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IN THE OLDEN TIME
TOWN AND VILLAGE
REV. DANIEL NILES FREELAND
THE DE VINNE PRESS
Copyright, 1898, by
Daniel Niles Freeland.
u/Q COPIES R£C:;Vuw.
^p fotmcr bclobcti pariistiioner^ of
09onroc, |5etD fork,
and manp otJjei: hmb fticnb.i^ of tljc toton ajtD tillage of
tjjat name, fiott) iibing anb beab,
i^ ti)i^ nioJJcsft boluitie
/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
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.
MONROE IN THE OLDEN TIME.
THE CHEESECOCK PATENT.
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
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
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.
THE FIELD BOOK AND SURVEY.
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.
DISTEIBUTION OF THE LANDS. MAPS OF LOTS.
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-
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
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.
INDIANS AND INDIAN NOMENCLATUEE.
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-
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
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
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.
ORGANIZATION OF THE COUNTY OF ORANGE AND TOWN
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
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 :
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
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.
THE EAELY SETTLEMENT OF THE TOWN.
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
WAE OF THE REVOLUTION.
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
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
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
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."
THE STOEY OF CLAUDIUS SMITH.
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
ROBERT ERSKINE, F. R. S.
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.
THE DAWN OF PEACE.
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
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.
HOME BUILDING IN THE OLDEN TIME.
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
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 ! "
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 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 IRON INDUSTRY OF MONROE.
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
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
THE MILK BUSINESS.
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
INDUSTKIES OF THE HOME AND FAKM.
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
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
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
THE DBESS OF THE OLDEN TIME.
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
"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-
COUETSHIP AND MAEEIAGE.
E have read in an old album at Monroe the
" 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."
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
MILLS AND SMITHY.
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
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
It is often asked by the present generation. Of
what use is a fulling-mill, and what is the process
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
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-
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
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
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
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
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-
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
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,
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
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.
SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION.
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
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
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
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
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
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."
PHYSIC AND PHYSICIANS.
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.
LAWYEES AND LITIGATION.
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.
CHURCHES AND CLEEGY.
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
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-
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
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.,
GrENEST M. RoE, M.D., JoSEPH YoUNGS,
David Smith, Geoege R. Conklin,
John K. Roe, Eugene McGaeeah.
Messrs. Young, Conklin and McGarrah are the
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 CAUSE OF TEMPEEANCE.
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
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.
HUNTING AND FISHING.
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
" 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
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 SINGING SCHOOL.
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
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 ! "
THE DEBATING SOCIETY.
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
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.
LOVE OF LIBEETY AND PATKIOTISM.
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.
BIOGEAPHICAL SKETCHES, MILITAEY AND CIVIC.
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,
" 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
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
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
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
APPEAKANCE OF THE OLD VILLAGE.
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
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-
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
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
LANDMARKS OF MONROE.
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
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 !
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
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 !
*^tC i^ 189Q
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
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