been appointed to the Coast Siu^vey, been made super- 
visors or sent to the legislature, but they have in- 
structed those who have filled all these positions. 
They have not yet been made electors to State or 
Federal offices, but we have seen them at the polls, 
with refreshments, to induce an honest, temperate 
vote. They have not been called to bear arms, but 
they have been called to give up their sons to their 

Biographical Sketches^ Military and Civic. 211 

country, and provide comfort and aid for the wounded 
and dying. In humblest homes we have seen the un- 
folding of beautiful and heroic character silently and 
fragrantly as some night-blooming cereus. We have 
noted in humblest sphere some " nameless in worthy 
deeds who awoke to find them fame." But Monroe 
has had some ladies of remarkable individuahty of 
character and talent, who, if their environment had 
been more incisive, would have written their names 
on the scroUs of fame. They were, like some of the 
flowers of everglade and canon, hid from the mad- 
ding crowd, but worthy of a place in princely conser- 
vatory. And yet, perhaps, the humility of their sur- 
roundings gave them their mission and enabled them 
to play their very part in the great economy of life. 
We have known mothers who had jewels of which 
they were as proud as Cornelia ; one busy with needle 
and distaff, yet teaching her children at her side ; a 
skilled housekeeper in touch with the literatm^e and 
journalism of the day ; one that could wield tlie brush, 
another the pen, another that could minister to the 
mind diseased, another whose very smile brought 
sunshine to the sick-room. One is the mistress of a 
Presbyterian manse far out toward sunset, another 
of a Baptist parsonage in the blue-grass region, an- 
other a city physician, another a musical professor 
and teacher. Lawyers, editors, physicians, teachers, 
as well as ministers, have come to our old town to find 
their wives ; and all, we fancy, for the reason that they 
knew a good thing when they found it. Now, as 
reference has been made elsewhere to a number of 
these worthy dames, it remains for us but to sketch 
one or two. 

One, in particular, comes to our notice because re- 

212 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time, 

cently deceased, and so prominently known, namely, 
Mrs. Rev. Charles B. Newton. She was the youngest 
daughter of the Rev. John Jay Thompson, pastor of 
the Presbyterian church of Monroe. She was born 
in this town, and was named after Mrs. Margaret 
Boyd, wife of Rev. John Boyd, and a lady of most 
estimable character. Maggie's early education began 
in Monroe, and was continued in Bloomingburg, New 
York, whither her parents removed after her father's 
resignation of the Monroe church. The death of her 
father in 1849 broke up their home, and sent mother 
and childi'en to find homes with relatives. Strong char- 
acters, hke steel, are tempered by furnace fire. Mrs. 
Thompson and Maggie found it so. For a while they 
leaned on the arm of the oldest son, J. Howard 
Thompson, but he was removed by death, at Port 
Byron, New York. Then the younger son, Benjamin, 
was their dependence while their residence was at 
Monroe, where they made their home with the oldest 
daughter, Mrs. Chauncey B. Knight. Now she enters 
upon the profession of teaching. Her first charge in 
this town is the Long Pond school. Here she en- 
deared herself greatly to pupils and patrons. 

Her younger brother, Benjamin, having enhsted in 
the service of his country during the Civil War, and 
returned with honors as Colonel Thompson, Maggie 
went to reside with him at Williamsport, Pennsyl- 

While residing here, the zenana work in India was 
attracting the attention of Christian women through- 
out the world, and Maggie gave it her warmest sjrm- 
pathy. She felt she had a call to this special work. 

The Ladies' Union Missionary Society, hearing of 
her interest, offered her an appointment, but she pre- 

Biographical Sketches^ Military and Civic. 213 

f erred to go out under the auspices of her own church, 
and accordmgly received an appointment to the field 
of northern India by the Board of Foreign Missions 
of the Presbyterian Church. She embarked in Octo- 
ber, 1869, and had as her companions Miss Sarah 
Morrison and Messrs. Tracy and Kelso. She spent 
her time on shipboard studying the language, and 
after a tedious voyage she reached her destination. 
Dehra Doon was her fii'st field, where she had charge 
of a girls' school. Here she became acquainted with 
the Rev. Charles B. Newton, of Lodiana Presbytery, 
to whom she was married. Still she continued her 
missionary labors, and was a true helpmeet to her 
husband in his work of teaching and itinerating. 
Her letters at this time to friends and schools at 
home reveal her deep love for the work to which she 
had devoted lierseK. Dehra Doon and Woodstock 
were household words with the children at Monroe. 

At her instance, Muriam Gurdyal, a Hindu child, 
was taken under the care of the Monroe Presbyterian 
Sabbath-school, and she afterwards attained distinc- 
tion as a trained nurse. 

Mrs. Newton was the joyful mother of six boys and 
one girl. Several of these accompanied their mother 
to this country and received part of their education 
in Monroe. It is with pleasiu'e we recount their inten- 
tion to devote themselves to the same blessed work in 
India, while they have left behind pleasant memories 
of their noble character and bearing. Mrs. Newton's 
health broke down under the enervating climate and 
work, and after trying the hill country she was com- 
pelled a second time to return to this country. While 
here she was untiring in efforts to awaken a deeper 
interest in the cause of missions, so that she gained 

214 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

strength slowly. At length she felt she must return 
to her husband and little girl left behind in that far- 
off land. She obtained consent of her physician at 
last, and returned in the spring of 1897. She hved 
but a few weeks after her arrival, falling asleep peace- 
fully after twenty-eight years of missionary service, 
at Landour, Northern India, June 20, 1897. She met 
death with all that sweet cheerfulness for which she 
was preeminent, and breathing out her life in prayer 
and song, she lay down to rest, " and her works do 
follow her." Mrs. Newton's sister, Miss Julia Caro- 
line Thompson, was also devoted to foreign missions, 
and although not called to go to the field, did most 
efficient work in editing the missionary journal 
termed " Woman's Work for Women." Previous to 
that she had been an efficient teacher in Monroe, and 
accompanied her brother, as we have stated elsewhere, 
to Florida, and taught there, and shared in his remark- 
able trials and escape from the South at the breaking 
out of the Civil War. Her health broke down under 
her hterary labors, and quite early she was called to 
her reward. 



THE earliest roads about Monroe were mere Indian 
trails. These were the most natural and easy 
routes from one trading post or village to another. 
They did not, like the modern traveler, seek the most 
level and easy way, but usually the most direct, even 
though it carried them over rugged hills or through 
dense forests. They had little to transport, and that 
mostly on foot, so that they did not need wide road- 
beds or even very solid ground. They could find 
their way by the faintest footprints, broken twigs or 
leaves, such as a white man would not notice. Clin- 
ton mentions such dim paths several times in his 
Field Book. While surveying on the Isaac Thomp- 
son farm at Turners, he crossed the Indian path to 

Another such path extended from Sugarloaf and 
Belvale, where was an Indian settlement, to the Clove, 
where he mentions another on the Dr. Roe place. 
Another crossed the East Mountain to Haverstraw. 

But when the white man came he required more 
substantial roads and traversable routes. He could 
not find his way by such obscure indications as these 
children of nature ; hence blazed the way through 
the forest. Then he began to remove obstructions 


216 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

that wheeled conveyances might take the place of 
travel on foot and horseback ; hence he sought more 
level routes. We have stated that other parts of the 
county had begun to be settled before the time of 
Clinton's survey. These people must find their way 
to the river and great city, hence a road was early 
made from Goshen to the valley of the Ramapo, over 
the East Mountain to the river and through New 
Jersey to the city. Clinton crossed the Groshen road 
to Stirling, near the Indian settlement at Sugarloaf, 
where he spent a night in a wigwam. He refers to 
another road which crossed Schunemunk and, from 
his allusions, can be traced over Bloom Hill to Dick- 
erman, thence over East Mountain to the river at 
Haverstraw. As lots were taken up and white settle- 
ments established, roads would soon be in demand, 
and when the demands of peace were slow the exi- 
gencies of war forced new routes and new construc- 
tions. Thus there was a military road constructed 
further inland and more hidden than the road down 
the valley of the Ramapo, which was infested with 
cowboys and watched by English cavalry. This old 
Revolutionary road passed west of Tuxedo up among 
the defiles of the mountains stretching from New 
Jersey to Monroe, and military trains with ordnance 
and ammunition were transported diu'ing these stormy 
days continually by this route from one part of the 
field to another. 

These early roads were rude in construction. There 
was little attempt at engineering. They were simply 
cut through forest, over hills, a few of the worst ob- 
structions removed, ditches and water turns never 
thought of. Hence travel in those days was travail. 
Vehicles and teams would be mired and pries were 

Early Roads. 217 

needed to lift the struggling stage-coach out of the 
terrible ruts and sloughs. A facetious stage-cMver 
said sometimes the only way he could see to drive 
his team was by the ears of his horses sticking out 
of the mud. 

This condition of roads led to the construction of 
turnpikes along the great mail and passenger routes. 
The first turnpike of which we read in Orange 
County was one from the house of Moses Cunning- 
ham, which was near Knight's mill at Monroe, to the 
intersection of the Stirling road near the house of 
Stephen Sloat. It was charted in 1800. This was 
extended to Suffern and to Hoboken. It also was 
stretched northwardly to Goshen and called the 
Goshen turnpike. Its gates were standing fifty years 
ago at James Ball's and near Southfield. At Chester 
it intersected the turnpike from Warwick. At Goshen 
it merged into the Newbui'g turnpike, and there, de- 
flecting northward, it became the grand highway on 
that side of the river to Albany. First the upper, 
then the lower, Clove, lay thus in this route, and 
through these favored sections was most of the land 
revealed between the whole of the State west of the 
river to New York. The section through the village 
was more crooked than now. It was shaped like a 
letter S, curving back of G. R. Conklin's and coming 
out at Alfred Carpenter's. Not far from here the 
coach was once robbed by footpads. At the mill it 
passed up over Forshee hill to Southfield. The road 
to Seamanville kept well up on Howell's hill to the 
church. It passed over the dam to Barton's hill to 
Turners. The lane was a private road, used as a 
race-course sixty years ago. 

There has been great progress in road-building in 

218 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

the last few years. The introduction of improved 
conveyances, the demands of milk transportation, and 
now the coming of the bicycle have all contributed 
to make road commissioner and pathmaster mend 
their ways and encourage the construction of better 



THIS railway has been so closely identified with 
the interests of this town that it may not be 
amiss to give a short sketch of its history. Some 
parts of it read like a romance. 

The first idea out of which it was evolved was the 
need to connect the inland lakes with the seaboard. 
Such communication was necessary both for com- 
mercial and military reasons. Grovernor De Witt 
Clinton was the first to suggest the building of a 
canal. The Erie Canal was built and finished in 1825, 
and the grandson of the surveyor of the Cheesecock 
Patent has the credit of it. 

But the application of steam to land carriage hav- 
ing soon been demonstrated a success, some ingenious 
mind conceived the idea of binding eastern and west- 
ern New York by a railroad. The first experiment 
in this State was a short line from Albany to Schenec- 
tady. The late John B. Goff described a trip on the 
road, in which the conductor had to get out and 
sweep off the track with brooms, a light snow having 
obstructed the train. The late W. D. Snodgrass, 
D.D., also, in his jubilee address stated that he was 
going to Presbytery at Schenectady. Some of the 
brethren chose to go by steam. He took the stage- 
coach, and an'ived there first. Out of this small be- 


220 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

ginnirig developed the great New York Central and 
Hudson River Railroad. 

But long before this was constructed, for it grew 
in sections, and was consolidated from them, Erie 
was conceived as a unit — one grand, comprehensive, 
broad-gauge railway along the southern tier of coun- 
ties from the Hudson to Dunkirk on Lake Erie. 

The first charter was granted in 1832 by the State 
of New York. Its first president was Ehezer Lord ; 
its chief engineer, Henry Seymour. 

The estimated cost of this enterprise was three 
milhons of dollars, a large sum for that day. 

The projected route was starting from New York 
to cross by ferry to Hoboken, then laying a track 
through New Jersey to strike New York at Suffern, 
and then take the westward route to the lake. But 
their project met with an obstacle at the very outset. 
The State of New Jersey was unwilling to grant such 
a franchise to a foreign company without the pay- 
ment of heavy royalty. This was declined ; hence the 
route had to be changed and steamboat transporta- 
tion adopted as far as Piermont. This involved un- 
expected cost, especially the construction of a long 
pier to accommodate the boats bringing freight and 
passengers up the river. 

The first report showed an expenditure of six mil- 
lions. Means and credit were now exhausted. Sub- 
scription books were opened, but means were not 
forthcoming. The company was forced to suspend. 
In the settlement proposed the State was willing to 
release its loan of three millions if the stockholders 
would give up half their stock. This gave great dis- 
satisfaction to farmers of Orange County, who were 
large shareholders. But there was no alternative. 

Erie Railway. 221 

The company is reorganized under the name of the 
New York and Erie, and takes a new start. It has 
comparatively an easy task through Rockland County, 
but when it strikes Monroe, Orange County, its toils 
begin. It strikes a rugged mountain region, through 
which a stream pursues its sinuous way, now on one 
side of the rock road-bed, again on the other. 

The engineers took advantage of the water-level, 
but found they had many bridges to be provided for. 
Two of Monroe's sons took then' first lessons here, 
namely, Phineas H. Thompson, who was track- 
master, and T. B. Brooks, who was employed with 
the engineer corps. 

The first train reached Monroe in 1841. It was a 
construction train. It created a great sensation, 
some meeting it at Seaman ville, the young girls leav- 
ing the milking-yards in sunbonnets and aprons. 
They climbed on the sides of the engine when it 
stopped. " We were permitted to ride to the village," 
said our lady informant, "and we got our clothes 
greased, but it was one of the great events of our 
lives." After it reached the village of Monroe the 
hands ran the engine on the switch and reversed it. 
They then repaired to the hotel of Mr. John Goff for 
a meal. The boys then, true to instinct, climbed on 
board and commenced monkeying with the brakes 
and lever. They soon found out how to open the 
throttle, which they did. But they did not learn 
how to use the lever. Tlie engine soon began to 
move off slowly down the track. They tried to stop 
it, but failed to reverse the engine. They tried their 
best to overcome the mischief by throwing wood and 
rails before the monster, but on it kept till near Sea- 
manville, when the engine hands, scenting trouble, 

222 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

ran down the track, put on the brakes and stopped 
the runaway ; but not a boy was in sight, or there 
would have been more pungent memories of the 

In 1847 the road-bed had reached Middletown, and 
by 1848 it had crossed the mountain to Port Jervis. 

Beyond Port Jervis the work becomes far more 
difficult. The cutting of rock ledges along the Dela- 
ware, the spanning of gorges by bridges, the crossing 
of lowlands by viaducts, demanded the highest efforts 
of science, yet in 1851 the track was completed to 
Dunkirk, and the last spike of the single wide-gauge 
track of the New York and Erie Eailway was driven. 

All this while the steamboats conveyed the pas- 
sengers to Piermont, where they were transferred to 
the trains of the road. We remember at this time 
an incident of Conductor Ayres, who, hearing the com- 
plaint of an old lady that she had left her umbrella 
on the boat, — " Never mind," said he, " I will tele- 
graph for it." He touched the bell-rope overhead, 
went forward and soon returned with the lost article. 
" La ! what can't the telegraph do!" was her exclama- 
tion. Concessions having been obtained from the 
State of New Jersey, the track was laid through that 
State to Suffern. The steamboats to Piermont were 
taken off in 1852. The road, with its single track, 
covered 470 miles. In 1860, when its double track 
had been laid, it covered 773 miles ; and now, with its 
numerous branches, 2087, a most wonderful network 
covering many States, gathering the wealth of the 
richest regions of our fair land, and illustrating not 
merely the engineering skill of the country, but giv- 
ing employment to the largest capital and the high- 
est talent of any single enterprise of the kind. It 

Erie Railway. 223 

gathers and brings the wealth of the continent and 
pours it into the lap of the metropolitan city of the 
country. When it taps Orange County it becomes a 
" milky way," millions of gallons of milk, with other 
dairy products, being transported over its track to 
swell the wealth and supply the wants of Greater New 
York. What began in a milk-train of two or three cars 
conducted by Joseph Northrup, has become one of 
the longest and most profitable trains on the road. 

In the earlier period of the history of Erie, its affairs 
were honestly managed, and prosperity dawned on 
the road. But after the opening of the Civil War, 
when speculation created a sort of fever, the road fell 
into bad hands. James Fisk, Jr., and Jay Gould 
managed to get control ; the one becoming president, 
the other controller. They held one fourth of the 
30,000 shares, a large proportion of which were 
fraudulent. They now began to manipulate the 
market after the fashion of Wall street. To further 
their schemes, they put on excursion trains, promised 
new depots, and gave the appearance of unlimited 
credit. Then were built the Grand Opera House on 
Twenty-third street and the Orange Hotel at Turners. 
Fisk managed to secure control of the Fall River line 
of steamboats. These he fitted up with palatial splen- 
dor, and on them entertained his friends with great 
excursions. He dressed in the splendid garb of an offi- 
cer, and would stand at the gang-plank and receive 
his guests with the magnificence of an admiral. He 
had the ambition and avarice of a Nero and all his 
unscrupulousness. He soon reached out and, with the 
aid of a party of roughs, seized the Albany and Sus- 
quehanna road. About this time an Orange County 
farmer went to hear Christy's minstrels, and Christy, 

224 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

satirizing Fisk, said, " When I want a partner I shall 
choose one who can steal a railroad." A new rival — 
Cornelius Vanderbilt — appears in the field. The old 
financier, however, finds the new King of Erie too 
much for him. As fast as he buys stock, Fisk and 
Gould manufacture it. At last the victim is gorged, 
an interview follows between him and his rivals, 
the old man swoons, his tormenters are alarmed, 
and the matter is compromised and hushed up. 

The career of Fisk culminated in the affair of Black 
Friday, September 24, 1869. A plot had been formed 
to make a corner in gold. He got control of six mil- 
lions. There were but twenty millions afloat outside 
of the United States Treasury. Fisk on that morning 
went into the gold-room in his shirt-sleeves, and pro- 
claimed himself the Napoleon of the street, offering 
to bet 50,000 dollars in gold that gold would go up to 
two hundred before night. No one viewing the scene 
can forget the consternation created, nor the fierce 
conflict of bulls and bears that ensued. Fisk himself 
had to flee for refuge to the Erie rooms at the Opera 
House, where he rallied his roughs, who defended 
him with shot-guns. Terrible was the upheaval. 
Credit was shaken from cope to base. Adjustments 
were called for. Even the conspirators called a halt. 
In the settlement it is a curious fact that, according 
to Professor Andrews, $4,500,000 of debt was un- 
loaded upon Erie, merely by the change of two letters 
— Tr. (treasurer) for J. G. (J. Gould). 

But these high-handed proceedings at last came to 
an end. The highest legal talent was employed — no 
less than David Dudley Field, Esq., and Charles 
Francis Adams, Esq. Tweed, Fisk, and others were 
indicted for malversation of funds. Tweed fled at 

Erie Railivay. 225 

night and embarked on an outgoing vessel, but was 
overtaken, brought back and died in prison. Fisk 
stood his trial, but when asked, " What became of the 
funds," he insolently replied, "They have gone up the 
spout, where the woodbine twineth." Before punish- 
ment could be meted legally he was shot by a rival, 
Edward 8. Stokes, at the entrance of the Hoffman 
House. Thus ended one of the most remarkable 
episodes in the history of " wicked and unreasonable 
men," from whom the great apostle prays we may be 

It goes without saying that these transactions de- 
pressed the credit of the road and brought Erie to 
bottom prices. Said the Rev. James Wood about 
this time, while preaching over Oxford Depot, and 
being disturbed by Sunday trains, " This is the great 
New York and Erie Road, stock seven cents on the 

The impossibility of overtaking the debt sent the 
road, in 1875, a second time into the hands of a re- 
ceiver. Out of this dilemma it emerges on April 27, 
1878, reorganized with the new name New York, Lake 
Erie and Western Railroad. But this name, like 
some that aristocracy give to children, tired them to 
write, so the company, after another reorganization 
in 1893, came out with the more simple and sensible 
sobriquet of the Erie Railway. With that may it 
go down to history, and its prestige never grow less! 

An incident of some historical interest occurred in 
the summer of 1850. The late J. Henry Bertholf 
was waiting at Turners station, when the superin- 
tendent, Mr. Charles Minot, arrived on a passenger- 
train. An express was then due, but was behind 
tune. It was the law of the road for west-bound 

226 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

trains to lay off till the east-bound reported. Seeing 
what delays this occasioned, Mr. Minot entered the 
telegraph office and startled the operator by com- 
manding him to wire the operator at Port Jervis to 
hold the express till he should arrive. After proper 
verification he went out and ordered the conductor to 
proceed ; he refused, and was immediately discharged. 
Then the engineer was ordered to pull out, but he 
would not take the risk ; whereupon Mr. Minot 
pulled him from his cab, and gave him suitable marks 
of his displeasure. Then he leaped on the engine, 
and ran it to Port Jervis, and found the other had 
not yet reached Lackawaxen. This is said to have 
been the first instance of the kind, and was the be- 
ginning of the system so universally adopted of run- 
ning and dii'ecting trains by telegraph. 

The gradients of the Erie road are of interest, in- 
asmuch as they indicate the relative levels of Monroe 
and some of the neighboring villages. We are in- 
debted to Mr. John B. Bertholf for the following 
facts. From a profile furnished by him represent- 
ing topographical surveys of that road, we learn 
that the grade begins at Jersey City, with five feet 
above tide- water. Then it runs with httle variation 
to Hackensack Junction, where it begins to rise. Its 
first ascent is by a grade of 46 feet to the mile to 
Rutherford; there it falls back to Passaic Bridge, 
starts again, and mounts 111 feet to Paterson. It 
dips again to Hawthorne ; then starts again, and con- 
tinues to rise to Monroe by a gradient of 42 feet to 
the mile. This gives Monroe a level of 606 feet 
above tide-water at the station. This is 147 feet 
above Chester, 150 above Goshen, 44 above Middle- 
town. The grade from Monroe to Oxford is by a 

Erie Railivay, 227 

descent of 59 feet to the mile, exceeded only by the 
ascent, to Otisville, of 60 feet to the mile. The sum- 
mit of the east division is just beyond Otisville, and 
is 901 feet above tide-water. 

The summit of the Susquehanna division is 1373 
feet above tide-water. On the western division at 
Tip Top it is 1783 feet above. 

Its heaviest gradients are exceeded by those of the 
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and very greatly by 
some of the English roads. 

The Erie road, while opening up so much of busi- 
ness to Monroe, has had the earnest cooperation and 
loyalty of its best citizens. It has also enlisted some 
of its best manhood. Take an instance or two : 
Phineas H. Thompson, son of Phineas Thompson, of 
Turners, commenced railroading for the company, in 
the spring of 1841, as a track boss, from Turners to 
Monroe. After that he was promoted to be conductor 
of an express-train running from Jersey City to El- 
mira, now the No. 1. This position he held with 
honor till the autumn of 1860, when, his health fail- 
ing, he resigned; and soon after, exhausted by the 
incessant care and responsibility of his position, he 
died. He had the reputation of strict fidehty to his 

Virgil Y. Thompson also early devoted himself to 
a like vocation, starting in about 1850 ; and was soon 
promoted to be conductor of an express-train. He 
early wore out in the service of the company, and, 
hke his brother, died in the prime of hfe. 

Brewster Mapes, son of Job Mapes, of Monroe vil- 
lage, turned his attention to railroading, and is re- 
membered as a very popular conductor of passenger- 
trains. After years of service on the road, his 

228 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

comrades report him as enjoying otium cum dig. as 
postmaster at Cherry Hill, New Jersey. 

The company has had the services of many other 
citizens of the old town in some of its varied depart- 
ments — constructive, telegraphic, baggage, or pas- 
senger. We need but mention the names of S. W. 
Miller, section superintendent ; Daniel BerthoK, John 
Bertholf , Wilham Boyd, — all in important positions 
in the telegraph service ; William H. Smith, Peter T. 
Smith, in the baggage department ; while Chas. W. 
Rumsey, of Turners, is superintendent of the Erie 




E have already stated that the first site of the 
village of Monroe was on the stage road, about 
half a mile south. When the Erie road was laid out 
through the Clove, there was a movement to meet it 
and secm'e the advantages of business it offered. 
But there were some buildings on the present site 
before that. Nicholas Knight had bought lands 
of Hophni Smith, Andrew Van Valer, and David 
Knight, as far back as 1808, and built where Clarence 
Knight lives. This we mention as the first house in 
the southern part of the village. Next this was the 
storehouse of McCullough and Lynch. This, when 
altered to a dwelling, was the residence of Mrs. Mary 
Conkhn. Next was the site of the cabin of Claudius 
Smith, the siding being of plank, set perpendicularly. 

Opposite was the mill, originally Cunningham's 
mill. It was bought by Nicholas Knight, and for 
ninety years has been in possession of the family. 
On the south side of Mill street, west, was the resi- 
dence of Daniel, and later his brother, Jeremiah 

Returning to Main street, the first house on the 
hill going north was the miller's house. We are told 
the father of John Brooks lived there and plied his 
trade of making shuttles sixty years ago. 


230 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

Next was the Letts property, now the residence of 
Henry Ryder, blacksmith. This originally was a low, 
double house where a private school was taught by 
Miss Sarah Thompson and Miss Mary Stickney. 
Next was the office of Dr. E. B. Carpenter, adjoining 
which was his house. It was afterwards the harness- 
shop and residence of John Gregory. Next to it was 
the dwelling of Job Mapes, the village tailor. His 
son Brewster was for many years a conductor on the 
Erie road. Phineas Brooks lived about this spot, 
and Oscar, his son, had a shoe-making shop adjoin- 
ing. The shop of John Jenkins stood where the 
Catholic church now is. His shop contained the 
village library and minerals, photographic and under- 
taker's goods, for he was a multi-gifted man. His 
shop was burned in the fifties, and replaced by a 
cobblestone house, once the residence of the late 
J. K. Eoe. 

The Jenkins residence was saved, and is now the 
home of Henry Mapes. Next were the shop and out- 
buildings of John Boyce. The latter were burned 
on New Year's eve, 1875. 

Next was the residence of Albertson Newman, 
father of Mrs. Mary Davy, who, then an infant, was 
thrown out of the window into a snow-bank diu'ing a 
fire. This was the winter of 1835. The house was 
rebuilt by Jeremiah and Daniel Knight. The Pres- 
byterian manse now occupies the site. Next was a 
fine orchard planted by Andrew Yan Yaler. Then 
the tannery house, now the Methodist Episcopal 
manse. Next, the residence of the late Grates W. 
McGarrah. Some distance to the north was the 
little tin-shop of C. Newkirk. Daniel Fuller's was 
next, then the store of the Misses McGlarrah, Aunt 

Appearance of the Old Village. 231 

Hannah and Nellie, interesting relics of the ancient 
past. Next was the store of Mr. G^. W. McGarrah, 
built in 1843. 

The brick store was not in existence then, but a 
gravel bank occupied the corner opposite the railroad. 
Over the road was the garden of John Grregory. From 
that almost to Alfred Carpenter's there was nothing 
but rocks and scrub-oaks, except a little garden where 
the C. B. Knight residence stands, cultivated by 
Phineas Brooks, the stones taken from which were 
enough to macadamize rods of road. 

A log cabin stood beyond, north of the road, occu- 
pied by one Hall, who had, it was said, twelve 
daughters. At the site of Alfred Carpenter's house 
was a tavern kept by James Mapes. On the south 
side of the stage road were rocks and scrub till we 
reach the Lynch tavern, with its quaint sign. Here 
John Brooks built a httle stone house on which is 
this inscription : 

o Highland Cement 


o Beach Sand 

J. B. 

This small house has an arched entrance for wagon, 
and five rooms, none of which are on the same level. 
The Grranite House was built by the late John 
Brooks about the year 1850. Here both he and his 
wife lived, reared their family and died, leaving it 
and its well-tilled fields a monument of their thrift 
and sturdy industry. 

232 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

The former property once belonged to the Presby- 
terian Church and was occupied as a parsonage. Rev. 
Messrs. Howell and J. Boyd resided here. Next 
was the little house, still standing, occupied by a 
chairmaker. Then came the house of Mrs. Harvey 
Shove. The Joshua Mapes property, shop and house 
followed. Next, the Railroad Hotel, kept by A. Stick- 
ney. Over the track was the Dr. Joseph R. Andrews 
orchard and house. The latter was built in 1811. 
Beyond his barn stood a large black oak which was 
struck by lightning as Mrs. Andrews lay on her death- 
bed. Back in the lot was an old house once occu- 
pied by Nathan Mapes, who had seven sons and one 
daughter. The names of the sons were James, John, 
Jonathan, Joshua, Julius, Joel and Greorge, all men of 
marked traits of character. The last was an accom- 
plished drummer. 

A little house occupied by T. Early remains next 
the Andrews property. There was nothing on the 
Presbyterian Church lot. Next was the residence 
of Dr. Ezray; next, the dwelhng of Mrs. Scobey, 
daughter of Mr. Van Valer; next, an old tavern, 
quite near the road. M. B. Swezey lived and died 
here. Wm. Seaman bought it and set it back. 
Next, a tailor shop kept by Job Mapes. Up-stairs 
was a little, low room where prayer-meetings were 
held. Next, the store of Matthew B. Swezey. In 
the middle of Church street was a large hickory tree, 
once a liberty-pole. Over the street was the store of 
John McGarrah. His hotel stood next. John Goff 
occupied it fifty years ago. Back in the lot were 
the ruins of the old David Smith log house. David 
Webb lived on the hill toward the brook, and Thos. 
Jenkins at the foot of the hill. 

Appearance of the Old Village. 233 

Church street was the old Dimderberg road, cut 
through in 1814. A half -century ago there were no 
buildings on it but the Methodist Episcopal church, 
the Dr. J. C. Boyd homestead and the old Van Duzer 
gable house, for a while the residence of Rev. J. J. 
Thompson. Still further east were the Juhus Mapes 
homestead and the Presbyterian manse. 

Now such was old Monroe. What a change a 
few years have made ! Now the single street has 
ramified to many, the weather-boarded dwellings 
have been superseded by handsome cottages ; solid 
brick warehouses and blocks take the place of stuffy 
shops and straggling stores ; while mills, creameries, 
and academy and churches contrive to make it one 
of the most wide-awake villages of the county. 
Think of it : two newspapers claim and use the 
prestige of its name ! — " The Monroe Herald," pub- 
lished by Jas. J. McNally, Esq., of Groshen, and 
" The Monroe Times," edited by Eugene D. Stokem, 
Esq., of Central Valley. Monroe village also boasts 
a Meyers ballot machine, an ingenious affair that 
makes voting and comiting easy to the inteUigent, 
but by the ignorant is as much dreaded as the old 
iron instrument of tortui'e called " the Virgin." 

But we must not omit old Centreville of fifty years 
ago, now Turners. Then it was a little cross-road 
village, with a handful of houses clustering about a 
blacksmith shop, public-house, mill and school-house. 

This last contained one low, square room, three 
sides occupied by desks on which a generation had 
graved its hieroglyphs. The center was a parallelo- 
gram of oaken benches drawn up around an old rusty 
box-stove on which many a chestnut was roasted. 
A high desk with narrow seat was the throne from 

234 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

which the monarch of this petty empire dispensed the 
mysteries of learning and enforced them with the 
rod. Here also on Sahbath evenings the neighboring 
clergy preached, for there was no church edifice at 
Turners then. None of the older people can forget 
the fervor of the Rev. Mr. Hermance, or of the 
present writer as he stood with three tallow candles 
before him and a pair of snuffers to trim the little 
farthing rush-lights while he sought to win to the 
higher life some of those restless youth to whom the 
whistle of the New York express was far more 
attractive than the silver trumpet of Sinai and 
Calvary. Turners now has a flourishing Method- 
ist Episcopal church, Sunday-school and Epworth 
League, which together are making their influence 
felt upon the moral education of the community. 
For many years there was a sanitarium here, under 
the management of Dr. Gillette. His daughter, Mrs. 
Elizabeth Meyers, has succeeded him in his profes- 
sion, and enjoys a well-earned reputation. 

The Orange Hotel, built in 1864, was for a time an 
ornament to the place, but was destroyed by fire on 
the night of December 26, 1873, restoring the custom 
to the old restaurant established by the late Peter 
Turner sixty years ago. His hotel is standing, and 
still retains the memory and prestige of good cheer 
and skilful management by both host and hostess in 
the early days of railroad travel. 

The Creamery of Turners, under the management 
of its farmers, flourished for many years. A rival 
creamery is in process of building, under the auspices 
of the Erie Company, on the shore of the mill-stream. 

Southfield is another of the villages of the old 
to wn. It was formerly called Monroe Works. The 

Appearance of the Old Village. 235 

nucleus of the place was the iron-works of Townsend 
Noble & Co. The elder Peter Townsend, whose 
family-seat was at Chester, Orange County, built a 
mansion here in the midst of a large tract of land 
owned by him. A nail-factory was established on 
the railroad, which was operated for a time. This 
has been followed by a shoddy-mill, and since by an 
iron-bedstead factory. The hotel of the late John 
Coffey was at Southfield. It has a flourishing Metho- 
dist church and Sunday-school. 

About a mile east of Turners is another and much 
younger village, namely, that of Central Valley. It 
is about half-way between Tuxedo and Woodbury. 
It is situated in the midst of beautiful scenery, flanked 
by the Highlands on the east and foot-hills on the 
west, in a clove, or narrow valley, stretching fifteen or 
twenty miles in length. The nucleus of this village 
was a celebrated boarding-school kept by Professor 
Cornell. Here many Cuban youths were educated. 
Then was started an Institute Hall, where lectures 
and rehgious services were conducted. Boarding- 
houses sprang up as soon as this region came to be 
better known. These created a demand for stores 
and a post-offi.ce. Now there is a flourishing Methodist 
Episcopal church, with all the institutions that belong 
to it. A grand sanitarium has been opened by Dr. 
Ferguson, which has already attained eminence for its 
professional skill and efficient nursing. 

The Summit Lake House, kept by Elisha Stock- 
bridge on the East Mountain, is a very popular resort. 
Situated on the banks of a beautiful lake, and on the 
very mountain-top, it offers attractions to the sports- 
man and the lover of sylvan solitude and communion 
with nature. 

236 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

A couple of miles further north is another village 
of the old town. It was once called Orange, but now 
is called Highland Mills. The water of Cromwell Lake 
flows through this part of the valley. Its hydraulic 
power early marked it for a mill-seat. A grist-mill 
was built here many years since, owned by the Town- 
send family ; also a tannery which bore their name, 
but was operated for many years by Joshua T. Crom- 
well. The late William Vail was postmaster many 
years ; also Morgan Shuitt, and since Peter Lent. A 
Friends' meeting-house was early built in the vicinity ; 
also a Methodist church. The fishing-line factory of 
Henry Hall & Sons was removed hither from Wood- 
bury. Hill Crest House, with its cottages, is a popular 
resort of city people ; also the Cromwell Lake House, 
kept by Oliver Cromwell, a lineal descendant of the 
old Protector, a favorite retreat of the lover of quiet 
and rest. 



AMONG the ancient landmarks of the old town 
- was a Balm of Gilead tree, which stood on the 
farm of James Smith. It has this bit of history : it 
was brought as a riding- whip by a young lady from 
Connecticut some sixty years ago, and was planted 
by her upon alighting here. It was recently blown 
down by a storm. Many of two generations ago sat 
in its shadow, and their children played there. 

Man-of-War Rock is always associated with the old 
town of Monroe. It is a great mass of rock, lying in 
the middle of the old Ramapo turnpike, about three 
miles from Southfield. It is not a boulder technically 
so called, but a mass torn from the adjacent moun- 
tain by some convulsion of nature in prehistoric times. 
Its outUne somewhat resembles an old-fashioned 
wooden war-ship ; hence its name. 

The famous mule, sheep and rabbit tracks, accord- 
ing to Major T. B. Brooks, are on the road from 
Arden, or Greenwood, to Haverstraw, and near the 
town line. They consist of impressions in relief, as 
if made by the animals designated by the name. But 
the antiquity of the bed-rock forbids the possibility 
of the existence of such animals at the period when 
the rocks were laid down. The lining of the tracks 


238 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

with iron gives probability to the supposition that 
they have been nodules of bog-iron ore which have 
formed by percolation, while fluid, into crevices of the 
older rock. Then these in turn have been dissolved 
out by exposure to the weather, while the harder 
rock remains intact. A square block of stone stands 
near the spot, resting upon four smaller stones resem- 
bling an altar. The spot was visited by Major Brooks 
and Professor Peter Lesley, of the University of Penn- 
sylvania, several years since, and they came to the 
conclusion that it was no altar, but an erratic boulder 
resting upon stones of different periods accidentally 
placed. This scientific investigation explodes the 
romantic speculations, if not superstitions, which have 
gathered around this strange phenomenon. 

Another curiosity of the old town is the Natural 
Bridge. Ruttenber, in his " History of Orange 
County," describes it as follows : " The waters of 
Round Pond, in making connection with Long Pond, 
flow under a natural bridge, the breadth of which is 
fifty feet, and its length up and down stream seventy- 
five or eighty feet. It is used as a bridge, and one 
may ride over it and not be aware of it. There is no 
daylight under it. The stream on the upper side 
passes into a cave and is lost to sight until it emerges 
from another cave on the other side." Willis de- 
scribes it as " a massive porch covering the last stair 
of a staircase by which a mountain stream descends 
into a mountain lake." It differs in situation only, 
however, says Ruttenber, from the subterranean pas- 
sage of the outlet of Washington Lake. There is no 
little obscurity both in the geography and the rhetoric 
of this description, but the mystery is cleared up by 
one of Monroe's enterprising sons. Civil Engineer 

Landmarks of Monroe. 239 

Frederick J. Knight, wlio wiites : " I have been at 
the Natural Bridge, and find that it is at the south 
end of Poplopens Pond, on the inlet, not the outlet." 
And this is the bridge that Ruttenber referred to and 
quoted from Willis. There is no natural bridge on 
the stream from Round to Long Pond, as mentioned 
by Ruttenber. The bridge is about seventy-five feet 
long, perhaps twenty to twenty-five feet above the 
water, and has a large cave at each end, daylight not 
being visible through it. An old road now seldom 
used passes over it. 

As Monroe is the lake region of the county, we can- 
not but mention its beautiful lakes as features, if not 
landmarks. A mile and a half brings us to Round 
Pond and its lovely island. Here are boats and bath- 
ing-houses, opportunities for fishing and rowing. A 
few rods south we can sail upon or fish in Walton 
Lake. Over the farms further south we look upon 
the lovely surface of Mombasha. Here we may cross 
to the Lucky Rocks and take a five-pound bass or a 
twelve-pound terrapin, gather pitcher-plant from one 
of its floating islands, or enjoy a fish-fry with the 
Hain Club. We order our buggy and drive down the 
new boulevard to Tuxedo, the Loch Katrine of this 
region. Here we feast our eyes on club-house, cot- 
tage and lawn, or plunge into the thicket and catch a 
glimpse of deer, a covey of partridge, or even hear the 
challenge of a wild boar. If we are not careful, how- 
ever, and venture a little poaching, we will have the 
gamekeeper down upon us, and we have to read Sir 
Walter or study our Shakspere in the lockup. Other 
lakes are not far away : Sterhng, full of splendid bass ; 
Greenwood Lake, the Windermere of old Orange. 
How often we have dropped a fine here at early day! 

240 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

What sails and picnics we have had ! We wonder if 
these lakes will not some day produce a Wordsworth 
or Rogers, Scott or Coleridge. 

The disciple of Izaak Walton kens of a famous 
trout-brook, mentioned by Chnton in the Field Book, 
running through Dutch Hollow and past the door of 
the late Charles Fitzgerald, Esq., who welcomed those 
who knew how to throw the fly and skilfully take 
the speckled beauties from then- haunts. Such also 
knew of other streams in the mountains where the 
hermit-trout dwell and will rise only to the expert 
fisherman. The famous Ramapo has many a riffle 
and cascade where the Indian once speared the sal- 
mon-trout. The lover of nature can find a fine cas- 
cade at Augusta, where the river leaps and rushes 
down a steep of some ninety feet. The antiquary as 
well as the artist also can find a striking ruin there — 
the archway of the old iron- works and anchory of 
Townsend & Co. There are many famous springs 
about Monroe that gave the Clove water the reputation 
of making its lover wish no other. Pity it did not con- 
quer a thh'st for stronger drinks ! Chalybeate springs 
abound in the iron region. A remarkably cold spring 
is seen on the J. K. Roe place. A fine spring jets from 
the Cromwell Lake, which has been inclosed for use at 
the hotel. The Seven Springs Mountain House, on 
the crest of Schunemunk, boasts of as many living 
springs out of the flinty rock. But some would be 
disappointed if we forgot the mill-pond on which the 
village stands. It has been the scene of many adven- 
tures, and the center of much local history. Claudius 
Smith probably looked upon it. Washington's dra- 
goons gave their horses drink from it. One of the 
old men of the village fell in while getting ice. An- 

Landmarks of Monroe. 241 

other, showing how he did it, repeated the immersion. 
A facetious citizen floated a decoy duck out on the 
water and drew the fire of the sportsman. It was 
probably the 1st of April. Once the frogs bred in 
such quantities that they spread over the whole coun- 
try like the plague in Egypt. Once the dam gave 
way, affording the boys a grand fishing holiday. 
What a carnival the ice would present in winter, and 
what pleasure in rowing and swimming in summer ! 
No landmark of old Monroe is as dear as the old mill- 
pond. One of the clergy gave it the romantic name 
of ''the Turtle's Dehght." 

It may interest to state that it was a favorite say- 
ing that with the freezing of the mill-pond canal 
navigation closed ; with the freezing of Round Pond 
the North River froze to Newburg ; but not till 
Long Pond froze did the river close below Newburg. 

" As the mountains were round about Jerusalem," 
so are the mountains round about Monroe. On the 
east are the Highlands, like the mountains of Moab, 
seen whenever its citizens look toward sunrise. Ten 
miles of rock ridges, with many a peak, defend them 
on that side. Only one or two passes give access in 
that direction — one over Bull Hill, the other up to the 
Stockbridge Hotel. Either of these could easily be 
defended against an enemy. On the south are For- 
shee Hill and the Southfield Mountains. On the west, 
the Bel vale Mountains and Sugarloaf, standing like 
a sentinel, overlooking the valley below. Schune- 
munk guards the northwest. It has a bastion on the 
eastern corner. High Point is a weather signal-tower 
to the observing. When it wears its night-cap late 
in the morning, it indicates falling weather ; when 
the cap is early doffed, it betokens a serene day. The 

242 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

black rocks loom up from the mountain-top, and from 
their summit a wonderful scene presents itself. The 
eye sweeps the entire horizon, taking in the Catskills, 
Butter Hill, the Fishkill Hills, Bull and Pine Hills, 
Mount Bashan, Sugarloaf, Belvale and Goose Pond 
Mountains, with lakes, farms, mines, mills and vil- 
lages galore. The Devil's Race-course lies on the 
northern slope of old Schunemunk, but the visitor 
needs none of his counsel or company, for he who 
chmbs these steeps can find sweeter communion 
nearer to the heart of nature. 

One other landmark is Bald Hill, very dear to us 
because at its foot we first hung the crane. Here we 
toiled and studied, and here the sunshine fingers in 
our memory longest and our children fell asleep. It 
is the Acropolis of the village. Here the Monroevian 
will make his last stand, if the Spaniard or any future 
foe should overrun the land. From a little pond at 
its base the bones of a mastodon were recently dug 
by the late Martin Konnight. The mammoth was 
once the monarch of the Ramapo, and probably these 
old hills and forests echoed with his roar. But he 
passed away hke his successor, the Indian, and some 
day some strange race may be moralizing over the 
ruins of our grandeur. 



SEVERAL disastrous fires have occuiTed from time 
to time, which have gi'eatly affected both the ap- 
pearance, business and very pohtical status of the 
village of Monroe. While the burning of the shop of 
John Jenkins led to the erection of the first grout 
building, and the burning of the Boyce shops on the 
night of December 31, 1875, removed unsightly build- 
ings and gave the Presbyterian manse a new barn, 
the fire that occurred on the night of November 2, 
1873, led to still more important results. It broke 
out in the flour and feed store of Carpenter & Webb, 
spreading to adjoining buildings, which were re- 
placed by better. On this occasion word was sent to 
the fire department of Groshen, to which a ready re- 
sponse was made and relief sent. 

The difficulty in procuring water from wells for 
such an emergency opened the eyes of the citizens as 
to the need of a better water-supply. Public meet- 
ings were held, at which several propositions were 
made and discussed, one of which was to bring the 
water of Round Pond into the village. But the chief 
difficulty was that such a measure could not be car- 
ried out without incorporating. This excited strong 
opposition on the part of larger owners of real estate, 
and was soon abandoned. 


244 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

On the night of March 17, 1895, another fire started 
not far from the former, and burned its way north 
and east to Lake and Main streets, consuming the 
stores of Messrs. Jacqmein, Reed, Bouton, and Welling, 
together with the large brick double store of the late 
C. B. Knight. This was built in 1849, and had just 
been refitted with plate-glass windows and other 
improvements. Thus this whole corner was swept 
away except the frame store of Mr. Eugene McGrarrah. 

But great as was the loss of property, it resulted in 
the public good. For not merely were handsome 
buildings erected in their place, but a public nuisance 
was gotten rid of, namely, the corner sometimes 
called Cape Horn. At the junction of Main and 
Lake streets was a sloping sidewalk where several 
accidents occurred. Here the wife of a citizen broke 
her thigh. One of the clergy was passing when 
it was slippery, and some wag exclaimed : " The 
wicked stand in slippery places." He quickly re- 
sponded, " Yes, you may ; but I cannot." Another of 
the cloth was passing when an urchin came out of 
the brick store with a jug of molasses. The boy's 
feet slipped, and the jug was broken. Between the 
molasses and the ice the dominie caught a fall that 
added long-remembered sweetness to his cup. 

Then the public road encroached on the prop- 
erty of the railroad, and when the corner was rebuilt 
the company required the owners to draw the side- 
walk many feet back, giving now a handsome frontage 
to the new stores. 

The proposition to incorporate the village now be- 
gan in earnest, having its origin in the necessity to 
provide better means to fight the destructive element 
fire. Accordingly, after some discussion a census of 

Recent Occurrences. 245 

the population was taken, and, still further, a siu'vey 
of territory in the vicinage, made by Engineer Fred- 
erick J. Knight. A population of 781 was found 
residing on the area contemplated. This was in 
May, 1894. 

The general boundary chosen is a line drawn from 
the farm of Gilbert Smith to the farm of Franklin 
Mapes, thence to Seamanville, including the old 
burying-ground, the Forshee and Wm. Y. Mapes 
farms, and around the John Knight farm to the point 
of beginning. The territory is one mile and 263 
thousandths of a mile square. At a public meeting 
held July 31, 1894, a vote was taken, and 111 were 
found in favor and 45 opposed to the measure. Upon 
this decision the necessary steps were taken towards 

The village election was held August 21, 1894. 
Henry Mapes was chosen President; J. Lester Greg- 
ory, Treasurer ; Frank Griffen, Collector ; Gilbert 
Carpenter, Henry Morehouse and George R. Conkhn, 
Trustees. August 28, 1894, the trustees organized a 
Board of Water Commissioners, with Gilbert Carpen- 
ter, President ; G. R. Conklin, Secretary ; Henry 
Mapes, Treasurer; Alexander Potter, of New York, 
Engineer-in-chief; Frederick J. Knight, of Monroe, 

Under the du'ection of this board, the water of 
Mombasha Lake was brought to supply this village. 

The water-works were built, and the water was 
turned into the main October 10, 1895. The fall is 
245 feet at the raikoad station. One foot in Mom- 
basha gives 108,000,000 gallons. Consumption first 
year, 17,000,000 gallons. 

The following hues were composed by the Honor- 

246 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

able A. B. Hulse, suggested by the completion of the 
system of water-works bringing the water of Mom- 
basba Lake to Monroe, and published originally in the 
" Independent Republican" : 

All hail, all hail, this glorious day ! 
Mombasha's here, she's come to stay ; 
Beneath, above, around Monroe 
Her pure and crystal waters flow. 

Her misty sprays and dashing streams 
Are sparkling in the bright sunbeams. 
While silently, unseen, below 
Her mighty currents throb and flow. 

As Moses with his wondrous rod 
Smote Horeb's rock before his God, 
So did our Village Fathers smite 
With rods of steel and dynamite 
The rocks that bound Mombasha's shores. 
And brought her waters to our doors. 

We'll drink none but thy waters pure. 
Then longer will our years endure ; 
In founts drawn from thy waters, too. 
We'll bathe, and thus our youth renew. 

Our lawns no longer will be seen 
Dry, crisped, but dressed in living green. 
Like gems of emerald they'll appear. 
And beauty fill our heart with cheer. 

The fire-fiend, most dreaded foe, 

Who, when least looked for, strikes his blow, 

Is ever hanging o'er our head — 

A constant fear, a constant dread. 

At noon, midday, at night's dark hour, 
Will liere be broken in his power. 
He'll have to beat a quick retreat, 
And lay his sceptre at her feet. 

Recent Occurrences. 247 

How many, many blessings more 
Mombaslia still may have in store, 
I cannot tell 5 I only know 
She'll shower them all upon Monroe, 

Now let us all our glasses fill 

With Basha's water with right good- will ; 

In union drink with one accord 

The good health of our Village Board. 

We know the path you had to tread. 
No roses lined the way it led ; 
But toil, anxiety and care 
In measure full you had to bear. 

Now, here's to you and your good health ; 
May you be blessed with more than wealth. 
Here's to the triumphs you have won. 
God bless you all ! Well done, well done ! 

— Homo. 

Mombaslia Lake is three miles from Monroe village 
and two hundred and forty-nine feet above the level 
where the Erie Railroad crosses Main street. Its 
waters are extremely pure and crystal-like, and con- 
tain the slightest trace of iron, — not enough to affect 
the taste, but just enough to render them wholesome 
and health-giving. 

The village election of March, 1898, resulted in the 
choice of Ananias B. Hulse, President ; Theodore 
Clark and Sanford S. Lewis, Trustees ; Henry Mapes, 
Treasurer; Ezra Welling, Collector; Edward H. 
Seaman, Police Justice. 

By ordinance the names of the streets of the vil- 
lage have been changed and finally fixed. Among 
them are such historic ones as Ramapo and Schune- 
munk. But the climax was reached when one on 
the outskirts was called Ereeland street, — for what 

248 Chronicles of Monroe in the Olden Time. 

reason we cannot divine, except that fifty years ago 
it was full of snow-banks and " thank-'e-ma'ams," and, 
like its namesake, there was room for improvement. 
For time, that stem old conjurer that wi'inkles and 
furrows our faces, ofttimes takes the kinks out of 
roads, adorns the face of nature with vines and 
mosses, and has even made the Rotten Row of the 
city of London into the abode of aristocracy. 

And now, as our task draws toward a conclusion, 
we may say it has been a pleasant one, truly a labor 
of love. While it has been a symposium, with the 
company of those who have gone before and left their 
footsteps on the sands of time, we have had before 
us the present generation, especially the youth of 
Monroe; seeking to impress upon them the lessons 
which the noble history of their town, the folk-lore, 
and the natural advantages of its situation have for 
them. If they will look out on the superb mountain- 
girt plain, what a field there is for growth! But let 
them eliminate from it everything that would put 
the bar sinister upon its fair escutcheon. While 
loving their native hills with all a Switzer's patriotism, 
let them climb to the mountain-tops and look to the 
wide, wide world beyond, and help with honest toil 
to solve some of its great problems of labor, liberty 
and fraternity. What the age wants are men of in- 
tegrity, administering every trust conscientiously, 
" faithful in little, faithful in much." Pursuing the 
good of man and the glory of God, we bid adieu to 
our readers with a few hues found in our portfolio ; 

Where the Highlands plant their feet, 

On the clover plains below, 
Nestles a hamlet neat — 

The village of Monroe. 

Recent Occurrences. 249 

What time the sunlight gleams 

On silvery Ramapo 
Reflected in her streams 

Is picturesque Monroe. 

Beside the long-drawn street 

The graceful maples grow, 
And lights and shadows meet 

On our pathway in Monroe. 

The anvil doth resound ; 

The mill-wheel echoes low ; 
And wheels of industry spin round 

In wide-awake Monroe. 

By academic walks 

The children come and go ; 
By fireside list the talks 

Of old folks in Monroe. 

Her church bells sound the lay, 

That young and old may know 
The life, the truth, the way 

To the hills beyond Monroe. 

On her with lavish hand 

May Heaven brave gifts bestow, 
And choicest benison command 

On the good folks of Monroe ! 
— Nil. 

*^tC i^ 189Q 


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