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Cornell University Library 
F 127R6 G79 

History of Rockland County /.by l-rank Be 

3 1924 028 832 974 
olln Overs 

Cornell University 

The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 








Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1886, 


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C. 



The Indian tribes of Rockland County. Their dress, personal habits, weapons and utensils. 
Religious condition. De Vries Colotly. Sketch of De Vries. Wars with the Indians. De- 
struction of Vriesendael. Treaties with the Indians. Disappearance of aborigines. 


Van Werckhoven applies for a patent at Tappan. Claes Jansen's patent. Paulsen and 
Dowse Harmanse patents. De Harte patent. Orangetown patent. Welch and Marshall or 
Quaspeck patent. Honan and Hawden or Kakiat patent. Evan's patent. Wawayanda patent. 
Cheesecocks patent. Lancaster Symes patent. Stony Point patent. Ellison and Roome patent. 
Kempe, Lamb and Cram patent. Patents for lands in Ramapo. Lockhart patent. 


Early real estate speculation. Transfers of the De Harte patent. Survey of the boundaries 
between the De Harte and Cheesecocks patent. Sales from the Quaspeck patent. Settlement of 
division line between the Quaspeck and Kakiat patents. Division of the Ifakiat patent. Sales 
from the Kakiat patent. Settlement of division line between the Kakiat and Cheesecocks patent. 
Sales of land from the Cheesecocks patent. Sales of land from the Stony Point patents. Trans- 
fers of land in Ramapo. The settlement of the Orangetown patent. The different systems of 
patronymics used by the Dutch and the origin of Dutch family names. 


Organization of Orange County including the present Rockland. Physical condition of the 
Cbnnty at the time of erection. Fraudulent election returns from it. First officers. Establish- 
ment of a court. Early census returns. Organization of the first church society. Early super- 
visors' records. Building of thefirst church edifices at Tappan, Clarkstown and Kakiat. Pun- 
ishments inflicted on malefactors. Establishment of church societies north of the mountams. 
Opening of highways. Erection of County buildings north of the mountains. The establishment 
of inns. The beginning of the controversy with Great Britain. 



A brief review of the ideas which led the colonists to revolt. A General Congress called for. 
It convenes. Election of Delegates from this State. Organization of the Sons of Liberty in New 
York. Organization of the Committee of Correspondence and Safety in Orange County. Its 
duties during the Revolution. Election of Delegates to a Provincial Congress. Organization of 
the State Government and Adoption of the Constitution. Synopsis of the first Constitution. 
First Election of State Officers. Recapitulation of, the Revolution in Civil Government. Civil 
I jst of our County till the formation of a Federation. 



The Militia Force of our County at the outbreak of the War. Organization of Troops. In- 
subordination among them. Building Fort Clinton. The Water Front Visited by a Hostile Fleet. 
Retreat of the Continental Army through the County. The Forays of the Enemy in our County, 
and the patriotic struggles to defend it. Washington encamps at Ramapo. From thence marches 
toward Philadelphia. The Battle of Fort Clinton. The construction of the West Point Chain. 
Massacre at Old Tappan. Capture of Stony Point by the British. Its re-capture by General 
Wayne. The Continental Army Encamps at Tappan. The treason of Arnold. Trial and Exe- 
cution of Andre. March of the Continental Army through the County to beseige Yorktown. 



Events at Tappan and Sneden's Landing, Conflicts between the British and Shore Gviard at 
Piermont and Haverstraw. Naval fight in Tappan Zee. Conflicts at Nyack. The depredations 
committed by Cow-boys in the County. Forays at Slaughter's Landing. Joshua Hett Smith. 
Invasions of the Southern part of our County by the Enemy. Acts of individual bravery and 
suffering. Account of Claudius Smith. Confiscation of property at the close of the War. 
Roll of the names of men who served iu the armies of the Revolution, 


Dreadful financial condition of the County at the close of the Revolution. Energy of the peo- 
ple to re-establish business. The first houses of the settlers. Later architecture. Domestic 
life amongthe Dutch : Their occupation and manner of work. The modes of travel in early 
days. The style of dress. Amusements. Causes of veneration for the clergy. Church 
attendance. Funerals. Forms of old wills. 


The causes which led to the creation of a Federation. Their slight influence on this section. 
The feeling among the people regarding it and the reason for that feeling. The vote of the 
delegates at the Convention. Reasons why Rockland County wiis erected. Its boundaries. Its 

townships. Its first officers. 



The Hassenclever Iron Mine and Rockland Nickel Company Mine. Conglomerate sand- 
stone and freestone quarries. Dater's Works. Works at Sloatsburgh. Ramapo Works. Brick 
Manufacture. Knickerbocker Ice Company. 


The early militia of Rockland County. War of 1812. The militia of the County called upon 
for service. The companies of Captains Blauvelt and Snedeker leave for Harlem. The Light 
Horse ordered to report for duty. Organization of a batallion of artillery. Desertions. Organ- 
ization of the National Guard. Muster roll of the militia of 1812. 



Proposition for a turnpike from Nyack to Suffern : Bitter opposition. The bill as passed. 
Renewals of the charter. An act incorporating the New Antrim and Waynesburgh Company, 
passed. The beginning of steamboat communication with New York. Later steamboats. Char- 
ters for ferry-boats. Chronological list of steamboats. Opening. of the Erie and other railroads. 


History of the Reformed Church atTappan, at Clarkstown. Of the " Brick " or Reformed 
Church at West New Hempstead. Of the Reformed Church at Nyack, at Piermont, at Spring 
Valley. History of the " English " or Presbyterian Church at Hempstead. Of the Presbyterian 
Church at HaVerstraw, at Ramapo, at Greenbush, at Nyack, at Waldberg, at Stony Point, at Pal- 
isades, and of the Central and Mountville Presbyterian Churches. History of the Baptist Church 
at Nanuet, at Haverstraw, at Viola, at Piermont, at Nyack, at Spring Valley. 


History of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Rockland County. History of the Methodist 
Protestant Church at Haverstraw and Tomkins Cove. History of the Roman Catholic Church 
in Rockland County. History of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Rockland County. History 
of the Universalist Church at Nyack and Orangeville ; of the Quaker Church at Ladentown ; 
of the True Reformed Church at Monsey, at Nanuet and at Tappan. History of the Congre- 
gational Church at Monsey and Tallmans. Of the M. E. Zion at Nyack and at Haverstraw. 
History of the Union " Stone Church," or Upper Nyack, Wayside Chapel, Lake Avenue Baptist, 
West Nyack Chapel and Steven's Sunday Schools. History of the Rockland County Sabbath 
School Association. 


Slavery in Rockland County. The " Underground Railroad." The County Buildmgs. The 
Rockland County Bible Society. The Rockland County Medical Society. Agricultural Society. 
Rockland County Teachers' Association. The Rockland County Historical Society. Civil List 
of the County. 



The political feeling in Rockland County and Election of i860. Effect of the shot on Sum- 
ter. Split of the Democratic Party into Peace and War factions. Early volunteering and organi- 
zation of companies. Movement among the Union Men to render aid to volunteers and their 
families. The early conception and growth of the Rockland County branches of the U. S. San- 
itary Commission. Outburst of anger among the disloyal at the order for a draft. Organization 
of secret societies among the loyal. History of the drafts. Election of 1864. Joy over the news 
of the end of the conflict. The Census of Rockland County's contributions to the War. 



Erection of the Town : Area : Origin of Name : Census : First Town Meeting. Histories of 
Tappan, Greenbush, Middletown, Nyack, Piermont, Palisades, Orangeville, Orangeburgh, Pearl 
River. Railroad from Sparkill to Nyack. Highland and Midland Avenues. Town Officers. 



Origin of Name : Erection into a Township : Area : Census. Histories of Haverstraw Vil- 
lage, Thiell's Corners, CVurnee's Corners or Mount Ivy, Garnerville, Samsoadale, Johnsontown, 
West Haverstraw, Monroe and Haverstraw Turnpike, Haverstraw Community, Town Officers. 



Date of Erection : Area : Origin of Name : First Town Meeting : Census. Histories of Suf- 
ferns, Sloatsburgh, Eater's or Pleasant Valley, Sterlington, Ramapo, Hilburn, Kalciat or New 
Hempstead, Sherwoodville, Ladentown, Mechanicsville or Viola, Cassady's Corners, Spring Val- 
ley, Monsey, Tallman's, Scotland, Pomona. History of the Old Taverns. New Jersey and New 
York Railroad Stations. The Orange Turnpike. Stages. Town Officers. 



Origin of Name : Erection of the Town : Area : First Town Meeting : Census. History of 
Clarkesville, New City, Rockland Lake, Nanuet, Dutch Factory, Mackie's and Stagg's Corners, 
Waldberg, Snedeker's or Waldberg Landing, Strawtown, Bardon's Station. Peat Beds. Silver 
Spoon Factory. The Brewery. Town Officers. 



Erection of the Town : Origin of Name : Area : First Town Meeting : Census. History of 
Grassy Point, Stony Point, Tomkin's Cove, Caldwell's Landing, Doodletown, lona Island, Stony 
Point Promontory, Bear Hill, Pingyp Hill. The House of the Good Shepherd. Historical 
Trees. Town Officers. 


Chapter III, page 36, line 6. For "Abraham Lydecker— step-son of Elizabeth, &c., " read : 
step-son of Sarah. 





Hudson, sailing in search of a northwest passage that would bring to 
his patrons the 'wealth of the Indies by a shorter route than that about the 
capes, anchored inside of Sandy Hook on September 3, 1609. He had 
discovered not the strait he sought, but a New Amsterdam, that, under a 
different name, was to excel the old Amsterdam in metropolitan grandeur. 

He found his discovery to be a land " as pleasant with grass and flow- 
ers, and goodly trees as ever he had seen," and peopled by a race whose 
birthright those that followed Hudson were soon to obtain by crushing 
that race from existence. 

The " olive colored, well-built, naked savages," who inhabited this 
County, belonged to the Algonquin family, and were divided into the 
Tappan, Rewechnougs, Rechgawawancks, Rumachenanks, or Haverstraw, 
and doubtless, where tribal affiliation was so close, the Hackinsack tribes. 
Throughout this section game was abundant, and from it, and the fish that 
could be obtained in the many rivers and lakes that water the County, the 
Indian not only obtained food, the deer skin or woven turkey-feather 
mantle, " a fathom square," that fell from his shoulders, and his mocca- 
sins, but also from the bears, wolves, deer, foxes, beavers and otters, ac- 
quired the skins so much valued by the Dutch, and with which he started 
a thriving trade. 

His life was simple. Like all people who depend for food upon, the re- 
sults of fishing and the chase, he was improvident to the last degree. 
Taciturn and brave, he spoke little of his deeds of prowess, and considered 
those, who were loquacious, as idle boasters. Unforgiving and vindictive. 

he waited for the object of his anger with quiet pertinacity, concealing his 
passion with great subtlety till the hour for its consummation, and then 
wreaking his vengeance unforgivingly. If he met his enemy on an equal 
footing he would fight fairly, but regarded it as no shame to fall upon him 
from ambush and slay him without warning, for treachery was a marked 
attribute of his nature. If the result of the attack was in favor of his 
enemy, he met the expected death without emotion, and tortures, so horri- 
ble as to exceed our conception, were borne by him with stolid composure 
and without the utterance of a groan. 

In his personal habits he was exceedingly vain and very uncleanly. 
Water, as a means of ablution, was not necessary to his existence, and to 
the ever accumulating coat of dirt and grease with which his body was 
covered, he added another coating of paint, applied with some rude attempt 
at artistic effect, which, from the yellow pigment used when the Dutch 
first arrived, was changed to red when the material for that color could be 
obtained from the whites. In his domestic- life the Indian was a monoga- 
mist, unless he held the position of chief, when polygamy was common; 
but he was deficient in the emotion of affection, and for the slightest 
cause or whim left one wife and took another. Unchastity, on the part of 
either man. or woman, was not regarded as a sin, and but little notice was 
taken of it. ' No form of marriage service is recorded as existing. The 
duty of an Indian woman was to plant and tend to the cultivation of the 
maize, the only cereal these savages seem to have grown, and to perform 
such other manual labor as the simplicity of the life required. The chief 
of a tribe possessed but slight authority. At the feasts, dances and other 
ceremonies that were performed he presided, and in the inter-tribal treaties 
and those made with the Dutch he acted as spokesman for his tribe, but at 
the council fire, when questions of peace and war were discussed, his influ- 
ence was no greater than that of any warrior present. EleVated to his 
position by the voice of his brethren, his tenure depended on their pleas- 
ure, and at their wish he surrended his power. 

The weapons of the hunt and war, possessed by these savages on the 
arrival of the whites, consisted of axes and arrows and spear heads made of 
flint or the bones of fishes or birds, and to a passing glance rudely fash- 
ioned ; if the observer will stop to think however of the means at the 
command of the artisan, he will find cause for wonder at the perfection 
reached. Other relics of their existence in this section are awls, with which 
they punctured the skins that they intended to sew together ; tables, on 
which and pestles with which they ground their corn, and bowls or basins 
for holding hquid. Of religious rites and ceremonies there is no mention. 

It is claimed by some writers that these savages recognized a Supreme 
power in a vague manner, but of this I find no proof, and equally indefi- 
nite is all evidence of their belief in immortality. Their dead were buried 
in a sitting posture, facing the east ; but nothing yet found, warrants the 
belief that the red man of this section, regarded that interment like his 
Western and Southern brother, as but a period of waiting before a resur- 

Such were the characteristics of the Indians when the settlement of 
Manhattan was begun. Upon the Dutch colonists — Swannekins, as he 
called them — the aborigine at first looked with the respect of awe. He 
saw these pale faces labor with tools made of shining metal, and huge 
forest trees fell at their blows. He saw those forest trees used in the con- 
struction of houses for shelter and a fort for refuge. He watched in be- 
wilderment as these new people ploughed up the earth, and in a brief 
period saw more soil broken and prepared for sowing than he had beheld 
in his lifetime. With fear and amaze he observed, that when this strange 
race wanted food, they obtained it, by pointing toward the chase a long 
tube from which issued the lightning and thunder in a cloud of smoke, 
and the hunted animal fell dead at the sound. Truly, beings who thus 
used the elements for their purposes must be more than human, and the 
ignorant native gave to the new comers all the reverence that superstition 
commands from her votaries. 

Twenty years passed, after the Dutch had landed in this colony, before 
a white man attempted to settle in our County. Then, in 1640, Captain 
De Vries, sailing up the Hudson in search of a location for a colony, 
" arrived about even at Tappan." Here he found, in the meadows south 
of the present Piermont, " an extensive valley containing upwards of 200 
or 300 morgens of clay land, which is three or four feet above the water 
mark. A cr-eek coming from the highlands runs through it containing 
good mill seats." This land De Vries purchased from the Indians, gave it 
the name of Vriesendale, aiid began the formation of an establishment for 
trade with the savages. 

David Pietersen De Vries "was a bronzed, weather-beaten sailor of the 
old school, without family ties, who had seen the world from many points 
of observation, and had been on terms of intimacy with the most cultivated 
men and the rudest barbarians. He was tall, muscular and hard visaged, 
but soft voiced as a woman, except when aroused by passion. He was 
quick of perception, with great power of will, and rarely ever erred in 
judgment." When, in 1629, the Dutch West India Companies' College 
of Nineteen, issued the charter by which it was intended to revive on this 

western continent the medieval condition of fuedality, that even then was 
receiving its death blow in the old world ; De Vries associated himself 
with Godyn, de Laet, Blommaert and Van Rensselaer, and acquired the 
proprietorship of a large tract of land upon the Horekill in the present 
State of Delaware. Early in 1631 he sent out thirty emigrants, who 
founded the colony of Swaanendael— the Valley of Swans. This settle- 
ment had but a brief existence, for, owing to a misunderstanding with an 
Indian, the savages fell upon and utterly destroyed it. 

In 1639, De Vries bought property on Staten Island, and accompany- 
ing a party of immigrants, founded a new settlement nearer New Amster- 
dam. A year later, as we have seen, he began the formation of the estab- 
lishment at Vriesendael. In his dealings with the savages, De Vries was 
ever honest and kind, and the natives grew to look upon him with venera- 
tion and to refer to him as arbiter in their controversies with the white 
race. More than once, the Dutch were warned of an intended Indian out- 
break through his influence, and for a brief space in the horror of an Indian 
war, his property was spared, because he was pointed . out as the good 
" Swannekin Chief" by a savage, whose life he had saved on the night of 
the massacre at Pavonia ; but even his repute could not long save Vriesen- 
dael, and, at the close of the Indian war of 1643, he sailed for Europe 
ruined and disgusted, bidding the author of his troubles, Kieft, farewell 
with the bitter words: " Vengance for innocent blood will sooner or later 
fall on your head." 

The two decades from 1620 to 1640 were pregnant with momentous 
events for the New Netherlands. Those amicable relations, that existed 
between the Indians and Dutch, on their arrival, had been strained to their 
utmost tension by causes almost entirely due to the lax rule of the Gover- 
nors. The privilege of free trade in the colony, granted by the West India 
Company in 1638, had been eagerly grasped and used with avidity. 
Every individual might, and most of them did, deal with the aborigines 
on his own account ; and to win his way into their good graces more 
deeply than his neighbor, each trader resorted to methods, which, however 
customary among civilized people, produced the most direful results in the 
case of these barbarians. The dusky warrior was invited into his house, was 
bidden to the table, was given the best of his viands and liquors and was 
greeted on terms of equality. These concessions, which were granted 
in all the settlements of the colony, were exceeded by the traders of Fort 
Orange. Soon they learned, that the Indians' desire for guns and ammu- 
nition was greater than for any other object ; and unprincipled at the best, 
with little care for the future, and no wish, save that of accumulating wealth 


in a short time, these traders in the north bartered freely and for excellent 
prices with these weapons. 

While these conditions were occurring throughout the province, other 
events took place which hastened the inevitable result. Long immunity 
from attack had rendered the colonists overbold, and they bought land, 
built homes, and began the cultivation of the soil further and further from 
the protecting guns of the fort on Manhattan Island. Their cattle," un- 
guarded by a herdsman, too often entered the Indians' maize fields? ^li^hich 
were unfenced, and utterly destroyed them. And, as if to tempt fatfe to 
its utmost, they employed the red men as domestics, associated with them 
in close relationship and betrayed to them, in the familiarity of social in- 
tercouse, their weakness and their fears. 

The result was what might have been anticipated. Attentions, shown 
to the savage in the interests of trade, he grew to expect and was pro- 
voked when they were not forthcoming. The trespass upon and damage 
to his corn fields by the white man's cattle angered him, and he revenged 
himself by killing the domestic animals, whenever he had an opportunity, 
with an indiscrimination that belonged to his nature. As servants, the 
Indians were not only useless because of their resistance to all restraint, 
but also because their cupidity being aroused by the sight of objects they 
valued, they unhesitatingly stole them and fled away to their native wilds. 
To these petty causes of irritation between the two races, were added oth- 
ers of graver import. The Mohawks, now well armed and supplied with 
ammunition, not only ceased to be tributary vassals to the tribes living 
along the lower reaches of the river, but, by reason of their superior 
armament, compelled those tribes to contribute to them ; and, when these 
lower river Indians sought to obtain equal weapons of defence against their 
now powerful neighbors, and were refused by the settlers, who were con- 
trolled by a law of New Amsterdam, which made the trading of guns 
within its jurisdiction a capital offence ; they regarded the refusal as born 
of cowardice. A relationship so filled with mutual distrust and dislike 
could not long exist without open rupture, and this rupture was precipi- 
tated by an attempt on the part of the Director of the colony — William 
Kieft — to impose a tribute of maize, wampum and furs upon the tribes re- 
siding near New Amsterdam. 

The first outbreak of open war occurred with the wily Raritans, who 
had been exasperated by an expedition of the Dutch sent against them in 
1640. Early in the spring of 1641, these savages fell upon De Vries' 
Staten Island settlement and destroyed it. Later in the season a West- 
chester Indian murdered a settler, and though, under the terror of punish- 

ment his tribe promised to yield him to justice, it was not done. Shortly 
after a Hackinsack murdered an innocent man who was thatching a house, 
and his tribe, while offering to indemnify the Director with wampum, 
steadfastly refused to surrender the murderer. 

While matters were in this condition, the Mohawks suddenly fell upon 
the lower river tribes, slew many of them, took more captive, and drove 
the remainder to seek protection from the Dutch. For a fortnight these 
fugitives were cared for by the colonists ; then, regaining courage, they 
returned to their desolated villages. But the relief was only temporary and 
in a short time, being seized with a fresh panic, whole tribes deserted their 
homes and fled to Pavonia, to New Amsterdam, to Vriesendael. In this 
exodus were the Haverstraw, Tappan, and Hackinsack, together with the 
tribes of Westchester. 

About Vriesendael the refugees collected in such numbers, that De 
Vries became alarmed for the safety of his goods, and, entering a canoe, 
he paddled down to New Amsterdam to ask that a guard might be sent to 
his settlement from the fort. His arrival was opportune. Then for the 
first time he learned that the Director had determined to attack the trust- 
ing red men, who had sought the protection and hospitality of the Dutch. 
In vain De Vries pleaded for a calmer consideration of the idea ; in vain 
he pointed out the frightful horrors of an Indian war ; in vain, as President 
of the Directors' Council, he insisted that the great majority of both coun- 
cil and people were opposed to the proposed attack. Kieft answered that 
he had determined " to make these savages wipe their chops," and that he 
would not be deterred from his purpose. On the night of February 27, 
1643, the soldiers fell upon the unsuspecting Indians camped at Pavonia, 
and Corlaer's Hook, and at the former place eighty, and at the latter forty 
of the savages were killed before the murder ended. " And this was the 
feat worthy of the heroes of old Rome !" cried De Vries in the awful bit- 
terness of his contempt, " to massacre a parcel of Indians in their sleep, to 
take the children from the breasts of- their mothers, and to butcher them 
in the presence of their parents, and throw their mangled limbs into the 
fire or water 1 Some were thrown into the river, and when the parents 
rushed in to save them, the soldiers prevented their landing and let the 
parents and children drown." In the morning, the vg,liant warriors came 
back to the fort wearied by their labor of murder, and were hailed as 
heroes by Kieft in his rapture. In the morning, after the enemy had left, 
the terrified Indians who had escaped, stole cautiously forth from their 
place of hiding ; viewed the charred, distorted, mangled corpses of their 
tribes ; and swore revenge. 

The wind had been sown, it remained for the colonists to reap and the 
fruit ol the harvest was a whirlwind. For a few days the stupefied sav- 
ages believed they had been attacked by their old enemy, the Mohawks, 
then a knowledge of their foe came to them and the duplicity of the 
" Swannekins " was made plain. 

The effect was immediate. Eleven heretofore peaceful tribes rose to a 
man, fell upon the frightened, colonists, and showed them the mercy they 
had meted out. For a brief space, two months later, the slaughter was 
stayed through the exertions of De Vries. The tribes near Vriesendael, 
the Tappaens, the Haverstraws and the Hackinsacks, through Oratamin 
the chief of the latter tribe, agreed to a treaty of peace with Director 
Kieft on April 22, 1643, and exchanged the customary presents of such 
occasions. But this treaty was only a hollow truce that gave the Indians 
time and opportunity to attend to their harvest. In August the Wap- 
pingers seized several traders' boats and killed the crews, and by Septem- 
ber the war again raged with violence. On all sides arose the smoke of 
burning buildings. With a dreadful vengeance crops and stocks were 
destroyed, and the few worn and haggard fugitives that reached the fort, 
brought tidings of an indiscriminate but very thorough massacre. 

Within that fort were confusion, terror and insubordination. Kieft, 
now that the result of his blunder was seen, cowered beneath the invective 
heaped upon him and fain would place the blame upon his Council. The 
Council gave him the lie ; he blamed the settlers, and they, through their 
dominie, Bogartus, who had opposed the attack, answered by sardonic 
taunts ; he accused the men who had advised him, and the servants of one 
of them attempted his assassination. 

While chaos reigned within the last refuge of the Dutch, the foe having 
made a clean sweep of the surrounding country, now stood without the 
fort and menaced any one of the garrison who dared to appear. Truly the 
words of Kieft had been fulfilled, the savages " wiped their chops," but not 
till they had been filled to repletion on the product of the settlers' labors. 

At length those within the fort ceased their internecine strife and com- 
bined in thought and action for their salvation. Successful expeditions 
against some Long Island and Connecticut tribes broke the spirit of all 
but the river Indians. The arrival of the vessel, Blue Cock, from Currcoa 
with one and thirty soldiers, still further encouraged the settlers ; and the 
building of a wall across Manhattan Island at the present Wall Street, per- 
mitted the safe cultivation of a little soil. The following year, 1645, saw a 
more universal desire for peace among the Indians ; one after another the 
tribes concluded treaties with the whites, and finally, on August 30, 1645, 

the pipe of peace was smoked and quiet reigned. Sixteen hundred sav- 
ages had been killed and the po,wer of the Algonquin race forever broken ; 
but there was not a settlement in all New Netherlands, except Renssel- 
aerswyck and the military post on the Delaware River, that had not been 
attacked and generally destroyed. Vriesendael, as we have seen, 
had been saved from spoilation once through the efforts of a friendly In- 
dian, but the passions of anger had been too excited to permit of long 
continued mercy, and before the close of the war, the establishment of the 
first settler in this County had perished from the face of the earth. 

Among the chiefs from those savage tribes that were represented at 
Fort Amsterdam on that August day, and who, in the presence of the 
whole community and the Mohawk ambassadors, entered into an agree- 
ment of peace, were : Oratamin, sachem of the Hackinsacks ; Willem 
and Sesekemu, chiefs of the Tappaens and Haverstraws ; Maganwetinne- 
min, who answered for the tribe of Marechkawiecks, of Brooklyn, Nyacks, 
of Long Island, and their neighbors ; and a Mohegan chief, Aepjen, for 
the Wappings and the Wiquaeskecks, Sintsings and Kichtawan^hs, of 
Westchester. The treaty contained clauses, pledging both Dutch and 
Indians not to enter upon a war for real or fancied wrongs, without first 
mutually consulting the Governor of the colony and the Sachems of the 
tribes ; and if any one of either race should be murdered, the slayer should 
be promptly delivered to justice ; the Indians were not to come among the 
Dutch on Manhattan bearing arms, nor were the whites to go to them with 
guns, unless having previously warned them of their intention. 

The destruction of Vriesendael ended all attempts to colonize this 
County for a period of six and forty years. Twice had De Vries seen his 
settlements swept away at their very outset and now — he was ruined. If 
he, who had always been friendly with the Indians, did not care to take 
further risk ; it is certain that the miserable remnant of the colony would 
hesitate long before trusting again to the amity of the red men. That 
remnant remained close to the fort, and a section so wild and forbidding 
as our County, was left to the prowling of wild beasts or the stealthy 
tread of the scarcely less wild aborigine. 

At different times during those three decades, the Sachems of the 
tribes inhabiting this territory appeared in New Amsterdam, and either 
rendered complaints of trespass by the white men upon their rights, or 
excused the trespass of their followers, confirmed the existing treaty, or 
acted as mediators for other tribes. Once more, in 1655, while Governor 
Stuyvesant was away on an expedition against the Swedes on the Dela- 
ware and New Amsterdam was left defenceless, the Indians became restive 

and desirous of war. In this movement the Tappaens joined, in spite of 
the wiser councils of their old men, and took part in the brief struggle of 
that year. Little harm, when compared with other settlements, was done 
in New Amsterdam ; for one day the savages spread terror through the 
town, and were only expelled after several of them had been killed ; but 
those outlying boweries, that the long period of quiet had led the more 
courageous colonists to start on Long and Staten Islands and the Jersey 
shore, were devastated and many of their occupants killed. The return 
of Stuyvesant, however, checked and awed the savages, and a peace was 
made, which ever after protected the inhabitants of New Amsterdam from 
Indian invasion. 

In the wars with the Esopas tribes from 1660 to 1664, the chieftains 
of the tribes residing in this County and Northern New Jersey, acted as 
negotiators between the beligerents, and succeeded in obtaining treaties 
time after time. Oratamin, Sachem of the Hackinsack, always appears 
as the principal Indian figure in these numerous conferences, and was evi- 
dently regarded by his race as possessing more than ordinary ability. In- 
deed, if we judge from the trust that the Dutch imposed in him, he was a 
superior man. It was by his efforts, on more than one occasion, that war 
was prevented ; and it was due to his influence, when the Esopus savages 
had dug up the hatchet, that the tribes of Westchester, Rockland and 
Bergen counties remained neutral ; and, when at length the treaty of May 
IS, 1664, was made with the Esopas people, a resolution was drawn up 
and signed by Oratamin and Matteno, in which they pledged themselves 
as security for the keeping of the covenant, agreeing that they would lead 
their tribes against whichever party first violated its provisions. 

One source of irritation between the white and red men, was the sale 
of brandy to the Indians. In spite of restricting laws forbidding such bar- 
ter, and the offer of generous rewards for the arrest of the offenders ; in 
spite of reiterated permission and requests to the Sachems for the 
seizure of all dealing in this traffic; and in spite of the severe punishment 
^banishment from the colony with confiscation of property — meted out to 
those who were captured, the sale of liquor still continued. In exchange for 
it the savage gave whatever was demanded, and in a short time found him- 
self stripped and hungry. To such alarming proportions did this nefar- 
ious trade grow, that whole tribes were impoverished by the crafty trader, 
who took their wampum, their guns and the skins they had brought to 
barter, and left them nothing save a remorseful awakening. Liquor at all 
times aroused the fiercest passions of these wild natures ; but when the 
savage woke robbed as well as suffering, his vindictive disposition led him 


to brood over his injuries till a desire for revenge became dominant, and 
then, when again mad with drink, to glut his vengeance on the first white 
he met. In this manner occurred most of the outrages that terminated in 
the conflicts between the races. 

After the experience of two wars, the Dutch were more careful about 
permitting the Indians to approach the settlements. Hence, when the 
chief of a Westchester tribe asked pei-mission for his people to fish near 
Harlem, the request was granted on the' condition that the savages should 
be unarmed ; and, for their protection from the Dutch, as well as the set- 
tlers' assurance that the fishing party were not Esopas Indians, the chief 
was given cards with a stamp of the Dutch seal upon them, which were 
to be shown to the whites whenever demanded. Four of these cards were 
for the use of the Haverstraw tribe. 

At what period the sale of guns to the lower river tribes began is un- 
known. So many had been captured in the wars of 1643 and 1655, that 
there was probably no attempt made to longer continue the restriction. 
By 1663, the use of firearms among the tribes of this County was general, 
and no effort was made to conceal them. In one of their conferences 
with the Dutch, the Indians asked that their muskets might be repaired ; 
and shortly after, Unsicken, a Tappaen warrior, lost his gun, having 
pawned it to gratify his fondness for brandy, and then entered a complaint 
at New Amsterdam against Van Cowenhoven for cheating him. 

The disappearance of the native from our soil was gradual and the 
exact date of his departure, from the land of his fathers from time 
unknown, is hot certain. The last recorded conference between the Tap- 
paen Indians and the authorities of New York, was on September 13, 1673 
and took place to confirm and continue the existing treaty. In 1666, Bal- 
thazar De Harte purchased land at Haverstraw from the Indians; in 1671, 
Claes Jensen purchased a tract of land at Nyack from the Indians ; in 
1686, the Orangetown patent was purchased from the Tappaen tribe, and 
in 1694, the Quaspeck, two years later, the Kakiat, and in 1703 the Wa- 
wayanda patents were obtained from the savages. 

So far can we trace the existence of the aboriginal owners of the soil in 
Rockland County by documentary evidence, and then the record abruptly 
ceases. " There were traditions among the early farmers, of localities 
where the remnants of the once powerful tribes lingered, subsisting on 
what game and fish they could find in the woods and streams they had 
sold. One of these spots is situated north of Nanuet, and another is in a 
large tract of swampy, untillable land about two miles west of Tappan. 
This is described as ' a vast and almost unknown region, patches of forest 


exist in almost their primeval condition ; huge trees, brought to the earth 
by the unrelenting and resistless hand of time, lie decayed to a shapeless 
and pulpy mass. Near the center of this tract, in what is called the Green 
Woods, and on the shore of what was once an immense beaver pond or 
lake, is a sandy knoll which is called, in the dialect of the early settlers, 
the Wilder mons kerk-hoff — the wild man's burying place. It is said that 
the last remnants of the Tappaens sought this wild, untillable region for a 
home, and remained for a long time living in the same state as they were 
accustomed to, and raising corn on patches of land yet pointed out as the 
Wilder mons Maize Lout.' " 

But for more than a century, the Indian has been foreign to our bound- 
aries and but little trace remains to show that he has been. An occa- 
sional locality, which tradition has marked as his last dwelling place. A 
few arrow, spear and axe heads ; remains of old fire places, and here and 
there a lonely grave, are the only visible evidences of his existence. 
Strange mystery of history ; whence the native came, whither he has 
gone. Standing very low in the intellectual growth of the human family, 
contact with civilization did not elevate, it exterminated him. No evi- 
dence is found to show that religion or culture made the least impression 
on his life. With little or no belief in a controlling spirit, he was found 
and he disappeared, making no sign that that belief had become less 

The construction of his weapons and utensils of stone, which he had 
roughly chipped into form, was the highest advance he ever reached. 
From his white neighbor, he learned of and obtained the weapons of civil- 
ization and by that act forever lost his inventive faculty. 

The improvidence and personal iincleanliness of the savage rendered 
him peculiarly susceptible to the ravages of disease, and his mode of life 
tended to spread contagion. The deadly plague of small-pox found him 
awaiting its ravages and decimated his people. Never rallying from the 
staggering blow dealt him in the wars with the whites ; he was still more 
rapidly exterminated by epidemics, and in the ceaseless struggle for exist- 
ence dropped from the race. 

For many years after the natives had disappeared from the County, our 
shores were visited by up-river Indians on their journeys to the abor- 
igines living on Long Island. The last visit from them was in compara- 
tively recent years — after 1817. On this occasion six canoe loads camped 
for a time under the old willow still standing on Mr. Harmon Snedeker's 
place at Upper Nyack, and on their return home the same party remained 
for a week on the point north of the Bight in South Nyack, occupying 
their time in making and selling baskets. 


Authorities referred to : — Documents relating to the Colonial History, S. N. Y. vols. I, 
II, XIII, XIV. Documentary History S. N. Y. N. Y. Historical Society Collections, vol. I, 
new series. III second series. Bryant's History U. S. History of New York, by Martha J. 
Lamb. History of New England, by J. G. Palfrey. I have been much pleased and instructed 
by the papers of R. H. Fenton, published in the City and Country. 

Relics of Indian life are not rare in this County, and many are still found by skillful searchers. 
The finest collection T have seen are in the possession of Mrs. Harmon Snedeker, Mrs. Nellie 
Hart, and the heirs of Mr. E. L. Gedney, of Nyack. With scarcely an exception these relics are 
of a flinty stone not found in this section of the country, and this has given rise to much specula- 
tion as to how the Indians obtained the enormous quantities necessary for a hunter's use. We 
must not forget that other materials were used by the savages. Arrow and spear heads were 
often made of bones or with the claws of birds of the larger species, while fish hooks were fash- 
ioned of sharpened fish bones. As these would decay in the course of time, little or no trace of 
them would come to us. 

I am aware that my statement regarding the absolute absence of religious ideas among the 
Indians at the first arrival of white men, is contrary to generally accepted belief, and have 
thought it necessary to give my reasons for the statement. The first Dutch visitors among the 
savages were traders, who themselves were not overburdened by religious convictions, but who 
were keen observers of savage nature. If these men had seen any indication of a religion among 
the aborigines, they would have been the first to abus^ it for their gain, and in a short 
time the fact would have been known at New Amsterdam. Absolutely no mention of Religious 
belief is made in a journal of New Netherlands and its inhabitants, written in 1641, 1642, 
1643, 1644, 1645 and 1646, but to the contrary, it is stated, that there was none. New York 
Colonial Ms., vol. I, p. 179. From the narrative of the captivity of Father Isaac Jaques among 
the Mohawks in 1642, '43, we learn of the same lack of spiritual faith. Vide op. cit. vol. XIII, 
Appendix A. "They are a people without any religion, or knowledge of any God." wrote Ed- 
ward Winslow, and the truth of this statement is borne out by both the early French and English 
explorers. If we look at the question in another way : Cotton, when preaching to the savages in 
their own language, could find nothing that would indicate a Supreme Being in that language, 
and had to use the lOnglish word God, and Eliot, in his translation of the Bible into the Indian 
tongue, was driven to a similar expedient. If we view the subject from still another standpoint, 
there was found no place for worship, no form of service, no priestly order ; in fact no, if I may 
use the expression, machinery of religion. With peculiar inconsistency the white race has 
passed two centuries in exterminating the Indians because they were barbarous savages, and in 
weaving around their memories a romance that it will now take years to clear away. The Ameri- 
can savage was about as low as regards habits in the social scale as any people yet discovered, 
and so little removed from the higher creation of beasts in intellect, that it is difficult to separate 
him from the brute existence. 




The establishment of feudalities by the Dutch West India Company, 
in i6i 8, almost immediately caused trouble. A few of the College of 
Nineteen were prepared for the passage of that act, and at once acquired 
enormous tracts of the most valuable land in the colony. Van Rensselaer 
located his purchase at the head of navigation on the Hudson. Michael 
Pauw purchased the present Hoboken, Pavonia and Staten Island, while 
others made haste to obtain vast landed property on the South, now Dela- 
ware River. These acquirements led less grasping members of the com- 
pany to object strenuously, and their complaints, combined with the fact 
that colonization under the proprietorship of the Patroons was not as 
rapid as expected, influenced the College in 1640, to so modify their act 
in regard to grants, as to permit future purchasers only one mile frontage 
along a river, with a depth of two miles, while no two tracts of land could 
be taken on both sides of a navigable stream opposite each other. 

From the destruction of Vriesendael in 1643, no attempt to purchase 
land in this County was made till 165 i. Then Cornells Van Werckhoven, 
an ex-Schepen of Utrecht, applied for two pieces of land, one at Neve- 
sinck, the other at Tapp'kn, stretching northward through the Highlands. 
Difficulty in regard to the first of these grants occurring with Baron Van- 
der Capellen, who had purchased part of the Nevesinck land just previous 
to Van Werckhoven, and Governor Stuyvesant having entered a protest 
against the loose wording of the Tappan grant, which gave an unlimited 
stretch of boundary to the petitioner ; the Directors of the West India 
Company called attention to the rule in regard to land grants in the fol- 
lowing words addressed to Stuyvesant. " Your Honor has misunderstood 
our intention in regard to the colonies of the Honorable Van Werckhoven, 
whose two grants for colonies your Honor supposes to extend twenty 
miles in a straight line, or your Honor has not read the exemptions care- 
fully, for all colonists are not to receive more than four miles on one side of 


a navigable river, or two miles on each side." The difficulty in this case 
was settled by Van Werckhoven declining to occupy either of these 
grants. Instead, he took up land at Nyack on Long Island, situated near 
the present village of Fort Hamilton on Gravesend Bay. 

In April, 1659, there sailed from Holland in the ship Beaver, a wheel- 
wright, Claes Jansen from Purmerend, with his wife, servant and child. 
For a time he lived below the present Jersey City, but in 1671, April 16, 
he obtained from the Duke of York, to whom Charles II had given the 
proprietorship of this with other provinces, a tract of land ^' lying on the 
Hudson River at the north end of Tappan, at a brook, thence northeast- 
erly along the river 40 chains, thence northwesterly 60 chains to the foot 
of the mountains, thence south, southwest above the mountains 40 chains, 
thence south, southeast to the river at the point of the beginning, contain- 
ing 240 acres. Also another tract lying on the north side of the above, 
running northerly along the river 80 chains, then west, northwest 50 
chains to the top of the mountains, thence south, southwest over the moun- 
tains 80 chains, thence south, southeast to the river 50 chains, to the place 
of beginning." This property, covering largely what is now the corpor- 
ate limits of South Nyack from the Bight to near De Pew's brook, was the 
lirst settled tract of land in Rockland County after the departure of De 

Between this date, 1671, and October 20, 1678, two other purchasers, 
Tunis Paulsen and Harmanus Dows, who had sailed from Friesland with 
his wife and four children in 1658, by the ship Brownfish, had bought land 
in the present village of Nyack. The latter owned what is now the busi- 
ness portion of the village, while the former extended from his north line 
to Verdrietige Hook. In 1687, Harmanus Dows, or as he was originally 
called, Dowse Harmanse, added to his property by purchasing 250 acres 
west of the Nyack Hills, bounded as follows : on the east by the land of 
Claes Jansen and Dowse Harmanse, south by the land of Daniel Clarke & 
Co., west by the middle of the Hackinsack River, and north by the top of 
a certain hill called Essawetene. And in 1694, Cornelius Clasen, son of 
Claes Jansen, makes record : that he had bought from Tunis Paulsen a 
portion of land in the present Upper Nyack, extending to the top of Ver- 
drietige Hook, and had inherited from his father the land obtained by the 
patent of 167 1. 

On April 10, 1671, Philip Carteret granted to Balthazar De Harte, a 
tract of land and meadow in Averstraw, bounded on the west by a creek 
called Menisakeungue — Minisceongo — on the east and north by Hudson 
River, on the south by the mountains, estimated to contain about four 


hundred acres. It is claimed that De Harte purchased this tract from the 
Indians previous to 1666. On Dec. 19, 1685, this patent was con- 
firmed to Jacobus De Harte, brother of Balthazar, by Governor Thomas 

Of this first patentee in the present village and township of Haver- 
sfraw, Valentine's History of New York gives the following account : 
" Balthazar De Harte was a wealthy merchant who commenced trade here 
about 1658. * * • * he was a bachelor but left at his death several 
illegitimate children in this city for whom he provided liberally out of his 
large estate. Among other extensive tracts owned by this gentleman 
was the land called Haverstraw on the Hudson River which he purchased 
originally from the Indians. He died in 1672. He had three brothers 
who left numerous descendants." 

In 1686, the following patent situated partly in this State and partly 
in New Jersey, was purchased by a party of sixteen individuals. " Thomas 
Dongan, Capt. Generall Governor in Cheife, and Vice Admirall in and 
over the Province of New York and territorys. Depending thereon in 
America under his most sacred Majesty, James the Second, by the Grace 
of God, King of England, Scottland, ffrance and Ireland, Defender of the 
faith, &c., To all whom these Presents shall come, Sendeth Greeting, 
Whereas it appears to mee that • * * • have Lawfully Purchased 
from the Native Indian Proprietors a certain Tract of Land lying on the 
west side of Hudsons River in the County of Orange on the north 
side of Tappan Creek, Bounded as hereafter is Exprest (viz.) beginning- 
at the mouth of Tappan Creek where it falls into the Meadow, and runing 
from thence along the North side of said Creek to a Creeple bush, and 
falls into Hackensack River Northerly to a place called the Green bush, 
and from thence along said Green bush Easterly to the Land of Claes 
Janse and Dowe Harmanse, and from thence Southerly along said Land 
upon the Top of the Hills to aforemenconed mouth of Tappan Creek, 
where it falls into the meadow aforesaid And Whereas the said 
* * * * have made Applycacon unto me that I would Grant and 
Confirme the said Tract of Land unto them, their Heirs and Success- 
ors, and Erect the same into one Township by Pattent under my Hand 
& the Seale of the Province. Now Know Ye that I, the said Thomas 
Dongan, by Virtue of the Power & Authority Derived unto me from 
his Most Sacred Majesty, and in Pursuance of the Same in Consideracon 
of the Quitt Rent hereinafter Reserved to his Most Sacred Majesty afore- 
sd, his Heirs, Successors and Divers of a Good and Lawfull Considera- 
cons me thereunto moveing, have Given, Granted, Rattified, Released 


& Confirmed, & by these Presents Doe Give, Grant, Rattifie, Release, 
& Confirme unto the said * * * * the aforesaid Purchasers, 
their Heirs, Successors & Assignes, all the before recited Tract or 
Parcell of Land with Limitts and Bounds aforesaid, together with all 
& singular the Messuages, Buildings, Tenements, Houses, Barns, 
Stables, Orchards, Gardens, Pastures, fences, Meadows, Marshes, Timber 
Trees, Woods, Underwoods, Mills, Mill dams, Rivers, Rivletts, Streams, 
Quarryes, ffishing, ffouleing. Hawking, Hunting, Mines, Minerals (Royall 
mines Excepted), and all the Rights, Members, Libertys, PrivilHdges, 
Jurisdiccons, Royaltyes, Hereditaments, Proffits, advantages & appur- 
tenances whatsoever to the said Tract or Parcell of. land belonging or in 
anywise appertaineing or excepted. Reputed or knowne or occupied as 
Parte, Parcell or Member thereof, to have & to hold all the said Tract 
or Parcell of Land & Premisseis with all and every of the appurten- 
ances unto the said * * * # their Heires, Successors and Assigns 
to the Proper use, beneffitt & behoofe of the aforesaid Purchasers, their 
Heires, Successors & assigns forever without any manner of Lett, Hin- 
drance or Molestacon, to have or, reserved pretence of Joynt Tenancy or 
survivorship anything contained herein to the Contrary in anywise not- 
withstanding and moreover by virtue of the Power & authority to me 
the said Thomas Dongan Given and in me Residing as aforesaid, and 
for the Reasons & .Consideracons above recited .1 have and by these 
Presents Doe make. Erect and Constitute all the said Tract or Parcell of 
•Land within the Limitts and Bounds aforemenconed, together with all 
and every the above Granted Premissess with the appurtenances into one 
Township to all intents and purposes whatsoever, and the same from 
henceforth shall be called the Towne of Orange, and I, the said Thomas 
Dongan, have also Given my hand. Granted & by these Presents Doe 
give and Grant ..unto * * * * the Purcljasers of the said Towne of 
Orange, their Heires, Successors and assignes forever all the Privilidges, 
benefitts, customes. Practices, Preheminces and Immunityes that are used 
or exercised, Practiced or belonging unto any Towne within the Goverm't 
to be used, exercised. Imitated, Practiced & executed by the said Pur- 
chasers, their Heires, Successors and assignes, forever to be holden of his 
Most Sacred Ma'tie, his Heires and Successors in ffee and Comon Soccage 
according to the Tenure of East Greenwich in the County of Kent in his 
Majestyes' Realm of England, Yielding, Rendrii;ig and paying therefor 
Yearly & every Yeare on every five and twentyth day of March forever 
in Lieu of all services and Demands whatsoever as an acknowledgm't or 
Quitt Rent to his said Ma'tie, his Heirs and. Successors, or to such officer 

\\0 a K L A N B^® u M T ^ 


IS 6.4: 

Br FERNission 


or officers as shall bee from time to time appointed to receive the same 
sixteen bushels of Good Winter Merchantable wheat att the Citty of New 
York, in Testimony whereof I have caused these Presents to be Recorded 
in the Secretarye's office and the Seals of the Province to be hereunto af- 
fixed this fouer & twentyth day of March in the third year of his Majes- 
tye's Reign, and in the year of our Lord God, 1686, By Comand of his 
Excell'y- Tho. Dongan." 

The names of the above patentees were : Cornelius Cooper, Daniel 
De Clarke, Peter Hearing, Gosin Hearing, Gerrit Stemmit, John De Vries, 
Sr., John De Vries, Jr., Claus Mande, Jan Straatmaker, Staats De Gropt, 
Arean Lammuas, Lammuan Arens, Hybert Gerrits, Johannes Gerrits, Eide 
Van Voorst and Cornelius Lammerts. 

On May 30, 1 694, WiUiam Welch and Jarvis Marshall bought from 
seven Indians, only one of whose namesr— Copphichonock — I can deci- 
pher, five thousand acres of land at a place called Quaspeck, and on Sep- 
tember 27th of that year the purchase was confirmed by patent from Wil- 
liam and Mary through Benjamin Fletcher, then Governor of the Province. 
This purchase was bounded on the west by De Maries Kill, on the north 
by the land of Johannes MeiUe — Minne is meant — on the east by the 
Hudson River, and on the south by the lands of Cornelius Clausen and 
Thunis Dowen. It included the property extending from the top of the 
Hook mountain, north to the foot of the Long Clove in Haverstraw, and 
from the Hudson back to the Hackensack River, and its quit rent was 
one pepper corn a year for five years, and then twenty shillings annually, 
payable on the first day of each year O. S. 

On September 8, 1694, William Welch and Apollonia, his wife, ob- 
tained a grant of five hundred acres beginning on the north side of the 
mouth of Mattasinck Kill and running thence along the north side of said 
kill west to a certain swamp at the head thereof; thence on the south side 
of the swamp to Mahequa Run ; then by the said run to De Maries Kill, 
and along the kill to the place of beginning. This tract is between the 
Hackensack River and New City, and the place known as Strawtown is 
about in its center. 

Two years later, June 25, 1696, Daniel Honan and Michael Hawdon 
purchased from the Indians, and had confirmed by patent from King Wil- 
liam through Governor Fletcher, an enormous tract of land known as 
Hackyackawck or Kakiat patent. This was bounded on the east by the 
Christians patented land,, on the west by a creek called Heamaweck or 
Peasqua, which runs under a great hill, from whence it continued in a 
direct west coupsp until the west southwest side of a barren plain called 


Wescyrorap bears south, thence to the west southwest side of the plain, 
from thence south southeast until the line comes to a creek that runs into 
David De Maries Creek to the southward of 'the land called Narranshaw, 
and thence down the said creek to the Christians patented lands ; for a 
yearly rental of one beaver skin, payable on the first day of each year O. 
S. The Christians patented lands were those of Welch and Marshall, 
De Harte, Dowen or now Tallman, Clausen and the Orangetown grant. 

The Directors of the Dutch West India Company, had learned in a 
short time, that it was folly to grant unlimited tracts of land to an indi- 
vidual. After the cession of this territory to England, however, no limit 
was placed upon the size of the grants at the start, and the many changes 
of dynasty at home kept the government too much occupied with domes- 
tic affairs to give heed to wrongs that were being perpetrated in the colo- 
nies. Hence each patentee increased his demand for land till finally one 
was granted, just preceding 1698, to Captain John Evans, Commander of 
H. M. S. Richmond, that would have made even Van Renssylaer pause 
in wonder. This patent was for land on the west side of the Hudson, and 
covered a space forty miles in length and twenty in breadth. It ex- 
tended from the south line of the present town of New Paltz, west to the 
Shawanguhk Mountains, thence south to the southwest angle of the pres- 
ent town of Calhoun in Orange County, thence easterly to the eastern- 
most angle of that town, and then southest to the Hudson River at Stony 
Point, and included the south tier of towns in Ulster, two- thirds of Orange, 
and all of Stony Point townships in Rockland County. The annual quit 
rent was to be twenty shillings. 

Such a gigantic swindle could not escape notice, and the governor 
who permitted it — Fletcher, — being superseded by the Earl of Bellomont, 
the new ruler called the attention of the home authorities to this flagrant 
wrong, and Captain Evans' patent was annulled. 

Scarcely less outrageous was the Wawayanda patent, granted March 
5, 1703, to John Bridges, LL. D., Hendrick Ten Eyck, Derick Vande- 
burgh, John Cholwell, Christopher Denn, Lancaster Symes, Daniel Honan, 
Philip Rokeby, John Meredith, Benjamin Aske, Peter Matthews, and 
Christopher Christianse by Lord Cornbury, Governor of the Province, 
and confirmed by Queen Anne. It was stated to contain 60,000, and did 
contain 1 50,000 acres, and was bounded on the east by the Highlands of 
the Hudson, north by the division line of the counties of Orange and 
Ulster, west by the high hill to the eastward of the Minnisink, and south 
by the division line between New York and New Jersey. 

On March 25, 1707, Anne Bridges, Hendrick M. Ten Eyck, Dirck 


Vanderburgh, John Cholwell, Christopher Denn, Lancaster Syms, and 
John Merritt obtained the Cheesecocks patent. This was the large tract 
of land west of H-averstraw, and was bounded as follows : " North by the 
patented lands of Captain John Evans and the Wawayanda patent, west 
by the Wawayanda and the Highlands, south by the Kakiat patent, and 
east by the Christian patented lands of Hayerstraw and by the Hudson 
River." For this property an annual rental of twenty shillings was to be 

" To the north of the Pond patent was a tract, granted to Lancaster 
Symes and others, April 23, 1708. TheSnedekers always claimed nearly 
if not quite to the Short Clove, and the only known deed which refers to 
the Symes grant, is one from William Lupton to Claas R. Van Houten, 
dated 1760. This conveys 102 acres bounded west by Demarest's Kill, 
north by the land of John De Noyelles, east and south by the road to New 
City. This is now the farm of Barne Van Houten. ' A map of the farm, 
made in 181 3, by David Pye, bears the following note: 'A map of the 
farm sold by William Lupton to Claas R. Van Houten, in patent of 
Lancaster ^mes ai^d others, one-half at least of this patent is in the pat- 
ent to Marshall and Welch. Calculation to be made on this 100 acres, as 
if the remainder was only 600 acres.' " 

It seems wise, before turning to the difficulties that surrond the grants 
of land in Ramapo, to finish the eastern part of the County, and I there- 
fore take up Stony Point without regard to chronological order. 

On May 17, 17 19, Richard Bradley and William Jamison obtained a 
patent from George H. for acres, which was called the Stony Point 
tract. South of this, in 1743. Richard Bradley obtained from the same king 
106 acres lying south of the Bradley Jamison tract ; and a further grant 
of 800 acres, known as the Bear Hill tract. On October 30, 1 749, George 
n. patented to Sarah, Catherine, George, Elizabeth and Mary Bradley, 
son and four daughters of Richard Bradley, the following pieces of land : 
A tract containing 370 acres, beginning at the most southerly corner of 
the tract of 1,400 acres granted to Gabriel and William Ludlow, and run- 
ning thence southwest 38 chains to thenorthwest line, then along the line 
southeast 65 chains, then north 25 degs., east 113 chains to the tract 
granted to Gabriel and William Ludlow, and then along the line thereof 
to the place of division. 

Another tract, beginning on the northwest line at the west corner of a 
tract of 1,000 acres granted to Richard Bradley and William Jamison, 
running thence along the said line northwest 87 chains, then northeast 40 
chains, then north 79 degs., east 152 chains to the line of the Bradley and 


Jamison tract, then along the line to the place of beginning, containing 
840 acres. 

Another tract, beginning at the southeast corner of the Bear Hill 
tract, and on the west side of a small creek, which runs on the west side 
of a meadow called Salisbury's meadow, and runs thence along the Hne of 
the Bear Hill tract north 62 degs., west 16 chains, then south 25 degs., 
west 79 chains, then south 50 degs., east 43 chains, then north' 62 degs., 
east 86 chains to Hudson's River," and along the river to the meadow 
aforesaid, and then by the bounds thereof to the place of beginning, con- 
taining 500 acres. 

On November 12, 1750, among six tracts of land granted to Thomas 
Ellison and Lawrence Roome by George H. was one in the present Rock- 
land County, bounded as follows : Beginning at the northwest corner of 
a tract of 500 acres granted to Sarah, Catharine, George, Elizabeth and 
Mary Bradley, running thence along this line south 25 degs., west 81 
chains, then north 65 degs., west 52 chains, then north 50 chains, then 
north 49 degs., east 44 chains, and then south 62 degs., east $6 chains 
along th . line of the tract granted to Richard Bradley to the place of 

By patent bearing date March 18, 1769, George IK. conveyed,, to 
William Kempe, James Lamb, and John.Crum a large tract of land sur- 
rounded on all sides, except the southwest, where it lies upon the north- 
west line, and for a short distance on the east, on the river, by tracts pre- 
viously patented. This grant contained 3,000 acres. 

The northwest line runs northwest from the south side of Stony Point 
on the Hudson to the Delaware River. It was the south line of the grant 
to Captain John Evans. After that grant was revoked the present town- 
ship of Stony Point was, as we have seen, divided into a number of small 
patents, and the northwest line became the boundary between those Stony 
Point grants and the great Cheesecocks patent. 

In taking up the grants of land in Ramapo, I shall quote from the 
very excellent history of that town, written by the Rev. Eben B. Cobb 
of the Presbyterian Church at the Ramapo Works. In order to a clear 
understanding of the tenure of lands in Ramapo we must remember the 
following facts : 

(i). That the land originally was claimed by two States, New York 
and New Jersey ; and by three different patents in New York— the Ka- 
kiat, Wawayanda, and the Cheesecocks. 

(2). That the controversy between Kakiat and Cheesecocks was settled 
in 177 1, and that by this settlement, aline drawn from a heap of stones 


in the north bounds of the town of Ramapo, south 3 degs., 30 m. east, 
to John Wood's tree, and thence south 25 degs., 40m. east, to the Pas- 
cack River, and crossing the New Jersey Hne a Httle to the east of the 
ninth mile stone, was made to separate the two. 

(3). That the Hne between New York and New Jersey was settled 
October 7, 1769, when the Commissioners appointed by the Crown ren- 
dered the following decision : " The agents on the part of both colonies 
having offered to the court all that they thought necessary or proper in 
support of their respective claims, and the court having considered the 
same, do find — 

That King Charles II. by his letters patent, bearing date the twelfth 
day of March, 1764, did grant and convey to his brother, the Duke of 
York, all that tract of country and territory now called the Colonies of 
New York and New Jersey, and that the said Duke of York afterwards 
by his deed of lease and release, bearing date the 23d and 24th days of 
June, 1664, did grant and convey to Lord Berkely, of Stratton, and Sir 
George Carteret that part of the aforesaid tract of land called New Jersey, 
the northern bounds of which in said deed are described to be to the 
northward as far as the northernmost branch of the said Bay or River of 
Delaware, which is in 41 degs. 40m. of latitude, and crosseth thence in a 
straight line to Hudson's River in 41 degs. of latitude. 

Among the many exhibits a certain map compiled by Nicholas John 
Vischer, and published not long before the aforesaid grant from the Duke 
of York, which we have reason to believe was esteemed the most correct 
map of that country at the time of the said grant, on which map is laid 
down a fork or branching of the river, then called Zuydt River or South 
River, now Delaware River, in the latitude of 41 .degs. and 40m., which 
branch we cannot doubt was the branch in the deed from the Duke of 
York called the northernmost branch of the said river, and which in the 
deed is said to lye in the latitude of 41 degs. and 40m. And from a care- 
ful comparison of the several parts and places laid down on the said map, 
some of which, more especially toward the sea coast and on the Hudson's 
River, we have reason to believe were at the time well known. The dis- 
tance of the said branch from the seashore on the South, and the relative 
situation of the same with regard to other places and the lines of latitude 
as they appear to be laid down on the said map at that and other places 
in the inland country. 

We are of opinion that the said branch so laid down on the said map 
is the fork or branch formed by the junction of the stream or water called 
the Mahackamack, with the river called Delaware or Fishkill, and that 


the same is the branch intended and referred to in the. before mentioned 
deed from the Duke of York as the Northern Station at the River Dela- 
ware, which fork or branch we find by an observation taken by the sur- 
veyors appointed by the Court to be in the latitude 41 degs., 21m. and 
37 sec. 

We are further of opinion that the Northern Station at -Hudson's 
River, being by the words of the said deed from the Duke of York ex- 
pressly limited to the latitude of 41 degs., should be fixed in that lati- 
tude, which latitude we have caused to be taken in the best manner by 
the surveyors appointed by the Court, and which falls at a rock on the 
west side of Hudson's River, marked by the said surveyors, being sev- 
enty-nine chains and twenty-seven hnks to the southward on a meridian 
from Sneydon's house, formerly Corbet's. 

It is therefore the final determination of the Court that the boundary 
or partition line between the said Colonies of New York and New Jersey 
be a direct and straight line from the said fork at the mouth of the 
River Mahackamack, in the latitude of 41 degs. 20 min. and 37 sec. to 
Hudson's River at the said rock, in the latitude of 41 degs. as above de- 

" Signed Chas. STEWART. 

Andrew Elliot. 
Andrew Oliver. 
Jared Ingersoll." 

This decision was of great value to the town of Ramapo. Had the 
line run from 41 degs. on the Hudson to 41 degs. 40 min. on the Dela- 
ware, which last point had been located by the joint surveyors of New 
York and New Jersey m 17 19, it would have caused one-half of the town 
to lie in New Jersey. While the people of neither State was satisfied 
with the boundary thus chosen yet, it, probably being regarded by both 
as the best arrangement that could be made, was ratified by each and the 
task of running the line was completed in November, 1774. The divi- 
sion line between the States was resurveyed and marked in 1874. 

(4.) Having established the boundaries between the Kakiat and 
Cheesecocks patents, and the boundary between New York and New Jer- 
sey ; the claims of the two remaining patents, Cheesecocks swooping down 
on the land from the north, and Wawayanda from the west, had also to be 
settled. This was done by drawing a line from the northwest corner of 
the Kakiat patent, which corner was located in the north boundary of the 
town, in a direct course to the thirty-first mile-stone on the New Jersey 


This line, which was run by Charles Clinton, Jr., son of General James 
Clinton, in 1786, was called the "Gore Line," and the land in Rockland 
and Orange counties bounded by it, the New Jersey line, and the line es- 
tablished as the west bounds of Kakiat, was familiarly known as the "Jer- 
sey Gore." By this gore line the patents, both of Cheesecocks and Wa- 
wayanda, were excluded from the town. 

Diagram from Rev. E. B. Cobb's History of Ramapo. 

The history of the " Jersey Gore," for which Mr. Cobb refers to Mr. B. 
Fernow, of the Department of Historical Records, Albany, is thus given : 
Blandina Bayard bought, August 10, 1700, five tracts of land from the 
Indians, called Ramapough, Jaapough, Jandekagh, Aringee, and Cam- 
guee, three Dutch miles wide and four long, covering most of the land in 
the triangle of which the " Gore Line " is the northwest side. She improved 
and settled this land, and upon her death left it to her children, Petrus and 
Sarah. Petrus, and later his widow, lived on the land and continued the 
improvements. When the widow removed she left a certain Lucas Kier- 
sted as superintendent. This Kiersted was corrupted by Peter Sonmans, 
one of the proprietors of East New Jersey, and induced to take out Jer- 
sey patents for these lands, which had hitherto not been patented by New 
York although Blandina Bayard had been promised a patent, and the 

24 > 

proprietors of Cheesecocks and Wawayanda both claimed them. About 
1786 it became necessary to settle the southern boundary of Cheesecocks, 
at which time Charles CHnton, Jr., made, in 1788, the maps on which 
probably for the first and only time, the term " Jersey Gore " was used. 
It was never so called officially, for the Surveyor-General, in a report to 
the Legislature on this tract, made March 12, i8oi, calls it "Vacant 
lands between the lately established boundary line of the patent of Cheese- 
cocks and the State of New Jersey." 

It will be seen by consulting the diagram, that when the boundary 
line between New York and New Jersey was established, which put an 
end to the claims of New Jersey from the south, and the " Gore Line " 
was run, which silenced similar claims on the part of the proprietors of 
both KZheesecocks and Wawayanda from the north and west, that the 
town of Ramapo virtually became divided into two se'ctions, one occupied 
by the Kakiat patent, and the other substantially vacant. Leaving the 
Kakiat divisions for later notice, we must turn our attention to the vacant 

In the large part of the town marked on the diagram as vacant, there 
were on January i, 1775, but three persons who had titles to their prop- 
erty recognized by the Crown — John Sobrisco, who owned 630 acres near 
Tallman's; Coenard Wannamaker, who owned 105 acres near the fifteenth 
mile-stone on the Jersey line ; and Jacobus Van Buskirk, who owned a 
mill-right of one acre on the Mahwah near the point where that stream is 
now crossed by the Nyack Turnpike. In a foot-note. Mr. Cobb says : 
" There were many inhabitants in this (Ramapo Pass) part of the town at 
that time, and some held recorded Indian deeds ; nevertheless, the above 
statement is true. The only possible qualification may be in reference 
to the Sterling Company, who may have had a valid title to a few acres in 
the extreme west of the town." 

To obtain an insight into how these three persons obtained their prop- 
erty will require a brief review of the early history of New Jersey. 

On March 12, 1664, Charles II. granted to his brother, the Duke of 
York, the entire region between the Connecticut and Delaware Rivers. 
This grant was confirmed July 29, 1674. On June 24, 1664, the Duke 
of York sold, what is now New Jersey, to Lord Berkeley and Sir George 
Carteret, confirming his sale as above July 29, 1674. These two pur- 
chasers divided New Jersey into two divisions — called East and West New 
Jersey— by a line drawn from " Little Egg Harbor to a point on the Dela- 
ware in latitude 41 degs., 40m.," Lord Berkeley having West New 
Jersey and Sir George Carteret, East. With the further management 
of the first-named tract iVe have nothing to do. 


On January 13, 1680, Sir George Carteret died, directing in his will 
that East New Jersey should be sold to pay his debts. According ta 
this instruction the tract was sold February 2, 1682, to William Penn 
and eleven associates called the " Twelve Proprietors." Soon after, these 
"Twelve" each took a partner, making the "Twenty-four Proprietors of 
East New Jersey." On March 14, 1702, the Duke of York made a fresh 
grant of East New Jersey to the " Twenty-four Proprietors." One 
month later, April 15, 1702, the "Proprietors" surrendered " their right to 
govern " to Queen Anne, reserving their title to the lands, and on Decem- 
ber 10, 1709, Peter Sonmans, representing himself as "Sole Agent, 
Superintendent, General Attorney and Receiver General of the rest of the 
Proprietors," but really only a single proprietor inheriting his property 
from his father, Aarent, conveyed to John Auboineau, E. Boudinot, 
Peter Faucoiner, L. Kiersted, John Barbaric, Thomas Barjaux, Andrew 
Fresneau and Peter Bard, 42,500 acres in Northern New Jersey, lying be- 
tween the Ramapo and Saddle Rivers, and called the " Romopock Tract." 

The bounds of this tract may be described as : on the north by a 
line from the mountains to Saddle River, which line would pass a little to 
the north of Tallman's Station ; on the east by Saddle River ; on the 
south by a line from the Saddle River at the mouth of Hohokus Creek to 
Pompton ; and on the west by the Ramapo Mountains, the northwest 
boundary being a line drawn across the entire Ramapo Pass, just north- 
west of the railroad bridge near Ramapo Works. 

On November 6, 1724, Peter Fauconier, John Barbaric & Co. sold to 
John Sobrisco 630 acres of land near the present Tallman's Station. 

After several years' contest, part of the time in the courts, the 
'' Proprietors " finally offered to compromise with bona fide purchasers for 
;^20 per hunderd acres. On February 4, 1744, Peter Fauconier conveyed 
all his remaining interest in the Ramapo tract to Theodore Valleau and 
David Stout, and on August 10, 1752, they conveyed the same to 
Magdalene Valleau, daughter of William Fauconier. The following year, 
March 29, 1753, the proprietors of East New Jersey granted 900 acres to 
Magdalene Valleau on condition that she release her claim to the remain- 
der of the tract, and on May 23, 1753, she conveyed to Coenard Wanna- 
maker, 105 of the 900 acres just granted her. In 1762, February 12th, 
David Ackerman, whoc in some unknown way had obtained the same from 
the proprietors of East New Jersey, sold a mill-right of about one acre to 
Jacobus Van Buskir-k. When at length, in 1774, the line between New 
York and New Jersey was finally established, these three purchasers 
from New Jersey were confirmed in their title by the government of New- 


Leaving these first divisions of the Ramapo vacant lands in the pres- 
ent town, divisions which for the sake of lucidity I have thought it wisest 
to follow in Mr. Cobb's order ; let us turn to the remainder of that vacant 
tr,act. On January i8, 1775, George III granted through Lieutenant 
Governor Cadwallader Golden, four patents to four reduced officers of the 
British Army. 

The Provost patent, granted to James Marcus Provost, began in the 
division line between the Province of New York and New Jersey, as the 
same is run and marked by Commissioners as appointed by a law of this 
Province, 7 chains and 43 links eastward from the ninth mile-stone in the 
said line, and running thence along a line marked for the western bounds 
of a tract of land formerly, granted — the Kakiat patent — north 25 degs. 
40m., west 3 3 5^ chains and 30 links to John Wood's tree, thence north 60 
degs. 37m., west 198 chains; thence south 45 degs., west 66 chains and 
60 links; thence north 54 degs. lom., west 77 chains; thence south 35 
degs. som., west 73 chains to the said line run and marked by the Com- 
missioners, and then along that line south 54 degs. lom., east 579 chains 
to the place of beginning ; excepting the tracts previously confirmed to 
John Sobrisco, Coenard Wannamaker and Jacobus Van Buskirk, contain- 
ing 5,000 acres of land. 

The Harris patent was granted to " Robert Harris, late Mate of His 
Majesty's Hospital," and contained the land within the following lines : 
Beginning at John Wood's tree, and running thence along the western 
Une of the Kakiat patent, north 40 degs. west 247 chains 60 links ; 
thence- south 68 degs. west ii chains; thence south 45 degs., west 205 
chains to the north bounds of Provost's land ; and thence along the same 
to the place of beginning, containing 2,000 acres. 

The MuUer patent, granted to Jacob Muller, began in the division line 
between the Provinces of New York and New Jersey, at the most west- 
erly corner of Provost's patent, and followed the line of that grant north 
35 degs. 50m., east 73 chains, south 54 degs. lom., east 23 chains; thence 
north 36 degs. east 160 chains; thence north 54 degs. lom., west 142 
chains and 40 links ; thence south 36 degs. west 233 chains to the divi- 
sion line aforesaid; thence along the same south 54 degs. lom., east 119 
chains and 60 links to the place of beginning, containing 3,000 acres of. 
land. ,4 

The Spence patent, began in the division line between the provinces 
at the most westerly corner of the Muller grant, and ran along the west- 
ern line of that tract to its northwest termination ; from thence north 54 
degs. lom., west 59 chains 60 links; thence south 50 degs. west 185 


chains; thence south J2 degs. east 40 chains to Potake Pond; thence 
along the same pond south 35 degs.- west 27 chains to the aforesaid 
division line ; and thence along the line south 54 degs. lom., east 74 
chains 33 links to the place of beginning, containing 1,820 acres of land. 

Each of these patentees was to pay the yearly rental of 2s. 6d. for 
each and every acre of his patent. After this property had passed 
from the jurisdiction of the King of Great Britain to that of this State, 
the rent clause of the above patents was used as the basis of the quit- 
rents demanded from this property by the State ; these rents were finally 
commuted by the payment of fourteen shillings for every shilling of 

On February 20, 1685, George Lockhart obtained by patent from 
James II. 3,410 acres of land bounded on the west by the Tappan grant, 
and extending from Piermont to Closter, N. J. This tract lay between 
the present Sparkill and the Hudson. 


Authorities referred to : — I have personally consulted the Jansen, Quaspeck, and Kakiat. pat- 
ents —not copies, and have had the use of many of the first deeds for property in the County. 
Rev. Dr. A. S. Freeman's History of Haverstraw, Rev. E. Gay, Jr., History of .Stony Point, 
Eager's History of Orange County, Doc. relating to the Colonial History, S. N. Y., Docu- 
mentary History S. N. Y., and in regard to Ramapo have followed the Rev. E. B. Cobb so 
closely that I have thought quotation marks superfluous. 



With the exception of a few isolated grants throughout the County 
and the Orangetown patent, the early purchases of property were made 
by speculators, who entertained no thought of personal settlement. The 
period was auspicious for real estate speculation. Whatever doubt ex- 
isted prior to 1680, regarding the permanent success of the Colony, had 
passed away ; the rapid growth of New York as a commercial port, the 
safety from further Indian depredation of adjacent land, gave every induce- 
ment to the colonists to obtain grants, and, when the fortunate patentees 
could secure several thousand acres of soil. for an annual quit rent of a 
few pelts, a modicum of grain, or a sum of money less than five dollars 
of our time, the loss to be incurred, eVen if sales did not take place, was 
not great. 

Hence, many of the first purchasers were never associated with our 
County, and probably never in it, except perchance to look at their tem- 
porary possessions. As soon as possible they resold the land, and the 
new buyer resold, till the era of speculation ceased and permanent settlers 
arrived. We are now to briefly review these transfers till we reach the 
location within our boundaries of the progenitors of families still resi- 

Leaving the Orangetown patent for later consideration, the first 
transfers to note are those of the De Harte patent. This as we have 
seen, was granted to Balthazar De Harte April 10, 1666. In 1685, 
December 19, it was confirmed to Jacobus De Harte, brother of the 
above. In 1694 Jacobus De Harte sold all, save ten acres, to Johannes 
Minne. The ten acres thus retained was woodland lying " between the 
creek commonly known by the name of Verdreitig.. Hook and the com- 
mon great kill and cuts himself off from the aforesaid land with a small kill 


or creek which runs into Hudson River." Johannes Minne sold one- 
quarter of the tract to Albert Minne in 1694, and dying in 17 10, left- the 
remainder to his only child Reynie, who married Lodowick Post. They 
sold 250 acres to Cornelius Kuyper and Albert Minne, and in 1 7 14 
the remainder, about 43 acres, to Thomas Husk. Husk and Eleanor, 
his wife, sold this property to Charles Mott in 1715. He sold it to James 
Osborn in 17 19, and he in turn sold to John Allison, May 14, 1729. 

Albert Minne, by deeds bearing date May 15 and October 30, 1729, 
sold his quarter of the patent bought of Johannes Minnie and the lands 
bought of Lodowick Post, to John Allison for ;£'270 

The ten acres of woodland reserved by Jacobus De Harte, was sold by 
his son, Balthazar, in 1719, to Cornelius Kuyper. Kuyper died in 173J 
and left the property to his son Nicholas, who, dying about 1760, left it 
to his eight children, and they by 1767, had sold it to John De Noyelles. 

In the boundaries of the Quaspeck patent, I find the northern line to 
read "by ye land of Johannes Meille." In a map of the patent made by 
Augustine Graham in 1700, the name is given as Johannes Melle, in deeds 
and papers 'that I have looked over, it is spelled Miller and Millie. I have 
followed Dr. Freeman and given it as Minnie. 

The original patent of Balthazar De Harte covered, not only the land 
south oflhe Minisceongo, but also the low land to the north. He sold 
his interest in the tract north of the creek to Nicholas De Puy and Peter 
Marius. De Puy sold his half to Florus Williamse Crom in 1685, and the 
share of Marius having passed into the hands of Hendrick Van Bom ell 
(or Hendrick V. Bomel), his widow, Rachel, sold it to Hendrick Ryker in 

On December 13, 1685, Crom and Ryker obtained a patent from James 
II. through Governor Thomas Dongan for their land. Of the changes in 
ownership that took place between the date of the patent and to-day, I 
do not regard it necessary to speak in detail. For years one or more 
tracts of the patent remained in possession of some of the Crom family. 
The farm now owned by Adam Lilburn was the property, during the 
Revolution, of Captain James Lamb, of whom mention will later be made, 
and much of the Crom .patent -is now covered with brick yards. 

Running through the centre of the Crom patent is a brook or creek 
called Florus Falls, after the Christian name of the patentee. In the 
grant of 1685, Hendrick Ryker, in'his half, became the owner of the prop- 
erty north ot the brook, and between it and Stony Point. On June 15, 
171 6, Lewis Rynderson Van Ditmarson, Johannes Van Ditmarson and 
Grietie Van Ditmarson, spinster, who had in some way come in possesr 


sion of Ryker's patent, sold it to Thomas Husk, of New York, for £l59' 
In the deed of this sale the land north of Florus Falls is called 

Ahequerenoy, after passing through various hands, at length, in April, 
1 75 1, was sold in portions. That next north of Florus Falls, containing 
1 3 5 acres, was bought by Resolvert Waldron ; and that next north of 
Waldron, was bought in 1790 by Samuel Brewster. 

In June, 1790, the boundary line between the Crom and Cheesecocks 
patents, which had long been in dispute, was settled by a survey made by 
General James Clinton as follows: "Beginning at a large oak sapling 
and a small birch one marked with three notches on three sides near three 
chestnut saplings, standing on the bank of the Minnesecongo creek, and runs 
thence north 16 degs., east along the side of said creek 12 chains to the 
top of a bank, at 15 chains 26 links the top of a high stone or rock " (this 
is still standing in the old burying ground by the calico factory with a 
fence on the original line crossing it) " from which place the northwest 
corner of the meeting house now building (1790), bears south 21, east 47 
links distant; at 16 chains, 80 links, the corner of Lots Nos. 8 and 9 
Cheesecocks patent ; at 30 chains, 75 links, touched the southeast comer 
of Wm. Smith's house; at 38 chains crossed a large stone or rock; at 39 
crossed another in William Smith's field ; at 50 chains the southeast corner 
of Thomas Smith's house (The Treason House) bears north 82 degs., west 
2 chains, 94 links distant; at 55 chains the main road ; at 65 chains, 20 
links, the southwest corner of John Crom's house bears south 80, east 74 
links distant; at 81 chains the northwest corner of Robert Henry's house 
bears south y6, east 45 links distant ; at 90 chains the main road again ; 
at 107 chains and 70 links allowance for a steep bank, marked a small 
birch tree with three notches on four sides leaning over Florus Falls Creek, 
and trimmed some hemlocks near it; then south 54, east down said creek, 
2 chains to a large buttonwood on the north side ; at 4 chains, 80 links, to 
a stake by a fence on the north side of the road, i chain north of said 
creek and i chain west of a bridge, being the place of beginning of the 
second Haverstraw patent ; then north 3 degs., west at 7 chains, 45 links a 
bunch of pear trees, on the west side of the line; at 17 chains, 25 links, 
set a stake on the south side of a steep hill ; at 22 chains the road to 
Jacob Waldron's house " (the road leading east from the village of Stony 
Point); "at 30 chains, 35 links, marked a black oak tree in the line with 
three notches on two sides ; at 34 chains, 20 links crossed a spring brook." 
" At 44 chains, 25 links, the southwest corner of John Waldron's barn 
bears south 10, east 92 Hnks distant; at 64 chains, 75 links, set a red 

31 • 

cedar stake with a heap of stones around it on the east side of the main 
road" (this angle is where the house of Frederick Tomkins stands); 
"then north. 35, east at 9 chains, 40 links, jnade a heap of stones, on a 
large flat stone or rock ; at 1 5 chains the said road west of a spring run- 
ning from under a rock ; at 2 1 chains the stump formerly marked for the 
said Brewster's corner bears south 69, east 19 links distant; at 26 chains, 
30 links, set a stake on an island formed by Rasende water brook, 4 
chains east of Jacob Roosa's house ; then south 62, east 3 1 chains to a 
crooked white oak stump, near a black oak stump where there stands two 
white oak saplings marked with three notches on four sides on a point of 
upland joining a marsh on the west bank of Hudson's River." 

In general terms it may be said the Crom, and Riker's patents covered 
all the land in Haverstraw, bounded south by Minisceongo creek, west by 
the hills, east by the river, and extending north almost to Stony Point. 

Turning to the Quaspeck patent we find, .that but little over a year 
had passed from the issuance of the grant before Jarvis Marshall assigned 
his share in it to Thomas Burroughs, a merchant of New York. A year 
later, December 18, 1696, William Welch transferred his, the original 
remaining half, to John Hutchins, of New York. A few days before this, 
December , 4, Hutchins had bought one-half of Burrough's interest for 
;^ioo, and the property was now owned, three-quarters by Hutchins, . 
and the remaining quarter by Burroughs. Two years later Hutchins 
transferred- to John Sands, of Queens County, one quarter of his right in 
the whole patent, it being still undivided. By October 15, 1700, the 
property had been surveyed and divided, and Burroughs had sold his 
interest to Captain Whitehead and William Huddleston. The property as 
then apportioned stood : the northernmost part, lying on the south line of 
De Harte's patent, containing 1,400 acres, belonged to John Sands ; next 
south, running from the present Hackensack to the west shore of Rockland 
Lake was William Huddleston's land, consisting of 550 acres; next south 
of that was Captain Whitehead's tract similar in limit and number of acres 
to Huddleston's ; and southernmost of all, bounded by Clausen's land on 
the top of Verdreitige Hoeck and Dowen's land west to the Hackensack, 
were Hutchins' 2,500 acres. At this time, 1700, the owners of the prop- 
erty agreed that a roadway should be laid out through the Clove to the 
Hudson River for the advantage of all resident on the property. This is 
the origin of the road to Rockland Lake landing. We have seen that 
Harmanus Dows, or Dows Harmanse, bought property extending from 
the Nyack hills to the Hackensack ; Dows had a son named Tunis, and 
it was the property belonging to Tunis Dows that is mentioned in the 


boundaries of the Quaspeck patent as that of Tunis Dowen. This family 
name, as we shall see later, eventually became Tallman. 

On February 7, 17 16, John Sands, of Block Island in the Colony of 
Rhode Island, in the Providence Plantation, gave a quit claim deed of his 
Quaspeck land to his brother, Edward Sands, of Cow's Neck, in Qu^ens^ 
County. March 5, 1729, Edward Sands, then residing in the County, 
sold his portion of the Quaspeck property, 1,300 acres, to Tunis Snede- 
ker, of Hempstead, L. I., for £1 10. He had previously sold 30 acres to 
Nathaniel Youmans. From that period the transfers of the Snedeker 
farm were many up to 1 840, when Hon. Abraham B. Conger became the 
possessor of almost all the. original purchase. 

Dispute.arose between the owners of the Quaspeck and Kakiat patents 
regarding the division line, and before 1767 John De Noyelles, under the 
claim of the latter, and Garret Snedeker, on the part of the former,, be- 
came involved in litigation. For years the question of this boundary was 
before the courts. At length a party line was agreed to, but before the 
necessary papers were signed, John De Noyelles died and the subject was 
left unsettled. Not long after, Garret Snedeker followed De Noyelles to 
the grave, leaving the question so long at issue between them for their 
heirs to agree upon. The subject continued one of vexation between the 
families till 1795, when a division line was at last agreed to by John Rob- 
ert, John and Peter De Noyelles on the part of the Kakiat land, and Abra- 
ham Thew, Garret and Theodore Snedeker on the part of the Quaspeck 

This line began " at the southwest corner of De Harte's patent near the 
head of the Short Clove, in Haverstraw,in Orange County, and State of New 
York ; and from thence runs south 7 degs. west, - or thereabouts, to the 
Buttonwood tree (now a stump) standing by a small run of water on the 
northwest side of the road near the house of the late Richard Springsteel, 
deceased, and from the stump of the said Buttonwood tree southeasterly 
along the said run of water to a certain swamp called ' Old Woman's 
Hole;' thence along the easterly side of the upland to -a small brook, then 
up the said brook to the before mentioned road, then southerly and west- 
erly along the road to the bridge below the late Roelof Van Houten's 
mill a small distance west of the north bounds of Welches Island patent." 
Of the transfers of the land of William Huddleston I can learn noth- 
ing. In 1737 it was owned wholly or in part by Jacob Polhemus, Hud- 
dleston was County Clerk of Orange County in 1702. 
; Whitehead seems to have resold his tract to Thomas Burroughs, for 
he, by will bearing date August 18, 1703, left it to. his yg«ngest son Joel 


and his daughter Mary Sylvester. A Hne from Quaspeck Pond to De 
Maries Kill divided this property into two sections, of which Joel took 
the northern. November 6, 1728, he sold this section to George Remsen. 

On December 23, 1701, John Hutchinssold 825 acres of his half of the 
•Quaspeck patent to William Smith of New York for ;^27o. This lay 
next south of Whitehead's tract, and extended from Quaspeck Pond to 
the present Hackensack River. On May 22, 171 1, Hutchins sold 200 
acres east of Rockland lake to John Slaughter of Long Island. Slaughter 
had disposed of this property before Sand's deed to Snedeker in 1729. 
Later a company of German settlers bought a part or all of the remainder 
of Hutchins' tract. Among these was Peter Geslar, who sold to John 
Ryder June 8, 1753, " all that tract of land near the pond, in that (tract) 
the Germans have bought there of some gentlemen. This is a lot that 
did fall to the share of Peter Geslar, and is bounded by the lands of Wil- 
liam Felta, Abrm. Paulding, Hendrick Snyder, John Ryder, and Yoris 
Remsen, containing 225 acres ; but if there shall be more than 225 acres, 
then John Ryder must pay 40s. an acre." Valley Cottage Station on 
the West shore Railroad stands on this tract, and a portion is still in pos- 
session of the Ryder family. 

A tract on the east side of the Quaspeck Pond, extending to the river, 
was bought by John Earl and Stephen Bourdet. This is described as ex- 
tending " from the south bounds of Tunis Snedeker to a straight line run- 
ning along the northwest bounds of Harmanus Hoffman." It was divided 
between the purchasers in 1746 by a line " from the east side of the pond 
•eight rods north of the corner tree of Hermanus Hoffman, and to run to 
the point of rocks called Stony Point, and to continue in a straight line to 
Hudson's River." It was agreed that " the place on the river under the 
mountain, called Kalk Hook, shall remain in common." Kalk Hook is 
now called Calico Hook. 

The outlet of Rockland Lake was named Kill von Beast on the map 
made by Augustine Graham in 1700. This, on its way to the Hacken- 
sack, ran through the lands of George Remsen, who had a mill on it as 
€arly as 1750. George Remsen left his property to be divided among his 
children, and one of these, Artie, marrying an Onderdonk, part of the 
Remsen tract came into the possession of that family. 

Michael Hawdon, one of the two patentees of the Kakiat grant, died 
about 171 2, and John Johnston, Johannes Jansen, John Cook, and Nath- 
aniel Marston, who were the executors of his estate, sold his half of the 
patent to Captain Cornelius Kuyper, Charles Mott, Timothy Halstead, Sr., 
Timothy Halstead, Jr., Jonathan Seaman, Thomas Barker, Caleb Hal- 


stead, James Searing, Jonah Halstead, Isaac Seaman, Abraham Denton, 
William Osborn,Nathatriel Osborne, John Searing, Thomas Williams, John 
Wood, and Samuel Denton. With the exception of Kuyper, all of these 
came from Long Island, and most of them from Hempstead township. 

Before proceeding further in the sales from this patent, we must stop 
and look at its division. On November 5, 1713, Albert Minnie, John 
Pew, and Abraham Hearing, who were appointed to divide the property, 
began this work. They first laid out a tract of 1,000 acres to be sold to 
defray the expenses of the survey. This tract, beginning "at Naranshaw 
Creek, at a black oak marked, thence ran north 80 degs., west 96 chains 
thence to a beech tree marked, standing on Naranshaw Creek 98 chains 
thence north 80 degs., east to a black oak tree by a small brook, 93 chains 
then by said brook and David Demarest's Creek to Naranshaw Brook, 
and by the brook to the place of beginning." 

On March 6, 1713-14,0. S., this tract was sold to Cornelius Kuyper 
and Jonathan Seaman for ;^I04 4s., Kuyper owing two-thirds and Sea- 
man one-third. Jonathan Seaman sold his share of the tract, except the 
third of the expense lot, to his son Joseph, May i, 17 15. 

Having laid out the expense lot, the commissioners then proceeded to 
divide the property into two lots by a Hne running from a white oak tree 
marked W on the W. S. W. side of the Wesegrorap Plain to a certain 
beech tree standing on the south end of Welch's Island. These divisions 
were called the north and south moieties. The north moiety becom- 
ing the property of Kuyper, Mott & Co., and the south falling to Daniel 

The north moiety was surveyed and divided into lots in 1724 by Cor- 
nelius Low. If a full description of these was possible with our present 
knowledge, I much question whether it is necessary. Most of these lots 
are the property of descendants of early purchasers. For the purpose 
of location, it may be said, that two tiers of lots were formed, one called 
the East and the other the West Division, the line between the townships 
of Clarke's and Ramapo being the line of demarkation. For each of the 
original purchasers of Hawdon's half of the Kakiat grant, who owned a 
full share, a homestead of 400 acres was laid out. The " English Church" 
is on lot 4 of the west tier of the 400 acre lots, and the Court House, at 
New City, is at the east end of lot No. 5 in the East Division. On the 
west line of the patent was a tier of 14 lots called the " West Range." Lot 
14, the last of this " Range," is just south of the Methodist Church at 

On March 12, 1716, Daniel Honan sold his half of the Kakiat patent 


to John McEvers, a merchant of New York city, and the next year, 1717, 
McEvers sold half of his purchase to Lancaster Symes of New York., In 
1728, McEvers, and Symes' heirs-^^his widow Catharine, and his son, 
John Hendrick — sold their interest in the Kakiat land to a party of five 
men : Daniel De Clarke, Peter Hearing, Cosyn Hearing, Johannes Blau- 
velt, Sr., and Lambert Smet, the first three of whom had previously 
belonged to the party who purchased the Orangetown grant. Under 
their management the south moiety was surveyed and divided into lots. 

Of the transfers that took place in the i ,000 acre or expense lot, I can 
learn but little. On December 3, 1716, Cornelius Kuyper conveyed to 
Hendrick Kuyper, of Uergen County, Province of New Jersey, " all that 
equal full third part of one thousand acres of land bounded as follows : 
Beginning at Narranshaw creek at a certain black oak tree marked on 
both branches on all four sides ; thence running north 80 degs., west 96 
chains ; thence to a beach tree marked on all four sides standing on 
Narranshaw creek 98 chains; thence north 80 degs., east to a black oak 
tree standing by a small brook 93 chains; thence by said brook and 
David Maries Kill to Narranshaw brook aforesaid ; and thence by the 
said brook to the place where it began," for £34, iSs. 

Hendrick Kuyper, by will bearing date September 16, 1754, gave to 
his daughter Marretie, wife of Roelef Vanderlind, 100 acres on the north 
side of the track. 

On July 16, 1764, Tennis De Clarke of " Clarkestown " in the County 
of Orange, &c ; sold to " James Palden of the City of New York — Cord- 
wainer " 25 J^ acres of land being " all that certain parcel of ground situate 
lying and being in Clarke's Town in the County of Orange and Province 
of New York : Beginning at a white oak marked on two sides on the West 
side of Hackensack Creek and so bounded on the east by said creek to the 
south line of Lot No. 14, in the southern division of Cackiate Patent, and 
bounded on the north by the said line, being John Vanderbilts land and 
bounded west by the road called the new road on the southwest by the 
lots of John Anderson, Edw. Earle, James Campbell and John Jones and 
south by the Niack road and Casparies Mabies' meadow "; for £2^)4. 

This is the first mention I have found of Clarke's Town ; the first time 
I have found De Maries or Demarest creek called the Hackensack, and the 
first list of names belonging to those Scotch settlers who gave the name to 
Scotland Hill. 

Between 1764 and 1793, the Sickles family, from whom Sickletown 
takes its name, had purchased land in the 1,000 acre patent, for, on June, 
I, 1793, Elizabeth Sickles conveyed a lot to Robert Sickles and a year 


later, June 13, 1794, Major Cornelius J. Blauvelt and Robert Sickles, 
agreed to a party line between their lands in Kakiat. 

In 1 799, Sarah Lydecker, born Sarah Sickles, who had been the second 
wife of Albert Lydecker of English Neighborhood ; bought, with her son 
Cornelius, 51 acres of Wm. Sickles for $1,250. At the same time Abra- 
ham Lydecker — stepson of Elizabeth and half brother to Cornelius — 
bought a tract of 89 acres in Nyack for $4,000. 

As in the Quaspeck, Ramapo, and Crom patents so in the case of the 
Kakiat, controversy arose as to its boundaries. We have followed the set- 
tlement with the Quaspeck owners, it remains now to trace the line be- 
tween the Kakiat and Cheesecocks patents. By an act of the Colonial Leg- 
islature passed May 29th, 1769, a Commission composed of George Dun- 
can Ludlow, William Nicolls, Benjamin Kissam, Samuel Jones, and 
Thomas Hicks, was chosen by a committee from each patent to settle the 
controversy, and they determined ; " that the boundaries between the two 
patents should begin at the. middle of a stream of water, commonly called 
Minnies Falls, from the easternmost extent of the two patents, and running 
up the stream to where two streams are coming along, on^ along the north 
and the other along the south side of Cheesecocks, commonly called 
Cheesecock's mountain, unite and lorm the stream called Minnies Falls. 
And from there along the middle of the stream, which comes along the 
south side of the mountain, till a line north 3 deg. 30 min W. strikes a cer- 
tain white wood tree, on the northwest side of the stream near the south 
east part of the mountain and on the north side, and at the e'dgeofa large 
rock, partly in the stream and partly on the north bank, and from this tree 
a line S. 86 degs. 30 min. W. to a certain heap of stones erected by us for 
the northwest corner of Kakiat patent, and from the heap of stones a line 
S. 3 degs. 30 min. east, to a certain white oak tree with a heap of stones 
now commonly called John Wood's tree, which Hne runs over a mountain 
called the Round Hill and crosses a large rock called the Horse Stable 
Rock, lying on the mountain on the south side thereof, and from John 
Wood's tree a line run by John Alsop, in the year 1723, S. S. E. to a 
certain stream called Pascack." 

The Cheesecocks patents was surveyed and laid out in lots by Charles 
Clinton in 1738-39. A tier of nine lots, butting on the west line of the 
Crom patent and Bradley 106 acres grant, was first laid out. No. i, being 
furthest to the north. West of these another tier of eight lots was sur- 
veyed, No. 10 being the southernmost and No. 17 touching on the North 
West Line. The remainder of the track was laid out into seven vast moun- 
tain lots. No. I, being bounded on the east by.theNorth West Line. 


On Lot 9, of the first tier, the Rockland Print works now stand. On 
Lot 7, is the " Treason House." Of the great mountain lots, Lord Ster- 
ling owned 14,000 acres, in Lots i and 2 which he mortgaged to William 
Livingston in 1767, and in 1789, they were assigned to Samuel Brewster. 

Brewster sold 967 acres to Christopher Ming in 1793, who established 
the Cedar Pond Iron Works. Ming sold the land, forges and iron works 
to Halstead Coe in 1793 ; and he sold them to John De La Montagne in 

The Stony Point tract, patented by William Jamison and Richard 
Bradley, was' transferred as follows : Jamison transferred his share to Brad- 
ley, and Bradley, in 1742, sold 300 acres at the north end of the tract to 
Abraham Betts, and the remainder, supposed to be 750 acres, to Harrick 
Lent. Lent died, leaving his share to his son Hercules, who dying, be- 
queathed it to his daughter, Rachel, wife of James Lamb, and Catherine, 
wife of Hendrick De Ronde. On the death of De Ronde and wife the 
property was left to their seven children, and much of it still remains in 
the possession of their descendants. 

Rachel Lamb, nee Lent, left her share of the original Stony Point tract 
to her children — Rachael, wife of John Crom ; Elizabeth, wife of John Wal- 
dron ; Catharine, wife of Jacob Waldron, and Hannah, wife of John Arm- 
strong. The tract thus inherited by the daughters of Rachel Lamb was 
divided — except Stony Point proper — and after many transfers at length 
came into the possession of the present owners : the House of the Good 
Shepherd, Calvin Tomkins, and the Tomkins Cove Lime Company. Stony 
Point proper, after remaining undivided for a long time, was at last pur- 
chased by the Brewsters. The United States Government bought part of 
it in 1 826, aad the remainder was later purchased by Daniel Tomkins. 

Of the tracts lying in Rockland County that \yere patented to Bradley's 
children, that directly west of the Stony Point grant was sold to James 
Johnson, by him to Theodorus Snedeker, and after other transfers, it was 
divided into two parts, the wester^ becoming the property of Noah Mott, 
and the eastern of the Tomkins. In this tract is the Back-berg, called by 
the Indians, Skoonnenoghky. The second tract was also sold to James 
Johnson, who sold it to Theodorus Snedeker. Snedeker's property was 
confiscated during the Revolution, as we will see more fully later, and this 
tract was sold by Simeon De Witt, Surveyor General, to Samuel Brewster 
in 1790. 

Turning to the Ramapo patents, I find that- in 1775 Provost sold his 
entire patent to Robert Morris, John De Lancey, and John Zabriskie for 
;^200 ; and that in i 'j'j^, John Zabriskie sold his third part to Morris and 


De Lancey for ^200. In like manner the patents of Harris, MuUer, and 
Spence came into the hands of these two men, and from whom, therefore, all 
valid titles of land covered by the patents just described arise. By far 
the largest purchaser of lands from this company was John Suffern. 

"It will be seen," says Mr. Cobb in his History of Ramapo, "that 
there still remains a portion of this so-called vacant section of our town, 
whose history has not yet been given. The tract of which we speak lies 
in the extreme west and northwest of the town. For its history we recite 
a portion of an act passed by the Legislature of New York, March 28, 

'Whereas, John Hathorn, Peter Townsend, Wm. Hause, Hezekiah 
Mead, Saml. Drew, Ezra Sanford, Jas. McCann, Wm. Booth, Daniel Bene- 
dict, Abner Patterson,, Wm. Ellis, David Sanford, Thos. Sanford, David 
Hawkins, Samuel Ketchum, Henry Wisner, Henry Bush, Saml. Bush, 
Abraham Smith, Jno. Smith, Adolphus Shuart, Nicolas Conklin, Jno. Be- 
craft and Jno. Jenkins, by their petition presented to 'the Legislature, have 
stated that they are settled on and have improved in Orange county 
(which at the time, the petition was made included Rockland) under the 
Proprietors of the Patent of Wawayanda, which lands have been adjudged 
to be unpatented and to belong to the people of the State, and are included 
with other lands not settled on or improved as aforesaid, within the fol- 
lowing boundaries, to wit : 

' Southwesterly by the State of N. J. ; northerly by a line (the Gore 
Line) running from the 3Tst mile-stone in the line of division between this 
State and the State of N. J , to a monument erected by Commissioners at 
the N. W. Corner of a Tract of land granted to Daniel Honon and Michael 
Hawdon, called Kakiate, and easterly and southerly by patented lands. 
And by their said petition have prayed that they may be quieted in their 
said possessions, and to purchase in addition thereto such other quantity of 
vacant land within the boundaries aforesaid, and on such terms as the 
Legislature shall direct. 

' Therefore be it enacted by the people of the State of New York, 
Represented in Senate and Assembly, that it shall and may be lawful for 
the Surveyor General to grant to each of the Petitioners above named all 
the estate, right, title and interest of the people of this State of, in and 
to the lands improved by them respectively, with such other vacant lands 
within the said boundaries of not lest than 100 -acres and not more than 
400 including their respective improvements, they paying therefore not 
■ less than the sum of 25 c. per acre. 

' From this it will appear that the first title of lands located in the 


northwest and extreme west of the town came from grants from the State 
to different individuals, which grants were made in the first years of the 
present century." 

In 1724, John Van Blarcum purchased 400 acres of the Indians, in- 
Ramapo Clove. This latter passed into the hands of Isaac Van Duser, and 
he sold it to Samuel Sidman. At the death of Sidman, the west portion 
of the Van Blarcum tract came into the possession of his son-in-law John 
Smith ; and the east, into that of John and Joseph Brown. Both of these 
tracts were bought by John Suffern in 1 789, who completed his title by 
obtaining new deeds from Robert Morris and John De Lancey, into whose 
hands the property had come through their purchase of the Muller and 
Spence patents. 

The Orangetown was one of the very few patents, within the limits of 
our present County, which was bought with the idea of a permanent settle- 
ment, and most, if not all of the purchasers, moved onto their new posses- 
sions and begun the founding of homes. Never, perhaps, did enterprise 
start with more enthusiasm and terminate with less result. It was the 
plan of those, who obtained that grant, to build a city which should eclipse 
all rivals in the Colony save its neighbor. New York. Nor, if we take the 
same view as did those settlers, will this project seem absurd. The won- 
derful agricultural resources of the Hudson Valley and the rapidity with 
which they were to be developed, were not foreseen at that time ; what 
was realized was, the enormous profit to be obtained from trade with the 
Indians in furs, and surely no better location could be chosen for that pur- 
pose than Tappan. 

From it to the north, west and south, stretched a country still filled 
with game. It was convenient to the local Indians, and what would be 
more natural than that its fame as a trading post should spread to the 
more remote tribes in the western mountains, and draw to it their dusky 
hunters laden with the spoils of the chase. As an outlet, it had the sloat 
or creek, now known as Sparkill, which, after many a sinuous turn through 
the scene of De Vries' failure, at length emptied into the broad Hudson, 
at the mouth of which lay New York ; and the flat-bottomed, broad bowed 
vessels of that day could navigate that creek well into the Orangetown grant. 
Following out their idea, the settlers had a part of their patent mapped 
out and divided into small lots. Each holder of property in the patent 
was expected to buy and improve one or more of these, and the project 
started with great promise. Further than a start it never advanced, and 
to this day there is not, on all the original Orangetown grant, a place of 
suflScient size to amount to more than a country hamlet. 


But while the project fell short .of the intention of its originators, partljr 
because of the rapid settlement of the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys,, 
partly because of the difficulty regarding the boundary line between New 
Jersey and New York, it was by no means in vain. From it sprung the 
settlement of a vast section, the present Orange and Rockland Counties, 
now containing over a hundred and sixteen thousand people (116,245, 
census 1880), which in manufacturing, agricultural and mineral wealth is 
exceeded by no other provincial section of the State. From it, when 
these counties were divided, the southernmost and most populous township 
of our County took its name ; and from its settlers arose many of those 
family names still the oldest and most respected in our midst. 

I have thought that it might be a matter of great interest to speak of 
the. origin of Dutch family names, a subject which has always filled the 
historian with dread and caused genealogists awful confusion. On this 
topic I shall quote extracts from a letter on the subject written by Hon. 
Henry C. Murphy while U. S. Minister at the Hague. 

The first system of bestowing names adopted in Holland, " was the- 
patronymic, as it is called, by which a child took, besides his own baptismal 
name, that of his father, with the addition of zoon or sen, meaning son. To 
illustrate this : if a child were baptized Hendrick and the baptismal name 
of his father were Jan, the child would be called Hendrick Jansen. His 
son, if baptized Tunis, would be called Tunis Hendricksen ; the son of the 
latter might be William, and would have the name of William Tunissen. 
And' so we might have the succeeding generations called successively Gar- 
ret Williamsen, Marten Garretsen, and so on, through the whole of the 
calendar of Christian names, or, as more frequently happened, there be 
repetition in the second, third, or fourth generation, of the name of the 
first ; and thus, as these names were common to the whole people, there 
were in every community different lineages of identically the same name. 
This custom, which had prevailed in Holland for centuries, was in full 
vogue at the time of the settlement of New Netherland. In writing the 
termination sen it was frequently contracted into se or z, or j. 

The inconvenience of this practice, the confusion to which it gave rise,, 
and the difficulty of tracing families, led ultimately to its abandonment 
both in Holland and in our own- country. In doing so the patronymic 
which the person originating the name bore was adopted as the surname. 
Most of the family names thus formed and existing amongst us may be 
said to be of American origin, as they were first fixed in America, though 
the same names were adopted by others in Holland. Hence we have the 
names of such famihes of Dutch descent amongst us as Jansen (anglice,. 


Johnson) Cornelisen, Williamsen or Williamson, Clasen, Simonsen or 
Simonson, Tysen (son of Mathias) Lambertsen or Lambertson, Paulisen, 
Remsen (son of Rembrandt, which was shortened into Rem), Ryersen, 
Martense and others." " Another mode of nomenclature, intended to 
obviate the difficulty of an identity of names for the time being, but which 
rendered the confusion worse confounded for the future genealogist, was 
to add to the patronymic name the occupation or some other personal 
characteristic of the individual. But the same addition was not trans- 
mittecf to the son ; and thus the son of Hendrick Jansen Coster (sexton). 
might be called Tunis Hendrickson Browwer (brewer), and his grandson 
might be William Tunissen Bleecker (bleacher). Upon the' abandonment 
of the old system of names, this practice went with it ; but it often hap- 
pened that while one brother took the father's patronymic as a family 
name, another took that of his occupation or personal designation. Thus 
originated such families as Bleecker, Schoonmaker, Snediker (which should 
be Snediger), Hegeman, Hofman, Bleekman and Tieman." 

Applying the observations of Mr. Murphy to our County, we find the 
first purchaser of land in Nyack, Claus Jansen (Nicholas Johnson) had a 
son Cornelius, who took the name of Cornelius Clausen, and his two sons, 
John and Henry, took their surnames from their business, that of coopers, 
and became John and Henry Cuyper, Kuyper, or Cooper. In regard to 
a surname being obtained by some personal characteristic, we have Har- 
manus Dows, not infrequently called Dowse Harmanse, whose son became 
' Tunis Dows, and his son, the grandson of Harmanus Dows, from his great 
stature, was known as Tunis Dows Tallman, and thus created that family 
name. The Blauvelt family on entering the County bore the different 
names of Abram Gerritse, Johannes Gerritse, Harman Hendricksen, Ger- 
ret Huybertsen, and Joseph Hendricksen Blauvelt ; a most excellent illus- 
tration of the confusion of this means of nomenclature. 

" A third practice," continues Mr. Murphy, " evidently designed like 
that referred to, to obviate the confusions of the first, was to append the 
name of the place where the person resided — not often of a large city, but 
of a particular, limited locality, and frequently of a particular farm or 
natural object. This custom is denoted in all family names which have the 
prefix of Van, Vander, Ver (which is the contraction of Vander) and Ten, 
meaning respectively of, of the, and at the. From towns in Holland we 
have the families of Van Cleef, Van Wyck, Van Schaack ; from Utrecht, 
Van Winkel; from Zeeland, Van Duyne. Sometimes the Van has been 
dropped, as in the name of Westervelt, of Drenthe and Wessels, in Gueld- 
erland. The prefixes of Vander or Ver and Ten were adopted when the 


name was derived from a particular spot ; thus : Vanderveer (of the ferry), 
Vanderbilt (of the bilt — i. e., certain elevations of ground in Guelderland 
and New Utrecht) ; Verhultz (of the holly), Ten Eyck (at the oak). Ten- 
brock (at the marsh). There are a few names derived from relative situa- 
tions to a place ; thus, Voorhees is simply before or in front of Hess, a 
town in Guelderland, and Onderdonk is below Donk, which is in Brabant. 
There are a few names more arbitrary — Bogaert (or hard), Blauvelt (blue 
field), Hooghland (highland), Borland (arid land), Hasbrook (hare's marsh) 
Some names are disguised in a Latin dress. The practice prevailed,* at the 
time of the immigration to our country, of changing the names of those 
who had gone through the university and received a degree, from plain 
Dutch to sonorous Roman. The names of all our earliest ministers are 
thus attired. Evert Willemse Bogaert became Everardus Bogardus, and 
that of Jan Doris Polheem became Johannes Theodorus Polhemius." 

Of the older families in the County, the De Clarkes, Blauvelts, Smiths, 
Harings and De Groots, date back to the purchasers of the Orangetown pat- 
ent in 1686. The Onderdonks first settled on Long Island, and descendants 
from that family bought 320 acres of land in 1736 on the present shore 
road from Piermont to Nyack for ;^350 ; other descendants from the same 
family settled at the present Spring Valley. The Snedeker family came 
into the County by the purchase by Tunis Snedeker, of Hempstead, L. I., 
of part of the Quaspeck Patent in 1729. The Cole family in this section 
was originated by Jacob Kool, who settled near Tappan about 1695. 
The Suffern family originated from John Sufifern, who emigrated from An- 
trim, Ireland, and settled in the village that bears his family name in 1763. 
This family is noted for the number of offices which members of it have 
held. John Suffern was County Judge of Orange Co., from 1789 
till 1792, and first County Judge of Rockland Co., from 1798 till 1806. 
His son. Edward SufTern, after being District Attorney from 18 18 till 1820, 
was raised to the Bench and held the office of County Judge from 1820 
till 1847. Andrew E. Sufifern, grandson of the first and son of the second 
Judge of that name, was'District Attorney from 1853 till 1859, and County 
Judge from 1859 till his death in 1880. Other members of the family 
held the following ofifices: Edward Sufifern, Assemblyman in 1826 and 
1835, John I. Sufifern, Assemblyman in 1854 and James SufTern in 1867. 
and 1869. Edward Sufifern was School Commissioner from 1859 to 1862 
and Thomas W. Sufifern from 1880 to the present time. 

Other families whose progenitors settled in the County previous to the 
•opening of this century, and who still bear the first settler's names, are the 
Allison's, of Haverstraw who purchased the De Harte patent, the De Noy- 


elles, who date from the same period, the Croms,- whose ancestors took out 
a patent for Haverstraw, north of the creek, in 1685. The Thiells, Ver 
Valens, De Bauns, Secors, the Brewsters, the Waldrons, who by purchase 
and marriage obtained large possessions in Stony Point ; the Youmans, 
Polhemus, Remsens, Ryders, Hoffmans, whose ancestor settled on the 
Quaspeck tract ; the De Rondes, whose progenitor became interested in 
the County through marriage ; the Swartwouts, who purchased property 
that had been sequestrated from Tories ; the Conklins, De Bauns, Sickles, 
Campfbells, Lydeckers, who purchased in the Kakiat patent, and the Sned- 
ens, Nagels, Lawrances, Gesners, Perrys and Mabies, of Rockland and 
Tappan ; the Sarvents, Palmers, Williamsons, Cornelisons, De Pews and 
Greens of Nyack; the Barmores, Storms, Demarests, Van Houtens, 
Smiths, Bogarts, Eckersons, Felters, of the Hackensack Valley ; the 
Woods, Weiants, Roses, of Stony Point and Haverstraw ; and the Sloats, 
Springsteels, Piersons, Van Blarcoms, Gurnees, Snyders, Johnstons, Ten- 
ures, Martines, Bensons. Wannamakers, Stephens, Posts, Forshees, Pyes, 
Van Ostrand and House families. 

Authorities referred to. The Histories of the towns of Ramapo, E. B. Cobb, Haverstraw, 
A. S. Freeman, Stony Point, E. Gay, Jr. Deeds, wills and other old papers ; Session Laws, S. 
N. Y. Stiles' History of Kings County. I am indebted to E. E. Conklin, for papers and maps 
relating to Rockland Lake. 



On November ist, 1683, under the administration of Thomas Dongan, 
the Province of New York was divided into counties for reasons best set 
forth in the following preamble and act : " Having taken into considera- 
con the necessity of divideing the Province into respective Countyes for the 
better governing and setling Courts in the same, Bee It Enacted by the 
Governour Councell and Representatives and by the authority of the 
same That the said Province bee divided into twelve Countyes." After 
naming and defining the bounds of these in their order, the act continues: 
" the County of Orange to begin from the Limitts or bounds of East and 
West Jersey on the West side of Hudson's River along the said River to 
the Murderers Creeke or bounds of the County of Ulster and Westward 
into the Woods as farr as Delaware River." 

Each of the counties thus created was given the name either of a home 
shire, title, or member of the royal family that then occupied the English 
throne, and the loyal government of the Province, little foreseeing the events 
of the next five years, gave to this section the hereditary title of James 
the Seconds Son- in-law. 

The county at the time of its erection was a howling wilderness with 
scarcely a single settler located within its territory. Nor, as we have al- 
ready seen when speaking of the patentees, was its early growth rapid. 

By 1693, the total population amounted to about twenty famiHesand it 
was a ward of the Province. In the Militia returns for that year it was 
annexed to the city and county of New York, and held no civil existence 
for a brief period. Yet in that brief period the county was used as a means 
of fraud. 

The Governor wished an. Assembly devoted to his purposes and to ob- 


tain a majority of the members friendly toward him ; the Sheriff of New 
York returned four members as elected by the popular franchise of 
Orange and New Ycrk Counties without an inhabitant of the former 
county having had a vote. Later the new Governor — Bellomont — de- 
posed the Sheriff from office for this and similar acts. 

Only a short time elapsed however when Lord Bellomont. having 
formed a new Council and appointed new Sheriffs ordered the election of 
another Assembly, and for the first time, in 1702, a representative — Peter 
Hearing, was elected in Orange as her people's ■ choice, The Sheriff at 
that time was Tunis Tallmari, who, a year later, incurred the anger of 
Lord Cornbury, on account of his ignorance, and drew from that Governor 
a long letter to the Lords of Trade in which, speaking of his inability to 
obtain a census from the sheriffs, he says : " and when they come to sign 
their letters it is said ' the mark of Theunis Talmane Esquire High Sheriff 
of the County of Orange.' " Cornbury removed Tallman from office and 
appointed John Perry in his stead. 

In the same year in which the induction of Perry to the Shrievalty — 
took place, 1702, there was enacted on March' 8th, an ordinance creating 
a Court of Sessions and Pleas for Orange County and on April 5, 1703, 
this act was signed by Queen Anne. The first Judges, appointed by 
Lord Cornbury and his Council, March 8, 1702, were William and John 
Merritt and they held the office till 1727. At the same time, March 8, 
1702, Derick Storm and William Huddleston were appointed County 
Clerks, an office they held till 1721. 

We have already seen that the settlement of Orange County began 
within the boundaries of the present Rockland. To the north of the 
Orangetown patent stretched the primeval wilderness. The few inhabi- 
tants on the patent clustered about the embryo city of Tappan and at Tap- 
pan the first count)- building's were erected, the first sessions of the court 
held, and from its residents the first county officers selected. 

It was not over a large population that the jurisdiction of the court or 
the authority of its officers extended. From the twenty families of 1693, 
the .increase had been slow. In 1698, there was a total of 119 people, 
composed of 29 men, 31 women, 40 children and 19 negroes. By 1702, 
the population had increased to 268 souls; and by 17 10 to 439 people. 

A litigious spirit was never a marked attribute in the Dutch character, 
and in the loneliness and need of mutual aid caused by their isolation in 
their new home the settlers grew into a close communism. One of their 
first acts on entering the land had been to form a church organization, 
which they accomplished in October, 1694, and religion as well as friend- 


ship prevented many appeals to the law. Yet, while agreeing among them- 
selves, these Dutchmen did not always extend their charity toward immi- 
grants of a different nationaUty and language, and mutual jealousies pro- 
duced by these factors oftentimes caused friction. Remembering this will 
explain the following entry in the Court Records of Orange County bear- 
ing date October 29, 1705, 8th Session of the Court: " Upon ye present- 
ment of Coonradt Hansen, that George Jewell kept a dog which was inju- 
rious to many of the neighbors, it was ordered that the said Jewell should 
hang the said dog." This is the first record of capital punishment in the 

On March 29th, 1723, occur the first records kept by the Supervisors. 
From them we learn that the average expense of the whole district was 
but ;^50 per year, and the greater part of this sum was expended in pre- 
miums for wolf heads. In 1724 the following motion was passed : "Att a 
meeting of ye Supervisors at Orangetown the thirtieth day of October, In 
ye Eleventh year of the Reigne of King George: Anno Domini 1724. 
Voted that John Meyer Do produce his book wherein he has Entered the 
paying and receiving money of the said County of Orange, and other 
proceedings and Minutes therein entered and contained. Immediately to us 
the Supervisors aforesaid, and that Gerhardus Clowes whom we have ap- 
pointed Clerk for us Do enter and Translate the said Treasurer's book into 
English for our better understanding, and Satisfaction of the said County." 
At a later period, in 1730, Cornelius Smith for the precinct of Tappan, 
Cornelius Kuyper for the precinct of Haverstraw, and John Gale for the 
precinct of Goshen, Supervisors — we find that the Board had difficulty in 
compelling the collectors to pay their receipts into the hands of the treas- 
urer. For this reason it empowered Cornelius Cooper, Jr., to employ a 
lawyer and have writs issued for every collector that shall neglect, refuse or 
delay in the payment of his collections. At the same meeting it was 
ordered that the assessors for each precinct should appraise every negro at 
^5, every wagon load of produce at 10 shillings, every horse, mare or cow 
at 10 shillings, and every will at ;^5. Then the Board adjourned to meet 
Oct. 6th, 1 73 1, at the house of William ElHson in Haverstraw. 

Faithful guardians of the public trust were these County officials. In 
1738 Cornelius Kuyper rendered his bill for service as Member of Assem- 
bly, fixing his time at 1 1 8 days. In auditing this bill the Board held that : 
" It appearing to us that he (Kuyper) was absent from the house 24 days 
of the 1 1 8 days, and thinking it unreasonable to pay him for Sundays, 
have also deducted 13 Sundays, so remains due to him 85 days with an 
allowance of four days for traveling, being for two meetings at 6 shillings 


per day." With equal care did they watch each other, as the following 
entry will show : " To Gabriel Ludlow for two certificates, and he not be- 
ing at home, he could not produce them, but thinks they contain about 35 
days; the Supervisors think proper to allow him 25 days, till the certifi- 
cates appear to us." 

Yet, while careful of the public purse, the Supervisors seem not to hav^ 
deprived themselves of the good things of life. Among the items for 1729 
is one, " To Gabriel Ludlow for one gallon of rum and a pound of sugar for 
ye Supervisors, 4 sh." And in 1730 another, "To Gabriel Ludlow for 
vittling and drink for the Supervisors, 18 shillings and 3 pence." 

In 1727, the population of the County having reached over twelve hun- 
dred, more demand was made on the public buildings and an Assembly 
act was passed " to repair the County House and amend and enlarge the 
jail and prison." Before this period — in 17 16 — the congregation of the 
first church had grown strong enough to build a house for worship. This 
stood on the site of the present church edifice in Tappan and on the pres- 
ent common in front of the sacred building were the county buildings. 
Surely the rash infractor of law must have been conscience hardened to 
brave both the power of Heaven and earth. From his place of imprison- 
ment, while awaiting trial, the malefactor could hear his eternal fate decreed 
from the pulpit, where the Reverend Frederic Muzelius in terse Dutch 
sentences pointed out the wrath to come ; and in a short time Jeremiah 
Carrifi", the trusty Sheriff of the county since 1 706, would lead him for 
human judgment before Judge Cornelius Haring or John McEvers who 
had just been appointed to the Bench. 

The punishments inflicted in those days read strangely now. In 1736 
we find in the records of the Supervisors these items : " To Adrian 
Strought for whipping a man and conveying him away £2." " To Adolph 
Lent for conveying a Negro Wench out of the County by order of the 
justices, 7 shillings." In 1741 the records contain the following : "To 
Dolph Lent for transporting of vagabonds, £\-^-6." 'To George Cole- 
man for transporting ot a vagabond man and watching him one night, and 
making a coat for said man by order of ye Justices, £\-\<); also for trans- 
porting a vagabond woman and six other vagabonds, 7 shillings." "To 
Jas. Fleet for warning oat two vagabonds by order of ye Justices, 2 shill- 
ings." In 1755 are the following items: "For transporting one vaga- 
bond woman and three children, ;^2-7 ; Jacob Woodendyke to transporting 
a vagrant man six miles over the North River, 1 1 shillings 9 pence," and, 
ominous entry, " To Thomas Maybe to erecting and building of the stocks 
for Orangetown, £\." In 1768 the records show the following: "To 


John Stephens for his transporting a poor person out of the County, £i." 
" To Henry Wesner, Wm. Thompson and Richard Edsell for whipping and 
transporting John Alexander, £1-2, and for whipping and transporting 
James WilHams, ;^i-2." Among the charges for 1774 are several for 
whipping and transporting different persons. Finally we read among 
those old yellow leaves these charges against Haverstrawin 1785 : "To 
Samuel Hutchkins for transporting three vagrant persons to New Jersey, 
;£'2-i2-6; for transporting Richard Davis, his wife and four children, ;^i- 
16; and for transporting Hannah Stanton and four children, 15 shillings." 

Steadily the increase of population in this territory continued and the 
soil was slowly cleared and cultivated on both sides of the ridge of moun- 
tains that divided the County into two sections. By 1737, the churches 
of Magaghamack, Minnisink, Walpeck, and Smithfield were organized and 
were all under the ministration of the Reverend Johannes Casparus Fryen- 
moet, a God serving; holy man ; but the greater part of the increase was 
still in the section south of the mountains and the county buildings re- 
mained in Orangetown. In 1736 an Assembly act was passed, authoriz- 
ing the building of a new jail at Tappan. Between that date and 1740 the 
court house was destroyed by fire, and a census, taken in the last men- 
tioned year, showed a population for Orange County of some three thous- 
and people, more equally distributed on both sides of the mountain than 
they had yet been. 

The formation of Church organizations and the erection of public 
buildings would indicate an advancing spread of civilization, yet he would 
be deluded who regarded that struggling advance in the amenities of life 
as in any respect approaching the refinement of to-day. 

The Dutch colonists had left a home where religion and law were 
dominant powers. Upon their clergy they looked with an awe of his 
sacerdotal office, with respect for his intellectual powers ; and they obeyed 
him as a temporal as well as a spiritual adviser. Almost their first proceed- 
ing, therefore, was to build a house dedicated to that Divine Power, whose 
Name they had been taught to lisp on the sea- washed shores of their old 
home thousands of miles away, and in whose care they now, in their lone- 
liness and danger, more than ever felt themselves ; where at stated inter- 
vals His messenger could meet them and strengthen their fate and revive 
their failing courage. 

The creation of counties was before their settlement, and was accom- 
plished by the Provincial Government at New York. The estabhshmentof 
the machinery of the law, and the erection of buildings for the exercise of 
that machinery, were acquiesced in by the first settlers ; not because they 


were rendered imperative by the quarrelsomeness of the inhabitants, but 
because they were a part of a civiHzation Dutchmen had long been accus- 
tomed to. 

But between the hamlets where the houses of Eternal and earthly jus- 
tice stood, and the settlers' rude homes, there was nothing pointing toward 
a. reclamation of the savage wilderness, save here and there a clearing filled 
with stumps and unfenced, which rather tended to depress the mind by 
showing the magnitude of the work to be done, than to encourage it. 
Through the almost unbroken forests roamed savage beasts, which ceased 
their pursuit of wild prey when they could with greater ease feast on the 
settlers' domestic animals, and which filled the nights with their savage 
barkings or long, mournful cries. The mountains contained bears, which, 
•oftentimes starved into boldness, would invade the colonists' cattle sheds 
and drag off a calf or a colt ; while wolves were so numerous and destruc- 
tive that a bounty of lO shillings was paid for every wolfs head, and the 
expense for their slaughter alone, in 1730, amounted to almost £1$. 
Among the records of the Supervisors in those early days is one awarding 
a bounty of £2 to Joseph Manning for killing one full-grown panther. 
Nor was it from these wild animals alone that danger came, for where fear 
of wild beasts was least, as in the more compact settlements at Tappan 
and Goshen, the unfenced farms permitted invasions of herds of swine, 
which were turned out in the spring of the year to find their own support 
till autumn, and which too often ceaged their roamings after the acorns 
and nuts of the forest, to trespass and feed upon the growing corn in the 
clearings. ' 

The first vehicles, which passed through this trackless wilderness bear- 
ing the settlers's goods, were driven through any opening which appeared 
in the /lirection toward which the immigrant was trending. The little 
travel which that immigrant had to perform, for the first few years after 
locating, was made on horseback or on foot. As the settlements grew 
more numerous and stronger, and as the land was cultivated further and 
further from the navigable waters and nearest hamlets, the demands of 
social or business life called for better paths. Passage ways from settle- 
ments, to the nearest church, to the nearest mill, to the most convenient 
outlets on the river ; were made by each body of settlers for their own 
ease. Sometimes a deer path through the woods became the line of a new 
Toad ; sometimes the trail which the Indian had made from his village to 
that of his neighbors in days gone bye ; and not infrequently those do- 
mestic animals — the cows— laid out a future highway by their daily jour- 
neys to and from the nearest good pasturing place. 


Among the lines of travel thus laid out. were some destined to become 
of great importance. From Paulus' Hook, through the English Neigh- 
borhood came a road, that pursued a tortuous course, always avoiding 
difficulties of construction and lying between the uplands of the Palisades 
and the marshy ground bordering on the Hackensack. It entered this 
County at Tappan, passed through the present Orangeturgh as the Claus- 
land Road, swept along the western base of the Nyack hills, over Casper 
Hill by the old hotel at one time kept by John Storms, entered the present 
road from Nyack to Haverstraw near Valley Cottage, continued to and 
through Haverstraw, turned back through Doodletown, and at last passed 
from the present County, close to Forts Clinton and Montgomery, to con- 
tinue its course through West Point, Newburgh, Esopus, Catskill, on to 
Albany. Later this route became and is still known as the Kings High- 
way. . 

In the early days of the County, this was the only line of travel used 
by the settlers in their land journeys to the city and to the county seat at 
Tappan. As the settlements along the Delaware grew, however, a nearer 
way had to be found. Those very settlements hastened the departure of 
savage man and savage beast from the Ramapo Clove, and soon these 
western residents were making their journeys to Tappan through this ever 
beautiful mountain gorge. The necessities of travel in the course of time 
demanded a better highway than the foretime narrow horse path, and a 
road was at length cut through which afterward became and still is known 
as the Orange Turnpike. 

For the improvement of these first roads. Legislative acts were passed 
as early as 1730, and from that time till our own day, at nearly every ses- 
sion, some bill relating to public travel by highway has been enacted. 

It has been said that by 1 740, the population of Orange County had 
reached three thousand, pretty evenly distributed north and south of the 
mountains ; this increase in the northern gection led to reiterated com- 
plaints by those there resident, at the long and difficult journey they were 
compelled to make when attending court. It was because of these just 
complaints that in 1738, the Provincial Assembly passed an act "to en- 
able the Justices of the Peace in that part of Orange County being to the 
northward of the Highlands to build a court house and gaol for the said 
County at Goshen," and that in 1740 Lieutenant Governor George Clarke 
recommended and the assembly passed another act " for raising in the 
south part of Orange County a sum not exceeding one hundred pounds 
for finishing and completing the court house and gaol in Orange Town." 

" This," wrote Governor Clarke to the Lords of Trade, " is very neces- 


sary this county having a ridge of mountains running through the middle 
of it made it very inconvenient for those who live on one side of the hills 
to travel constantly on the other side, the courts being formerly held only 
in one place, but now there is a court house on each side and the courts 
are held alternately at them." 

At this period a third was added to the County Judiciary and the list 
now contained the names of Abraham Harring, Cornelius Cuyper and 
Thomas Gaster. Theodoras Snedeker, who had been appointed in 1739, 
was Sheriff, and Vincent Matthews was County Clerk, an office he held 
from 1726 to 1763. 

Orange County was unique in having double court houses, jails and 
sessions. The cause we have seen to be the physical conformation of its 
territory and the effect we shall yet see was to divide the section south of 
the mountains into a separate county. 

In the previous chapter we have noted how this County grew in popu- 
lation by the purchase of lands, after the speculative era Ijad ceased, by 
permanent settlers. Thos . who bought from the north moiety of the 
Kakiat patent formed a little hamlet, which they named after the Long 
Island town they had left. New Hempstead, a name which was later 
applied to the present township of Ramapo. In Haverstraw, settlers 
were erecting homes along the river front from the Long Clove to Don- 
derberg. Just north of the little stream that runs down by the Short 
Clove, on the property now owned by Felix McCabe, Major E. W. Kiers 
had bought an acre of ground and built a dock in that village. This dock 
became the means of outlet for the produce from New Hempstead or 
Kakiat, and a road was cut through from that community to Haverstraw, 
entering the latter place by the Long Clove. Mills, both grist and saw, 
had been built where the water power and public demand warranted them, 
at Haverstraw, Nyack, Tappan Slote, Greenbush, and in Clarkstown ; and 
roadways, that had been cut from the nearest highway to these mills, 
were sometimes further extended till they joined another highway. 

The organization of the Tappan Church had been followed, in 1750 by 
the building of one in Clarkstown for the benefit of dwellers at Haver- 
straw and on the Quaspeck and Kakiat grants, and this, four years later, 
was followed by the organization of the English Church at Kakiat or 
Hempstead, for the benefit of the residents in that section, as well as the 
Scots then settling near Scotland Hill, who wished to hear religious service 
in the English tongue. 

The introduction of saw-mills permitted a change in the construction 
of houses, and allowed the settler, now that the experiment of colonization 


was a success, to replace his foretime thatch-roofed log house by a struc- 
ture of shingles or board sides, or a solid edifice of stone, stayed with firm 
timbers and covered with shingles. 

On the long line of the Kings Highway, numerous inns were opened for 
the accommodation of travellers who journeyed by it. Of those in this 
County, one, still standing as the " '76 House," was at Tappan ; one at the 
top of Casper Hill, now owned by John Storms, was kept by a Mr. Ten- 
ure, and one kept by John Coe was at Kakiat, on the road which had been 
cut through from Kings Ferry to the highway through Sidman's or the 
Ramapo Pass. Besides these hostelries, there were taverns or ferry houses 
at Sneden's Landing for Dobbs Ferry, kept by Captain Corbet, and at 
Stony Point for King Ferry. 

The inn at Tappantown deserves more than a passing notice because 
of its use as a prison for Major John Andre during his last days. It was 
the first tavern in the territory of the present Orange and Rockland coun- 
ties south of Newburgh, and is standing on a lot of the Van Vorst share 
of the original patent. In 1753 it was purchased by Casparus Mabie from 
Cornelius Meyers, and was kept by him for many years. In the New 
York Gazette for Feb. 26, 1776, it is advertised as follows : " To be sold 
at private sale, that noted house and lot where Casparus Mabie formerly 
lived, at Tappan, two miles from the North River and twenty-four from 
Hobuck, Ferry. It is a convenient stone building, four rooms on a floor. 
There is likewise, on said place, a good barn, garden and sundry other 
conveniences. Whoever inclines to purchase may apply to Mrs. Elizabeth 
Herring on the premises, Mr. Cornelius C. Roosevelt at New York, or to 
Dr. G. Stowe in Morris County." Mabie sold the " '"]€> House " to Fred- 
erick Blauvelt and he to Philip Dubey in 1800, who still kept it as late as 
18 1 8. After Dubey 's death the house was kept by Henry Gesner, Henry 
Storms, Thomas Wandle, Lawrence T. Sneden and Henry Ryerson. In 
1857 it was purchased by Dr. J. T. Stephens. 

It was an era of peace and plenty. The French war, that for a time 
had drawn New England into action, was too remote for the residents of 
this section to be involved. For the prosecution of that war New York, 
as well as the other Provinces, had been taxed, and some of the partici- 
pants in it were sons of Orange who held commissions in the English 
army ; but the interest in the conflict was transient among the Dutchmen, 
who were so numerous in the County. Not so was it in the polemical 
discussion that had been raging for some time in their church and had 
caused grave difficulties between pastor and people and between foretime 


The business of life was checked, social amenities were suspended, and 
brotherly love was replaced by anger and hatred in the quarrel. At last, 
after years of turmoil^ the long controversy was ended, and the people 
prepared to resume their foretime quiet. Then, suddenly and mysteri- 
ously, there began to spread abroad whispers of a change in the actions 
of the home government toward her American colonies. 

Just how or when these rumors started, no one knew. Perhaps some 
farmer returning from " York " had stopped at Mabie's tavern to rest and 
refresh himself and horse, and, while waiting, had told the host and few 
guests that were there-of the excitement in the city, concerning the new 
acts being passed in England for the purpose of increasing her income 
from the Colonies. Perhaps some peripatetic "Yankee" trader or peddler, 
on his way from the east to the Indian stations on the Delaware and Sus- 
quehanna, had spoken of the matter at the Kings Ferry landing, as he 
paused for a drink of peach brandy or Metheglin — liquors not obtainable 
in his native colony — and becoming excited by the subject, as these ner- 
vous descendants of the Puritans were wont to do, had lashed himself into 
a fury and astonished his Dutch listeners by the violence of his emotion. 

If the manner of the rumor's start was unknown, the substance spread. 
At the different inns, at the few blacksmith shops, at the mills, the settlers 
paused for a moment after the completion of their business to talk on the 
topic, and from these different foci the news was carried home to be dis- 
cussed at the fireside. The Dutch mind was slow to act, and, having 
reached a conclusion, slow to change. Long and earnest were the argu- 
ments during the winter evenings of 1773—74, as to the right of Great 
Britain to impose a tax on the colonists without their representation or 
consent. At first the subject was one of talk only. The new impost, 
being in the form of customs duties, produced little immediate effect in an 
agricultural county whose people had few outside wants. If there was 
trouble in the Eastern colonies, doubtless it was due to the unrestful spirit 
of that people, who were always in a ferment and not content unless turn- 
ing things upside down ; and in " York City " there were now, as there 
ever had been, certain persons who delighted in confusion and combat. 

Thus the sturdy farmers of this section reasoned and would fain banish 
the matter from their minds. But it could not thus be banished. 

The rumors, indefinite and few at first, increased in number and took 
form. Boston was in an uproar; New York held the Sons of Liberty ; 
Virginia contained a government and — a people. Thick grew the murk 
of the approaching struggle and its gloom, o'ershadowing this County, 
added bewilderment to the nascent thought of rebellion. The settlers in 


Orange had slowly grasped the idea that England was attempting to per- 
petrate a wrong. Puzzled by the swift changing phases of the subject, 
their conservative dispositions led them to avoid either factiori, to with- 
draw from active participation in open revolt and to follow out the subject 
only so far as they comprehended it. This plan caused them to enter a 
protest to the home government at a meeting held in Yoast Mabie's house 
on July 4th, 1774, which read as follows : 

"1st. That we are and ever wish to be, true and loyal subjects to His 
Majesty, George the Third, King of Great Britain. 

2nd. That we are most cordially disposed to support His Majesty and 
defend his crown and dignity in every constitutional measure, as far as lies 
in our power. 

3rd. That however well disposed we are toward His Majesty, we can- 
not see the late Acts of Parliament, imposing duties upon us and the Act 
for shutting up the Port of Boston, without declaring our abhorrence of 
measures so unconstitutional and big with destruction. 

4th. That we are in duty bound to use every just and lawful measure 
to obtain a repeal of acts not only destructive to us, but which, of course, 
must distress thousands in the mother country. 

5th. That it is our unanimous opinion that the stopping of all expor- 
tation and importation to and from Great Britain and the West Indies 
would be the most effectual methods to obtain a speedy repeal. 

6th. That it is our most ardent wish to see concord and harmony re- 
stored to England and her Colonies. 

7th. That the following gentlemen, to wit: Colonel Abraham Lent, 
John Haring, Esq., Mr. Thomas Outwater, Mr. Gardner Jones, and Peter 
T. Haring be a committee from this town to correspond with the city of 
New York, and to conclude and agree upon such measures as they shall 
judge necessary in order to obtain a repeal of said acts." 

Two months later, when, in September 1774, delegates were to be 
elected to a Continental Congress, the people of this County had so little 
determined on their next step, had so little decided how to instruct a rep- 
resentative, that not over two score votes were cast. 

But it was already too late for resolutions to check the progress of 
events. Before another year had passed Virginia's people were forever 
separated from the old government ; New York was under the control of 
Sears and his fellow patriots ; and from Massachusetts, as if borne by the 
blast, had come the news of Lexington. It was no longer a matter for 
waiting, the hour for action had come. 

Awakened to the importance of the issue at last, the inhabitants of the 


County met on the 17th of April, 1775, at Mabie's, to take into considera- 
tion the subject of their representation at the Provincial Convention, which 
was to meet in New York three days later, for the purpose of sending 
delegates to the Continental Congress. At this meeting John Haringwas 
chosen from Orangetown and Col. A. Hawkes Hay from Haverstraw. 

Three months passed, when, on July 17th, 1775, another meeting took 
place in this County for action on the " General Association adopted by 
freemen,, freeholders and inhabitants of the city and county of New York 
on April agth, 1775, and transmitted for signing to all the counties of the 

Petitions are permissible even in despotisms. Calm, firm remonstrances 
can never be construed into anarchy. A demand for the right to be heard 
is not revolt. Believing that they had been wronged most unjustly, our 
people had resorted to petition — to remonstrance, and had demanded the 
right to a hearing, and their efforts were vain. So far could they go 
with impunity. But the junction of two future courses were reached. . By 
one road they threw themselves upon the mercy and clemency of a master ; 
they renounced the right of individualism, of independence ; they became, 
clothe it with whatever sophistries you please, call it by any name you like, 
cover it with all the paraphernalia and glittering generalities of diplomatic 
art — they became slaves. 

By the other road, they entered upon revolt against a government, 
which regarded "rebellion as treason and rebellion persisted in as death." 
The confiscation of property, the ravages of a merciless conqueror, the 
horrors of incarceration and the dangers of exasperated military courts, 
stood along this route. There was no middle course. The end which 
was attained by our ancestors was not aimed for till long after the wave 
of war had swept back and forth across the Colonies. The hope of wrest- 
ing national autonomy from Great Britain, when the people of Orange 
County were called upon to accept or reject the test of the General Asso- 
ciation, had not been conceived, much less born. Let us, then, in reading 
the oath, remember these facts and judge fairly, and with a knowledge of 
the end let me premise sufficiently to state that some who signed the test 
proved traitors, that some who refused to sign it were patriots, and that 
both parties who adhered to their actions were influenced by an idea. 

" Persuaded that the salvation of the rights and liberties of America depends, under God, on the ■ 
firm union of its inhabitants in a vigorous prosecution of the measures necessary for its safety, and 
convinced of the necessity of preventing the anarchy and confusion which attend the dissolution of 
the powers of the government, we, the freemen, freeholders, and inhabitants of Orangetown, 
being greatly alarmed at the avowed design of the Ministry to raise a revenue in America, 
and shocked by the bloody scenes now acting in the Massachusetts Bay, do, in the most solemn 


manner, resolve never to become slaves ; and do associate under all the ties of religion, honor and 
love to our country, to adopt and endeavor to carry into execution vi^hatever measures may be 
recommended by the Continental Congress, or resolved upon by our Provincial Convention, for 
the purpose of preserving our Constitution, and opposing the execution of the several arbitrary and 
oppressive acts of the British Parliament until a reconciliation between Great Britain and America, 
on constitutional principles (which we most ardently desire), can be obtained ; and that we will in 
all things follow the advice of our general committee respecting the purposes aforesaid, the 
preservation of peace and good order, and the safety of individuals and private property." 

Daniel Lawrence, 
David Aljea, 
Albert Aljea, 
David Lawrence, 
Edward Briggs, 
Garret Blauvelt, 
Kasparius Conklin, 
Adrean Onderdonk, 
John Rycher, 
Avery Campbell, 
Ram Boll, 
Abraham Conklin, 
James Jacklin, 

Spedwell Jacklin, 
Nathaniel Lawrence, 
Abraham Post, 
Conrad Gravenstine, 
Abraham Mabie, fr. 
Jacob Wilfer, 
Michael Cornelison, 
Jacobus De Clarke, 
William Martin, 
Daniel Voorhees, 
Abraham Onderdonk, 
Jonas Torrell, 
John Gissnar, Jr. 

Abraham Tallman, Jr. 
Peter Retan, 
Daniel Onderdonk, 
Jacob Conklin, 
John Westervett, 
William Bell, Jr. 
John Van Houten, 
Abraham Mabie, 
Harman Tallman, 
Garret Ackerson, 
Jacob Ackerson, 
Harman Tallman, Jr. 

Another party, while refusing to sign the pledge given above, did sign 
the following : " That we would not countenance rebellion, nor have any- 
hand in a riot, but stand for King, Country and liberty, agreeable to the 
charter, but at the same time disallowing taxation in any wise contrary to 
the charter, and shall never consent to taxation without being fully repre- 
sented with our consent." 

Isaac Sherwood, 
Cornelius De Gray, 
Alberd Smith, 
Cornelius Smith, 
Garit Smith, 
Daniel Gerow, 
Cornelius Benson, 
John Palmer, 
John Cox, t 

Harmanus Kiselar, 
Peter Forshee, 

Derick Straws, 
Guysbert F. Camp, 
John Smiih, 
John Darlington, 
Johannes Bell, 
John Van Horn, 
R. Quackenboss, 
Auri Blauvelt, 
John Rureback, 
Abraham De Baum, 
Thunis Emmut, 

Anthony Crouter, 
Jacob Waldron, 
Thunis Crom, 
Peter Bush, 
Arthur Johnston, 
David D. Ackerman, 
Benjamin Secor, 
Cornelius Smith, 
Johannes Forshee, 
Reynard House, Jr. 


In Haverstraw Precinct the test of the Association was signed as fol- 

Robert Burns, 
Joseph Knapp, 
David Pye, 
John Coleman, 
John Coe, 
Robert Johnson, 
Auri Smith, 

Henry Brower, 
Thomas Eckerson, 
Adrian Onderdonk, 
John Smith, 
Harmanus Blauvelt, 
John Ackerson, 
Alexander Mannell,- 

James Lanu, 
Smuel Knapp, 
John Suffern, 
Abraham Reynolds, 
Abr'm Stephenson, 
John Springsteel, 
Joseph Jones, Jr. 


Walter Smith, 
John l.ent, 
Jacob Polhemus, 
Cornelius Paulding, 
Abraham Ackerson, 
Thunis Snedeker, 
Dowe Tallman, 
John Wallace, 
Nathaniel Barmore, 
Thomas Morall, 
David Hoofman, 
Garret Cole, 
Nathaniel Towenson, 
Thomas Allison, 
Henry Hallsted, 
Harmanas Hoofinan, 
Harmanus Felter, 
Johannes Demarest, 
James Hannan, 
Thomas Dolphen, 
William Bell, 
Abraham Polhemus, 
Peter Snyder, 
Abraham Blauvelt, 
Edward Cane, 
Rem Remsen, 
Matthew Coe, 
Peter Salter, 
Stephen Stephenson, 
Thunis Tallman, 
Andrew Onderdonk, 
William Stringham, 
Garret Paulding, 
Thunis Remsen, 
James Thene, 
Jacob Archer, 
Joseph Seamonds, 
John Toten, 
John Toten, Jr. 
Robert Ackerly, 
Richard Osborn, 
Thomas Dickings, 
William Deronde, 
John Dunscombe, 
Abel Knapp, 
Jerod Knapp, 
Jobair Knapp, 
Alexander Gilfon, 
Thomas Gilfon, 
.Thomas Kingen, 
Andrew Onderdonk, 
Johannes J. Blauvelt, 
Johannes Vanderbilt, 

Rulef Stephenson, 
John Van Dolsen, 
Andrew Van Orden, 
Derick Van Houten, 
Edward Ackerman, 
Carpenter Kelly, 
Jacob Jirekie, 
John Martine, 
Thomas Kelly, 
Garret Onderdonk, 
Rulef Onderdonk, 
Jame.5 Onderdonk, 
Jacob Onderdonk, 
Albard Onderdonk, 
Henry Onderdonk, 
Abraham Onderdonk, 
Mauhel Tenure, 
Johannes Defrees, 
Jeremiah Martine, 
Powlas Seamonds, 
John Voorhis, 
Jost Voorhis, 
Stephen Voorhis, 
Edward Jones, 
Johannes Cole, 
Jacob Coles, 
E. W. Kesse, 
Jacob Kenifen, 
John Hill, 
Amos Hutchins, 
Peter Kiselar, 
Patten Jackson, 
Joseph Allison, 
Benjamin Allison, 
John Allison,' 
Peter Allison, 
Robert Allison, 
Adam Brady, 
John Johnson, 
William Concklin, 
Joseph Concklin, 
Michael Concklin, 
Abraham Concklin, 
Abraham Garrison, 
Claus Van Houten, 
Chas. R. Van Houten, 
Garrit Van Houten, 
Roosevelt Van Houten, 
P. Van Houten, Sr. 
Peter Van Houten, 
Thunis Van Houten, 
Rulef Van Houten, 
Harmanus Tremper, 

Powlas Vandervooit, 

Nathaniel Odie, Jr. 

John Graham, 

John Jersey, 

Siba Banta, 

John Noblet, 

Abraham De Puy, 

John Thew, 

A. Hawkes Hay, 

Daniel Morall, 

Gilbard Crumm, 

Peter Crum, 

William Crum, 

John Parker, 

Robert Wood, 

William Wood, 

Henry Wood, 

James Carmelt, 

Moses C. Charter, 

Benjamin Knapp, 

John Ackerman, 

Jacob Derunde, 

Abraham Derunde, 

Gilbart Hunt, 

Joseph Hunt, 

Reuben Hunt, 

John De Grote, 

Thomas Goldtrap, 

John Cummings, 

Benjamin Holstead, 

John Stogg, ^ 

" Mud Hole " Tenure, '(i^JJUuc) 

John Slott, 

William Trunoper, 

Johannes De Gray, 

John Mead, 

John Vandervoort, 

John Hetcock, 

Henry Mackrel, 

fonnas Dele, 

Aurt Remsen, 

Theodoras Polhemus, 

Johannes Polhemus, 

Jobais Derunde, 

Timothy Halstead, 

Daniel Parker, 

James Shirley, 

Abraham Mayers, 

John Mayers, 

Jacobus Mayers, 

Johannes Meyer, 

James Wilson, 

Simond Trump, 


Thomas Blauvelt, 
Isaac Blauvelt, 
Andrew Cole, 
Isaac Manuel, 
John Clark, 
Johannes Blauvelt, 
Johnathan Lounsberry, 
Powlas Hopper, 
Peter Salter, 
Joseph Wood, Jr., 
Harmanus Tallman, 
James Paul, 
Jeremiah Williamson, 
Jacob Meyers, 
Thunis Remsen, 
Derick Vanderbilt, 
Isaac Dutcher, 
John Felter, 
William Felter, 
Johannes Remsen, 
Theunis Tallman, 
Abraham Tallman, 
Ebenezer Wood, 
John Ferrand, 
Garret Meyers, 
Abraham Thew, 
James Sharp, 
Theodorus Snedeker, 
James Kelly, 
John Brush, 
Garret Van Cleft, 
Aurt Polhemus, 
Jacobus De Clark, 
George Remsen, 
Luke Stephenson, 
Jobair Lauery, 
Cobar De Clark, 
Daniel De Clark, 
Johannes Jenwie, 
Samuel Wilson, 
Henry Tenure, Sr., 
Jacob Tenure, 
1 eonard Bayle, 
Thomas Jacks, 
Thomas Wilson, 
Gilbert Fowler, 
Peter Easterly, 
Abraham Stag, Jr., 
Jacob Seacor, 
Isaac Seacor, 
Jonah Wood, 
Aurt Amorman, 
Tho.-nas Osborn, 

Garit Snedeker, 
Jonas Snedeker, 
Daniel Cocklate, 
Stephen Beane, 
William Slatt, 
Ellis Secor, 
James Secor, 
David Secor, 
John Secor, 
Peter De Pue, 
William Dozenberry, 
Jonah Halstead, 
John Halstead, 
Johnathan Taylor, 
Benjamin Jones, 
Peter Reed, 
James Stewart, 
Thunis De Clark, 
Joseph De Clark, 
James Smith, 
Stephen Smith, 
William Smith, 
Cornelius Smith, 
Lambert Smith, 
Peter Smith, 
Daniel Smith, 
John Smith, 
Auri Smith, 
Daniel Ward, 
Jacob Jones, 
Theunis Cuyper, 
Gilbard Cuyper, 
Cornelius Cooper, 
Wilvart Cooper, 
.Albard Cooper, 
Jacob Cooper, 
John Cuyper, 
John Cuiper, Jr., 
John'W. Cogg, 
Gabriel Fargyson, 
Benjamin Coe, 
John J. Coe, 
Daniel Coe, 
Daniel Coe, Jr., 
Samuel Coe, 
Powlas Vandervoort, 
Samuel Sidman, 
Joseph Jones, Jr., 
Joseph Jones, 
John Harper, 
Garrit Ackerson, 
Gilbert Wilson, 
Samuel Yocmans, 

James Christe, 
James Stagg, 
Abraham Springsteel, 
Francis Cline, 
Joseph Palmer, 
Henry Houser, 
Fred. Urie,- 
Patrick Gurnee, 
Stephen Girnee, 
Francis Girnee, 
Francis Girnee, Jr., 
Isaac Girnee, 
Isaac Girnee, Jr., 
Francis Girnee, 
Paul Ruttan, 
Harmanus Snyder, 
Abraham Snyder, 
Henry Snyder, Sr., 
Henry Snyder, Jr., 
Grasham Huff, 
William Crura, 
Edward Holstead, 
Jacob Jones, 
William Hause, 
Hendrick Polhemus, 
Thunis H. Tallema, 
John D. Tallman, 
David Sherwood, 
Samuel Hunt, 
John Jeffries, 
Thomas Dinard, 
John Burges, 
John Hogencamp, . 
Richard Springsteel, 
Hendrick Stephens, 
William Stephens, 
Benjamin Benson, 
John Persall, Jr., 
Paul Persall, 
James Rumsey, 
Salvanus Mott, 
Charles Mott, 
Markel Mott, 
Thomas 'lillt, 
H. Trumper, Jr., 
Joseph Johnston, 
William Rider, 
Jacob Mall, 
Andrew Abrames, 
M. Vandervoort, 
David Babcock, 
William Snyder, 
Reynan Gerow, 


Isaac Cole, 
Reynard Hopper, 
Abraham Brower, 
Abraham KoU, 
Daniel Van Sickels, 
Albard Stephenson, 
Petris Blauvelt, 
Jacobus Van Orden, 
Daniel Marline, 

William Youman, Jr. 
Ezekiel Youmans, 
Benjamin Furman, 
John Parker, Jr. 
Jacob Parker, 
Isaac Parker, 
Paul Vandervoort, 
John Gardner, 
George Johnston, 

John Lorillard, 
John G. Lorald, 
Jacob Bartholomew, 
David Halstead, 
Ezekiel Ward, 
William Kempe, 
Rev. Robert Burns, 
Philip Sarvent, 
Adrian Sarvent, 

The following is the list of those in Orangetown who refused to sign 
the General Association : 

Matthew Steel, Robert Sneeding, 

Jacob C. Ackerson, Jessy Sneeding, 

Johannes Perry, George Man, 

Dennis Sneeding, RaHl Bogard, 

And in the Precinct of Haverstraw : 

Roger Osburn, 
Benjamin Osburn, 
Richard Osburn, 
James R. Osburn, 
John R. Osburn, 
Nathaniel Osburn, 
James Babcock, 
William Babcock, 
Abraham Babcock, 
Nathaniel Oddle, 
Tompkins Oddle, 
Gilbert Johnston, 
Guysbert Johnston, 
John G. Johnston, 
Abraham Johnston, 
Lawrence Johnston, 
Lodowick Shumaker, 
William Winter, 
Andris Pallis, 
Jonas Loderick, 
Ezekiel Ferguson. 
Raynard House, Sr. 
WilUam Dobbs, 
A. Montgomery, 
Matthew Ellison, 
John PoUan, 
John Johnston, 
William Babcock, 
Abraham Babcock, 
John Springsteel, 
Thomas Ackerman, 
Benjamin Ackerson, 
Jacob Ackerson, 
Derick Ackerson, 
Thomas Ackerson, 

David Ackerson, 
Abraham Concklin. 
Lewis Concklin, 
Lewis Concklin, Jr. 
John Concklin, 
Joseph Concklin, 
Ezekiel Conkling, 
S. Heyman, 
Frederick Post, 
Isaac Post, 
Abraham Post, 
John Post, 
Joseph Heston, 
Joseph Knapp, 
Henry Hoisted, 
Henry Hoisted, Sr. 
Thomas Smith, 
Isaac Conklin, 
William Conklin, 
Nicholas Conklin, 
L. Van Buskirk, 
Jacobus Van Buskirk, 
Henry Wanamaker, 
Peter Wanamaker, 
Peter Frederick, 
Samuel Banta, 
Johannes Rush, 
Haulberg Bucker, 
John George, 
Samuel Matthews. 
Jost Short, 
John Weaver, 
Coon Fridrick, 
Andrew Haldrom, 
Peter Jersey, 

Isaac G. Blauvelt, 
Gesebert R. Bogardt, 
Jacob Gessenar, 

Moses Van Nostrant, 
G. Van Nostrant, 
Daniel De Clark, 
John Rider, 
Joseph Rider, 
John Town, 
John Armstrong, 
Henry Warden, 
John Secor, Jr. 
John Secor, 
Samuel Secor, 
Isaac J. Secor, 
Peter Stephens, 
Henry Arsler, 
Claus Corlosh, 
Adam Deter, 
John Dobbs, 
Peter Vandervoort, 
Jacob Sarvant, 
Henry Sarvent, 
Philip Sarvent, 
John Sarvent, 
Isaac Berea, 
Jacob Tenick, 
Henry Tenyck, 
Henry Tenyck, Jr. 
Samuel Bird, 
James Lamb, Sr. 
Cornelius Crum, 
John Crum, 
Jost Buskirk, 
Jacob Waldron, 
Edward Waldron, 
Andrie Bellis, 


The reader will remember that the Haverstraw Precinct embraced the 
present towns of Ramapo, Clarkstown, Stony Point and Haverstraw in 


" Do, in the most solemn manner, resolve never to become slaves ; and 

do associate under all the ties of religion, honor, and love to our country." 

Thus reads a section of the oath of patriotism. 

The inhabitants of America in those days were eminently religious. 
No business however slight, no decision however trivial, no act however 
small its import, was undertaken without a consultation with Divine 
Power. Mad as the acts of the Sons of Liberty appear on superficial 
examination, a closer observation will find. in them neither the fierce 
fanaticism of the Roundheads nor the thirst for blood of the French 

The leaders, in the commencing struggle for our freedom, were strong 
men ; the actors were clear headed even in the excitement of contest. 
All were God-fearing. That there was thoughtlessness in speech it 
would be absurd to deny — profane ejaculations, dreadful threats — that 
there were thoughtlessness in deed is untrue. 

Remembering this, the import of the clause above repeated from the 
test oath becomes clear. It was composed in solemn thought, with solemn 
prayer, and sent forth from the Provincial Committee for signature with a 
perfect knowledge that each signer would think earnestly of its meaning 
ere affixing his name. The members of the Provincial Committee knew 
the character of their constituents and the influence of the clergy in each 
district. Had the members of the. English Cabinet been equally well in- 
formed, they would have made pause ere too late. 

At a later period I am to speak fully of the influence that the early 
Dutch dominies exerted in this Colony, and of the reasons for that in- 
fluence ; it is but necessary to say that the trust their parishioners felt in 
them in all matters is beyond our comprehension. The intellectual ad- 
vance of the past century has, in great measure, destroyed that authority 
and has raised nothing in its place. 

Samuel Ver Bryck, ordained to the charge in 175.0, was the dominie 
of the greater part of Rockland's people in the trying days that led up to 
the Revolution and the more trying days during its existence. He real- 
ized the trust imposed upon him and watchfully did he observe the dis- 
cussion, earnestly did he gather from every source full information on the 
subject, that he might truly and fully carry out that trust. 

At the different churches under his charge ; at those half social, half 
religious gatherings in the houses of his prominent church members ; in 


Tiis ministerial visits to his congregation, we can conceive of his clear ex- 
position of the controversy in its stage at the time of his speaking. We 
can almost hear his earnest exhortation to those true-hearted Dutchmen 
to be firm in their trust of liberty — an exhortation so potent in its effect 
as to draw from the British commander this, for him despairing, for us 
glorious, cry : " I can do nothing with this Dutch population, I can 
neither buy them with money, nor conquer them with force " — and feel 
his fervent prayers to the Almighty, that the cup of the horror of war 
might pass from their lips. 

Events hastened toward the end. The conflict by speech passed to 
violence in acts and the blood shed at Lexington, proclaimed the wager 
of battle. Then followed the seige and evacuation' of Boston, the defeat 
at Long Island, the battles preceding, the retreat to New Jersey; and 
this County was in the midst of the strife. 

True to the cause he had adopted, true to his charge, the good domi- 
nie preached now in favor of a war that could no longer be avoided by 
true men, and urged his congregation on to battle. Still earnestly went 
up his prayers but now for victory to the cause of the colonists and safety 
for their lives. 

Ah, Dominie Ver Bryck, the end is not yet ! You shall preach ser- 
mons against English oppression, emphasized by the presence of some of 
your flock, killed on the field of battle. You shall yet be called upon to 
offer up prayers over soldier's graves and to comfort stricken households. 
The tramp of armed men, the roar of conflict, shall sound loud and hor- 
ribly clear through the quiet valleys where so often you have ridden on 
your ministerial calls, meditating only of battle with the spiritual enemy. 
At the very door of your church, in the ruins of the old court house, the 
man of war shall build his cantonment, while the house of God itself shall 
be used as a prison and a court room and the decision there rendered 
shall make house and hamlet known while time shall be. Yet you shall 
live to encourage, to comfort, to condole through all these coming weary 
years, and, when peace has been won, to close your eyes on earthly strife, 
hailing within a few months your victory over tyranny and over death. 

Authorities referred to : Documents relating to the Colonial History S. N. Y. Eager's His- 
tory of Orange County. Magazine American History. History of Ramapo, by Rev. E. B. Cobb. 
History of Haverstraw, by Rev. Dr. A. S. Freeman. Papers in City and County by R. H . Fen- 
ton. Archives of Rockland County Historical Society. The New York Civil List. 



Force may destroy a government, mind is necessary for its creation. 
A combination of force and mind had been the result of every social up- 
heaval, which preceded our Revolution ; and that combination had ever 
ended in a more despotic rule than that which the revolting peoples had 
thrown off. Was history to repeat itself on this western continent ? 

Nearly a century and a quarter had passed since the struggle of the 
Roundheads had ended in the destruction of royar power and the creation 
of a commonwealth. Yet the tests of government by popular assembly 
in 1651 and 1653, had been found a failure; Parliament had been pro- 
rogued at the point of the bayonet ; and Oliver Cromwell, supported and 
sustained by his iron batallions, ruled as absolute under the title of Pro- 
tector as any of his predecessors had under the title of King. Surely pre- 
cedent was not encouraging to the American Colonists. 

Nor had government by the people in any sense advanced since 
Richard Cromwell, weakly sinking into Lethe, rendered the Restora- 
tion possible. A so called popular House of Commons even at the time 
of which we are speaking existed, and its members, influenced by the tie of 
party ; the ability of Burke, Fox and Pitt ; or the bribes so lavishly be- 
stowed by the Ministry; cast their votes for one or another measure. 
But he has illy read history, who would pretend for a moment, that those 
members were dependent for nomination or election on the free franchise 
of a free people, or that they were held responsible by their constituents 
as the members of Parliament are at the present day, 

Fifteen years after the American Colonists had spontaneously formed 
a plan of self-government, which has waxed and developed into our Con- 


stitution of to-day. Six years after the Treaty of Paris gave this people 
a separate autonomy ; an attempt at self-government was made by the 
French people. It is unnecessary to dwell on the result. The mad car- 
nival of blood ; the demoniac shouts for freedom by a people who had 
become a populace ; the frenzied rule of anarchy were a startling exhibi- 
tion of liberty passing on to license. Between the attempt at self-govern- 
ment of Cromwell's time and the attempt at self-government in 1 789. A 
people on this continent accomplished self-government. 

There is something very solemn in the death of a system of polity. 
There is something very wonderful in the birth of a new form of authority. 
All the experience, often gained at great expense ; all the veneration de- 
veloped through centuries of famiHarity ; all the respect, caused at first 
by force and fear, and afterward continued toward hoary decrepitude, is 
abruptly broken away from, and the enthusiasm and push of vigorous 
youth takes its place. Events, which in an old government were acted 
upon with ponderous deliberation and only after an exhausting search 
for precedents, are treated by the young power with startling abruptness. 
It creates precedents. It,makes history. And yet it must ever be a sad 
contemplation to see the enthusiasm of a young government lead it into 
errors and blunders which more cool and careful deliberation would shun, 
and which the maturer judgment of age would avoid. The homely adage 
that "old heads cannot be put upon young shoulders" is as true of na- 
tions as of the children of men. 

Yet while the English revolution had seemingly ended in complete 
failure, such was in fact not the case. The effect produced on the people 
of Great Britain was to teach them the fallibility of kings, their own 
power. The reaction which followed their momentary grasp of power 
left them for a time bewildered, and in the return of monarchy, they 
viewed the past upheaval as a hideous dream, as unreal as dreams ever 

Not so, however, was the feeling in these colonies. In the midst of 
danger, privation, and suffering, the settlers had landed on these bleak, 
forbidding shores. Unaided, they had wrested homes from the gloomy 
wilderness, and had defended those homes against savage beasts and sav- 
age men. Without the help of royal favor, they had cleared farms, culti- 
vated the soil, and raised crops for their sustenance. Without the assist- 
ance of skilled diplomats, they had formed treaties of peace and leagues 
with their Indian neighbors, or entered into unions with each other for 
mutual commercial advantage or for protection. Though acknowledging 
their dependence on the mother country by supporting her representa- 


tives, the different governors, these colonists gradually came to form their 
own town and county governments, and place their own representatives 
in authority ; and, for their safety from absolute dominion, as well as a 
public means of intercourse between themselves and their governors, they 
selected the deputies that formed the colonial assemblies. 

While this growth of government was a slow process in each colony, 
dependent for every fresh step on the increase of settlers and the wants of 
the communities, the spirit of independence had been strong from the first. 
The execution of Charles had caused no perturbation in the colonies. 
The accession, of Cromwell to more than regal power produced no uneasi- 
ness. The Restoraton created no commotion. While so little of the old 
belief in the divinity of kings remained in the northern colonies that the 
regicides were received and safely harbored. And why should these dis- 
turbances of royalty, three thousand miles away, cause excitement here ? 
Had the king made it so pleasant for the Puritans at home that they 
should now grieve over the falling fortunes of his house ? Men, who have 
pleasant surroundings, seldom leave them for the discomforts of a wilder- 
ness. Had the government afforded them such protection and safety for 
life and property in hours of trial and danger that they should revere that 
government ? Men, who are carefully defended in their rights and pos- 
sessions rarely go forth to battle with the vicissitudes and trials of a new 
settlement. No ! From the beginning, persecution, bad faith and mis- 
management had attended every interference of king or government with 
the affairs of the colonists, and they, now that the experiment was ended 
and their venture was assured of success, felt that the success had been 
attained not by the power of the throne, but by their efforts, their indi- 
vidual struggles, often despite legal intervention. The lesson which re- 
quired a second revolution to teach to the inhabitants of the old world, 
was learned by personal experience in the new. 

In this condition of strength and self-support were the inhabitants of 
the American Colonies when George, Lord Grenville, conceived the bril- 
liant idea of imposing on these inhabitants a tax, expecting therewith to 
assist in paying the national debt. 

Then began a turmoil such as the Colonists had never before wit- 
nessed, and such as would have made a minister with ordinary wit take 
pause. It was not the amount of the tax that stirred men's souls.. What 
did the successful farmer of Orange County care for a penny or so of 
stamp duty. What impression would such a demand make on the wealth 
of a prosperous merchant in New York. It was the principle on which 
that tax -was based. Humanity is so constituted, that it fails to recognize 


the advance of age. Till the physical infirmities of senility fall sorely 
upon men, they cannot realize that their work is ending and that another, 
younger, generation is pressing into their paths. But yesterday that 
young man, now so strong and self-confident was a boy to whom we never 
turned for advice, whom we put off with the idle fables and treated with 
the fondling tenderness which we use toward children. Now he refuses 
to be set aside and demands the rights of his manhood respectfully but 
firmly. Astounded and with a mighty sense of outraged dignity we turn 
from the encounter, believing that an exhibition of our displeasure will be 
amply sufficient to cause at first meditation and then humble apology. 
But the next meeting only finds the young man firmer in his idea and 
more determined to explain his action. From this point men differ. 
Some gracefully submit and later fully acquiesce in the inevitable. 
Others attempt coercion, and sooner or later come off worsted. 

The Colonists protested against the imposition of a tax unless granted 
by their own consent through their own representatives. They attempted 
to explain to the parent country, the ground on which they based their 
actions ; to show her how little she had done for them, how much they 
had done for her as well as themselves and thus to demonstrate the injus- 
tice of the Stamp Act. 

Wise men in his own council chambers showed to the King the un- 
righteous nature of the proposition. Charles Townshend said of the 
Colonies that they were " children planted by our care, and nourished by 
our indulgence." " They planted by your care ? " — exclaimed Barre — 
" No ! your oppressions planted them in America ^ they fled from your 
tyranny to a then uncultivated wilderness, exposed to all the hardships to 
which human nature is liable ! They nourished by your indulgence ! 
— No ! they grew by your neglect ; your care of them was displayed in 
sending persons to govern them who were the deputies of deputies of 
ministers — men whose behavior, on many occasions, has caused the blood 
of those Sons of Liberty to recoil within them ; men who have been 
promoted to the highest seats of justice in a foreign country, in order to 
escape being brought to the bar of a court of justice in their own." 

Yet, the respectful appeal for a hearing, was treated with scorn by a 
king, who expected the colonists to grovel at his feet, humbly suing for 
royal clemency ; and the advice of his counselors fell on unheeding ears. 
The Stamp Act was repealed, but the right to impose taxation on the 
colonies was adhered to ; and two years after the tax on stamps was 
removed, in 1767, a duty was placed on glass, paper, lead and painters' 
colors, not so much for the purpose of raising revenues as to express the 
right to lay impost. 


I have said that the plan of self-government adopted by the colonists 
was of spontaneous growth. In hours of danger theretofore, representa- 
tives from each of the colonies had met together for consultation. By 
1774, the need of concerted action seems to have been universally felt. 
On May 1 7th, a general congress was recommended at a town meeting in 
Providence, R. I. May 2 1st a town meeting in Philadelphia, and on May 
23d one in New York advised a consultation of delegates from each colony. 
May 27th the House of Burgesses in Williamsburgh, Va., and on May 31st 
a county meeting at Baltimore called for a general assembly and these 
were followed in the demand for a council of representatives, by a town 
meeting in Norwich, Conn., June 6th; a county meeting at Newark, N. J., 
on the same date ; the Massachusetts Assembly and a town meeting in 
Boston, June 17th; a county meeting at Newcastle, Del., on June 29th; 
the Committee of Correspondence of Portsmouth, N. H., on July 6th ; the 
General Province meeting at Charlestown, S. C, on July 8th, and a 
district ijieeting at Wilmington, N. C, on July 21st. 

Pursuant to these demands, the delegates from the different colonies 
met and organized the Continental Congress, which began its sessions on 
September 5, 1774. In this Province all the active patriots combined in 
sending deputies to a Provincial Convention, which concurred in the 
nomination and election of Philip Livingston, John Jay, James Duane, 
John Alsop, Isaac Low, Henry Wisner of Orange County, and William 
Floyd of Suffolk. We have already seen that the people of this County 
were as yet so uncertain of their wishes, that but twenty votes were cast 
at the election ; while the Colonial Assembly, either through loyalty or 
timidity, refrained from any action. 

A wise man, a Talleyrand, would have hesitated at this juncture, 
would have temporized and concihated, and would have withdrawn from 
the contest with credit to himself and honor to his nation. A weak man, 
a Bute, would have shrunk aghast from the storm he had raised, and re- 
signed the reins of government. Lord North was neither Wiser than Bute 
nor weaker than Grenville ; he faced the impending conflict with the stub- 
born obstinacy of ignorance, and was sustained by a purbHnd king, who 
determined to coerce the young colonies into that respect for his royal 
functions which he regarded as due them. 

"Sons of Liberty," Barre had called those colonists who opposed 
the Stamp Act, and when his speech was read in America, those organiza- 
tions which had grown out of the many conferences of the citizens on the 
questions at issue, adopted the name of Sons of Liberty as their designa- 
tion. The residents of this County have often met together in the past. 


and may again assemble in the future, for the discussion of matters involv- 
ing their welfare. In those conventions of the past, as in collections of 
people at present, the first proceeding of the gathering was to organize 
by the selection of a leader and assistants. This was all that occurred 
when the colonists denied and defied the authority of Great Britain, and 
dashed away the monarchial government. 

The Sons of Liberty in New York city, taking the lead in the Revo- 
■ lution, advised the people of each county to meet and form committees 
of safety. Pursuant to that advice, the citizens of this County met, and 
after passing the resolutions given in the preceding chapter, selected 
Abraham Lent, John. Haring, Thomas Outwater, Gardner Jones, and 
Peter T. Haring as a Committee of Correspondence and Safety. On the 
adoption by the Continental Congress of the articles of the American 
. Association, the patriots in New York chose a Committee of Sixty to en- 
force the provisions of that act, and to exercise leadership in all political 
matters. At the recommendation of -this Committee, the people of the 
various counties elected delegates for a Provincial Congress, which was to 
meet in New York on May 22d, 1775. The election in this County took 
place on April 17th, and resulted in the choice of: 

John Coe, Benjamin Tusteen',"' Abraham Lent, Israel Seeley, 

David Pye, Peter Clowes, John Haring, Jesse Woodhull, 

Michael Jackson, William Allison, Jeremiah Clarke. 

This Congress was in session from May 22d, till July 8th; from July 26th, 
to September 2d ; and from October 4th, to November 4th, 1775. Mean- 
time, the General Assembly of the Colony still held a nominal existence, 
but its last session was held on April 3d, 1775, when it was adjourned to 
May 3d, of the same year, from which time it was prorogued again and 
again till February 1st, 1776, when it passed from existence. 

The members of the Committee of Safety in the present Rockland 
County at different periods during the war for Independence were : 

John Coe, John Coleman, Johannes Vanderbilt, James Kant, 

John Smith, Derek Vanderbilt, Theodorus Polhemus, David Pye, 

Johannes I. Blauvelt. 

' The duties of these men were multifarious. The selection of officers 
for the local militia ; the oversight of the election of delegates to the 
Provincial Congress ; the general care of property and persons in their pre- 
cincts ; the prevention of treasonable correspondence with the enemy, and 
the preservation of the law. \ In the execution of these duties, the commit- 
tee in this County was in constant communication, at first with the com- 
mittee in New York City and later with the Provincial Congress. In no 


instance was complaint made against the justice of its acts by unbiased 
parties, and it stands in history as the connecting link between the royal 
government of the past and the constitutional government of the present. 

On July 31, 177s, David Pye, notified the Provincial Congress, that 
Captain* Robert Johnson had completed the enlistment of a company for 
the Continental Army and was ready for arms. 

On Nov. 17th, 177s, the Orangetown Committee of Safety met at the 
house of John Van Dolsa, Jr., in Haverstraw Precinct, to join with the com- 
mittee from Haverstraw in the selection of field officers. Disappointed by 
the non-appearance of the Haverstraw Committee, the deputation pro- 
ceeded to select officers for their own township. 

Local jealousy, the curse of every military and civil movement from the 
creation of the Continental Congress till the adoption of the Federal Con- 
stitution, obtained in this section in the early days of the Revolution, and 
at length grew so strong as to. draw letters of complaint from David Pye 
and Major E. W. Kiers as early as Feb. 24, 1776. 

In the second and third Provincial Congresses, from Nov. 14th, 177S, 
till Tune 30th, 1776, John Haring of this County was President /;'<? tern; 
A , Hawks Hay was appointed chairman of the committee for the appor- 
tionment of the different quotas of men and officers in the Colony ; Messrs. 
Allison and Pye were created a committee to inquire into the reasons why 
Capt. Blauvelt's company had not drafted its quota of men to reinforce the 
Continental Army ;* and John Haring was appointed a member of the 
committee to consider the resolutions passed by the Continental Congress. 

The 4th Provincial Congress was to meet in New York City on July 
8th, 1776, but before that date a British fleet appeared in the lower bay, 
and instead of New York, the Congress met at White Plains. The dele- 
gates from this. Orange County, elected to that Congress were : 

William Allison, David Pye, Isaac Sherwood, Archibald Little, 

John Haring, Thomas Cutwater, Joshua H. Smith, Jeremiah Clarke, 

At the moment the Congress met, it received intelHgence of the adoption 
of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress, a measure 
it approved by unanimous vote. On the second day of the .session, July 
1 0th, the name of the Assembly was changed from the " Provincial Con- 
gress of the Colony " to that of the " Convention of the Representatives of 
the State of New York," and its first act was to appoint a committee for 
the purpose of drafting a State Constitution. Thirteen members were 
placed on this committee, among whom was Henry Wisner of Orange 

•See Page 78. 


The changing scenes of war compelled the convention to migrate from 
place to place, and it held brief sessions at Harlem, King's Bridge, Yon- 
kers, White Plains, Fishkill, and finally Kingston, where it continued in ses- 
sion from March 6th, till May 13th, 1777. At Kingston, the committee 
on the Constitution pursued its labors in peace and at last on March 12, 
1777, reported the result of its work. The committee's draft was under 
consideration for more than a month, and was finally adopted April 20th. 
The first Constitution was printed at Fishkill, by Samuel Loudon, on the 
only patriot press in the State, and was the first book ever printed in the 
Commonwealth. Leaving the Constitution for a moment, let us look at 
local events. 

While these greater deeds of statesmanship were being enacted by the 
Provincial Assembly, the Committee of Safety in this County was by no 
means idle. Busied at first in enlisting troops and selecting officers, it 
soon found occasion for active duty in watching the enemy and protecting 
the property of patriots from the depredations of the Tories. On July 
29th, 1776, an order was issued from Clarkstown, notifying Dennis Sny- 
•den, Jesse Snyden, William Snyden and Samnel Snyden, not to run, nor 
employ any one to run, nor even to keep a boat as a ferry, and all people 
were warned to hold no communication with them as they were notori- 
ously disloyal. At the same time the printer was directed to correct an 
error by which the name of John Snyder, a firm patriot, was given instead 
of that Robert Snyden, as a pilot of the British ships in their voyages 
up the river. 

Early in the struggle, Col. Allison had been ordered by the Provincial 
Congress to obtain all the saltpetre possible and have it manufactured 
into gunpowder, and later, Col. Benjamin Tusteen and Theunis Cuyper 
were directed to buy all the woolen cloth, linsey woolsey, blankets, woolen 
hose, mittens, coarse linen, felt hats and shoes obtainable, and to have the 
linen made up into sheets. For the perfection of this object the Assembly 
advanced ;£'iOO to each of the committee. 

On November 9th, 1776, Joshua Hett Smith made a motion in the 
Convention that Thomas Outwater and others attend to their duties as 
deputies, or show cause on pain of punishment for contempt. Evidently 
this motion was adopted and a committee appointed to call the attention 
of the delinquents to its force, lor on December nth, Henry Wisner in- 
formed the Convention, that Messrs. Outwater and Sherwood declined to 
act as members of their body. 

When the first Provincial Congress adjourned on July 8th, 1775, it left 
a Committee of Safety, composed of members from its body, to exercise the 


executive duties of the Colony. The existence of this committee ceased at 
Kingston, March 5, 1777. On May 3d, of the same year, a Council of 
Safety, composed of thirteen members, was appointed to administer the 
government of the State till a Governor could be elected and the Legisla-. 
ture meet. This committee exercised the power of government till Sep- 
tember loth, 1777, and again from October 8th, of that year, till January 
7th, 1 778, when it was superceded by a Legislative Convention, that was 
in session from that date till the assembling of the Legislature on January 
28th, 1778. 

It is now necessary to view briefly the State Constitution. According 
to its provisions, the elective franchise for Governor, Lieutenant Governor 
and Senators was granted to resident freeholders possessed of real estate 
of the value of ;^ 100 over and above all debts charged thereon. All male 
inhabitants, who had resided in the County for six months preceding the elec- 
tion and who owned real estate in the County valued at ;£'20, or paid a 
yearly rent of forty shillings, and actually paid taxes, were entitled to vote 
for Members of Assembly. No discrimination was made against race or 
color, except that negroes were required to produce authenticated certifi- 
cates of freemen. Elective officers were limited to the Governor, Lieu- 
tenant Governor, Senators, Assemblymen, Town Clerks, Supervisors, 
Assessors, Constables and Collectors. Loan officers. County Treasurers, 
and Clerks of Boards of Supervisors were to be appointed by the direction 
of the Legislature. One clause of this Constitution shows more clearly 
than anything ever written or spoken, the ignorance of the people con- 
cerning the completeness of the revolution they had accomplished. So 
long had they been accustomed to an executive who was irresponsible ta 
them, who was an appointee of the crown, that they failed to realize that 
the ruler they had created was as much a creature of their making as the 
Assembly ; that the executive as well as the legislative power was granted 
by their franchise. 

Thus failing in the power of conception, the people confined the power 
of the Governor to the smallest possible limit, and extended the power of 
the Assembly. The Governor could not make an appointment, nor had 
he the sole power of nomination for appointment. This function was 
performed "by a Council of Appointment chosen from the Senate, and in 
that Council the Governor was to have " a casting voice, but no other 

The new Constitution was immediately enforced and the election of 
officers under it begun. The result of that election was the choice of 
George Clinton for Governor. He took the oath of office at Kingston on 


July 30th, 1777, but being in active command of the militia at the time, 
did not assume its duties till after the surrender of Burgoyne on October 
17th ; and Pierre Van Cortlandtfor Lieutenant Governor. From the Mid- 
dle Senatorial District, composed of Dutchess, Orange and Ulster Coun- 
ties, six Senators were chosen, among whom was Henry Wisner of this 
County ; and from Orange County four members of Assembly were elected, 
among whom were Theunis Cuyper and Roeloff Van Houten. 

Among the officers appointed were County Judges John Haring, 
Thomas Cuyper, Elihu Marvin and John Wheeler ; Isaac Nicholl was made 
Sheriff; Benjamin Tusteen, Jr., Surrogate, and Thomas Moffat, County 

Let me now briefly recapitulate the various steps in the progress of 
the revolution in the civil government in this State. By a spontaneous 
call from twelve of the colonies, a Continental Congress was determined 
on in 1774. For the nomination and election of deputies to that Con- 
gress, the Sons of Liberty in New York recommended the several counties 
in the Province to elect delegates to a Provincial Convention, to be held in 
New York City on April 20th, 1775. To this recommendation nine of 
the sixteen counties responded. The next step was the choosing by the 
patriots in New York city of a Committee of One Hundred as a Commit- 
tee of Resitance, or a War Committee, and from the members composing 
it a Committee of Sixty was created for greater activity. At the sugges- 
tion of this Committee, each county elected a local Committee of Safety, 
to preserve law and order. At the further request of the Committee of 
One Hundred, each county proceeded to elect delegates to a Provincial 
Congress, which met first on May 22d, 1775 — ^ little over a month before 
the General Assembly of the Colony adjourned never to meet again. 
The Provincial Congress selected a Committee of Safety from its body, to 
"exercise the executive duties of the Province when the Congress was not 
in session, which remained in existence from July 8th, 1775, till March 6th, 
1777. On the 3d of May, 1777, a Council of Safety was formed, from 
the members of the Congress, to exercise authority till a Governor was 
elected and the Legislature could meet, and existed till September loth, 
1777; and on the adjournment of the Legislature in October, a second 
Council of Safety was appointed, with the same powers as the first, which 
remained in control till the State Government was fully organized in 
January, 1778. Meantime, at the recommendation of the Continental 
Congress, the Provincial Congress had appointed a committee to draft a 
State Constitution in 1776, a work which was successfully completed and 
the result adopted on April 20th, 1777. 


I have been thus prolix on the civil history of the Revolution, because 
it is by far the most important of the events of that or any subsequent 
time. The battle of Lexington and the siege of Boston were a resistance 
to a government. The battles preceding the adoption of State Constitutions 
were for the overthrow of a government. But governments had been over- 
turned before and have been overturned since, only to eventually re-obtain 
• power. The colonist's task was not only to demolish a form of govern- 
ment, but tp erect a new form and a better one in its stead. 

Carefully, thoughtfully, they set to the self-appointed task ; maintained 
order in the midst of the license of war ; continued steadfastly at the work 
though often compelled to rapidly change the place of their sittings by 
reason of the proximity of the enemy, and at length produced a form of 
rule in which the people were absolute, in which self-government was the 
only power that could control the State. And at the very time of its 
adoption, the myrmidons of the government they had thrown off were 
preparing to invade this State in overwhelming numbers. 

That in many respects that first Constitution, judged by the light of 
the experience we stand in, was crude and incorrect, cannot be gainsaid ; 
and, doubtless, were its framers with us to-day, they would see the defects 
and vote for their change as readily as we. But the advance from king 
rule to self-rule was as absolute, as in the untried experiment, men could 

As a vital factor in the demolition of the old, and the creation and 
erection of the new form of government, this County stands well to the 
fore. She was one of the nine that responded to the call for a Provincial 
Convention and a deputy from her was sent to the Continental Congress. 
She sent her delegates to every Provincial Congress that met ; and from 
those delegates one was chosen a member of the committee that framed the 
new rules of government. We are to turn now and view her actions in" 
another sphere — the struggle to render the new rules of government pos- 

The members from Orange County to the General Assembly of the 
Colony, beginning with the Eighth Assembly in 1701, were: 

Eighth Assembly. 

August 19th, 1701, to May 3rd, 1702. 

Peter Haring. 

Ninth and Tenth Assemblies. 

From October 20th, 1702, till May 5th, 1707. 

Floris Crom. 


Eleventh Assembly. 

From August i8th, 1708, till January 5th, 1709. 

Michael Hawdon. 

Twelfth Assembly. 

From April 6th, till November 12th, 1709. 

Peter Haring. 

Thirteenth and Fourteenth Assemblies. 

From September ist, 1710, till March 3d, 1713. 

Hendrick Ten Eyck. 

Fifteenth and Sixteenth Assemblies. 

From May 27th, 1713, till August nth, 1715. 

^Cornelius Haring. 

Seventeenth Assembly. 

From June 5th, 1716, till August loth, 1726. 

Peter Haring. Cornelius Cuyper. 

Eighteenth and Nineteenth Assemblies. 

From September 27th, 1726, till November 25th, 1727. 

Lancaster Symes. Cornelius Haring. 

Twentieth Assembly. 

From July 23d, 1728, till May 3d, 1737. 

Lancaster Symes. Cornelius Haring. Vincent Matthews. 

Twenty-first Assembly. 

From June 15th, 1737, till October 20th, 1738. 

Vincent Matthews. Cornelius Cuyper. 

Twenty-second and Twenty-third Assemblies. 

From March 27th, 1739, till May 14th, 1745. 

Gabriel Ludlow. Thomas Gale. 

Twenty-fourth Assembly. 

From June 2Sth, 1745, till November 25th, 1747. 

Thomas Gale. Abraham Haring. 

Twenty-fifth Assembly. 

From February 12th, 1748, till July 2ist, 1750. 

Thomas Gale. Theodorus Snedeker. 

Twenty-sixth and Twenty-seventh Assemblies. 

From July 24th, 1750, till December 17th, 1758. 

Theodorus Snedeker. Samuel Gale, who died in 1757, then Vincent Matthews. 

Twenty-eighth and Twenty-ninth Assemblies. 
From January 31st, 1759, till February 6th, 1768. 
Abraham Haring. Henry Wisner. 

Thirtieth Assembly. 

From October 27th, 1768, till January 2d, 1769. 

Henry Wisner. Selah Strong. 


Thirty-first Assembly. 

From April 4th, 1769, till April 3d, 1775, and forever. 

Samuel Gale. John De Noyelles, who died and was succeeded by John Coe, 


First Congress. 
From May 22d, 1775, till November 4th, 1775. 

Jeremiah Clarke, 
Israel Seely, 
Jesse WoodhuU. 

John Coe, Peter Clowes, 

David Pye, William Allison, 

Michael Jackson, Abraham Lent, 

Benjamin Tusteen, JohnHaring, 

Second Congress. 
From November 14th, 1775, till May 13th, 1776. 
John Heiring, President'/ra tern. 
Peter Clowes. Jeremiah Clarke, John Haring, 

William Allison, Theunis Cuyper, A. Hawks Hay. 

Third Congress. 

From May 14th, till June 30th, 1 776. 

John Haring, President /ro tern. 

Joshua H. Smith, Peter Clowes, 

Thomas Outwater, Roelofi Van Houten, 

Isaac Sherwood, 

Fourth Congress. 
From July 9th, 1776, till May 13th, 1777. 
David Pye, Isaac Sherwood, 

Thomas Outwater, Joshua H. Smith, 

Henry Wisner, 
William Allison, 
Archibald Little, 

William Allison, 
John Haring, 

David Pye, 
John Haring, 

Archibald Little, 
Jeremiah Clarke. 


Council of Appointment. 

John Haring, appointed July 22d, 1782. 

First Session. 


Henry Wisner. 


Jeremiah Clarke, 
John Hathorn, 

Theunis Cuyper, 
RoeloffVan Houten. 

Jeremiah Clarke, 
Benjamin Coe, 

Second Session. 
* Senate. 
Henry Wisner. 
John Coe, 
Peter Ogilvie, 

Third Session 

Henry Wisner. 

RoeloffVan Houten, 


John Coe, Thomas Moffat, 

John Hathorn, Bezaleel Seely, Jr. 

Fourth Session. 


Henry Wisner. 


Jeremiah Clarke, Bezaleel Seely, Jr. 

David Pye, John Stagg. 

Fifth Session. 


John Haring, Henry Wisner. 


Jeremiah Clarke, John Stagg, 

John Hathorn, John Suffern. 

Sixth Session. 

Ending March 23d, 1783. 


William Allison, John Haring. 

Jeremiah Clarke, John Hathorn, 
Gilbert Cooper, John Stagg. 

Delegates to the Continental Congress. 

September, 1774. 

John Haring, Henry Wisner. 

April 20th, 1775. 

Henry Wisner. 

March 19th, 1785. 

John Haring. 
March 29th, 1785. 

John Haring. 
February 27th, 1786. 

John Haring. 

January 26th, 1787. 

John Haring. 

Authorities referred to : " Field Book of the Revolution," Vols. II., B. J. Lossing. " Bry- 
ant's History United States," Vols. IV., S. H. Gay. " Force Papers." " The New York Civil 
List." " History of Orange County," S. W. Eager. 




Civil war tests men. In it there can be no wavering, no middle course, 
for wavering is equivalent to treason, and a refusal to assume the responsi- 
bility of supporting one or the other side betrays mental weakness or 
personal selfishness. Ideas, the grandest attributes of humanity, obtain 
full sway, and, supported by an idea, the partisan of one or the other 
faction will abandon all save the principle he seeks to make dominant. 
For a time passion eclipses reason, and destroys all ties of love or friend- 
ship. Neighbors are separated by their differing views of a momentous 
subject of statesmanship, and family relations are abruptly severed. Hu- 
manity is so constituted, that when a discussion of national polity passes 
into a conflict for the supremacy of one of the other views, it makes a per- 
sonal of a political matter, and, foretime friends becoming enemies, each 
contestant recalls the many kindnesses and favors he has rendered to his 
opponent, and grows to look upon that opponent not only as a traitor, 
who seeks the ruin of their common country, but also as ati ungrateful 
wretch who has no thankfulness for past benefits. Hence, while combat- 
ants in battle may listen to appeals for mercy from an alien fOe, and render 
the horrors of war as merciful as possible by sparing property and life, 
they regard with dull ears the plea for quarter of their foretime neigh- 
bors, and witness the destruction of their possessions without pity. 

Yet in every rebellion there will be found, within the revolting section, 
three classes of people, who, either from love of the existing form of 
government, motives of interest, or fear of war, oppose and harass in every 


possible manner the revolutionary armies. Our war for independence was 
no exception to this rule. Many people in these provinces loved and 
revered the government of Great Britain, regarded the uprising of the 
colonists against her as unfilial and outrageous, and either gave to the 
British their open aid by enlisting in the ranks, or- more secretly by con- 
veying to them information of the strength and resources of the Conti- 
nental troops. This class found it advisable at the close of the war to 
follow their allies from our shores, and many, abandoning their worldly 
possessions, found new homes in England or her colonies. 

Another class, uncertain as to which side would bear off the palm of 
victory, remained non-partisan, hoping by the assumption of neutrality to 
escape a confiscation of their property no. matter what the result. The 
third class was composed of a mixed assembly of deserters and cowards, 
who abandoned their homes from fear of being pressed into service, and 
who, skulking along the outskirts of the armies, enriched themselves by 
the robbery of private property, the rifling of the dead upon the field of 
battle, or the betrayal alike of friend or foe for a few pieces of gold. 
Rockland County contained representatives from all these classes, and the 
history of that period is replete with accounts of the collisions and forays 
which occurred between them and the many patriots. 

The militia of this, as of the other counties of the State, had long been 
organized under the command of the English Governor. At the last 
official inspection under the old regime, June 2, 1773, two regiments, three 
battalions, twenty-three companies composed the force of Orange County 
and this force was officered by two Colonels, three Lieut-Colonel, three 
Majors, twenty-three Captains, forty-six Lieutenants, and twenty-three 

By no means did this force represent the patriot feeling in the County. 
Before the close of 1776, the Chairman of the Committee of Safety for the 
County — Daniel Coe — estimated the total strength of the militia as 280 
men, most of them unarmed, one-third of whom were disloyal. The first 
duty of the Committee of Safety, as we have seen was to organize a 
military force, for the purpose of guarding the County, on which they 
could depend. In Orangetown, Colonel Lent, long a commissioned 
officer in the militia, was given command of the troops, and in Haverstraw 
Colonel A. Hawks Hay organized a regiment. Lent's command was brief 
On Dec. 22, 177S, he obtained his commission from the Provincial Con- 
gress, and on March 26, 1776, he resigned. This act was caused by the 
jealousy and ' insubordination of the rank and file under his command, a 
condition largely produced, doubtless, by the ignorance among the troops. 


tiot only of the discipline needed but even of the language in which the 
orders were given. The insubordination among the Orangetown troops at 
last reached so alarming a state, that Colonel Hays was ordered to place 
seven of the ringleaders of Captaih Blauvelt's company under arrest and 
send them to the city of New York.* 

The resignation of Lent resulted in the breaking up of the Orange- 
town regiment into separate companies of Minute men, who, under the 
lead of local officers, did good duty in defending our shores. 

All the militia of both Orange and Ulster Counties were formed into 
a brigade commanded by General George Clinton. As Minute men^ they 
were to assemble at the firing of two guns from Fort Montgomery, and 
two from Fort Lee, and these -were to be answered by two at New Wind- 
sor. The capture and destruction of Forts Lee and Montgomery ended 
this signal, and the Minute men then depended on the beacon fires that 
blazed on the mountain tops. These beacons came into universal use 
through all the Colonies and flashed the news of the enemy's movement 
from peak to peak, rendering such helpful service to the sore-pressed 
patriots, that it seems a not inapt conceit to say, the American Colonists, 
like the sore tried people of Israel, were led out of bondage by a pillar of 
fire by night and a pillar of a cloud by day. 

So far, the worthy settlers in this County had but heard rumors con- 
cerning the hostile movements in the east. The battles of Lexington and 
Bunker Hill had been fought, and Boston was under siege when, in the 
autumn of 1775, the constuction of the first fortification on the present 
soil of Rockland County, Fort CHnton, was begun. This work, situated 
on the south bank of Peploaps t Kill, about one hundred and twenty feet 
above the river, was built of stones and earth and could contain a garrison 
of four hundred men. It was designed and commenced by Bernard Ro- 
mans, and completed by Captain Thomas Machin. Immediately to the 
west and but a few paces from the fort, was Lake Sinipink, now known as 
Highland Lake, and from the Lake to the steep river bluff, across the nar- 
row road which led to the fort, were placed strong abatis. At the same 
period, the fort on Stony Point was determined on for the purpose, not 
only of supporting the forts higher up, but also, in conjunction with a pro- 
posed fort on Verplancks Point, to protect the ferry. 

Ere these works were finished, Boston had been evacuated,- and the 
scene of action was changed to New York. On June 29th, 1776, General 
Hdwe arrived at Sandy Hook with his troops and a large fleet; and on 

* See Page 68. 

+ See note at end of Chapter. 


July 1 2th, the ships of war Phcenix, 44 guns, and Rose, 21 guns, with four 
cutters, all protected by sand bags, sailed up the river past the American 
batteries, and came to anchor in the Tappan Zee. 

This was the first time the residents of the County had looked upon a 
hostile armament, and, though unaccustomed to war, they opposed their 
enemy so firmly and with such vigilance as to frustrate his attempts to ob- 
tain fresh provisions and water or to convey arms to the Tories. 

On August 27th, the battle of Long Island was fought, and, two days 
later, the long retreat of Washington began. New York was evacuated, 
Harlem was evacuated, and the Continental Army, pressed back step by 
step, at last occupied a line from the Hudson at Tarrytown to the Heights 
at Northcastle. At this time, November 8th, 1776, Washington deter- 
mined to retreat into New Jersey with all his army, save the New England 
troops, and the movement was speedily begun. Part of the army crossed 
from Tarrytown to Sneden's Landing, where General Greene covered 
their debarkation with 500 men and one gun ; part crossed from Croton 
Point to Piermont, then Tappan Slote, and on November 9th, Lord Ster- 
ling, with 1,200 men, crossed at Kings Ferry and seized the pass at Long 
Clove, followed next day by Col. Hand with i ,000 troops ■ and General 
Bell with 1,700, belonging to Putnam's Division. 

Washington after inspecting the works at Peekskill and vicinity, 
crossed on the 13th, and joined his army, making his headquarters at 
Hackensack. On November 1 8th, General Howe crossed the river in pur- 
suit of the Americans, and landed at Closter with 6,000 troops. With the 
retreat through New Jersey, it is not my province to deal. The effect of 
that retreat and the presence of the enemy, roused every Tory in northern 
New Jersey and southern New York, and Loyalists not only openly joined 
the British and obtained arms from them, but they joined with the foe in 
overrunning the southeastern part of the County, till Orangetown wasj 
well nigh wrested from the patriots 

To resist this elated enemy was a militia, half-armed, half-clothed, 
half-starved, and wholly insubordinate. Both officers and men were new 
to military duty. The opportunities granted to raw recruits in other 
countries and in the French wars in this country, the drills and encamp- 
ments that gave them confidence in themselves and in their officers, had 
been prevented by the startling rapidity with which events had transpired, 
and our militiamen were now called on for action and answered that call, 
fearful of each other, distrusting their commanders, and in terror of the 
enemy. Their families had been left in many cases without meal, wood, 
or -fodder for their cattle ; never wealthy, their poverty now rendered their 


condition more pitiable, and the sight of their Tory neighbors, well 
dressed and enriched by the money of the King, while it did not touch 
their honor did cause them to grow mutinous. So widespread had this 
feeHng become that on November 5 th, 1766, General Green, then at 
Kings Ferry, threatened to place Colonel Hays' regiment under guard 
and send it to Fort Lee for duty if the men did not change their conduct. 

To protect the patriots, as well as to hold so important a communica- 
tion, Col. Huntington was sent to the Ramapo Pass — then called Sidman's 
Pass — shortly after the army crossed the river, and began the building of 
barracks and the erection of earthworks. But his presence, instead of 
overawing the Loyalists, encouraged them to devise a plan for capturing 
his forces. In this condition of affairs. Col. Hays appealed to Gen. Heath, 
who was in command at Peekskill, to send him aid for -the protection of 
the military stores at Haverstraw. In response to this urgent request, 
Brigadier- Gen. Scott was ordered to cross to Haverstraw with his brigade 
and assist in guarding the country,. Scott's troops crossed on November 
26th, 1776. 

Finding themselves in greater strength, the Americans now assumed 
the offensive. Col. Tyler's regiment was dispatched from Ramapo to 
Tappan, while Col. Malcolm, with one hundred men and several volunteer 
commissioned and non-commissioned officers, was sent to Nyack, opposite 
which lay the enemy's fleet. On December 3d, 1776, Malcolm wrote Gen. 
Heath that he had stationed two guards a mile apart to prevent the British 
from landing ; that the fleet consisted of 2 ships, 2 galleys, i schooner, a 
transport brig and sloop ; and that the previous week parties from the 
vessels had landed twice, and besides looting a house, had carried off some 

On the arrival of Malcolm at Nyack, Tyler withdrew to Ramapo, which 
he reached on December 4th with six companies of his regiment, having 
left two at Haverstraw. Whether Tyler's withdrawal had encouraged the 
enemy, or whether they had been exasperated ,by his sharp actions with 
thetp, does not appear ; but whatever the reason, they organized a raid 
which filled the people south of the mountain with terror and drew down 
upon themselves sharp retalliation. On December 7th, the combined force 
of Tories and cowboys entered Tappan, and, after maltreating such patriots 
as they could find, and destroying and stealing whatever of value they 
could reach, they finally withdrew, after cutting down the liberty pole, 
taking with them the father of an officer in Malcom's regiment as a pris- 
oner, and driving off a horse and yoke of oxen. 

Malcolm, believing he was to be attacked, took post in the moun- 
tain gorge at the Slote, and stationing his guns in the road, deployed his 
men on both sides of the pass. The next day, he marched down into 
Bergen County and carried consternation into the Tory lines, driving them 
in headlong speed from their homes and capturing one of their number. 

This foray of the enemy called from the County Committee of Safety 
an urgent request to General Clinton for aid, and the same day that their 
petition was forwarded, Dec. 9th, Clinton was ordered to march to New 
City with 1,500 men. 

On Dec. nth, 1776, Colonel Malcom sent word to General Heath that 
he was as completely isolated in Clarkstown as he would be in an enemy's 
country ; that he could obtain no news of the movements of his foe save 
through his own scouts ; that the tories were recruiting and obtaining 
arms; and that with the force at his command, it was unsafe to attempt to 
protect Tappan. Upon the receipt of this information, Heath immediately 
left Peekskill and marched with 2,000 men to Tappan, which he reached 
on Dec. 12th. Remaining there two days, he then advanced to Hacken- 
sack, effectually crushing the Tory spirit by his presence. As soon as 
General Heath left Tappan, Colonel Allison was ordered to move into 
Orangetown with his regiment, while Colonel Hasbrouck was to remain at, 
Haverstraw to afford support if needed. 

The year 1777 opened in gloom for the American cause, Washington's 
army, encamped near Morristown, was an army that had steadily witnessed 
defeat, while Howe, who had returned with his troops to New York, was 
flushed with victory. Anxiously Washington awaited the English com- 
mander's next move. Already, in the previous year, a plan had been 
agreed upon, whereby Carleton was to force his way from Canada to the 
Hudson, and be met by Howe on that river, thus dividing New England 
from the Sduthern States. It was partly in pursuance of this movement 
that the ships of war had passed up to Haverstraw Bay. Failure had 
greeted the attempt, but the project was only postponed, and this year 
saw the beginning of a new campaign, in which Burgoyne instead of 
Carleton commanded the Northern army. Whether Howe would attempt 
to force his way through the Hudson Highlands to meet Burgoyne, or sail 
for Philadelphia, was the perplexing question. 

To be prepared for either movement, Washington marched his army 
northward, and on July 15 th had it encamped in Ramapo valley. On the 
23d of the same month he established his headquarters at Ramapo, and, 
from the summit of the Torne, often anxiously scanned the distant ocean 
and bay near Sandy Hook, to learn if possible the movements of the 


British fleet. At length, receiving positive information that the fleet had 
passed out to sea, and feeling assured that Philadelphia was its destina- 
tion, Washington broke. camp and marched with his army to that city. 

A legend, founded on one of the visits of the Commander to the 
Torne, remains to this day. While on its summit, on one occasion, Wash- 
ington was winding his watch when it accidently slipped from his hands, 
leaving the key in his grasp, and fell into a deep crevice. The fall, instead 
of stopping the timepiece, seemed to confer upon it a perpetual motion, and 
the visitor to the Torne can hear its ticking even at this time. 

Two months after the departure of the main army for Philadelphia, 
Aaron Burr, then ranking as Lieutenant-Colonel, was at Sufierns in com- 
mand of Malcom's regiment — September, 1777. 

The Ramapo valley, or Sidman's Pass, was the great pathway from 
West Point and New Windsor to the country. south of the Highlands, and 
was in almost constant use by some portions of the army from 1776 till 
the close of the war. Through its narrow defile Burgoyne's army passed 
as prisoners, on their long march from New England to Virginia in the 
autumn of 1778. In June, 1779, it was again the camping place of the 
Continental Army, and was strongly intrenched at that time. The re- 
mains of the intrenchments are still visible, and reHcs of its military occu- 
pation are not few. 

After the capture of Stony Point by " Mad Anthony " Wayne, on 
July 1 6th, 1779, a detachment of British prisoners were placed in a barn 
belonging to Abram De Baun, standing one-eighth of a mile east of 
Erastus Johnson's, and one-eighth of a mile north of the highway in 
Ramapo. One of the prisoners in his dreams cried " Fire !" and the 
guard, mistaking the source of the oi-de'r, did fire on the prisoners, killing 
three and wounding eighteen. 

Throughout the whole struggle, Sidman's Pass was the resort of cow- 
boys, who issued forth upon their raids either into New Jersey, that por- 
tion of Orange County north of the mountains, or the fertile country east 
of Sufferns ; and the name of Claudius Smith and his band of cut-throats 
still carries recollections of many a midnight horror to the descendants of 
the old settlers near the clove. At the time ol the Revolution this whole 
section was known as West New- Hempstead. 

On one of the occasions when the Continental army was encamped in 
Ramapo Clove an attempt to force it was contemplated by the British, 
which was only frustrated by a happy ruse. A notorious spy, whose in- 
formation was regarded as reliable by the foe, was captured in the Ameri- 
can camp. He was at once tried by drumhead court martial, found guilty, 
and sentenced to be executen on the following morning. 


Before the hour appointed for punishment arrived, the father, mother 
and brother of the condemned man entered camp and entreated permis- 
sion to visit the prisoner. This was granted under necessary restrictions. 
During the interview the commanding officer — said to have been General 
Greene — happened to pass the room where the spy was confined, and, 
hearing the lamentations, went in. The mother of the prisoner fell at 
Greene's feet and entreated him to spare her son, but was greeted with the 
stern response that her son must die in an hour. After leaving the room 
Greene paced thoughtfully to and fro for a few moments and then returned 
to the spy's chamber. Again the mother begged for her boy's life and 
Greene finally 'acquiesced on condition that the spy should immediately 
repair to the enemy's camp and report that the American army, six thou- 
sand strong, had begun to advance and would fall upon the British within 
an hour. 

The prisoner at once consented to this plan. Greene was evidently 
cautious, for he further stipulated, that the prisoner's brother should take 
his place, and that, if the foe did not begin a retreat upon hearing the 
spy's report, the brother should be hung. At first that proposed hostage 
demurred to the arrangement, but the entreaties of his parents caused him 
at length to reluctantly yield. 

In a short time all but the two brothers withdrew from the room. Then 
an officer appeared and removed the irons from the spy to his brother. 
Shortly after an old woman brought a knapsack and placed it beside the 
door of the prison room. Presently the spy came out, shouldering the 
knapsack, stole from the building, and, after dodging from an outhouse to 
the barn, skulked to the woods which were near by. 

General Greene was so confident of the success of his artifice that the 
next morning he moved, with a strong detachment upon the enemy's line. 
On arriving at their encampment a curious spectacle was presented. 

The artillery and baggage was found scattered in the utmost confusion, 
not a tent was struck, and the fires were actually still smoking under the 
camp kettles. The foe had not been gone for over an hour when the 
Americans arrived, and Greene's troops halted to make a hasty meal on 
the viands that the frightened enemy had left. 

The particulars of the retreat were afterwards learned from the spy. 
On his arrival in the British camp he at once repaired to the command- 
ant's tent, with his hat and coat pierced with bullet holes. In that tent he 
found a large party of officers assembled, before whom he related a won- 
derful tale of Greene's advance and tremendous force, stating that he had 
inadvertently ran into the advance skirmish line and only escaped after the 
bullets had cut his clothing and grazed his flesh. 


The British officers were seized with a panic, and, at a council of war 
which was hurriedly summoned, it was decided to begin an immediate 
retreat. While this council was being held the spy passed from camp-fire 
to camp-fire, spreading his direful news with additional lies until the troops 
were in a fit condition for flight. When the orders came for withdrawal 
from the camp they were obeyed with alacrity. 

While Howe successfully prosecuted his Philadelphia campaign, Bur- 
goyne had advanced into the Upper Hudson valley as far as Saratoga. 
Almost all the way, he had met with earnest opposition, and at last in dire 
distress sent word to Clinton, who commanded at New York in Howe's ab- 
sence, to come up the river to his relief As soon as a reinforcement ar- 
rived from England, Clinton started up the Hudson, with five thousand 
men in flatboats and transports, on Saturday evening, October 4th, 1777, 
and made a brief land at Tarrytbwn to draw General Putnam's attention 
from the main point of his attack. On the following day, the British 
transports proceeded to Verplanck's Point and three thousand troops de- 

When Washington started to oppose Howe at Philadelphia, he left a 
quantity of stores at Peekskill under the guard of General Putnam and a 
large body of troops. In the course of the campaign about Philadelphia, 
Putnam had been called on for detachments from these troops till at the 
time of General Clinton's movement, his whole force amounted to only 
about fifteen hundred militia. Believing, when Clinton landed at Ver- 
planck's Point, that the destruction of the stores at Peekskill was his object, 
Putnam fell back to high ground in the rear of that place, and sent for aid 
to the Generals commanding Forts Clinton and Montgomery. 

The strategem of Sir Henry Clinton was successful in drawing atten- 
tion from his design on the Highland forts, and on the following morning, 
October 6th, 1777, under the cover of a heavy fog, he crossed two thou- 
sand troops to Stony Point, ten miles below Fort Clinton. The transports 
were anchored near Stony Point ; a corps of Royalists remained at Ver- 
planck's Point ; and the frigates Tartar, Preston and Mercury, proceeded 
up the river to the southern entrance of the " Race." 

Leaving a detachment near the present school house above Resolvert 
Waldron's to keep communication open, the troops, consisting of Emerick's 
corps of Chasseurs, a corps of loyalists and New York Volunteers, the 
Fifty-second and Fifty-seventh British Regiments, under the command of 
Colonel Campbell, one troop of the 17th Light Dragoons dismounted, and 
a large body of Hessians, guided by a Tory named Peter Keesler, crossed 
the Donderberg in single column, and at Doodletown separated into two 


divisions ; one, under Lieut-Col. Campbell, marching around the base of 
Bear Hill to attack Fort Montgomery, the other, under the command of 
Sir Henry Clinton was to storm Fort Clinton ; each detachment consisted 
of about nine hundred men. 

The forts were commanded by the brothers James and George Clinton, 
and garrisoned by not more than six hundred mihtia from Dutchess, 
Ulster, and Orange counties. On Sunday night, Governor CHnton 
obtained the information that the British were off Tarrytown, and on 
Monday morning had dispatched a scouting party of one hundred men 
under Major Logan, to the Donderberg, to watch the enemy's movements. 
This party soon returned with the news that about forty boats filled with 
troops had landed at Stony Point. Dispatching a messenger named 
Waterbury to General Putna'm for reinforcements. Governor Clinton 
ordered a small detachment of thirty men to scout down the old king's 
highway. At Doodletown, two and a half miles below the fort, this party 
met the advance guard of the approaching British army, and, greeting the 
demand for their surrender with a spirited volley, they retreated to the fort 
without loss. 

Confining our attention to the fortification within the present Rockland 
County, Sir Henry Clinton, after a sufficient delay to permit of the left 
wings reaching the rear of Fort Montgomery, pressed forward with the 
right wing to the attack of Fort Clinton. After a severe fight at the 
abatis, the English troops finally forced their way to the fort, and both 
were invested about four o'clock in the afternoon. A flag, with a summons 
for the garrisons to surrender as prisoners of war within five minutes or be 
put to the sword, was received by Lieutenant- Colonel Livingston on the 
part of the Americans, who replied that it had been determined to defend 
the forts to the last extremity. 

The battle was at once re -begun with great vigor. Commodore 
Hotham brought his frigates within cannon shot and opened a desultory 
fire, while the enemy pressed onward, gaining inch by inch. Twilight 
ended the conflict and in the friendly darkness of a cloudy evening many 
of the fugitive patriots escaped. General James Clinton, though severely 
wounded, as well as his brother, the Governor, escaped; the latter by 
swimming across the river with Surgeon Peter Vander Lynn. Lieutenant- 
Colonels Livingston, Bruyn, and Claghery; and Majors Hamilton and 
Logan were captured. The loss of the Americans in killed, wounded and 
prisoners was about three hundred, while that of the British was one hun- 
dred and forty in killed and wounded, among whom were Colonel Camp- 
bell and Count Grabowski. Putnam did not send reinforcements because 


he did not learn of the danger until too late, the messenger, Waterbury^ 
having treacherously delayed his journey. The following day Waterbury 
joined the enemy. 

In the confusion that followed the battle, and the short time allowed 
for the destruction of the works and re-embarkation of the troops, little 
heed was given to the burial of the slain ; the bodies of friend and foe 
were alike tossed into Lake Sinipink, now Highland Lake, which was 
called from that occurrence, " Bloody Pond," or " Hessian Pond," and 
under these names is mentioned by Dr. Timothy Dwight — some time 
President of Yale College — in the following letter : 

" Early in May [1778], I went down the river in company with several 
officers to examine the Forts Montgomery and Clinton, built on a point, 
six or eight miles below West Point, for thfe defence of the river. The 
first object which met our eyes, after we had left our barge and ascended 
the bank, was the remains of a fire kindled by the cottagers of this soli- 
tude, for the purpose of consuming the bones of some of the Americans 
who had fallen at this place and had beeh left unburied. Some of the 
bones were lying, partially consumed, round the spot where the fire had 
been kindled, and some had evidently been converted into ashes. As we 
went onward we were distressed by the foetor of the decayed human 
bodies. * # * As we were attempting to discover the source from 
which it proceeded, we found, at a small distance from Montgomery, a 
pond of moderate size, in which we saw the bodies of several men who 
had been killed in the assault on the fort. They were thrown into this 
pond the preceding autumn by the British, when probably the water was 
sufficiently deep to cover them. Some of them were covered at this time, 
but at a depth so small as to leave them distinctly visible. Others had an 
arm, a leg, and a part of the body above the surface. The clothes which 
they wore when they were killed were still on them, and proved that they 
were miHtia, being the ordinary dress of the farmers. Their faces were 
bloated and monstrous, and their postures were uncouth, distorted, and in 
the highest degree afflictive. My companions had been accustomed to 
the horrors of war, and sustained the prospect with some degree of firm- 
ness. To me, a novice in scenes of this nature, it was overwhelming. 
* * * From this combination of painful objects we proceeded to Fort 
Clinton, built on a rising ground at a small distance further down the 
river. The ruins of this fortress were a mere counterpart to those of Fort 
Montgomery. Everything combustible in both had been burned, and 
what was not was extensively thrown down. Everything which remained 
was a melancholy pictur.e of destruction." 


Among the many munitions of war captured or destroyed, at the loss 
of Forts Clinton and Montgomery, was the chain that had been stretched 
across the river, and an unobstructed passage was now open to the enemy's 

Congress at once determined to more strongly fortify the Hudson, and 
in the early spring of 1778 work was begun at West Point. To add to 
the forts a new chain was determined on, and Colonel Timothy Pickering, 
Secretary of War, was ordered to consult Mr. Peter Townshen4, of Chester, 
Orange County, in relation to its construction. Late on a Saturday night, 
in March, 1778, Colonel Pickering, accompanied by Captain Thomas 
Machin, the engineer in charge at West Point, arrived at Mr. Townshend's 
house. That gentleman immediately consented to undertake the task, 
and the party started that same night in a blinding snow storm for the 
Sterling Iron Works. At daylight Sunday morning the forges were at 
work, and for the six weeks following the fires were not extinguished. By 
the middle of April the last link was finished, and on the ist of May, 
1778, the chain was stretched across the Hudson. The iron used in its 
construction was of equal parts of Long and Sterling Mine ore, each link 
was two and a half inches square, about two feet long, and weighed about 
one hundred and forty pounds ; ten links were fastened in the usual man- 
ner, the eleventh was left open like an ox bow with bolt holes in the end 
for the purpose of connecting the device with another section ; the total 
weight of the chain was one hundred and eighty tons, and it was conveyed 
to West Point by New England teamsters as rapidly as each section was 

In September, 1778, a* horrible massacre occurred at Old Tappan. 
Lord Cornwallis at that time held possession of the eastern portion of New 
Jersey, and his foraging and scouting parties passed in all directions 
through ' this section. At the same time General Knyphausen, with a 
large force, was stationed at Dobb's Ferry on the east side of the river, 
and Washington suspected that an expedition up the river was intended. 
To watch the movements of the British, as well as to intercept their scouts 
and foragers, the Third Regiment of Virginia Light Dragoons, under the 
command of Lieutenant -Colonel Baylor, was dispatched to this section 
and made their quarters at Old Tappan. Here they lay in such an un- 
soldierly manner that Cornwallis determined to surprise and cut them to 
pieces together with a body of militia under Wayne that was encamped a 
little north of the present Orangeburg. 

Baylor's troops were scattered in the houses and barns of the Blau- 
velts, Demarests, Holdrums, Harings, and Bogarts, who resided in the 


neighborhood, while he and his staff were at the ■ house of Cornelius 
Haring. General Grey, who, from his practice of ordering his men to 
remove the flints from their muskets that they might be confined to the 
use of the bayonet, had acquired the name of " No Flint General,'' or 
" No Flint Grey," was sent out on the night of September 27th, to approach 
Baylor's detachment from the west, while a corps from Knyphausen's force 
crossed the river to Sneden's and advanced upon the unsuspecting troops 
from the east. _ Some deserters gave Wayne and his militia warning in 
time to permit their escape, but Baylor's dragoons were left ignorant of 
their danger. 

At midnight. Grey cut off a sergeant's patrol of eleven men — one 
having made his escape attempted to arouse Baylor but was too late — and 
in an instant more was upon the main body. The surprise was complete, 
and the unarmed and scarcely awakened troopers could but beg for quarter. 
Their plea for mercy was vain. Grey, like Tyron, was merciless in his 
forays, and on this occasion he had given special orders that no quarter 
should be granted. In cold blood the helpless cavalrymen were bayoneted 
or beaten to death, till out of the troop of one hundred and sixteen 
twenty-eight were killed or mortally wounded, among whom was Major 
Alexander Clough, and thirty-nine prisoners were taken — eight of whom 
were severely wounded — among whom were Colonel Baylor and Surgeon 
Thomas Evans. The prisoners were taken to Tappan and confined in the 
old Dutch Church. ■ Seventy horses and considerable booty was also ob^ 
tained by the enemy. Among the few who escaped was Major William 
Washington, who later, in the stirring campaign of the South, fully avenged 
his comrades' slaughter. On Dec. 29th, 177*8, a division under General 
Putnam crossed the river at Kings Ferry in batteaux and marched twelve 
miles in a storm of snow and sleet, camping at Kakiat. 

With the exception of raids by cowboys and the constantly recurring 
conflicts between the patriots and Tories, nothing of import transpired in 
this County till the end of May, 1779. The enemy had transferred the 
scene of battle to the South and was overrunning Georgia and the Caro- 
linas. To prevent the concentration of American troops before their 
armies and to destroy the stores that had been collected, an expedition 
under Admiral Collier and General Matthews had sailed early in May for 
Virginia. At the close of that month this expedition returned and was 
immediately used by Sir Henry Clinton in the attack on the forts at Ver- 
planck's and Stony Points. 

These works, included in the general plan of fortification agreed upon 
in 177s, had been neglected till after the capture of Forts Montgomery- 


and Clinton in 1*777. Then two small forts had been built at these points. 
To obtain possession of these works was Sir Henry Clinton's object, and 
in its furtherance he sailed from New York on May 30th, 1779, accom- 
panied by General Vaughan, of Esopus fame, and Admiral Collier, who 
commanded the fleet. 

On the morning of May 3 ist, the division intended for the capture of 
Stony Point, under the command of General Patterson, accompanied by 
Sir Henry Clinton, landed at Grassy Point, and began their march toward 
the fort. The garrison of that fort, consisting of only forty men, aban- 
doned the Point and withdrew to the Highlands, upon the approach of the 
enemy, and the works fell into the hands of the British without resistance. 
On the following morning, June ist, 1779, the guns of the captured fort 
reinforced by some cannon and mortars dragged up during the night, 
opened a heavy fire against Fort Fayette, on Verplanck's Point, and on 
the following day that fortress was surrendered. 

Meantime Washington was encamped at Middlebrook, in New Jersey, 
awaiting the enemy's movements. As soon as he learned that an expe- 
dition had started up the Hudson, he put his army in motion toward the 
Highlands, and by rapid marches, reached Sidman's Pass on June 7th, 
1779, with five brigades and two Carolina regiments, and so disposed his 
troops as to be able to reinforce a threatened point at once. At this time 
the fortifications and earthworks erected in the Pass were greatly strength- 

Meantime Clinton had ordered the enlarging and strengthening of the 
captured forts, and supplied them with strong garrisons and necessary 
stores. The force at Stony Point, under command of Lieutenat-Colonel 
Johnson, consisted of the 1 7th Regiment of foot, the grenadier companies 
of the 71st Regiment, and some artillery, in all amounting to a little over 
six hundred men. As a further support, the British had several small war 
vessels at anchor in the river within cannon shot of the forts. 

Among the dispositions of his army, Washington had stationed Wayne 
with the Light Infantry at a point not far from the Forest of Dean Mine, 
now in Orange County, but little north of the old Haverstraw and Monroe 
Turnpike, a position he occupied on July ist. 

From the results of his own and the observations of Major Lee, of the 
Light Dragoons, Washington determined upon expeditions to surprise and 
recapture both Stony Point and Fort Fayette. July 15 th was fixed 
upon as the day for the assault, and the hour of midnight as the time. 
Wayne was appointed to the command of the detachment that was to 
storm the Point, while that against Fayette was commanded by General 


Howe. It is only necessary here to say that, through the error of a mes- 
senger, the attack on Fort Fayette miscarried. On the morning of July 
15 th, all the troops under Wayne's command, consisting of Massachusetts 
men, were ordered to divest themselves of unnecessary accoutrements 
and prepare for their march of twelve or fourteen miles. So necessary 
was absolute secrecy and so numerous the watchful Tories, that it was 
deemed unwise to send Wayne reinforcements. A brigade of troops in- 
tended as a cover for the attacking force, should any accident befall it, 
was started for the scene early in the morning, and at noon the march of 
the main body began. 

The day was intensely sultry, and the route of the troops through the 
mountain defiles was such as to prevent the light air that was stirring from 
reaching them. Without complaint they continued their march through 
that long, hot afternoon, now scrambling over broken rocks, anon 
threading their way single file across a morass, until at 8 o'clock in the 
evening they had arrived at Springsteen's, a mile and a half from the fort. 
Here a halt was called to allow a reconnoiter and rest the men. Each 
soldier had a piece of white paper fastened to his hat to distinguish him in 
the darkness, and the watchword of the night, that of the enemy : " The 
fort's our own," was passed along the line. The muskets of all were un- 
loaded so as to compel the use of the bayonet only. To still 'further secure 
silence,, all the dogs in the neighborhood had been killed lest their barking 
might alarm the enemy, and a negro guide named Pompey, the slave of 
James Lamb, was obtained to lead the troops. 

As strengthened by the British, several breastworks and strong bat- 
teries were advanced in front of the fort, and about half way down the hill 
were two rows of abattis ; the guns ranged so as to command the 
beach and the only crossing place in the marsh that connects the Point 
with the main land, and to infilade an advancing column. 

Wayne intended to attack the works on the right and left flanks at the 
same time, and made the following dispositions for that purpose : The 
regiments of Febiger and Meigs with a detachment under Major Hull 
formed the right ; and Butler's regiment, with two companies under Major 
Murfree, formed the left column. One hundred and fifty volunteers under 
Lieutenant-Colonel Fleury and Major Posey composed the van of the 
right ; and one hundred volunteers under Major Stewart, the van of the 
left; while each column was preceded by a forlorn hope of twenty men, 
one under command of Lieutenant Gibbon, the other under that of Lieu- 
tenant Knox, whose duty it was to remove the abattis and other obstruc- 

91 , 

At half past eleven the silent march was begun. The first sentinel on 
the high ground west of the morass, deceived by the negro whom he knew 
and who had the countersign, was seized and gagged without giving an 
alarm ; the silence of the sentinel on the road across the morass was gained 
in the. same way, and Wayne's party succeeded in crossing the marsh to 
the base of the rocks without discovery. General Muhlenburg with three 
hundred men was left as a reserve on the main land. 

At twelve-twenty o'clock the assault was begun. In an instant more 
the advancing columns were discovered by the pickets, and, though the 
surprise was complete, a frightful fire was opened by the British upon the 
advancing troops. Undeterred, the Americans rushed on, passed the 
breastworks, cleared the chevaux de frise at the sally-ports, mounted the 
parapet, and entered the fort at the point of the bayonet, never ceasing in 
the headlong charge till the van of each column met at the centre of the 
works at the same instant. Colonel Fleury was the first to enter the fort 
and strike the British flag, while at the same instant Major Posey mounted 
the works, shouting the prophetic watchword: "The fort's our own." 
The garrison surrendered at discretion, and not a life was taken after the 
plea for quarter. 

In this assault the Americans lost fifteen killed and eighty-three 
wounded, among whom were General Wayne, who was slightly injured, 
and Lieutenant- Colonel Hay. The forlorn hope of twenty men under 
Lieutenant Gibbon lost seventeen killed or wounded. The British loss 
was sixty-three killed, and Johnston, the commander, with five hundred 
and forty-three officers and men together with the stores and munitions of 
war, were captured. At two o'clock on the morning of July 1 6th, 1 779, 
General Wayne sent to Washington the following despatch : 

" Dear Gen'l — The fort and garrison with Col. Johnston are ours. Our 
officers and men behaved like men who are determined to be free." 

. I have already said that the attempt on Verplanck's point miscarried. 
But a short distance down the river lay the British vessels, that had slipped 
their cables and dropped out of gunshot during the attack on Stony Point. 
Sir Henry Clinton was already marching to the relief of Fort Fayette, 
with a large land force, and any attempt to capture it by siege would evi- 
dently fail. Under these circumstances, combined with a belief that a 
garrison of fully fifteen hundred men would be necessary to hold the 
place, Washington ordered the stores removed from Stony Point and the 
works destroyed. This was successfully accomplished, but in the moving 
a galley, loaded with the heavy ordnance, was struck by a shot from the 
British vessel Vulture and sunk off Caldwell's Point. On July 20th, 1779, 


the British repossessed themselves of Stony Point, but only held it till the 
middle of the following month, when Clinton ordered the evacuation of all 
posts along the Hudson and concentrated his forces at New York. 

In recognition of the bravery displayed in this brilliant enterprise. 
Congress ordered a medal of gold struck and presented to Gen. Wayne, 
and, with the thanks of that body, presented silver medals to De Fleury, 
and Stewart ; while Lieutenants Gibbon and Knox were breveted captains. 
At the recommendation of Washington, Congress further resolved, " that 
the value of the military stores taken at Stony Point be ascertained and 
divided among the gallant troops, by whom it was reduced, in such man- 
ner and proportion as the Commander-in-Chief shall prescribe." That 
proportion was scaled as follows : To the first man who entered the fort, 
$500; to the second, $400; to the third, $300; to the fourth, $200, and 
to the fifth, $100. The total value of the munitions captured amounted 
to $158,640, which amount was to be divided among the troops. 

The final abandonment of the river posts by the British, and the urgent 
necessity of sending re-inforcemeets to Lincoln in the South, led to the 
camp at Ramapo being broken up in the autumn of 1 779. The main body 
of the army sought a winter cantonment about Morristown, strong detach- 
ments being stationed at various points in the Highlands. 

The year 1780 was pregnant with stirring events for this County. 
Early in the season General Knyphausen crossed to New Jersey, led by 
the reports of disaffection among the American troops, and at Springfield 
sustained a battle which checked his further advance. But his continua- 
tion at that place led Washington to suspect some ulterior design, and, 
when information was conveyed to him that on June i8th Sir Henry 
Clinton had returned from the conquest of South Carolina, believing the 
fortifications in the Highlands to be his next object, Washington slowly 
marched his army to Tappan and encamped at that place. Learning, to- 
ward the close of July, that Clinton was about to attack the French allies 
ere they could land and fortify themselves at Newport, Washington hastily 
broke camp and, marching by the old Kings Highway through Haver- 
straw to Stony Point, crossed Kings Ferry with the intention of attacking 
New York. It was while waiting on this side of the ferry, on July 31st, 
1780, that Benedict Arnold appeared and held the interview with the 
Commander-in-Chief that led to his assignment to the command of West 

The abandoment by Clinton of his design against Newport led to the 
American Army retracing its steps. It again crossed at Kings Ferry and 
marched back to Tappan, where it went into camp for the next few weeks. 


■General Greene commanded the right and Lord Sterhng the left wing, 
while six battalions of light infantry were stationed in advance of the main 
body under the command of La Fayette. 

I am now to take up the treason of Arnold and the trial and execu- 
tion of John Andre. So much has been said and written on the whole 
subject of that event that the story must be fresh in every mind, and my 
duty is to only touch on such portions of the transaction as relate to this 

When Benedict Arnold took command at West Point he became 
intimate with Joshua Hett Smith. 

Lot No. 7 of the Cheesecocks Patent, through sale, became the pro- 
perty of a William Smith, a lawyer and judge. At his death in 1769 he 
left six sons, WiUiam, Thomas, John W., James, Samuel, and Joshua Hett ; 
and several daughters. Lot 7 was left to Thomas by his father and was 
occupied by his brother Joshua. The house on it, now known as the 
"Treason House," was built probably about 1770. After the death of 
Thomas Smith in 1795, this property came into the hands -of his son 
Thomas, who died in 181 5. His heirs sold the place, containing 90 acres, 
to WiUiam Nicolls for $5,500 on July 9th, 1832. Nicolls sold the place to 
William C. Houseman in 1836 for $8,600, and he sold it to James A. 
Houseman, of Alabama, in 1846. After Mr. Houseman's death the 
property was sold to David Munn in 1 864, and he conveyed it to his son- 
in-law, Adam Lilburn, in 187 1. It remained in Mr. Lilburn's possession 
till 1883, when he sold it to Brewster J. Allison, the present owner. 

Of the Smith family — Thomas was a lawyer in New York ; William 
became one of the Tory Justices of that city during the Revolution ; and 
of Joshua Hett, we are to learn more fully in these pages. 

Owners of large landed property in Haverstraw, the Smiths were land- 
lords with many tenants, and were thoroughly disliked by those tenants 
for their proud carriage. In the excise of the franchise it was a not un- 
common thing to hear the holders of land under them say that they 
waited to see how the Smiths voted, and then they voted just the other 
way, and were then sure they were right. 

With Joshua .Hett Smith Arnold passe'd many hours during his com- 
mand of West Point, either visiting at his house or receiving him as a 
guest at his headquarters in the Robinson House. In the cool calculation 
that Arnold was making. Smith was to play an important part, and the 
officer not only associated with the civilian because of social and intellec- 
tual affinity but also because of another affinity, in which he must gain or 
lose all. In another chapter we are to review Smith's actions in the 


attempted treason, and will then be better able to determine his guilt or in- 
nocence than now. 

By Sept. loth, 1780, Arnold had so far perfected his treasonable plans 
as to render a meeting with Andre necessary, and for this purpose he 
started to meet that officer by appointment at Dobb's Ferry. Passing 
the night of the loth, at Smith's house, he left Haverstraw early the next 
morning for the rendezvous. It is a matter of history that that meeting 
was prevented. Seven days later, when Washington was on his way to 
Hartford, to confer with the French officers, Arnold met him with his 
barge and conveyed him across the river at Kings Ferry. On September 
19th, Arnold visited Smith, and by various representations, obtained his 
consent to go off in a row boat to the sloop-of-war Vulture, and bring a 
man ashore whom Arnold wished to see on important public business. 
While at Smith's house, Arnold was joined by his wife and child, who had 
come on from Philadelphia, and returned with them in his barge to his 
headquarters. Among the other arrangements with Smith in regard to 
the proposed interview was one to the effect, that if their business could 
not be completed by dawn, the remainder of the interview, after that hour 
should occur in Smith's house, and to prepare for that event, Smith re- 
moved his family to Fishkill. On his return from this trip, he stopped at 
Arnold's quarters and obtained from that officer a pass for a flag of truce, 
and an order to Major Kiers, commanding at Stony Point, to supply 
Smith with a boat whenever he should want one. Arnold further directed 
Smith to visit the Vulture on the night of the 20th. Unable to obtain 
boatmen, Smith failed to obey his orders, and word having been sent to 
Arnold notifying him of the fact, that officer arrived at Smith's on the fol- 
lowing day determined to see his wish obeyed. At his command a skiff 
was moored in Minisceongo Creek, and under threat of punishment if 
they refused to acquiesce, he obtained the services of two brothers — 
Samuel and Joseph Colquhon, to man the oars. Close on the hour of 
midnight Smith and these two men set off for the Vulture, which was at 
anchor off Croton Point. 

A short time elapsed, when the row boat again approached shore and 
landing under the mountain, at a place near the foot of the Long Clove road, 
John Andre stepped ashore and was conducted to the presence of Arnold, 
who was waiting near the spot. What transpired in that solemn night 
conference is only known to the Omniscient. Daylight found the business 
unfinished, and the warning voice of Smith bade the conspirator make 
haste. It was with reluctance that Andre consented to mount the spare 
horse Arnold's servant rode and accompany his new acquaintance to a 


more secluded spot, but there was still so much left unsettled and the bait 
was so alluring, that overcoming his scruples, Andre assented to visit 
Smith's house with Arnold. On their ride to that residence, the hail of a 
sentinel near Haverstraw warned Andre that he was within the American 
lines without flag or pass, but it was then too late to turn back, even if he 
had wished to. 

At dawn Smith's house was reached, and the morning of September 
22d, 1780, was passed by the two men in perfecting their plans. At 
length the conference was ended, and Arnold, after giving Andre a paper 
containing a full account of the fortifications and forces at West Point, 
and providing him with a pass, bade him adieu and departed in his barge 
up the river to his quarters. 

The remainder of the day, after his departure, was passed by Andre 
alone. As the shades of evening began to fall, he applied to Smith to 
convey him back to the Vulture, which, having been fired upon from Cro- 
ton Point in the early morning, had weighed anchor and dropped further 
down the stream ; but this Smith positively refused to do, pleading an 
attack of ague and a fear of the night air on the water. At his earnest 
entreaty, and with no other means of return open to him, Andre at last 
consented to cross the river and ride down to New York by land. Fol- 
lowing Arnold's advice, Andre changed his military coat for a civilian's 
dress, and a Httle before sunset on September 22d accompanied by Smith 
and a negro servant, he rode down to Kings Ferry at Stony Point and 
embarked for the opposite shore. 

Three nights later, an aid clattered through Haverstraw at his topmost 
speed, bound for Gen. Greene's quarters at Tappan. These he reached at 
midnight, with an order from Washington directing Greene to move the 
whole left wing of the army to Kings Ferry as speedily as possible. In 
the midst of the intense blackness and driving rain of a stormy night the 
movement was begun, and before dawn of September 26 the whole divi- 
sion was on its march up the King's highway. Little did Greene know, 
when he obeyed his commander's orders, that but a few miles away, 
across the river, Andre was also riding north through the storm, while 
Arnold had passed down the stream but a short distance from him to 
endless infamy. 

The cause for the movement of Greene's division was the discovery by 
the Commander-in-Chief of Arnold's treason, and his uncertainty as to 
how far the disaffection had spread, or as to what the next move of the 
enemy would be. In this period of doubt he wished a large force to 
guard an important point under his immediate supervision. Whatever 


suspicions might have been in Washington's mind, of the fidelity of his 
other officers, they were speedily dispelled, and by September 28th 
Greene's forces were again in camp at Tappan. 

During that date, September 28th, 1780, Andre, guarded by a strong 
force of cavalry commanded by Major Talmadge, once more passed 
through Haverstraw ; passed Smith's house, where, but a short week be- 
fore, his horoscope had seemed so bright ; passed again near the spot where 
he and Arnold had met in the shadow of High Tor, to enter that other 
shadow of the Valley of Death. 

Conveyed by water from West Point to Kings Ferry, the prisoner was 
then taken to Tappan and there confined in the inn, formerly kept by 
Casparus Mabie and still standing as the "'"jt House." On the following 
day Washington arrived at Tappan, taking up his quarters in the De Windt 
House, and immediately ordered a Court of Inquiry composed of the fol- 
lowing officers : 

Major General Green, Major General La Payette, 

" " Sterling, " " R.Howe, 

St. Clair, " " Baron Steuben, 

Brigadier General Parsons, % Brigadier General Hand, 

" " James Clinton, " " Starke, 

" " Knox, " " Huntington, 

" Glover, " " Patterson, 

General Nathaniel Greene was President of this Board and John Lau- 
rence Judge Advocate General. 

Before this court Andre appeared and told his story in a straight- 
forward way. He was then remanded to his place of confinement, and, 
after a long consultation, the Court decided that he should be considered 
as a spy and, as such, suffer the penalty of war. On the following day, 
September 30th, Washington confirmed the finding of the Court and ap- 
pointed the following day, October 1st, and the hour of 5 P. M., as the 
time for execution. 

The sympathy of all the American officers was with Andre, and every 
effort conformable with the laws of war was made to save him. In pur- 
suance of these endeavors both correspondence and an interview with 
officers from the enemy were used and the time of execution delayed. 
All conference proved futile, and at 12 M. on October 2d, 1780, in the 
presence of the troops, of all the officers stationed at Tappan, save the 
Commander-in-Chief and his personal staff, and of a vast concourse of 
people assembled from the surrounding country, John Andre was hanged, 
and by his death gained that immortal fame for which he had so earnestly 
toiled in life ; for which he risked that life ; for which he died. 

} See note at end of Chapter. 


Dr. Thacher, a Surgeon in the Continental Army, who was present, 
thus speaks of the last hours : " Major Andre is no more among the living. 
I have just witnessed his exit. It was a tragical scene of the deepest in- 
terest. * # * The fatal hour having arrived, a large detachment of 
troops was. paraded, and an immense concourse of people assembled. 

* * * Melancholy and gloom pervaded all ranks, and the scene was 
a^yfully affecting. I was so near, during the solemn march to the fatal 
spot, as to observe every movement, and to participate in every emotion 
the melancholy scene was calculated to produce. Major Andre walked 
from the stone house in whipji he had been confined between two of our 
subaltern officers, arm in arm. * » * He betrayed no want of fortitude, 
but retained a complacent smile on his countenance, and politely bowed 
to several gentlemen whom he knew, which was respectfully returned. 

* ^ * While waiting, and standing near the gallows, I observed some 
degree of trepidatian — placing his foot on a stone and rolling it over, and 
choking in his throat as if attempting to swallow. So soon, however, as 
he perceived that things were in readiness, he stepped quickly into the 
wagon, and at this moment he appeared to shrink ; but, instantly elevating 
his head with firmness, he said : ' It will be but a momentary pang ;' and 
taking from his pocket two white handkerchiefs, the Proyost Marshal, 
with one loosely pinioned, his. arms, and. with the other the victim, after 
taking off his hat and stock, bandaged his own eyes with perfect firmness, 
which melted the hearts and moistened the cheeks not only of his servant, 
but of the thr-ong of spectators.. 

The rope being appended to the gallows, he sUpped the noose over 
his head, and adjusted it to his neck, withoutthe assistance of the awkward 
executioner. Colonel Seammel now informed him that he had an opportu- 
nity to speak, if he desired it. He raised the handkerchief from his eyes, 
and said, ' I pray you to bear me witness that I meet my fate like a brave 
man.' The wagon being now removed from under him^ he was suspended, 
and instantly expired." 

I have had the good fortune to obtain the following account of another 
eye witness of Andre's execution, through the great kindness of William 
G. Haeselbarth. . Mr. Haeselbarth obtained the data when he first entered 
our County in 1850 and used it in a series of lectures, which he later de- 
livered, but this is the first time it has appeared in print. The story bears 
the stamp of truth, especially the error made by a camp attache in regard 
to the place of confinement. The Dutch Church building had been and at 
that time was used as a. military prison, and Andre's trial had taken 
place in it. Nothing would be more natural then than for a private sol- 


dier, quartered perhaps at some distance from the spot to suppose that 
Andre had been confined there. 

" I was at that time," says the narrator, " ap artificer in Colonel Jeda- 
than Baldwin's regiment, a part of which was stationed within a. short dis- 
tance of the spot where Andre suffered. One of our men, whose name 
was Armstrong, being one of the oldest and best workmen at his trade in 
the regiment was selected to make his coffin, which he performed and 
painted black, after the custom of those times. At this time Andre was 
confined in what was called the Dutch Church, a smajl stone building 
with only one door, and closely guarded by six sentinels. When the hour 
appointed for his execution arrived, a guard of three hundred men was 
paraded at the place of his confinement. A kind of procession was formed 
by placing the guard in single file on each side of the road. In front was 
a large number of American officers, of high rank, on horseback ; these 
were followed by the wagon containing A-n<lre's coffin, then a large number 
of officers on foot, with /^ndre in their midst. The procession moved 
slowly up a moderately rising hill, about a quarter of a mile to the west 
On the top was a field without any enclosure. In this was a very high 
gallows, made by setting up two poles or crotches and laying a pole on 
top. The wagon that contained the coffin was drawn directly under the 
gallows. In a short time Andre stepped into the hind end of the wagon, 
then on his coffin, took off his hat and laid it down, then placed his hands 
upon his hips, and walked very uprightly back and forth as far as the 
length of his coffin would permit, at the same time casting his eyes upon 
the pole over his head and the whole scenery by which he was surrounded. 
He was dressed in a complete British uniform, the coat being' of the bright- 
est scarlet, faced or trimmed, with the most beautiful green, his vest and 
breeches were bright buff. 

He had a long and beautiful head of hair, which, agreeable to the 
fashion, was wound with a black ribbon.and hung down his back. 

Not many minutes after he took his stand upon the coflSn, the execu- 
tioner stepped into the wagon with a halter in his hands, on one end of 
which was what the soldiers called ' a hangman's knot,' which he at- 
tempted to put over the head and around the neck of Andre. By a sud- 
den movement of his hand Andre prevented this. He then took off the 
handkerchief from his neck, unpinned his shirt collar, and, taking the end 
of the halter, put it over his head, placed the knot, directly under his right 
ear, drawing it snugly tq the neck. 

Andre then took another handkerchief from.his pocket and tied it over 
his eyes, At this time the oflicer who commanded spoke in rather a loud 


voice and said that his arms must be tied. Andre at once pulled down 
the handkerchief he had just tied over his eyes, drew from his pocket a 
second one, which he gave to the executioner, and then replaced his hand- 
kerchief. His arms were tied just above the elbows and behind his back. 
The rope was then made fast to the pole overhead. 

The wagon was very suddenly drawn from under the gallows, 
which, together with the length of the rope, gave him a most tremendous 
swing back and forth, but in a few minutes he hung entirely still. During 
the whole transaction he appeared little daunted, but his fate was pale. 
He remained hanging from twenty to thirty minutes, and, during that 
time, the chambers of death were never stiller than the multitude by 
which he was surrounded. At the expiration of that time orders were 
given to cut the rope and take down the body without letting it fall. This 
was done and the body carefully laid on the ground. 

Shortly after the guard was withdrawn, and the bystanders were per- 
mitted to pass and view the corpse, but the crowd was so great that it was 
sometime before I could get an opportunity. When I reached the body, 
the coat, vest and breeches had been taken off, and the corpse lay in the 
coffin covered by some underclothes. The top of the coffin was not yet 
on and I viewed the corpse more carefully than I had ever done that of 
any human before. His head was very much on one side, in consequence 
of the manner in which the halter drew upon his neck. His face appeared to 
be greatly swollen and very black, much resembling a high degree of 
mortification ; it was indeed a shocking sight to behold. 

There were at this time standing at the foot of the coffin, two young 
men of uncommon short stature — not more than four feet high. Their 
dress was extremely gaudy. One of them had the clothes just taken from 
Andre hanging on his arm. I took particular pains to learn who they 
were and was informed, that they were his servants sent up from New 
York to take care of his clothes, but what other business I did not learn. 

I now turned to take a view of the executioner, who was still standing 
by one of the posts of the gallows. I walked nigh enough to him to have 
laid my hand upon his shoulder, and looked him directly in the face. He 
appeared to be about twenty-five years of age. His face was covered 
with what appeared to me to be blacking taken from the outside of a 
greasy pot, while his beard was of two or three weeks' growth. A more 
frightful looking being I never beheld. His whole countenance bespoke 
him to be a fit instrument for the business he had been doing. Wishing 
to see the closing of the whole business, I remained upon the spot imtil 
scarce twenty persons were left, but the coffin was still beside the grave. 


which had previously been dug. I then returned to my tent with niy 
mind deeply imbued with the shocking scene I had been called to wit- 

At the time of the removal of Andre's remains, James Buchanan, under 
whose charge the disinterment took place, misled by one of the many er- 
rors in statehient that Andre's execution gave rise to, became the unhappy 
means of spreading a rumor that the grave had been rifled by Americans, 
by the following statement: " After which I descended into the coffin, 
which was not more than three feet below the surface, and with my hands 
raked the' dust together, to ascertain whether he had been buried in his 
regimentals or not, as it was rumored among the assemblage that he was 
stripped ; for if buried in his regimentals I expected to find the buttons of 
his clothes, which would have disproved the rumor ; but I did not find a 
single button or any article, save a string of leather that had tied his hair, 
in perfect preservation, coiled' and tied as it had been on his hair 
at the time. I examined the dust of the coffin so minutely (as the quan- 
tity would not fill a quart) that no mistake could have arisen in the exam- 
ination. Let no unworthy motive be attributed to me for recording this 
fact ; I state it as one which I was anxious to ascertain for the reasons 
given. I do not pretend to know whether buttons would moulder into 
dust, while bones and strings would' remain perfect and entire ; but sure I 
am there was not a particle of metal in the coffin." 

The gross injustice of embodying scandalous rumors against the 
American Army in an official report, when the basis for the rumors was 
ignorance, so exasperated Dr. Thacher, that he investigated the whole 
matter, publishing the result in the New England Magazine for May, 1,834, 
under the caption. " Observations relative to the execution of Major John 
Andre, as a spy in 1780, correcting errors and refuting false imputations." 
From this article I can but quote extracts. From the Continental Jour- 
nal and Weekly Advertiser, of October 26th, 1780, this sentence, taken 
from a letter dated Tappan, October 2d, 1780, is given. " He was dressed 
in full uniform, and after the execution, his servant demanded his clothing, 
which he received." A letter from Major Benjamin Russell, contains these 
words : " He was dresse'd in the rich uniform of a British Staff" Officer, 
with the exception, of course, of sash, gorget, sword and spurs. * * * 
It was statpd at the time in England, and, if I mistake not, in America, 
that he was buried in his regimentals. I can add my testimony, to that 
of others, that I saw the servant of Andre receive the military hat and 
stock of his master, immediately before the execution. I did not see the 
body placed in the coffin, but I did see, as I marched by the grave, that 


servant standing near it, and evidently overseeing the interment." It is 
but just to add that, when Mr. Buchanan's attention was called to his er- 
ror, he at once apologized by a public letter in the New York Albion, on 
March 7th, 1834, and promised to forward the correction to the United 
Service Journal in London. 

The body of Andre was interred at the foot of the gallows, and there 
remained till the year 1821, when it was exhumed, under the direction of 
James Buchanan, the British Consul at New York, and removed to Eng- 
land. The interest manifested in Andre at the time of the removal of the 
body, caused a Mr. Spafiford, evidently an ardent American, to write to 
the Gazeteer m 1824: 

" The memory of the spy and the traitor are, however, alike consigned 
to infamy. Snuff-boxes, royal dukes, poetry and sickly morality, fable, . 
fiction, American clergymen, Westminster Abbey and the monument to 
the contrary notwithstanding." 

The ravages of those who visited the grave, led the owner to remove 
the boulder which marked it, and which had been inscribed by the order of 
a New York merchant named Lee, from the spot and it was well nigh lost. 
Through the exertions of Henry Whittemore, three men, who had been, pre- 
sent at the exhumation — John J. Griffiths, still living, David D. Brower and 
John H. Cutwater; located the place of the grave in 1878. Shortly after 
this event, the spot was visited by Cyrus W. Field and Arthur P. Stanley, 
Dean of Westminster, and these gentlemen agreed, one, Mr. Field, to 
erect a monument, the other to write an inscription. The monument was 
unveiled Oct. 2d, 1879. Three yearslater a member of the Order of Socialists 
in New York City, named Hendrix, evidently imbued with the ideas of 
Mr. Spafford, blew up the monument. As if to add to the tragedy of 
everything connected with the spot, Hendrix met a violent death at the 
Brooklyn side of Fulton Ferry in the spring of 1884. 

Of those belonging to this County, who were connected with the 
attempted treason, Joshua Hett Smith, after leaving Andre, rode to Fish- 
kill. At that place he was arrested on the night of Sept. 25th, by Colonel 
Gouvion, a member of Lafayette's suite and chief of artillery, and taken to 
Robinson's house, where he was examined by Washington, and remanded 
under guard to West Point. Three days later — Sept. 28th — he was con- 
veyed to Stony Point and, under the sarne guard that held Andre, reached 
Tappan. Here he was confined in the old Dutch Church till called for trial 
before a court martial. That trial lasted four weeks and ended in his ac- 
quittal for want of evidence. 

On Nov. loth, he was removed to West Point and there detained till 


Nov. 1 8th, when he was taken to Goshen and delivered into the hands of 
Sheriff Isaac Nicoll for civil trial, and by him placed in jail, a proceeding 
which, if the suspicion of the Marquis de Chastellux be correct, probably 
saved him from being lynched by his patriot neighbors. For a long time, 
he remained in jail without indictment or trial, till, finally succeeding in 
making his escape, he made his way disguised as a woman to New York, 
where he remained till the surrender of that city, and then sailed for Eng- 
land with the British Army. Some time previous to 1 8 1 8, he returned to 
the United States and died in New York during that year. 

The Colquhon brothers, who, at Arnold's command, conveyed Andre 
from the Vulture to shore, as well as Major Keirs, under whose supervision 
the boat was obtained, were justly exonerated from all suspicion. Strick- 
land, the executioner of Andre, who was in confinement in the camp at 
Tappan as a dangerous Tory at the time of the trial, and was given his 
liberty for accepting the duty of hangman, returned to his home in the 
Ramapo Valley or Smith's Clove, and all further knowledge of him is lost. 

Early in November, 1780, General Greene was detached from his com- 
mand at Tappan and sent to take command of the Southern armies and 
on November 27th, Washington issued orders from his headquarters at 
Preakness for the disposition of the troops in their winter cantonments. 

But one of these encampments is of interest as regards this County, 
that of the New Jersey Brigade, which had its quarters from Pompton up 
to and in the Ramapo Pass. On January 20th, 178 1, this brigade broke 
out in open mutiny. Hope of payment for their services had ceased ; 
starved, naked, frozen, they thought of the members of Congress who, 
while feeding them on promises, lived on more substantial victuals ; who, 
well protected from the inclemency of the weather, gave little heed to their 
pinched and chilled bodies ; and the comparison of their wretchedness 
with the comfort of that imbecile debating society, which carefully avoided 
the exposure and danger of war, led them to forget their duty. 

But three weeks had elapsed since the Pennsylvania troops had re- 
volted, and, marching to Philadelphia, extorted from Congress a settlement 
of their demands. If the disaffection of the New Jersey soldiers was to 
end in a similar way, the morale of the army would be hopelessly ruined, 
and no one could predict the final issue. Reasoning thus, Washington 
ordered General R. Howe, with one thousand New England troops to 
hurry down from the Highlands and nip this revolt in the bud. Howe 
speedily reached and surrounded the mutineers, and by the execution of 
two of the leaders reduced the remainder to order. 

Among the minor military events in the County during 1781, were the 


entrance of three hundred troops by Kings Ferry at the close of January, 
and their march south to join the Pennsylvania regiments. During the 
following month, Lafayette with 1,200 New England troops passed 
through the Ramapo Valley, on his way to check Arnold's depredations in 
Virginia. In March, two hundred men with a gun marched from West 
Point and encamped at New City, while a militia camp was stationed at 
Tappan, and on June 22d, a portion of the army was encamped at the foot 
of the Long Clove in Haverstraw for some days. 

Stony Point had been again occupied by the Americans after the with- 
drawal of the British, but not strongly fortified. A messenger who passed 
there under the protection of a flag on April 21st, 1781, noted that some 
fifty flat bottomed boats lay at the Point, and that while he saw two field 
pieces, there were no works of any consequence ; and later, on June 27th, 
Clinton was informed that thirty-five men, boys and blacks, with two 
pieces of cannon, were at Stony Point, and it was officered by a captain, 
lieutenant and ensign, while a lieutenant of artillery served both that and 
Verplanck's Point. 

The last important move of troops through the County occurred on 
the occasion of the march to the seige of Yorktown. Ever since its evacu- 
ation by the American troops in 1776, Washington had aspired to recap- 
ture New York, and at this time, 1781, when that city was weakened by 
the campaign of Cornwallis in the South, while the Continental army was 
strengthened by the French allies, the project seemed feasible. To ac- 
complish that recapture a junction had been effected between the allied 
armies in Westchester County, and for weeks the combined force lay with 
its right, composed of American troops, resting on Dobb's Ferry, while 
the French, who composed the left, stretched off toward the Bronx. 
Anxious as Washington was to expel the British from our metropolis, his 
wish was not to be immediately gratified, and New York was to be re- 
turned to the patriot army, not as the result of a bloody battle in her en- 
virons, but as a conquest of a glorious victory hundreds of miles away. 

Strong reinforcements from across the sea reaching Clinton, and the 
disappointment of Washington by the French naval officers, led that com- 
mander to suddenly change his plans and determine on the march to 
Virginia. Finding the plan possible, he at once set himself to the task of 
carrying it out successfully. To do this required the utmost secrecy, lest 
Clinton, learning of the movement, should detach strong reinforcements 
to Cornwallis. 

Accordingly, the allied army was still handled as though New York 
was the determined object. Letters and dispatches, intended to mislead 


Clinton, were intrusted to De La Montagne, who was ordered to take 
them to their destination by the way of Ramapo Pass. It is said that this 
gentleman, well aware that the Pass was infested by cowboys and Tories, 
demurred to the route, but the peremptory order of Washington led him 
to overcome his scruples. In the Pass De La Montagne was captured, as 
the Commander-in-Chief intended, and his messages being delivered to 
Clinton, completely deceived that officer as to the intention of the Ameri- 

On August 19th, Hazen's regiment and the New Jersey line were 
quietly crossed over to Sneden's Landing, and marched inland to Spring- 
field. On the same day, the remainder of the force was slowly withdrawn 
up the country, and the crossing of the river at Kings Ferry begun. Dur- 
ing this movement, portions of the army encamped on the line of march 
through the County and on one occasion a body of French troops was. 
camped near the old Treason House. Finally, by August 26th, the last 
of the army was in motion on the west shore, and the long journey to Vir- 
ginia begun. 

In the march over our soil, the Americans passed over the old military 
road through Kakiat and Ramapo or Sidman's Pass ; while the French, 
following the Kings Highway; advanced over the Long Clove ; down 
through the Upper Hackensack Valley ; skirted the western base of the 
Nyack hills ; tarried for a brief space at Tappan ; and then' marched on 
south to again join the Americans and help them gain that victory, that 
gave this people peace, with a national existence, and greater political 
liberty than the world had yet seen. 

T The name of this creek is spelled by different parties as follows : Benson J. Lossing. 
" Peploap's or Poplopen's;" Map of New York, in 1779. "Coplap's Kill;" Romans wrote it 
" Pooploop's;" when the boundaries of the County were defined in 1798, the Legislature called it 
" Poplopen's." In a plan of the attack on the forts drawn by a British officer and published in 
London, in 1784, it is given as " Peploaps." 

t Samuel Holden Parsons, who was one of the eight brigade commanders on the Court of In- 
quiry that tried Andre, and unanimously found him guilty, was, within ten months after that trial, 
in correspondence with Sir Henry Clinton, and betrayed to him the position, strength, and in- 
tended movements of the Continental Army, so far as he was conversant with the facts. Maga- 
zine American History. Vol. XII. p. 166. 

Authorities referred to : " Field Book of the Revolution," Lossing, Vols. II. "Life Of 
Washington." John Marshall. Vol.1. " History of Orange County." S. W. Eager. "His- 
tory of Ramapo. " Rev. E. B. Cobb. " History of Haverstraw." Rev. Dr. A. S. Freeman. 
" History of Clarkstown." H. P. Fay. " History of Stony Point." Rev. E. Gay, Jr. Old 
Documents. " Force Papers." Magazine American History. Article by Dr. James Thacher,. 
in the New England Magazine, May, 1834. 




Far more interesting, than the march of armies or the fighting of 
battles, is the history of private deeds of men and women in trying hours of 
danger and death. By reason of its ease of access from the enemy's 
ships, its exposure to the raids of their foraging parties, and the number 
of the Tory marauders who Hved near or within its borders, Rockland 
County is rich in tales of the outrages produced by war. Patriot citizens as- 
saulted and robbed, their buildings burned, their women violated, themselves 
not infrequently murdered. Parties of reprisal formed of these patriots, 
which gave but short shrift to the Tory when he was captured. Goodbyes 
exchanged between a brave wife, who though surrounded by every danger 
that chills a human heart, still loved the cause too dearly to shrink from 
risk; and husband, who, though leaving all which was of value to him on 
earth, hastening at the call of a duty, which might leave him unharmed, 
which might leave him sorely wounded, which might leave him lying 
asleep, after the turmoil of conflict was ended, with only a slight blue spot 
to show that that sleep was eternal, and with the " night dew and death 
dew mingling on his forehead ; " or worse, far worse than wound or 
death, which might leave him a prisoner in British hands to suffer all that 
mind can dream or fear of hell on earth. 

Yet, despite the interest that these acts of individuals and communities 
possess for us, it is with extreme difficulty that we can obtain accounts of 
them. The pioneers in the birth of this nation, the laborers in the founda- 
tion of this government, like their predecessors, the first settlers in the 
country, found other work to do besides noting their daily trials and deeds 
for the benefit of their descendants. They made history and left us in 


quieter times the peaceful task , of recording it. Almost all of the local 
events and struggles of the revolution in this County come to us by family 
tradition, and even the names of many who lived and participated in those 
events are lost. Perchance all would be gone but that here and there upon 
an old tombstone can be found some record of patriotism. 

As early as September 8th, 1776, Washington ordered the removal of 
his sick to the neighborhood of Tappan. Later, when General Scott en- 
camped in Haverstraw to protect the stores which were there, he ordered 
ten tons of lead moved from Tappan to Major Smith's at Upper Nyack — 
the property now owned by Joseph Hilton. When Colonel Tyler had 
ceased to harry the Tories in Orangetown for a moment, and had with- 
drawn to Ramapo, Abraham Post, of Tappan was ordered to remove 
eleven chests of armorer's tools, with bellows, anvils, &c., to the store of 
Abraham Mabie at the Slote. In 1780, General Greene had his head- 
quarters in the stone house near the old road, which led from Sneden's 
Landing to Orangeburg, and which is now occupied by E. N. Taft and 
owned by Wm. Peet. 

To protect the landing place at Sneden's the Americans erected a 
work, which was visited by an English spy on June 27th, 1781, and thus 
described : " It is a redoubt about a mile and a half from the landing, on a 
very rough rocky height, picketted in all around with tops of trees and 
branches ; no way to get in without climbing over ; about four rods within 
this circle is a round breastwork running quite round > the height, eight 
feet high, with a gate to pass in on the west side. Within that circle, 
about three rods, is another breastwork, running round the top of the 
height, about the same height as the other, on which is wooden embrasures 
built, in which they have one piece of cannon on a travelHng carriage. 
On the south side of the inward work a gate opens into the first breast- 
work. The rise of the hight is so much as to cause the top of the first 
breastwork to be no higher than the bottom of the second. At this time 
it was cqmmanded by a Lieutenant, two Sergeants, two Captains, and 
twenty-five men in the works." 

At one time during the war Garret O'Blenis and a half-dozen comrades 
were watching a British vessel, which had anchored off Sneden's Landing 
— now Palisades. At last their watch was rewarded by seeing a barge 
filled with men start for the shore. Concealing themselves behind the 
rocks, the Americans permitted the barge to approach within a few yards 
of the landing, and then fired into her. After the first surprise the enemy 
endeavored to force a landing, assisted by 'the guns of the ship. For a 
few moments the conflict was severe, but, unaware of the numerical 


strength of the shore party, the foe at length withdrew. The only man 
seriously wounded among the patriots was Garret O'Blenis, who had a 
ball pass through his right arm and completely through his body, smash- 
ing two ribs and perforating the right lung in its course. His wound was 
regarded as mortal, but, after several months' illness, he entirely re- 

The river shore from Tallman's Point at Piermont, north, was much 
exposed to the depredations of foraging forces from the enemy's ships, and 
the chief duty of Colonel Hay and the Minute Men was to guard this long 
and exposed line. On the first appearance of the British vessels, on July 
1 2th, 1776, the enemy made two attempts to land at Nyack, but were re- 
pulsed through the watchfulness of Colonel Hay's men, who, by reason of 
their small number — only 400 — and the distance to be patrolled, were on 
duty day and night. On July i6th the fleet sailed up as far as Haver- 
straw and anchored off Kiers' landing, but here, too, their attempts to land 
were prevented. So deficient was the guard in the necessary munitions of 
war that Hay appealed for powder and ball to supply his men. Fortu- 
nately General George Clinton was able to reinforce him at the time, and 
shortly after he was sent twenty pounds of powder. For nine days the 
vessels remained off Haverstraw, but only once succeeded in obtaining 
provisions from the west shore. On that occas.ion they burned the house 
of a man named Halstead and took his pigs. 

At last, on July 25th, the vessels sailed slowly down the river, anchor- 
ing for a time off Teller's, now Croton Point, to obtain some provisions 
for the Westchester shore. But their presence had roused the spirit of 
battle in the patriots, and on August 3d, 1776, the American galleys. 
Lady Washington, Spitfire, Whiting, and Crown, under Benjamin Tupper, 
attacked their vessels Phenix, Captain Parker, and Rose, Captain Wallace, 
off Tarrytown and fought them for two hours. 

Nyack, then but a hamlet of perhaps a dozen houses, became, before 
the end of the war, an object of the enemy's bitter aversion. This was 
partly due to those patriotic actions of its inhabitants, which ended in the 
repulsion more than once of their forces when they attempted to land for 
fresh provisions or water ; partly because it was a rendezvous for the whale 
boat fleet, which patrolled the river, and partly because of the residence at 
this place of Henry Palmer, who had rendered himself obnoxious to the 

Captain Palmer had owned a vessel and been employed in the carrying 
trade for one of the largest firms in New York, before the Revolution. 
When the news of the battle of Bunker Hill reached that city, he was 


offered great financial advantages to serve the cause of the King but re- 
fused absolutely. . Shortly after he conveyed two cargoes of arms and 
ammunition, which had been seized by the Sons of Liberty, from New York 
to the camp of the Continental Army. New York soon became uncom- 
fortable for this patriot, and he ;-emoved with his family to a house, which 
formerly stood in Upper Nyack, on the east side of Broadway, opposite 
the old mountain road, by Garret E. Green's residence. 

Owing to these causes, the British vessels, whenever they passed up 
the river, greeted the residents of the Nyack valley with a shotted salute 
from their guns. For their protection, those residents erected an earth 
work on the land east of the Methodist Church and just north of Depew 
Avenue, which covered the first dock in the village ; while the section 
known as tipper Nyack, was defended by a swivel mounted on Major John 
L. Smith's place, and a company of Minute men under his and his brother 
— Captain Auri Smith's command. 

As soon as hostilities had begun ip this Colony the Shore Guard was 
placed on duty ; this following order governing those stationed at Nyack : 

" Haverstraw, October i6th, 1776. General orders fey the command- 
ing officers at the place called the Hook. 

" Guards to mount daily at 4 or 5 o'clock in the afternoon, with sentries 
fixed as the commanding officer sees expedient. No soldier to fire a gun 
unless a sentry after hailing a craft or person three times, or at the enemy, 
or on an alarm. On every alarm, twenty hands to be sent to the com- 
manding officer with inteUigence. No person to pass without a permit 
from some commanding officer, or the committee from whence he came. 
No craft to be taken without liberty from the officer of the party of the 
place where said craft is. No liquor to be sold after 7 o'clock at night un- 
less to a traveller, and none to be sold to any person in liquor. No sentry 
to leave his post until relieved. The commanding officer at the Hook to 
consult with the Major of the Riflemen, at New York, about the counter- 
sign. The orders to be read morning and evening to the guards until 
further orders." 

" A Hawkins Hay, 

Commanding Officer." 

In October 1776, the enemy attempted to land at Nyack, but were re- 
pulsed by the Shore Guard, not however till their cannon balls had 
marked Sarvent's house. In December of the same year, they effected a 
foot-hold and, besides looting a house, took off some cattle. In the sum- 
mer of the following year — 1777 — two boats attempted to land at the pres- 
ent Piermont, at the point now known as the upper dock, at daybreak. 


After a sharp conflict with the Shore Guard they were repulsed with three 
killed. Several of the Shore Guard were wounded, but none fatally. 

Toward the close of July, 1777, the British sent a galley ashore to de- 
stroy a sloop which was moored to a dock at Abram Sarvent's place in 
Upper Nyack. To oppose this endeavor, Henry Palmer, Abram Sarvent, 
CorheHus Cuyper, Peter Freeland and Major Smith hastily collected, and 
concealed themselves in a quarry near the dock. Waiting till the enemy 
was within safe range, the patriots opened fire. The galley was at once 
put about and pulled out of gun shot for a time. A second attempt to force 
a landing, though assisted by the ship's guns, ended in failure. A third 
attenipfwas made, but the loss of the British was too great for further 
hope of success. The galley was then pulled up opposite Henry Palmer's 
house, and fire opened against that building from the bow carronade. So 
accurate was the aim of the gunners, that every shot struck the house or 
tore up the earth in the dobr yard. Mrs. Palmer, fearing each moment 
that a ball would pa'ss through the building, took her infant in het arms 
and; creeping through the brambles and bushes along a water course, 
which passed alongside the house, till out of range, at length crossed the 
mountain and found a safe a:sylum at the house of a frierid. In her flight, 
a ball struck the bank so close to the fugitive as to spatter dirt over herself 
and child. 

The morning after the fight at Sarveilt's Landing, the bodies of nine 
British sailors floated ashore and were buried" by the Americans. 

On another occasion Captain Palmer with a few comrades fired into a 
British vessel which was becalmed and floating with the tide. Thirty-six 
of the enemy were killed or wounded in this slaughter while of Palmer's 
force but one man was injured. He was wounded by a splinter from the 
rock behind which he was concealed. 

Dreadful warfare did the patriots wage against the enemy's ships with 
the swivel, which was mounted east of Broadway, in Upper Nyack, op- 
posite the residences of Joseph Hilton and S. C. Eaton, on property now 
belonging to Wilson Defendorf At best this famous gun would barely 
carry a ball a half mile, and as the ships kept in the channel, some two and a 
half miles away, no very great injury was done by this long range shooting. 
Once however, during the war, two boats attempted to land at this shore 
for water and the Shore Guard opened so hot a fire with muskets and 
swivel; that one boat's crew surreYidered at once while the other, braving 
the fire, pulled for the ships. The captured crew was sent to Tappan. 

While the enemy did not, as a rule, invade the upper part of the valley, 
they did express their disapprobation of the swivel fire by returning its 


salute with great freedom. One of their six-pound balls was found some 
years ago on the property belonging to Harmon Snedeker some distance 
from the river. In one of these artillery duels, a shot from the ships struck 
the stone fence on which the American gun rested, scattering stones in every 
direction, dispersing the lyiinute Men with startling rapidity, and knocking 
the swivel off its mount into the trench behind the earthwork. On this 
occasion Cornelius Cuyper was standing on the fence when the ball struck 
it. In the dust and excitement that followed he was heard to ejaculate : 
" H— 11, don't shoot my legs off!" 

A messenger to Verplanck's Point on June 27th, 1781, under a flag, 
reported on his return that he saw " opposite Tarrytown, on west shore 
six whale boats and about forty-two men in all. No appearance of any of 
them fitted for carr}'ing swivels or wall pieces." 

Recollections of cowboys and their deeds in Nyack is preserved, by a 
bullet hole in the wall of the house now occupied by John Salisbury, and 
the tradition, existing in the family, of the escape from their clutches of 
Michael Cornelison, Jr., who resided in the house during the Revolution, 
the capture of his father, and the looting of the place. The bullet was 
fired through the window, in the south-west corner of the house, at some 
American officers who were sitting in Mr. Cornelison's parlor. It passed 
between them doing no injury. Another attack by a party, supposed to 
have been from Westchester, who rowed across the river and landed at the 
" Bight, was made upon Mr. Cornelison's one evening. 

At the outbreak of hostilities Mr. Cornelison's house was unfinished, 
and, owing to the draft upon the people, it remained uncompleted till the 
close of the Revolution. When it was evident that the struggle 
would be a protracted one, Cornelison, foreseeing the difficulty of obtain- 
ing provisions at a later period, laid in a store of tea, sugar, wines, crock- 
ery, &c., for the entertainment of travellers as well as for his own use. 
When the enemy, who were guided by a Tory neighbor of Cornelison, 
entered the house, Mrs. Cornelison had but time to throw a few silver 
dollars behind the back-log in the fire-place. In their usual manner the 
foe proceeded to devastate the house. The crate of crockery was opened 
and its contents broken, the tea was scattered all the way down the hill to 
the boat, while the pipe of wine was broached, and, after being used free- 
ly, it was turned upside down to empty it. 

While this destruction was going on down stairs, the commanding 
officer, guided still by the Tory, passed up to the rooms above. On a 
collar beam in those rooms lay Michael Cornelison, Jr., who had rushed to 
hide at the first alarm. In his flight, his watch chain had caught on some 


projecting object and dragged the watch from his fob. As he lay upon 
the beam, scarcely daring to breathe, the ticking of the dangling watch 
sounded like the roar of machinery, and doubtless, could he have but 
gotten his thumb on the works, it would have required more than me- 
chanical ingenuity to repair the damage. He was espied by the Tory, 
but was saved by the fact that his discoverer was a brother PVeemason, 

After destroying everything they could lay their hands on, the ma- 
rauders at length left, taking Michael Cornelison, Sr., with them. He was 
confined in the Sugar House for nine months and then released on parole. 
The morning following his capture, Mrs. Cornelison visited New York to 
secure his release. She, too, was detained within the enemy's lines, but 
was permitted to reside at the house of a friend named Walker, and to 
visit her husband daily, taking him food and luxuries. At length she 
made the acquaintance of a leman of one of the British officers, and, 
through her interposition, obtained greater freedom for the prisoner. 
After being detained some six months in the city, she was allowed to go 
home, followed, as we have seen, by her husband three months later. In 
1840, when some needed repairs were being made to the old house, evi- 
dences of that night's visit of the enemy were found in abundance. 

Adjoining the residence of John A. Hazzard at Rockland Lake is an 
old house, which seems to have acted the part of a target for the British 
gunners whenever they passed Slaughter's Landing. It has been marked 
over and over again with shot, and from its wall many old six-pound balls 
have been taken. 

On one of their many foraging expeditions, a boat's crew, which had 
landed at Rockland Lake and marched inland, came upon the house of a 
Mr. Ryder, which stood near the present Swartwout's pond. Mr. Ryder 
was from home at the time of this visit and his young wife was alone to 
meet the marauders. In compliance with their demands,- she gave them 
all the food she had and waited on them during their meal. When they 
had finished eating, the invaders .returned to the beach taking Mrs. Ryder 
with them. On reaching the shore these, worse than brutes, violated the 
poor woman and then left her, lying unconscious on the sand under Calico 
Hook, while they returned to their vessel. It was not till the following 
day that the poor creature could drag herself back to her home, and tell to 
her alarmed neighbors her horrible tale. 

In more than one instance these predatory parties raided inland from 
Rockland Lake or Haverstraw after fresh provisions. Sometimes they 
would meet with success and get back to their boats without difficulty. 
Sometimes they would retire when they found they were discovered, and 


sometimes, they roused a hornets' nest of Minute Men about them ancf 
were glad to reach their boats without spoil. During an expedition of 
this nature in the neighborhood of Strawtown, Resolvert Stephens and a 
few others learned of the enemy's presence and attacked them. The 
British were in too great force, however, for this little band to do more 
than fire and run ; but the patriots, at least, had the satisfaction of seeing 
one of the foe carried back to the shore by his comrades, and knew their 
volley had not been' in vain. 

On another occasion Major John Smith, having learned that a body of 
the enemy had landed at the present Rockland Lake, and proceeded in- 
land, hastily gathered a party and rode up- the Strawtown road. Ere the 
faintest suspicion was- excited, the Major wa:s in an ambush. His com- 
rades wheeled and rode back lis thie enemy fired, but it was too late for the 
Major to turn and, finding hhnself surrounded, he spurred ahead, leaped 
his horse over a fence, and started across country for the Nyack and 
Haverstraw road. Believing that the enemy were below him, he turned 
toward the Long Clove, but when opposite the present Waldberg Church, 
he saw a group of invaders about a neighboring house. Again he was 
fired at and missed. Then two of the enemy, mounting in haste on two 
stolen horses, began pursuit. The race waskept up till Long Clove was 
reached, when the chase was abandoned, but not till one pursuer had been 
shot, and Major Smith's sword hand nearly amputated by a saber stroke. 
At a later period, this patriot was captured and confined in New York. 

Toward the close of the war a boat load of marines landed at Rock- 
land Lake, in the dusk of the evening, and under the guidance of neighbor- 
ing Tories started on a search for booty. On this errand bent, they 
'marched around the lake and doWn the oldlake road towards its "junction 
with the Kings Highway. On the west side of the -lake road and almost 
opposite the junction of the-mountain road with it, lived Garret Meyers, a , 
militiaman. All that day Mr. Meyers *had been watching the British - ves- 
sels, to alarm the country in case an attempt was made to land from them, 
and only at nightfall had returned to his home. Just before bed time, he 
heard the tramp of feet on the road,' and surmising at once that the enemy 
had landed, he started out to light the beacon fire on Verdridica Hook, 
and thus warn the Minute Men. As he stepped from his door however, he 
saw that the enemy was between him and the mountain, and that it would 
be necessary for him to wait till the road was clear. Hastening to a pear 
tree, which stood near the house, he flattened himself against it, hoping to 
be unobserved in the darkness. But fate was against hini. 


In the yard was a pet white calf that Mr. Meyers had been accustomed 
to feed, and the animal had become so tame, that it would follow its mas- 
ter like a dog. Seeing him appear, the calf ran to the tree behind which 
he was standing, and stood beside it. Among the Tories, who accom- 
panied the British, was a near neighbor of Meyers,, who knew the habit of 
the calf, and when he saw it run to the pear tree he suspected the presence 
of his neighbor. He therefore told the commanding officer of the party 
that a rebel Whig was hidden at that spot, and the search that followed 
resulted in Meyer's capture. The party then visited his house, gutted it 
completely, knocked Mrs. Meyers senseless with a blow from the butt of a 
musket, which drove her teeth down her throat, and then took their de- 
parture for the landing with their prisoner. Mr. Meyers was confined in 
the Sugar House till the close of the war, and left it with his health forever 
broken. This unfortunate man always suspected a neighbor, who claimed 
to be a patroit, of having betrayed him, and, rendered frenzied by his suf- 
ferings while a prisoner, registered an oath to shoot the suspect on sight. 
Being informed one day, long after the war had ended, that his neigh*bor 
was coming down the road, the bed-ridden old man toilsomely dragged 
himself to his loaded gun, but fell ere he could take aim, and the villain 
who caused his misery escaped the judgment of man. 

Residing at the upper end of the Hackensack Valley, near the present 
Congers Station on the West Shore Railroad, during the Revolution, was 
Theodorus Snedeker, who, according to his statement, incurred the dis- 
trust and enmity of both parties and was relieved of his property by each. 
Early in the conflict, as Snedeker afterward stated, he furnished the Con- 
tinental troops with provisions and forage, and, by so doing, attracted the 
watchful eyes of his Tory neighbors. When, in the changeful fortunes of 
war, the British vessels were at anchor off Snedeker's house, his aid to the 
Americans was remembered, and, guided by some Tories, the enemy 
visited his farm and looted it. Besides carrying off four horses, two yokes 
of oxen, fourteen cows and ten sheep, they took Snedeker into custody 
and only released him on his payment of a large ransom. Of his after 
difficulty with the Americans I will speak later. 

Haverstraw, during the revolution, like Nyack, was but a hamlet. Its 
proximity to the Kings Ferry at Stony Point, and its position on the Kings 
Highway, rendered it more than once, as we have already seen, the theater 
in which portions of the army encamped or through which they marched; 
while its connection with Arnold's treason gives it more than a passing 
fame. In this village, as elsewhere, the citizens were divided in their 
allegiance. Few were as deeply involved with the British as Joshua Hett 


Smith, but all the loyalists wished success to the King, and in every way, 
commensurate with their safety, aided his troops. Of Smith's connection 
with Arnold and Andre, and of his final escape, I have briefly spoken in 
a preceding chapter. Of his actions at other periods of the war further 
mention may not be amiss. 

Joshua Hett Smith was a man of more than ordinary ability, and was 
looked upon by his patriot neighbors as fitted to represent them in the 
Assembly then called "The Convention of the Representatives of the 
State of New York," of 1777. While serving in that body he voted for 
the State Constitution, which was adopted at Kingston, April 20th, 1777. 
For some unexplained reason his influence among the patriots seemed to 
wane from this time, and he was not taken into their full confidence when 
any enterprise was on foot. That this was because one of his brothers — 
William — was a noted Tory Justice in New York, would seem much more 
probable if another brother, Thomas, a firm patriot, had also lost the con- 
fidence of his Whig neighbors. Such was not the case, however. Thomas 
was not even suspected of treason after his brother's implication with 
Arnold. From the beginning. Colonel Lamb, whose wife was closely re- 
lated to Smith's wife, suspected him of being a Tory and persistently 
refused to associate in any way with him. In regard to his being duped 
by Arnold. As before said, he was a man of intelligence. That his suspi- 
cions should not have been aroused by Arnold's previous career at Phila- 
delphia, is entirely probable, but, that in conjunction with that career, the 
strange and earnestly pushed midnight visit to an enemy's ship ; the con- 
veyance from that ship to shore of a man in the uniform of the enemy, the 
secrecy of that nights' conference ; that these things should not have 
excited the suspicion of a man with more than ordinary wit, seems im- 
probable ; and if, to still further clinch the evidence against Smith, we 
remember the removal of his family to Fishkill, that his house might be 
vacant in case the interview between Arnold and the stranger was pro- 
longed ; his anxiety, as the early hours of the morning passed on toward 
dawn, that the conspirators should seek a more concealed spot for further 
talk ; his indifference to the presence of a stranger in his house during that 
September day, his refusal, point blank, to reconvey that stranger back to 
the British ship, while perfectly willing to ride anywhere with him, pro- 
tected by Arnold's pass ; his loan to that stranger of a coat to replace his 
mihtary dress and thus disguise himself; these many things, while they 
might not have excited Smith's suspicions, would most certainly have ex- 
cited the distrust of men far duller in mind than he. 

In his defence, Arnold wrote Washington, that Smith wa§ his dupe, 


and the Tory Justice wrote to the patriot Thomas, asserting that Joshua 
was Arnold's dupe because Arnold said so. The word of Benedict Arnold 
against the circumstantial evidence ! We have seen that Smith was 
acquitted by a court martial and escaped from a civil trial by flight. That 
by that flight he escaped a fate he richly deserved was believed by his 
neighbors at the time, and the lapse of years has not cleared his repu- 

One incident connected with this period at Haverstraw has come to 
me. At that place was residing a wealthy widow named Robart, who had 
infatuated a Tory neighbor. When the section became unpleasantly 
patriotic for this class, and all could see that the Americans had won the 
long struggle, the loyalists made haste to embark on British vessels for 
Nova Scotia or New Brunswick. Mrs. Robart's lover had determed to 
move, but ere departing hastened to press his suit with the fair lady. 
That suit was rejected by the patriotic woman with scorn, and in revenge 
the suitor that night fired her buildings, which were totally destroyed, 
then fled for refuge to his British friends. 

The furthest north that British troops passed by land in our County, 
was to a spot opposite the house formerly owned by James Lydecker, a 
few rods north of the turnpike at Clarksville. This invasion was made by 
a squadron of cavalry, doubtless acting as a scouting and foraging party. 
Major John Smith, commanding a small force of mounted men, met the 
enemy near Greenbush, but whether, believing discretion better than valor 
or being Vastly outnumbered, certain it is that the meeting was not pro- 
longed by the Americans, who hastened off at topmost speed. 

^While never advancing further up the Hackensack Valley than Clarks- 
ville, the enemy frequently overran the lower portions of the County. In 
1777, a detachment of the foe marched into Orangetown in search of pro- 
visions. Avoiding the road along Snake Hill, this party followed the old 
Clausland road till about Greenbush, and then, finding no cattle, retraced 
their steps. Had this force advanced but a few rods further and ascended 
a small hill, they would have found a large number of cows and horses, 
which had been driven to this retired spot for safe keeping. 

On the march north, the commanding officer halted at the residence of 
Mrs. Blauvelt, mother of Mrs. Elizabeth Haring, and asked her where her 
son was He was told in the American army. He then stated that he 
was very dry, and asked for some liquor. This was produced. Raising 
the flask this officer said : "Here's health, safety and success to your son. 
May he always be a true soldier to his country and no harm befall him. I 
honcir the man who is true to his country, but, damn the one who turns 


traitor." After a long drink he returned the flask, expressed his thanks, 
and promised that not a thing belonging to Mrs. Blauvelt should be 
molested by the troops. 

When the order to counter-march was given, plunder began, and the 
residence of Mrs. Blauvelt was invaded by soldiers, bent on destruction. 
Looking- glasses were taken from the walls, laid on the floor, and jumped 
upon ; crockery was smashed, furniture was broken, feather beds ripped 
open, and other acts common to a devastating army were carried on. 
When the uproar was at its height, the officer, who had stopped earlier 
in the day, appeared, ordered the destruction stayed and the soldiers to 
withdraw, and made every apology for his unavoidable detention. 
"Mammy," said he at parting, "don't blame my men for this, but blame 
the traitors among your own countrymen. They are the ones who lead 
the soldiers to plunder and tell them where to go, and, but for them, there 
would be no scenes like this." 

Some two and a half miles west of Tappan, dwelt, in the early days of 
the Revolution, Minard Kissike, with his wife and a daughter about four- 
teen years of age. Kissike had accumulated a goodly property and was a 
patriot, either of which facts was sufficient inducement for the Tories, who 
infested the neighborhood of Tappan Town, to pay his place a visit. A 
raid by the cow boys was soon planned. Captain Outwater, of Tappan, 
had organized a company of Minute Men for the purpose of guarding the 
property of the patriots, and, learning of the contemplated attack on 
Kissike's house, gathered his men, silently marched to a wooded hill some 
yards west of the house, and prepared to receive the enemy. 

The night passed without trouble, and the Minute Men, suspecting 
the Tories had gotten wind of their preparation, were about to retire when 
a large force of marauders appeared, and entered the house. The inmates 
had just sat down to their breakfast, when the foe entered, and were abso- 
lutely unwarned. Before anything had been accomplished. Cutwater's 
men surrounded the house and demanded the Tories' surrender. But they 
had miscalculated the pluck of their opponents, and a conflict was at once 
begun. In the confusion that followed, Kissike pushed his wife and 
daughter through a rear door, and pointed toward the wooded hill the 
Americans had but just left. Before half the distance was covered, a bul- 
let struck the daughter, and she fell to the earth. Only long enough did 
the mother pause to raise the wounded fugitive in her arms, and then con- 
tinued her flight, bearing her precious burden, to the safe retreat afforded 
by the woods. 

For a brief space the conflict between Cutwater's band and the Tories 


continued, but the latter were protet;ted by the house, and at length won 
the day. At their leisure they looted the place, and then took their de- 
parture after setting fire to the buildings. 

In the evening, a few neighbors visited the spot, and found sitting near 
the ruins, and lighted by the fitful flashes of fire which still burned, a ma- 
niac, with the head of her dead child resting on her lap, and the charred 
body of her husband lying beside her. Were these the deeds of sons of 
men or the actions of demons direct from Hell ? 

Among the members of Captain Cutwater's company was Samuel 
Garritson, third son of Dominie Ver Bryck. In one of the scouting ex- 
peditions of a detachment of his company, young Ver Bryck was captured 
by Van Buskirk's band of Tories, conveyed to New York, and lodged a 
prisoner in the Provost, under charge of the fiend, Cunningham. For a 
long time his rations consisted of old English peas, " hard enough," as 
Cunningham said, " to shoot the rebels with." These had to be par- 
boiled in lye for four or five hours, and then pounded in a mortar before 
they could be boiled in clean water. In addition to this unpalatable food, 
each prisoner was allowed a quarter of a pound of rusty salt-pork weekly. 
If conyjlaint was made about the food, the prisojier was beaten and might 
consider himself lucky, if Cunningham did not take the law in his own 
hands, and hang him ere midnight. 

Unused to such treatment, and still a boy under twenty, Ver Bryck's 
health gave way and he rapidly failed. When almost beyond recovery he 
was visited by a Tory — then resident on Long Island — who had formerly 
been a communicant in his father's church, at Tappan. This man heard 
that his old dominie's and neighbor's son was a prisoner in the Provost, 
and visited it to ascertain the truth of the statement. Through his efforts, 
young Ver Bryck was bailed, and carried, for he could no longer walk, to 
the residence of a man named De Bevoise, on Long Island. Ten months 
had been passed in the Provost, and nine and twenty months under bail at 
the house of De Bevoise, when Ver Bryck was paroled, through the inter- 
cession of an English officer, for whom he had performed some favor, and 
allowed to visit his house. Through the kindness of his English friend, he 
carried with him many luxuries to the parents he had not seen for over 
three years. Before his parole expired, Ver Bryck was exchanged. He 
immediately re-entered the patriot service and remained till the end of the 

The Tory, who thus saved young Ver Bryck's life on one occasion, 
was on the verge of taking that of the dominie on another. We have 
already said that this clergyman was, heart and soul, with the patriot cause. 


and that he never ceased his efforts for the success of liberty. Naturally 
his deeds and words drew upon him the wrath of his Tory neighbors, and 
he found it necessary to abandon the highway on his trips to and- from the 
church, and follow a secret path through the woods. This path was dis- 
covered by the Tory above mentioned, and he laid in wait, with loaded 
musket, to kill his pastor. The Dominie appeared and the Tory took 
aim, but — was it the, thought of the cup he had received from that vener- 
able hand, of the mysterious symbol which represented the body of Him, 
before whom he must appear with his victim when the dead shall be raised, 
that stayed his purpose ? He could not fire, and the aged disciple passed 
on his way unaware of how near the angel of death had passed him by. 
When young Ver Bryck was a prisoner, this Tory told him of this fact. 

While in the Provost, Ver Bryck saw, among a number of newly ar- 
rived prisoners, a near neighbor, named John Frelin. According to the 
regulations of the British army, no one was allowed to purchase over a 
stated quantity' of provisions at any one time, and the restriction on salt 
limited the amount to a half bushel. Frelin was in the habit of visiting 
New York at regular times and making such purchases as his neighbors 
might wish. On this occasion his commission embraced several half 
bushels of salt. He had no sooner procured these, than he was placed 
under arrest, and taken to the Provost on a charge of violating military 
law. Explanations were useless, and Frelin was given his choice between 
joining Van Buskirk's band of Tories or being flogged. He chose the 
former with an idea of deserting at his earliest opportunity. The next 
morning he was taken to the yard of the Provost, stripped and lashed to a 
stake, and given one hundred lashes. For the first nine blows he bore 
his suffering unflinchingly. At the tenth he uttered a frightful yell, and-, 
as blow followed blow, he gave shriek after shriek. Before the punish- 
ment was ended Frelin's cries had grown fainter and fainter, and at length 
ceased, and unconsciousness came to his relief At last the stripes were 
ended, and the victim, upon being unbound, fell to the earth a gory 
mangled mass. Upon his recovery he was placed in Van Buskirk's band, 
and nearly four months elapsed before he effected his escape. From the 
hour of his freedom he devoted himself to revenge, and, only attending 
the demands of nature sufficiently to preserve life, he followed Van Bus- 
kirk's band to and fro, killing one or more at each and every opportunity 
till he actually destroyed more of that party than ever fell in any of their 
numerous combats. 

In the autumn of 1780, a party of eight or ten patriots, living at Tap- 
pan or in its vicinity, learned that at the residence of one of their neigh- 


bors, strongly suspected of favoring the British, a large amount of provision, 
cattle and forage had been gathered ; that a party of the enemy would 
make a pretended attack on this residence, and that, after a brief and 
bloodless resistance, the stores were to be carried off. 

Quietly marching to the suspected point, these men found their story 
confirmed by the presence of a dozen British troopers, who were loading 
the provisions on wagons and preparing the cattle for removal. The 
Americans separated into two parties and attacked the foe on both sides. 
At the first volley four saddles were emptied, and the foe, unaware of the 
force which opposed them, thrown into confusion. The regulars fought 
well and, though defeated, only retired with Abraham Storm as a prisoner 
and after leaving most of the patriots severely and David Clarke fatally 

Slowly the Americans retraced their steps toward home, taking with 
them the fruits of their capture, and tenderly bearing their wounded com- 
rade, but the journey to Tappan was left uncompleted by Clarke, and by 
the roadside, where he was laid by grieving comrades, he uttered his last 
words, and started on the other journey which we all must take. 

Abraham Storms, who was only three and twenty years of age and had 
but recently been married and settled near the Waldberg Church, was taken 
to New York and confined in the .Sugar House. After a long imprison- 
ment he was exchanged, and re-entering the American army, continued 
in the service till the close of the war. 

On another occasion the patriots received word that a suspected Tory, 
living a short distance north of Tappan, was about to convey a heavily 
laden team to the British camp. A half dozen of them, determining to 
intercept this movement and take the goods for the American army, laid 
in wait for the Tory by the roadside. At length the rumbling of wheels 
was heard and the suspected man drove among them, but, owing to the 
intense darkness, he was unaware of their presence till ordered to halt. The 
night favored his escape, but the patriots seized the wagon and started 
toward home. As they proceeded, laughing and joking at the Tory's 
surprise, they were themselves surprised by marching directly into the 
midst of a foraging party of the enemy. Escape was their only thought 
and all were rapidly off in safety, except Abraham O'Blenis. This indivi- 
dual was snugly stowed away in the wagon. Upon discovery, he asserted 
himself to be a Loyalist and joined the troopers in a search for his com- 
rades. In the course of the hunt he gradually drew further and further 
away from the main body until, with the exception of one trooper who 
accompanied him, he was alone. At the top of the declivity north of the 


Tappan Church, which runs along the mill-dam, O'Blenis suddenly slopped 
as if listening. In an instant he called the trooper in a whisper and bade 
him look below. This the unsuspecting soldier did. With a lunge from his 
musket, which tumbled the Englishman into the dam, O'Blenis turned and 
fled, escaping before an alat'm could be given. 

During the period of hostilities the residence of Joost Mabie, at Tappan, 
was visited by the Tories, and the usual robbery and destruction took 
place. So unexpected was the attack, that Mabie's son, Peter C, had but 
time to hide behind an immense clothes-press which stood in one of the 
rooms. In the process of destruction this clothes-press was forced open 
and rifled, but not before the whole front was broken and battered by mus- 
ket blows. Young Mabie escaped discovery, but his father was taken to 
New York and confined for some time in the old Provost. A few years 
ago the old press was in the possession of Peter R. Haring. 

On one occasion, about 1778, Peter Van Orden, later a Division com- 
mander of militia in the war of 18 12, and member of Assembly from our 
County, had been on a scouting expedition near the British camp. He 
was seen by the foe and chased till he found refuge in a swamp near 
the log tavern, which formerly stood on the property now owned by John 
A. Bogert. In this swamp the fugitive remained for a night. 

About the same year, 1778, a man named Shuart, who had caused sus- 
picion of his patriotism, was detected in the act of driving cattle, which he 
had stolen from about Kakiat, to the British camp. His pursuers over- 
took this cow-boy at a spot just west of the present school-house in Nan- 
uet, near the house of the Rev. J. Cooper, and shot him dead. 

Just north of the Ramapo valley, in the present village of Monroe, 
dwelt Claudius Smith, the most daring marauder, the most merciless cow- 
boy, the most thorough scoundrel that ever met a just fate on the gallows. 
At the outbreak of hostilities in this region. Smith, with his three sons, 
William, Richard and James, collected about them a gang of desperadoes 
and began a warfare against mankind so lawless and violent as to terrorize 
this whole section, and call forth the offerjof a large reward for their cap- 
ture. A correct list of the names of those associated with Smith will pro- 
bably never be obtained, nor is it needful, as most of them came from 
other parts of the country, attracted by the boldness of his crimes. Among 
the names preserved are those of Wm. Cole, John Babcock, Wm. Jones, 
Thomas Ward, John Everett, Jacob Ackner, Geo. Harding, James Twad- 
dle, Martinus and Peter Dawson, John Mason, Henry McManus, Wm. 
Stagg, Geo. Bull, Jacob Low, James Terwilling and James Conners. 

This band of banditti ravaged the southern section of the present 


Orange county, raided down the Ramapo pass, and alternately visited the 
houses of patriots in the present township of Ramapo, or in the northern 
section of New Jersey. When they attacked a place it was not left till the 
process of looting was complete. Horses, harness, cattle, provisions were 
forcibly taken, from the barns of the unfortunate recipients of their visits ; 
everything of any value that could be carried was stolen from their houses, 
while the proprietor was either beaten or murdered, and his family out- 
raged. Extending their sphere of operations as they grew stronger, this 
gang of cow-boys attacked government property as it passed through 
Ramapo pass, and among the spoils thus seized were several thousand 
muskets. On July i8th, 1777, Claudius Smith, then a prisoner at Goshen, 
and one of his band, named John Brown, were indicted for stealing a yoke 
of government oxen, but succeeded in escaping from custody. 

Among the rocky fastness of the Ramapo mountains, this band found 
plenty of safe resorts. In one just east of the Augusta Iron works, they 
frequently divided their spoils. In another, near Sherwoodville, at a spot 
called " Horse Stable Rock," on Round Mountain, they often rendez- 
voused, while among their neighbors were many who sympathized with 
them, and gave them shelter in time of need. Of these Tory participants 
in their hellish actions, were Benjamin Demarest, John Harring, John 
Johnson, Wm. Conkling, Peter Ackner, in Pascack, Arie Ackerman, of the 
same place, and one Isaac Mabie, at whose place these robbers had exca- 
vated a cave for a retreat. At length their deeds reached such an alarm- 
ing state, that Governor Clinton, offered a reward of $500 for the arrest of 
Claudius Smith. This frightened that leader, and he hastened to place 
himself under British protection in New York, from whence, with the idea 
of reaching still greater safety, he crossed to Long Island. Through the 
instrumentality of Major John Brush, he was at length captured, conveyed 
to Goshen, and brought to trial January i ith, 1779. As already said, the 
result of that trial was his conviction and execution with two others of his 
band on January 22d, 1779. One of his last acts depicts his character. 
Always wicked, one of his early crimes had drawn from his mother the 
prophecy that he would " die like a trooper's horse with shoes on." The 
remembrance of this came to him at the last, and in presence of eternity, 
he kicked his shoes off to make his mother a liar. 

After the death of Claudius Smith, his sons swore revenge and the ex- 
cesses of the band were worse than before. On April 28th, 1779, a Goshen 
paper published the following : " We hear from Goshen that a horrible 
murder was committed near the Sterling Iron works, on Saturday, March 
26th, by a party of villains, several in number, the principal of whom was- 


Richard Smith, eldest surviving son of the late Claudius Smith, of in- 
famous memory, his eldest son having been shot last fall at Smith's Clove, 
in company with several other villains, by one of our scouting parties sent 
out in search of them. These bloody miscreants it seems that night in- 
tended to murder two men who had shown some activity and resolution in 
apprehending these robbers and murderers, who infest this neighborhood. 
They first went to the house of John Clark, near the iron works, whom 
they dragged from the house and then shot him, and observing some re- 
mains of life in him shot him through the arm again and left him. He 
lived some hours after." 

Among the homes visited by these British partisans was one, situated 
near the state line at Masonicus, occupied by a family named Lee. This 
home they devastated, killed young Lee, and violated the person of his 
sister Elizabeth. The sufferings she had witnessed and undergone, upset 
this poor girl's reason and from the time of the assault till her death, which 
occurred soon after from exposure in a bitter snow storm, Bessie Lee 
wandered through the present township of Ramapo, entreating by her ap- 
pearance, far more potent than word of tongue, the revenge of her patriot 

In 1 78 1, the British held several positions in New Jersey near the State 
line, and their presence gave rise to much uneasiness among the patriots 
in Ramapo township. On one occasion a Captain Babbit, with a dozen 
horsemen, started on a reconnoisance, and at evening encamped in a wood 
by the side of the road near the present village of Monsey. After 
breakfast, next morning, the troopers were lounging about when a coun- 
tryman was descried running toward their place of concealment. After he 
passed he turned south on a narrow lane, which intersected the highway 
just beyond the Americans, and soon met a British troop of two score 
dragoons. With the commanding officer of this party he had a long con- 
versation, frequently pointing toward the American's wood. Babbit's 
band, concluding they were discovered, determined to charge. 

With a whoop and cheer they broke cover and dashed at the startled 
foe. That foe had but just time to draw pistols and fire, but their aim 
was so hurried that not a patriot was injured. Before the dragoons could 
draw sabres the Americans were on them, overturning horses and riders, 
cutting them down with each sabre sweep, until, wild with terror, the 
British turned and fled through the narrow causeway. The pursuit was 
not abandoned by the patriots till the first picket line of the enemy was 
passed and one of the pickets made prisoner. Of the dragoon force, all 
were captured or cut down except one. 


One other incident of a local nature in Ramapo township comes to my 
notice. An old gentleman in this section was, until the war begun, the 
happy owner of pictures of King George and Queen Charlotte. At the 
outbi-eak of hostilities this firm ' patriot, with grim determination, turned 
the pictures face to the wall. Long before the close of the struggle the 
old man was stricken with paralysis and bed-ridden. In one of the many 
alarms, when it seemed as though the enemy would overrun our County, 
the old gentleman was observed to be restless and uneasy, and, at length, 
when news was brought that the foe was approaching, he made the most 
violent gesticulations to have the faces of the pictures turned out again. 

Sad had been the lot of the patriots during the long years of the war. 
From Tappan, whose residents had been harried by the incursions of 
British troops and Tory partisans, whose citizens had seen neighbor after 
neighbor robbed, beaten or slaughtered, to whom the awful realization of 
conflict had come in the execution of John Andre ; to Peploaps kill, where 
the festering, bloated corpses of our yeomen poisoned the pure mountain 
air. From the shore of the Hudson, which had been the scene of many a 
sanguinary struggle ; to the Ramapo Valley, where the patriots had been 
wasted by Claudius Smith and his band ; there had arisen, time and again, 
the cry of agony : " How long ; O Lord ! how long !" 

Now the war was ended, and, as the loyalists had acted toward the 
patriots in days gone by, they now, in' their hour of triumph, took revenge 
seven-fold upon their foretime persecutors. Commissioners of Forfeiture, 
appointed by the State authorities, confiscated the property of such as had 
excited suspicion of their patriotism ; and many of the old families of the 
County found it safer to abandon their home and possessions, than to 
trust to the clemency of the victors. These people joined the refugees in 
New York, and sailed under British protection to other lands. 

Among those who fell under the ban was Theodorus Snedeker. We 
have already seen that he claimed to have supplied the American army 
with food, and thus drawn upon himself the enmity of the British ; that 
they had visited and robbed him. He then goes on to state that he 
visited New York to obtain redress for the robbery, and thus caused the 
distrust of his patriot neighbors while he was unsuccessful in his mission ; 
and that, while he was absent, his furniture, stock, and lands were seques- 
trated and sold. Snedeker's disloyalty to the patriot cause was too noted. 
His petition was rejected and his property was sold by Samuel Dodge and 
Daniel Graham, the Commissioners of Forfeiture,, to Jacobus Swartwout, on 
Aug. 1 8th, 1782. Snedeker's house still standing, is now owned by Hon. 
A. B. Conger. 


Turn from this picture of human selfishness, greediness, cowardice, and 
treason, to that other picture, where, on Sept. 28th, 1779, wrapped in a 
few rags, in the midst of inconceivable filth and vermin, exhausted by pri- 
vation and hunger, breathing the mephitic, noisome air of the old Sugar 
House ; the son-in-law and nephew of Theodorus — ^Johannes Snedeker — 
lay dying ; so crowded by fellow prisoners that his death struggles dis- 
turbed them, and hearing, with dulled ears, not the familiar voice of 
Dominie Ver Bryck in prayer, but the oaths and imprecations of men half 
frenzied with suffering. 

Captain James Lamb, of Haverstraw, was another Tory whose property 
was confiscated. This land lay between Florus Falls and Stony Point. 
Owing to the patriotism of his sons-in-law Jacob and John Waldron, part 
of the property was saved and granted to Lamb's children. 

Cornelius Mabie, of Tappan, had cast his lot with the British during 
the war. At its close, he sought a new home in Nova Scotia, while the 
Commissioners of Forfeiture disposed of his mill, farm and stock for the 
benefit of the State. 

A. Hawks Hay, Colonel. Gilbert Cooper, Lieutenant-Colonel. 

John Smith, Major.t John L. Smith, Major. 

John Ferrand, Surgeon. James Clark, Adjutant. Joseph Johnson, Quartermaster. 

Joseph Hunt, Quartermaster Sergeant. 

James Onderdonk, Sergeant Major. 

Jacob Onderdonk, Captain. 
Resolvert Van Houten, First Lieutenant, Andries Onderdonk, Second Lieutenant. 

Resolvert Van Houten, Ensign. 

Rueloff Stephens, Sergeant. 
Claus Van Houten, Sergeant. 
James Vanderbilt, Corporal. 
Tunis Van Houten, Corporal. 

Blauvelt, John 
Blauvelt, Peter 
Copoelet, Daniel 
Campbell, Luke 
Campbell, Stephen 
Campbell, William 
Cooper, Hendrick 
DePew, Peter 
Garrison, Abraham 

Jacobus Blauvelt, Sergeant. 
Abraham Blauvelt, Sergeant. 
Peter Stephens, Corporal. 
Abraham Van Houten, Corporal. 
Johannes Ackerman, Fifer. 
Garrison, Abraham, Jr. 

Seaman, Joseph 
Seaman, Towles 
Secor, Isaac 
Smith, Isaac 
Smith, John 
Smith, Nathaniel 
Smith, Stephen 
Riker, Mathew 

Stagg, John 
Stephens, Albert 
Stephens, Resolvert 
Stephens, Stepen A. 
Stephens, Stephen H. 
Taylor, William 
Van Houten, John 
Van Sickles, Daniel 

Johannes Bell, Captain. Joseph Crane, Captain. 
William Graham, Second Lieutenant. 
Ackerson, Garrett Gardener, John 

Blauvelt, Aurie Hogenkamp, John A. 

Blauvelt, Johannes Onderdonk, Jacob 

John Fitcher, First Lieutenant. 

Daniel Onderdonk, Ensign. 
Sickles, William 
Smith, Aurie 
Tourneurs, Henry 


Captured at Fort Clinton and Fort Montgomery: 

Conklin, Johnt 
Crom, Hermant 

De La Montagne, Jamest 
Garrison, Samuelt 
Storms, Johnt 

Lent, Jacobt 
Sears, Francist 

Colonel, Abraham Lent. 
Lieutenant-Colonel, Johannes David Blauvelt. Major, Johannes Joseph Blauvelt. 

Adjutant, Jacobus De Clark. Quartermaster, Isaac Perry. 

Johannes Jacobus Blauvelt, Captain. 
James Lent, First Lieut. Hendrick V. Ver Bryck, Ensign. James Smith, Second Lieut. 

Isaac Smith, Captain. 

Johannes Isaac Blauvelt, First Lieut. 

Wm. Van Sickles, Second Lieut. 

Lambert Smith, Ensign. 

The appended list is of Rockland County people who served during the 
Revolution, but to what regiments or branch of the service they were at- 
tached I do not know. 

Ackerman, William 

Archer, Jacob 

Blanch, Thomas, Colonel 

Blauvelt, Abram 

Blauvelt, C. A.t Con. Army 

Carson, James 

Clarke, David* 

Cuyper, Cornelius, Lieut-Col. 

Ellison, Robert 

Trout, Adam 

Trout, Michael 

Snedeker. Johannest 

Allison, Wm., Colonel 

Tinkey, John 

Freeland, Peter 
Garrison, John 
Jones, Jacob 
Lewis, James 
Meyers, Gerritt 
O'Blenis, Abram 
O'Blenis, Gerrit 
Onderdonk, Andrew 
Onderdonk, Thomas 
Weygint, Tobias 
Wilson, Jamest 
Gross, Peter 
Smith, Jacobus 
Waldron, Jacob 

Palmer, Henry, Captain. 
Paul, Arthur 
Sarvent, Abram 
Schucraft, Jaipes 
Steel, John 
Storms, Abramt 
Suffern, John 
Tallman, Harmanust 
Taulman, Peter, Captain 
Dorey, James, Con. Army 
De Ronde, Abram* 
Cornelison, Michael, Sr.t 
Waldron, John 
Ver Bryck.Sam'l Gerrit,Sr.t 

Two companies from Haverstraw were in the Continental Army. 

Benjamin Coe, Captain. 

Araham Onderdonk, First Lieut. 

Paulus M. Vandervoort, Second Lieut. 

Daniel Coe, Jr., Ensign. 

*Killed. tCaptured. tDied Prisoners. 


John Suffern was an officer in the Commissary Department, C. A. 
Blauvelt, of the Continental army, was captured, transported to England, 
and held there as a prisoner of war for nine months. James Wilson was 
confined in the Sugar House ; after his release he lived to the age of 90 
years. Peter Gross served in Colonel John Lamb's Regiment of N. Y. 
Artillery, and was present at the surrender of Yorktown. Abram De 
Ronde was captured by a party of Tories while conveying provisions to 
the American army at Stony Point. On the way to New York he and 
his captors were fired on by an American scouting party, and he was mor- 
tally wounded. 

As an indication of the material condition of the County during those days, 
it may not be amiss to mention the following facts: General Heath, when 
on his march from Tappan to Hackensack to quell the turbulence of the 
Tories, sent to Col. Hays for flour, beef and pork. To his requisition 
Hays returned answer, that there was no pork, that while he could fill the 
order for flour there were neither horses nor wagons to transport it, and 
that plenty of beef was on the way. 

At a later period, in 1777, the Legislature passed an act authorizing 
the Board of Supervisors for each county to meet and ascertain the real 
value of rye, oats, Indian corn, flour, beef and pork, in specie for the year 
1777. The valuation in this County was fixed as follows: Wheat 8s. per 
bushel ; rye and corn Ss. each per bushel ; oats and buckwheat at 3s. 
per bushel ; flour at 22s. per cwt. ; beef, 40s. per cwt. ; pork at 60s. per 
cwt. As may be imagined these prices fluctuated during the different 
quarters of the year, sometimes as much as 50 per cent. 

We have seen that the old Tappan church was used both as a prison 
and court-room. The English church at Kakiat, if we may believe the 
tradition, was used as a stable, and from John Coe's Hotel at that place. 
La Fayette dated, at least, one letter. 

It is interesting to note that even the horrors of war could not entirely 
obliterate the gentler muse. Captain Johannes Jacobus Blauvelt appears 
to have had an ear for music, and the words of the following song, used 
by the Virginia troops, so attracted his fancy as to lead him to copy it in 
his Orderly Book. 

"Com all you bref Virginiae man I have you all to 
It is to fight your enemy you must prepare to 

Our king he has fell out wyth us hes a mind to 

bindus slavs 
Before we well put op wyth it will reither 

choose our graeves 


We will put op with his l\Iasety our anything 

that gust 
And if he wont put op with et he may do his 

Our king he has fell out with ous he is very 

angry now 
I hope that brave America will conker general 

As for Lord north he es very proud and grand 
He has no friend in America as we can under 

Long thim has ben trying some quarrel to begin 
That he might heuve a change the pretender to 

brign in 
As for our gouvernor he acted very mene 
He stole away our powder out of our magazine 
He stole away our powder and likwist our led 
And if hae dont return it he is sure to loose his 

This is one of the worst wars that ever was be- 
It is lyke the father that wus against his sun 
I never hard of such a war no not sens neohs 

That any christian king crueves for his subjects 

Thir is manas a brave souldier must go and 

loose hys lyf 
And menys louven husband must an leve his 

loven wif 
But we will kill them my brave boys lik brim- 

ston kild the bes 
Whear we cold find themse mongst the woods 

and thress 
Dount you remember the issralits out of bond 

aege roodis be 
And by the hand of moses end by the power of 

And by the hand of moses struck water with 


Johannes Blauvelt neeft gehut van Abraham ryker vooghi van die Staaet Van Kaspaarus 
Conklyn 4 Gin. mis." 

Authorities referred to : " History of Haverstraw," by Rev. Dr. A. S. Freeman ; " History 
Clarkstown," H. P. Fay ; " History of Ramapo," E. B. Cobb; "History of Orange County," 
Eager; Papers in " City and County," R. H. Fenton. Magazine American History, Vols. III., 
v., IX., X., XL, XII. Old documents, " Lectures on Rockland County," by William G. 




" Though one-third of the labor of the country at the close of the 
Revolution was probably devoted to the cutting of timber," says Greeley, 
in his American Conflict, "the ax-helve was but a pudding stick; 
while the plough was a rude structure of wood, clumsily pointed and 
shielded with iron. A thousand bushels of corn (maize) are now grown 
on our western prairies, at a cost of fewer days' labor than were required 
for the production of a hundred in New York or New England eighty 
years ago." *#**'< Almost every farmer's house was a hive, 
wherein the ' great wheel ' and the ' little wheel ' — the former kept in mo- 
tion by the hands and feet of all the daughters ten years old and upwards, 
the latter plied by their not less industrious mother — hummed and whirled 
from morning till night. 

In the back room, or some convenient appendage, the loom responded 
day by day to the movements of the busy shuttle, whereby the fleeces of 
the farmer's flock and the flax of his field were slowly but steadily converted 
into substantial though homely cloth, sufficient for the annual wear of the 
family, and often with something over to exchange at the neighboring 
merchant's for his groceries and wares." 

Peace found this County devastated and scathed. Where once had 
been great fields of waving grain or grass or tassled corn, now lay a waste 
rankly o'ergrown with weeds; where once capacious barns had stood, filled 
to bursting with the glad earth's produce and giving shelter to lowing kine, 
and bleating sheep, and well-fed swine; there now could be found a few 
charred, blackened fragments of the buildings, while the cattle had been 
long since taken by one or the other army; and, turning to the home, 
where once had been comfort and plenty, great chests and presses filled 
with home made cloth; cupboards stored with pewter, earthenware, and, 


perchance, china and silver table sets ; garrets redolent with the odors of 
garden and orchard fruits ; now stood open chest lids, cupboard doors ajar, 
exposing empty shelves, while the once filled garret was a home for bats 
and owls. Turn from this scene of sadness and look at the condition of 
New York City, the commercial depot for this County, and the spectacle 
is not more cheering. Two great fires had swept four hundred houses 
from existence, and in the ruins stood huts and dens built from 
rubbish and fragments of canvass ; the long, cold winters fell chill upon the 
invaders, yet the dangers of attacks from the patriots, if they ventured far 
from their quarters, were such as to lead the enemy to cut down the trees 
in the city and the forest on the island for fuel, and unsightly stumps 
and low underbrush stood in the streets and covered the adjacent country. 
Commerce was dead. The Continental money worthless. The States 

This was the first fruits of the patriots, victory, death and ashes. From 
death and ashes in the physical world springs fresh life, and from the ashes 
of an old social life was to spring forth a new, a more thriving, a better 
social system. Brave men and women came from the crucible of suffering 
undismayed, and began once more the struggle for existence. The earth 
was theirs and on their industry depended the fulness thereof 

Where all alike were equally poor, each was dependent on his own 
labor, and at once, as if by magic, the Army of the Revolution melted 
into the busy citizens of the Republic, industriously reassuming the peace- 
ful vocations they had abandoned at the call to arms. With wonderful 
rapidity, considering the exhausted condition of the people, houses and 
barns were rebuilt ; the fallow land reploughed, and the deserted farm 
yards replenished with domestic animals. Soon again was heard from 
every house the hum of the " great wheel " and the " little wheel," and on 
countless looms was being woven the warp and woof of a new existence. 
Once more the many long untrammeled streams, were fretted into foam 
as the water came in great surges from the slow revolving mill wheels ; 
and here and there, along the highways of the County, the ringing blows of 
hammer on anvil, the roar of the fire, and the scattering sparks, proclaimed 
that the brawny armed artisan. within. Jiad only ceased to be a son of Mars 
to become a son of Vulcan. 

The first houses of the settlers were of two descriptions, depending in 
great measure for the style on the location chosen. In one case an ex- 
cavation in the side of a hill, lined with bark and faced with upright posts 
set in the earth, furnished with shelves and slaap tancks, was their home 
'till better accommodation could be had. In the other case, a hut made of 


interwoven saplings, covered with bark was used. These rude dwellings 
were only occupied till a log house could be erected. In the course of 
time the simple log houses were replaced by more pretentious and per- 
manent buildings, and it is with these we have to deal. 

Before the introduction of saw-mills, franie buildings with shingled sides 
and thatched roofs were constructed. The shingles, made by hand from 
well seasoned cedar, were almost as durable as stone. Such houses, 
though expensive were not as costly nor as difficult to build as those of 
stone. As their general arrangement was much the same as the latter, I 
need not give them a separate description. While a few of these shingle- 
built houses can still be found in the County, the great majority of those 
built before the close of the last century, which still stand, are of brown 
stone. These stone buildings were one story high, with an overshot roof, 
forming a portico, in some cases both in front and behind ; in others the 
portico was only in front, while in the rear -the roof, called a " lean-to," ex- 
tended, to within a few feet of the ground. Admission to the house was 
through half-doors, of which the upper half, containing usually four small 
panes of glass, could be opened for ventilation without disturbing the 

The entrance was into a broad hallway, through which a horse and car- 
riage could be driven and then leave space between hubs and walls. Low 
and unceiled were hall and rooms. Overhead ran the heavy oak beams, 
which became a rich, dark color with age, and on these rested the garret 
floor. The lower half of the wall in many houses was wainscoted, the 
upper half plastered. The fire-places were enormous, generally extending 
to a width sufficient to accommodate the whole family with seats near the 
fire. The chimneys, which were capacious, were built outside of the 
house. They were generally kept clear by " burning out " during a wet 
day to prevent danger from fire. 

In the more pretentious dwellings, the jambs of the fire-place were set 
round with glazed, blue delft- ware tilesj imported from Holland, on which 
were depicted Scriptural scenes — these were a never-failing source of 
amusement and instruction to the children — and each had its huge and- 
irons and heavy fire-shovel and tongs. 

In the front of the house, on either side of the hall, were the parlor and 
kitchen, and in the rear, two bedrooms, which were lighted by a window 
in each end of the building. In many houses the parlor was never 
opened except for the purpose of a weekly cleaning, and as soon as that 
was finished it was closed again. This cleaning consisted of a thorough 
scrubbing, after which heaps of white sand were scattered on the floor,' 


which, later, when the boards were dry, were swept into fanciful forms by 
the housewife|s broom. In all houses, the parlor contained a high posted 
corded, and unwieldly bedstead, which, with its hangings, formed the index 
of the social standing of its owner. Upon it, were two feather beds — one 
for the sleeper to lie upon, another of a lighter weight, to be used as 
a covering. The pillow-cases were generally of check patterns, and the 
curtains and valance were of as expensive materials as could be afforded. 

Not infrequently a round tea-table, with a leaf which could be dropped 
perpendicularly when not in use, also occupied the parlor and on this stood 
a family Dutch Bible with heavy wooden covers, bound and clasped with 
brass, which covers were seldom or never opened, except to record a mar- 
riage, a birth, or a death. Looking-glasses, for common use, were small, 
with narrow black frames, but in the parlors of the wealthier families hung 
a large glass, framed with mahogany, trimmed with guilt, while from the 
top of the frame projected forward a gilded sheaf of wheat stalks or other 
like fanciful designs. Clocks were extremely rare — those great eight-day 
clocks, which are now so highly prized, being introduced into this country 
about 1720 — and the early settlers marked the flight of time by an hour- 
glass and a sun dial. 

The cellar, the entrance to which was always outside the house, was 
used as a storehouse for such farm products as needed an equal tempera- 
ture in winter, and as the dairy all the year round. 

The garret was the store house. Here were laid up the fruits of the 
harvest which needed to be kept dry. Along the collar beams hung 
strings of dried apples and ears of sweet corn ; here in one corner stood the 
bin for rye, in another the bin for corn ; along one side were piled bags of 
flour, along the other stood barrels of apples. Not infrequently boards 
were laid on the collar beams, and on this improvised floor the lighter farm- 
ing utensils were placed side by side with the spinning wheel and loom. 

What weird old places those garrets were. The one or two panes of 
glass placed in the gable served but to make the darkness more visible, and 
an air of ghosts always pervaded them. Tolerated, .they might be by the 
children during a stormy winter day when no other place could be found 
for play ; but oh ! what an agony of terror was produced by an order 
from the parent at night to go up there and bring down some needed ar- 
ticle. How with quivering muscles and trembling limbs the messenger 
would start, trying to keep up an air of courage by whistling ; how the 
whistle would die out at the head of the stairs; how each shadow thrown 
out by the candle light would assume grotesque, weird, and gigantic out- 
lines ; how. the mind would rapidly fall into such a whirl that every action 


was performed automatically ; and then, if a mouse/disturbed by the un- 
wonted light, should scamper across the floor, how, with bristling hair and 
starting eyeballs, the frightened messenger would fly to the stairs and get 
down any way, caring little whether it was head first or feet first, so long 
as he got down quickly, and without creating disturbance enough to be 
heard by his parents ; for the terror of parental anger exceeded even the 
terror of ghosts, proving the power of the visible and tangible over the 
imperceptible and imjpalpable. 

The kitchen in many houses was used alike as the cooking, eating and 
living room. On one side stood the vast open fire-place, with bright 
wood fire and shining andirons ; across its top" ran an iron bar upon which 
hung pot hooks and trammels — the crane was as yet too expensive a lux- 
ury for common use. Along the walls hung racks for culinary utensils, 
and in one corner stood a three-cornered closet called a pudabunk, in 
which the plates, knives and forks were placed. The crockery was delft- 
ware, which came into use in this colony about the close of the seven- 
teenth century ; previous to the introduction of delft- ware, wooden and 
pewter dishes and vessels were used, and pewter continued the common 
table service in this County till the beginning of this century ; the knives 
and forks were of steel. Among the very wealthy, blue and white china 
and porcelain, curiously ornamented with Chinese pictures, were kept for 
display, and used, perhaps, once in a lifetime. Some of these families 
decorated their parlor walls with China plates suspended by a strong rib- 
bon passed through a hole drilled in their edges. Silver spoons, snuffers, 
candlesticks, tankards and punch-bowls were owned by such as had 
accumulated more money than they could otherwise use. With them the 
purchase of silverware was an investment for surplus funds, as the different 
interest-paying stocks' and ventures which exist in our time were unknown 
in those days. 

Further furniture consisted of high, straight-back chairs, sometimes 
covered with leather and studded with brass nails, but more frequently 
seated simply with matted rushes. The capacious chest, brought from 
Holland, occupied a prominent place in the house for several generations, 
and was ev€r kept filled to overflowing with clothing and cloth by the in- 
dustrious good wife. Another useful article was the kermis, or trundle- 
bed, which was concealed under the large bed by day, and drawn out for 
the children's use at night. 

Such was the general arrangement of double houses. In those of 
smaller size the interior was changed only by the hall occupying one side 
of the front, the other side -^ing used as the parlor, after the manner of 


our city houses to-day, and opening into the sleeping rooms in the lean-to 
In such houses the kitchen stood alongside the dwelling, generally com- 
municating with it by a doorway. When the kitchen was thus detached 
from the house, its attic was used as the slaves' quarters, or if there were 
many of these, for one family. 

At a little distance from the dwelling stood a capacious barn with 
thatched roof, its mow floors being made of saplings laid loosely across 
the beams. Nearer the house was the well, with its long sweep 'heavily 
weighted at one end for greater ease in raising water ; and not infrequently 
a building of logs, filled in with clay, was in close proximity, and was oc- 
cupied by the slaves. 

In such a community, everyone who was old enough to be of aid 
worked. By nine or half-past, at night, the candle light was extinguished 
and the wearied men and women slept ; at four o'clock in Summer and an 
hour and a half later in Winter, they arose. Before breakfast the male 
portion of the family had cleaned and watered the stock, the women had 
milked the cows, and, if it were Summer, the children had driven them to 
the pasture lot. After breakfast the men started forth to the fields, while 
the women, having attended to their household chores, began their ap- 
parently endless task of spinning and weaving, or else made up the linsey- 
woolsey garments, which were to clothe the family in the future. 

The farm labor ran in regular and unvarying routine. In Spring came 
the ploughing, the planting of the maize and potatoes, and the sowing of 
the cereals and flax. In summer the sheep were sheared, hay was 
gathered, grain was garnered by the men, while the women spun the wool. 
In Autumn the late fruits and cereals were harvested, the flax was broken, 
swingled and hatcheled, and everything prepared for the approaching cold 
season. In Winter the women tended to the manufacture of cloth, while 
the men threshed the grain and cut wood for the next year's supply. 

Wonderful as is this picture of industry, it becomes more wonderful 
when we recall the implements of husbandry employed. The plough, 
clumsily shaped and light, was made of wood, and the share only was par- 
tially sheathed with iron. The motive power was a team of slow and 
patient oxen. As njight be expected, the work was slow, but never 
monotonous, for the plough-boy was ever on the alert to keep the plough 
in the furrow ; let it once get out and trouble began. Then came a tug 
to drag both plough and oxen back, and the ever obtuse beasts became 
more stupid whenever some intelligence was wanted. At first the sickle 
was the only implement used in gathering grain. Then came the tre- 
mendous invention of the cradle. Yet, if after using the cradle of to-day, 


one should grasp the implement that was first devised, he would lose all 
interest in agriculture. Pitchforks were made with wooden tines, and ax- 
handles were " pudding sticks," while the ax-head was poorly shaped and 
illy balanced. 

Despite these difficulties, the settlers succeeded in supplying them- 
selves with food and clothing, and soon acquired a surplus, which they ex- 
changed with miller or storekeeper for money or commodities. Here and 
there throughout the County, as we have already seen, were mills — both 
grist and saw — and at convenient landing places along the river front were 
stores. In exchange for tea, coffee, tobacco and sugar, or crockery and 
silverware, the storekeeper received the surplus fruits of the farm or the 
cloth, butter and eggs of the housewife. Home-made cloth was of great 
value in those early days and the Dutch matrons took much pride in their 
packed clothes-presses. For his grain, the farmer obtained gold — Spanish 
Johannes or Joes ($i6 pieces) or English guineas. In the eager search for 
this gold or plate, the British and Hessian soldiery ripped many a feather 
bed and sounded many a door yard and garden with their bayonets, dur- 
ing the Revolution. Beside the millers and storekeepers, the blacksmith 
took part of the surplusage of the harvest in payment for his labor, which 
he could exchange with miller or merchant for his necessities. 

But while there were millers, merchants and smiths in the County, they 
by no means depended entirely on their calling for support. All owned 
and tilled land in conjunction with their other occupations. The first 
blacksmith that came into the Haverstraw. precinct was led to do so by a 
grant of land. 

' ' Know all men by these present, that we whose names are hereunto written, for and in consid- 
eration that Joseph Wood, of Hempstead, in Queens County, shall settle upon a certain tract of land 
hereinafter described, and then and there uphold the trade of a blacksmith, as long as he shall be 
able and capable of working at the said trade, and to work for the persons underwritten according 
to the custom of a Smith * * We do hereby grant and release unto him a certain tract of land at 
a plate called Kakiat, bovmded west by the rear of the first eastern division of lots, east by a creek 
or brook called Wood creek, containing lOO acres. July 15th, 1720." 

" John Allison, "Caleb Halstead, 
James Searing, William Hutchins, 
Charles Mott, Abm. Denton, 

William Osborn, Jonathan Rose," 
Jonathan Seaman." 

When sufficient flour had been collected by the miller, and sufficient of 
the other products of agriculture by the merchant, they shipped the 
material to New York by sloop, and after exchanging for articles they 
needed, sold the balance. 


We have already seen that the roads were few and far between. Once 
a year the King's Highway was worked and its bridges repaired, but the 
branch roads were never touched and bridges were unthought of If neces- 
sity compelled the use of a vehicle, that vehicle was a springless lumber 
wagon, or, in winter, a sleigh running upon split sapplings, and was drawn 
at a uniform dog trot by pot-bellied nags. Before the Revolution the two- 
wheeled one-horse chaise had been introduced into New York and its im- 
mediate vicinity, but I have yet to learn that the people of this County 
were guilty of any such foolish extravagance up to that period. 

Travel was almost entirely carried on on horseback. If the heads of 
a family went out together, a pillion was used, the woman sitting on it and 
steadying herself by holding on to the man. This mode of journeying also 
extended to those who aspired to be heads of families, and courtship in 
those days was largely carried on in this manner. Trotting horses, under 
the saddle, were rare ; a canter was the ordinary pace for the sturdy 
Dutchman ; but these Dutchmen, like their descendants, were fond of their 
stock, said an attempt by any one to pass them, roused a spirit of emulation 
that took no heed of dignity or occasion. A race followed, even though 
the day was the Sabbath and the church doors were scarcely yet closed 
upon them. The Perrys of Rockland are said to have been hard riders 
and never missed an opportunity to race. If a neighbor did not come 
along frequently enough, these Jehus would run their own horses against 
each other. 

The few trips, that the average resident made to New York in the 
course of his life, were generally made by the flat-bottomed, slow-sailing, 
side-board sloops of those days, and these trips were by no means free 
from danger. The sad experience of the past few years in Nyack and 
Haverstraw Bays, proves that with all the advance in boat-building, the 
Hudson can still be master ; and whatever of danger'renders the navigation 
of the noble river perilous at times even now, was ten times greater when 
the vessels were clumsy and difficult to manage. Solemn, indeed, is the 
incription that meets the casual observer, who, in rdle curiosity, perhaps, 
stops a moment in the Coe burying ground by the English Church : 
^' Captain William Coe drowned in the North River with nine others, Nov. 
25, 1774." If the observer makes inquiry regarding this catastrophy, he 
will be informed that it was occasioned by the capsizing of a sloop. Incre- 
dulous we may be, even if we allow the fullest sway to our imaginations in 
regard to sudden gust and howling gale, incredulous we may be, when 
told that the placid flowing Spar-kill hks been the scene of drowning for 
three of these whilom passengers. Yet the statement is true. 


Sometimes the: trip to town was made on horseback or by wagon, and 
not unfrequently, the traveller walked to New York and back. This has 
been done by more thkn one person whom I have known, and was not re- 
garded by them as anything out of common. 

In dress, the first comers were not particular. They wore what they 
had, and made it hold together as long as they could. As the success of 
their labors became assured, however, they adopted a garb which followed 
the fashion of their native land, being changed only by the necessities of 
their new home. Homespun coats, with great shirts, in which were ca- 
pacious pockets, a loose-fitting, blouse-shaped, under-coat or waistcoat, 
knee-breeches, long blue worsted stockings and huge shoes, often home- 
made, with pewter, or in the very wealthy, silver buckles formed their 
apparel ; while the younger unmarried men wore short, square-frocked 
coats with rows of enormous brass buttons. The elderly dames attired 
themselves in close-crimped hats, long-waisted short-gowns, homespun 
petticoats, with scissors and pincushions, and gay calico pockets hanging 
on the outside ; and their daughters only differed from them in attire by 
the use of a tastefully arranged bright ribbon or two, and a coquettish 
manner of wearing their clothing. If fortune had been unusually kind, 
silk dresses possessed by the matrons indicated their worldly success. 

At a later period the garb of the men changed in style and gradually 
settled into the habit of to-day, with the exception that the top-coat was 
made with two or more capes, and contained the pockets that formerly 
belonged to the body coat. The hair of the men was allowed to grow 
long, and was generally dressed in a queue up to and during the Revolution. 
After that period this custom gradually ceased, until now it is an indi- 
cation of affectation. 

Industrious as were our ancestors they still found time for amusements, 
most of which were harmless, none absolutely brutal. Horse-racing had 
not degenerated into a gambler's occupation, but was a pure enjoyment 
into which horse and rider entered with equal zest. Two neighbors meet- 
ing upon the road would have a short brush, and each would feel con- 
vinced that his animal was the better horse. In a spirit of friendly rivalry 
they would agree to meet at a stated place, usually some long, level, green 
sward beside the highway, on the following Saturday afternoon and test 
the matter fairly ; each would notify his friends of the coming match, and 
on the afternoon appointed a score or more of young men would be pre- 
sent to see the trial. Sometimes, in fact often, the spectators would feel 
satisfied that the animals they be'strode could defeat either of the contest- 
ing horses, or that of any one present ; the result would be another and 


still another race, till the waning hours warned all present that their night 
work awaited them, then, with great good nature they would ride off 
home, determining to try again at the first opportunity. 

But these were not the only contests of speed which the horses were 
put to. There were surreptitious night runnings, that the owners of the 
animals were not aware of. Emulation between the slaves of different fami- 
lies was as active as that between their owners, perhaps even more so, and 
when the rest of the household had settled down to sleepy, these nocturnal 
contestants had many a struggle for first place. Sleepy, lazy, exhausted, 
they accounted next day for their weariness and the sweated condition of 
the horses by some convenient untruth. In later years, when Methodist 
itinerants travelled on horseback, the former night contests of the slaves 
were carried on by the worthy scions of those houses where the ministers 
tarried over night. They used and abused those ministers' horses to learn 
what stuff they had in them, and returned the wearied beasts to their stalls 
just in time to avoid detection. Bold, careful, and yet, withal, kind riders, 
the men of those days were gentle with their animals, and those animals 
responded with all the love of their natures to the caresses of their 

Other contests between the young men of those days grew out of faith 
in their personal strength. Matches between them in running, wrestling, 
and hurling heavy weights were common, and carried on in friendly 
rivalry. Occasionally though justice demands that I should say only 
when braggadocio among them grew unbearable the youthful owner of 
slaves pitted his negroes' butting powers against those of some neighbor's 
Cuffee, and then all the rising generation collected to see the battle. 
Backing off, till fifteen or twenty feet separated them, the black competi- 
tors would rush at each other and drive their heads togetRer with a crash, 
that would break the skull of an ordinary man, but which only resulted 
in the feUing of one of them. In those rare instances, where one of these 
negroes had defeated all opponents in thickness of skull and strength of 
neck, small wagers would be made that he could not break in one of the 
heavy folding doors which led into the main floor of the barns ; and then 
one of the conspirators would stand within and hold a heavy bar against 
that part of the door where he would strike. Defeat always greeted the 
black-a-moor's efforts in such cases, and drew forth from him many ex- 
pressions of wonder at the stiffness of the particular door, but the fact that 
he had been deceived never seemed to have entered his dull mind. 

Hunting was so common as scarcely to deserve classification among the 
amusements. No one ever thought of going off to the woods or fields in. 


pursuit of their daily toil without carrying their trusty gun. In the early 
days of settlement it would be rare if some of the family did not return at 
night bearing game which had been shot, and it was not infrequent 
even within the memory of men still living, for the laborer to cease from 
his toil, seize his gun and shoot a fox, that, hard chased by the dogs, 
entered the fields in his flight. 

Among those enjoyments into which both sexes joined, were hiiskings 
and weddings. In both cases the merriment was carried on in the tre- 
mendous barns of those days. At the huskings, people were present from 
miles around. The great heaps of corn were piled up on the floor and the 
guests, selecting such places as were near their friends, sat round these 
heaps in circles. Gossip, flirtation, badinage, flew thick and fast, and one, 
who stood in the mows overhead, would have thought that Babel had been 
reproduced. Yes in all that tumult of laughter, and song, and jest, there 
was a ceaseless energy, which heaped high the baskets of yellow corn and 
ever diminished the piles before the busy talkers. 

After the husking was ended all adjourned to the house for refresh- 
ment, and then, the barn floor having meantime been cleared by the slaves, 
once more visited it to end the day in jollity and mirth. 

In some respects marriages were simpler in those days than in these. 
Wiiile due notice and invitation was given to every family within a radius 
of miles, for in those days, as has already been said, every one knew each 
other, the invitations werd for what we would call the reception, never to 
witness the ceremony. Unostentatiously the wedding party drove to the 
parsonage accompanied only by their immediate relatives. There they 
were quietly married, and then started for home again, having added one 
to their number in the person of the good dominie. 

At that home were collecting all the people from a wide area, coming 
on horseback, coming on foot, coming in wagons, and coming in the full 
spirit of innocent enjoyment. On the arrival of the wedding party came 
the wedding dinner. And what a dinner ! none of the condiment soaked, 
highly-spiced foods ; none of the knick-knacks, ycleped pates, and truffles 
and capons — products of disease, every one of them, which are chosen by 
the dyspeptic epicures of to-day ; but the table groaned under the weight 
of solid substantial victuals, which were eaten by men and women who 
ate to live — not lived to eat. Huge turkeys, long the pride of the farm- 
yard ; ducks and geese, swimming in their own gravy ; chickens unnum- 
bered, and at their head a famous chanticleer ; great roasts of beef, and 
sides of bacon, the vegetables of the season — all these graced the board ; 
and then for dessert came apple pies, and peach pies, and pumpkin pies. 


the tender olye kok, the crisp cruller, the famous Dutch doughnut — alas, 
that it is passing away ! sweet cakes, short cakes and ginger cakes ; pre- 
served peaches, quinces, citrons ; these and more tempted the appetites of 
the robust guests. 

Nor was liquid refreshments lacking. Great tankards of New England 
rum, vessels of Holland schnapps, and bottles of rare old wine of Gaul 
stood waiting the beck of the harder-headed guests, while the women 
quaffed, with full knowledge of its potency, that delectable nectar, lost to 
us forever, Metheglin ; or else sipped, with appreciative draughts of crusty 
wine from Oporto, or the wind-swept island of Maderia, while peach 
brandy, still rare, furnished the parting bowl. 

After dinner came the dance. If it were warm enough, the barn was 
used as the dancing floor. At one end, on an improvised platform made 
by placing boards across barrels, sat two or more negro fiddlers with their 
battered but still musical violins. The bride and groom led off the first 
set. When all was ready, away thej- started, dance followed dance, more 
and more uproarious grew the fun, faster and faster the bow crossed the 
strings, brighter and brighter grew the eyes of the musicians as they 
entered fully into the spirit of the day; swiftly flew the hours, madly 
waxed the revel, until finally, wearied with excess of mirth and pleasure, 
the dancers ceased, the musicians obtained their needed rest and an al- 
lowance of rum, and about sunset the guests departed with a hearty good 
night, which meant from the visitors " God bless you," and from the host 
" God keep you." 

In all the social gatheririgs of those times the dominie was present or 
the host was disappointed. The first Colonists, who settled" in this State, 
were from the middle and lower class of Hollanders. All were compelled 
to labor for a living- The wealthy merchant or land owner saw no induce- 
ment to brave the perils of a long ocean passage, found no cause for leav- 
ing his comforts and enjoyments, to amass more wealth from the new 
world, when sufficient abundance was already in his possession. Among 
these industrious settlers, but little opportunity could be found for educa- 
tion, and with the exception of that shrewd common sense, which seemed 
an attribute of these Dutchmen, almost all were illiterate. For years after 
the settlement of our County, education among the people made but slight 
advance, and even up to the close bf the last century, the great majority 
of residents were untaught. 

While they were unlettered themselves, the settlers appreciated educa- 
tion, and gave to it that respect which it must ever command. The one 
above all others, among them whom all knew to be studied was their 


dominie, and this was one of the reasons why that dominie was regarded 
with great esteem. But there was another and in those days a more im- 
portant reason why the Dutch gave such veneration to their clergy. The 
fruits of the Reformation had not yet reached completion. For centuries 
the intellect of all Europe had been held subordinate to the will of Rome. 

To be sure Lippershey, a Hollander, had discovered the telescope, but the 
fate of Bruno for theorizing, and the punishment of Galileo for stating as 
to what the telescope would and did reveal, was not encouraging to further 
investigation. To be sure, at the very moment of Dutch settlement on this 
Continent, Descartes was making Holland his home and was soon to issue 
a philosophy which would change the aspect of all civilization, but almost 
a century was to elapse ere his teachings became generally understood. 
To be sure two centuries had elapsed since Guttenberg had invented the 
printing press, but the Index Librorem Prohibitorem, of the Church had 
checked free discussion long before. In reality the Pontifical authority 
still rested upon Europe. The habit of centuries is not changed in a day. 
From time beyond the conception of man's imagination, the clergy had 
been the greatest authority recognized by the common people. At their 
entrance into the world, a member of the sacerdotal order had baptized 
them in the name of Christ ; such catechising as they had had was received 
from a servant of the Church of Rome ; as the years advanced, they had 
learned to carry the burden of their earthly as well as spiritual sorrows to 
their parish priest, and in the privacy of the confessional had received wise 
worldly advice as well as spiritual comfort, and as the end of this life ap- 
proached, and the mystery of the hereafter drew nearer ; it was a clergy- 
man who held the hand, stiffening in death, and pointed toward a glorious, 

The Reformation had changed the form of worship. The Reformation 
unloosed the human intellect ; but while the people now performed their 
devotions in greater simplicity and argued with their pastor concerning 
the meaning of Scripture, they still retained all the fore time affection and 
reverence for that pastor's holiness and wisdom. If this was true of the 
old world, far more true was it of the new, where dangers and sorrows, un- 
known in their native land, stood round the colonists on every side. In 
the full realization of the great responsibilities thrust upon them ; in a clear 
comprehension of the many diversified duties they would be called on to 
perform ; those pioneer ministers of God entered upon their missions, braved 
the perils of a stormy ocean, risked the unknown dangers of a new settle- 
ment, lent physical aid as well as administered religious consolation to the 
struggling pioneer, preached Christ crucified to the settlers in the midst of 


primeval forests, and by the uprightness of their lives and their Christian 
charity, extorted expressions of gratitude from even the taciturn Indians. 

With their religious duties these dominies combined worldly knowl- 
edge. They kept posted on the important events of the day, and.narra.ted 
and explained the tendency of these events to their congregations. Often 
they acted as arbitrators in neighborly disputes, and soothed down angry 
passions. Often their advice was sought in regard to proposed purchases 
or sales of land or stock, or new ventures in the business of life. Always 
welcomed at the plain but bounteous board, they visited much among 
their congregations, and entered into all their pleasures and sorrows as one 
of the family. Truly they followed the oft-repeated saying of one of the 
last of their number, Dominie Lansing : " I have never said to you, Do 
and Live, but Live and Do ! " 

As can be imagined, with such feelings toward the minister, all the 
residents of this County went to church. The first edifice erected for 
worship was, as \ye have already seen, that at Tappan, in 1716, and this 
was followed by the churches at Clarkesville and Kakiat, at which latter 
church the service was held in the English language. At the Tappan, 
^d later at the Clarkesville church, for both churches were supplied by 
the same minister till 1830, the service was in Dutch, a language which 
held into and through the ministration of Dominie Nicholas Lansing, who 
alternated during the last years of his life, preaching one Sabbath in Eng- 
lish and the next in Dutch. 

At ten o'clock in the morning the first service was begun by the clerk, 
who also was chorister, reading the lesson and lining the psalms. Then 
the sermon would begin and last until noon, when the first service ended. 
But we must remember that many of the congregation had come a long 
distance, over wretched roads, which precluded all hope of their going 
home for dinner and returning in time for the afternoon service. These 
people brought their lunch with them, and while those, who resided near 
at hand, went home for their meals, the others ate either in the church or 
under the shade of the trees, and then had time, the men for a short 
smoke, the women for a brief gossip, ere the second service began. This 
was after an. hour's intermission, and it lasted an hour and a half. Two 
services in a day were only held in the Summer and Autumn. Church 
edifices were unheated in those days, and while the fervor of religious zeal 
was strong, it was testing human endurance too far to sit more than two 
hours in an icy temperature. To alleviate, as much as possible, the suffer- 
ing from cold, the elderly ladies carried quaintly designed foot stoves, 
some of which are still preserved in the older families, which they passed 


to others, who were unprovided, when their blue faces indicated actual 
distress ; while the men resorted to the bar of Mabie's tavern, both before 
and after service, and fortified themselves against the cold or warmed their 
chilled blood by drinking hot gin. At a later period " box " stoves were 
introduced into the church, one of which stood on either side of the en- 
trance doors. Even then it was not rare for sonie benumbed members of 
the congregation to rise during the service, walk back and warm them- 
selves at the stoves, and then return to their seats. 

Not infrequently during the pleasant summer Sundays, several neigh- 
bors on the river bank at a distance from Tappan, or Clarkesville, would 
embark on sloop-board, and start for the church at SiaeperighHoli^lee'pY 
Hollow.) Sometimes they would get- across the uncertain Tappan Zee 
without trouble and in plenty of time for service, but it oftentimes hap- 
pened, that when the sloop got well out from shore, the breeze would die 
out and then the vessel would drift idly about the bay till an afternoon 
wind sprang up and wafted the belated pilgrims back to shore. 

The churches of those early days differed so radically from the build- 
ings of our time that a brief notice of that at Tappan, may not be uninter- 
esting. Oppositethe entrance stood the wine-glass shaped pulpit, fastened 
against the wall by its stem, and reached on either side by a flight of cir- 
cular stairs. Surmounting it was a sounding board which was emJaellished 
by a sheaf of golden, grain. Underneath and in front of the pulpit, was the 
clerk's desk. On each side of the church was a gallery which was reached 
by stairs built within the body of the church, that on the right being occu- 
pied by the young men of the congregation while the one on the left was 
used by the negro slaves. In keeping with the simplicity of the people 
and the universality of attendance at church, the quaint habit existed of 
making the doors of the sacred edifice a place of advertisement. Nailed 
to them might be seen, notices . of strayed or impounded cattle, descrip- 
tions of lost property, or intelligence of an approaching vendue. 

Other religious meetings were held at irregular intervals. Prayer 
meetings at the houses of the different church members, at which the 
Dominie would be present if it was possible ; and every two or three 
weeks a lecture on Bible subjects would be given at the home of some 
deacon or elder. Saturday evening was the night always selected for 
these lectures, and as time and place were announced from the pulpit on 
the preceding Sabbath, the meeting was always well attended. 

The healthful out-door life, the nature of their occupation, the plain 
but substantial articles which formed their food, the freedomv from bad 
sanitation which exists in a sparsely settled country, and the homely com- 


mon sense of our ancestors in this County ; rendered them unusually iree 
from disease and exceedingly long lived. Yet the custom of preparing 
for death was universal. From the hour of attaining his twenty-first year 
every man began to lay aside a sum in gold, which should be used to de- 
fray his funeral expenses, and under no circumstances was this ever touched 
except for that purpose. At the same time a linen shirt, handkerchief, 
etc., were laid away and were never allowed to be worn, but kept clean to 
be buried in. When sickness entered a household, domestic remedies 
were tried by housewives, who were by no means unskilled in the appearr 
ance or treatment of disease. If, to their keen sight, the symptoms were 
alarming, either Doctor Osborn, who had settled at Stony Point as early 
as 1730, and begun practice, or later his son. Doctor Richard Osborn, or 
Doctor Thomas Outwater, of Tappan, were sent for. 

If the malady proved fatal, preparations were at once made for the 
final obsequies. The coffin, usually made from well seasoned, smooth, 
and beautifully grained boards, which had been selected many years be- 
fore by the deceased and carefully kept for the occasion, was constructed 
by some neighbor skilled in carpenter craft, and covered with a black pall. 
In case a woman died in child-bed a white sheet, instead of the black pall, 
was spread over the coffin. In a community where all were neighbors 
and friends, but little call existed for funeral invitations, for, unless the illness 
had been unusually brief, the mortal sickness of one of their number was 
widely known among the residents ; but, when such invitation was given, 
■it was through the chorister of the church. 

At the hour appointed for the last rites, the neighbors for miles around 
collected at the late home of the dead. In one corner of the parlor stood 
the coffin, resting on a table, near it was seated the dominie, while around 
the room were the mourners, for in those days all mourned as for one of 
their own. Just previous to the beginning of the service, the sexton en- 
tered, followed by a slave bearing a tray on which were glasses and decan- 
ters. These were passed to each guest and most of them poured out and 
drank a glass of wine or rum. Following this, the sexton again entered, 
bearing pipes and tobacco. Such of these present as smoked filled a pipe 
and puffed in silence ; when the pipes were empty, the dominie rose to 
his feet and delivered his funeral remarks, ending the service by a short but 
fervent prayer. 

The custom of using liquors and tobacco at funerals prevailed in this 
County as late as 1 809. How much later it obtained here I do not know, 
but among the conservative Dutch families of Flatbush, in Kings County, 
on Long Island, it was still in vogue in 18 19. 


At the close of the house service, the coffin was carried to the vehicle 
by bearers, who were chosen from among the most intimate friends of the 
deceased, and then borne to the grave. The location of that grave de- 
pended altogether on the situation of the dead person's residence. If it 
was near the church the body was laid in the church-yard. At a distance 
too great to render this spot available, the corpse was either interred in 
some local spot of sepulture, chosen by the neighbors for that purpose, 
or the lumber wagon bearing the remains was driven:, to some' place on 
the farm which the deceased or his ancestors had selected, and there con- 
signed to. the dust from which it came. Wills are still extant in which 
provision is made for the preservation of these family burying places 
through all time. 

The last wills and testaments of those days are worded with remark- 
able clearness. The testator knew how he wished to dispose of his 
property, and, if he could write, placed his desires on paper, or failing in 
penmanship, obtained the services of some educated and trusted neighbor 
to express his bequests for him. Competition for success was not as great 
in those days as at present because wealth was not regarded as so important 
a social factor ; closer relationship existed between the different members 
of families, and fewer lawyers had to be supported ; for these reasons wills 
were never- contested'in our County, and the "importance of having them 
drawn up with a view to future attempts at .breaking them, did not exist. 

Before the adoption of the Constitutional form of Government, the law 
of primogeniture existed. To avoid its force, when desired, an opening 
clause devised a certain sum to the first-born male, in lieu of legal privileges, 
thus : " Item, I do give, devise and bequeath to my eldest son, Gerret 
Lydecker, the sum of £$ current money of New York, which shall be in 
full of all demands or pretention he shall or may have to any part of my 
estate as heir-at-law." * * * After the disposal of this matter, the 
testator then proceeds with his bequests. 

" These old Dutch wills seem not to trust a widow in a second mar- 
riage. The restraints placed upon re-marriages by wills were generally 
in favor of .the children of the first marriage, and the widows thus restricted 
generally signed consents to accept the bequests in lieu of dower, for the 
good reason that propriety did not allow them to refuse so soon after the 
death of their first husband ; and, because the devises and bequests in lieu 
of dower vested an estate for life, or three-thirds of the estate subject to a 
contingency in their own control, instead of one- third absolutely." Thus 
in the will already quoted from, which is that of Albert Lydecker, made in 
1774 and is a type of others which I have read of thiat time. All the 


3tock of furniture or its value, which he obtained with his wife at marriage, 
he bequeaths to her and directs his executors to deHver it in case she 
should marry again, and he again further directs his five sons to pay her a 
yearly sum, and gives her the use of a room in the home, so long as she 
remains his widow. Another will provides liberally for the widow of the 
testator during her widowhood. " But if she marry, then her husband 
must provide for her as I have done." 

In reality, women, maids or widows, were not dealt by with what we 
■should regard as a spirit of fairness. It was expected that they should 
marry and that their husbands should support them ; and then, not in any 
sense regarding the fact that in the partnership of marriage the wife had 
done her share in accumulating the property devised, if she married a 
second time, she was disinherited by the will of her first husband. 

The wills of those days entered most minutely into a list of behests ; 
^'cupboards," "pewter table sets," " silver plate," "beds and their furni- 
ture," " chairs," " tables," and so on ; are devised piece by piece to the dif- 
ferent heirs. Slaves were bequeathed, sometimes to one person in the 
total, and sometimes they were separated by the last earthly wish of a 
man, who shortly, before an inexorable Judge, to whom souls are alike 
"whether in black skins or white, was to appear and answer for his life 

In case disagreement followed the reading of the will ; and in other 
•cases where the testator thought it advisable ; the executors were directed 
to sell everything at public vendue — spelled phonetically in those days, 
A'andue — and divide the proceeds among the heirs according to the pro- 
visions of the will. Different terms of sale at those auctions were agreed 
to by the executors. Those of one held in 1773, I will quote : 

"The articles of this Vandue held this loth day of August, 1773, are 
that all Persons have their free Bid and be Entitled to such things as are 
struck off on their Bid, with giving good Shurety if regard (required) by 
the Collector, if such surety be Refused, ye thing or things to be set up at a 
second Sale if sold for more than the first time the first Buyer to have 
no Profits, if sold for Less than the first time, the first Buyer to make 
good the Damage, the Buyer to have until ye loth day of February next, 
for time of Payment, if any money Remains unpaid after the time given, it 
is to draw Lawful Interest until paid. The Collector to have good Right to 
seize on the Buyer or goods any time before payment. And the Money 
to be paid to me. 

Gilbert Cuyper, Collector." 


Such were the customs, almost all now obsolete, of the people who 
dwelt in this region before the close qf the eighteenth century. It has 
been said that they were bigoted in their religious opinions, crude and 
rough in their manners, and utterly without amusement. I have seen a 
lithograph, published many years ago, which was intended as a hit at the 
religious fanaticism of early days. It represents an inn, in front of which 
stands the inn-keeper, Bible in hand ; around him are collected his family, 
all their faces wearing a cold, stern, rigidly just expression. Pendant from 
the branch of a neighboring tree hangs the body of the house cat, while a 
jolly-visaged guest standing by, explains the scene in these words : 

" To Banbury calne I, O profane one, 

To see a puritane one ; 

A hanging of ye cat on a Monday, 

For ye killing of a mouse on a Sunday." 

To the liberal ideas of the present time, the sectarian prejudices of 
olden days, must at a superficial glance seem bigoted ; but when we re- 
member that the spirit of their religion moved our ancestors to live honest, 
pure, and upright lives, trying as best they could to love their neighbors 
as themselves, to do unto others as they would be done by ; when we re- 
member that they paid their personal debts and kept the church as God's 
house and not as the property of some mortgage-holder ; when we re- 
member that they attended divine service to worship Him in whose care 
they committed their bodies and souls, and banished worldly thoughts and 
vanities at the church door, we may find cause to believe that with all our 
boasted liberality of views, our ancestors walked as near beatitude as we do 
True it is, that the culture and society polish of the present day were 
not known to that generation of men ; but they reverenced their women 
next to their God and honored their old people as they themselves would 
wish in their age to be honored. True it is, that labor was severe and al- 
most constant among the pioneers, and they had little of the amusement 
that we of to-day enjoy ; but their labor founded a County, now rich and 
prospering, and kept poverty so far from the door that not a pauper was 
reported for over a century and a half — till 1 845 — in that section now 
known as Rockland County ; and as Greeley says, " a passionately earnest 
assertion, which many of us have heard from the lips of the old men of 
thirty to fifty years ago, that the days of their youth were sweeter and 
happier thart those we have known, will doubtless justify us in believing 
that they were by no means intolerable." 

Authorities referred to. " American conflict." Vols. II. Horace Greeley. " Field Book of 
the Revolution." Vols. II. B. J. Lossing. " History of Kings County." Vols. II. Stiles. 
" Sketch Book." Washingtoa Irving. Archives of the Rockland County Historical Society. 
■" History of Haverstravf . " Rev. A. S. Freeman, D. D., and WiUiam S. Pelletreau. 





The Confederation was a failure. Its Congress had been granted sole 
power to declare war, but it could neither compel the levying of troops, 
nor arm and support them should they be raised ; it had been given sole 
power to fix the needed amount of revenue, but had no authority to en- 
force the collection of taxes ; it had had conferred upon it sole power to 
decide disputes between the States, but had no means of enforcing its de- 
termination ; it stood a political monstrosity, with just sufficient life to 
realize its own impotence, and just sufficient energy to feel that it was the 
laughing stock of the world. 

Long before the close of our struggle for liberty, this weakling had 
demonstrated its inefficiency. The troops, naked and starving, had clam- 
ored without effect for their pay, and had, at length, broken out in mutiny, 
while Congress vainly sought financial assistance ; its partisan bickerings 
and the intrigues caused by old local jealousies, which even the awful 
grandeur of its object could not lead it to lay aside, full often hampered 
the commanding officers in the field ; and when, at length, the war was 
ended, and the terms of peace agreed upon, it was only by the most 
strenuous efforts and after repeated appeals that a quorum of its members 
could be obtained to sign the treaty. 

A broken reed in the hour of danger, what hope could be entertained 
that in quieter times it would display more strength. Futile indeed were 
its efforts to meet the requirements of its position in peace. Many of the 
States neglected or openly refused to pay their allotted share of interest 
upon the public debt. The year after the evacuation of New York, bills 
of the Confederation • for $6oo,00o were protested in Holland, and the 
annual requirement of the Treasury^$4,O0O,Ooo — was universally felt to 


be a sum too large to demand, and which could not be collected. Nor 
did the following years bring relief to this helpless semblance of authority. 
Commercial and offensive and defensive treaties were formed between 
different States and between separate States and foreign nations. Matters 
rapidly advanced from bad to worse. 

The value of the Continental money had ceased and further loans could 
not be effected because of the loss of credit. Commerce, ruined by the 
war, was prevented from reviving by two proclamations from Great Britain, 
one, that all importations of American products should either be carried by 
British vessels or by those belonging to the State from which the produce 
was shipped ; the other, prohibiting American vessels or citizens from 
trading with British colonies. Our infant manufactures — abruptly checked 
by the war — were prevented from reviving by the influx of foreign goods, 
and a refusal by the States to permit Congress to impose a duty on 
imports, had caused those impbrts to exceed the exports by $20,000,000, 
and an incubus of debt amounting to $80,000,000 rested on this people. 

Such were the conditions, which led Hamilton and his colleagues to 
commend and earnestly labor for a change in the form of authority, by 
which certain powers, then vested in each of the many separate States 
should be granted to a central government, and from the many common- 
wealths a single nation exist. The result of a conviction to decide on the 
necessities of the public weal, which met at Philadelphia, in 1787, was a 
recommendation for a federal form of government. This recommendation 
was transmitted to Congress with the suggestion that it be submitted to 
conventions in each State, chosen by the people thereof, called by the re- 
spective Legislatures. Congress following the advice of the Philadelphia 
Convention, adopted a resolution on September 28th, 1787, referring the 
new Constitution to the various Legislatures for submission to the people 
of the respective States. In pursuance of the Congressional resolution, 
the Legislature of New York adopted a joint resolution, on January 31st, 
1788, providing for a State Convention to meet at Poughkeepsie, June 
17th, 1788. The delegates to that Convention, chosen by the people of 
Orange County, were : John Haring, Henry Wisner, John Wood, Jesse 

We have already traced the growth of the spirit of liberty in the people 
of our County. We have already seen what they suffered to obtain their 
liberty. At the outset, they had found counties created which were sub- 
servient to the State ; they had seen townships or precincts arise subject 
to the county ; and they had learned to respect and revere their civil gov- 
ernment from interest and association. The overthrow of royal power had 


been a sudden and tremendous revolution, and in the startling phases of 
the change, this people had failed to grasp the magnitude of the result. 

Then, too, as we have seen, the disasters of war, which fell so heavily 
on manufacturing and mercantile counties and States, crushing their busi- 
ness and commerce from existence, touched lightly on Orange. She was 
a producer that supplied her own consumption and had surplusage. Lib- 
erty to her residents meant as little interference from outside sources as 
possible. It was with an unpleasant feeling that they submitted to a ma- 
jority rule in the State government, when that rule did not benefit them, 
and they paid their ever increasing taxes for the benefit of sister counties, 
which were not yet self-supporting, with many a murmur. But those sec- 
tions they thus aided indirectly were of their own State. 

When now, therefore, the proposition to form a central government was 
heard, it was greeted by the residents of this County with vehement pro- 
test. Unable to grasp the fact, that if some of their liberty was not ab- 
negated, they would lose all of it ; unable to appreciate the ruin which 
was being accomplished, through lack of some central authority, in other 
States and even in parts of our own : the people of Orange felt that the 
proposed federation was only a name for another form of tyranny, and that 
under the simple title of President lurked the authority of King. Nor was 
the fact that all the branches of that government were to be under their 
control — the House of Representatives directly, the Senate and Executive 
indirectly — any relief to their feeling of concern. If they were annoyed at 
the power of majority vote in their own Legislature, among their own 
people, seven-fold more annoying would it be, when their States' Repre- 
sentatives in Congress were outnumbered and out-voted by the members 
of Congress from other, perhaps rival, and certainly far distant States, for 
whose welfare they cared nothing. Liberty to the different factors in this 
nascent State and Nation, while not yet reaching license, was trending to- 
ward it, and from the first had been a syponym for selfishness. 

Perhaps no better illustration can be given of the feeling toward the 
Federation among our farmers, than to quote the language of a citizen from 
our neighbor State, New Jersey, concerning his sentiment toward the new 
form of government, and this ten years after the change was an accom- 
plished fact. 

" Timothy Meeker, at one time, while a portion of the standing army, 
under the administration of John Adams, was at Elizabethtown, visited 
General Dayton, in person to pay his direct tax for the support of the 
army. ' Of what use is our standing army ?' asked Meeker. ' To sup- 
port Congress ;' replied Dayton, ' Ay, to support Congress indeed ;' said 


the old man bitterly. ' To support Congress in taking away our liberties, 
and in altering the Constitution so as to place men in public office for life. 
I fought for freedom through the war for nothing (his Continental money 
was worthless), and now I want to pay for my land and be independent 
indeed, but tax upon tax keeps me poor. I could at any time raise one 
hundred men among my neighbors upon the Short Hills, say privately to 
your standing army, come and help us — and they would come, and we'd 
to Philadelphia and take your Congressmen from their seats. We will not 
have a standing army. Disband it.' 

' Our standing army,' said Dayton, ' will intimidate the British.' 'Look 
ahere. General Dayton ; ' said Meeker, ' you are well acquainted in London, 
Write to your acquaintances there, and tell them that Timothy Meeker is 
dead, and that he has left seven sons, every one of whom is a stronger 
man 'than he. Tell them we are seven times stronger than before, and 
that will intimidate them more than all your standing armies, that suck 
the life blood from the people." 

But there was another and perhaps even stronger reason for the bitter 
feeling against the proposed Federation among our County people. Her 
representative men were earnestly opposed to the change, and in their 
speeches to and conversations with the electors, denounced the step to- 
ward royalty in no measured terms. On the borders of a neighboring 
County — Ulster, in a section now belonging to Orange, Governor George 
Clinton was born and lived. In the early years of the War for Independ- 
ence, he was in command of the militia of Orange and Ulster Counties, 
and with them had seen service in more than one well contested battle. 
The militiamen had grown to respect, admire and love their old comman- 
der, and had watched his elevation so and actions in the gubernatorial 
chair with pride. In the first election. Orange had given him the victory 
over Philip Schuyler, and at every following election, he had been return- 
ed by increasing majorities. 

All history is filled with the records of successful generals raised to 
high command in the State, and generally, with the history of their ad- 
vance, has been compelled to record their failure in civil office. But in 
the administration of George Clinton there were no grave political errors 
from his view of polity. He was a man who combined the power of win^ 
ning men with great political astuteness, and his views were generally ac- 
cepted by those who associated with him in affairs of State as exceedingly 
wise. ¥o the student, who looks into Clinton's career, there can be no 
question, that in his opposition to the proposed federation, he was guided 
by strong concientious principles. As a patriot, he had responded to 

the call for. duty among the first, and had placed his property, his liberty 
and his life in jeopardy ; and now he firmly believed that the proposed 
new form of government was but the beginning of another monarchy under 
a different name. 

But with this conscientious objection to national power, there was 
another and a more avaricious scruple. Clinton was an ambitious man. 
He aspired to leadership among the people, and he had attained his am- 
bition, only to see his power, in great measure, vanish by an unforeseen 
proposition. In an instant his perspicacity had grasped the fact, that 
greater influence and fame belonged to the executive head of an inde- 
pendent commonwealth, than to the governor of a State, which with 
twelve others went to form a nation ; and biased by personal as well as 
political reasons, he combatted the idea of centralization. 

Among the electors of Orange and Ulster, as I have said, the word of 
Qinton was all-powerful. But to still further strengthen the Governor's 
stand, the leading statesmen of this section were his political allies. John 
Haring and Henry Wisner had both been fellow members with him in the 
Provincial Convention of 1775, and his vote had been cast for Wisner 
as a delegate to the Continental Congress. In the sessions of the Third 
and Fourth Provincial Congress, Haring, Clinton and Wisner, had again 
been fellow delegates. When Clinton was elected Governor, Wisner was 
sent to the Senate, and in this body, he was joined by Haring in 1781, 
both remaining till the period of which I am speaking — 1788. To make 
the tie still closer if possible between the governor and his allies, Haring 
was made one of the Council of Appointment in 1782, while in 1785-86-87 
he was a member of the Continental Congress. 

As may be imagined, these men now sided with their long time politi- 
cal companion and pointed out every weak place in the proposed new 
Constitution, magnified every clause which leaned toward centralization 
and roused every passion of fear, jealousy and anger against nationality, 
which still smouldered from the late war. By a tremendous vote, they 
with the two others before named, were sent to the Convention with in- 
structions to cast their suffrage against the proposed Federation. This 
three of them did, but as we know, without success. Jesse Woodhull, 
alone, among the delegates from Orange, voted for the Federal form of 
government. His object in so doing, is not apparent. In 1772, he was 
appointed Sheriff of Orange, and served. Re-appointed in May, 1777, he 
obtained no commission, but held over till the first State Legislature met 
in September of that year, and then was succeeded by Isaac NicoU. From 
September 9th, 1777, to July ist, 1781, he was a member of the State 


Senate. That his vote was contrary to the wishes of his constituents- 
would appear from the fact that he never again held public office. 

I have dwelt at length on the topic of the feeling in this section toward 
the National Constitution, because it explains Rockland's stand in poli- 
tics. Two creeds are transmitted from parents to children through gene- 
rations, that of their religion and that of their political faith, and it is sel- 
dom that either is changed. The question of Federation or not, found our 
County Anti-Federal. Incensed by defeat, the opposition to centraliza- 
tion grew, became stronger as the years passed, and at last, found its party 
affiliation and name in the rise of Democracy. The spirit of County 
love, the intermarriages between members of long resident families, have 
kept an unusually large proportion of natives in the County, and those old 
families still retain their reverence for the political faith of their fathers. 

Another political change, altogether local, was beginning to agitate 
our people. From a howling wilderness, inhabited only by savages and 
wild beasts, the section of Orange County north of the mountain had 
slowly become populated and cultivated by the ever advancing pioneer. 
The population of twenty families for the whole county, in 1693, had 
gradually increased, till at the time of the adoption of the Federal Consti- 
tution 14,062 occupied this territory, and in 1790, 18,492, and the increase 
north of the mountains, though slow during the intervening years, had at 
length reached and excelled that in our southern section, till the census 
now gave 12,491 above and 6,001 below the natural. division line. 

In 1723, only three supervisors met at Tappan for the whole County. 
This continued to be the place for meeting till 1764, when the following 
act was passed by the General Assembly : 

" Whereas, the Court House at Orangetown, being the place appointed for the annual meet- 
ing of the Supervisors of the County of Orange, in October, is found by experience to be very 
inconvenient on account of its situation. For remedy, whereof: 1. Be it enacted by his Honor, 
the Lieutenant-Governor, the Commissioners and General Assembly, and it is hereby enacted by 
the authority of the same, that it shall and may be lawful for the Supervisors of said County of 
Orange, and they are hereby directed to meet at the house of Daniel Coe, at Cakiate, in said 
County, on the first Tuesday of October next, and from there adjourn to any other place as near 
the centre of said County as shall seem most convenient to them for the good of the public ser- 
vice." Abraham Haring and Henry Wisner, 

Members from Orange. 

The events preceding and during the Revolution, led them to change 
their place of meeting to Goshen, where they continued till more peaceful 
times. From 1789 till 1797, the Board met at New City. But, instead 
of four, their were now eight townships, an equal number for each sec- 


During the war the brunt of the invasion in Orange had fallen on the 
southern towns, and to relieve the distress of the people in our section the 
Supervisors voted, at the annual meeting in 1779, that $14,730 be taken 
off the quotas of Orangetown and Haverstraw, and added, $8,552 to the 
quota of Goshen, and $6,177 to the quota of Cornwall, which left the 
quota of the four precincts : 

Goshen, - $123,662 

Cornwall, - - . 58,637 

Haverstraw, - - . . . 55,000 

Orangetown, - 25,000 

Again, on March 31st, 1780, it was ordered that $20,000 be taken off" 
the quotas of the lower towns and added to the upper precincts, leaving 
the quotas: 

Goshen, $161,049 Haverstraw, $92,437 

Cornwall, - 73,578 Orangetown, - 34,573 

These considerations led to a desire, on the part of the people on both 
sides of the mountain, to form separate counties. Those in the northern 
towns pointed out that their population was now greater than that of the 
lower towns, and was increasing more rapidly, yet their Supervisors had 
to make a long trip to meet those of the southern section, and that, in- 
stead of being met half way, these lower town officers fell back on the 
situation of their county seat, and could be gotten to advance no further. 
To be sure, the journey was not like that of 1723, when it took their dele- 
gate to the Board, James Osborn, four days to get from Goshen to Tap- 
pan and back, but still it was very long and unpleasant. Then they failed 
to see why they should be called on to support two sets of County Courts. 
They could not and did not blame the people in the lower towns for want- 
ing court buildings on their side of the mountains, but when they had paid 
for their own at Goshen, they did not feel called on to be taxed for others. 
Becoming more annoyed, they passed from complaint to unpleasant hints, 
that the lower towns were either extremely selfish or else little better than 
ungrateful paupers. Had they not suffered as much in the Revolution as 
their brothers in the south. Had not Brant and his Tory allies fallen 
upon their western borders and, besides killing many of their people, 
wiped Hamlets and whole villages out of existence. Yet they had not 
only borne this loss without murmur, but had given aid to the people be- 
low the mountain, by assuming great part of their tax as well. 


To these complaints the residents of Orangetown, Clarkestown, Rama- 
po and Haverstraw made answer in kind. You complain, they said about 
your Supervisors coming south to meet ours. Why, before you had 
even a log hut for the Board to assemble in we gave your delegate com- 
fortable quarters, and the bill for the entertainment of the Board, 19s. 
7^d, was largely incurred for his board and lodging. For years 
afterward we outnumbered you three to one, paid taxes to aid you in 
clearing jiway the wilderness and exterminating predatory beasts, and 
now, forsooth, when through our endeavors your success is rendered pos- 
sible, you at once demand that we, the parent settlement, shall send our 
delegates over the mountain to save you the trouble of coming here. 

You pay taxes for our County buildings ! Has it slipped your mem- 
ory that when the first court-house and jail were built in this County, we 
were scarcely aware of your existence so small was your number. Is it 
willful mendacity or madness that leads you to forget that this section has 
been taxed for its own court-house, as you have for yours, and that with 
you we have been equally assessed for court officers. As to not blaming 
us for wanting something which we pay for and which ante-dated your 
court buildings by more than a decade, consider us as truly thankful for 
your tender thoughtfulness. You regard us as ungrateful paupers. You 
feel that your sufferings were greater than ours. To answer the second 
complaint first : Did you, during those dark days of horror, when anarchy 
and rapine had full sway within our towns, which served as a bulwark to 
your section, did you then feel that you were suffering greatly ? Orange- 
town was for periods in the hands of the enemy, her patriots in flight or 
seized, her autonomy destroyed. Haverstraw had sent her sons to battle 
the oppressor, little hesitating, in the call to arms, whether as militiamen 
they fought in the defence of their homes or as soldiers, in the Continental 
army, for the defence of the Confederation. We bore the brunt of the 
battle, the heat and burden of a long weary day to protect, to save you ; 
and now you reward us in this way. Is not the evidence in your hands 
convincing ? So overrun were these townships that the Supervisors dare 
not meet here, and adjoined to Goshen, and yet you essay to enter this 
plaint against us. 

Your frontier hamlets suffered from Brant's incursion. Have you 
visited our towns to see how the violence of war has devastated them, how 
our brothers have been swept away until there is scarcely a patriot home 
unbroken. Come, and we will take you to many a dwelling which was 
visited by Claudius Smith and his followers, who made their home in your 
territory, and wheti you have hearkened to tales of agony that would make 


demons shudder, perhaps you may realize that even the dread Brant was 
more merciful than the band you harbored. 

You have exercised charity toward us ! You have exercised charity 
toward us ! A set of roaring swcish-bucklers, who had no existence yes- 
terday and may have none to-morrow, whose soil belongs to us — referring 
to the fact that, owing to the great influx of poor immigrants to the north- 
ern towns in the years after the war, the people north of the mountain 
had borrowed largely of those south, to start new forms of business, and 
those individual loans were so great as to virtually make our people the 
owners of that land — whose very existence is in our hands, you complain 
of the fact that in laboring to save you and others we were so crushed as 
not to be able to meet, for a moment only, our financial obligation. Let 
us remind you of the conduct of the evil spirits that your dominies have 
told you of that came, reinforced, to rend and destroy. 

You feel that you alone have cause for complaint. Stop a moment 
and look at our view of your conduct. Since the formation of the State 
government, there have been one hundred and twenty-six Senators from 
the Middle Senatorial District of which you have had thirty- five and we 
but thirty-two. Seven and seventy Members of Assembly have been 
elected of which you to the north of the mountain have had forty six 
while we have only had thirty-one. 

Or take our County officers. Eight men have held the Shrievalty 
since 1777, and all have been from your section; two County clerks have 
been appointed, both from the northern towns. And as if to mnke your 
selfishness more noticeable, the only Representative to Congress, since its 
organization under the new Constitution, from Orange County, John 
Hathorn, is a resident in your section. 

Such, as I have been informed by old people, in both Orange and 
Rockland Counties, whose fathers were active participants in the contro- 
versy which led to the erection of our County of Rockland, were the feel- 
ings of the people in the northern and southern towns toward each other, 
and such the causes for those feelings. The ridge of mountain which 
separated the sections was a natural division line that, while it might be 
overcome in the days of weakness in population, was sure to prove an in- 
superable obstacle to unity of interests, when the number of residents in 
the County had sufficiently increased. That period had now arrived, and 
the people on each side of the mountains were anxious for separate County 
existence. Accordingly, in 1798, the residents of the present Orange 
County appointed Captain John Luthill and Richard Goldsmith a com- 
mittee to go to Captain Sloat's to consult with a County Committee from 
the present Rockland County regarding the terms of separation. 


At length the Legislature, being influenced by the representations, of 
the members from Orange County and the petitions of its residents, 
passed, on Feb. 23d, 1798, the following : 

Be it enacted by the people of the State of Neiv York, represented in Senate and Assembly. 
Thatall that tract of land in the County of Orange, lying northward of a line beginning at the 
mouth of Poplopens kill, on Hudson's River, and running from thence on a direct course to the 
southeasternmost corner of the farm of Stephen Sloat, and then along the said bounds of his 
farm, to the southwest corner thereof, and then on the same course to the bounds of the State of 
New Jersey, shall be and hereby is erected into a separate County and shall be called and known 
by the name of Orange. 

And be it further enacted. That all that part of the said County of Orange, lying southward 
of the above described line, shall be erected into a separate County, and be called and known by 
the name of Rockland. 

The County of Rockland to contain" all that part of this south, bounded southerly and south- 
westerly by the line of the County west where the same crosses Hudson's River, and the division 
line between this State and New Jersey. Easterly by the middle of Hudson's River, and north- 
erly and northwesterly by a line drawn from the middle of the said river, west to the mouth of 
Poplopens kill, and from thence on a direct course to the east end of the mill-dam now or late of 
Michael Weiman, across the Ramapough River, and from thence a direct course to the 20 mile 
stone standing in the said division line between this State and New Jersey. 

All that part of the County of Rockland, bounded easterly by the middle of Hudson's River, 
southerly by New Jersey, and westerly and northerly by a line beginning on Hudson's River at 
the northeast corner of the farm late belonging to Harman Tallman, deceased, ?nd running from 
thence east to the middle of the said river, and westerly along the said farm to the tract of land 
formerly granted to T. D. Tallman, and then southerly and westerly along the bounds of the same 
tract to Demarie's kill, or Hackensack River, and then down the stream thereof to the northeast 
corner of a tract of 1,000 acres of land formerly sold for defraying the expenses of dividing the 
patent of Kakiat, and then westerly along the same to the northwest corner thereof, and then 
northerly and westerly and southerly along the land now or late belonging to J. J. Blauvelt, to 
the northeast corner of the land now or late belonging to John M. Hogencamp, aud then westerly 
and southerly along the same to the northeast corner of the land now or late belonging to John P. 
Mabie, and then westerly along his land to New Jersey, shall be and continue a town by the name 
of Orangetown. 

All that part of the said County of Rockland bounded westerly by a line beginning at the 
north-west corner of the land of John M. Hogencamp called his Middletown lot, and running 
from thence north 3° west is the division line between the north and south moiety of the patent 
of Kakiat, and then along the same east to the line of division between the east and west ^oa 
acre lots of the said north moiety, and then along the last mentioned division line, and con- 
tinuing the same'to the line of division between the mountain lots upon the top of Verdrietege 
hook mountain, and northerly by the line running along the top of the said mountain between the 
said mountain lots to the east end thereof, and from thence to the head of the stream of water 
which runs from the Long Clove to Hudson's River easterly by the middle of Hudson's River, 
and southerly by Orangetown, shall be and continue a town by the name of Clarkstown. 

All that part of the said County of Rockland bounded easterly by Clarkstown and Orangetown,. 
southerly by Orangetown and New Jersey, westerly by New Jersey and Orange County, and 
northerly by a line running from the northwest corner of Clarkstown, along the south bounds of 
the lands now or late of Francis Gurnee and Benjamin Coe, and along the south bounds of the 
land now or late of Gabriel Conklin, and the same course continued to the bounds of Orange 
County, shall be and continue a town by the name of Hampstead. 


All that part of the said County of Rockland, bounded southerly by Hampstead and Clarkstown 
and easterly, northerly, and westerly by the bounds of the County, shall be and continue a town 
by the name of Haverstraw." 

John D. Coe was Senatdr and James Burt, Benjamin Coe and Moses Hatfield were Assembly- 
men from Orange County in the Legislature that erected Rockland County, both John D. and 
Benjamin Coe being from our territory. 

The new county was placed in the Third Congressional District, com- 
posed of the 7th Ward of New York City and Westchester County. In 
the middle Senatorial District of the State, and sent John Suffern as her 
first Senator. Allowed one member of Assembly, Hendrick Smith re- 
mained during 1798 and was succeded by her first Assemblyman, Ben- 
jamin Coe. For County Officers, John Suffern was appointed County 
Judge; Peter Taulman, Surrogate; Jacob Wood, Sheriff"; David Pye, 
County Clerk ; and ,in the towns : Orangetown elected James Perry ; 
Haverstraw, Benjamin Coe ; Clarkstown, Claus R. Van Houten ; and 
Ramapo, James Onderdonk, Supervisors. The last meeting of the old 
Orange County Board of Supervisors occurred at the residence of Ste- 
phen Sloat, in the Ramapo Valley, October, 2d, 1798, and there were 
present : James Perry, Claus R. Van Houten, Benjamin Coe, James On- 
derdonk, of Rockland County. 

For over a score of years after the erection of Rockland — till 1821 — 
the Supervisors of the two counties, together with a Judge of the Court 
of Common Pleas of each county, met together at the house of Stephen 
Sloat annually, " for the purpose of inspecting and examining the mort- 
gages, minutes and accounts of the loan officers appointed in the County 
of Orange, under the act for loaning monies belonging to the State." In 
1853 a Legislative Act was passed, directing that copies of all deeds and 
wills that affected titles in Rockland County previous to the division, 
should be taken from the Orange County records and placed in the County 
Clerk's office of the first named county. 

The census of electors in the new county, according to the property 
qualifications of the first Constitution was, in 1801 and till the Constitu- 
tion was changed in 1821, as follows: 

1801. Electors worth ;£'ioo or over, _ . . 599 

" " " between ;£'20 and ;£'ioo, - - 59 

" " paying an annual rental of 40s, - 166 

1807. " worth ;^ioo or over, - - 766 

" "' " between ;£'20 and ;£'ioo, - 65 

" " paying an annual rental of 40s., - - '53 

1814. " worth ;£■ 1 00 or over, - - 838 


1 8 14- Electors worth between ;^20 and ;^ioo, 
" " paying an annual rental of 40s., 

1821. " worth $250 or more, 

" " between $50 and $250, 

" " who pay a rental of $5.00 or more 



The population of Rockland County in 1800 was 6,353, of which the 
towns had : 




Seventh Session. 
William Allison, John Haring, 


Jacobus Swartwout, 

Jeremiah Clarke, 
Gilbert Cooper, 

William Allison. 

Jeremiah Clarke, 
Gilbert Cooper, 

William Allison, 

John Bradner, 
Gilbert Cooper, 

John Haring, 

Robert Armstrong, 
Jeremiah Clark, 

Eighth Session. 


John Haring, 


Ninth Session. 


John Haring, 


Tenth Session. 


Eleventh Session. 

John Hathorn, 
William Sickles, 

Jacobus Swartwout, 

John Hathorn, 
William Sickles, 

John Haring, 

Jacobus Swartwout. 

Nathaniel Satterly, 
Henry Wisner, 3d. 

Jacobus Swartwout. 

Gilbert Cooper, 
Peter Taulman, 

Jacobus Swartwout. 


Jeremiah Clark, William Thompson, 

Peter Taulman, Henry Wisner, Jr. 

Twelfth Session. 
John Haring, Jacobus Swartwont. 

John Carpenter, Jeremiah Clark, Henry Wisner, Jr. 

Thirteenth Session. 


Jacobus Swartwout. 


John Carpenter, 
John D. Coe, 

David Pye, 

John Carpenter, 
John D. Coe, 

David Pye, 
John D. Coe, 

David Pye, 
Reuben Hopkins, 

David- Pye, 
John D. Coe, 

John D. Coe, 
William Allison, 

Seth Marvin, 
William Sickles. 

Fourteenth Session. 

Jacobus Svi^artwout. 

Seth Marvin, 
John Smith. 

Fifteenth Session. 

Jacobus Swartwout. 
Seth Marvin, John Smith. 

Sixteenth Session. 

Jacobus Swartwout. 
John Smith, Daniel Thew. 

seventeenth session. 

Jacobus Swartwout. 
Seth Marvin, John Wheeler. 

Eighteenth Session. 

Jacobus Swartwout. 
John Hathorn, David Pye. 


Nineteenth Session. 
John D. Coe. 
Seth Marvin, David Pye, James W. Wilkin. 

Twentieth Session. 


John D. Coe. 


Isaac Blanch, Jonathan Cooley, Seth Marvin. 

Twenty-First Session. 


John D. Coe. 


James Burt, Benjamin Coe, Moses Hatfield. 

Twenty-Second Session. 




Moses Philips, 

John Blakp, Jr, 
James Bart, 

Hendrick Smith. 
David W. Westcott. 

Adjourned sine die April 3d, 1799. 


First Congress. 

John Hathorn. 

Fourth Congress. 
John Hathorn. 

Authorities referred to: "Field Book of the Revolution," Vols. II., B. J. Lossing. " New 
York Civil List," '• History of Orange County," S. W. Eager. "Documents Relating to the 
Colonial History, S. N. Y.," Vols, XIV. " Session Laws." 




In the middle of the i8th century, between 1730-50, a company of 
German miners, under the direction of Peter Hassenclever, visited this 
Colony and explored the mountains of Orange County for ore. Either 
with this exploring party or shortly afterward, Hassenclever came to 
America and at once set to work to organize capital for the development 
of the great iron veins in the colonies. In a short time he became the 
proprietor of mines in this Colony and that of New Jersey, and, with a 
partner named Seton, started several foundries. Before 1768, Hassenclever 
sailed for England and was given a letter of introduction to the Lords of 
Trade by Governor Moore, who stated that his wide range of knowledge, 
•concerning the affairs of the Colony, would make his visit one of value to 
that body. In a short time he returned to this Continent, and in 1769, 
with sixteen others, obtained a patent for 18,000 acres of land situated in 
the present Herkimer county. 

Among the mines which Peter Hassenclever developed was that which 
bears his name, situated on lot No. 3 of the Cheesecocks patent. The 
exact date of opening of the Hassenclever Mine has escaped my most 
earnest search, but the following data may lead to an approximation. 
The mine was first worked by the London Mining and Improvement 
Company. On March 12th, 1768, the Earl of Hillsborough wrote to Sir 
Henry Moore, Governor of this Colony : " I am desired by Major-General 
Greeme and other gentlemen concerned in carrying on iron works in New 
York, under the direction of Mr. Hassenclever, to inform you that that 
gentleman misbehaves towards them and refuses to come to account, for 
which reason it is their intention to supercede him, and to appoint another 
Person in his place, and as these Works are represented to me to be of 
greet Publick Utility, I think it my duty to recommend to you to give 
all the support and protection you can to the Person they mean to appoint, 
and to give any assistance in your Power towards bringing Mr. Hassen- 
clever to a due performance of his Engagements." I believe this letter to 

1 62 

refer to the Hassenclever Mine, and judge from it that work was begun 
there as early as 1766. In conjunction with the mine a furnace, situated 
on Cedar Pond Brook, and called Cedar Pond Furnace, was worked. The 
second owner of the mine was Captain Samuel Brewster, who worked it 
during the Rev.olution, and from it iron for the chain that crossed the 
Hudson at Fort Montgomery is said to have been taken. 

On the death of Captain Samuel Brewster, in 1821, the Hassenclever 
Mine passed into the hands of his son James, and was conducted by him 
till his death. After him the mine was bought by Bradley, who, after 
working it a short time, failed, making an assignment of the property to 
Blackstick. The assignee sold the mine to Wm. Knight, who sold it to a 
company, organized about 1844, and known as the Haverstraw Iron & 
Mining Company. 

Under this Company considerable change was made. Besides the old 
works, they bought eleven acres of the lowlands above the bridge, which 
had formerly been connected with the mine, and erected on it a large brick 
building near the site of the old furnace. The company intended this 
building as a place where the ore was to be converted into the iron of com- 
merce without the intermediate process of puddling. The works were not 
a success ; the company failed, and the building was torn down. The mine 
then passed into the hands of Colfax & Co., who still hold it. The works 
erected because of this mine, consisted of a furnace a short distance above 
the present lowland bridge ; a foundry on Florus Falls Creek, a half mile 
further west ; a forge or bloomery on the property now owned by Henry 
Goetschius ; a bloomery a short distance from the old Slutton house, and 
still another bloomery and furnace just below the outlet of Cedar Pond. 

In 1 87 1, a nickle mine was opened on he iron ridge in lot No. 2, of 
the Cheesecocks patent by John Sneviley, of New York City. Sneviley 
worked this mine till 1875, when he sold it to the Rockland Nickel Com- 
pany by whom it is still conducted.. 

It was soon found that the gray and red conglomerate sandstone, of 
which large quantities exist in our County, formed the best hearth stones 
that could be obtained for iron furnaces, and quarries were speedily opened. 
The first worked was situated one and a quarter miles north of New City. 
This quarry was begun in 1788, and continued for twenty years. From 
1808 to 1838, it was not used, but in the latter year work was again be- 
gun in it by Joseph Bird, who paid the owner — Isaac Van Houten — $10 
for every set of furnace hearths quarried. About a half mile north of Van 
Houten's was the quarry of Cornelius De Pew, which supplied the hearths 
of the Greenwood, Woodbury and Cold Spring furnaces. Blauvelt's 

1 63 

quarry, three miles northwest of New City, was worked in 1838 by Isaac 
Springsteen. Three miles north of New City, Richard Coe, had a quarry. 
One- quarter of a mile west of this was one belonging to Levi Smith; 
while others were opened along the south base of the mountain by John 
Smith, Jacob Green and Jonas Conklin. 

A common furnace hearth from these quarries, required 14 blocks of 
stone, 10 of which contained each about 20 cubic feet, and 4 contained 
each about 10 cubic feet, or in the whole 240 cubic feet. Bird, who leased 
the Van Houten quarry, estimated the value of a set of hearth stones, de- 
livered at the landing at $100, and the income from this business was 
about $6,000 a year. 

Early in the history of the settlement of the County, freestone quarries 
were opened and worked sufficiently to supply the buildings of the settlers ; 
but it was not till the close of the War for Independence that these quar- 
ries were developed as a business speculation. About 1785, quarries were 
opened south of Nyack by Garret Onderdonk, and at Upper Nyack by 
John L. and Auri Smith. The demand for stone from Nyack steadily, 
though slowly, increased till 1 804, when the business obtained a solid 
footing, and another form of quarrying, that of trap-rock for dock-stone, 
was begun. In working a freestone quarry the workmen came first upon 
a facing of callus, which was perfectly useless, and had to be removed. 
Then came the material of commerce, which consisted of building stone, 
" principal " stone and " flagging." The " principal " stone was a better 
grade of building stone. It was compact, grainless, capable of being cut, 
but incapable of being split, and was used for finishing purposes, door and 
window-sills, cornices and door-steps. The " flagging " Was the most 
compact of the varieties of freestone ; it contained a perfectly straight 
grain, could be split to almost any thickness, and was capable of a very 
good polish. From the " flagging " mantels were made. 

Fpr many years the freestone from the Nyack quarries was used for 
buildings in New York and neighboring cities. As the city increased, new 
quarries were opened along the shore from "the present Grand View Station 
to the mountain at Upper Nyack. The exciting complications of our 
nation with foreign powers, during the early years of the century, gave a 
fresh impetus to the business, and from Nyack stone were built Fort Dia- 
mond on Hendrick's reef, later and now known as Fort Lafayette, before 
1824. Castle Williams, on Governor's Islarid, finished in 18 11, and the 
Red Fort, which used to stand at or near the corner of Desbrosses and 
West streets in New "York city. In filling the contracts for these works, 
the quarrymen were in no wise particular about the quality of the stone. 


and as a result the fort walls soon began to crumble. The labor of re- 
placing the poor stone was not complete at the time of the destruction of 
Fort Lafayette by fire, Dec. ist, 1868, and that work had cost the govern- 
ment, till that catastrophe, $350,000. 

Never was the freestone business so good as during the decade between 
1820 and 1830. In that period over two hundred outside laborers were 
drawn to the County, and it was common to see from ten to twelve vessels, 
loaded with stone leave the docks each day, while as many more were 
drawn in to take their places. Wages were high. The quarrying of build- 
ing stone would pay from $3 to $5 a day, while, if a vein of " flagging " 
was struck, it was not uncommon to make from $10 to $15 a day. / 

In 1830, the quarries at Beleville, N. J., were opened, and the stone 
found to be of a better grade than that from our County. Quarrying 
here began to decline and never recovered its prestige. In 1838, the 
leading quarries at Nyack were those of Westervelt's at Upper Nyack, on 
the property belonging to George Green. Here the " flagging " was a foot 
and a half wide and from two to three inches thick ; Clark's, two miles 
from Nyack ; Wilkin's, one mile south of Nyack, from which 5,000 or 6,000 
feet of slabs were annually shipped ; Daniel Onderdonk and brother, who 
shipped from their two works 2,500 flags; Richard Clark's, near the 
Onderdonk's; and Gesner's. In all, in 1838, there were thirty-one 
quarries at Nyack, sixteen being below and fifteen above the village, and 
from them were shipped during that year : 

62,000 feet of slabs, valued at - $9,300 00 

15,500 cart loads of rubble - 91687 00 

Giving an annual income from the business of - $18,987 00 

In the report of the State Geologist for the year can be read : " That 
the annual amount of sales a few years ago was near twenty times greater 
than this." 

While these quarries at Nyack were being worked to an extent now 
unthought of, one was opened just south of the Long Clove road, at the 
present-Conger's quarry by John Blackhurst. At the same time James 
Thom, a native of Scotland, purchased Richard Coe's quarry north of New 
City, and Blackhurst hired that of Cornelius De Pew, at Stagg's Corners, 
together with others. 

The business relationship existing between Thom and Blackhurst is 
unknown, but they evidently worked together, and stone was taken from 
these quarries to build the Church of the Holy Trinity in Brooklyn, begun 
in 1844, and in part to build Trinity in New York. Besides these, many 

165 ; 

private buildings in New York were trimmed with stone taken from this 
County, and finished by Thom. After a short ownership, the quarry 
above New City was sold by Thom to John A. McPherson, of Patterson, 
N. J., but he still continued to get stone from it. 

An anecdote of this sculptor may, perhaps, not be out of place. 
While resident in our County he was seized with a serious illness, which 
at one time threatened to terminate fatally. Many of his employees were 
Scots, and they loved the " Boss," as they affectionately termed Mr. Thom. 
During the hours of his illness, they had held many consultations regard- 
ing his condition, and at last determined that some one should pray with 
and for him. But who would be the petitioner ? One after the other 
decHned or excused himself till only the final member of the party remained 
unheard from, and he was deputed to perform the labor of love. At the 
hour appointed, the employees filed into the invalid's room and bent their 
knees while the prayer began. " O Lord bless Bossie Thom, an' if ye 
dinna ken who Bossie Thom is Lord ; He's the mon that cut Tarn 

While Tarn O'Shanter was doubtless his greatest, it was by no means 
Thorn's only work. " Old Mortality," " Touter Johnnie," and the 
" Statue of Washington," which many of the older inhabitants remember 
as standing in the door yard at the corner af the Nyack Turnpike and Erie 
Railroad, near Nanuet, were fashioned by his hand. The vine which twines 
over Trinity church entrance was hewn from insensate stone by his chisel, 
and much of the scroll work of old time houses in New York gives evi- 
dence of his masterly skill. 

At length, in 1 842, the work which had been growing less and less, 
practically ceased in the Nyack quarries. Since that time but little stone 
has been taken out and that almost entirely for local structures. For a 
short time longer the quarries, managed in Thorn's interest were kept 
employed. Then Thom died, and these, too, were abandoned. That 
known as Conger's, on the river front south of Haverstraw, was worked to 
obtain material for the new bridge across the Minnisceongo in 1883, and 
slightly to supply the West Shore Railroad, but to all practical purposes 
this industry has stopped. 

Among the prominent buildings in this State, constructed in whole or 
part, from the freestone of this County, besides the forts already mentioned, 
is the old Capitol at Albany, built in 1807; the rear of the New York 
City Hall, built in 1806-10; and in New Jersey, the first building of 
Rutgers College erected in 1809. 

I have already said that the dock stone business began to be active in 

1 66 

1 804. Trap rock was the material used for this purpose, and, as the city 
of New York grew, fresh quarries were started from Fort Lee to Rockland 
Lake. From this material the first docks of New York, cribs of logs, 
were filled, foundations were occasionally built, and the sea wall at 
Governor's Island constructed. Later the stone was tried as a pavement 
for the streets, but proved a failure owing to its certainty to split at the 
edges and become round. The ease with which gneiss could be obtained 
on the island, and the change from crib to spile piers in New York, led to 
the abandonment of this enterprise. In 1838, but three quarries of trap 
rock are mentioned in the County. Two of these belonged to Jacob 
Voorhis, and one, situated near by, to Peter White, and they were on the 
river front of the mountain north of Nyack. During the year, Mr. Voorhis 
shipped about 6,000 tons of stone, and Mr. White 1,200 tons. This was 
about one-fourth of the usual amount shipped annually. At the quarry 
the stone was valued at is. 3d. per ton, and sold in New York for 4s. per 
ton. The construction of the Hudson River Railroad in 1851, led to a 
temporary revival of trap-rock quarrying, and much of the sea wall of that 
road is built from this stone. 

We must now turn back to the Ramapo Valley and observe the tre- 
mendous manufacturing interests which grew up there in the early days 
of our County. At the birth of the century, Abram Dater had established 
iron works at Pleasant Valley. In 18 13, he had six forges at work and 
gave employment to about 140 people. These forges were locatfed on 
both sides of the Ramapo, on the spot now occupied by the store of Geo. 
W. Dater. 

In 1820, the firm controlling these works, was Dater & Ward. Thos. 
Ward being Mr. Dater's son-in-law. In 183 1, upon the death of Abram 
Dater, the works were sold to the Sterling Company, and operated under 
this management . for a short time. In 1849, they were managed by N. 
Potter Thomas, and later A. H. Dorr, ran them ; after him, and till 1854, 
ehty were under charge of John Sarsen. 

Besides these works, Mr. Dater also ran a grist mill located on the 
west bank of the Ramapo, and a forge on Stony Brook, about three-quar- 
ters of a mile from Sloatsburgh, at the present site of E. F. Allen's mill 
dam, known as the Spht Rock forge. At this spot about 1835, Thomas 
Ward, built a saw mill, which, in 1847-49, was used by Adna Allen as a 
hoe factory. Later, as we shall see in the history of Ramapo township, 
it was used for other purposes. 

A half mile south of Dater's were the Sloatsburgh Works. As early 
as 1792, a tannery was operated at this place by Isaac Sloat, but it was 

1 67 

not till 1 815, that the first mill for the manufacture of cotton cloth was 
built. This mill, still standing, was a frame building 20 by 60 feet, three 
stories in height, with two wings, one being a machine and smith shop 
where heavy mill screws and vices had previously been made. In this 
mill Jacob Sloat began the manufacture of cotton cloth in connection 
with stocks and dies, in which latter article he led the market of New 
York. Till 1836, the mill was continued with but little change. Then 
one of the wings was torn down and a new one — 20 by 30 feet and three 
stories in height, was erected in its place ; an addition was also built on 
the north side of the main structure. 

In 1838, weaving was discontinued and the mill was run on fine and 
coarse wraps. In 1839, the firm of J. Sloat & Co., consisting of Stephen 
and Jacob Sloat, John Quackenbush, and John S. Westervelt — was estab- 
lished. New and improved machinery was added, and in addition to the 
old branches of business, the manufacture of cotton twine was begun. 

In 1840, Jacob Sloat patented a process for dressing cotton 
twine, and the demand for twine became so great that all the spindles were 
turned upon its manufacture. This led to the building of the first brick 
mill in 1846, a structure, 152 by 34 feet, which increased the manufactur- 
ing capacity of the company from 2,500 lbs. per week to 6,000 lbs. In 
1853, the company was incorporated under the name of the " Sloatsburgh 
Manufacturing Co." In 1857, 128 feet were added to the brick mill, con- 
necting it with the original structure, and making a building 340 feet in 
length. This addition increased the capacity of the company to 8,000 lbs. 
per week. In 1858, Jacob Sloat, who had retired from the management 
of the business in 1851, died. The War of the Rebellion depressed this, 
as it did every business in which cotton entered as a factor, and the com- 
pany finally ceased operations in August 1878. 

Four men stand prominently forward, in the first half century of the 
County's history, as public benefactors. Other men have worked actively 
for the interests, the prosperity of this portion of the commonwealth ; 
other and many other men have pushed forward a work, which was begun, 
to full completion, but to Jeremiah H. Pierson, who gave the present suc- 
cess to Ramapo township ; to James Wood, who by his discovery of the 
present plan of burning brick, rendered the enormous business, which is the 
source of vast wealth to Haverstraw and Stony Point townships, possible ; 
to John Edward Green, through whose courage, energy and financial 
aid the first steamboat was built and successfully run, changing the career 
of Nyack ; and which with the Erie Railroad, labored for and carried 
through by Eleazor Lord, LL. D., gave an entirely new character to die 

1 68 

business interests of Orangetown, belongs, preeminently, the meed of 

Up to 179s, Sidman's Clove still retained its pre- revolutionary solitude, 
and the wonderful water power of the Ramapo flowed untramelled save by 
an occasional grist or saw mill, on to join the Pompton. The steam engine 
was in its infancy, and water power was of a value now little realized. The 
abundance and force of the river in Sidman's Pass, the vast quantities of 
wood, scarcely less necessary to the manufacturer than water, which lined 
the mountain sides, determined the Pierson Brothers in their selection of 
this side for the permanent home of their factories. 

In 1795 Josiah G. Pierson was engaged in the manufacture of cut nails, 
by machinery of his invention, from iron imported from Russia, and rolled 
and cut at Wilmington, Del., the nearest rolling-mill to New York at that 
time. His factory was located on Whitehall street, where the Produce 
Exchange now stands. 

The first purchase in the Pass was of 1 19 acres from John Suffern, and 
on this purchase preparations were at once begun, unde'r the superintend- 
ence of J. H. Pierson, for the erection of the necessary dam and buildings. 
Mechanics and laborers soon raised factory walls in this primeval wilder- 
ness, and in 1798 the rolling-mill, slitting-mill, and nail factory were all in 
operation, under the firm of J. G. Pierson & Brothers. This firm con- 
sisted of Jeremiah H. and Isaac Pierson, Josiah G. having died Dec. 17th 
of the previous year, before the works he had planned were completed. 
From 1798 to 18 12 the works were constantly employed. In 1807, the 
growth of whale fishery had so increased the demand for hoops for oil 
casks, that the rolling-mill was extended to meet it, and hoop-iron was 
added to the product of the Valley. In 18 10 Pierson's works supported 
about 800 people. 

In 1 8 1 2, the buildings at the Ramapo Works were as follows : The 
river was spanned, as now, by a dam 120 feet long. On the north side, 
adjoining the dam, stood a blacksmith shop, rolling and slitting mills, and 
works for cutting and heading nails. On the south side of the river, ad- 
joining the dam, was a saw-mill, next to this on the west was a " Straw 
House," a two-story building, in which was stored and cut by water-power, 
the straw for the numerous mules and oxen employed for the works. Still 
further west, up the stream, along the pond, stood the horse, ox, and four 
mule barns, all two stories in height. 

On the south side of the river, also, a few rods east, and a little to the 
south of the saw mill, was a store, built in 1805, and now occupied by 
William Van Wagenen. A short distance to the east and north of this 

1 69 

was the homestead of J. H. Pierson, built very soon after the works »were 
estabHshed, rebuilt in 1805, and now occupied by F. Taylor, In the 
northwest corner of this homestead the first store was kept. 

East by north from the homestead, and just west of the present depot, 
stood a grist mill, a four story building. Down the river, a few rods east 
of the grist mill, was a forge, and near by, to the south,, a coal house. 
West by south from this last building, up the hill on the south side of the 
turnpike, stood the "Yellow store," built in 18 10. In this was stored beef, 
pork and other provisions for winter use. East of this was a house built for 
John Colt, in 1808. It is now known as the " Prayer Rooms." The church, 
erected in 18 10, still occupies its original site. The second school house, a 
yellow building in two parts, stood on the south side of the turnpike, nearly 
opposite the present " stone store." The first school house, built in 1798, 
was located on the north side of the pike just east of the present " prayer 
rooms." A gate, through which there was no admission except on busi- 
ness, filled the space between the store and the homestead, and through 
this gate the road, bending to the east, ran down the slope in front of the 
grist mill, and so across the river to the nail works and rolling mill, the 
present bridge being several rods east of the bridge of those days. Such, 
says the Rev. Eben B. Cobb, from whom I have drawn so largely in treat- 
ing of the different works in the Ramapo Valley, that quotation marks 
would be superfluous, was the Ramapo of 1812. And, when we think of 
the multitudes of farmer's wagons bringing produce of all kinds to this, 
the market for the neighboring parts of Orange and Rockland coun- 
ties — Mr. Cobb gives the names of sixty-one farmers who delivered their 
products at this mart — when we think of the four and six mule teams 
going and returning, with their heavy loads, to and from Haverstraw, 
Buskirk's Landing on the Hackensack, and Hoboken ; when we read that 
in 1 8 10 a million pounds of nails was the yearly output of the nail factory 
alone, I think that the placing of J. T. Pierson first in the list of the four 
leading men in the County, of that time, needs no further explanation. 

But large as these works were, they were almost doubled by the erec- 
tion of the cotton mill in 1814-15. This mill was built to spin yarn to 
send to Russia, in exchange for iron, three-fourths of that used in the 
Ramapo Works being Russian ore. It was a five-story building with a 
dye house on the north end, and a machine shop — a four-story brick 
building with an attic; torn down in 1852, to give room for the double 
tracks of the Erie — on the south. On the Turnpike, too, the stone build- 
ing, still standing, was erected, for the storing of cotton. From this build- 
ing it was slid on a shoot to the mill below. 


These mills, built at an expense of $155,848, were furnished with 7,500- 
spindles, capable of making 506,250 pounds of No. 13 yarn, per year, and 
78 looms, capable of producing 486,720 yards of striped shirting, sheeting, 
and checks per year. In 1820. they furnished employment to 119 people. 
In 1822, the joint interest of the surviving brothers, J. H. and Isaac Pier- 
son, was incorporated under the name of the Ramapo Manufacturing Com- 
pany. In 1830, the manufacture of blister steel and wood screws was 
commenced. In 185 1, operations at Ramapo were virtually suspended 
and the works closed. 

We may review the principal industries of this period from 1798 to 
1 85 1. Cut nails were manufactured from 1798 to about 1840; cotton, 
yarn and cloth from i8i6to 1836; spring steel from i8ioto 185O; and 
blister steel and wood screws from 1830 to 185 1. 

To our County the Pierson brothers generally, but Jeremiah T. par- 
ticularly, gave an impetus that has only been equaled by the discovery of 
James Wood. In the language of Mr. Cobb, "We see nothing of the 
traffic which ' strung along ' them (the wagon roads) when teams were 
hauling grain and other produce for the sustenance of those who wrought, 
or of the droves of cattle which encumbered them when being driven 
hither to be slaughtered and packed away in huge cisterns or tanks. A 
record has been kept of this traffic, and we give a summary from it for the 
years 1820-21 ; 15,758 bushels of grain and 181,254 pounds of provisions 
(beef, pork, mutton, veal and butter) were brought to Ramapo in those 
years." It was owing to the existence of the Ramapo Works that the 
Nyack turnpike was cut through, in spite of opposition more violent and 
long-continued than ever greeted any other enterprise in this County, andi 
the presence of the works and the opening of the Turnpike, rendered the 
building of the first steamboat feasible. 

But it was not alone to the material prosperity of the village he founded, 
of .the County where he became resident, that Mr. Pierson devoted him- 
self He looked beyond the temporal to futurity. In great measure the 
controller of his employees' lives, he so far respected the State as to foster 
and press forward educational facilities. Realizing the deleterious influ- 
ence of liquor, he stopped the allowance of grog, which theretofore had 
been considered a necessity among employees, in 1828, and earlier, in con- 
junction with John Siiffern, he had joined in buying out and tearing down 
a groggery kept by a widow named Jenkins. In 18 10, he built the Pres- 
byterian church, the first place for divine worship in Ramapo Clove, and^ 
long bore the burden of its expense. For several years before his death, 
Mr. Pierson was afflicted with blindness; at length, on Dec. 12th, 1855, 
he found rest, in the 90th year of his age. 


Preceding the Revolution some slight attempts at the manufacture of 
brick were tried where the clay was found, but, as in the case of the free- 
stone, the little done in the business was only for local use. On the prop- 
erty of Mrs. Nellie Hart, in Upper Nyack, a yard existed before the be- 
ginning of this century, and some of the brick then made are now in the 
possession of Mrs. Hart ; but so brief was the existence of the work, and so 
slight the impress which it made upon the minds of the residents in the 
neighborhood, that all data respecting it are lost. I have seen in the pos- 
session of Adam Lilburn a brick, which was taken from the chimney of 
the old Treason House, marked 1792, and made at Haverstraw. 

The first kiln of bricks for a regular market ever prepared in this 
County, was baked about 1810, under the management of a company from 
Philadelphia, and the yard then opened was on the bank of the Minisceongo, 
not far from where the present iron bridge crosses the stream. The enter- 
prise ended in failure, and the work was abandoned. In that year the 
total number of bricks made in this county was only 94,371,646. Five 
years elapsed before a second attempt was made. Then, in 18 17, James 
Wood, a native of England, who had learned the trade of a brick maker in 
his native land, and who had been in the brickmaking business in Sing 
Sing and at Verplanck's Point, attracted to Haverstraw by the vast quan- 
tities of brick clay and the apparently unlimited supply of wood, leased 
from the De Noyelles a piece of land on the river shore, directly opposite 
their family burying ground, and started the first successful brickyard in 
the County. 

When Wood opened that first yard in Haverstraw, the process of 
making brick was the .same as that pursued by the Israelites while in their 
Egyptian bondage, over three thousand years before. True, it seems to 
be, that a few manufacturers in England had used coal dust in their brick- 
clay, but so little was the advantage of this process known, that the cause 
of a long and bitter litigation was needed to demonstrate it. In the old 
primitive way the clay and a due portion of sand were mixed, tem- 
pered by treading with the feet, and, when properly mingled, placed in 
the moulds by hand. These moulds — boxes without tops or bottoms, 
divided by partitions so as to hold the clay for three bricks placed length- 
wise — were placed upon a table, the clay put in them and struck off and 
then the mould, drawn sideways to the edge of the table, was carefully 
tipped on its side, and thus carried to the drying ground. It does not re- 
quire an inspection of that old process to become assured, that however 
much care might be used, the soft clay would settle out of shape and the 
bricks be distorted and rude. 


Accident led to the two great discoveries in brick making. Through 
the mechanical genius of a belated boatman, whose vessel fortunately for 
Haverstraw, had run aground on the flats before that place, James Wood 
was shown how to make a mould with a bottom and a vent. Soon after 
this, in 1828, happened the great discovery of his Hfe. An Enghsh friend, 
with whom he had lived when he first arrived in this country, sent him a 
small quantity of anthracite coal, which was then being developed in 
Pennsylvania, as a curiosity. On burning it he found, that while the com- 
bustion gave forth intense heat, but little smoke was emitted. 

At once the idea came to him that coal could be used to burn 
brick, and he hastened to make the experiment. A piece of the coal was 
pulverized in a borrowed mortar and mixed with the clay for four bricks, 
which, after being marked, were placed in the kiln. The kiln was burned, 
the bricks examined, and the examination showed that the experiment 
was a success. 

But the success in the case of four bricks only proved a part of the dis- 
covery. It remained to learn the proper proportion of coal dust to mix 
with the clay for a kiln. Mr. Wood obtained a load of anthracite cqal and 
sent it over the mountain to Van Houten's grist and plaster mill to be 
ground, and then mixed the dust with clay in nearly equal parts. That 
kiln burned to slag, and was ruined. At last the proportion arrived at 
was, according to State Geologist's Report for 1838, 22^ tons of coal 
dust to a kiln of 450,000 bricks. 

Further tests were tried. The coal dust was mixed with the bricks, 
which composed the upper layers of the kiln, with the result that they 
were burned as hard as those in the lower layers, a condition never before 
obtained. On still further trials it was demonstrated, that whereas up to 
that time it had been impossible to make bricks in a kiln of uniform 
quality, that of the three classes into which brick makers divided a kiln — 
" Hard," " Salmon " and " Pale " — the latter were soft and perfectly use- 
less, by this discovery they were all equally burned and all equally useful. 

The discovery of James Wood revolutionized brick making. . In a 
moment the custom of three and thirty centuries was changed. In a mo- 
ment the vast growth of American cities was rendered possible because a 
quick, cheap and almost inexhaustable building material had been found. 
In a moment, the brick yards, scattered along the Hudson, which had 
been dragging along with a slow and not over lucrative business, were 
turned into scenes of busy industry. In a moment the vast wealth of 
Haverstraw, her position as one of the three leading villages in the County, 
her present life itself, were rendered practicable. 


And what have brick-makers done to reward James Wood ? Ethic- 
ally, they stole the benefit of his discovery, fought him year by year in 
the courts, and permitted him to die in comparative poverty, while they 
were amassing fortunes from the use of his experiments. It is vain to 
plead that the use of coal dust in brick clay had existed in England. It 
was not known here. It is vain to plead that his patent was defective, 
because he did not give the proper proportion of coal dust which should 
be mixed with different clays in different localities. He did give the 
proper proportion for the clay of Haverstraw and vicinity, and it is of 
Haverstraw and vicinity I am speaking. It is begging the question to 
point to the fact that he did not succeed in business when others did by 
following his discovery. Hundreds of men, who have benefited the 
world, have been unsuccessful in business. The fact remains, that on the 
brick-makers of this County rests a great crime, which may be boldly 
faced, but which can neither be argued away nor hidden. 

In still another particular did Wood improve the means of making 
brick. He invented a machine, consisting of a wooden axle with spokes 
projecting from it, which, revolving in a central shaft, mixed the clay, 
coal dust, and sand more rapidly than before was possible. The time 
saved by these different discoveries was from seven to ten days on a kiln. 

The next yard ^fter Wood's was established by the Allison family, a 
short distance north of the foot of the present Main street, in Haverstraw, 
and in a brief time several yards were opened at Grassy Point, and below 
Caldwell's Landing. By 1834, these yards were, dragging along in a pre- 
carious condition. In November of that year, David Munn came to our 
County, bought land at Grassy Point, took hold of the brick business with 
a determination to make it pay, and succeeded. In 1838, the following 
yards were in operation with their annual production : 

Hodges' yard at Grassy Point 2,500,000. 

Mackey's yard at Haverstraw - 2,500,000. 

Wm. Holme's yard at Grassy Point 2,000,000. 

Lent's yard, below Caldwell's 500,000. 

David Munn's yard at Grassy Point - 3,500,000. 

Churchill's yard below Caldwell's 1,000,000. 

In the following years this industry advanced with rapidity, largely 
through the efforts and foresight of David Munn, who, taking instanta- 
neous advantage of every improvement, demonstrated the lucrative value 
of the business. 

" In 1852, a fresh impetus was added (to the brick making business) 


by the invention of the Automatic Brick Machine * * * of Richard A. 
Ver Valen. For some time previous, what was known as Hall's Improved 
Machine had been in use. * * * In the old machines the clay was 
pressed into the moulds by a lever worked by hand, and the moulds with 
the bricks were drawn out of the press by the man in charge. To do this 
with any degree of rapidity, required a combination of strength and quick- 
ness which few men possessed ; and although higher wages were offered as 
an inducement, it was soon found that the labor was so exhausting that it 
could not be endured for more than a few days at a time. Another great 
disadvantage was the fact that to render it possible to press the clay in 
the moulds it must be in a condition so soft, that when placed on the dry-, 
ing ground, the bricks failed to retain their shape, if exposed to any press- 
ure.. # * # After long thought (Mr. Ver Valen) invented the machine 
jiow in use, which not only tempers the clay, but presses it into the 
moulds while sufficiently stiff to cause the bricks to retain their shape in 
the most perfect manner. A slight change in the motion shoves out the 
mould ready to be placed on the truck and carried to the drying field." 

Litigation against Mr. Ver Valen and some of the brick makers who 
used his patent, was begun by the inventor of the Hall machine, and the 
matter dragged in the courts for some time, but was finally settled in Mr. 
Ver Valen's favor. This invention has not only increased the number of 
bricks manufactured, but it also gave to Haverstraw a new branch of busi- 
ness, of which we shall read under the history of the town. 

In 1853, a brick maker's strike occurred on account of a reduction of 
wages. Hundreds of strikers marched from yard to yard, breathing 
threats of violence. At length the feeling of insecurity became so great 
that Sheriff Henry L. Sherwood, applied for troops, and company R of 
the 17th Regiment — Rockland County Rangers, under the command of 
Major Isaac Pye, was ordered on duty. 

In May, 1877, another strike occurred. Again dissatisfaction arose 
among the laborers because of a reduction of wages, and they stopped 
work. The yard owners thereupon sent to Canada and obtained the ser- 
vices of a large number of French Canadians. As soon as the. new labor- 
ers began work the strikers began to act violently, and Sheriff William 
Hutton called upon the Governor for aid. In response two companies of 
the 1 6th Battalion, N. Y. S. N. G., one from Nyack and one from Sing 
Sing, were sent to the scene of trouble, and in a week, quiet was restored. 


Among the names of those who have been engaged in the brick busi- 
ness at Haverstraw, besides the few already mentioned, are : 

Thomas Doyle, Seamans, 

Isaiah Milburne, Redrer & Strang, 

Wm. Call, Close & Van Orden, 

O. C. Gerow, 1 )aniel Weed, 

Cosgroves, John Owen, 

Gardeners, M. Nye, 

James Eckerson, 

John Campbell, 

Rutherford & Marks, 
S. D. Gardner, 
Geo. Oldfield, 
W. Gordon, 

The manufacturers in 1885 are: 

B. J. Allison, 

Allison, Wood & Allison, 

Wood & Keenan, 

Allison, Wood & Keenan, 

Diamond Brick Co;, 

D. Fowler & Sons, 

John Derbyshire, 

Richard Murray, 

U. F. Washburn & Co., 

Carr & Smith, 

Felter Bros., 

Josiah Felter, 

T. G. Peck & Co., 
John Oldfield, 
Brockway & Smith, 
Richard Crowley, 
Snedeker Bros., 
Sherwood & fiaum, 
P. Buckley & Co., 
John Uunn & Co., 
Andrew Donnelly. 
McMahon & Co., 
Christie & McCabe, 
Lynch & McCabe, 

James Morrissey, 
Malley & Goldrick, 
Thos. Shankey & Co., 
Gillies & Benjamm, 
Gillies & Frederick, 
T. McKearns, 
Archer Bros., 
George Knapp, 
G. G. Allison, 
Tomkins Bros. 
Riley & Rose, 
RUey & Clark, 

James De Groot, 

In 1883 there were forty-two brick-yards in operation between Long 
Clove and Caldwell's Point, and the production was 302,647,000, the 
number of employees 2,400. In 1884 there were forty- three yards in 
operation between Long Clove and Tomkins Cove. 

As now mixed, coal dust, in the proportion of one bushel to every 
thousand bricks, is used for the inside of the kiln, but for those that are. 
nearest the shell double that quantity is necessary. The quantity of sand 
employed depends so largely on its quality that an absolute rule cannot 
be made. The size of the kiln varies, but few are as small as the old 
■figure, 450,000. Double that number, a million, and even more are now 
burned at once. As regards the method of transportation, the sailing 
vessels of old have, in a measure, been supplanted by barges. In the 
former's favor was the fact that they carried their own motive power, but 
as an offset to this the barges will carry four and five times larger cargoes. 
In regard to the leasing of brick property, there is, of course, variation, 
but the custom seems to be for the lessee to pay from twenty-five to fifty 
cents and even $1 on every thousand bricks made. 

Tradition has it that in 1 826, C. Wortendyke, of New Jersey, came to 
and cut from Rockland Lake, then called " the Pond," two boat loads of 
ice, which he conveyed to the city in the sloop " Contractor," commanded 
hy Captain John White. 


The origin of the company with which I am to deal, however, the now 
famous Knickerbocker, dates from 1835, when John J. Felter, John G. 
Perry and Edward Felter cut a sloop-load of ice from the Lake and sold it 
at an almost clear profit. In the following year, 1836, the following men 
joined together and formed an association for the purpose of supplying the 
city of New York with ice, under the name of Barmore, Felter & Co. : 

Nathaniel Barmore, Isaac Van Houten, John J. Felter, 

John De Baun, Edward Green, Edward Felter, 

Thomas Wells, Moses G. Leonard, Ambrose Wells, 

Benedict Wells, Peter P. Gasque, William Hutchison, 

George Smith, Alfred Wells, John Smith, 

William Smith, Jacob Swartwout, John G. Perry, 

John Van Houten, George Swartwout, 

Each member of the Associa):ion put $100 into the concern, forming a 
capital of $2,000. The articles of association for this company were drawn 
by Wm. F. Frazer, then District Attorney, later County Judge of the 

With their capital the company built the dock at Slaughter's Landing 
and a small ice house, capable of holding two or three hundred tons of ice 
at the lake, and hired a cellar in Christopher street, near Greenwich ave- 
nue, and one in- Amos street, to store the ice brought to the city. 
The hosts of the hotel that stood on the present site of Stewart's old store, 
corner of Chambers street and Broadway, and the hotel at number one 
Broadway, were seen and shown a specimen of the lake ice, which the 
canvasser, Hon. Moses G. Leonard, carried wrapped in a handkerchief 

Up to this time, 1837, the little ice used in the city was by butchers 
and the hotels. None was used in private houses, they being supplied 
with water from the wells and cisterns in the city. Ice was obtained from 
neighboring ponds, and was dirty and cut up. The purity of the Lake 
ice made it at once popular, and it was contracted for at $20 a ton. To 
the hotels already mentioned must be added the Astor House, which, 
though being built when the ice company started, was in readiness for 
their product the following year. 

The encouragement thus given to the company led them to buy a 
periauger, — capable of carrying about thirty tons, and to instantly begin 
shipping their commodity. But so Httle was known of the business, so 
little calculation was made for the waste of melting, that even at the enor- 
mous price obtained there was but small profit and the supply of ice was 
exhausted by July. For the following year, 1838. still greater prepara- 
tion was made ; two small houses were built on the left hand side of the 
dock at Slaughter's Landing, capable of holding about 2,000 tons, which 


were filled by running the ice down a shute from the mountain top ; — 
the first cake I have been told, came down with such velocity that it passed 
through the house and fell well out in the river beyond — ice was also 
stored in the cellar of the City Hotel and, as soon as the river was opened, 
ice was forwarded, to the city by sloops and schooners. In spite of the 
extra amount in storage the material was again exhausted in -July. 

By this time dissatisfaction, which had been growing for some time in the 
company, became so marked that the future of the business appeared hope- 
less. The causes which led to that dissatisfaction seem to have been due 
largely to the ignorance of those who were interested, of the business they 
managed. The original capital was far from sufficient to start a new en- 
terprise that was destined to gigantic growth, further assessment was not 
listened to by the members, the fact that the capital had been invested in 
implements and buildings necessary for success and that until success 
came the stock could not be held at par, seems not to have entered into 
their calculations ; they only felt that the share for which they had paid 
$100 had apparently depreciated to almost nothing; they only wished 
to sell their certificates at any price that could be obtained. 

For some time Alfred Barmore, who was then engaged in the boot and 
shoe business, in Greenwich Street, New York, had been watching the 
efforts made by the company to start the new venture, and he had finally 
determined, that if properly looked after, there was money in the ice busi- 
ness, accordingly, when others were so anxious to sell, there was little diffi- 
culty for him. to purchase, and, joining with Moses G. Leonard, the two 
bought up the stock of the old company and organized a new one under 
the name of Barmore, Leonard & Co., in 1840. 

The entrance of Alfred Barmore into the ice business was the begin- 
ning of its success. Keen, far seeing, not so carried away by his belief as 
to be visionary, but willing to accept risk and bold to enter upon new 
fields, energetic, he brought all these qualifications into the new project ; 
saw for it a wonderful future ; labored to make that future as great as his 
prescience told him it would be, and had the great satisfaction of seeing the 
weakling he had nurtured in its darkest hours, developed into one of the 
strongest forms of business in a vast metropolis. 

The advent of Mr. Barmore led to a radical change in the methods 
used in obtaining and disposing of the ice, and was the signal for opposi- 
tion for over thirty years. It seems wise, then, to briefly review the pro- 
cess which had so far held in the business. From the first cargo of ice 
cut, till 1 841, the sawing and cutting was done entirely by hand, part of 
the time with tools which were the invention of a Mr. Wright, and for 


which the users had to pay a royalty. The first workers in the material, 
under the impression that ice could not be preserved above ground, dug 
great pits, thirty feet deep and ten feet in diameter, into it, and stored the 
commodity, packed with straw, in these. When, under the management 
of the company of Barmore, Felter & Co., houses were built for storage, 
the ice was hoisted to the doors by means of a pair of ice tongs, a block 
and fall and horse power. Under this improved method one animal could 
house about lOO tons a day. The first carts used were mounted on 
wheels, made by sawing slices from the trunks of trees of requisite thick- 
ness, on the axles of this primitive vehicle, a roughly made box was 
placed and loaded and the cart driven down to the landing, there to be 
placed on board the steamboat Rockland, which ran from Haverstraw to 
New York every other day. On arriving at the city the ice was trans- 
ferred to a cart which was driven to the place to be supplied. 

The organization of the company of Barmore, Felter & Co., led, as we 
have seen, to the purchase of their own vessel and the hiring of cellars for 
storage in New York. But the carts still used bore no resemblance to 
the ice- wagon of to-day, and two or three were all that were required to 
meet the dermands upon them. Somewhat of a small beginning this for a 
business that now requires sixty barges, with a capacity of 40,000 tons, 
and finds use for 1,000 horses and 500 wagons. 

The first proceeding of Barmore, Leonard & Co., was to send to Bos- 
ton for the purpose of inspecting the business there, and to obtain an 
insight into the improved methods and implements used for harvesting the 
ice. The person intrusted with this mission returned and started an op- 
position company, bringing to it the benefits of his observation. As if 
by magic competition grew. Cheeseman & Andros built a large house 
in 1 84 1, at "Stony Point" on the east side of the lake, which was later 
bought by Ascough & Co., and finally destroyed by lightning about 1845. 
John D. Ascough, J. Kershaw, and Hutchison began cutting ice in 1841, 
and were followed by John Wright, who' erected a small house, and later 
by C. R. Wortendyke. Besides beginning at the lake Wortendyke built 
at Hop-0-Nose, on the Catskill, and Cheeseman built at Flatbush, the 
first ice house on the Hudson, which later became the property of the 
Ulster County Ice Co. 

A bitter contest for the control of the ice at Rockland Lake was now 
begun, for the understanding of which, a brief glance at its typography in 
1840, must be taken. Then as now the road wound along close to the 
lake shore on the south and followed the same roadbed on the east, but 
then the road on the north lay so much further south that there was prac- 


tically no property between it and the water. Opposite the road on the 
north side of the lake was the property of Thomas Wells. But one, the 
clove road exists or ever can. exist from the lake to the river and that has 
been practically unchanged. 

It was generally believed that the owners of property around the lake 
alone had the right to cut the ice from in front of it, and in pursuance of 
this behef, Barmore, Leonard & Co., bought or leased all the property ad- 
joining the water on the east and north sides. Where the highway touched 
the water, the ice was regarded as public property. The south side of 
the lake is too far removed from the clove to make cutting there profit- 
able, and leaving that to its own inaccessibility, Barmore, Leonard & Co., 
prepared to forestall all others by cutting at the point on the north where 
the road ran down to the water. But here they had calculated without 
taking Mr. Wells into consideration. Whether annoyed because he had 
sold his stock at a low price and now saw his error of judgment, or im^ 
bued with a conscientous belief that he was right in the matter ; Mr. 
Wells, after cutting such ice as he needed for his own use, built a fence 
between the lake and the highway and demanded a royalty on every ton 
of ice collected. The first result was a physical struggle between the em- 
ployees of the company and those of Wells in which the latter was worst- 
ed, and the matter was then carried into litigation. Shortly after, an ap- 
peal to the Commissioners of Highways led to the changing of the roadbed 
to its present position ; the land between it and the water became the 
property of one of the firm, and Barmore, Leonard & Co., obtained virtual 
control of the ice business at the lake as they already controlled the land- 
ing on the Hudson. 

Accepting the inevitable, the other companies eventually moved to 
Rondout Creek, where they combined and began the business under the 
name of the Ulster County Ice Co. 

The introduction of Croton water to N^w York, on July 4th, 1842, 
gave a tremendous impetus to the ice business. With keen business fore- 
sight, Alfred Barmore hastened to test the temperature of the water 
which came from the pipes and the result of the test led to the exclama- 
tion famous among the Knickerbocker people : " We must have more 
boats, more houses and more ice ; for the demand is going to be greater than 
ever before." Up to this time, the company had sold about 30 tons of ice 
a day. During 1841, Barmore visited Baltimore, and started a branch of 
the business in that city. 

In 184s, the legal contest with Thomas ^yells was compromised with- 
out reaching a legal decision and the last barrier to the control of Rock- 


land Lake removed. The following year, the company built two houses 
on the east side of the lake and bought a small steam engine, which had 
been used in a cotton press, to house the ice. In 1847, still further ad- 
vances were made. A house was built in Cranberry Swamp, capable of 
holding 16,000 tons; ground hired at the Red Fort, foot of Hubert street, 
in New York, and a house for storage purposes erected on it ; and the un- 
certainty of sailing vessels having rendered them objectionable, two barges 
were built for the company at New Brunswick. 

In the year 1853, E. E. Conklin, bought out Nathaniel Barmore's 
interest in the company and the firm became A. Barmore & Co. At this 
time all the ice business along the Hudson, was in the hands of three 
companies: John D. Ascough & Co., A. Barmore & Co., and the Ulster 
County Ice Co. It was determined to consolidate these companies under 
one management. Accordingly in the Legislative Session of 1854—55 
Richard Compton, Moses G. Leonard and Ferdinand Nichols, visited 
Albany, to obtain an act of incorporation. Consultation with Ogden 
Hoffman, Attorney General, revealed the fact that unless the general law 
of corporation for mining, etc. was amended, their mission would be fruit- 
less. An amendment was at once introduced, and after bitter opposition 
finally carried through. In pursuance with that act, the Knickerbocker 
Ice Company was incorporated in 1855, with a capital of $900,000, all 
paid up and clear of debt. 

Richard P. Compton, President. 
Jefferson Wilcox, Secretary. 

Anthony Compton. Joseph Britton. 

Alfred Barmore. C. R. Wortendyke. 

Moses G. Leonard. Horace Demett. 

Leonard F. Fitch. 

In the year 1858 the gravity .railroad was built from the lake to the 
landing. The names of Quaspeck Pond and Slaughter's Landing had 
been changed to Rockland Lake in 1835. DifiSculty having arisen be- 
tween some of the members, E. E. Conklin, left the Knickerbocker Com- 
pany in 1855, and, joining with Charles Scholeyand J. Schineller under the 
name of E. E. Conklin & Co., built the first ice houses at Staatsburgh and 
Evesport. In 1856, J. L. Cheeseman, built a large ice house at Athens, 
and three barges, and incorporated the New York & Brooklyn Ice Com- 
pany, with a capital of $500,000. In 1866, E. E. ConkUn & Co. and the 
New York and Brooklyn Ice Company, united and bought out Nelson 


Fuller, who had recently built a house at Marlborough. These transac- 
tions increased the capital of the New York and Brooklyn Company to 
$750,000. In 1868 the Knickerbocker and New York Companies joined 
their capital and property, $900,000 and $750,000, and added $1,350,000 
in cash, making an aggregate capital of $2,000,000. 

After the sailing vessels had been replaced by barges in the ice busi- 
ness, these latter vessels were towed to and from the city by boats belong- 
ing to the Cornell Towing line. 

For various reasons this arrangement became unsatisfactory, and the 
Knickerbocker Company finally determihed, in 1867, to do its own tow- 
ing. Accordingly, two heavy tugs were purchased and placed at work. 
As may be imagined, Cornell did not accept this act kindly, and to oppose 
the Knickerbocker Company he bought up the ice interests of R. Parker, 
Bonesteel & Van Etten, Manhattan Ice Company, and Stone & Bleecker,_ 
which had been started about the time the Knickerbocker Company was 
incorporated, and with them formed the Washington Ice Company. In 
retaliation the Knickerbocker Company extended its towing business so 
as to compete with Cornell's line. 

For a short time violent opposition continued. Then the Knicker- 
bocker Company discovered that it possessed in its charter no power to 
run tow-boats ; Cornell found that he was managing the ice business at a 
loss, and the two rivals entered into an amicable agreement, in 1869, by 
which the Hudson River Towing Company was formed, and Moses G. 
Leonard took charge of the Washington Ice Company. Under his man- 
agement its debts were paid, a dividend declared, and a house, with storage 
capacity of 80,000 tons, built. In 1873, the Knickerbocker bought the 
Washington Ice Company for $1,100,000. 

In 1835 William Lyons began cutting ice on Lake Sinipink, then 
known, among those residing near by, as the " Bloody " or " Hessian 
Pond," now called Highland Lake. In a short time Lyons was succeeded 
by the Brown Brothers, and later, Dennett having joined the firm, it took 
the name of Brown, Dennett & Brown. For several years this firm con- 
tinued the ice business at this place ; then J. D. Ascough & Co., obtained 
control of the the interests at Highland Lake, retaining possession till 1855. 
In that year the Knickerbocker leased the place, enlarged the storage 
capacity of the ice house and improved the methods of getting the ice to 
the landing on the river. 

This company maintained control at the lake till 1861, and were fol- 
lowed by a company composed of Jefferson Wilcox, Hiscock, Coles and 
A. C. Cheney, who remained in possession till 1881, when the firm was 
changed to A. C. Cheney, George Robinson and Bigelow. 


Under the new management an ice-house, with a' storage capacity for 
40,000 tons, has been erected and the gravity road by which the ice is 
gotten to the river landing improved. 

The present officers of the Knickerbocker Ice Company are : 

Robert Maclay, President. L. O. Reaves, Secretary. 

E. A. Smith, Treasurer. E. E. ConkHn, Superintendent. 

Until 1856, the manufacturing and repair shops of the company re- 
mained at Rockland Lake. Then they were transferred to the foot of 
West Twentieth street. New York city. The present Knickerbocker 
manufacturing and repair shop covers 13,000 square feet. D. E. Felter 
has a wheelwright and blacksmith shop at Rockland Lake, at which the 
repair of ice wagons and ice tools is still carried on, but most of the busi- 
ness is done in New York. The company has storage capacity along the 
Hudson and its lakes and ponds for 3,500,000 tons of ice; it owns sixty 
barges, with a capacity of 40,000 tons ; 1,000 horses, 500 wagons, and a 
shipyard and harness shop. The number of people steadily employed in 
the business is 1,200. 

Note. — The separation of this Chapter on the industries of the County from the Chapters de- 
voted to the histories of the town is, in a measure, arbitrary. I have thought that it might give 
the reader a clearer idea of the causes which developed the County, in the early days of its erection 
by placing them apart from the other data which must necessarily be touched on in the histories 
of the towns, and by grouping them together ; and in the case of the stone quarry and ice business 
more than one town was interested. The other manufacturing interests will be found in the 
Chapters devoted to the towns. 

Authorities referred to : "Documents relating to the Colonial History, S. N. Y.," Vols. 
VII., VIII. " Natural History, S. N. Y." Part III. " Mineralogy," by Louis C. Beck, Part 
IV. "Geology," by Wm. W. Mather. "History of American Manufactures," 3 Vols., by 
Bishop. " History of Dutchess County, 1609 to 1876," by Philip H. Smith. " History of 
Herkimer County," by Nathaniel S. Benton. " N. Y. S. Geological Reports,'' Vol. I. " The 
Hudson from its Source to the Sea," B. J. Lossing. "History of Ramapo,"by Rev. E. B."" 
Cobb. " Catskill Recorder." January, 1877. article by E. E. Conklin. Archives of the Rock- 
land County Historical Society. 



The treaty concluded between the United States and Great Britain, 
at Paris, on September 3d, 1783, was but a hollow truce. Neither people 
were satisfied with the result, and the English Government, not realizing 
that the separation was final, was not active in complying with certain 
terms of the agreement. Clashing interests on commercial matters only 
aggravated the ill temper of both nations, an aggravation, which was in- 
creased by the evident sympathy of this people with France, in her con- 
flict with England, and the retaliating acts of embargo and confiscation 
with which G-reat Britain hampered our merchant marine. One act of 
violence followed another, each side being mutually aggressive, till at 
length on June 1 8th, 1 8 1 2, war was_ formally declared between this Gov- 
ernment and Great Britain, because of the latter country's acts, in laying 
blockades on American Ports ; in insisting on the right to search Ameri- 
can vessels for deserters ; in refusing to comply with the treaty obliga- 
tions of 1783. These, though the nominal reasons given for the war, were 
but the outcome of a far deeper feeling of jealousy and anger that existed 
between the two peoples. 

With the acts of that war we have nothing to do save as it affected our 
County. We have already seen in a preceding chapter, that the attain- 
ment by this people of autonomy found them in a crude mental condition 
as regards the idea- they had won, and that the process of education in 
their new relationship to government was attended by some friction and 
the organization of partisan ideas. On some points of policy however, 
nearly every citizen agreed, and notably on that which opposed a standing 
army. In vain military men pleaded for this weapon of offense or de- 
fense ; in vain the Chief-magistrates recommended an increase in this 
powerful auxilliary to government. Plea and recommendation were alike 
futile, with a people who had had too much regular army before and dur- 


ing the Revolution, and had suffered too greatly from it in days past to 
risk placing themselves again within the power of armed force. So that 
army, which had come forth from the War for Independence, with all the 
perfection of veterans, had been permitted to disintegrate until a mere 
handful of men remained. 

At different times in the years that had passed, the regular force, of 
which a nucleus was always preserved, had been increased or diminished 
as the exigencies of the Nation demanded ; but as a general thing, the 
standing army did not exceed 1,500 men, a force only used then as now, 
to police the frontiers. While the people were thus niggardly in regard to 
a standing force, they were correspondingly generous in the laws enacted 
for the maintenance of the militia. With pride they boasted, that it was a 
volunteer army of citizens, which had accomplished at Louisburg, what 
men educated in the arts of war were afraid to attempt ; with pride they 
pointed out that it was citizen soldiers who had beaten the well trained 
troops of Great Britain, and her Hessian mercenaries in the Revolution, 
and with the same pride they proclaimed, that in any future contest the 
militia would be the saviors of liberty. It behooved the people then to 
combine with the quiet occupations of peace the sterner arts of war, and 
to carry out this plan every white citizen between the ages of eighteen and 
forty-five years, with a few exceptions, such as government officers, mem- 
bers of Congress, etc., was expected to provide himself with the accoutre- 
ments of war and appear, at least once a year, for inspection and drill. 

Even in the first years of peace when, above all other times, the en- 
thusiasm of victory and the stern pride of power would be most apt to 
lead to the observance of this law ; men found this self imposed duty irk- 
some. Peace by no means brought ease. The country was wretchedly 
poor, and hard, earnest work was necessary to maintain an existence. 
The devotion of a day to drill was felt to be an idle waste of precious 
time and it was given grudgingly. Time, instead of improving these mus- 
ters, made them worse, and a general muster day became a period of riot 
and drunkenness. Struggling groups of men, clad in various forms of 
dress — here one, arrayed in a Continental uniform which had graced some 
Revolutionary hero and which had been inherited or bought by the pres- 
ent wearer without regard to the accuracy of the fit ; there another, clothed 
in home made stuff that had been grown and woven in the County, anon 
a third, who being more gifted with this world's goods than his neighbors 
evinced the fact by appearing at muster in broadcloth and strutting before 
the gaping yokels who did not know him ; marched to and fro, armed 
with every imaginable object that could be used as weapons of offense 


or defense, while the shrill scream of fife and the rattle of drunris attracted 
the attention of the women and children to this truly motley gathering. 

Excellent material for any army was in this militia, doubtless, if it had 
been disciplined and properly officered, but as it was managed, rather 
fitted to be the admiration of slaves and school children than to strike 
terror to an enemy's heart. One branch, and one branch only of the 
service made any pretention to uniformity in dress — the cavalry. Com- 
posed, as a rule, of a wealthier class than the foot soldier, the light horse- 
men did take some pride in their appearance and presented, on muster 
days, a fair semblance of force ; but when the call to " boots and saddles " 
sounded, or when, at the order of " Return sabres " the swords clanked 
against their scabbards, then came a scene which baffles description. The 
horses, either taken from the plough or only half-broken colts, frightened 
by the unwonted excitement and noise, plunged, rolled, kicked or, gaining 
the mastery, ran away, while riders clung fast to saddle and mane, or 
rolled helplessly in the dust. 

The congregation of such a numerous body of men, led to a liberal 
demand on the hospitaUty of the neighboring hostelries, and peach brandy 
rum and apple whiskey were consumed to an alarming amount. Drinking, 
which began in a friendly way as acquaintances met, soon produced the 
effects of alcoholic stimulation on the different dispositions of the users, 
and maudling greetings, bacchanal shouts of laughter and sullen threaten- 
ings resounded through the air. Boastfulness grew rampant. The different 
sections of the County were represented by bullies, each more abusive than 
the other, and at length from words the disputants passed to blows, and a 
general free fight ended up the day. From what I have said, it may be 
inferred that discipline and subordination were unknown. Such inference 
is correct. The officers were neighbors of the privates, and met them in 
daily intercourse ; their social standing and business relationship*were too 
close all the year for familiarity not to breed contempt ; and while the 
soldier might deign, out of respect to the day, to address his commanding 
officer by his military title instead of his Christian name and, in a good- 
natured way, obey his orders up to a certain limit ; he most certainly 
would permit no autocratic commands of that officer to change his precon- 
ceived plans and intentions. To obtain that respect and obedience, to 
which his rank entitled him ; the officer needed to be physically able to 
enforce his demands. 

With firm dependence on an army, composed mainly of such material 
this Nation declared war against Great Britain. Can we wonder, under 
the circumstances, that our land forces made such a poor showing in that 


war? Can we wonder that a force of only 3,500 men could march to and 
burn the Capital of a government whose population was 8,000,000 ? 

As in the Revolution, English strategy again consisted in attempting 
to separate the New England from the other States by seizing the valleys 
of Lake Champlain and the Hudson ; and while Sir George Prevost, with 
11,000 men, invaded New York at the north, a British fleet blockaded the 
harbor, and transports with English troops were expected to land at its 
southern boundaries. Alarmed for the safety of New York city, the 
Government hastened the building of defences. A small fortification 
already occupied the site of the present Fort Hamilton, and Castle Wil- 
liam, on Governors Island, which had been begun in 1807, was standing. 
To these were added the erection of Fort Diamond, — now known as Fort 
Lafayette — on Hendrick's Reef, and the red fort, which used to stand at 
or near the corner of the present Desbrosses and West streets. At the 
same time the militia of the State, not previously called out, was ordered 
on duty. 

One of the absurdities of the militia law now became plainly apparent. 
Every able bodied man in the State belonged to the militia, and the requi- 
sition for troops, in the midst of the harvest season, was equivalent to 
letting the harvest rot in the fields from lack of means to gather it. Gov- 
ernment seemed to grasp this idea, and, to rectify the evil, granted per- 
mission to the commanding officers of the different counties to draft only 
such proportion of their command for service as could be spared from the 
necessary labors of life. Other commanders at once took advantage of 
this grant. But the officer in charge of the militia of this County — Gen- 
eral Peter Van Orden — with more zeal than discretion, determined that 
the full force under his command should serve. He, accordingly, issued 
orders fox the militia of the County to assemble on September 3d, 18 14. 
This was not the last occasion in his life in which General Van Orden's 
ardor excelled his judgment, but it was one of the most unfortunate ones 
for the reputation of our County. 

On September 3d, seventy-one, out of a company of seventy-seven 
men belonging to the 83d Regiment, N. Y. S. Militia, Lieutenant- 
Colonel Benjamin Gurnee commanding, assembled at John G. Blauvelt's, 
in Greenbush, under the immediate command of Captain Jacob L Blauvelt, 
and, after a brief inspection, started for the front. Marching down to 
Tappan Landing, this force was there conveyed on board of a sloop by 
small boats and sailed for New York, It was a cloudless, hot day, such 
as often occurs in early Autumn, and the long march through the dust 
had made the men hot and thirsty. For some unexplained reason, no 


provision had been made on the sloop to supply the troops with water, 
and, as they idly drifted down the river, parched and choked, these worthy 
soldiers obtained their first lesson of the deprivations of war. By the time 
Phillipse — Yonkers — was reached their agony was unbearable, and the 
vessel was compelled to land and allow the troops to slake their thirst. 
Again they started for the city, which they reached at three A. M., Sep- 
tember 4th. But their experience of the difference between playing at 
soldier and being in actual service was but begun. The relief, which had 
been given their thirst, had passed, and, aggravated by recollections of the 
freedom with which they had always heretofore obtained water, the war- 
riors muttered curses, both loud and deep, at their present restraint. It 
was not till ten o'clock that they were landed and marched to the Battery 
where they obtained water. Re-embarking at the Battery, Captain Blau- 
velt's company proceeded up the East River to encamp on Ward's Island. 
But their trip was further prolonged by the error of a drunken pilot, who 
ran the vessel aground off Bellevue at sundown, and they passed another 
night on the water. Finally they reached their camping grounds on 
September 5th, and were quartered in a five story factory. For three 
weeks the company remained on Ward's Island. At the end of this time 
they were moved to Harlem Heights, where they were inspected on Oc- 
tober 8th, 1 8 14. At Harlem Heights they remained till November 29th, 
1814, when, as their services were not longer required, they were per- 
mitted to return home. 

When Captain Blauvelt's command started from. Greenbush, the com- 
pany of Captain John Snedeker set sail from Haverstraw and joined the 
other companies of the 83d Regiment of New York State Militia at 
Harlem Heights. 

The exposure, the change in the manner of living and that disease so 
common to army encampment — measles — made sad havoc in the ranks of 
Captain Blauvelt's company. No less than one-third, among whom were 
the Lieutenant and Ensign, were on a sick furlough at one time or another ; 
and of these the greatest number were suffering from measles, which 
became epidemic in camp about November 15th. Besides drilling and 
laboring on the fortifications either in the quarries or trenches, there wag 
little to disturb the monotony of camp life except desertions. This offence 
was wonderfully common. The militiaman, who probably had never been 
away from his home for a week at a time before, grew dreadfully home- 
sick in his strange surroundings and walked off from camp. When he 
felt so inclined, he returned to his comrades, not before ; and when he had 
returned no punishment save that of confinement or extra labor awaited 


him. To shoot a militia deserter was unthought of, for, while a Congress- 
ional act had been passed at the outbreak of the war, placing the militia in 
the service under the same rules and regulations as the regular army, 
court-martials for the trial of a militiaman could only be composed of 
militia officers, and we can readily see that a board so composed would 
hesitate long before passing the death sentence. So, without terror of 
death to prevent, individuals or squads were constantly missing, and the 
evil became so widespread, that on November i6th, the 83d Regiment 
camp was suddenly called to arms at 9 o'clock in the evening, under the 
impression that some neighboring troops were about to desert. 

If desertion was thus prevalent among the militia of other counties, 
some excuse can be found for it among the troops under command of 
General Van Orden. Not alone did they suffer from the same homesick- 
ness common to all, but a further and tremendous inducement to abandon 
camp was found in the complaints which reached them of the impossibihty 
of those remaining at home, to gather the fall crops and prepare for the 
winter. Reiterated requests for furloughs met with constant refusal. So 
the men took the matter in their own hands and came home. By Novem- 
ber 2 1 St, forty of Captain Blauvelt's company had been returned for court- 
martial on account of being absent without leave ; at one time no less than 
sixteen men were absent from duty ; and during a period of twenty con- 
secutive days the morning report shows never less than three and usually 
from twelve to thirteen, privates and non-commissioned officers recorded 
as deserters. Sometimes one would start alone or with a single companion 
but more commonly squads of five or, six would go off together, followed 
next day by a similar number. The punishment meted out to these mili- 
tary sinners was the marching and counter- marching them up and down 
the roads from'^breakfast time till nightfall without rest. This means may 
have been chosen on the principle, that the men would be so tired out by 
evening as to be content to remain quiet and not walk off home again, but 
from the expressions of one of those, who was punished, I judge the plan 
was not effectual. 

In the Light Horse, the cavalry branch of the militia, a draft of seven 
men was made in the County. Five immediately disqualified, and only 
Isaac S. Lydecker and James De Clark responded. These gentlemen 
started for the rendezvous, Montgomery, in Orange County, on a bVight 
Sunday afternoon, and were accompanied as far as Sufferns by a cavalade 
of neighbors. On reaching Montgomery, they, with some seventy or 
eighty others of the force, who had assembled, were inspected and were 
then dismissed to their homes subject to instant recall in case of need. 
The call never came. 

1 89 

In the year 1814 a battalion of artillery was organized in the Middle 
Senatorial District composed of Rockland, Orange, Duchess and Ulster 
Counties. This battalion was at first under the command of Major Har- 
mon Tallman, of Nyack. The uniform was composed of white pants and 
vest, dark blue coat, turned and faced with red, and fur caps with red 
plume. The armament consisted of brass field pieces. The battalion 
entered camp at Harlem Heights. Almost immediately trouble arose 
between the rank and file, and Major Tallman was relieved of the com- 
mand, which was given to Major Tyler Dibble. During part of its period 
of service, this battalion remained at Harlem Heights, and for a portion 
of the time at Greenwich, Connecticut. Captain Jonathan Reynolds' com- 
pany remained in service the longest period, entering August iSth and 
being mustered out November 18th, 18 14. The other companies remained 
on duty from August 1 8th to September 30th, when they were dis- 

In proportion to her population Rockland County turned out more 
men in the War of 181 2 than in our late Civil War, but not one of those 
men ever saw more of war than is comprised in a fortified camp, except the 
few who enlisted in the United States Army. Doubtless, if placed in 
action, the militia of this County would have acquitted itself in as worthy 
a manner as raw troops ever do. There would have been the usual 
amount of malingering ; the usual number of desertions ; and the usual 
stampede that follows a break in the line when green soldiers are in battle. 
The militia system in the Revolution, in the War of 1 8 1 2, and up to the 
organization of the National Guard, was the most illusive system that ever 
deceived a people ; and though that delusion must have been apparent to 
the dullest intellect, the citizens of this country did not wish their favorite 
hobby disturbed, but hugged it the closer to them, and were lulled by it 
into fancied safety. Fortunate for us was it, that, when the crucial test of 
war came upon this Nation in 1 861, the opposing army was as new to 
conflict as we, and that each side became skilled in battle in the same 
proportion as the other. 

At the close of the War of 181 2, the militia resumed its former apathe- 
tic indiffence to discipline, and the annual muster gradually became 
more and more of a useless farce. Occasionally some enterprising Legis- 
lator would stir up the topic of the State's military force, and then a new 
law or two would be passed to add to the many already on the Statute 
books, nugatory because of their non-enforcement; and if enthusiasm 
enough could be roused, the whole service would be reconstructed. By 
1848, the companies in this County had become a part of the 17th Regi- 


ment, N. Y. S. Militia, Colonel William W. Scrugham, commanding, and 
the regiment was attached to the 7th Brigade under the charge of General 
Aaron Ward. A momentary interest in the service had been caused by 
the Mexican War, but recently ended, and during its excitement, a cavalry 
company of about fifty men was organized and mustered into service in 
1848, bearing the title of "Rockland County Rangers." The officers of 
this company at its organization were: Captain, Isaac Pye ; First Lieutenant, 
Charles McOblenis; Second Lieutenant, Edward Pye. 

The "Rangers" were ordered on duty during the Haverstraw riot of 
1853. Sheriff Henry L. Sherwood, finding himself unable to cope with 
the rioters by the civil powers, and remained on duty two days and a 
night before quiet was restored. In 1855, General Ward resigned his 
commission on account of age, and W. W. Scrugham, was promoted to 
the command of the brigade, while Edward Pye, became Colonel, and 
Isaac Pye, Major of the 17th Regiment, and Charles McOblenis, Captain 
of the " Rangers." Thus officered the regiment remained till the Civil 
War. At the call of the National Government for protection to the 
Capital ; the 1 7th Regiment was ordered to proceed to Washington, by 
Governor Seymour. Ere the hour for departure, however, the immediate 
danger to the Capital had passed, and the 17th Regiment remained on 
waiting orders for the next three or four weeks ; at the end of which time 
it was relieved from duty. By the departure of members either as volun- 
teers or conscripts, the organization was practically abandoned, the small 
remnant remaining, being used for home duty, and, without its members 
being mustered out, the company of " Rangers " ceased to exist for want 
of men. Once more it was ordered out, as we shall see in the chapter on 
the Civil War, and performed duty at the front in the year 1863. 

The accoutrements of a " Ranger " consisted of horse, saddle, bridle, 
saddle-cloth, knapsack, holster, pistol, belt, saber, and spurs; while dark 
blue coat, trimmed with red, blue pants with red stripe, and bear skin cap 
with long black feather tipped with red formed his uniform. 

Early in the Civil War the whole subject of the State troops was taken up 
by the Legislature, and on April 23d, 1863, the result of the deliberations 
of that body took form in the organization of our present National Guard. 
On June 19th, of that year, Adjutant-General Sprague issued the neces- 
sary orders for the formation of a regiment or battalion in each Assembly 
district, and under those orders the Fifty-seventh Regiment, N. G. S. N. 
Y., was organized, with General James Ryder, of the Seventh Brigade, 
brigade commander ; James S. Haring, Colonel, and John S. Stephens, 
Lieutenant- Colonel. Th^is regiment, composed entirely of Rockland 
County men, contained seven companies. 


By 1870 the Fifty-seventh had followed in the footseps of its military 
predecessors, and become a skeleton regiment, and by the expiration of 
the seven years tefm of service, in the following year it passed from exist- 
ence. ' 

A year or two now elapsed with virtually no militia organization in 
our County. Then a company, lettered B, was raised and joined to the 
Sixteenth Battalion, Seventh Brigade, Fifth Division. The commissioned 
officers of this company were : Henry E. Smith, Captain ; WiUiam Salters, 
First Lieutenant; Eugene Gardner, Second Lieutenant. The armory of 
Company B was in Nyack, and the great majority of its members resided 
there. During the brick -makers' strike in Haverstraw, in 1877, Company 
B was ordered to that village, and remained on duty from May 24th to 
May 30th, ere quiet was restored, being quartered in the United States 
Hotel. Again, during the railroad strikes and riots of 1877, this organiza- 
tion was ordered on duty in the armory, and remained under orders from 
July 24th to August 2d. 

The same difficulty, that has always met every County movement, met 
this. Distance between the villages prevented citizens of one from attend- 
ing regular meetings in another, and neither Nyack nor any other village 
in the County had population enough to keep a military organization full. 
The change from a seven to a five year term of service brought the end of 
military duty for two sets of men at the same time. There was no re- 
cruiting to meet the vacancies thus caused, and the company at once fell 
below its legal number. Then came the legislative act under which the 
National guard was reorganized and consolidated, and all skeleton organi- 
zations disbanded, and as Company B came under the list of skeletons, 
it was wiped from existence on December 17th, 1881. Since that time no 
effort has been made to raise a mihtia organization in Rockland County. 

A list of the dates of the commissions of the officers in the Regiment 
of Militia commanded by Lieutenant- Colonel Cornelius A. Blauvelt, in the 
County of Rockland, November 28th, 1812. 

( Lieutenant's Commission, May 12th, 1798. 

Nicholas Gesner ^Captain's " April 25th, 1806. 

( First Major's " June 26ih, 1811. 

( Lieutenant's " April 25lh, 1806. 

Michael Salyers ■? Captain's " April 2d, 1811. 

( Second Major's " March 7th, 1812. 

( Ensign's " April 25th, 1806. 

Thomas T. Eckerson < Lieutenant's " April 24th, 1807. 

(Captain's " June 26th, 1811. 

S Ensign's " April 2Sth, l8c6. 

Lieutenanant's " April 24th, 1807. 

Captain's '• June 26th, 181 1. 


X i_ T-> /^ J J 1 S Ensien's Commission, Tune 15th, 1808. 

Jacob D. Onderdonk | Captiin's " June 20th, 1811. 

I Ensign's " April 2Sth, 1806. 

Cornelius Sickles ^Lieutenant's " April 2d, 1 811. 

( Captain's " March 7th, 1812. 

Jacob I. Blauvelt Captain's " June 26th, 181 1. 

Samuel S. Ver Bryck Captain's " June 20th, i8ii. 

_ , „ ,. < Lieutenant's " June 26th, 1811. 

Erastus Colt ^ Captain's " March 7th, 1812. 

iir-iv Ti 1- . <- (Ensign's " June 20th, 181 1. 

William Herbert Gesner ^ Adjutant's " March 7th, 1812. 

Daniel A. Blauvelt Paymaster's " March 7th, 1812. 

Daniel Tallman Quartermaster's " June 3d, 1812. 

Ralph Bush Surgeon's " June 3d, 1812. 

T^ . , . , < Ensign's " April 24th, 1807. 

Daniel Ackerman -; | Lieutenant's " June 26th. 1811. 

T 1, ir ri J ( Ensign's " June 15th, 1808. 

John Van Orden | Lieutenant's ■' June 26th, 181 1 . 

„ , ,,-j ( Ensign's " June 26th, 1811. 

Samuel faidman | Lieutenant's " March 7th, 1812. 

John T. Eckerson Lieutenant's " June 26th, 181 1 . 

■George Washington Sneden Lieutenant's " June 20th, 1811. 

James Hudson Lieutenant's " March 7th, 1812. 

Henry Gesner Ensign's " June 20th, 181 1. 

John Mackie Ensign's " June 20th, 181 1. 

John T. Yeury Ensign's " June 26th, 1811. 

Alpheus S. Colton Ensign's " March 7th, l8i2. 

Mathias A. Concklin Ensign's " March 7th, 1812. 

Stephen Hennion Ensign's " June 26th, 1811. 

Captain, John Snedeker. 
Abraham Storms, First Lieutenant. Dowah A. Blauvelt, Se:ond Lieutenant. 

Ensign, James Svpartwout, 
Adrian Onderdonk, First Sergeant. Garret G. Snedeker, Third Sergeant. 

John Stevens, Second Sergeant. Abraham Snedeker, Fourth Sergeant. 

Charles Ferlwood, First Corporal. George Smith, Fourth Corporal. 

Shobal Hall, Second Corporal. William Gilchrist, Fifth Corporal. 

Samuel Lawrence, Third Corporal. Garret F. Snedeker, Sixth Corporal. 

Thomas Gilchrist, Fifer. Harman Tremper, Drummer. 

Abbott, C. Hofiinan, John Richards, Lawrence 

Allison, Daniel Harrison, Matthew Rogers,'Jesse 

Baker, Thomas James, Paul Rose James 

Brady, David Jaycock's Timothy Ryder, Hercules 

Brewer, Paul Johnson, Samuel G. Short, William 

Barmore, Nathaniel Knapp, David Slott, Lewis 

Brinkerhoff, Christian Knapp, Jacob Smith, Richard 

Bennet, John Lum, John Smith, William 

Baker, Joseph Lydecker, John Jr. Snedeker, Tunis 

Carsick, Alexander Minford, Robert Snyder, Hendrick 

Corby, Isaac Meyers, Stephen Springsteen, Garret 

De Baun, Christian Meyers, Abraham Storms, John 

Felter, Harman Mullen, Marcus Tallman, A. A. 

Felter, Edward Onderdonk, Garret Tallman, J. D. D. 

Felter, David Paul, Arthur Tallman, Harman 


Teller, John 
Pelter, John P. 
Felter, Jacob 
Pelter, George 
Felter, Benjamin 
Thew, William 
Finch, Henry 
Gilchrist, Budd 
Gerow, Isaac 
Attached to 83d Regiment N. 

Paul, Uriah 
Perry, John 
Tremper, John F. 
Pierson, Silas 
Polhemus, Theodorus 
Remsen, John 
Remsen, Theodorus 
Short, William 

Vanderbilt, Jacob 
Van Orden, Jacob 
Williams, Elias 
Van Houten, Jacob 
Van Orden, John 
Williamson, JereniiSh 
Van Houten, John, Jr. 
Wiley, William 

Y. S. Militia, Lieutenant- Colonel Benjamin F. Gurnee. 

Captain, Jacob I. Blauvelt. 
First Lieutenant, John Eckerson. Second Lieutenant, George Wiants. 

Ensign, John Mackie. 
John Tanlman, First Sergeant. Abram A. Johnson, Third Sergeant. 

William Hutton, Second Sergeant. John I. Johnson, Fourth Sergeant. 

Henry Oblenis, First Corporal. James D. Clark, Third Corporal. 

Derick Van Houten, Second Corporal. John Duryea, ' Fourth Corporal. 

John Wooder, Fifth Corporal. 
Peter Cole Fifer. Abraham D. Blauvelt, Drummer. 

Ackerman, Cornelius 
Ackerman, Abraham 
Blauvelt, John C. 
Bulwer, Henry 
Blanch, Thomas 
Baker, George 
Barbarow, John N. 
Blauvelt, C. J. 
Brevirer, Abr'm 
■Cole, Isaac 
Carlow, James 
Carlow George 
Demarest, Jacob P. 
Demarest, David 
De Clark, James C. 
De Clark, Peter 
Demarest, James 
De Baun, Abr'm 
Demarest, Peter M. 
De Clark, Moses 
Wanamaker, Cornelius 


Eckerson, Lucas 
Eckerson, Thos. T. 
Eckerson, Abr'm 
Eckerson, Derick 
Eckersbn, Jacob T. 
Fox, Stephen 
Hopper, Garret A. 
House, John, Jr. 
House, Henry 
Hopper, John 
Johnson, Peter 
Johnson, Abr'm I. 
Lydecker, Albert 
Mackie, James 
May, Coonrod 
Norvfood, Cornelius 
Osborn, Nathaniel 
Peterson, Abr'm 
Remsen, A. 
Ronseau, John P. 
Wilson, Caleb 
to the 83d Regiment, N. Y. S. Militia. 

Smith, John 
Smith, Garret A. 
Smith, Garret I. 
Smith, Garret S. 
Serven, John G. 
Sudderland, John 
Smith, Aury 
Serven, Aury 
Taylor, John 
Taylor, William 
Taylor, Jonathan 
Taylor, Edward 
Taylor, Isaac 
Tinkey, George 
Van Buskirk, Andrew 
Van Ostrand, Jacob 
Van Ostrand, Moses 
Van Houten, Joseph 
Van Wort, John 
Van Orden, David 

Abraham Ackerman, George Carlow and Nathaniel Osborn; never 
reported for duty and 'James Carlow, furnished a substitute named Jacob 


Roll of the field and staff" officers of a battalion of New York De- 
tached artillery at first commanded by Major Harman Tallman, later by- 
Major Tyler Dibble, in the service of the United States, in 1814. 

Major, Tyler Dibble. 
Clermont Livingston, Adjutant. William S. Wilkin, Paymaster. 

William L. Cande, Surgeon, Joseph EUicott, Quartermaster'. 

~ Henry Van Nostrand, Sergeant Major. M. B. Gager, Quartermaster Sergeant. 


Alan son Austin, Captain, t 
Purdy Fowler, First Lieutenant. 
Edward L. Welling, Second Lieutenant, 
John Hathorn, Jr. First Sergeant. 
William Robison, Second Sergeant. 
Joseph Roe,t First Corporal. 
William Munger,t Third Corporal. 
James W. Finch, Fiith Corporal. 
John Welling, Drummer, 
Armstrong, DanielJ 
Armstrong, George 
Applebee, Elnathan 
Baird, Nath. W.§ 

Henry Butterworth, Captain.f 
Francis Armstrong, First Lieutenant, t 
Garret Henion, Second Lieutenant. 
Nathaniel R. Denton, Third Sergeant. 
Henry W. Houston, Fourth Sergeant. § 
John Welling, § Second Corporal. 
George Wandel, Fourth Corporal. 
Henry Feagles,§ Fifer. 

Broad, James B.t 
Blooiner, Thos. B. 
Bazly, Loal 
Blair, Barnard 
Byram, Cantwellt 
Beedle, Peter** 
Conkling, Joseph 
Cornelison, John 
Crostgrove, Chris.t 
Dusenbery, Dan'l C.t 
Dekay, Sam'l L. 
Dolsen, John 5 
Finn, Daniel 
Felter, Jeremiah P. 
Griggs, Daniel 

Gourdinier, Barney 
Hartwick, John** 
Harris, Robert^ 
Hedges, John 
Gilbert, Elnathan B. 
Johnson, Jolin 
King, John 
Lawrence, Nathaniel^ 
Ludlow, Daniel 
Lydecker, Albert A. 
Matthews, Samuel 
Minthorn, James 
Mapes, Lewis 
Murray, John 
McDowell, Roberttt 
Onderdonk, RuliffJ 
Onderdonk, Garrettt 
Orvins, Benjamin 

Pickins, Edward§ 
Polhemus, Daniel 
Quimby, John 
Roe, John S. 
Roads, Matthew 
Strong, JohnJ 
Sterns, Elisha 
Tice, Jubal 
Tice, Lee 
Tallman, John 
Taller, James T. 
Vanorsdol, Cornelius 
Welling, Thos. H. 
Welling, Hezekiah D. 
Wheeler, James+t 
Hunter John 
Stevens, Abr. S. S. 
Lyon, Jabez 

The waiters attached to this company were : John Carter, James Demarlo, Henry Scott, and 
John Call. ' 


Jonathan Reynolds, Captain. 
Leonard Thompson, Firt Lieutenant. 
William Kalstine,t First Sergeant. 
Derrick Husted,t Third Sergeant. 
Milo Winchester,+ First Corporal. 
Samuel Garlick, Third Corporal. 
Charles Perry, Fifer. 

Allison, Abraham 
Alexander, Andres § 
Anson, William 

Holmes, Morgan L. 
Huysrodt, William, 
Husted, Walter 

Tunis Tallman, t Captain. 
Ezra L. Barrett,t Second Lieutenant. 
John Jenks,+ Second Sergeant. 
James G. Husted, Fourth Sergeant. 
George Reynolds,t Second Corporal. 
Isaac Latimer, Fourth Corporal. 
Morse Couch, Drummer. 

Reynolds, Ambrose 
Reed, Morris 
Record, William 


Anson, Robert 
Annstroi^ John W.t 
Baker William 
Bud, Charles 
Castle Moses 
Card, EUjah B. 
Conklin, \Ym. H. 
Conklln, Burnett 
Cblepougfas, Johntt 
Drake, Samuel 
Davis, Samuel D. 
Forman, \Villiam$ 
Dodge, Samuel K. 
Flinn, Rufiis 
Gritman, B. D. 

Hamblin, George 
Hamblin, Hiram 
Hicks, Stephen 
Knickerbocker, Peter H. 
Knickerbocker, Cornelius 
Knickerbocker, Andrew 
Knapp, Nicholas^ 
Miller, Lewis 
Martin, William 
Xoble, Nathaniel 
Polhemns, Theodorus* 
Piatt, Jonas D. 
PoItcs, John P. 
Reynolds, Jno. P.t 
Reynolds, Nathaniel 

Smith, James S. 
Springsteel, Benj. 
Story, William^ 
VeUe, C. I. 
WTieeler, Isaac 
Winans, Gerhardns 
Wood, Sirren 
Wood, John 
Jacocks, Lawrence^ 
Jarvis, Henryt 
Bird, MQo 

Williams, John 
Wilkins, Wm. 
Perry, Jno. 

James S. Smith, Benjamin Springsteel and John Wood were detached, 
September 15th, to work in the stone qujirries getting out material for the 


Philip P. Schuyler, Captain. 
Stiles R. Fox, First Lieutenant. 
O'Fana D. T. Fox, First Sergeant. 
Peter Stoutenbergh,t Third Sergeant. 
William King, First Corporal. 
Joseph Dill, Jr. Hiird Corporal. 
Jacob Ludlum, Fifer. 

W^iUiam Mulner,t Captain. 
Joseph F. Dill, Second Lieutenant 
James Smilie, Second Sergeant. 
Moses Comfort, Fourth Sergeant. 
John Bart, Second Corporal. 
Isaac Bishop, Fourth Corporal. 
Henry R. Bush, Drummer. 

Amet, John 
Ames, Klisha W. 
McBride, James 
Buchanan, John 
Bnckstaver, Moses 
Brodway, Amos 
Baker, Daniel S. 
Bnskirk, Davidit Substi- 
tuted for him. 
Bates, Isaac 
Brown, Nathaniel A. 
Badg^y, William 
Curtis, WiUiam 
Catlin, Hamlin 
Canfield, Samuel 
Carr, John, Jr. 
Cromwell, Smith 
Case, Gabrid 
Campbell, Johntt 
Coe, Samuel I. 
Davis, John I. 
Davis, John C 
Davis, Samuel 

Doty, Joseph I.t 
Doty, Calium 
Frederick, John 
Falls, George 
Fundy, Isaac 
Felter, Peter W.t 
Grivens, Samuelt 
Gregor, John 
Hunt, Levitt 
Hazelton, Chas. A. 
Johnson, Richard 
Knapp, Daniel 
Van Keuren, Tobiasj 
Keeler, Daniel B. 
McKenzie, Johntt 
Lent, Henry§ 
Lawrence, Peter 
Morris, Statest 
Mann, Isaac 
Miller, Thomastt 
Macinu>. John 
Meyers, William 
Oliver, James 

■ Pottenbeigh, John 
Pye, Williamt 
Redfield, William 
Redfield, Henry 
Sherman, Jacob 
Strachan, Charles C. 
Sneden, Robertt 
Simpson, WiUiam 
Stewart, Samueltt 
Sherman, Jacob, Jr. 
Voorhouse, Williamtt 
Wakerman, Elisha 
Winans, Jonathan 
Wright, Joseph 
Wigham, Robert, Jr. 
John Tentt, Ward Master, 

Brown, James 
Jackson, Harry 
Freeman, Henry 
McRea, Abraham. 



John J. Woolley,+ Captain. 
Alonzo De La Vergne, First Lieutenant. 
Simon Williamson, First Sergeant. 
Joshua Flagler, Third Sergeant. 
Jeremiah Duel, First Corporal. 
Edward W. Briggs, Third Corporal. 

William Smith, tt Captain. 
Cornelius J. Swarthout, Second Lieutenant. 
James A. Stoutenburgh, Second Sergeant. 
Joshua Cheeseman, Fourth Sergeant. 
Gilbert Southard, Second Corporal. 
Durias J. Covel, Fourth Corporal. 

Smith Steward, Fifer. 
Aspel, Thomast 
Barrum, Nathanielt 
Burch, Charles § 
Bradner, John 
Bodel, Isaac, 
Bigger, George 
Benedict, Henry T. 
.Coe,' Daniel 
Duseuberry, Stephen 
Ferris, John D. 
Graham, Richard 
Grinder, Johntt 
Halley, Eleazar 
Hulright, Wm. A. 
Johnson, Andrew 
Jones, Stephen S. 
Lake, Ebenezer 
Lake, Crapo 
Lake, Stephen 
Luckky, Williamtt 

Abiah Bishop and Stephen Tompkins, Drummers. 

Luckky, George, Jr. 
Jacob, Israel 
Maccord, Wm. W. 
McFarlin, Abr. 
Martin, Johntt 
Maden, Edw. S.t 
Mills, James 
Ocoy, Patrick^ 
Olivet, William 
Owen, Increase^ 
Oakly, Jeremiah 
Purdy, David 
Poppano, William 
Scryver, William 
Sims, Davidt 
Savage, Rowland, 
Spooner, Nathant 
Smith, Acontt 
Seaman, Peter 
Tripp, Samuel 

Tilbets, Lyman 
Tompkins, WiUiamtt 
Totten, John H. 
Taylor, Williamt 
Van Tassel, Tryontt 
Williams, Henry 
Wesley, Franklin 
Wilsey, George 
Wilcox, Simeontt 
Whitney, John 
Wheeler, Joel, Jr.t 
Williams, Isaac 
Winslow, Josephtt 
Thompson, Henry 
Peters, HuletJ 
Wilcox, Benajah 
Brinkerhoff, Abr. L. 
Gipson, Solomon 
Gage, M. B., Promoted 

Quartermaster Sergeant. 
The last parade, review and inspection of the old 17th Regiment, in 
which Rockland County was represented, occurred at Verplanck's Point 
on October 21, 1862. This Regiment belonged to the 7th Brigade, Gen- 
eral S. C. Parmenter, of Newburgh, commanding, and to the 5 th Division, 
Major General S. S. Burnside, of Oneonta, commanding. In the Adju- 
tant General's report for that year the roll of officers was as follows : 

Isaac Pye, Major. 
James Creney, Jr., Haverstraw, Regimental Engineer. W. Govan, M. D., Stony Point, Surgeon. 
Ferdinand L. Nichols, Nyack, Quartermaster. 

Co. B. Dominick Kennedy, Captain. Thos. Murphy, First Lieutenant. John Bannon, Second 
Lieutenant. All of Haverstraw. 

Co. C. John V. B. Johnson, Captain. Richard Wandell, First Lieutenant. J. D. Blauvelt, 
Second Lieutenant. All of Piermont. 

Edw. W. Christie, Captain. Abr. S. Greene, First Lieutenant. M. B. Marks, Second 

Co. D. 


*Died. tFurloughed. tDischarged 

All of Haverstraw. 

*Extra Duty. ttEnlisted in the U. S. Army. 



Co. F. C. P. Hoffman, Captain. S. W. Allen, First Lieutenant. I. De Baun, Second Lieu- 
tenant. All of Haverstraw. 

Co. L W. D. Furman, Captain, of Monsey. Reuben Riggs, First Lieutenant, of Monsey. Au- 
gustus Coe, Second Lieutenant, of Suffern. 


Co, R. Charles M. O'Blenis, Captain, of Clarksville. John A. Campbell, First Lieutenant, of 
Nyack Turnpike. Henry Palmer, Second Lieutenant, of Nyack. 

Authorities referred to : " Federal Government," by Alden Bradford ; " Morning Report " of 
Captain Jacob I. Blauvelt's Company; Diary of Captain Jacob I. Blauvelt; Muster Roll of Bat- 
talion of Artillery firom United States Records ; Reports of the Adjutant-General S. N. Y.; Ar- 
chives of the Rockland County Historical Society. 



We have already seen that Tappan Landing was the original port of 
entry for the County, and that for years its store and its market sloop 
were amply sufficient to carry on the outside business of the southern part 
of her territory. When Kakiat was settled by the Hempstead people, an 
outlet for their produce was afforded by a dock at the foot of the Long 
Clove road, the existence of which would have remained unknown but for 
the discovery of Prof Lavalette Wilson, of Haverstraw, who found in it 
the spot where Andre landed. Later, Major Kiers, built a dock further 
north to meet the wants of shippers. Nyack in 1804, began communica- 
tion with New York through the market sloop of the Tallman's DePew 
and Meyers. The development of manufacturing interests at Ramapo, 
created a demand for better means of transportion. 

An examination of the map of Rockland County, will show it to be an 
almost perfect triangle, its base extending along the Hudson, its apex, 
stretching away into the Ramapo Mountains. Almost in the centre of 
this apex were the works of J. G. Pierson, and Brothers ; the Dater 
Works, and but two or three miles away was the woolen factory of John 
Suffern. As the roads then ran, it was both a shorter and easier route 
from Ramapo to Haverstraw, than to any other village on the Hudson, 
and the tide of travel naturally set in that direction. But at best this was 
a round-a-bout way to get to the Metropolis, the roads, compared with 
to-day, were horrible, the grades heavy, and when at last the river was 
reached, the means of communication, dependent on tide and wind, very 
uncertain. A study of this subject soon convinced Mr. Pierson, that 
either easier and surer modes of travel must be found, or the magnificent 
water power of the Ramapo could not be utilized to its full capacity. 
While he was thinking out the problem in the western part of the County, 
keen, far-seeing men were moving in the same matter at the east. Nyack 


was waking from a lethargy. A young and pushing generation was com- 
ing to the fore, and its members saw at once, that while the water power 
for manufacturing purposes was wanting, and space for an extensive pur- 
suit of agriculture did not exist, there was a chance to infuse life into the 
hamlet by making it the port of shipment for the County. Conference be- 
tween Mr. Pierson and the active men in Nyack, resulted in a determina- 
tion to improve communication in the County, by obtaining a legislative 
act creating a turnpike road, which should run as nearly as possible in a 
straight line from the Orange Turnpike at Sufferns, to the river at Nyack. 
No one can justly accuse Haverstra% people of being thick-witted when 
their interests are at stake, and when this new project was broached, they 
saw as clearly as their Nyack neighbors, the drift of the enterprise. It 
meant a removal of business from their village with a gain of that business 
which they would lose for Nyack, it meant a strife for supremacy be- 
tween the two places, and, if Haverstraw lost, she must not only go to the 
wall but indirectly be taxed to see her rival succeed ; and the people of 
that village joined as one man in a long and bitter struggle against the 
proposed new road. For years the contest continued with unflagging 
vigor and exerted an influence on County politics never since seen. Every 
method was used, from the election of members of Assembly to the influ- 
encing of commissioners ; from appeals to the courts to bitter personal 
conflicts ; by one or the other sides and used freely. In vain, those favor- 
ing the proposed road, pointed out that it would be self-supporting by 
reason of its tolls and the issue of bonds would prevent it becoming a 
County burden ; in vain they argued, that rather than continue thus hamp- 
ered by bad means of communication, the mill owners of Ramapo would 
close their factories and thus settle the controversy ; in vain they said that 
Nyack was chosen because of its not only being nearer to the city but also 
because the depth of water at its landing was greater than at Haverstraw, 
and heavily loaded vessels could get away without reference to the stage 
of the tide, and would not be so apt to be stopped by the ice in winter. 
Every argument was met and answered and the. member of Ass^nbly 
during the early years of the discussion — General Peter S. Van Orden — 
being opposed to the bill it could not be pasSed. At length, after a hard 
political canvass, Van Orden, who had been the member from Rockland 
County, continuously from 1809 to 18 16, was defeated, and in the latter year 
Cornelius A. Blauvelt was the Assemblyman. During his first term of 
office, on April 17, 18 16, the bill was passed for a Turnpike to run from a 
point between the houses of Teunis and Peter Smith " running thence 
westerly along the old road until in front of the said Peter Smith's dwell- 


ing^ house, and from thence, the .most direct and convenient route to the 
Or^^nge.Turnpike Road and to pass in front of the dwelling house of John, 
Su^ern, in the Town of Hempstead, same (Rpckland) County." 

Those favoring the proposed road h^d won, so far as obtaining a legis- 
lati,ve act could go, but the struggle was. by no means ended. By one. or 
anotljier method the opponents of the bill fought its progress, till, ia 1822, 
th^^Turnpike was no nearer existence than six years before. In 1823, 
John J., Suffern .wasmember of Assembly, and through; his efforts a new^ 
act .was passed for the construction of the Turnpike, dated April 23d, by 
whjch Andrew Suffern, XyilHam Yp^ry and Tunis Smith, were appoint- 
ed commissioners and ordered to begin their duties as such on or before 
Ju^e ist.| The year 1824 saw General Van Orden, the long opponent of 
th^^bill,|again in ,the Assembly, and, the contest over the road now taking 
the, ,o.f objections, by those who combated it, to the route selected, 
a ngw,act appointirjg two more cominissioners was passed February 28, 
1 9^4. The new membqrs thus appointed were Roger Parmely and Geofge 
K^l^s.^ Two mpr.e years passed away, during which some progress was 
m^ide in. surveying ..the proposed route, and then, on April 17th, 1826, a 
fr^^ act was passed by the Legislature for the correction of the survey of 
the Turnpike. At last, on April^ 30, 1830, the final act, entitled, "An 
Actjto, Jmprove the State Road from the Orange Turnpike to Nyack in 
the County of Rockland," was passed by the Legislature, and settle^ .the 
loqg controversy. George S. Allison was Member of Assembly from .this 
County at the time of the passage of this act. 

An Act to improve the State road from the Orange Turnpike to Nyack, in County of Rock- 
land. Passed April 20, 1830. 

TAe People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, Do Enact as follows : 

Sec. I. Jeremiah H. Pierson and Edward Suffern, of the town of Ramapo; Lucas Ackerson 
and Isaac S. Lydecker, of CSarkstown, and John Green, Tunis Smith and Peter Smith, of the 
Tpwn of Orange, in the County of Rockland, shall be and hereby are appointed Trustees to super- 
intend the construction, repair and improvement of 'the State Road from the Orange turnpike to 
Nyack, in the County of Rockland, five of whom shall be a board for the transaction of business, 
and the kcts of a majority of them shall be valid and binding, and the said Trustees are hereby em- 
powered, from time to time, in the manner and upon the security hereinafter mentioned, to borrow 
such, sum or svuns of money as may be necessary to be expended in the further construction, repair 
and improvement of said road, which said sum or sums of money may be borrowed, as aforesaid, 
before any part of said road shall be constructed, repaired or improved, in the manner hereinafter 
directed, and that the said Trustees shall be further authorized to accept of donations to the said 
road, and contributions in labor to be performed on the same, and that the said Trustees shall 
commence and complete such section of the said road, not less than six miles in length, as persons 
who may or shall provide the funds, or contribute the labor for completing the same, shall desig- 
nate and prefer, but the sa,id Trustees shall, in no event, be liable or Responsible for the repayment 
of the. money borr.o\^;ed or the labor, performed, asafpresaidj 


Sec. 2. As soon as said Trustees shall have completed, in the manner hereinafter directed, 
six miles of said road it shall be the duty of the said Trustees tq' give notice thereof to the jrerson 
administering the Government of this State, for the time being, who shall thereupon forthwith 
nominate and appoint two discreet persons, not interested in the said road, residing in the County 
of Prange, to view the same and to report to him in writing whether such road is completed ac- 
cording to the true intent and meaning of this act, and if the . report shall be in the affirmative 
then it shall be the duty of the person administering the Government of this State, and he is here- 
by required by license, under his hand and the privy seal of this State, to permit the said Trustees 
to pxak? and erect gates across and upon the said road at such place or places, as they or a majority 
of them shall deem best, to collect the duties and tolls, hereinafter granted, from all persons 
travelling or jising the same, so that no more than one full toll-gate or two half toll-gates shall be 
erected upon and across the same. 

Sec. 3. The said Trustees, or a majority of them, may, and hereby are empowered, from time 
to time, and before or after the said road shall have been constructed, repaired or improved, as 
aforesai(3, by any writing or writings, under their hands and seals, to assign over or mortgage the 
said tolls to be received at both or either of the said gates, in and by separate securities, or jointly 
to the individuals or companies who advance the funds or perform the labor for each, or all the 
sums of money advanced or the amount of a just compensation for the labor performed on the said 
road, the costs and charges of such assignments or mortgages to be borne and paid out of such tolls, 
so to be assigned or mortgaged, respectively, for any time or times during the continuance of this act 
which said tolls, so to be respectively assigned or mortgaged, as aforesaid, shall be pledged and 
applied by the said Trustees : First, To the maintaining and keeping the said road in repair. 
Second, To the annual payment of the interest, not exceeding five per cent. — per annum — for such 
sum or sums of money borrowed or the amount of labor performed on said road (other than the 
annual statute labor hereinafter specified) and, lastly, if there shall be any surplus remaining in 
the hands of said Trustees, it shall be applied for the payment of the principle of the said sum or 
su^ns of money and amount of labor performed, as aforesaid, and that the said mortgages and as- 
sigjiments may be, from time to time, assigned over by such person or persons to whom the same 
shall be respectively made his, her and their executors, administrators and, assigns to any other 
person or persons whomsoever, and that copies of all the said assignments or mortgages shall be 
entered at length in a book to be kept for that purpose by the Clerk of said Trustees, which book 
or books shall and may be examined at all reasonable times without fee or reward. 

Sec. 4. The said Trustees, or a majority of them, from time to time, by viriting, under their 
hajids and seals may appoint a clerk, toll-gatherers and such other sufficient officers as shall be 
necessary for putting in execution this act, and shall take such securities to the people of the State 
of New York for the faithful execution of their respective offices as the said Trustees or a major- 
ity, of them shall approve of, and also that the said Trustees or a majority of them shall and may 
from time to time remove such clerk, toll-gatherers, and other officers, or any of them, as they 
shall deem proper, and appoint new ones in case of death or such removals, and the said Trus- 
tees or a majority of them shall and may out of the said tolls, or out of the money to be borrowed 
on.ihe credit thereof, make such allowances to the said clerk, toll-gatherers, or other officers as 
the said Trustees, or a majority of them shall deem reasonable. 

Sec. 5. If any Trustee shall die, remove out of the County, refuse to act, or otherwise be- 
come incompetent to discharge the duties of such Trustee, it shall and may be lawful to and for 
the surviving Trustees, or a majority of them, to elect and appoint a fit person, or persons, in the 
place of such Trustee or Trustees dying, moving out of the County, or refusing to act, or becom- 
ing incompetent, and such person or persons so elected or appointed shall be joined with the 
other Trustees in the execution of this act to all intents and purposes in as ample a manner as the 
Trustees hereby appointed are empowered to act and subject to the provisions of this act, and 
notice in writing of any vacancy occurring in the office of such Trustee shall be given to the re- 
maining Trustees, and of the time and place of meeting for the election of such new Trustees shall 


be given by the clerk to the said Trustees at least ten days before such meeting, and that the said 
clerk shall enter such new appointment of Trustee or Trustees from time to time in the book kept 
by him. 

Sec. 6. It shall, and may be, lawful to and for the said Trustees, or a majority of them, to 
improve the course of the said road, and to alter the same wherever they may deem the public good 
requires, particularly by straightening and avoiding the hills in the same wherever it can be con- 
veniently done, and to order to be discontinued so much and such parts of the old route as in the 
opinion of the said Trustees have become unnecessary, whose decision in the premises shall be 
conclusive and final, which alteration, improvement and discontinuance shall also be recorded in 
the book of the said Trustees to be kept by their said Clerk, and a copy thereof shall be delivered 
to the Town Clerk in the Town where the said alteration or discontinuance shall take place, to be 
recorded by him in the Town records 06 Roads in said Town, and notice in writing of such altera- 
tion shall be given by the said Clerk to the owner or occupant of any enclosed or improved lands 
through which the said road shall be laid out or altered, but no road or alteration shall be laid out 
through any orchard, garden, or building contrary to the 57th Section of the 4th Article, first title, 
i6th Chapter of the 1st part of the Revised Statutes. 

Sec. 7. It any owner or owners through whose improved or enclosed land the said road shall be 
laid out or altered shall refuse to have same opened or worked and improved without compensa- 
tion for the damages thereof, it shall be the duty of such owner within twenty days after having re- 
ceived notice of such alteration to have his damages assessed, in the manner prescribed in Article 
4th, Title 1st, Chapter i6th, of the 1st part of Revised Statutes; which damages, together with the 
expense of surveying, shall be levied and paid by the Town in which the alteration is made, in 
the same manner as other contingent charges of said Town are paid, and it shall be lawful for the 
said Tirustees after the expiration of the time aforesaid, to enter upon the lands and to open, or cause 
to be opened the said road, and to construct, make and improve the same. 

Sec. 8. The first meeting of the said Trustees shall be on the first Tuesday in June, next, at 
house of Jno. I. Yourey, in the Town of Ramapo, and they, or a majority of them may from 
time to time thereafter meet at such place as a majority of them shall determine. 

Sec. 9. It shall be duty. of the said Trustees , previous to the erection of any gate, so to con- 
struct, repair and improve said road, that all standing timber shall be cut down to the width of 
said road twenty feet, of which exclusive of the ditches to be made on each side thereof; shall be 
cleared of all stumps, roots, stones or any other obstruction whatever ; when practicable, and the 
soil of said road shall be well compacted together and faced with gravel, of a depth not less than 
six inches where required, so as to secure a firm and even surface, rising in the middle by a gradual 

Sec. 10. As soon as permission so as aforesaid shall be granted to erect a gate or gates, upon 
and across the said road, it shall and may be lawfulfor the Toll-gatherers to be appointed as afore- 
said, to collect and receive of and from all and every person using the said road, at each of the 
said gates, for any number of miles not less than ten, and so in proportion for any greater or less 
distance, to wit : For every wagon drawn by two horses, mules or oxen 12^ cents ; and 3 cents 
for every additional horse, mule or ox attached to such wagon. For every cart drawn by two 
horses, mules or oxen 12^ cents; and for every additional horse, mule or ox attached to such 
cart 3 cents. For every horse and rider 6 cents, for every horse led or driven 4 cents. For every 
sled or sleigh drawn by two horses, mules or oxen 6 cents ; and so in proportion if drawn by 
a greater or less number of horses, mules or oxen. For every chair, chaise, sulky, pleasure 
wagon or carriage drawn by one horse 12^ cents. For every coach, coachee, chariot or phaeton 
or other four wheeled pleasure carriage 25 cents. For every score of hogs, sheep or calves 6 
cents, and so in proportion for a greater or less number. , For every score of horses or cattle 
25 cents, and so in proportion for a greater or less nuntber. It shall be lawful for the Trustees or 
a majority of them, to reduce the toll aforesaid whenever they shall deem it necessary to do so, and 
it shall ard may be lawful for any Toll-gatherer to stop and detain, any person riding, leading or 


•driving any horse or horses, cattle, sheep or hogs, sulky, chair or phaeton, chaise, wagon, sleigh 
or sled or other carriage of burden or pleasure, from passing through any of the said gates until 
they shall have respectively paid the tolls aforesaid. But no toll shall be exacted or demanded from 
any person or persons who are exempt from the payment of toll by the 36th Section of the 3d 
Article, 1st Title, l8th Chapter of the first part of the Revised Statutes > and no more toll than is 
specified in the 37th Section of the same Article, for wagons of the width of tire therein respec- 
tively mentioned, and the said Trustees shall cause to be affixed and kept up, at or over each gate, 
in a conspicious and convenient place to be read, a printed list of the rates of toll which may be 
lavriully demanded. 

. Sec. h. Whenever complaint in writing shall be made to any of the Judges of the Court of 
Common Pleas of the County of Rockland, that the said road or any part thereof is out of repair, 
it shall be the duty of such Judge to whom such complaint is made to repair to such part of said 
road and to view the same, and if the same shall in the opinion of the said Judge be out of re- 
pair, then the said Judge shall give notice in writing of such defect to the Toll Gatherer or person 
attending the gate nearest to the place so out of repair, and shall also in his discretion in said 
notice, order such gate to be thrown open, and the gate so ordered to be thrown open shall imme- 
diately after the service of such notice aforesaid, be opened and shall remain open and no toll 
shall be demanded for passing the same until a certificate is received by the person keeping such 
gate, under the hand of two of the said Judges, that said road is in sufficient repair, and granting 
permission to shut such gate and receive toll. 

Sec. 12. If any person shall willfully break or throw down any of the said gates, or shall ob- 
struct, dig up or spoil any part of said road, or any bridge or acqueduct drain or anything there- 
unto belonging or shall forcibly pass either of the said gates, without having paid the legal tolls, 
such person or persons shall, for every such offence or injury forfeit and pay the sum of twenty- 
five dollars, to be recovered by and in the name of the clerk of said Trustees, in an action of debt 
" before any Justice of Peace in the County, or where the offender can be found, which said sum 
when received by the said clerk, shall be paid over to said Trustees, and by them expended and 
laid out in the improvement and repair of the said road, and if any person or persons shall, witli 
his team, carriage, or horse, turn out of said road or pass either of said gates, or ground adjacent 
thereto, and again enter on said road, having passed said gate or gates to avoid payment of the toll 
due by this Act, such person or persons shall forfeit and pay a fine not exceeding ten dollars, to 
be recovered in like manner, and for the same use, with the costs of suit. 

Sec. 13. If any Toll Gatherer shall unreasonably delay or hinder any traveller or passenger 
at either of the said gates, or shall demand and receive more toll than by this Act, is established, 
he shall, for every such offence, forfeit and pay five dollars, to be recovered by the person so 
unreasonably detained, for his own, use with costs of suit in any court having cognizance thereof. 

Sec. 14. The said Trustees shall keep a just and true account of all monies borrowed, re- 
ceived or to be received by the several Toll Gatherers, and of all monies expended, or to be ex- 
pended, or labor performed, (other than the ordinary annual Statute labor hereinafter mentioned) 
by virtue of this Act, and shall, on or before the first day of January, in each year, transmit a 
copy of the said account to the Comptroller of this State, and file a copy with the Clerk of the 
Board of Supervisors, of the County of Rockland, which said accounts may be examined at all 
reasonable times without fee or reward. 

Sec. 15. Each of the said Trustees- to be appointed or elected as aforesaid, shall, before he 
enters upon the duties of his office, take and subscribe an oath or affirmation that he will faithfully 
discharge the duties of the office of Trustee according to the best of his ability, and each of the 
said Trustees shall execute to the people of this State a bond,-with two or more sufficient securities, 
to be approved of by two of the Judges of the County of Rockland, which approbation shall be 
endorsed upon the said bond in the penal sum of two thousand dollars, conditioned for the true and 
faithful performance of the trust reposed in him by virtue of this Act, and for the due application 
of all monies which may come into his hands by virtue of this Act, to the improvement of the said 


road, which, said oath or affirmation and bond shall be filed in the Clerk's Office of the Countyof 

Sec. i6. If any of the Trustees shall not faithfully perform the trust reposed in them by virtue 
of this Act, the Court of Common Pleas in the County of Rockland shall cause said bond to be 
prosecuted, and the amount that shall be recovered upon the said bond shall be paid over to the 
said Trustees, to be expended upon the improvement of said road. 

Sec. 1 7. The Commissioners of Highways of the several Towns through which said road shall 
pass shall divide said road into as many road districts as they shall judge convenient, and shall 
cause the same to be worked by the inhabitants residing on and near said road, or attached to said 
districts in the same manner as other road districts in the said several Towns are worked and re- 
paired, subject, however, to the direction of the said Trustees. 

Sec. 18. The said Trustees may from time to time commute with any person who resides near 
said road, for Toll payable on the same for one year, and may renew the same annually at the 
expiration of each period. 

Sec. 19. The several Toll-gatherers to be appointed by virtue of this Act, shall take and sub- 
scribe the oath of office required by the Constitution of this State, which said oath shall be filed 
with the Clerk of said Trustees, and said Trustees shall have power to construct or hire suitable 
houses for their Toll-gatherers, and procure suitable situations for the same upon such terms as 
they shall deem advisable. 

Sec. 20. This Act shall continue in force for the term of 21 years, or until the monies which 
shall have been borrowed, or labor performed, (except as aforesaid), upon the credit of Tolls to 
be j-eceived at the said gates, as aforesaid, shall have been paid off and discharged together with 
the. interest thereon, not exceeding 5 per cent, per annum, upon [which] the said gates shall be 
taken down, and said road shall thereafter be a free public highway, and the Toll-houses, if any 
erected, sold, and money paid to the Town Commissioners of Highways, to be applied on said 
road and bond of said Trustees, to be cancelled by direction of Comptroller by the Clerk of the 

Sec. 21. The Legislature may by law remove any one or more of the said Trustees and appoint 
others in their stead, and the said Trustees shall annually account with the Board of Supervisors 
of the said County for all monies received and expended on said road, labor performed and ex- 
penses incurred by virtue of this Act, and shall be allowed such compensation for their services, 
under this Act, as the Board of Supervisors of the said County shall deem just and reasonable, to 
be paid out of the Tolls collected on said road. 

Sec. 22. This Act shall be deemed and taken to be a Public Act, and the Legislature may at 
any time alter, amend, or repeal the same. 
Albany, May 4, 1830. 

The Turnpike from Nyack to Sufferns, while it shortened the distance 
between the two places some four or five miles by measurement, short- 
ened it more in time and ease that can be calculated. The traveller be- 
tween the two villages, before this new road was opened, would leave 
Nyack by a narrow unworked lane, following the course of the present 
Main street, until he reached a point east of the ice house. The lane then 
swept up to and along the northern base of the hill where John W. Towt, 
now resides, turning back to the present pike just east of the former loca- 
tion of the toll gate, from their it' followed the course of the present pike 
closely till it reached the old: Kings Highway, the first road running nortk 


and south, west of the Nyaek hills. If the traveller's horse should arrive 
at the highway without being lamed by the roots and rocks he had stuni- 
bled over or being exhausted by wading through the mud if it was 
spring time, and if the traveller's courage still held out; he had the choice 
of two routes before him. One, following the highway north to Casper 
Hill, and then west, north of the Hackensack swamp ; would bring him 
out at Clarksville or Mont Moor, by Isaac 'Pye's corner. Continuing on 
west, he would pass the old Dutch Church, and ride along from a half-mile 
to a mile north of the Turnpike until he reached the- vicinity of Spring 
Valley, when he would turn south toward the Dutch Factory. Not quite 
reaching it, the traveller would again turn, ride west and north, pass from 
a mile to a mile and a half north of Monsey Station, continue west about 
that distance from the Turnpike till he reached the old Kings road from 
Sufferns to Haverstraw, when his journey would be nearly ended. 

If, on reaching the highway west of Nyack, the traveller decided on 
the southern route ; he would ride down the highway till he reached the 
present Rockland Driving Park, and then turning west, would pass 
through Greenbush, Sickletown, and Scotland, reaching the present Turn- 
pike just south of Spring Valley, and southwest of the Dutch Factory. 
Till nearly midway between Monsey and Taulmans, he would follow the 
course of the pike, then abruptly turning to the south and west, he would 
make a long detour through the present Masonicus, and from there pur- 
sue a comparatively direct course to Sufferns. 

During the long controversy preceding the final building of the Nyack 
Turnpike, the opponents of the road sent several prominent citizens, of 
unimpeached veracity, to measure the depth of a swamp west of Spring 
Valley, through which the proposed road was to run. It was a most for- 
bidding spot, from all accounts, covered with water and oozy mud. These 
prominent citizens later testified that they had endeavored to reach har-d 
bottom, first with fence rails and then with poles, twenty or more feet in 
length ; that their efforts had been in vain, and that they had discovered, 
at the depth of a few feet, the existence of a quick-sand so active as to 
draw the poles and rails from their hands into the gruesome depths below. 
In their estimation the "Bear's Nest Swamp," as it was called, was a 
bottomless morass, containing at a slight depth, frightful quick-sands, 
which, in case an attempt was made to build a road across it, would swal- 
low road-bed and traveller, till the expense, thus produced, would bank- 
rupt the County. 

The Clarksville swamp was met and conquered, but when the Com- 
missioners approached the " Bear's Nest," they were influenced by the 

, 2o6 

reports concerning it, and laid out the Turnpike south of the spot. Ten 
years later, when the Erie Railroad was being built, it was run through 
the " Bear's Nest," and the somewhat curious facts were discovered, not 
only that the morass was but five or six feet deep, but that the bottom 
was hard clay on which the ties of the railroad rest. In 1871 the Alturas 
Company cut a road directly through the old swamp bed from Monsey to 
near the Dutch Factory, and thus did away with the long detour. 

In 1853 the Turnpike charter was renewed, and again in 1873. In 
April, 1855, that clause of the original act, which prevented the collection 
of toll from people residing within a mile of the toll-gates, was rescinded 
and the collection of half tolls from such .residents allowed. On April 3d, 
1883, " An act, to amend Chapter 286, of the Laws of 1830," was passed 
by the Legislature. 

Sec. I. Section four of Chapter 286 oi the laws of 1830, entitled "An Act to improve the 
State Road from the Orange Turnpike to Nyack, in counfy of Rockland : " * * * is hereby- 
amended so as to read as follows : The said Trustees, or a majority of them, from time to time, by writing, under their hands 
and seals, may appoint from their number a Clerk and Treasurer, and shall further appoint Toll- 
gatherers and such other sufficient officers as shall be deemed necessary by said Trustees for the 
purpose of this act, and shall take such security or securities to the people from the Treasurer and 
Toll-gatherers for the faithful execution of their respective offices, as the said Trustees, or a ma- 
jority of them, shall approve, and also that the said Trustees or => majority of them, shall 
and may, from time to time, remove such Qerk, Treasurer, Toll-gatherers, and 
other officers, or any of them whenever they shall deem proper, and appoint new ones in case of 
death or such removal ; and the said Trustees, or a majority of them, shall and may out of the said 
tolls, make such allowance to the said Clerk, Treasurer, Toll-gatherers, or other officers as to the 
Trustees or a majority of them shall seem reasonable. 

2d. Section Twelve of said act is hereby amended so as to read as follows : I2. If any person 
shall willfully break or throw down any of the said gates, or shall obstruct dig up, or spoil any 
part of said road, or any bridge, or aqueduct, drain, or anything thereunto belonging, or shall for- 
cibly pass either of the said gates without having paid the legal toll, such person or persons shall 
for every such offence or injury forfeit and pay the sum of twenty-five dollars, to be recovered by 
and in the name of the said Trustees in an action for debt before any justice of the Peace of the 
County, or where the offender can be found ; which said sum, when received, shall be paid over to 
the Treasurer and shall be by said Trustees expended and laid out in the improvement and repair 
of the said road, and if any person or persons shall with his team, carriage or horse, turn out of 
said road or pass either of the said gates or ground adjacent thereunto, and again enter on said 
road, having passed the said gate, or gates, to avoid the payment of toll due by this act such per- 
son or persons shall for each such offence forfeit and pay a fine not exceeding ten dollars, to be 
recovered in like manner, and for the same use with costs of suit ; and any tolls due from any per- 
son by reason of this act shall be recovered in like manner and for the same use. 

Section fourteen of said Act is hereby amended so as to read as follows : 14. The Treasurer 
shall collect and receive from the Toll-gatherer or toll-gatherers from time to time as he shall deem 
expedient all tolls collected by them and all monies received, or to be received by them, and shall 
keep a just and true account of the same, and of all monies expended and to be expended and labor 
performed (other than the ordinary Statute labor hereinafter mentioned) and shall make report 
thereof to said Trustees whenever Required so to do by virtue of this Act and all money expended 

i 207 

or to be expended, shall be paid by said Treasurer upon the order of said Trustees, or a ma- 
jority of them, and said^Treasurer shall on or before the first day of January in each year transmit 
a copy of the said account to the Comptroller of this State, andyfile a copy with the Clerk of the 
Board of Supervisors of the County of Rockland, which said accounts may be examined at all 
reasonable times without fee or reward. 

Section Fifteen of said Act is hereby amended so as to read as follows : 15. Each of the said 
Trustees to be appointed or elected, shall, before he enters upon the duties of his office, take and 
subscribe an oath or affirmation that he will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of Trustee 
according to the best of his ability, which oath or affirmation shall be filed in the Clerk's Office of 
the County of Rockland. 

The Trustees hereafter to be appointed by virtue of this Act shall be appointed for the terms of 
one, two, three, four and five years respectively, and at the expiration of the term of service of 
each Trustee respectively, the County Justices of the County of Rolkland with the Supervisors of 
the towns of Clarkstown and Orange, shall appoint their successors each and every year for the 
term of five years during the term of this charter. 

The Act incorporating the State roadi aforesaid is hereby renewed and extended for the further 
term of ten years from the expiration of the present charter. 

Shares to the number of 700 at a par value of $25 were issued for the 
expense of constructing the road and no gate was to be placed upon it 
within a half mile of its junction with the Orange Turnpike. 

When the project of building a Turnpike from Nyack to Sufferns was 
first broached, the people of Haverstraw made an effort to save the travel 
to their village by obtaining a turnpike charter for their advantage. With 
this object in view the New Antrim and Waynesburgh Turnpike Company 
was incorporated, by Act of Legislature on April 1st, 18 14, to construct a 
road to " begin at the dwelling house of John Suffern, situated in the Town 
of New Hempstead, from thence in a direct course as nearly as may be, to 
such a point in the village of Waynesburgh, late Warren (now Haver- 
straw), as the Commissioners, Edward Suffern, John Knapp, John D. Coe, 
Josiah Conklin, Elias Gurnee and George Smith shall direct." The Trus- 
tees of this- proposed road were : Halstead Coe, Edward Suffern, Josiah 
Conklin, John Knapp, John D. Coe, Elias Gurnee, Andrew Suffern, John 
Felter and Abram Dater. These Trustees were authorized to issue 640 
shares ot stock at $25 a share. Further than the obtaining of the charter, 
this work never progressed. 

In the history of the Townships, it will be my duty to speak of the 
Orange, and Haverstraw and Monroe Turnpikes ; and in that division of 
this work I shall also place the history of Highland and Midland Avenues, 
which have recently caused so much ill feeling and such a prolonged re- 
sort to law in the eastern section of our County 

Ere leaving the subject of the County's roads, it is but just to say ; that 
in a matter, usually one of commotion and ill will, she has been singularly 
happy. As the exigencies of life made more demand for shorter means of 


•communication, neighbors along the proposed routes have as a rule, will- 
ingly given the ground and aided in the construction of the road^bfed, 
while the expense of new bridges has been borne without murmur. As a 
result of this friendly feeling, distance has been shortened by the simple act 
of straightening a winding road, or by the serious labor of breaking 
'through there-to-fore primeval foi'ests, or climbing along the edges of there- 
to-fore impregnable mountain sides ; until now almost every point in 6'ur 
County is easy of access. 

While the subject of a' turnpike was disturbing the peace of the com- 
munity, another and tremendous venture was being determinnd on 'at 
Nyack. With the same enterprise which led them to favor closer and 
better means of travel in the County, two men of that place decided to at- 
tempt to obtain surer and more rapid communication with New York, and 
the result of many long and anxious consultations ended in the building 
of the steamboat Orange. 

Looked at from our point of vantage, it seems impossible that the pro- 
jectors of this enterprise should have hesitated for a moment. The un- 
certainty of sailing vessels was such as to practically place the County, so 
far as getting produce to the market was concerned, further from New 
York, than Albany, with its steamboat was, and this cause in great 
measure prevented that development of her resources which later obtain- 
ed. It is evidentthat any safe means of conveyance capable of overcom- 
ing the cause of obstruction to the County's development, would be a 
financial success. But John E. Green and Tunis Smith, the movers in the 
building of the Orange, did not have our point of vantage. By hard labor 
and close economy they had accumulated a little money, and the invest- 
ment of that money was a serious matter. Not yet had a score of yeafs 
elapsed since the first steamboat, the Clermont, passed up the river ; and 
the idea of a little country village, with less than two hundred people, 
building a steam vessel seemed an extreme risk. Those who took a 
gloomy view of the project were many and they did mot hesitate to ex- 
press their idea of what they regarded as the height of folly. Had it not 
been for the belief, on the part of those active in this venture, that the 
Turnpike would succeed in getting through, the enterprise would not have 
been tried ; but with firm faith that the road would be built, the Nyack 
people started their boat. 

On July 1 2th, 1826, Henry Gesner, John Green, Benjamin Blacklidge,- 
and others, issued the following prospectus : 

"Whereas Henry Gesner, Benjamin Blacklidge and John E. Green, and 
all those that will associate with them and have subscribed their names 


hereto, have in contemplation to form themselves into a company for the 
purpose of building or otherwise obtaining and navigating a steamboat or 
vessel on the Hudson River, which will require a capital of about $10,000 
which is to be divided into shares of $50 each, and each share to consti- 
tute one vote in the proceedings of said company, and no less than one 
share to be subscribed for ; and as soon as the said capital is subscribed 
for, the subscribers will meet, according to notice to be given thereof, at 
any convenient place in the village of Nyack, there and then to make such 
rules and regulations as shall be required concerning the same ; and for 
the above purpose we the undersigned do hereby promise to pay the 
several ^ums annexed to each of our respective names in such manner 
and proportion as may be required by said company or their representa- 

Name. No. Shares. Am't Invested. 

John E. Green 

Tunis Smith 

William Perry 

Henry Gesner ...... 

Peter Smith 

Benjamin Blacklidge 

John G. Perry 

Isaac P. Smith 

C. T. Smith 

William Shurt 

John Shaw 

217 $10,850 

On July 20, 1826, a meeting of the subscribers was held at the house 
of Peter Smith in Nyack. John E. Green was chosen Chairman, and 
Benjamin Blacklidge, Secretary, and the Nyack Steamboat Association 
was organized with John E. Green as President and Tunis Smith and 
William Perry Directors. 

September i, 1826, a contract was made with Henry Gesner to build 
a boat, seventy-five feet in length, twenty-two feet beam, inside the guards, 
and seven and a half feet depth of hold for $4, 1 24, the vessel to be finished 
and ready for her engine by March i, 1827. In November, 1826, a con- 
tract was made with William Kimble, agent of the West Point Foundry, 
for an engine with 26-inch cylinder and 4-foot stroke for $4,500; and on 
December 27, 1826, a contract was made with Elnathan Applebly to do 
the joiner work according to the following plans, for $230. 

One after cabin, two lengths of berths and one under berth on each 
side, with a closet at the end of each length. A bulkhead between the 
after and main cabins, with double doors ; and the after cabin to be fin- 
























ished in the way sloops' cabins generally are. Main cabin to be about 
fifteen feet long, with a row of lockers on each side for seats, and a covered 
stairway, the height of an ordinary man, with side windows in and closet 
under it to the deck ; forecastle to be about twelve feet long, with two 
lengths of berths on each side and stairway to the deck, similar to that in 
the main cabin, a closet under the stairway and one in the bow; the cabins 
and forecastle to be lighted by ports. Main deck, wheel-houses with small 
rooms fore and aft of each, built flush with the top of the paddle boxes, in 
the top of which were to be scuttles ; a desk for the captain, a table, and 
"spitting boxes." Of these rooms on deck, one was used for the office, 
one as a refectory and one as a freight office. 

Little note is made during the progress of the work. Before its com- 
pletion, William Shurt and Benjamin Blacklidge had sold out their stock 
at par, the former to William Perry, the latter to Garret Green. 

While those who predicted failure for this steamboat enterprise had not 
had sufficient influence to stop it, their gloomy prognostications did affect 
the directors to such an extent that the boat was so modeled that, should 
she prove a failure under steam, her hull could, without difficulty, be 
turned into use as a coasting schooner. The Orange was not a handsome 
boat. While we may admire the courage of those who built her, while we 
may feel deep veneration for her as the pioneer of all the steam communi- 
cation to this County that has followed, while, as lovers of this County, 
we may appreciate the material prosperity her construction gave rise to : 
it would be gross mendacity for us to pretend that the old Orange was a 
thing of beauty. Ycleped by some the " Pot-cheese," because of her shape, 
and by others called the " Flying Dutchman," a sarcastic allusion to her 
lack of speed, the first steamboat from Nyack bore testimony in her build 
and velocity to the sturdy determination and careful calculation of her 
sponsors. It may not be foreign to the subject to place the Orange in 
comparison with the first steamboat which ran upon the river and with the 
last steamboat built at Nyack, to ply between the County and New York. 

Clermont — built 1806-7 ; builder, Charles Brown, N. Y. Length, 130 
feet; beam, 18 feet; depth, 7 feet; cyhnder, 24 inch, stroke, 4 feet. 

Orange, built 1826-7; builder, Henry Gesner, Nyack ; length, 75 feet; 
beam, 22 feet inside guards ; depth, 7 feet, 6 inches ; cylinder, 26 inch ; 
stroke, 4 feet. 

Chrystenah — built 1866; builder, William Dickey, Nyack. Length, 
196 feet; beam, 32 feet; depth, 9 feet; cylinder, 50 inch; stroke, 11 

At last, in March, 1828, the Orange had so nearly reached completion, 


that arrangements were made for her management. John White, Jr., was 
chosen captain, and paid $iio a month, with the income of the bar and 
dining-room, on condition that he was to supply and board all the help 
except the engineer. Harman Felter of Rockland Lake, was taken as 
pilot, and Isaac P. Smith became engineer. The regulations of the boat 
state, that she will leave Nyack every day at 4 P. M. ; returning, leave the 
city at 1 1 A. M. ; rate of fare, two shillings for adults, children, half price, 
and infants in arms, included in the mother's fare ; baggage and freight at 
the same rates charged by sloops, and all freight not given in charge of 
the captain, carried at the owner's risk. The after cabin being for females, 
no smoking in it was allowed ; no peddlers were permitted to sell such 
wares on board as were kept in the refectory ; passengers were expected 
to behave in an orderly manner, and no disputing, quarreling or profanity 
was to be tolerated, and no games of chance of any kind could be played 
on the boat. An advertisement of the Nyack Steamboat Association, 
prepared for the Evening Post, in April 1828, read as follows : 

"The Steamboat Orange, Captain John White, Jr., will commence 
running daily between Nyack and New York, on the 5 th day of May next, 
and will leave Nyack every day of the week, Saturdays and Sundays ex- 
cepted, at 4 P. M., New York, 1 1 A. M., Saturday, Sunday and Monday 
excepted. On Saturday, the boat will leave New York at the time ap- 
pointed weekly by the captain, and will stop at State Prison, New York, 
and Closter as usual. Every exertion has been made to entertain board- 
ers, and many houses are now in readiness for the accommodation of 
guests ; carriages will be in waiting at Nyack on the arrival of the boat, to 
convey passengers to any part of the County. Military, or other organ- 
izations wishing an excursion into the country can be accommodated at 
any time, by giving the captain notice of their intention four days in 

The following were the freight and passenger rates of those days : 


$ 25 

Flour per barrel 

% \2%. 



Paint per quarter keg 


Horses and Cows 






Boxes of soap or candles 




Horse, gig and driver 

I 50 



Turned stuff per- bundle 




Shingles per 1,000 

I 00 

Salt per load 


" bundle 


" bushel 


Sealing lath per 1,000 


Lime per load 


Boards per 100 

I 00 

" bushel 



2 00 

Coal per load 


Timber per load 








Sack of salt 



Close indeed would communication with the city have been if the boat 
could have been kept up to her time-table. As a matter of fact, the trip 
to New York took place on one day, the trip, home on another. It was 
not till 1847 that the Warren was advertised to make a trip each way in 
one day, and then only twice a week. In 1861 the Metamora made two 
trips each way between Haverstraw and New York daily. 

From the outset the Orange proved a success. The tide of travel, 
which had been divided between Haverstraw, Nyack and Tappan landings, 
now centered on the points touched at by the steamboat, and the quantity 
of freight carried was enormous. From the landing at the foot of the 
present Main street, in Nyack, rows of wagons, waiting their turn to unload, 
would extend to Franklin street on steamboat days, and at Tappan and 
Closter landings the scene was but little different. From Ramapo, from 
Ladentown, even from Haverstraw, both passengers and freight came to 
the Nyack boat, and she was loaded till the water was within a few inches 
of her guards, and then was frequently compelled to take one or two 
sloops in tow to carry the surplus freight. Under such circumstances it 
was impossible to attempt speed, even if the boat had possessed it. A 
trip in three hours was a fast one, and double that length of time was not 
infrequent. Yet the passengers seem seldom to have complained of delay. 
Everyone for miles around knew each other, and a meeting on the steam- 
boat gave an opportunity for a renewal of those social relations, whick 
had been interrupted by the labors of life. While the men gathered oa 
deck or in the main cabin, according to the season and weather, the 
women met in the after cabin and enjoyed their gossip. Each brought 
her knitting along, all talked in Dutch,'and the click of the needles and 
hum of the gutterals kept not unmusical time. Who shall say what ma- 
terial prosperity was started with those busy needles — what plans were 
discussed in that gutteral patois, which should reach full completion long- 
after the skillful hands that used the needles so deftly should be folded — 
long after the knitter had sailed down that other river which enters the 
shoreless ocean of eternity. In his recollections of Rockland County for 
thirty years, the Rev. Dr. A. S. Freeman states, that as late as 1 846 this 
custom and language still existed among the travellers on the local steam- 


The fuel used on the Orange was wood, and huge piles of cord-wood 
stood along the roadside, from the foot of Main street up to Piermont ave- 
nue. On the arrival and unloading of the boat, the next duty was to get 
fuel on for the following trip, and this labor kept the crew employed till 
lar into the night For a year or two the Orange ran without competi- 


tion. Then trouble arose with the Tappan people, and, on April i6th, 
1830, a Legislative Act was passed, incorporating John Blanch, Cornelius I. 
Blauvelt, Peter H. Taulman, and their associates, into " The Orangetown 
Point Steamboat Company." This company was allowed to issue $10,- 
000 worth of stock — each share representing $100, with the privilege of 
increasing to $15,000, and was to build a "good, substantial steamboat" 
to perform regular trips on the water, between Orangetown Point, in the 
County of Rockland, and New York city. A vessel was built on the 
shore north of Taulman's Point, named the Rockland, and placed in oppo- 
sition to the Orange. The new steamboat could beat the old one without 
difficulty, and the usefulness of the " Flying Dutchman " seemed about 

Those who remember Captain Isaac P. Smith need not be told that he 
was not a man to accept defeat calmly, and under his representations the 
Directors of the Nyack boat resolved on adding a false bow to the Orange, 
on widening her guards and on altering her wheels; changes which proved 
successful, and placed the vessel ahead. Some of the stock of the Orange- 
town Point company having been bought by Haverstraw people, the route 
of the Rockland was extended to that village in 1831, and she touched on 
her trips at Upper Nyack. 

After running a few years in this way, Edward De Noyelles, John S. 
Gurnee and Leonard Gurnee, of Haverstraw, and John Blanch and Peter 
H. Taulman of Piermont, with others, formed a stock company and had 
the steamboat Warren built at New York by Sneden and Lawrence. This 
boat plied between De Noyelles' dock at Haverstraw and Vesey Street 
New York, leaving the former place every Monday, Wednesday and Fri- 
day at 1 1 A. M., and the latter every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 
2 P. M. She landed at Snedeker's — now Waldberg, — -Slaughter's Land- 
ing, Nyack, Sneden's, Closter, Huyler's and Hammond St. each way. 

In 1838, Capt. Isaac P., David D., Abram P., and Tunis Smith built 
the Arrow and ran from Haverstraw to New York. On the completion 
of the Arrow, the Orange was sold to Mr. Cox for five or six thousand 
dollars and run as an opposition boat from PeekskiU to New York. On 
the first trip passengers were carried free, and the boat was so over- 
crowded, that her human freight was landed at Hastings to prevent her 
sinking. The next trip she did not carry a passenger. Later, the Orange 
was bought by the Rockland County Farmers' Association, and run as an 
opposition boat to Upper Nyack. The project did not pay, and the projec- 
tors lost heavily by their operation. I find no further mention of either 
the Orange or Rockland, and presume they were broken up. 


In 1 840, the Arrow was burned at the Nyack landing. At once rebuilt^ 
she continued running till 1841, when she again caught fire at Nyack and 
burned. Rebuilt again, the boat was called the George Washington, and 
under that name continued running from Haverstraw to New York for a 
year or two. The boat was then sold, was enlarged, called the Broadway, 
and run to Albany as a day boat; still later she was run to Haverstraw, 
on the east shore route, by Radford and Cox. In 1865 the Smiths re-pur- 
chased the boat, keeping her on the same route and under the same name, 
till the law compelling vessels to take their original name came in force, 
when she again became the Arrow. In 1866 a flue burst on the boat, 
causing loss of life, and after this the vessel was condemned. 

In 1850, the Smiths, of Nyack, bought the Warren, changed her name 
to Swallow, put her on the line with the Arrow, and with the two 
boats made trips from Haverstraw at 6 and 1 1 A. M. and 3 P. M. daily, 
returning from New York at 7 and 1 1 A. M. and 4 P. M. 

I append copies of the time tables of the Arrow and Warren : 


X. Y. & Erie Railroad 

Fast Sailing Steamboat 

' ARRt)W ' 

Will leave New York, the foot of Duane Street, every day (Sundays excepted) at 3 

o'clock, landing at the New York and Erie Railroad; returning, leaving Nyack, 

every day (Sundays excepted) at 7 o'clock, and the railroad at the arrival of the cars 

from Goshen. The Arrow will leave Nyack every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and 

Friday evening at 5^ o'clock. Freight taken as usual (excepting live stock). 

Touching at the foot of Hammond Street each way. 

N. B. — Freight taken only at the risk of its respective owners. 
New York, May 10, 1842." 

" On and after Monday, April 30, the steamboat Warren, Captain J. Mausell, will 
leave Haverstraw every morning at ^ to 7 o'clock. Returning, will leave New York 
from the Steamboat Pier at the foot of Vesey Street every afternoon at 3 o'clock 
(Sundays excepted). 

For Freight or Passage apply on board. No freight taken on board at Hammond 
Street Dock. 

N. B. — All Freight, Baggage, &c., at the risk of its respective owners. 
Haverstraw, April 26, 1849." 

The Warren — now Swallow — only ran a few days under the new man- 
agement. On Saturday, June 22d, 1850, she left her pier in New York 
at 1 1 A. M. When off Fifty-fourth Street, she was found to be on fire, 
and headed for the shore. Becoming unmanageable, she struck the dock 
and sheered off into the middle of the river, where she burned to the 


waters' edge. The steamboats Ivanhoe and Pioneer immediately came to 
the aid of the injperiled passengers, and saved most of them from a horrible 
fate; but in the excitement and fright many jumped overboard and were 
drowned. The hull of the Swallow was, later, sold at the Warren Hotel in 
Haverstraw, exclusive of the engine and bell, for $25. All the hull, ex- 
cept that containing the engine, was cut away, and from that part a new 
boat, the Isaac P. Smith, was built. To supply the place of the Swallow, 
the Norwalk was put on the route, and continued till the Isaac P. Smith 
was ready. 

Returning to Nyack, we find that in 1845, Abram P. Smith bought a 
steamboat named the Union, and ran it as a freight boat from Nyack, 
leaving every other day at noon. In 1 848, he sold the Union and pur- 
chased a smaller boat named the Stranger, which left Nyack every after- 
noon at five o'clock. She was mostly used for freight, though passengers 
were carried. In 1850, the Thomas E. Hulse, Captain, E. Van Wart, 
Pilot, Alfred Conklin, was run as a morning boat from New York to Hav- 
erstraw. From this periqd till within a dozen years, there was a constant 
opposition to the Smith's steamboat line for the control of the freight and 
passenger traffic of this County, an opposition which was fought down, but 
carried the old line with it in the moment of victory. The extension of 
railroads, first to Piermont, then to Nyack, at length to Stony Point, and 
finally to Haverstraw, has furnished the County with travelling facilities 
more regular, more rapid, and far more frequent than anyone could ever 
hope to accomplish with steamboats, and has turned the tide of travel. 
At first, the slow-sailing, uncertain sloops, sufficed to accommodate the 
few who journeyed. The steamboat came as a revelation to the people, 
and was the miracle of its time ; and ere people, who saw the launch of the 
old Orange, have passed away, a new means of locomotion has come and 
ceased to be a wonder. 

The franchises granted to individuals to run ferries between the Rock- 
land and Westchester shores are many. On March 19th, 1800, Joshua 
Colwil and Joseph Travis obtained a charter for a ferry between Cald- 
well's Point and Peekskill. On May 4th, 1835, an act was passed per- 
mitting S. W. Bard, of Haverstraw, and Ward Hunter, of Peekskill, to es- 
tablish ferry communications between those places; and on May nth, of 
the same year, John Haff, of Sing Sing, was given permission to run a 
ferry between that village and Slaughter's Landing. On April -ist, 1840, 
George W. B. Gedney was given the franchise for a ferry between Nyack 
and Tarrytown for fifteen years. March 25 th 1837, Samson Marks of 
Haverstraw, obtained a franchise for a ferry from Call's Dock to Ver- 


planck's Point. April 23d, 1844, George E. Stanton, Peter B. Lynch, 
William H. Peck, Robert Wiltse, Gaylord B. Hubbell, and A. P. Stephens 
obtained the passage of an act incorporating them into "The Sing Sing 
and Rockland Lake Ferry Company," and on March 2d, 1849, Benjamin 
L. James and James L. Shultz obtained a franchise for a ferry from Pier- 
mont to the opposite shore. 

The first ferry at Caldwell's was carried on by means of a row boat and 
this supplied the wants of the people till about 1830. Then a horse- 
boat was put on this route and continued till the little steam ferry-boat 
Jack Downing came into use. 

The next mention of a steam ferry-boat that I find in the County was 
the Vinton, plying between Haverstraw and Crugers in 1852. She was 
owned by Elisha Peck, and run by Samuel A. Vervalen to connect with 
the Hudson River Railroad, which was then being built, and in which Mr. 
Peck was financially interested. In 1852 Captain John Bard ran a small 
boat named the John T. Rodman, between Haverstraw, Peekskill and in- 
termediate landings; later replacing her by a boat named the " Sarah." 
In 1853 Abram P. Smith bought a little side wheel steamer named the 
Daniel Drew, and started her as a ferry-boat between Nyack and Tarry- 
town. A year later, 1854, he bought the J. J. Herrick for a ferry- boat, 
and ran her until he sold the ferry to D. D. and T. Smith in 1862. The 
number of names which that boat sailed under was legion. In the patriotic 
fervor of the civil war, she was called the Union, and at another time the 
Nyack and Tarrytown ; ere being broken up, she was given her old name, 
Bergen, and as such is remembered by the residents of Nyack. In 1874 
the present ferry-boat, Tappan Zee, was built and has since continued on 
the route. Row boat ferries between Caldwell's and Peekskill and be- 
tween Grassy Point and Crugers have intermitted with steam ferries for 
many years. During the early days of the Knickerbocker ice business, a 
row boat ferry plied between the present Rockland Lake and Sing Sing ; 
and after the construction of the Erie Railroad, before the Hudson River 
Railroad was opened a row boat ferry ran between the present Irvington 
and Piermont Pier. 

For forty years the steamboat interests of Nyack remained in the hands 
of the brothers, Isaac P., D.D., Tunis and Abram P. Smith, the latter retiring 
first in 1862, and Isaac P. dying a few years later. In the last few years of 
this long period a stock company was formed, but D. D., and T. Smith 
still controlled the business. The advent of the railroad to Nyack, follow- 
ing on years of strong opposition, proved too heavy a load for the manage- 
ment longer to carry, an^ the business crisis of 1878 crushed the com- 


pany. For a short time the boats were in the hands of a receiver, and then 
were bought by A. M. C. Smith and continued on the old route. For a 
brief period an opposition was kept up by D. D. Smith, but a fatal acci- 
dent on the boat he had chartered — The Magenta — caused the vessel to be 
withdrawn, and no further attempt was made to hold the route by the long 
time proprietors. 

Chronological list of Steamboats to Nyack and Haverstraw. 
1828. Orange. Captain John White, Jr., followed by Harman Falter and Isaac P. Smith. 
1831. Orange. Since time of starting. 
" Rockland. Built Piennont. Captain David Clark, followed by Jacob Mausell. Opposi- 
tion to Orange. Route from Upper Nyack. Later to Haverstraw. 

1838. Warren. Built in New York. Sold in 1850 and named Swallow. Burned in 1850 with 
loss of life. 
" Arrow. Built at Nyack, and was the second steamboat built there. Burned twice at the 
Nyack landing. Rebuilt and named, at different times, George Washington, Broad- 
way, Metropolitan, and Broadway again. Burst a flue in 1866, with loss of life, and 
1845. Warren. Captain Jake Mausell. 
" Arrow. 

" Orange. By Rockland County Farmers' Association to Upper Nyack. 
" Union. Freight boat from Nyack, owned by A. P. Smith. 
J850. Stranger. Freight boat in place of Union, owned by A. P. Smith. 
" Swallow. Captain Mausell. Burned. 
" Arrow. Captain S. A. Vervalen. 
" Nor walk. To replace the burned Swallow. 

1852. George Washington. Formerly Arrow. 

" Isaac P. Smith. Built from wreck of the Warren-Swallow. Captain George McDonald. 
" Thomas E. Hulse. Morning boat. Captain E. Van Wart. Pilot, Alfred Conklin. 
" Vinton. Ferryboat from Haverstraw to Crugers. Later a small boat named Three 

1853. George Washington. Captain R. T. Blanch. 

" Jenny LiND, for a short time. Morning boat. Also the John Farron, opposition to the 

" Daniel Drew. Ferryboat from Nyack to Tarrytown, owned by A. P. Smith. 

1854. Isaac P. Smith. Captain R. T. Blanch. 

" George Washington. Captain A. A. Lydecker. 

" Thomas E. Hulse. Morning boat. 

" Sarah. Ferryboat from Haverstraw to Peekskill. 

" J. J. Herrick. Ferryboat from Nyack to Tarrytown. 

1856. Isaac P. Smith. 

" Metamora. Opposition boat on the West Shore. Captain William Perry. 

' ' Broadway. Opposition boat on the East Shore. Captain House. 

" George Law. Opposition boat. 

" Thomas E. Hulse. Morning boat from New York. 

i860. Metamora. Captain R. T. Blanch. Ran from New York to Newburgh, stopping at 
Peck's Dock. 
" Broadway. Captain F. Frost. 
" Isaac P. Smith. Captain G. O. House. 


i860. Edwin. Freight and passenger boat from Nyack, of Smith's Line. Named later Cham- 
" Aurora. Captain Anning Smith. Morning boat from New York. Became Norwalk 

in 1865. 
" Daniel Drew. Captain J. F. Tallman. Albany boat, stopping at Peck's Dock. 
" Armenia. Captain Isaac P. Smith. Albany boat, stopping at Peck's Dock. This boat 
was built by Cox, Radford & Colyer, and ran opposition to the Smiths for part of a 
season, when they bought her and put her on the Albany route. 
.1861. Metamora. Captain J. F. Tallman.. Two trips a day from Haverstraw. 5.45 A. M. 
and 12.45 P- M. 
Isaac P. Smith. 

M. S. Allison. Captain Field. Ran from Sing Sing to Newburgh. 
America. This boat was obtained by Smith's Line in exchange for the Champion, She 
soon took her original name, Peter G. Coffin, and ran thus till 1871, when she was re- 
built and called the Alexis. At a later date this name was changed to Riverdale. Her 
boiler exploded off New York, in 1883, with loss of life. 

1865. Isaac P. Smith. 
" Armenia. On the East Shore for a time. 
" J. B. Schuyler. Captain F. Frost. On the East Shore. 
" NoRWALK. Formerly Aurora. 
" Ida Pell. Ferryboat at Haverstraw in 1864, 
1870 Chrystenah. Built entirely new at Nyack in 1867. Always run on West Shore. Pilot 
and from the start, Alfred Conklin. 

since. Adelphi. Formerly the City of Albany. Rebuilt at Nyack in 1868, and run on the East 

Shore. Sold in 1879, and is again called City of Albany. 
" ALEX15. Formerly Peter G. Coffin, run as a freight and passenger boat till her explosion. 
" Raleigh. Freight boat. 

" Tappan Zee. Ferryboat at Nyack, built in 1874. 
" Sleepy Hollow and Sunny Side. Built by a company of New York merchants, and 

run for two or three years as opposition boats on the East Shore. The former, now 

called the Long Branch, is used as an excursion boat. The latter was cut through by 

ice and sunk above Poughkeepsie with loss of life. 
" General Sedgwick. Opposition boat on the East Shore. 
" Thos. Colyer. Opposition boat on the West Shore for a short time. 
" Shady Side. Opposition on the West Shore for a short time. 
" Boardman. Captain Chas. Stevens. Ran first between Nyack and Newburgh and later 

between Haverstraw and Newburgh. Named now River Belle. 
" G. T. Olyphant. Captain Chas. Stephens. . Same route as Boardman for a time. 
" Emeline. Running from Haverstraw to Newburgh. 

Among other boats in the local travel have been the Washington 
Irving, Telegraph, Antelope, Naushon, Erie, St. Nicholas, and Magenta. 
Freight boats — Marshall Nye, sunk off Hatteras during the war, Walter 
Brett, River Queen, Edith Peck, and Maid of Kent. Preceding the ex- 
tension of the Rockland's trips to Haverstraw, the people of that village 
were dependent on steamboats from up the river stopping at Grassy 
Point. Among the boats landing there were the Kosciusko, Cinderella, 
Water Witch, and General Jackson. In the year 183 1, a fierce rivalry 


existed between the owners of the last named boats, and the latter blew 
up while lying at the Point with the loss of life. 

Four years passed away after the Orange made her first trip, when the 
initial movement of another advance was begun in this State. New York, 
ranking as the third city in the new Nation at the close of the Revolution, 
had been given an impetus by the far-seeing wisdom of De Witt Clinton, 
and was moving forward with giant strides toward her future material 
prosperity. Scarcely had the people of this State ceased to talk of the 
opening of the Erie Canal ; scarcely had the echoes of the cannon, which 
on that October day in 1825, thundered the news from Buffalo to New 
York in the unprecedented time of one hour and twenty minutes, that the 
first fleet of boats had started for tide water, ceased to reverberate along 
the Hudson Highlands ; when a train of cars on the Mohawk and Hudson 
Railway made its first trip from Albany to Schenectady. In April of that 
year, 1832, the Legislature granted a charter to the New York and Erie 
Railroad, and a year later, 183^, the company of that railroad was organ- 
ized, with Eleazar Lord as President. With the long struggle of that 
corporation before the work of constructing the road in this County began, 
I am not to deal. In 1838, work was begun on the section between Pier- 
mont and Goshen, and by 1 84 1 , trains were running from the latter place. 
According to the original charter, the New York and Erie Railroad was 
forbidden to connect with any road which passed into Pennsylvania or 
New Jersey; to reach New York, therefore, it was run to the Hudson, 
close to the New Jersey line, and at Piermont, where, owing to the shal- 
lowness of the water, an enormous pier, one mile in length had to be 
built, connected with the city by the strongly-built steamboats, New 
Haven and Iron Witch. By 1852, that clause which forbade connection 
with New Jersey had been repealed, and the Erie Railroad Company 
leased the Paterson and Ramapo, and the Paterson and Hudson Rail- 
ways together with the Union railway .79 of a mile long that formed the 
connection between it and the Paterson and Ramapo road. When first 
built, the Erie was a single track, six foot gauge, road. In 1853 a double 
track was laid through the Ramapo Valley, but the section running to 
Piermont was not touched; and in 1878, the standard gauge was obtained 
by the laying of a third rail. 

The construction of the Erie Railroad was an invaluable aid to the 
growth of this County. From its necessities Piermont was born, and by 
the communication thus opened, the villages of Blauveltville, Nanuet, 
Spring Valley and Monsey were rendered possible. Not alone did it 
bring in ready money, by the erection of its car works and round house,. 


and the residence of its employees at its eastern terminus, but it also, left 
a more lasting impress in the permanent development of our agricultural 
and mineral resources. 

Four years after the Erie road changed its route from Piermont to Jer- 
sey City, via Paterson, the Northern Railroad of New Jersey was begun, 
and opened for travel from Piermont in 1859. The line belonging to the 
Northern road only extends in this State from the line just below Tappan 
to the present Sparkill. From that station to Piermont the road, as we 
have seen, is the original Erie track. In 1869, the Nyack and Northern 
Railroad company was organized. As this lies entirely within the bound- 
aries of Orangetown, full mention of it will be given in the history of that 

The opening of these roads changed the course of travel in the County 
as radically as the building of the Orange did. While in summer the boats 
still carried their share of traffic ; in winter, when the river was blocked 
with ice, Piermont Pier at first, and later, Piermont village, became the 
shipping port. From the building of the Erie up to the opening of the 
Hudson River railroad, and when the ice would not permit a crossing to 
Crugers, up to recent days, that road was the only winter outlet for Haver- 
straw. From that place to Piermont — an always rough, generally cold, 
and oftentimes bleak and stormy ride of fourteen miles — Charles P. Sned- 
eker ran a stage for the accommodation of travellers. It was by this route 
that the Rev. Dr. Freeman introduced the first melodeon in Haverstraw, 
and probably the first one in Rockland County, in 1847. 

For many years a railroad Jiad been running from Jersey City to 
Hackensack ere the effort was made to extend it onward toward Albany. 
In 1869 the Hackensack and New York Extension Company was organ- 
ized, and by 1870 had extended the road from Hackensack to Nanuet. In 
1873 the New Jersey and New York Railroad Company was formed and 
under its management the road was extended through the County from 
Spring Valley on the Piermont and Sufferns Branch of the Erie, along the 
eastern line of Ramapo township and, winding around the western point 
of Verdrietige Hook Mountain, near Camp Hill, reached a hay-field near 
Stony Point, its terminus, after touching Garnerville in 1875. The pledge 
of the company to the people of Stony Point and Grassy Point villages, 
had been to extend the road into the latter by passing through the for- 
mer. In this way financial aid was obtained from the inhabitants of these 
places. Then one of those peculiar business transactions known as " rail- 
road financiering" took place. The road and its appurtenances passed into 
the hands of a receiver. . Then it was bought in by a new company and 


the just claims of Stony and Grassy Points ignored. As now situated its 
northern terminus is a half-mile away from everything. From Nanuet a 
short road was built north to New City, under the name of the Nanuet 
and New City Railroad, and opened for travel early in May, 1875. This 
road, which gave the first rail communication with our most inconveniently 
situated County Seat, was bought by the New Jersey and New York 
Railroad Company. 

The Jersey City and Albany Railroad was opened as far as Tappan 
about 1 876. It is unnecessary that I should attempt to unravel the web of 
railroad swindling which this corporation represented, a task that would be 
thankless even if possible. Through misrepresentation and flagrant 
deceit, money and land were obtained sufficient to permit the extension of 
the road to Haverstraw. This village was entered by means of a switch- 
back down the mountain side, and the terminal station was about a quar- 
ter of a mile south of the present Main Street. This road was never in- 
tended to be a success and it never was. For two or three years the 
trains were kept running, and then, in 1883, the New York, Ontario and 
Western Railroad was built through the County. 

The New York, West Shore and Buffalo Railroad bought the road bed 
of the New York, Ontario and Western Company in 1883. Early in 1880, 
the latter company had begun the construction of a road from Middletown 
to Cornwall, and then through the medium of a construction company ex- 
tended their Hne to Weehawken, buying up the old road bed of the Jersey 
City and Albany. 

- Almost immediately this company sold the line from Cornwall south 
to the N. Y. W. S. and B. Railroad, and then leased back their sale. Of 
the management of these roads, of the scandalous way in which they have 
been used to perpetrate fraud, it is needless to speak. Built during the 
latter years of the railroad building mania, and with no particular demand 
for their existence, they fell into hopeless financial ruin, as soon as the 
bubble was pricked, and carried down in their fall many private fortunes. 

Authorities referred to: Civil List S. N. Y.; Session Laws S. N. Y.; Minutes and Papers of 
the Nyack Steamboat Association ; History of the Town of Haverstraw, and lectures entitled, 
"Thirty Years in Rockland County," and " Thirty Years in Haverstraw, " by the Rev. A. S. 
Freeman, D. D.; History of the Town of Ramapo, by the Rev. Eben B. Cobb ; Archives of the 
Rockland County Historical Society ; Files of the Rockland County Messenger. 



Eight years elapsed after the settlement of the Orangetown patent ere 
a church organization was formed in this new County. Then, on October 
24, 1694, the Httle band of settlers formed themselves into a society under 
the name of the " Low Dutch Christian Reformed Church of Tappan." • 

For many years — twenty-two — this society had no church edifice, and 
thirty years passed ere it possessed sufficient strength to afford a settled 
pastor. The first ministrations to this body were given by Guilliam Ber- 
tholf, who was the settled pastor of the united churches of Hackensack 
and Acquackanonck but extended his ministrations, and during his term 
of ministry organized the Sleepy Hollow Church at Tarrytown, in 1697, 
and the church at Raritan in 1699. 

Guilliam Bertholf was a native of Holland, and had immigrated to this 
new world in the capacity of school-master, catechiser and voor/eser, this 
word signifying a leader in singing, prayer and reading of the scriptures. 
In 1693, the people of Hackensack and Acquackanonck sent him to Hol- 
land to be examined, licensed, and ordained to the ministry. He was 
the first regularly installed pastor in New Jersey, and for the first fifteen 
years of his ministry, the only Dutch preacher in that State. Dominie 
Bertholf had spiritual charge of all the Dutch people on the west side of 


the Hudson, south of Ulster County, and of those of Tarrytown and 
Staten Island. The salary of this pioneer in the ministry in our County 
reached £$0 a year in 1717. 

Not alone was Rev. Bertholf in this great work of Christianity. Where- 
ever settlement was begun, before the wilderness had been cleared, minis- 
ters of God entered upon their mission of love. On Long Island, at Fort 
Orange, at Esopas, clergymen had preceded him, and in the section north 
of the mountain — the present Orange County — ^Johannes Casparus Fry- 
enmoet followed his example, ministering in 1737 at the churches of Mag- 
aghamack, Minnisink, Walpeck and Smithfield, and receiving from the 
four churches £yo in money, 25 schepels of oats from each church, and 
his firewood. 

By 1 7 16, during the pastorate of Rev. Mr. Bertholf, the Tappan con- 
gregatioh had attained sufficient strength to build a church, and erected a 
square stone edifice on their glebe, which contained fifty acres. This church 
building which stood upon the site of the present house, remained un- 
changed till after the Revolution. In it the military court which tried 
John Andre sat, and in it Joshua Hett Smith was confined. 

In 1724 the congregation at Tappan called and settled its first pastor. 
Rev. Frederic Muzelius. During his occupation of the pulpit, which lasted 
for twenty-five years, occurred the controversy in the Dutch Reformed 
church in America over the question whether the American Church should 
continue in or should break from its ecclesiastical dependence upon the 
church in Holland. In the schism produced by the disputation, the advo- 
cates of an independent American classis organized themselves into a 
body called " The Coetus," while the party favoring a continuance of the 
relations with Holland, was known as "The Conferentie." 1 

In this contest, which began in Dominie Muzelius' time and, after 
causing his removal from the pulpit, lasted far into his successor's period 
of ministration and ended in 1770, Rev. Mr. Muzelius favored the cause 
of "The Conferentie," while a majority of his congregation sided with 
"The Coetus." Ill-will and annoying acts were caused by this disagree- 
ment, and these, combined with growing physical ailments in Rev. Mr. 
Muzelius led tb his being set aside in 1749, as pastor emeritus, and to the 
call to Rev. Samuel Verbryck. 

In the dissolution of the pastoral relations between Muzelius and his 
congregation. It was agreed by the latter to furnish him with a house 
and pay a yearly sum of ;^20 for his support. 

As has happened in every religious controversy, before and since this 
quarrel, the pastor had many adherents. To these he continued steadfast. 


and from them organized, in 1767, a separate congregation, which contin- 
ued in existence till 1778, long after the cause of its creation had ceased to 
exist. Frederick Muzelius died at the age of 78 years in 1782. 

By 1749, settlement had extended throughout the rest of the County 
so rapidly, that the residents further north demanded and formed a separ- 
ate church organization under the name of the Low Dutch Christian Re- 
formed Church of New Hempstead, and three years later a house for wor- 
ship was erected at Clarkstown. In the " call " to Rev. Mr. Verbryck, 
given July 17th, 1750, both the Tappan and Clarkstown churches were 
placed under his care. At the former, he was to serve two-thirds of the 
time, at the latter, one-third. ^80 a year was to be his salary so long as 
the emeritus pastor lived, and this was to be raised by each congregation 
in the same proportion as his time was devoted. With this salary, the 
people were to furnish him with a parsonage, barn, orchard and garden at 
Tappan, " also a well, and sufficient firewood, and to keep everything in 
good repair." 

Samuel Verbryck entered upon his duties with a people irritated and 
divided by questions of church government. Ere this cause of trouble 
had ceased in 1 770, the mutterings of the approaching civil revolution 
began, and'- in the intense excitement which followed, through years of 
war and months of reprisal, he passed away on January 31st, 1784, at the 
age of 84 years. 

The next pastor at the Tappan and Clarkstown churches was Rev. 
Nicholas Lansing, who was "called" August nth, 1784, at a salary of 
£iyo a. year. Dominie Lansing was the last of the old Dutch pastors, 
and the last minister who commanded that obedience and respect, which 
has long ceased. In regard to the former statement, he was the last pas- 
tor who preached in the Dutch language, at first altogether, toward the 
close of his long service of over a half century, when the English had 
become the language of the younger people, alternately in Dutch and 
English. In regard to the latter statement — entering upon his duties 
when the total population of the town did not reach nine hundred souls, 
and when no church save that of his denomination existed, he knew 
personally all of the residents and ministered to most of them. Ere his 
death, steam conimunication had brought the County closer to the outside 
world ; the restless and ceaseless struggle for wealth had already begun ; 
Orangetown had increased in population to more than two thousand peo- 
ple, and church organizations of three different denominations existed. 

Till 1830, Rev. Nicholas Lansing remained in charge of the churches 
at Tappan and Clarkstown. At that time, owing to his great age and its 


attendant infirmities, he gave up the latter, which has since maintained a 
separate existence. From this time he devoted himself entirely to the 
church at Tappan till his death on September 26th, 1835, at 'the age of 87 

The fourth settled, and fifth pastor of this church was Rev. Isaac D. 
Cole, who was born at New City, Rockland County, January 25th, 1799. 
Upon entering the ministry, he was called in 1829 as assistant pastor to 
the Tappan church. During the year from December i6th, 1832, till De- 
cember i6th, 1833, Rev. Mr. Cole was absent from the Tappan church; 
then he returned and remained with this congregation till February 9th, 
1 864. After his retirement from the church and ministry in that year, a 
retirement necessitated by failing health. Rev. Mr. Cole removed to Spring 
Valley, where he lived quietly till his death on August 30th, 1 878, at the 
age of 79 years. 

The next settled pastor at Tappan was Rev. George M. S. Blauvelt, 
who was called in 1864 and remained in charge of the church till 1882, 
and he was followed in the last named year by Rev. William H. William- 
son, the present pastor. In its history of one hundred and ninety-two 
years, the church society at Tappan has had but seven pastors, and of 
these but six were settled. The lengths of pastorates have been respect- 
ively 30, 25, 34, 51, 30, 18, and 4 years. 

The first church edifice remained unchanged till about 1784. Then the 
four-sided roof was removed, the house was lengthened, covered with a 
gambrel roof, and a spire was added in which was placed a bell. The in- 
terior was painted in imitation of mahogany, and the columns which sup- 
ported the roof were done in imitation of marble. 

Over half a century more elapsed before further change was made in 
the church edifice, then, during the early years of Rev. Mr. Cole's pas- 
torate, and the closing years of Dominie Lansing's life — he died before it 
was completed — the present brick building was erected in 1835, at a cost 
of $11,000. Of the church lands, some has been sold, some devoted 
to the purpose of a cemetery, till at present only about fifteen acres re- 
main with the parsonage. The present house of worship stands upon the 
site of the original church. 


This society, as has been said, was organized in 1749, and the first 
house built was in 1752. This stood on the site of the old stone building 
on the New City road. Until 1830, the congregation was under the min- 
istration of the Tappan pastor. At that time, Rev*. Christopher Hunt 


was called to the church and remained till 1832, when he was followed by- 
Rev. Alexander Warner in 1832, who occupied the pulpit till 1837. In 
1837 Rev. Peter J. Quick began his pastorate at this church, and con- 
tinued his ministrations till 1866. Dominie Quick was followed by Rev. 
Benjamin C. Lippincott, who was called in 1866 and remained till 1872. 
In 1872, Rev. Ferdinand Schenck settled at this church, and continued 
five years. In 1877, Rev. Samuel Streng was called and served several 
years, and in 1884 the present incumbent, Rev. D. M. Talmage entered 
upon the pastoral duties. 

Until 1840 this church society was known as the First Reformed 
Protestant Dutch Church of New Hempstead. On May 6th, of that year, 
the Legislature passed an act changing the name of the corporation to the 
First Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Clarkstown. 

The original church edifice stood till 1825, when a new building was 
erected on the site of the first house, which is still standing. In 1871 the 
new church building was finished, and has since been occupied. Disagree- 
ments have been frequent in the Clarkstown Church Society since 18 12, 
and from it have split the Methodist Church at Nyack, the Presbyterian 
Church at Blauveltville, the True Reformed Church at Nanuet, and the 
Waldberg Church. Serious trouble was threatened at the time that the 
new house of worship was built in 1871, but the annoyance was finally 
soothed peacefully. 


On Wednesday, September 28th, 1774, a meeting of believers in the 
creed of the Dutch Reformed Church was held at the house of James 
Christie, in Kakiat, and a society of that denomination organized by the 
selection of Cornelius Smith, Abraham De Baun, Rynier A. Quackenbos, 
and Johannes Smith as elders ; Jacob Servant, Petrus Demarest, Gerret 
Smith, and Abraham Onderdonk, deacons, and Garrett Van Houten and 
Johannes W. Cogg were chosen a committee to accomplish full ecclesi- 
astical organization. On the Sunday following this meeting, October 2d, 
1774, the congregation assembled at the house of James Christie, and John 
W. Cogg read a sermon to those present. 

Garrett Van Houten being ill, his place on the committee was supplied 
by Cornelius Smith, and on October 8th, 1774, the committee called on 
Dominie Benjamin Van der Lind, pastor at Paramus, and, having obtained 
his approval, \yrote to Rev. J. H. Goetschius, at Schraalenburg, requesting 
an extra session of Synod at Hackensack, on November 15th, 1774. The 


Synod met and established the " Reformed Protestant Dutch Church in 
the upper part of Kakeath," and, on Sunday, December 4th, 1774, Dom-- 
inie Van der Lind formally ordained the elders and deacons, previously 
elected, and ecclesiastically organized the church. 

The first church edifice was erected in 1788 and remained till 1856, 
when the present house was built.. Previous to 1824 the name of the 
society was changed from that of " Kakiat " to " West New Hempstead." 
Dissentions and schism entered the congregation, and as a result the True 
Reformed Church of Monsey was formed. 

The pastors of the "Brick Church" have been : David Marinus, 1774 
to 1778; Peter Leydt, 1789 to 1793; George G. Brinkerhoff, 1793 to 
1806; James D. Demarest, 1808 to 1824; Jefferson Wynkoop, 1824 to 
1836; Peter Allen, 1837 to 1862 ; John R. Brock, 1862 to 1865 ; George 
J. Van Nest, 1865 to 1869; Henry Mattice (supply), 1869 to 1871 ; Ben- 
jamin T. Statesir, 1872 to 1881. 

The Sabbath-school belonging to this church was established during 
the pastorate of Rev. Jefferson Wynkoop. Its superintendents have been, 
beside the clergymen just mentioned : Rev. Peter Allen, Henry Seaman, 
C. E. Blauvelt, Rev. Henry Mattice, Rev. B. T. Statesir and C. E. Blau- 


The long journey to and from the Clarkstown church had already 
caused one different denomination to succeed at Nyack, and in 1830, Ny- 
ack constantly increasing in population, the members of the Dutch Re- 
formed belief living there began to grow clamorous for accommodation at 
home. In 1830, members of this church, resident in Nyack, began to hold 
meetings on Sunday afternoons ; at first in the Presbyterian church, later 
at private residences, and very frequently in the parlors of the Mansion 
House. At length, in 1836, the church was completed, being dedicated 
in June of that year by the Rev. John Knox, D. D. 

Until 1838, the pastor of the Clarkstown church supplied the pulpit at 
Nyack, preaching at the former place in the morning, at the latter in 
the afternoon ; then, the congregation feeling sufficiently strong. Rev. 
Philip M. Brett was called to the pastorate. Mr. Brett remained in charge 
of the church till 1842, when failing health compelled his resignation. 
Since that time the pulpit has been supplied by : Rev. Charles S. Hage- 
man, now D. D., from 1842 to 1852 ; Rev. Benjamin Van. Zandt, 1853 to 
1856; Rev. Daniel Lord, 1857 to i860; Rev. Uriah Marvin, i860 to 1870; 
Rev. Henry V. Voorhees, 1870 to 1878; Rev. W. A. McCorkle, 1878 to 
1881 ; Rev. William H. Clark, D. D., 1881 to the present writing. 


In 1850, the congregation had so largely increased in the Nyack 
Church that greater seating capacity became a necessity. Accordingly, 
the house was rebuilt, a new front being added, and the edifice enlarged 
laterally, affording two additional rows of pews. The new building was 
dedicated January 7th, 185 1. In 1870, the church was again repaired 
and enlarged, by an addition of eighteen feet in the rear, the work being 
completed in 187 1. A prosperous Sunday School is connected with the 


The society of this church was organized January 27th, 1839, ^^d. 
Rev. Cornelius C. Vermiule having accepted an invitation to supply the 
society, began his labors May 19th, 1839, and continued till September, 
1842, when Rev. Cornelius E. Crispell was ordained and installed pastor 
of the church at a salary of $400 a year. Since that time, the church has 
had the following pastors : Daniel Lord, 1847 to 1850; J. Romeyn Berry, 
1850; Jacob West, 1852; A. D.Laurence Jewett, 1855; Henry E. 
Decker, i860: Augustus F. Todd, 1865 ; William C. Stitt, 1872 till the 
present time. 

The first house of worship was erected in 1 840, on the hill-side near 
the hill railroad station. In 1850, a new church edifice was built, on the 
site of the present structure, and remained unchanged till 1873, when it 
was greatly enlarged and improved. In 1879, the building was again en- 
larged by the addition of a lecture room in the rear. The first members 
of the Dutch Church at Piermont came by letter from the Tappan church. 
A prosperous Sabbath School exists. 


By 1850, a number of families, members of the " Brick Church," resi- 
dent at Spring Valley, made efforts to have preaching held at that village. 
To accomplish this object, the necessary committees were appointed to 
obtain a site, raise the required funds, etc. At length in 1853, a building 
was erected on the spot occupied by the present church edifice, and at 
this place divine service was regularly held by the pastor of the " Brick 
Church " on Sunday afternoons. 

In 1863, the first house of worship became too small for the increased 
membership, and preparation was made to erect a larger edifice. A 
building committee was appointed, and the old building was sold to Alfred 
Tallman for $400, and by him moved to a lot owned by himself This 
building was afterward sold to the Baptist Society, as we shall see, and is 
now known as Van Hooten Hall. On January 5th, 1865, the new church 


Structure was completed, and, it having been amicably decided by the 
congregations of both churches that it was better to have separate organ- 
izations, on April 17th, 1865, the organizational Spring Valley was legally 
incorporated. ' 

The pastors of the Spring Valley Church have been : Rev. John R. 
Brock, May 7th, 1865 to April loth, 1869; Rev. Marshall B. Smith, July 
7th, 1869 to November ist, 1870; Rev. Richard De Witt, October 8th, 
1871 to April 1st, 1876; Rev. Peter E. Kipp, (stated supply) July 1876 
to April 1877 ; Rev. Daniel Van Pell, July i6th, 1877 to September 23d, 
1878 ; Rev Cornelius E. Crispell, D. D., September 9th, 1879 to present 


In the Magazine of American History, Vol. XIII., p. 39, in an article 
entitled " Puritanism in New York," an account of the early Presbyterian 
churches in New York State is given. As early as 1640 the first Presby- 
terian Society was formed on Long Island at Southold. 1641 saw one 
at Southampton; 1642, one at Mespat, and in 1644 Richard Denton, a 
pastor of the Presbyterian Church, formed a society at Hempstead, with 
which he remained till 1658. During Dutch rule this sect was left undis- 
turbed, but, on the final surrender of New York to the English, a de- 
termined effort was made by the Governors, especially Lord Cornbury, to 
crush out Presbyterianism, and make the Church of England dominant. 
In this attempt, which continued till 17 16, the Presbyterian Society in 
Hempstead came in for its full share of annoyance, and great bitteri\ess of 
feeling was the result. 

Persecution has ever ended in a more vigorous and rapid spread of the 
ideas attacked, and, in thus harassing the believers in Presbyterianism, the 
adherents of the Church of England not only failed, most signally, in 
the attempt to proselyte them, but also increased to greater fervor and 
zeal the believers in that creed. Fresh from the conflict of church doc- 
trines, and filled with anger at the injustice of the English rulers, the 
Colonists in Kakiat, emigrants from Hempstead, Long Island, arrived in 
our County. But tim,e enough to get settled and started elapsed, when 
these new comers organized a Presbyterian Church Society, and at their 
earliest convenience erected a house of worship. 

Already had the English language become the common dialect on 
Long Island, east of Brooklyn, ere the immigration to Kakiat took place, 
and at, or shortly after, that time the Scots, who gave its name to Scot- 


land, settled in the Cpunty. A heterogenous congregation, consisting of 
French Huguenots, of Englishmen, Scots and Dutchmen, would naturally 
agree upon a tongue common to a majority of the community, and that 
language was the English. While, therefore, the service of the first Pres- 
byterian Church, and its records were at first in Dutch, the will of the 
majority at length obtained, and English was substituted; and, in a com- 
munity already settled by Dutch and sustaining two churches in which the 
exercises were carried on in that speech, this innovation could but excite 
interest and lead the worthy Dutchmen to speak of the church as the Eng- 
lish Church. 

But little record of the early days of this church can be found. A deed 
dated December I2th, 1754, "Between Samuel Coe, of New Hempstead, 
of the precinct of Harvuerstraw in the County of orange and province of 
New York, yoemen of the one part, and Jacob Hallsted, Jonah Hallsted 
Guysbert Cuyper, Samuel Coe, John Coe, Alexander Mc(N)nought, 
(A) alexander (M) montgomery, Francis Garnee, John Secar and (W) 
william (C) coe. Elders and Deacons in the Presbyterian Church or Con- 
gregation of said New Hempstead on the other part, for and in considera- 
tion of twenty-six pounds, two shillings and six pence. Currant Lawfull 
money of New York," sets aside a portion of land to this church society 
for a parsonage farm, and speaks of: " Forty and eight square rods 
whereon the meeting house stands, which is my free gift to the Presbyterian 
Church and Congregation for their use and benefit forever." 

The first building of this society, a frame edifice, stood a few feet north 
of the present structure, and remained in use till 1827. On the military 
road through the County during the period of the Revolution, it is report- 
ed to have been used for military purposes, and it is supposed that during 
that period its records were mislaid or destroyed. Be that as it may, it is 
now certain that the early records are wanting, and but fragmentary data 
touching its history can be given. 

Rev. E. B. Cobb has found an account between the Board of Trustees 
of the church and the Rev. John Lindsley, the pastor, extending from 
November 2Sth, 1785, to September 23d, 1786, by which it appears that 
during that time the pastor received goods and money to the value of £4-^ 
19s, 3d. The date of Mr. Lindsley's departure is not known. In a call 
to Rev. John Townley, issued October 27th, 1788, is found the statement : 
"The said church and congregation having been long destitute of a Settled 
Gospel Ministry for Divine Worship and the regular Dispensation of Gos- 
pel Ordinances amongst them, etc." On April 24th, 1797, Rev Allen 
Blair was called to the pulpit of the EngHsh Church, it being his duty to 


preach alternately in the Presbyterian church at Haverstraw — now Gar- 
nerville — and New Hempstead. On the departure of Mr. Blair, evil days 
fell upon the " English Church " congregation. It is recorded that the rite 
of communion was administered December 4th, 1808, by Rev. Mr. Hill- 
yer; in June, 1 809, by Rev. Mr. Thompson, on November 19th, 1809, 
by Rev. Mr. King; on July 8th, 18 10, by Rev. Mr. Riggs; and on De- 
cember 22d 181 1, by Rev. Mr. Williams. 

From this time to December 26th, 18 16, when Rev. Samuel Pelton 
was called to the pastoral care of the Society, occurs a hiatus in the work 
■of the church. Rev. Samuel Pelton was installed pastor of the " English 
Church" February 20th, 1 8 17, and began his labors with fifty-nine com- 
municants. He prospered greatly in his efforts, and in 1821, one hundred 
and ten people united with the church at one time. In 1839, Mr. Pelton 
was stricken with apoplexy and left partly paralyzed, a condition which 
led him to resign his charge in 1840. He was followed by Rev. John N. 
Boyd, from November i Ith, 1840 till 1852 ; Rev. Abijah Green, November 
1st, 1852; Rev. Samuel Kellogg, December i8th, 1853, and Rev. Thomas 
Mack, July 26th, 1866, till the present time. The church was incorpo- 
rated May 1st, 1792 ; but on May 13th, 1822, it was found necessary to 
re-incorporate it. 

On May 31st, 1879, the church edifice was struck by lightning, and in 
the course of the electric fluid to the earth, part of an iron bracket fastened 
to the pillar in the back of the church, down which the lightning passed, 
was hurled across the entire length of building and buried several inches 
deep in the wall over the pulpit. 


Previous to 1781, the few residents of the Haverstraw Valley attended 
either the Dutch Reformed church near Kakiat, 'or Clarksville, or the 
Presbyterian Church at Kakiat. In that year an effort was made to estab- 
lish a church society at Haverstraw, and seventy-one residents subscribed 
toward paying a pastor's salary. On April 8th, 1789, the English Pro- 
testant Society of Haverstraw had been organized by the election of Jacob 
Waldron, Amos Hutchingsand Peter Allison, Trustees. On August 17th, 
1789, Thomas Smith sold to the Trustees of this first Presbyterian church 
in Haverstraw, for the sum of ten shillings, a lot of land situated on the 
northeast corner of the land at present belonging to the heirs of Elisha 
Peck, on the south side of the road to Thiells Corners, and next east of 
the Calico Factory. On this the congregation proceeded to erect a 
wooden building, about forty feet square, for a house of worship. 


Until 1839, the pulpit of this church was suppHed by the ministers, 
from the " English Church " at Kakiat. Among others, the Rev. Robert 
Burns, a resident of Haverstraw, is mentioned as one of the pastors. In 
1 8 16, Rev. Samuel Pelton was called to the charge of this in conjunction 
with the " English Church," and continued at labor till failing health com- 
pelled his resignation in 1839. Since Mr. Pelton's time the pastors have 
been: Rev. James Hildreth, Jiine 23d, 1839 till May 4th, 1848; Rev. 
Livingston Willard, 1849 to 1850; Rev James H. Trowbridge, till No- 
vember, 1853; Rev. Peter J. H. Myers, from September 7th, 1854 to 
December 30th, 1859; Rev. Spencer Marsh, from November 26th, 1861 
to 1868, and Rev. J. J. McMahon, who took charge as a stated supply in 
September, 1868, dividing his time between this church and the one at 
Stony Point till 1875, when he resigned the latter charge. He was 
installed pastor of the church at Haverstraw, May 9th, 1876, and remains 
in charge at the present time. 

The last service held in the first church building was on Sunday, No- 
vember 2 1 St, 1847. The building was then sold to Elisha Peck, who 
moved it away and turned it into a barn, which was later destroyed by fire. 
The second, edifice of the First Presbyterian Church Society, of Haver- 
straw, was built in 1 848-49, and dedicated February 8th of the latter year. 
This structure was built of brick, and is still standing. 


This church building was erected in 18 10, by Jeremiah H. Pierson, for 
the accommodation of the employees at the Ramapo Works, there being, 
at that time, no church nearer than the " Island Church " at Mahwah, 
which was built in 1791. P"rom the beginning, services were held in this 
church on alternate Sundays, the pulpit being supplied by pastors from 
other churches. One of the first to fill this pulpit, and the one whose 
visits were most frequent, till he assumed charge of the congregation in 
1834, was Rev. Samuel Fisher, D. D. Beside him, between 1815 and 
and 1824, the pulpit was suppHed by Rev. Messrs. Ford, Spaulding, Con- 
det. Wilder, Mills, Gildersleeve, Armstrong, Crane, Babbitt, Chandler, 
Polhman, Barton, Hendricks, Tuttle, Osborne, Harris, and Pierson ; and 
between 1824 and 1834, by Stebbins, Chansen, Olds, Romeyn, Wynkoop, 
Judson, and Smith. 

On May 1st, 1834, Dr. Samuel Fisher assumed charge of the Ramapo 
Church, and remained till 1840; he was followed by: Rev. J. C. Day, 
1841 to 1844; Rev. S. J. Harker, 1845 to 1846; Rev. William A. West- 
cott, 1846 to 1848 ; Rev. William H. Kirk, 1848 to 1853 ; Rev. William 


T. Van Doren, 1853 to 1857. At this time, owing to the decline of the 
industries at Ramapo, and the withdrawal from that village of employees, 
services in the church stopped. In September, 1867, the church was 
reorganized, and later, April 21st, 1868, was formally taken under the care 
of the Presbytery of Hudson. Since 1867, the pastors have been: Rev. 
Goodloe B. Bell, until May, 1871 ; Rev. Peres B. Bonney, November 
1871 to November 1875 ; Rev. George A. Ford, April i6th, 1876 to 
April 29th, 1880; Rev. Eben B. Cobb, April 29th, 1880 till the present. 

This church edifice is probably the oldest one which has been kept free 
trom the touch of those iconoclasts, who desire to destroy everything old, 
and replace with modern improvements. A brief description of the in- 
terior, as furnished by a newspaper article published in 1878, and by the 
present pastor. Rev. E. B. Cobb, seems wise. 

The box pulpit, pentagonal in shape and canopied, is raised some feet 
from the floor, and reached by a narrow stairway. Large enough to hold 
but one person, the occupant may sdll further shut himself from all worldly 
distractions by closing a door, which bars ingress to the pulpit. The box 
pews, entered through high doors swung upon wrought-iron hinges, still 
remain, the only change from their original construction being a slight 
slant of their backs. This innovation was accomplished when the church 
was reorganized in 1867, and perhaps better suits the easier methods of 
worship which obtain now, as compared with those of three-quarters of a 
century ago. About 1876 a grand pipe organ was introduced into the 
church, and added its sweet tones to the hosannas of the worshippers. But 
let no one think this was the first instrumental music in the old church. 
Early in its history, it is recorded that six and thirty people subscribed ;^i i 
for a bass viol. 
' At present, the church has three Sunday Schools under its charge. 


In the autumn of 1812, application was made to the Presbytery of 
Hudson to organize a church at Greenbush, and on October i8th, 18 12, 
Rev. Eliphalet Price, by appointment of the Presbytery, preached to the 
congregation at Greenbush, and gave notice that in the evening of the 
same day, he would proceed to the forming of a church society. In accor- 
dance with this request, ten people came together and formed an organi- 

About the year 181 3, (no record appears of the exact date) Rev. An- 
drew Thompson was installed pastor of the church, and continued in that 
position for about twenty years. For several years the Presbyterian 


Church Society of Greenbush held their services in the upper room of the 
Greenbush Academy. The first church edifice, built of stone on the site 
of the present building, was erected in 1823, and dedicated January 14th, 
1824. The lot for the structure was given by Abraham G. Blauvelt by 
deed bearing date May 21st, 1823. 

The second pastor of this church was Rev. Jared Dewing, who held 
that position from April 24th, 1834, to October 8th, 1855. He was fol- 
lowed by Rev. Thomas Evans, called as a stated supply. November 12th, 
1855, installed June 17th, 1856, resigned 1877; Rev. Henry E. Decker 
followed, remaining with the church till December 1883. Since Decem- 
ber 2d, 1883, Rev. Charles H. Lester has been the stated supply. 

On September i8th, 1835, the Presbyterian church building at Green- 
bush was destroyed by fire and the congregation left without a home. 
Preparations were made to rebuild it and the new edifice, which was erect- 
ed in 1836, was dedicated April 5th, 1837. On October 24th, 1882, the 
second church building together with the parsonage was burned. This last 
fire was believed to be of incendiary origin, and charges against the sus- 
pected party were made before the Grand Jury. The evidence was in- 
sufficient, and that body failed to find an indictment. In 1883, the pres- 
ent structure was built and dedicated November 27th of that year. 


I have been credibly informed, by people conversant with the facts, 
that the split from the Dutch Church at Clarkstown, which gave origin to 
the Presbyterian congregation at Nyack, grew out of disputes regarding 
the location and construction of a proposed country road. A lawsuit be- 
tween some of the church members was begun, and the bitter feeling en- 
gendered by this litigation prevented further peaceful communion in the 
same church organization. 

By deed, bearing date, March i8th, 18 16, Peter De Pew gave to the 
society the lot of land on which the present church stands, and on this the 
first church edifice, a sandstone building, was erected. The first pastor of 
the Nyack Church was the Rev. Andrew Thompson, of the Greenbush 
Church, who gave one-quarter of his time to. Nyack. On March 27th, 
1834, Rev. Jared Dewing was called to the pastorate of the two church 
societies, installed April 24th, and retained those relations till June 14th, 
1 841, when, the Nyack Church society, having been granted a separate 
autonomy by the Presbytery of New York on May loth, 1841, his con- 
nections with that church were severed. Following Mr. Dewing, and the 
first pastor of the separate Nyack church, came Rev. Charles M. Oakley, 


from October 25th, 1841, to September 11, 1843; Rev. .Joseph Penny, 
D. D., from November 30th, 1843, to April, 1847; Rev. J. S. Davison 
from October 26th, 1847, to October 19th, 1852; Rev. Joseph Cory, from 
May 31st, 1853, to 1867; Rev. Francis L. Patton, from November 2Sth, 
1867, to May 2Sth, 1871 ; Rev. A. McElroy Wylie, from May, 1872, to 
September 19th, 1876; Rev. George H. Wallace, from October 3d, 1877, 
to 1880; Rev. J. Elwy Lloyd, from June 14th, 1881, to the present time. 
The first church edifice stood till 1839, when it was torn down and a 
wooden building erected in its place. This second church has since been 
enlarged and improved at different times until little vestige of the original 
frame building remains. Up to October 22d, 1834, the Nyack and Green- 
bush societies belonged to the Presbytery of Hudson, but at that time the 
ecclesiastical relation with Hudson was severed, at their request, and 
transferred to the Presbytery of New York. The causes that led to the 
creation of the Nyack Church, as a separate organization, grew out of 
financial difficulties regarding the rent of the parsonage and the pastor's 


This church society was formed by a split from the Clarkstown church, ' 
which occurred in 1830. As originally composed, the society was neutral, 
Presbyterians and members of the Dutch Reformed church being alike 
subscribers, and it was agreed that the ultimate connection of the church 
should be determined by a majority of those who supported, as well as 
contributed to the building of the edifice. The present structure was 
erected in 1831 and opened for service the same year. 

Rockland Lake was still almost universally known by the residents as 
the " Pond," and this church took its name from the common appellation 
of the original patent on which it was built, an appellation which had 
become applied to the neighborhood. As the name of Rockland lake 
became localized by the growth of the present village, that of " Pond " in 
connection with this church became incongruous, and the edifice having 
been painted yellow, a striking color at all times, but probably more so 
among the dull brown stone houses and unpainted barns of those times 
than at present, the building naturally took the name of the " Yellow " 
church and retained it till i860, when it received the present name of 
Waldberg from the name of the school district. 

In the early years of its existence the pulpit of this church was supplied 
in connection with those of other churches, and service was held in the 
afternoon. When Hon. A. B. Conger built and moved into this neighbor- 


hood valuable assistance was given to the church, and stationed pastors 
were obtained, who took charge of the district for some years. At length, 
owing to the removal from the neighborhood of some of the richest mem- 
bers, the church society dwindled, and during recent years the edifice 
has been used by members of the Methodist faith. 


This church society was formed from the Haverstraw Presbyterian 
Church, organized in 1789. It is necessary to remember that until 1865, 
the present township of Stony Point was part of Haverstraw township, 
and that the first Presbyterian church edifice in Stony Point was erected 
upon land then belonging to Haverstraw. In 1 844, the members of this 
church, resident in the present Stony Point, built a house of worship on 
land donated for that purpose by Richard Brewster. 

Until 1855, this society was under the care of and supplied by the 
pastor of the Haverstraw church. Then the Stony Point church was or- 
ganized as a separate body, under the care of the Presbytery of New York. 
In 1869, the church edifice was rebuilt and enlarged to its present size. 
The pastors of the church before its separation were : Rev. Mr. Burns, 
Rev. Samuel Pelton, from 1816 to 1839; Rev. James Hildreth, 1839 to 
1848; Rev. Livingston Willard, 1849 to 1850; Rev. J. H. Trowbridge, 
to 1853; Rev. P. J. H. Meyers, from 1854 to 1855. Since its separate 
existence the pastors have been : Rev. Abijah Green, from 1855 to 1856; 
Rev. David Eagan, from 1856 to 1858; Rev. Frederick King, 1858 to 
1866; Rev. J. J. McMahon, 1866 to 1876; Rev. R. B. Mattice, 1879 to 
1880; Rev. T. C. Straus, 1881^ to 1884; and the present pastor. Rev. 
John S. Gilmore, from 1881;.. 


When John Beverige of Newburgh, determined on lona Island as 
his place of residence, he bought property on the mainland at Doodle- 
town, and erected at his own expense, in 1851, the building known as the 
Mountville Church. A strong Presbyterian in belief, Mr. Beverige started 
this church as a society of that denomination, and for a time had its pulpit 
supplied by a pastor from Newburgh. Earnest as were his efforts, they 
called forth little response from the mountain inhabitants of this section. 
After trying for some time to excite some interest among the people, Mr. 
Beverige at last gave up his idea, and donated the building to the people 
of Doodletown. It was at once turned into a Methodist mission, and has 
since been supplied by circuit preachers of that denomination. 



This church society was organized by a committee of, the Fourth 
Presbytery of New York, April 22d, 1846. The use of the building be- 
longing to the Methodist Protestant Church was obtained for divine ser- 
vice, and the pulpit was supplied by different ministers till the last Sabbath 
in June, 1 846, when the Rev. Amasa S. Freeman commenced his pastoral 

Ground was given for the church edifice by Hon. George S. Allison 
and Rev. Edward Hopper, and the erection of the building begun, the 
corner stone being laid August 21st, 1846. Two months later, when the 
walls were up and ready for the roof, a gale destroyed the uncompleted 
work. Until the inclemency of the weather prevented, divine service was 
held in a structure put up for the convenience of the workmen on the 
church lot and now used as a horse shed. February 7th, 1 847, the base- 
ment of the church was used for the first time by the congregation, and, 
on the third Sunday in September, 1847, the audience room was com- 
pleted and the building dedicated to the service of the Triune God. 

On April 2Sth, 1849, Rev. A. S. Freeman was formally installed as 
pastor of this church and still occupies the pulpit. In i860, the church 
was enlarged. In 1883, the thirty-seventh anniversary of the pastoral re- 
lation was commemorated by the congregation of this church by the erec- 
tion of a tower, with a bell and clock. 

I have steadily refrained in this work from panegyric or the laudation 
of living men, and, with the exception of the case of Rev. Amasa S. Free- 
man, D. D., shall continue so to refrain, believing that if any past or 
present resident of the County has done aught commendable, his name 
will appear in connection with the work, and readers are as well fitted to 
praise or blame as I am. But the work of Dr. Freeman has been so unos- 
tentatious, so like that of the good Master, his afflictions have been so 
sore, the mad passions which at times have raged in our midst have been 
so trying and yet have been met by this man and conquered ; that a few 
words concerning him may not be, a trespass. 

" I came here to spend one Sabbath, and Httle anticipated that one 
Sabbath would be so long drawn out." In the morning of the long Sab- 
bath, which Dr. Freeman began with us in 1846, all was peace and beauty. 
A church edifice was erected, a congregation of large size was built up, 
marriage gave him a partner and children blessed the union. Never did 
a day open more auspiciously. As the noon approached, symptoms of a 
coming storm appeared — " A little cloud out of the sea, like a man's 


The tempest of civil war burst upon us, and men's souls were sorely- 
tried. Through the seething hate of that period Dr. Freeman passed un- 
scathed. From the pulpit and rostrum, in the press and by deed, he up- 
held the Union, undeterred by menace, and in his church the first company 
of volunteers from Haverstraw said their good-byes, from his hand its 
Captain — Edward Pye — received the flag given by the loyal women of 
Haverstraw, by his efforts was money raised for the Sanitary Commis- 

Then came a period of dishonor in our County's financial history, and 
the blow fell with peculiar force on Dr. Freeman's church. For a time it 
seemed as though the spirit of discord would win, as though the happy 
relationship, theretofore existing between pastor and people, would be dis- 
solved. The crisis passed, and the strained feelings became again happily 
relaxed. The evils of intemperance have assumed greater import in 
Haverstraw than in any other place in our County, because of the unstable 
laboring population of that village. For thirty years the liquor interest 
has been one of controversy and conflict, and the subject has been carried 
into societies politic, social and rehgious. Never, in all the long years of 
contest, has Dr. Freeman been found wanting or doubtful. He has com- 
batted the evil whenever opportunity arose. 

Yet, in the inscrutable wisdom of God, these social trials were to pale 
before the domestic bereavements which fell with crushing force upon his 
household. Death entered his family circle and took from him the hopes 
of his declining years. Before the tragic awfulness of his affliction he 
bowed, murmuring only the words of resignation, and patiently yielding 
his loved ones to Him who gave them, continued his labors here, sancti- 
fied by suffering. 

And so the long Sabbath is passing like a summer day, with peace 
and storm, and now the even-tide approaches, calm and fresh. For almost 
two score years has Dr. Freeman labored and suffered amongst us, and 
his name is now known and venerated throughout our County, and re- 
membered by Rockland's sons wherever resident. But one has excelled 
him in the duration of pastoral relationship — Nicholas Lansing — who 
labored at Tappan for a year over a half century ; but one nearly reached 
his term of pastorate — Joseph W. Griffith — who labored in one church for 
eight and thirty, and among the Baptists of our County for five and forty 
years; and but two others toiled in the Master's work in this County over 
a score of years — Rev. James D. Demarest, who preached frorn 1804 till 
November, 1855, and Samuel Pelton, who continued his pastorate in the 
" English Church " four and twenty years. 



On April 23d, 1863, C. R. Agnew, M. D., Clinton Gilbert, W. S. Gil- 
man, Jr., I. N. Sears, and C. F. Park, met at the residence of one of the 
number in New York city and determined to erect a Presbyterian church 
at Palisades. At a later meeting, the above-named gentlemen engaged 
the services of Rev. Joseph Greenleaf, Jr., to December ist, 1863. On 
May 15th, 1863, the first service of this church society was held in the 
first Methodist church building at Palisades. On June 1st, 1863, the 
foundations of the present Presbyterian church edifice were begun, and 
by the close of the year the building was completed, being opened for 
divine service January 3d, 1864. 

This church society was formally organized by the Presbytery of New 
York Oct. 14th, 1863, and on October 21st of the same year. Rev. J. 
Greenleaf, Jr., was installed. Following this first pastor have been: Rev. 
John K. Demorest, from October i6th, 1866 to February 13th, 1870; 
Rev. Aaron H. Hand, D. D., from October i8th, 1870 to September, 
1879; Rev. J. W. Mcllvain, from December 26th, 1879 to September 
30th, 1882; Rev. Newton L. Reed, from October, 1883, to the present 


About 1782, Elder Luke Reuland, of Long Island, came to Sneden's 
Landing on a visit. While in the County he preached in different houses, 
and under his teachings five persons were baptized. Subsequently Elder 
J. L. Thompson, of Orange county, and Elder Cox, of England, preached 
occasionally in the County. In 1796, Edward Salyer, then residing at 
Middletown, embraced the views of this church, and was baptised in New 
York in connection with the Second Baptist church of that city, and 
shortly after James Blauvelt, of Middletown, was baptised in the Hacken- 
sack by Rev. Dr. Foster of the First Baptist church of New York City. 

In 1797, Elder Daniel Steers, who had immigrated from England and 
was then resident on Staten Island, preached on different occasions at 
Middletown, and under his ministrations a few were baptized. These, 
with others in this and the adjacent part of Bergen county in New Jersey, 
to the number of twelve, farmed themselves into an independent Baptist 
church on October i8th, 1798, under the name of the Rockland Baptist 



At the organization of this, the first Baptist Society in our County, 
the sermon was preached by Elder Davis of New York, from the text : 
" In whom ye also trusted,- after that ye heard the word of truth, the gos- 
pel of your salvation : in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed, 
with that Holy Spirit of promise." The charge to the church was given 
by Elder Daniel Steers. 

Early in 1 800, this society invited Elder Steers to become its pastor, 
and, at a regular church meeting held May 3d, 1800, he was received by 
letter from the Baptist church at Staten Island. In January, 1802, the 
name of the church was changed to the Middletown Baptist Church. 

For several years, the congregation of this church worshipped in a 
private house ; then a small building was erected on the Middletown road, 
directly at the head of the road from Pascack. The date of erection of' 
this first Baptist church seems in doubt. Elder J. W. Griffiths in his his- 
tory of the Baptist church in Rockland County fixes it " about the year 
1805," while the deed for the land on which the first church stood, bears 
date February 20th, 18 10. 

On June 14th, 181 1, the members of this church residing at Masonicus, 
now Hempstead, asked for and obtained their dismissal, for the purpose 
of forming a separate church. The same year. Elder Steers, who had 
previously removed to Haverstraw, resigned his charge of the Middletown 
church. Until 181 5, the society was without a settled pastor; then Elder 
Joseph W. Griffiths was called and entered upon his pastoral duties in June 
of that year. Besides preaching at Middletown, Elder Griffiths held ser- 
vice every alternate Sabbath at Haverstraw, during the first eighteen 
months of his pastorate, and subsequently held frequent service at Hack- 
ensack, Hempstead and Tappan Slote, when opportunity offered, until 
1837. After this time, he devoted himself especially to the Middletown 
church till his resignation in 1853. Following Elder J. W. Griffiths have 
been: Elder J. L. Thompson, from 1853 to 1859 ; Rev. W. Pauline, from 
April 7th, 1859 to December 1859; Rev. J. C. Page, i860; Rev. A B. 
McGowen, 1871 ; Rev. Frederick Greaves, 1873 ; Rev. Frank Fletcher, 
1880; Rev, W. S. S. Warden, who is now supplying the pulpit. 

During Elder Griffiths' pastorate, about the year 1820, a new church 
edifice 20 by 40 feet was built some half-mile south of the old one on the 
same road. In 1859 the church was moved within the Clarkstown lim- 
its, and the building, now occupied by the congregation, erected. In 
1865, the name of the society was changed to the Nanuet Baptist Church. 


In 1838, this church, in conjunction with that at Piermont, organized a 
Bible Society called the Middletown and Piermont Bible Society, which 
was auxiliary to the American and Foreign Bible Society. 


In 1802, a number of the Baptist members, living at Haverstraw, were 
constituted as a branch of the Middletown Baptist Church, and Elder 
Daniel Steers held divine service on alternate Sundays at different private 
houses. By 1 809, the edifice belonging to the Presbyterian Society at 
Haverstraw had become much dilapidated, and a union was entered into 
with the members of the Baptist faith, there resident, for the support and 
repair of the church. So Utterly at variance are the statements of Elder 
Griffiths and the Presbyterians in this matter, that necessity compels me 
to be prolix on the subject. The deed for the lot on which the first Pres- 
byterian church of Haverstraw was erected, was granted by Thomas 
Smith to the Trustees of the English Protestant Society -at Haverstraw, 
and bears date August 17th, 1789. When the boundary line of the Cheese- 
cocks Patent was being run in June 1790, the church is spoken of as 
"now building." Finally we have the following record : " The subscri- 
bers, members of the First Presbyterian church in the Town of Haver- 
straw and others attached by Education and principle to the Congrega- 
tion, viewing with the utmost regret the present disgraceful state of re- 
pairs in which the House of God has for a long time continued, and con- 
sidering the present smallness of the Congregation, and their inability to 
keep the House of God in tenantable Repair and support a pastor of their 
own. And having always considered the Baptist and Presbyterian 
churches as nearly and intimately allied, differing only in principle, and in 
fact Sister Churches, do therefore consent and agree that the Baptist con- 
gregation of Haverstraw, of the New York Association, shall and may be 
permitted to repair the said house of worship, and shall have the privilege 
of hereafter using the house equally with the Presbyterians, Sabbath for 
Sabbath alternately, and all other times when the same is not occupied by 
the Presbyterian Congregation. March 25 th, 1 809." 

Such is the documentary evidence in the case, and at this day we are 
not able to go behind this evidence. That this matter was not so under- 
stood by the Baptists at Haverstraw, will be evinced by the following 
extract from Elder Griffith's history, taken, doubtless, from the accounts 
of the members of the Baptist faith in Haverstraw, and relating the story 
as they understood it. 


"In 1807 a liberal minded and wealthy gentleman, named Smith," — 
one of the sons of the Smith who had given a lot to the Presbyterian 
congregation — " donated the church at Haverstraw a fine lot of ground in 
the centre of the village, on condition that a house of worship was erected 
upon it. Within two years time, after the lot was presented, they (the 
Baptists) had the greater part of the materials purchased and some money 
collected. They then injudiciously entered into an arrangement with the 
Presbyterians of that village to make a joint interest of the same, each to 
furnish one-half of the •materials and to pay one-half of the expense of re- 
pairing and fitting up the old meeting house, and, when the house was 
completed, each congregation was to occupy it on alternate Sabbaths. 
The house was finished, and peace and harmony prevailed for several 
years. Elder Steers preaching for them (the Baptists) regularly till 1 8 1 1 , 
when he changed his field of labors to Peekskill. 

The removal of many of the members to Western New York, coupled 
with a mortgage which the Presbyterian clergyman held on the house to 
secure his salary, so discouraged and disheartened the remainder, that 
regular meetings were not held till about the year 1815." 

This finished the first Baptist Church in Haverstraw ; the society had 
the name and the Presbyterians the edifice. Until 1847 no further effort 
was made by this church to build a house of worship. During the years 
between 1815 and 1 844, the few members of the society still clung to- 
gether, and, whenever it was possible. Elder Griffiths visited and minis- 
tered to them. In the last named year a fresh impetus was given to the 
society by the advent of the employees of Higgins' carpet factory, and 
the scattered members were again collected. The first meeting of the re- 
organized church was held in the upper part of what is now the store of 
Isaac De Baun, on the south side of Main street. 

Rev. William' Pike, a native of England, had taken charge of the con- 
gregation, and under his efforts regular meetings were held each Sabbath 
at private residences, till the congregation had again obtained suflScient 
strength to build a church edifice. In 1847 a lot was bought from George 
S. Allison, and a house for worship was raised. In the efforts to obtain 
funds for this purpose, both the Presbyterians and Methodists of Haver- 
straw gave efficient aid, " and the large contributions on the day of dedi- 
cation of the building were mainly attributable to the appeal of the 
Methodist clergyman, who was present and took part in the exercises." 
The edifice was dedicated by Rev. John Dowling, D. D. 

Elder Pike remained with the congregation a few years and then 
removed to the West Baptist Church, Staten Island, from which he had 


received a call. In 1850, the carpet factory stopped and the employees 
moved away. Feeling now that their place of worship was too far away 
from Haverstraw village, the congregation sold it to the Roman Catholics 
— it is still standing and used as a school-house — and purchasing another 
lot on the west side of Rockland street, near Broad, erected another build- 
ing. Experience had not taught this congregation wisdom. A loan of 
$700 was made to the church by parties in New York, and the deed of 
the property was given to them as security. In a short time the money 
was demanded, and as it could not be raised, the property was sold to the 
Episcopal church for $1,000. Since that time no further effort has been 
made to re-organize this church. 


The original Baptist church at Masonicus, later Hempstead, now in 
the township of Ramapo, west of Viola, was organized, as we have seen, 
from the Middletown Baptist church in 181 1. For several years it had no 
settled pastor, but divine service was held by Elder Steers and Elder 
Griffiths, whenever possible. About 18 15, the first house for worship was 
erected on the site now occupied by the " Old School " church building. 
In the years 1820-21, a great revival took place in this church, and for 
eleven consecutive Sabbaths Elder Griffiths administered the rite of bap- 

In 1823, Rev. Gilbert Beebewas ordained to the ministry, and assumed 
pastoral charge of the church. Until 1826, Elder Beebe remained in this 
field of labor and then removed to Middletown, to edit a church paper* 
He was succeeded by Elder Evan J. Williams, during whose pastorate the 
Society was split asunder by unfortunate controversies between the con- 
servative and liberal members. 

In the division which followed, each faction claimed the house of wor- 
ship, and at last resorted to litigation to determine the question of owner- 
ship. Neither obtained the building, for, on the eve of the trial, in 1853, 
it was burned and the cause of dispute thus removed. 

Ere this time. Elder Williams had resigned his charge of the church, 
and removed to Brooklyn. Not long after his resignation. Elder Edwin 
Westcott visited Hempstead, assumed the pastoral charge of the church, 
and collected once more a portion of the scattered flock. An interest was 
again awakened, and under his charge a house of worship, thirty-five by 
fifty feet was erected on the north side of the New City road, a half mile 
nearer Suffern, in 1853. This Society is known as the Liberal Baptist 
Church of Viola. Upon the resignation of this charge by Elder Westcott, 


the care of the church was assumed by Edwin Browe, d licentiate of the 
MiddletOwn church. He remained with the congregation for some time, 
but was finally obliged to resign. 

When the liberal portion of the old congregation became reunited, 
that faction which adhered to the views of Rev. Gilbert Beebe, also formed 
an organization, and in 1857, erected a church building on the site of the 
burned edifice. This society is known as the " Old School " Baptist 
Church of Viola. Neither of these societies now have more than a nom- 
inal existence. 


In 1 8 1 7, Elder Griffiths, who was then located at Middletown, made 
appointments to preach at Tappan Slote, and in the following year, he 
held services at Piermont every Sabbath, preaching one week at Middle- 
town in the morning, and at the Slote in the afternoon, and the next week 
reversing the order. Under his ministrations a congregation was collected, 
which at first occupied the school house. Increasing numbers soon ren- 
dered this too small an accommodation, and a house for worship was 
built, which was dedicated on the second Sunday in November, 18 19. 

This church remained an auxihary of the Middletown church till 1839, 
and during this period Elder Griffiths continued pastor of both congrega- 
tions. On May iSth, 1839, the commuhicants at Piermont were consti- 
tuted an independent Baptist church, under the name of the First Baptist 
Church at Piermont. 

The next day, A. M. Torbet was ordained to the ministry and as- 
sumed the pastoralcare of the church, which he held till November, 1842, 
Following him have been : Rev. David Logan, from 1 843 to 1 844 ; Rev. 
Andrew Hopper, 1844 to October 1847; R^v. Charles W. Waterhouse, 
August, 1847, to January, 1849; Rev. G. P. Martin, August, 1849, to 
December, 1851 ; Rev. B. Slaight, from June, 1851, to 1856; Rev. W. A. 
Bronson, May, 1855, till his death. May 14th, 1858; Rev. Alfred Earle, 
till February, i860; Rev. Benjamin Wheeler, till 1863, Rev. Robert 
Fisher; Rev. J. W. Taylor, from March, 14th, 1866, to May, 1867; Rev. 
W. I. Loomis, till August, 1868; Rev. Joshua Wood; Rev. B. Lounsbury, 
from January 1870 to June, 1873; Rev. James S. Carr, to 1877, Since 
this time the church has had no stated pastor. In 1866, during the pas- 
torate of Rev. J. W. Taylor, the church edifice was rebuilt and enlarged. 


With prophetic foresight, the Father of the Baptist Church in this 
County, Rev. Joseph W. . Griffiths, wrote in 1855: "The last, and that 


which will become one of the strongest interests in Rockland County, is 
the Baptist church at Nyack." The worthy pastor never lived to see the 
fulfillment of his prophecy, as he died in i860 at the age of three score 
and eight years. But if we may be permitted to believe that from a hap- 
pier sphere those who have gone before are cognizant of our deeds, then 
we may feel that his " feet hath trod the battlements of heaven, his eye 
hath viewed the struggles of the children of men." 

As early as 1 806, Elder Daniel Steers, while pastor of the Middletown 
chruch, preached occasionally in the school house at Nyack. When the 
Presbyterian Society was established in the village and was presented 
with a lot of ground for a church building by Peter DePevy ; it was stipu- 
lated by the donor, that the Baptist congregation should occupy the house 
of worship alternately with it. This arrangement was carried into 
effect and continued till Elder , Steers' illness and death. From that 
period till 1838, little effort was made to carry on the Baptist cause 
in the village. In the last named year. Elders Williams, of Hempstead, 
Torbet of Piermont, and Griffiths of Middletown, after consultations, 
decided to establish a Baptist interest at Nyack, each agreeing to take 
his turn in the work so that regular service should be held. A room; 
standing on the site now occupied by Union Hall, was hired, and a fair 
congregation collected. For two years the labor continued, and 
was then abandoned because of the apprehension of the members of the 
Piermont church, that a society at Nyack would impair the strength of 
their church. From this time till the Union Hall was built in 1853, the 
members of this faith had no regular preaching, but met occasionally at 
private houses. On the opening of the Union Hall it was hired by Elder 
Griffiths and five others, who became personally responsible for the rent 
of the room and who agreed to pay a supply till the church became strong 
enough to take care of itself, and on February 2d, 1854, the First Baptist 
Church of Nyack was duly constituted with thirteen members. 

For three years, the Baptist members continued to meet in Union 
Hall under the pastoral care of Rev. G. P. Martin, whom they had 
called as their first minister, and who labored with this congregation as 
well as that at Piermont, till December 1854, when he resigned the latter 
charge. Then they determined to build a house for worship. This build- 
ing was completed in 1857, ^"d on the 19th of August in that year, it 
was dedicated with appropriate, ceremonies. On August 23d, 1857, Rev. 
G. P. Martin resigned, and his place was occupied by Rev. T. T. De Van, 
who began his pastoral duties December 2d, 1857, ^"^ remained in 
charge of the church till June 1862. Following him in pastoral duties 


have been: Rev. B. H. Benton, from November, 1862 to May 1864; 
Rev. F. Greaves, March 1 865 to April 1 867 ; Rev. James W. Frazer, 
October 1867 to March 1868 ; Rev. R. T. Middleditch, August 1868 to 
July 1869; Rev. F. Greaves, October 1869 to April 1873; Rev. N. B. 
Thompson, May 1873 to June 1875; Rev. J. K.. Wilson, June 1876 to 
February 1878; Rev. J. G. Shrive, April 1878 to April 1879; Rev. J. 
H. Gunning, M. D., October 1879 to February 1884; and Rev. J. L. 
Campbell, from March 1884 to the present time. 

The career of the church for the first quarter of a century of its ex- 
istence, was not uncheckered by financial troubles and exhaustion, and 
from 187s till 1878, it appeared as though the struggle must be abandoned. 
But there were members of the society steadfast in faith and good works ; 
others joined the society and gave aid and advice ; under Rev. J. H. Gun- 
ning new life was given to the struggling sect, and at last, in 1881, so 
greatly had the church attendance increased that further accommodations 
became imperative. During the summer of that year, the congregation 
met for worship in Voorhis Hall while the edifice was being enlarged and 
renovated, and on Thursday, January 12th, 1882, the new building was 
opened for divine service. Truly the prophecy of Elder Griffiths, written 
seven and twenty years before, as he drew close " to the banks of asphodel 
that border the River of Life," had come true. During Rev. J. H. Gun- 
ning's pastorate, 161 people were added to the church by baptism, and 23 
by letter, a result only approached during Rev F. Greaves' two terms, 
when 91 were added by baptism and 21 by letter. Since the organization 
of the church 303 members have been added by baptism and 87 by letter. 


On February 19th, 1867, a church meeting was held by the Nanuet 
Baptist Church to consider the advisability of buying the old Dutch 
Church building, in Spring Valley, for an outpost of the Nanuet Church. 
After investigation, such action was decided on, the property bought and 
repaired, and the edifice dedicated September 19th, 1867. From this 
time till July, 1870, services were held in the Spring Valley Church every 
Sunday afternoon by the preacher holding service at Nanuet in the 

As early as 1869, the members of the Spring Valley Church agitated 
the subject of a separate existence, but it was not till November 9th, 1870, 
that the society was formally organized as a distinct church. On No- 
vember 20th, 1870, Rev. Wm. H. Sherman assumed charge of the society, 
and, a year later, added to his labors by ministering to the church at 


Viola. October 3d, 1 871, the Spring Valley Church was received , as a 
member of the Southern New York Baptist Association, to which body 
the church reported forty-five members and a Sunday school, organized 
in 1 868, with Matthew Persons as superintendent, having 24 teachers, 218 
scholars, an average attendance of 107, and a library of 300 volumes. 

In February, 1872, Rev. Wm. H. Sherman resigned this charge, and 
in May, 1873, he was succeeded by Rev. F. Greaves. In June of the 
same year Mr. Greaves resigned, and the church was left without a pastor. 
From this time the pulpit was supplied 'by Mr. E. J. Hillman, a member 
of the congregation. From the time the building was repaired and opened 
a. heavy mortgage rested on the Society, and in spite of noble efforts to 
meet it, now, in the financial panic following 1873, crushed it. On June 
20th, 1875, the last sermon in this church was preached by Mr. Hillman, 
and the following day the building was sold at auction. For a brief 
period, the members of the society clung together and then the organiza- 
tion passed from existence. 

Authorities referred to. History of the Reformed Church at Tappan, by Rev. David Cole, 
D. D. Translation of the Records of the Clarkstown Church, by I. C. Haring, M. D. History 
of the Town of Ramapo, by Rev. E. B. Cobb, translation by A. S. Zabriskie, M. D. Magazine 
of American History Vol. XIII, page 39. Greenbush Church Records. Microcosm by Hon. 
Seth B. Cole. History of Haverstraw by Rev. A. S. Freeman, D. D. Letters and papers from 
Wm. Govan, M. p. History of the Baptist Church in Rockland County, by Rev. Joseph W. 
Grififiths. History of the Nyack Baptist Church, by George F. Morse. Lecture "30 years in 
Haverstraw," by A. S. Freeman, D. D. 



And now there came into this County a new religious movement, 
which was destined to spread and grow in spite of hardship, and oblo- 
quy, and detraction, because of its enthusiasm and democratic teachings. 
Two score years had passed since John Wesley, rejecting that conception 
which regarded faith as the union of intellectual belief and of voluntary 
self-submission, a conception from which the element of the supernatural 
was wanting, as well as that of personal trust for salvation on the atone- 
ment of Jesus; had accepted the teachings of a "present, free and full 
salvation." But three decades had gone by since the followers of Wesley 
had erected their first house of worship in New York City; and but four- 
teen years had elapsed since the first Bishop of the Methodist Church in 
America — Rev. Francis Asbury, had been consecrated at Baltimore, 
when exhorters from that society entered our County. 

With the causes which led to the formation of the sect, with the 
polemical discussions that it has given rise to, I am ;iot to speak. With 
the reasons for its growth in this County, with the different church organi- 
zations which have sprung up in our villages and towns, it is alone my 
duty to deal. 

Methodism is aggressive with an enthusiasm born of its youth and its 
teachings, that each individual is a personal and special factor in the care 


of divine providence. By psychologic change, which each convert claims 
to experience, the neophyte feels that he has entered a state of beatitude, 
that he has been, as expressed in the denomination, "born again." By 
the teaching that without constant religious struggle he will fall from 
grace, his religious life becomes a fervid effort to remain steadfast in the 
faith. By the government of his church, he is placed in contact with others 
as earnest as himself, and in the class meetings a form of open religious 
confessional, the prayer meeting, and the love feast, encouraged and 
strengthened by religious association, his enthusiasm grows more intense. 

In this idea of a new birth, this psychologic and supernatural change, 
lies the strength of the Methodist church. The new convert, regenerated 
and sanctified, at once feels that his fellow man, unless a Methodist, has 
not experienced the transition, and he at once sets to work to bring him 
within the pale of the church. Each convert becomes a priest with a 
vital mission. A human being, whatever the race, sex or social standing, 
becomes a tremendous factor in such a creed — an immortal soul to be 

As can readily be seen, the teaching of this doctrine is essentially 
democratic. No matter what the social or intellectual status of an indi- 
vidual — the beggar in his squalor and rags; Lazarus in luxury and 
riches ; the laborer living by the sweat of his brow, or the potentate wield- 
ing all but despotic power : all, all alike, must return to dust in the body, 
while before the inexorable Judge, their souls must answer at the day of 
judgment for deeds done here. 

Members of this denomination came to Rockland County. It is not 
positive when or where they first began their labors, for at evei'y hamlet 
they seemed to arise spontaneously. The first society of the sect was 
formed at Haverstraw before 1799, but already they had converts in this 
section. With customary enthusiasm they entered on their mission. The 
sturdy landholder, still bearing in his disposition the phlegm of his Dutch 
ancestry, was startled from his mental repose by the earnest exhortation 
of his whilom guest, and left sorely perplexed in mind at the utterances 
he had listened to. The laborer in the quarries was surprised at his noon- 
day meal by the religious conversation of his fellow- toiler. In the work- 
shops and factories at the Ramapo Clove, the creed advanced, and discus- 
sion led to curiosity, curiosity to observation, observation to conversion. 

Nor did these all but fanatics confine their journeys to the haunts of 
civilization; they penetrated the mountain fastnesses and the grimy, un- 
kempt charcoal burner was surprised by the appearance of a stranger at 
his fire-heap, who grasped his hand, who called him " brother," who en- 


treated him to seek salvation ; the long-neglected dweller among the 
inhospitable rocks was filled with wonderment at finding some one from 
the unknown, outside world in his presence, teUing him, that in the ages 
gone by a fellow man had died for him and urging him to repent and be 

At first looked upon as fanatics and treated with contempt and ridi- 
cule, the very lives and deeds of the acceptors of the Methodist faith at 
last encouraged respect and then belief The itinerant ministers who 
visited the County in early days, were seen riding through the blinding 
heat and dust of summer, the bitter blasts and snows of winter, or facing 
the driving rainstorm, often thinly clad arid scarcely protected, to meet a 
scant gathering of believers at the end of their journey, without a mur- 
mur, and yet oftentimes, these journeys covered over a score of miles 
before morning service, and a score more before the evening sermon. 
The various meetings of the church, which perhaps had been visited by 
outsiders in a spirit of levity, produced a very different feeling, when some 
ignorant and illiterate convert, filled with holy zeal, told in uncouth lan- 
guage, mayhap, the story of his trials with tear-stained cheeks and a fervor 
born of inspiration. And when to these things, this despised sect added 
the spirit of their Master's teachings, visited the highways and the by-ways, 
extended a helping, strengtheninghandto the outcasts and pariahs of society, 
made them self-respecting and respected citizens, and sent them forth 
with their new experience to add others to the fold ; even the most skep- 
tical mind drew back abashed and acknowledged the great benefit of the 

The first Methodist Church Society, as has been said, was organized in 
Haverstraw, in the closing years of the eighteenth century. In 1799, this 
Society contained eighty members and in 1 800, their first house for worship 
was erected on land given by the same family (Smith) who had previously 
given to the Presbyterians and later gave to the Baptists, lots for their church 
buildings. The first religious services of the sect held here were conducted 
by Barney Matthias, an exhorter and local preacher, who was a ship car- 
penter by trade. I have been told by old people, who had heard Mr. 
Matthias exhort in the old school house at Nyack, that he was rarely 
gifted with vocal power and that, when he became intensely earnest, his 
voice could be heard a mile and a half away. This statement lacks au- 
thentic confirmation, and was made by people, not members of the 
Methodist Church, who I fear were prejudiced. 

The first regular minister at this church was Rev. William Vreeden- 
burgh, in 1805, and the first minister, who made his home in the village. 


was Rev. James MacLaurins in 1829. By 1840, the church edifice had 
become too small for the congregation, and a new building thirty by fifty- 
four feet was erected. This house was dedicated December i6th, 1840. 
The old church building was sold to Phineas Hedges, and is still standing, 
in use as a barn, on the north side of the road beyond Thiell's Corners. 

By i860, the new church was also found to be too small, and the 
building was enlarged. At this time an organ was introduced into the 
church, which so outraged the ideas of simplicity of a worthy member — 
Jonathan Wood — that he left the house in disgust. As the amehorating 
influence of time was felt, Mr. Wood became reconciled to the innovation, 
and was at last, after a long life of good works, laid at rest, his grave 
being marked by a plain tombstone. This was broken by a team of run- 
away horses, and replaced by a new one. When the new organ was 
placed in the church, weights were needed for the bellows, and the two 
portions of Mr. Wood's broken tombstone were employed for the purpose. 
0\ Si sic omnia. 

In the history of this church occurred one of those odd events of which 
many belong to our County history. The doctrines of Methodism had 
spread rapidly and been accepted by the people with eagerness. So- 
cieties had been formed at Nyack, Sherwoodville, Palisades, Stony Point, 
and other places in the County, and the topic of the growth of the sect 
was uppermost among the residents. With any but a friendly eye had 
this development been viewed by the pastors of the older churches — one 
of these is said to have greeted its appearance by a sermon from the text : 
"These men, who have turned the world upside down, have come hither 
also," and none perhaps viewed it with more annoyance than Rev. Sam- 
uel Pelton, whose charge was the first invaded. At last, no other means 
of showing its supposed falsity appearing, Mr. Pelton challenged the min- 
ister of the faith at Haverstraw to a public debate. This was declined, 
but Rev. Lawrence Kean, of New York, happening to be at Haverstraw, 
accepted the wager of battle. The debate took place April 2d, 1821. 
Preparations were made by the erection of a platform before the Metho- 
dist house of worship, and the choice of three persons as moderators and 
of four to take notes. 

A large number of people, many drawn by interest in one or the other 
parties, more by idle curiosity, attended, and at ten o'clock in the morning 
the debate began. From ten till twelve, and from two to four o'clock, 
these disputants met in polemic strife. At the close of the discussion 
neither was satisfied, and each thought of what he might have said. From 
speech, Rev. Samuel Pelton resorted to the pen, and published a work en- 


titled Absurdities of Methodism. This was answered by Mr. Kean by a. 
work called : A Plain and Positive Refutation of the Rev. Samuel Pelton's 
Unjust and Unfounded Charges Entitled, " The Absurdities of Methodism." 
Containing, First: A Public Debate held at Haverstraw, Rockland County, 
N. Y. ; Second: Remarks on the Several Articles Debated ; Third: The 
Perfect Conformity of the Methodist Doctrine, and Discipline to Scripture, 
Reason and Common Sense. J. & J. Harper, 1823. 

In following the history of this church, I must be governed in chronol- 
ogy, not by the date of the Societies' organization, but by the date of 
the erection of their church edifice. Next in this arrangement comes the 


As early as 1 806, the teachings of the Methodist church were intro- 
duced into Nyack, and meetings alternating with those of the Baptists, 
were held in the school house, then just built, by Barney Matthias and Rev. 
George Banghart, who was called the "singing preacher." The organi- 
zation of a church society, and the erection of a house of worship by that 
denominatfon however, did not occur till 18 13, and was then brought 
about by the obtuseness of the classis of the Reformed Dutch Church. In 
1 8 1 2, members of the Clarkstown church presented a petition for the es- 
tablishment of a branch of that church at Nyack, setting forth as their 
reasons: that Nyack was strong enough to support a church ; that on 
account of the distance between the hamlets, many were unable to attend 
divine service ; that if the opportunity was not seized, other sects would 
build at Nyack. The classis refused to grant the petition. 

Immediately after this decision, a portion of the petitioners, William 
Palmer, Nicholas WiUiamson and John Green, met at the house of the 
last named gentleman, organized a meeting by the election of the proper 
officers, and passed resolutions to organize a Methodist Episcopal Church 
in Nyack, and to begin the erection of a house for worship on the follow- 
ing day. 

In aid of the work, William Palmer gave the ground and stone from 
his quarries, and John Green and Nicholas Williamson , gave money in the 
proportion of $1 of the former to $2 of the latter; Garret Onderdonk also 
gave financial aid. In 181 3, the building begun with such laconic brevity 
was opened to the public as the First M. E. Church, of Nyack. 

When first used, the pulpit, a high, square box, entered through a 
door, stood against the north wall of the church six steps high ; the altar- 
rail was three feet high and rested on upright slats set close together. 
This gave it somewhat tlje appearance of a picket fence; the seats .were 


■straight-backed and hard, not furnished with doors. Across the south 
end of the church extended a heavy gallery. For heating purposes a cast 
iron stove was used. For light, dependence was placed on one copper 
oil lamp, suspended from the centre of the ceiHng, and some half dozen 
quaintly- shaped tin candle-holders. The Bible was bought with money 
raised by subscription, and on the fly-leaf is the following : " This Bible 
was procured by Joseph Bennet for the use of the Nyack Meeting House of 
Methodist E. Church, A. D., 1814." Then follows the following names of 
contributors: Rev. J. Bennet, $3.00; Rev. Michael Swing, 25 cents; Rev. 
Benjamin Sherwood, 12 cents; Mr. Joart, N. Y., 25 cents; Mr. Peter 
Bourdett, N. Y., 25 cents; Mr. Barnas DeKline, 19 cents; Mrs. Hester 
Ackerman, 19 cents; Mrs. Abigal Gurnee, 2^ cents; Rev. Abram Gurnee, 
25 cents; Mr. James Cunningham, 50 cents; Mr. John Ten Eyck, 12 cents; 
Mr. Garret Onderdonk, 25 cents; Mr. Benjamin Bourdett, 25 cents. The 
Bible is still in use in the Sunday-school. 

For many years the pulpit of this church was supplied either by local 
preachers or circuit riders. Then, under the preaching of Rev. Benjamin 
Day, a series of revival meetings were held in a building which stood on 
the site of the present Union Hall, and many were added to the faith. 
The old church building was now felt to be too far from thfe village, which 
had grown up since its erection, and an effort was made to sell it and build 
a new house more central. Through the efforts of Garret Williamson and 
Jacob Voorhis, this attempt was defeated by a majority of two votes. 
Once again, in 1877, when an attempt was made to erect a new church 
edifice in Nyack, the sale of the old stone church was discussed, but de- 
fenders of the land- mark still existed and the attempt was frustrated. 

In' 1870, the building was sadly out of repair. By the efforts of George 
Green sufficient money was raised to put on a new roof and plate it in 
thorough order. Many changes Were made in its interior, better fitting 
the present time. Sunday school and other religious services are regularly 
held in the building. 


Though out of the proper order in date of erection, it seems wiser to 
mention this church in this place and thus avoid Confusion. 

Upon the defeat of the attempt to sell the old house of worship, the 
members at once began efforts to erect a new building. Ground was 
bought and a frame building put up in 1843. 

In a few years the building was found too small for the increased at- 
tendance, and an addition was made upon the east end of it. No further 


change was attempted till 1877, when a lot was bought on Broadway, 
south of the Universalist Church, and the construction of a new building 
begun. Further than the foundation this never advanced. Financial 
troubles fell thick and fast on the church, and under the weight of calami- 
ties, the society was dissolved, their property foreclosed upon, and St. 
Paul's Society organized. As a business move this procedure relieved 
the Methodists from a judgment. As a movement of a religious society, 
its ethical advisability was doubtful. After this failure the frame building 
was repaired and renovated, and is still in use by the church. 


The origin of the Methodist Society at this place dates back to 1805. 
Already I have gone into the subject of the spread of this sect, with suffi- 
cient fullness and further mention is unnecessary. One of the first meet- 
ings of the denomination was held in the old stone house, near the chapel, 
now owned by E. G. Sherwood. Later services were held at the houses 
of Stephen Gurnee, William Osborn and Benjamin Sherwood, till 1813, 
when Rev. James Sherwood and Abigal Gurnee, purchased the prop- 
erty, on which stands the stone house above mentioned, and after that, 
services were held there. 

In the early days of the society, preaching took place every other 
week, during the afternoons in summer, and evenings in winter, till the 
chapel was built. During this period, it was not rare for the quarterly 
meetings, which were largely attended, to be held in an old Dutch barn, 
standing near the house, owing to the necessity for more room than the 
hpuse afforded. 

At length, through the efforts. of James Sherwood,. Garret Onderdonk, 
Benjamin Odell, Stephen B. Johnson, Mrs. Abigal* Gurnee and her 
daughter ; sufficient money was obtained to begin the building of a house 
for worship on land given by James Sherwood. He also, with others^ 
furnished timber for the frame and Hon. J. H. Pierson, gave the nails. 
When the building was enclosed more money was needed, and Rev. 
James Sherwood, walked to New York, soliciting donations on the way to 
and in that city from all friends of the enterprise. Success greeted his 
endeavors, and in September 1829, this edifice was dedicated to the wor- 
ship of God by Rev. George Banghart, Presiding Elder. 

Until 1834 or '35, the primitive seats, made by taking poles, putting legs 
in them after the manner of a saw-horse, and laying loose planks across 
them, remained , then, through the efforts of the present Mrs. Hollis Hol- 
man and Mrs. H. A. Blauvelt, sufficient money was raised to seat their 
side of the house. Their example was shortly after followed by the men. 


In 1856, a split occurred in the congregation of this church on the 
question of building a new house of worship nearer ■ Mechanicsville, now 
Viola, and a portion of the congregation withdrew. Those that remained 
re-roofed and sided" the building and painted it. In 1875, the interior of 
the church was improved by taking out the old gallery, putting in new 
seats and pulpit, frescoing the walls, carpeting the floor and making two 
aisles instead of one. 


Before 18 10, the teachings of Methodism were introduced at Tappan 
Slote and services were held in the old schoolhouse. In the course of time, 
Moses Taylor established his residence at the present Palisades, and in 
1820, a class was formed. As the society grew stronger, the project of 
building a house for worship was considered, and, largely through the 
efforts of Mr. Taylor and his wife, this project was accomplished, and the 
building dedicated in 1832. 

By 1858, the need of a larger building became apparent, and the con- 
gregation set themselves to the work. In the summer of 1858, the corner 
stone of the new building was laid, and on May 15th, 1859, the new edi- 
fice was dedicated by Bishop James. The old church building is still 
standing. A flourishing Sabbath School in connection with the church 


Shortly after the Methodist sect became established in our County, 
preachers of the denomination visited Stony Point and in 1 804, began to 
hold religious services in private houses. At length this congregation 
grew strong enough to erect a house for worship and, land having been 
given for the purpose by Matthew Gurnee and his wife, work was begun. 
By June 14th, 1834, the building was completed and dedicated. The first 
edifice stood on the site of the present church. In the course of time this 
first house became too small for the increasing congregation, and it became 
necessary to enlarge it. Finally, in 1882, the church was entirely rebuilt. 


Here, as elsewhere in the County, the Methodist circuit riders early 
started meetings of their society, holding services in the private houses of 
those who had accepted their views. In 1834, Benedict Wells and his 
wife Bridget, gave the society a plot of ground for a church building, and 
in the following year, 1835, the first edifice was erected. For some years. 


this building was sufficiently large for the congregation, bu,t at last, the growth 
of the ice business so increased the population of Rockland Lake, and thus the 
church attendance, that further accommodation became necessary. Efforts 
were successfully put forth to obtain the needed money, and the present 
■edifice was erected and dedicated. 


Johnsontown was one of the first hamlets visited by the Methodist circuit 
preachers, and in their journeys to and from that place through the Ram- 
apo Clove, they frequently held service in the old stone school house, 
which stood on the Orange Turnpike, in the village of Ramapo Works. 
These services began as early as 1802. At a later period, services were 
held in the Smith house, and still later, at the house of John Becraft. 

In 1837, Jacob Sloat and his wife gave the property on which the 
church now stands to the society, and the erection of a house for worship 
was begun. By 1843, the building was finished, and in the same year it 
was dedicated. In i860, this church, which had formerly, with the other 
churches of the same denomination in the town, belonged to the Newark 
Conference, became part of the New York Conference. A Sabbath school 
is connected with the church. 


The early meetings of the Methodists at this place were held for a 
time in a wheelwright's shop, and later,, at a private residence. By 1845, 
the congregation had grown sufficiently strong to erect a house for wor- 
ship, and in March, 1 846, the building was dedicated. A Sabbath school 
has been connected with the church since its organization, and at the 
present time has an average attendance of about five and twenty scholars. 


As seen when speaking of the Palisades M. E. Church, services at 
Tappan Slote were held by itinerant ministers of this denomination before 
1 8 10. The organization of the Society at the present Palisades, drew the 
members of the faith to that place, and it was not till 1854, that we find 
positive mention of a distinct Methodist society at Piermont. For some 
time this organization met for worship in Odd Fellows' Hall. At length 
the congregation grew strong enough to warrant the erection of a house 
of worship, and in 1856 the present edifice was built, being ready for use 
January 10, 1857. This society, as a rule, has been connected with a cir- 
cuit in which were the church at Palisades and the society at Tappan. 


It has met with the reverse of having its membership largely reduced by 
the removal of inhabitants from Piermont on the withdrawal of the railroad 


It was not till 1854, that an attempt was made to build up a society of 
this church at Tappan. Then some of the members and the minister of 
the Piermont society visited the hamlet and held divine service on Sunday 
afternoons at the homes of different members of that faith. At length, in 
1856, thinking the time opportune, this new-formed church society bought 
the edifice, which had been built in 1826, for the True Reformed Church 
Society. Until 1866, the congregation of this church was under the 
•charge, first of the minister of the Piermont church, and later of Piermont 
and Palisades. Then the edifice was purchased by the congregation of 
the German M. E. Church Society. 


This society was incorporated by Christian Kern on July 25th, 1866, 
and purchased the edifice then owned by the M. E. Church Society. 
Since that time the society has continued in existence, and has met with 
varying success, never being very strong. 


When speaking of the Wesley Chapel, it was mentioned that a split 
occurred in the congregation of that society, and that a portion, who 
favored the building of a new church withdrew to Mechanicsville and 
organized a separate society in 1856. Proceeding at once to carry out 
their idea, the construction of a church edifice was begun and the building 
was completed, and on December 25th, 1856, dedicated by Bishop Wiley. 
Since that time services have been regularly maintained. 


The birth of this village is of such recent date as to preclude a long 
existence for any church organization. It was not till 1853, that a 
thorough effort was made to hold divine service at the nascent hamlet ac- 
cording to the doctrines of the M. E. Church. In the summer of that 
year Rev. George Jackson, then in charge of the New City Church, be- 
gan holding church services in the Union Sunday School building, which 
had been erected in 1852. 

On August 4th, 185Q, a church society was organized, and at the same 
time the present site was bought from the Spring Valley Land Associa- 


tion. Work was at once begun upon a church building, and in the spring 
of i860, the completed edifice was dedicated. At first this society was 
connected with that at Mechanicsville — now Viola — but in 1861, it began 
a separate existence, unbroken, save by an association of two years with 
the Middletown Church. A Sunday School early organized is now in a 
strong condition. 


At just what date ministers of the Methodist Church first began to 
hold religious services at Ladentown, has escaped my search, but by 1825, 
this locality was included in their circuits. It was many years ere a per- 
manent society strong enough to erect a church building could be formed. 
At last however, in 1865, a house for worship was built on land given for 
the purpose by John J. Secor, and the church society incorporated. No 
idea can be formed of the great work this church has accomplished, by 
the size of the present membership. For years it has been laboring to 
spread religious teachings among the residents in the Ladentown Moun- 
tains with results both encouraging and gratifying. A Sunday School, 
now connected with the church, was organized in 1862. 


This church society was organized by the Rev. Nicholas Vansant, the 
then Presiding Elder of the district, June 2Sth, 1865. For the first year, 
after its organization, the services of the society were held in the building 
belonging to the Independent Baptist Church Society. In 1 866, the con- 
gregation failed to obtain a renewal of their lease, and from May, till the 
middle of November, services were held in L. A. Leache's barn. In No- 
vember the society leased the old Baptist church building, and in the fol- 
lowing year, 1 867, purchased it. Since that date, services have been regu- 
larly held in the church, and the society has slowly increased in numbers. 
A Sabbath School was organized in connection with the church in 1866. 


This church society was organized October 28th, 1867, through the 
efforts of Rev. A. H. Brown of the church at Viola. Services were at first 
held in the house of James Norris, which formed part of the store occu- 
pied by A-. Traphagen, and later, in the school house of District No. 3. 
In 1868, a site for a building was obtained by purchase from William D. 
Maltbie and wife, and in July 1869, work upon the present edifice was 
begun. On September nth, 1870, the completed building was dedicated 


and by January 1884, through the persistent efforts of Rev. A. J. Conklin, 
the church was cleared of debt. 

At first this society was associated with the church at Viola in the 
support of a minister, later with the church at Monsey, and later still with 
Wesley Chapel and Ladentown. In 1884, however, it became a separate 
station. A Sunday School, organized in the early days of the church 
still exists. 


This society was organized in October 1871, by members from the 
Spring Valley and Viola Methodist Churches. Services were first held 
at the house of J. J. Hogan, and afterward, till the building of a house for 
worship, in the loft of a bjacksmith shop. Work upon a church edifice 
was at once begun, a site having been donated by H. P. Dexter and wife, 
and in July 1873, the completed building was dedicated. This chvrch is 
at present associated with those of Saddle River and Mount Vail. A Sun- 
day School was organized shortly after the formation of the society. It is 
now a part of the union school held in the village. 


This society was formed and a house for worship erected before 
1850. At first thg pulpit was supplied in conjunction with that at Stony 
Point, which was then known as the North Haverstraw Church. In 1 872, 
this union was dissolved and the church at Thiell's, which was then officially 
known as the West Haverstraw Church, was joined to that at Garnerville. 
In 1872, the parsonage at Thiell's was built. 


This building was erected about 1865, and has since been regularly 
open for service. It is a circuit church, A strong Sabbath school has 
long been in existence in this neigborhood. 


As we have seen when speaking of the Presbyterian Societies, John 
Beverige donated the edifice he had erected at this spot to the mountain 
residents, who used the building as a Methodist Church. Service is reg- 
ularly held at this place on Sunday afternoons by the minister, who sup- 
plies the Johnsontown and Caldwell Point Societies. 



This society was organized at a meeting held in the school house at 
Mead's Corners, June loth, 1872. The corner stone of the church edifice 
was laid September 8th, 1872, and the completed structure was dedicated 
June 27th, 1873. It is the only church building now standing in Gar- 
nerville, and is but a short distance from the site of the first church build- 
ing north of the mountain. 


This tiny chapel was erected by. the Methodists of this neighborhood 
in 1883 It stands beside the Episcopal chapel, almost at the end of the 
Point, and under the very shadow of Donderberg. It is a circuit church, 
being supplied with Johnsontown and Doodletown. 


As is too often the case in church as well as other societies, trouble 
arose between the members of the M. E. Society at Haverstraw and led to 

Under the circumstances, it was felt that the congregation of the 
church could no longer abide in harmony, and a portion of it seceded, 
formed a separate organization under the name of the Associated Method- 
ist Church, on June 15th, 1 831, and began efforts to obtain a house for 

A lot was purchased from Samson Marks and wife, and a church 
building erected in 1831. On September 20th in that year, this society 
was formally incorporated. The organization was never one of great 
strength, and when, under the soothing influence of time, the causes 
which had led to irritation and schism had been removed, the society 
gradually passed from existence, and on November 26th, 1 867, the build- 
ing and lot were sold to the German Evangelical Church. 


For some years, preceding the stationing of the first clergyman of this 
branch of the Methodist church at Tomkins' Cove, this section of the 
County had been in a circuit, and preaching had been held at the Cove 
once in every month. In March, 1841, Rev. T. K. Witsel was stationed 
at Tomkins' Cove and services were held in a building furnished by the 
Lime Company. In 1853, a lot of land was given by Calvin Tomkins & 
Company as a site for the church buildings of the Methodist Protestant 
Society, and on this the erection of a house for worship was begun, at the 


instigation of Calvin Tomkins through whose aid it was finished, which 
was dedicated in 1854. This society has maintaiqed'a strong existence, 
and at the present time has a large membership^, 


In 1832, John Dubois, Bishop of the French Roman Catholic Church 
in .New York, bought of the heirs of William Perry, the property extend- 
ing between the present south Hne of Joseph Hilton, the north line of Mrs. 
Nellie Hart, the Hudson River and the top of the mountain, and now 
owned by A. J. Smith, George Green, Rudolph Lexow, Owen and Dra- 
per and the heirs of Joshua Brush, containing in all 162 acres; for the pur- 
pose of erecting thereon a seminary building for the education of priests 
and a church for the propagation of his faith. 

With the power of hind-sight, it is easy for us to see how ill-timed 
this movement was, nor would it have been difficult for the worthy Bishop 
to have discerned the feeling he would create, had he been at all conver- 
sant with our County's history. If that history shows any one thing more 
than another, it is, that up to within a few years our people have been un- 
usually conservative. Children of neighbors have grown up, have inter- 
married, have settled down in business in the County, through generation 
after generation, till the genealogist will find almost all the old family 
names interwoven by ties of relationship. Our educational facilities, good 
or bad, have not been embraced as they should have been ; opinion, formed 
on a narrow knowledge of the subject under question, has prevented re- 
search; tradition has been all prevalent as historical truth. 

He who has read thus far will recall that the first settlers were Dutch- 
men, with whom were associated a few Huguenots, who, escaping the per- 
secution which followed the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, by 
flight into Holland, had joined their protectors in the immigration to the 
new world. What the people of Holland had suffered, for the sake of their 
religious belief, is known to all readers. In the close communion of neigh- 
borhood and marriage in this new home, the experience that too many of 
the immigrants had passed through was still fresh in their minds. Tales 
of homes abandoned in the night. Of secret flight from the lands, long 
family possessions, to the charity of strangers. Of sudden change from 
affluence to poverty, from a position of hospitality to wandering vagrants. 
And these things, not because of civil or moral crime, but because of a 
demand to use that mind with which God had endowed them, as they saw 


Through generation after generation these family traditions had been 


transmitted until the descendants of the original sufferers grew to look 
upon the Roman Catholic Church as the abomination of abominations, the 
veritable Scarlet Woman ; upon the Pope as Anti-Christ. Nor was this 
all. In the center of the County dwelt the offspring of the English and 
Scotch settlers, who had founded the "English Church." Of the former, 
a majority were descendants of those stern Puritans, who had landed on 
the inhospitable shores of Massachusetts, whose children had migrated to 
Connecticut, and whose grand-children had crossed to Long Island, from 
whence, in due course of time, their progeny had come to our County. 
Of the latter, a majority were fresh from vivid tales of the multiple con- 
flicts of sects, which so long agitated and annoyed their native land. 
Much as the stern Puritan and Scot might despise all religious beliefs, ex- 
cept his own, he could still tolerate their presence. But the Church of 
Rome he hated beyond conception, and, while that hatred may have 
grown less in his children, it was by no means banished. It was in such a 
field that Bishop Dubois, in 1832, began the endeavor to establish his 

But this was not the only error in his judgment in this matter. He 
had based his idea of the need of a church in the County on the rapid 
development of the quarry business at Nyack and the consequent influx of 
laborers to the place. Here, also, he was at fault. The proprietors of the 
quarries were opposed to the Roman Catholic belief, and many of them 
were members of the Protestant societies then existing in the village. The 
majority of laborers were natives, who, if they belonged to no denomina- 
tion, dreaded the entering church and sided against it. And, as if to 
make matters worse, the Methodist congregation had their place of wor- 
ship but a short distance from the proposed new school. 

Despite these conditions, the Bishop began his labor.' In the fall of 
1832 his purchase was completed and the following year ground was 
broken and work upon the seminary building begun, with a Mr. McCool 
as the master mason and Mr. Marsh the contracting carpenter. Both of 
these gentlemen were from Newburgh. At first the supervision of this 
work was in charge of Father McGeary, but ere the building was com- 
pleted, he was superceded by Father Marshall. 

From a map of the property drawn for " Milord, the Bishop of the 
Church French at New York, October, 1832," I learn that on the property 
now owned by George Green, in Upper Nyack, stood an old house with 
farm outbuildings, and in this house, which stood north of Green's present 
residence and nearer Broadway, was held the first church service of the 
Roman Catholic Society ever performed in our County. In this house. 


also, was opened a school under the auspices of the pastor in charge of the 
parish. That pastor was Hugh McCloskey ; later, first Cardinal of the 
Church in America. 

For five years, work on the seminary building was continued, and in 
1838, there stood upon a site still marked by the ruins, midway between 
the present Midland Avenue and Broadway, just south of Lexow Avenue, 
on the property of George Green, 'a three-story brown stone structure, 
eighty feet long, and forty feet deep, composed of a central building and 
two wings, with vaulted slate roof The stone for this structure had been 
obtained from a quarry on the property, the lumber bought from a firm 
of which the present owner of the property was a member. When the 
building had approached thus near completion, and it but remained to 
finish and fit the joinery, a fire broke out in the south wing, and the 
building was totally destroyed. 

So bitter had been the feeling against this institution, and so apparent 
was the joy of the residents at this termination of the work — it is said that 
cheers were heard when the roof fell in — that every excuse can be found 
for the belief, which obtained at the time among the members of this 
church, that the fire was of incendiary origin. In 1878, I had occasion to 
thoroughly investigate the matter, and in the intervening years have con- 
sulted many people, both Protestants and Catholics, who were either en- 
gaged in the work, in one or other capacity, or present at the fire. The 
account I gave in 1878, has been thoroughly corroborated, and I repeat 
it verbatim. One day at noon, one of the mechanics had taken the inside 
box out of his glue pot and was boiling eggs for his dinner in the shell 
pot ; he had started a fire in one of the rooms of the south wing ; over the 
floor of this room was a litter of shavings from six inches to a foot in 
depth, and piled against the wall were a number of doors and window 
sashes ; for some reason the mechanic left the room for a few moments ; 
upon his return he found that the fire had spread and was rapidly running 
through the mass of dry shavings. Without calling for help he seized 
one of the doors lying on the pile and threw it on the fire, intending to 
smother it. As might be imagined, the effect was disasterous, for the cur- 
rent of air caused by the falling door scattered the burning shavings all 
over the room ; in an instant more, the whole room was ablaze, and before 
help could arrive the building was doomed. 

After the fire the walls of the building were found cracked and warped, 
and the expense of reconstruction, together with the bitter feeling against 
the sect, led Bishop Dubois to decline to rebuild. The walls were taken 
down and the stones removed to Brooklyn, but I cannot learn that they 
were ever used in any other church institution. 


Thus ended all attempts to organize a society of the Roman CathoHc 
Church in our County for a decade, and twenty-nine years passed before 
the service of that faith was again held in a church edifice at Nyack. 


In 1843, an old stone house, standing on the road north of the first 
Presbyterian Church, and formerly belonging to Joseph Allison, was occu- 
pied by Patrick Riley, and in it was celebrated the first mass in Haver- 
straw. Father Volamus was the first priest who officiated. Until the 
opening of their own church for service on Sunday, November 14th, 1847, 
the Catholics at Haverstraw attended service at Verplanck's Point. At 
length, when strong enough, four lots situated on the west side of Ridge 
street, were purchased from George S. Allison, and the erection of a 
church building was begun. In 1849, the completed structure was dedi- 
cated by Bishop Hughes. 

This first structure was used by its congregation till the increased 
demands made by the rapidly enlarging church attendance led to the 
erection of the present church edifice. The parish was at first under the 
charge of Father Hacket, who officiated at Verplanck's Point, and after 
him for a short time came Father Maguire. The first settled pastor was 
Rev. Francis McKeone, who was given spiritual charge of all the Catholics 
in the County in 1848, and remained pastor of this church till 1852. Fol- 
lowing him have been : Rev. Terence Scullen ; Rev. Patrick Mahony, who 
served a long pastorate of three or four and twenty years, and the present 
incumbent, Rev. Henry T. Baxter. 


'"ftii^ough the efforts of Father McKeone, a congregation of this denom- 
inatibn was gathered at Piermont, which met at the present Odd Fellows' 
Hall. Attention was at once given to the erection of a church edifice, 
and land was obtained on the north side of the creek, nearly opposite the 
present church building of the Reformed (Dutch) Church Society. Work 
was begun on the structure in the summer of 185 1, and on January ist, 
1852, the first mass was celebrated in the new building. 

On July 1st, 1852, Rev. John Quinn was appointed pastor of Pier- 
mont, then created a separate parish, which included beside the Catholics 
of Piermont, those of the rest of the County, south of Haverstraw. For 
nine years, this church building proved sufficient to meet the wants of 
its congregation. But the distance from Nyack made it a labor for mem- 
bers of the congregation there resident, to attend service, and the increase 


of church members, brought about by the location of the Erie Railroad shops 
at this spot necessitated the erection of a larger building. Accordingly, 
with an eye to the needs of the members from Nyack as well as Pier- 
mont, the site of the present edifice was purchased, and the work of con- 
struction was begun in i860. When the building was raised and ready 
for the roof, a terrific storm fell upon this section, and the walls of the 
structure were almost completely demolished. 

In spite of this depressing blow, the courage of the congregation was 
not lost. Work was resumed upon the building, and on August 13th, 
1 86 1, mass was celebrated in the new house. In 1859, the present 
parochial school was built for the care of the children of the congregation. 
For twenty-three and a half years did Father Quinn labor among this 
people, and under his pastorate and through his efforts were the churches 
at Nyack, Suffern and Spring Valley organized and built, and that at 
Blauveltville aided. On December 24th, 1875, this worthy priest died. His 
successor was Rev. William L. Penny, who remained pastor of the church • 
till 1885. Among the assistant priests of the parish have been: Rev. 
Christopher Farrell, Rev. John Fitzharris, Rev. Henry J. Gordon, and, at 
present. Rev. Patrick J. O'Meara. 


The rapid development of the brick industry along the river shore 
north to Caldwell's Point, drew to the present township of Stony Point 
many members of the Roman Catholic Church. For their accommodation 
a church edifice was determined on and that of the Immaculate Concep- 
tion near Tompkins cove — at the former Blauvelt's Four Corners — 
was built in i860 and consecrated two years later. Until June 1885, this 
church was under the pastoral charge of Rev. Henry Baxter, then it was 
made a separate parish under the care of Rev.. Joseph Brennan. 

About 1865, the Roman Catholics bought property for a church build- 
ing at Rockland Lake. As yet this congregation has not grown strong 
enough to build. It is under the pastoral care of Rev. Henry Baxter, 
and the rites of the church are administered once a month at the residence 
of Timothy McCIafferty. 


The long and often unpleasant trips which they had to make, if they 
wished to attend service, had led to many complaints by the Catholics at 
Nyack, and it was to relieve them, as we have seen, that the new church 
at Piermont was built so far north. But by 1867, when their number 


had increased, the Nyack congregation felt the necessity of a house for 
worship in their village. 

For two years before the erection of a church building, this congrega- 
tion met for worship in a building, which stood on the corner of Main 
and Orchard Streets. At length, the site of the present edifice on Jeffer- 
son street was purchased, and work upon the church was begun in 1869. 
The building was completed and opened the same year. Since its com- 
pletion the church has had added to it, a gallery, a new vestry room, and a 
new altar. It is now a separate parish under the charge of Rev. William 
L. Penny. 


Previous to 1 868, the Catholics of Suffern could only attend service by 
a long journey to either Paterson, N. J., Greenwood, in Orange County, 
or Piermont, save that occasionally Rev. John Quinn held service at the 
house of William Cannon. At length in 1868, a site for the present edi- 
fice was given by George W. Suffern and the church building erected. The 
first pastor of this church was Rev. John Brogan who was succeeded in 
1870, by the present pastor. Rev. James Quinn. 


As early as 1853, a colony of Germans was established at 
Blauveltville to which, as the years passed, constant accessions were 
made. Most of these new comers were worshippers according to the Ro- 
man Catholic faith, and the distance from the church at Piermont together 
with their slight acquaintance with the English language, led them to de- 
termine first, on a church in their midst and next, on a church in which 
service should be held in their native tongue. By 1868, this society felt 
strong enough to begin the building of a house for worship. Four acres 
of land was donated for church purposes by George M. Lediger, and on 
January 1 7th, 1 869, the completed edifice, a building thirty by sixty-five 
feet, was dedicated. 

Until 1870, the pulpit of the church was supplied from St. Nicholas in 
New York, then Rev. Joseph Bruhy became pastor, and remained in 
charge of the congregation till his death, May ist, 1874. From August 
1874 to October 1876, Rev. Emil Stenzel was pastor. After his resigna- 
tion, the congregation was cared for by Rev. W. L. Penny and Rev. P. J. 
O'Meara for some time. From February 1877 to March 1879, Rev. 
Nicholas Sorg was pastor, and he was succeeded by the present pastor. 
Rev M. Kuhnen. During the charge of Rev. Joseph Bruhy a parochial 


school was commenced under the supervision of A. Germersdorf. The 
pastoral residence was built in 1872. 


The foundation of this church edifice was laid by Rev. John Quinn in 
1868. The congregation, however, was not a largeoneand means for the 
completion of the work not coming in, it was discontinued for a time. 
Little by little the building was advanced, and finally in 1880, the struc- 
ture was completed. The congregation is 'under the parochial care of 
the pastor at Piermont. 


The first service of the Episcopal Church held in our County, was 
probably that conducted in the Methodist Church edifice at Haverstraw, 
in 1846, by Rev. W. F. Walker. In a short time a room over a dry- 
goods store on Main street was hired for the services of this society, and 
then the edifice belonging to the Protestant Methodist Society — now 
owned by the German Lutheran Society — was leased for three years. A 
vestry was soon organized, and in 1847, the church became a member of 
the P. E. Church in the diocese of New York. 

After this beginning but little seems to have been done, and services 
were discontinued for a long time. In 1850, Rev. G. S. Hitchcock, who 
had assumed charge of the society at Piermont during the preceding year^ 
occasionally held services, according to the forms of the P. E. Church, in 
Haverstraw as well as at other villages in this and adjoining counties. In 
1854, Rev. J. B. Gibson took charge of the society at Haverstraw, and 
entered upon the task of building it up. He obtained the use of a build- 
ing, then known as the " Yellow School House," which stood at the foot 
of the street opposite the station of the N. Y., West Shore and Buffalo 
Railroad, and there held his first service in Haverstraw, February 4th, 
1854. Only for a short time did the congregation meet in this building. 
Then it removed to a room in the building nearly opposite the present 
Trinity Church, where it remained till the erection of a house for worship. 
On December loth, 1856, this society was incorporated under the name of 


The corner stone of this church building was laid in 1855, and on June 
17th, 1856, the church was dedicated, according to the rites of the society, 
by Rev. Horatio Potter, D.D. LL.D. This is the oldest church building 
of the P. E. Society in Rockland County. The first confirmation was held 


in the First Presbyterian Church, August 27th, 1854. In 1861, Rev. J. 
B. Gibson resigned his charge and was succeeded by Rev. G. H. Hepburn, 
who assumed charge in February, 1861, and remained less than a year; 
Rev. E. Gay, Jr., from April, 1862, to August; 1869; Rev. Walter Dela- 
field, from 1869 to 1873; Rev. D. G. Gunn, for six months; Rev. C. B. 
Coffin, from July, 1874, for ten months; Rev. G. W. West, from Septem- 
ber, 187s to 1878; Rev. A. T. Ashton, from November 3d, 1878, to the 
present time. About 1855 a Sabbath school was organized in connection 
with this church. 



In 1847, Rev. William Walker held the first service, according to the 
rites of the P. E. Church, in Dr. Lord's lime kiln building at Piermont. 
On March ist, 1848, at a meeting of the congregation held at a private 
residence, the parish of Christ Church was organized, and on April loth, 
1 848, the articles of incorporation were legally filed in the County Clerk's 
office. In the summer of 1848, Rev. William Walker resigned, and 
shortly after Rev. John Canfield Sterling was called to the rectorship. 
He remained till the fall of 1849, and was succeeded by Rev. Solomon G. 

In 1864, this society had grown sufficiently strong to begin the erection 
of a church building on land presented'by Thomas E. Blanch, and on July 
20th, 1865, the corner stone of the present stone building was laid. The 
building was consecrated September 7th, 1866. Rev. S. G. Hitchcock 
remained rector till his death on Sept 14th, 1877. He was succeeded by: 
Rev. Joseph M. Waite, from Ja.nuary ist, 1878 till May ist, 1883, and 
Rev. Theodore M. Peck, from June ist, 1883, to the present time. 


For some years prior to the organization of this society, services ac- 
cording to the riteS' of the P. E. Church, were held in different private 
dwellings, especially in that of George W. Suffern, by Rev. S. G. Hitch- 
cock, and at this residence on August 2Sth, i860, the present society was 
legally incorporated. Efforts were at once begun to build a house for 
worship. A site was obtained from W. B. Maltbie and wife, and the work 
of construction begun. On June loth, 1864, the church was consecrated 
by Bishop Horatio Potter. Until 1874 the edifice stood without change. 
During a storm on November 23d of that year, however, the steeple was. 
blown over. The present one was built shortly after this catastrophe. 


The rectors of this' parish have been: Revs. Eastburn Benjamin, F. 
W. Lusen, Henry R. Howard, John Steele, C. B. Coffin, Joseph F. Jowitt, 
Edwin J. Lessel, A. B. Leeson, G. E. Pumcker, F. T. H. Horsefield, and 
since April 7th, 1878, Rev. R. S. Mansfield. A flourishing parish schgol 
is connected with this church. 


In his missionary labors among the people of the County, Nyack was 
not overlooked by Rev.' S. G. Hitchcock, and services according to the 
forms of the P. E. Church were held in Union Hall as early as 1859, The 
establishment of this church society, however, depended on the efforts of 
Rev. Franklin Babbitt, who came to Nyack in 186 1, and began holding 
regular services. The first meetings of the church were held in the school 
room of Christopher Rutherford's Military Academy, now Rockland Col- 
lege, beginning in October, 1861, and continuing until the. chapel was 
ready for occupation in February, 1862. After seven years indefatigable 
work, the congregation had grown large and strong enough to erect a 
church edifice. 'Work was begun. The corner stone of the new structure 
was laid by Bishop Potter, August 25th, 1869, and the building conse- 
crated by the same church dignitary, May 30th, 1882. 

At the opening of the chapel Mr. Babbitt established a parochial day 
school, and, in the years which have elapsed, has given his time to an 
evening school as well, when circumstances warranted its existence. With 
the church society a prosperous Sabbath school is connected. At the be- 
ginning of Rev. Franklin Babbitt's rectorship, but a dozen communicants, 
according to this form of faith, existed in Nyack, and to his efforts under 
God, often against grievous obstacles, does the present large congregation 
owe its existence. 


In 1866, Rev. E. Gay, Jr., began holding service in the Court House, 
and awakened interest among the people. A congregation was formed 
and in 1866, St. John's parish was organized. In 1867, the congregation 
felt themselves sufficiently strong and began the building of a church edi- 
fice on a site donated by Charles 'W. Root. The structure was consecrated 
at a later time. The rectors of this parish have been : Revs. Thomas 
Marsdon, R. S. Mansfield, Mr. Cruikshank, Mr. Capron, J. F. Esch, and, at 
present, Thomas Stephens. A Sabbath school was organized at the time 
the parish was established and is now in a prosperous condition. 



On August 1st, 1868, this society was legally incorporated. For some 
time previous to this, the services of this church had been held by Rev. S. 
Hitchcock at different residences in the village until, in the early part of 
that year, 1868, Mr. A. B. Noyes fitted up one of his buildings, formerly 
used as a cider-mill, as a place for meeting. Services were then held in 
this building for several years. The corner-stone of the present church 
edifice was laid August Sth, 1872, by Bishop Potter, but the building, 
owing to the financial obligations resting upon it, has never been conse- 
crated. The first rector of this parish was- Rev. R. S. Mansfield, from 
August nth, 1868, to April 7th, 1878. He was succeeded by Rev. 
Joseph Tragget, and he by the present laborer. Rev. Thomas Stevens. 



The first services of the Protestant Episcopal Church in this township 
were held in 1869, by Rev. E. Gay Jr., who resigned his charge of Trinity 
parish in Haverstraw during that year. In the spring of 1871, services 
were begun at Tomkins Cove. In July, 1877, services were held, and a 
Sunday School was organized at Caldwell's Landing. On November 9th, 
1 88 1, the erection of a house for worship was begun on a site donated by 
Charles H. Jones, which was sufficientlyadvanced toward completion to per- 
mit of services being held in it during the Summer of 1882, and which was 
consecrated under the title of the House of Prayer March 29th, 1883. In 
April 1884, a parish was organized under the name of Grace Churchy 
Stony Point, with Rev. E. Gay, rector. 


Until September 19th, 1871, the congregation at Benson's Corners, 
and at HaverstraW were under the direction of one and the same vestry ; 
at that time the latter congregation was incorporated under the name of 
St. Luke's Church in the Village of Warren. The further history of this 
society is that of Trinity Church and need not be repeated. Services are 
held on Sunday afternoons in the building formerly built by the Baptists. 
A parochial school and Sabbath School exist in connection with these 
societies. Of St. John's in the mountains, full mention will be made later. 


In 1853, a minister of the Universalist faith — Rev. Mr. Rainor — begun 
preaching in Rulef Van Houten's mills at this place, and so far succeeded 


in organizing a society that in 1856, a house for worship was erected on 
property donated by Tunis Cooper. In 1857, Mr. Rainor was succeeded 
by Rev. Henry Lyon, who preached at Orangeville on alternate Sabbaths 
till 1871. Upon his resignation, Rev. C. C. Gordon took charge of the 
church and continued in this field of labor for some time. Since his with- 
drawal the church has been without a pastor, though services are held 

A Sunday School in connection with this church was early organized, 
and is now in a flourishing condition under the superintendence of George 
R. Van Houten. 


In 1859, Rev. Henry Lyon extended his field of labor in our County, 
and began preaching at Nyack on alternate Sunday afternoons. These 
services were held at first in the residences of members of the congrega- 
tion, but in 1868, when the wigwam was opened, the congregation met 
there. In 1870', the congregation felt strong enough to erect a house for 
worship, and work was accordingly begun on a site purchased for, and 
presented to the society by Mrs. Mary Gunn Partridge. The first service 
was held in the basement of the new building in 1871, Rev. C. C. Gordon 
preaching the dedicatory sermon. Among the ministers not mentioned, 
who have officiated in this church are ; Revs. Mr. Shepard, W. P. Payne, 
J. A. Seitz, J. C. Partridge, and F. Hitchcock, who continued holding ser- 
vice till his death in 1883. Since that time the church has been without 
a regular pastor. 


In speaking of the "Brick Church," it was stated that a split from the 
congregation occurred June nth, 1824. The seceding party, with their 
pastor, Rev. James D. Demarest, withdrew from the Classis of Paramus, 
and connected itself with the True Reformed Synod of Hackensack. In 
the spring of 1825, this society was organized as the True Reformed 
Church at Monsey, and shortly after, work was begun upon a house for 
worship on land granted for the purpose by Judge Sarven. The site of 
this first building was about one-third of a mile north of Monsey, at the 
intersection of the Spring Valley road with that leading from Monsey to 
Viola. The spot is still marked by a burying ground. 

In 1827, the edifice was opened for service, and continued to be used 
by this congregation till 1869, when it was sold to Samuel D. Haring. In 
1868, the site of the present church was donated by Samuel D. Haring; 


work was begun upon the new building, and on August 19th, 1869, it was 
dedicated to the worship of God. The ministers of this society have 
been : Revs. James D. Demarest, John Y. De Baun, Abram Van Houten, 
and since 1865, John R. Cooper, The corigregation is now connected 
with that at Nanuet in support of a pastor. 


In July, 1824, a portion of the congregation of the Reformed Protes- 
tant church at Clarksville seceded from that society, and on the thirteenth 
of that month presented a petition to the classis of Hackensack for union 
with that body. On August 25th, 1825, this society was duly incorpor- 
ated as a distinct body. The first services of this church were held in a 
barn, which stood on property now-belonging to W. Van Weelden, and 
later, until the house for worship was built, in an old stone house belong- 
ing to James De Clark. In 1826, the church edifice was built and occu- 
pied. The pastors of this church have been : Revs. V. S. Lansing, James 

D. Brinkerhoff, James D. Demarest, Abram Van Houten, and since No- 
vember, 1865, John R. Cooper. 

By 1825, the secession which had been going on for many years in the 
Dutch Reformed Church Society, reached the congregation at Tappan and 
led to a split in that church. On February 24th, 1826, the seceders or- 
ganized a society under the name of the True Reformed Church, with 
Cornelius Blauvelt, Daniel C. Haring, John A. Ferdon and Daniel Aury- 
ansen as its first officers. A frame house for worship was erected, and 
the society continued in existence till 1856, when the building was sold to 
the Methodists. 


The early history of this congregation is connected with that of the 
.church at Mahwah. In January, 1855, Rev. N. Wert, pastor of the church 
at Saddle River, began work among the Lutherans in our County, with 
the idea of building up a church at Ramapo. Until a house for worship 
was erected, services were held in the dwelling of Adolphus Shuart, or in 
A. M. Litchholt's barn. Ground for a building was first broken on Wan- 
namaker's Corner, but the donation of the present site by Mrs. Margaret 
Straut led to the erection of the edifice at Masonicus. On October nth, 
the completed church was dedicated by the Rev. N. Wert. The pastors 
of this church since the departure of Mr. Wert in 1856 have been: Rev. 

E. De Yoe, 1856 to 1874, and Rev. T. J. Yost, from 1875 to 1884. A 
Sabbath-school connected with this church is successfully conducted. 



On May 29th, i860, a party of the Germans, who have settled between 
]*|Januet and New City, organized a church society, and were incorporated 
under the name of the Dutch Evangelical Church. Shortly after, the 
present edifice, standing just west of the road frem Nanuet to New City, 
was built on land purchased by Henry Screver. Until 1879, this society 
retained its first name, but then that was changed to the German Presby- 
terian Church. The pastors of this church have been : Revs. Mr. Warren- 
berger, Bartholomaus Kruise, C. D. Rosenthal, George Loock, John U. 
Tschudi. A Sabbath-school, which was organized by Rev.'C. D. Rosen- 
thal, in connection with this church, is in existence and is well attended. 


The first services of the German United Congregation in Haverstraw 
were held in 1857. From that time till the organization of the German 
United Societies, which took place in the building of the Methodist Prot- 
estant Society, January 8th, 186 1, mission services were held. Rev. Mr. 
Wahrenberger, who also preached at the Dutch Evangelical Church in 
Clarkstown^see above — was the first pastor, and was followed- by Rev. 
Mr. Wirtz, who occupied the pulpit from January, 1 866 to 1 867, and Rev. 
Mr. Bergen Under this pastor a division occurred in the congregation 
and a portion of it withdrew with the pastor, organized the Gerinan Luth- 
eran ^Church, and erected a house for worship on Division street. Rev. 
Mr. Berger, after remaining in charge of this new organization for some 
time was succeeded by Rev. Dr. Sommers. 

. After the separation, that portion of the congregation, which wor- 
shipped in the building of the Protestant Methodist Church, purchased, 
November 26th, 1867, and organized under the name of the German 
Evangelical Church. Among the pastors who supplied this pulpit was 
Rev. Mr. Weinacher, who died during his ministry in Haverstraw. The 
following ministers officiated in one or the other church. Revs- Strecker, 
C. A. Weisel, Winteieck, H. Schoppe, under whom the unhappy division 
was healed and the people united, P. Andrus and A. Tully. 

In 187s, the two congregations united under the name of the German 
Evangelical Lutheran Church. Since that time the society has grown in 
membership, and has built a school and parsonage. A Sabbath school, 
which is connected with the eburch, has a large attendance. 

It has already been seen, that when the congregation of the True Re- 
formed Church Society erected a new edifice in 1869, the old building was 


purchased by S. D. Haring. By him the structure was moved to its pres- 
ent site, and, after being thoroughly renovated, it was dedicated September 
1st, 1869. Until November ist, 1870, there was no change in the owner- 
ship of the building. Then it was sold, and in 1 87 1 again sold, the last 
purchase being made by the Congregational Society, who have since 
worshipped in it. The ministers of this church have been : Revs. George 
Hicks, Lemuel Jones, and Ernest G. Wesley. 


In the autumn of 1 870, a Sabbath School was started in De Baun Hall 
by Henry Tallman and wife, Mrs. J. H. Goetchius and Francis Gurnee. 
From the interest manifested in this school arose the determination to 
build a church, a determination strongly encouraged by the pastor of the 
Lutheran church at Masonicus, Rev. E. De Yoe. The first intention of 
the society was to erect a building, dedicated to the tenets of the Lutheran 
church, and the corner stone of the structure was laid by a Lutheran min- 
ister. Ere the edifice was completed, circumstances arose which led to a 
change in the first idea, and the building was completed and dedicated as 
a Congregational church in 1874. The pastors of the society have been; 
Rev. Samuel Switzer, Lemuel Jones, Ernest G. Wesley, Mr. "Wright- 
meyer. A Sabbath School is connected with the church. 

Long before the first group of immigrants, from Hempstead, Long Is- 
land, thought of the far distant wilderness in which they were eventually 
to found a new Hempstead, members of the Society of Friends, had found 
a refuge from persecution among them. When the emmigrants at length 
moved to our County, many of their Quaker neighbors joined with them, 
and settling back by the present Ladentown, began here the form of wor- 
ship which seemed best to them. For many years their services were 
held in private residences, but at length, having gained sufficient strength, 
this Society erected a house for worship in 18 16 on land given for the pur- 
pose by Benjamin Secor. The frame building of this society still stands, 
but the membership is small. From one or another cause the belief has 
lost ground among us, and few beside the decendants of the first Quaker 
settlers are now active members of the Society. 


In i860, through the efforts of John W. Towt and George Green, a 
house for worship was built for this congregatiou on Burd street, and it 
was aided financially until it became able to sustain itself In the years 


which have passed, the society has steadily increased in strength and now 
has a large membership with a flourishing Sabbath school. 


This society was organized at the same time as the African church in 
Nyack, and in its early history was supplied by the same pastor. The 
church edifice which stands on Division street was built through the 
efforts of the friends of the church and the congregation. 

In May, 1882, rooms were hired on Piermont Avenue at Nyack, for a 
Synagogue, and services according to the rites of the Jewish church have 
since been held regularly. 

It may not be uninteresting to read the statement, that two score years 
ago — in 1845, there was not an Episcopal, Congregational, Roman Cath- 
olic, Jewish, Universalist or Unitarian church building in Rockland County. 

Besides those Sabbath-schools which have been mentioned, there have 
been others established in the County at points, sometimes far distant from 
houses of worship, in which not only the children of tender years have 
been instructed in religious precepts during the Sabbath, but in which 
also " children of a larger growth " have been directed and strengthened, 
to better meet the never ceasing conflict of life, by the different forms of 
religious worship. 

I have already made mention of the Sunday-school established in con- 
nection with the Middletown Baptist Church. The next Sabbath-school 
started in our County seems to have been that begun in 1828 by James 
Stevens. This school assembled on the property now owned by Samuel 
Coe, situated near the mountain in the northern part of Clarkstown. On 
the first Sunday that this school was opened, there were five and twenty 
scholars. The following summer saw this number increased to one hun- 
dred, and in the third year the attendance had reached two hundred. For 
many years this school continued in existence, but was finally discontinued 
because of the organization of church societies, and the erection of houses 
for worship in the neighborhood. 


This school was founded by Rev. Christopher Hunt, pastor of the 
Reformed church at Clarksville, in the Spring of 1 830 with the idea of 
supplying the lack of means for worship existing in the section about the 
Dutch Factory. For some twenty-one years the school was continued in 
the district school building of the neighborhood, being often interrupted 
and discontinued by the vote of the majority at a district meeting. Fin- 


ally, on June 29th, 185 1, after a long discontinuance, the School was again 
reorganized with I. Remsen Blauvelt as Superintendent. Owing to the 
fact that permission to use the school house could not be obtained till 
the annual meeting in December, the Sunday school was re-begun in the car- 
riage house of Stephen D. Herrick. There it continued for three months and 
then was moved to a small building near by, where it continued two 
months longer, and was then moved to the school house. In July, 1852, 
the last move was made to the Union Sunday School house, which had 
been erected for its special use. For about ten years longer the school 
was continued, and was at length disbanded because of the organization of 
church societies in the neighborhood. 


A Sabbath school was organized in this building in 1835 with Robert 
D. Clement as Superintendent. After the building of the Methodist church 
at Nyack this school was abandoned. In 1859, it was reorganized through 
the efforts of GeOrge Green and William and Peter Voorhis. For many 
years it was supported almost entirely by George Green, and school was 
held only nine months in the year. For the past five years, school has 
been held throughout the year, and religious services during the week. 
Matthew Green is the present Superintendent. The school is non-sec- 


On January 22d, i860, a Sabbath-school was organized at the house 
of Mrs. Hester Onderdonk in South Nyack. By 1 866, the school had 
grown strong enough to warrant the erection of a building, and on No- 
vember 4th of that year a lot was purchased. On November 17th, 1867, 
the corner stone of the present chapel was laid, and on February 7th, 
1869, the building was dedicated. Religious services are held in the 
chapel whenever practicable on Sabbath evenings. From the start, the 
general care of this school has been in the charge of John L. Salisbury. 

This school was organized by A. P. Campbell in 1866, and sufficient 
lunds having been obtained through his efforts together with those of 
J. Polhemus and A. Smith, the erection of a building was begun on land 
donated for the purpose by Mrs. Bridges. On October loth, 1867, the 
Lake Avenue School-house was dedicated free of debt. A. P. Campbell 
was the first Superintendent. When the infirmities of age compelled Mr. 
Campbell to rehnquish his charge of the school, it was carried on for some 


time by the neighbors. At length, however, the building was closed. In 
1882, George F. Morse, assisted by George A. Ennis, re-opened the build- 
ing and reorganized the school. Interest was again awakened. The edi- 
fice was repaired and renovated, and the organization is now in a pros- 
perous condition. Religious services are held in this building during the 
week, whenever opportunity offers. 


The first meeting of this school was held in the old building, across 
the road fi-om the present edifice, on October i8th, 1874, D. D. Smith, J. C. 
Wool, George D. Cooke, James P. Cooke and William D. Felter being 
present and aiding in the work. On June 1 3th, 1 877, the West Nyack S. S. 
Association was organized for the purpose of holding, besides Sabbath 
school, prayer meetings and other religious services. The first officers of 
the school, under the regular organization, were : Edwin Outwater, Super- 
intendent ; Victor S. H. Waldron, Secretary and Treasurer. In the same 
year, 1877, a lot of ground was given to the Association by William Still- 
well, and a building erected which was completed early in 1878, and dedi- 
cated on June 2d of that year. 


This association was organized at a meeting held in the Reformed 
Church at Nyack, March 12th, 1867, for the purpose of more thoroughly 
systematizing Sunday school work, of obtaining more correct statistical 
returns, and of gathering into the schools all the children of the County. 
The first officers of the organization were : David D. Smith, President ; 
Christopher Rutherford, G. O. House, J. Remsen, George Wright, D. D 
S., and J. O. Blauvelt, Vice-Presidents; Rev. George J. Van Nest, Secre- 
tary and Treasurer; and J. G. Haring, M. D., W. A. Sherwood, William 
S. Gilman, Jr., Warren M. White, and G. S. Wood, Town Secretaries. 

Following D. D. Smith, who served as President for ten years, have 
been : George S. Wood, of Stony Point, and H. B. McKenzie, of Haver- 
straw, who has held the office since 1877. Since its organization, annual 
and semi-annual meetings of the Association have been held at different 
places in the County. Recently town organizations, auxiliary to that of 
the County, have been formed for the better accomplishment of their good 

Authorities referred to: History of Trinity and St. Lukes, by Rev. A. T. Ashton. History 
of St. Anns and St. Johns, by Rev. P. J. O'Meara. History of St. Catherines, by Rev. M. 
Kuhiien. History of the Stony Point M. E. Church, by Rev. W. R. Kiefer. History of 
Ramapo, by Rev. E. B. Cobb. History of Clarkstown, by H. P. Fay. Lecture, "30 Years in 
Haverstraw,'' by Rev. A. S. Freeman, D. D. History of the Union Sunday School, by I. R 
Blauvelt. History of the Nyack Baptist Church, by George F. Morse.. County Records. 



Slavery was introduced into this Colony almost at its first settlement, 
and early became one of the staple articles of commerce. In 1644, negro 
slaves were imported from Brazil, and were entered as part of a general 
cargo of merchandise. Twenty years later the directors of the West India 
Company wrote the director at New Netherland that a contract had been 
entered into with one Symen Gilde, of the vessel Gideon, to transport a 
cargo of 300 slaves from Loango to New Netherland. These slaves, the 
letter states, were only to be used for agricultural labor in the New Neth- 
erlands, and under no circumstances taken out of the district. In 1676, 
the Governor of this Colony was instructed that there was no objection to 
the introduction of negro slaves into New York, provided, however, that 
those slaves should not be brought from Guinea and should only be sold 
in New York by the Royal Company or its agents. Two years later 
Governor Andros stated that " some few slaves are sometimes brought 
from Barbados, most for provisions, & Sould. att abt £10 or ;^35, 
Country pay." 
• Like other articles of merchandise, these slaves early became subjected 
to the laws of the Colony governing imports and exports. A customs 
duty was fixed upon them, and was regulated by the demand for the com- 
modity. In a certain sense realizing the wrong they were perpetrating in 
this traffic with human beings, the Dutch legislators of those early days 
endeavored to make amends for the wrong by manumitting the slaves 
after a certain length of service. They further passed laws making it a 
capital crime to wilfully kill a slave, and inflicted punishment upon such as 
should deliberately maim their bond people. Many laws were enacted 
for the baptising and educating of the negroes in the Christian religion. 
Our ancestors were consistent in the spread of religious light. 

And yet, paradoxical as it may seem at first glance, slavery was un- 
popular among the people of this Colony from the beginning. As early 


as August 4th, 1628, Rev. Jonas Michaelius wrote, from New Amsterdam, 
to Rev. Adrianus Smoutius, in Old Amsterdam : " The Angora slaves 
are thievish, lazy and useless trash." People still living, who remember 
the slaves in our County of two centuries later, agree that the reverend 
gentleman's statement applied as perfectly to the bond-men of 1828 as to 
those of 1628. 

While their useless expense was a serious objection to their possession 
at all times, a still more potent objection was found when, in 1 7 1 2, the 
slaves in New York rose in insurrection and killed nine Christians. It is 
necessary to say but little regarding that uprising. Perhaps the thought- 
ful reader may see many more objections to the custom than I have space 
or desire to point out. The uprising occurred in the late evening and 
only lasted till the appearance of armed force. Then the slaves sought 
safety by hiding in the woods on New York Island. On the morning fol- 
lowing the uprising, these slaves were hunted and captured, but not " till 
six had made away with themselves." In all, one and twenty were execu- 
ted. Some were burned, some hanged, one broken on the wheel, and one 
hung alive in chains. The theory of Christianity without its practical 
workings does not seem to have been successful with these negroes. 
Doubtless this was, as we have been told, because they were not human ; 
because the animal so largely predominated. We seldom hear of animals 
committing suicide, but the utter horror of that life of bondage, the dread- 
ful misery of days of unrequited toil, in a strange land, among cruel task- 
masters, led these negroes to revolt, and caused six of them to commit 
suicide rather than bear the weary burden longer. 

Slavery was introduced in this County by the settlers on the Tappan 
patent. The slaves were never numerous, and the custom was never pop- 
ular among our people. The different laws passed by the State Legisla- 
ture, one during the Revolution, by which all slaves, who enlisted in the 
army with the consent of their owners, should be free ; another, enacted in 
1798, providing for their gradual emancipation, and finally that of March 
31st, 1 817, which decreed, that all slaves born after July 4th, 1 799, should be 
free, males at the age'of twenty-eight, females at the age of twenty-five, 
while all slaves born before 1799, should remain slaves for life — prepared 
the people for the abolition act of 1828, and that act was greeted by most 
of the people in our County with more joy than by the slaves themselves. 



1702 " 


1723 " 


1731 " 


1737 " 


1749 " 


1800 " 


1810 " 


1820 " 


1830 " 

In 1698 the number of slaves in our County was ^19 

(( H It It tf Q^ 

it ti (f (( ft J Ay 

" " " " " 184. 

II (( it it it 2Q^ 

(I tt It tt tt 260 

tl It tt tt u N ^ J 

tt tt tt tt '^ 2 T^ 

" " " " " 124. 

" " " " None, 

The forms of the bills of sale so closely resemble each other that a speci-. 
men will answer : " Know all men by these presents that I Isaac Onder- 
donk of the Town of Orange in Rockland County and State of New 
York for the sum of two-hundred and fifty dollars in hand paid or secured 
to be paid. Have bargained and sold and hereby do bargain and sell to 
' John Roe ' of the Town aforesaid his executors, administrators and as- 
signs, one certain negro man named Jack aged nineteen years on the first 
day of May next or thereabout. To have and to hold to him, his execu- 
tors, administrators and assigns for ever, which said negro man I deliver to 
him the said 'John Roe' at the sealing of these presents — and I the said 
Isaac Onderdonk for myself, my heirs, executors and administrators do 
warrant and defend the said ' John Roe ' in peaceable possession of the. 
said negro man against all persons whomsoever. 

Witness my hand and seal the twenty-fifth day of March, one thousand 
eight hundred and nine." 

Isaac Onderdonk." [seal.] 

" Sealed and delivered in presence of us : 
P. Taulman. 
David Clark." 

Like other forms of property, these slaves were also transferred by 
will. Thus in the last will of Abraham Snedeker in June, 1771, is a 
clause in which he leaves to Abram Thew his " Negro man Tune, my 
Negro woman Suke, their two youngest children Harry and Sara, and the 
young wench named Nan." 

Yet, even in those days there were people not conscience-hardened; 
who realized that in this traffic with human beings they were dealing with 
that over which they had no control. And, to be consistent in their Hves, 
these citizens freed their bond people. Among the bills of freedom thus 
given, I find the following : " To whom these presents shall come. Know 


ye that John Blauvelt, of the town of Henjistead, in the county of Rockland 
and State of New York is minded and by these Presents Does freely Man- 
umite a Negro man named Will aged about twenty-one years ; and said 
Negro appearing to be a hail hearty well man, , both in body and 
limbs and whereas John myer and Abram Onderdonk Poor-masters of 
the town of Hemsted abovesaid having Duly took the case into considera- 
tion ; and think the said Negro man of sufficient abilities to provide for 
himself, and Do by these presents allow his manumission." 

Witness our hands the Seventh Day of april one thousand Eight 
hundred. and four." 

" John Myer. 

Abraham Onderdonk. 

Overseers of the Poor.'' 

" To all to whom this present writing shall come may in any way con- 
cern. Know ye that I, Abraham Van Houten, of Clarkstown,in the County of 
Rockland, and State of NewYork, have manumitted, and by these presents 
do manumit a negro woman by the name of Jane, to be forever hereafter 
Manumitted and Declared Free of and from me, the said Abraham Van 
Houten, my Heirs, Executors, Administrators and assigns, in Witness 
whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this Twenty- third day of 
April, one Thousand Eight Hundred and Eight." 

"Abraham Van Houten. [seal.] 

" Witness Presents signed : 

John Van Houten. 

Jacob Wood." 
" Entered by JOHN Wood, 

• Town Clerk." 

Once again, before the Civil War cast its gloom over the Nation, slav- 
ery became an important factor with a few people in this County. 
While in that mysterious and secret, but active and thorough movement for 
the escape of fugitive slaves known as the " Underground railroad," the 
west bank of the Hudson River was not on the direct line of travel, still it 
was used to an extent now unknown. The station next south of Nyack 
was at Jersey City, that next north, at Newburgh. 

The station at Nyack was in charge of Edward Hesdra, who lived at 
that time on the south side of the turnpike, almost opposite the reservoir. 


Id/ attention was not drawn to this matter till after Hesdra's demise, 
and that of the few who aided him. The almost absolute secrecy which 
was preserved by those interested in the matter, has prevented me from 
obtaining statistical data on the subject, and we can now but learn of the 
main features of the system as carried on here. 

The plan of the " Underground railroad" was so arranged, that only 
a few leaders knew its complete workings. The agent at Jersey City knew 
of Hesdra's place, and Hesdra knew the agent at Newburgh. Any one 
of these three might or might not know the agent next south of his place. 
If so, that was as far as their knowledge extended. After nightfall, the 
escaping slave would start from Jersey City with full instructions how to 
travel, and a tliorough description of Hesdra's house. Before daybreak, 
he would reach Nyack, see Hesdra, and then disappear. After he was 
rested, fed, and if necessary, clothed, he again started under the cover of 
darkness, and ere another day broke was safely hidden in Newburgh. So, 
station by station he advanced in his flight, till at length, crossing the 
Canadian border from this land of liberty, he breathed the air, a freeman. 

It speaks well for the retentive memory of these fleeing negroes, that 
they so seldom made errors in regard to the places they were directed to. 
Travelling only at night, and in a strange country, in constant fear of cap- 
ture, they could ask no directions, but must trust entirely to their percep- 
tion and recollection. Looked at in this way, their success in escaping 
from the happy condition of their bondage, seems miraculous. In only 
one case have I heard of a run-a-way making an error in regard to his 
destination at Nyack. This fugitive passed Hesdra's in the darkness, and 
reached a vine>ard on the property of. George Green, at Upper Nyack. 
Fortunately he was discovered by the owner of the farm, and safely di- 
rected to his haven of refuge. 

Another, and most active worker in the " Underground railroad" was 
John W. Towt. Most of his efforts for fugitive slaves were conducted in 
New York in conjunction with the leading Abolitionists, Arthur and Lewis 
Tappan, and with them he labored most earnestly in all abolition move- 
ments. Only once, after his coming to Nyack, was Mr. Towt called upon 
to lend personal assistance to a fugitive negro. On that occasion, he 
concealed the run-a-way in his house until he was able to travel further, 
and then saw him safely ofi" on the way to" freedom. 

Doubtless this all seems strange to a younger generation now coming 
on the stage of life. The thought that a living being, guilty of no crime, 
should ever have had to pass through our soil in time of peace by skulk- 
ing and hiding from human sight, appears well nigh impossible. Perhaps 


it is well so. Perhaps the part of wisdom is to conceal from the children 
the crimes of the parent, to hide from them the fact, that the South with 
slavery was a large purchaser, the North without slavery, a large seller ; 
that for the sake of business the North endeavored in every way to over- 
look the damning wrong perpetrated by her- no more guilty sister, and 
stooped to the lowest social position, that of slave-catcher, for a few dol- 
lars. The last act preceding the result, the " Fugitive Slave Law," was 
necessary before we could fully see how debased we had become. In a 
later chapter we shall find that punishment, that retribution only waited. 

In Rockland County were many, who, for one reason or another,' de- 
fended slavery. The passage of the " Fugitive Slave Law " found those 
citizens willing and anxious to execute its mandates, and because of the 
existence of this slave-hunting feeling, the almost absolute secrecy of the 
" Underground railroad " system became imperative. It was realized 
among the pro-slavery residents, that escaping negroes were being passed 
through this section, and dire were the threats made against Abolitionists 
if they were detected, but those engaged in the enterprise took good care 
not to be discovered. 

In another chapter we have traced the County Buildings from their 
original erection at Tappan till their removal to New City. The first 
Court House after the separation and creation of our County was built in 
1798-9, at New City. In 1802, this structure was injured by lightning. 
Until 1820, this building sufficed for the wants of our people, but it was 
too small and inconvenient for a growing section and a new one was 
determined on. It was one thing to decide on the necessity of new 
County buildings ; when it came to deciding where they should be built, 
a very different problem was met. That New City was the most central 
part of the County could not be disputed, so far as the geographical 
center was concerned ; but New City was by no means the spot most 
easy of access in our territory, and, like its predecessor, Tappan, instead 
of being built up by the presence of the public buildings, it seemed to sink 
into deeper lethargy. To the west of it was Ramapo, a thriving and pop- 
ulous village; to the Northeast, Haverstraw which was rapidly increasing 
in population. From those two villages came most of the law business of 
the County and from them the majority of the jurors were drawn. It 
was natural then, that each of these townships should insist that the new 
edifice must be built within its borders. 

The controversy which followed was one that has had many repetitions 
in our history, Local interest and local jealousy were roused, and neither 
township would yield. As was usual in such contests, the whole subject 


was taken to the State Legislature, and, on April 19, 1823, an Act wa& 
passed authorizing the erection of a new court house and jail in the 
County and appointing D. M. Westcott, of the town of Goshen, in Orange 
County ; Benjamin Barney and James Wood, Commissioners to locate the 

This proceeding but compHcated matters, and the wrangling factions of 
Haverstraw and Ramapo turned from each other to attack the Commis- 
sioners. To escape the conflict which appeared inevitable, those Commis- 
sioners at length proposed that Ramapo, Haverstraw and Orangetown 
each select a delegate to meet and confer, and that the opinion of a 
majority should be final. This was agreed to and Peter De Noyelles, of 
Haverstraw ; William Yeury, of Ramapo, and John E. Green, of Orange- 
town were chosen delegates. So bitter was the feeling between the 
peoples of the two first-named townships that the delegate of each 
assured Green privately that, should he select Nyack as the site, each 
would vote with him to prevent his rival township from obtaining the 

The choice of Nyack as the County seat was about the last thing 
Green desired. With strict economic views, he regardeid the enforced 
idleness of court week as subversive of all forms of commercial business, 
as tending to disorganize industry. The temptation which many, who 
were drawn to the court house while court was sitting, had to convivial 
greetings at the tavern bars, was conducive to disorder and confusion; 
and last, but by no means least, the presence of lawyers, who, for their 
own convenience, are apt to settle near the depository of a county's 
records, seemed likely, to him, to lead to a litigious spirit. 

Influenced by these views, John E. Green decided to leave the site of 
the public buildings at New City, and in this decision the other delegates 
concurred. Accordingly, work upon the present Court House was begun 
in 1827, and the structure was completed during the following year. In 
1873 a fire-proof addition was added to the Court House, at an expense 
of $23,000, for the purpose of affording greater safety to the records. In 
1856 a new jail was erected at a cost of some $8,000. 

Perhaps no decision was more unfortunate than that of the choice of 
New City as the site of the public buildings. Ere the structure was com- 
pleted a steamboat was running from Nyack, and, within a few years, 
almost every village in the County had better communication with the 
other villages, and with the outside world, than the County seat. It was 
not till 1875, that a railroad spur was at last run to New City, and, even to 
this day, that hamlet is viewed by our own and the lawyers of other coun- 


ties, who have to visit it on business, as the most out-of-the-world spot 
that could possibly have been chosen. 

While many capital crimes* have been committed in this County, capi- 
tal punishment has been meted out to but one person, sentenced by a civil 
court. In 1793, Isaac Jones was hanged at New City for the crime of 
murder. My search for records in this case has been almost in vain, and, 
with the exception of the items, which I add, taken from the Supervisor's 
records, and the heresay remembrance of old people, I can learn nothing. 

The stories of the crime, though differing as to the immediate cause of 
the act, all agree on the fact that the murderer and his victim were both in- 
toxicated, and that, in a drunken brawl, Jones stabbed one of a number 
who beset him. I have heard it said that the evidence in the case, if 
given to-day, could not have resulted in conviction. Unable, on the few 
records left, to enter into speculation, enough to know that Isaac Jones 
was found guilty and sentenced to death. He was confined in the jail at 
New City till the day for execution and hanged just south of the present 
County buildings in that village. The Supervisor's records contain : 

" To Daniel Coe ; for making irons for Isaac Jones a criminal 

befo^'e execution. £ 0.8.0 

'"To Evert Hogenkamp for timber and making a gallows, coffin, 

etc., for Jones. - - - 1.4.0 

*' To John Wallace Jr., for guarding the Goal when Jones was 

under sentence of death. 5- 19-6 

"To William Bell and two others for the like service. 4.12.6 

" Ebenezer Wood for John Cole, John Palmer and 30 others 

for the like service. - 17. 12.6 

" To John Cole for iron work done for Isaac Jones in Goal. 9.0 

" To Walter Smith for ammunition to the guard for the Goal 

when Jones was under sentence. 14.6." 

The Sheriff at the time of the execution was Thomas Waters. 

Until 1837, ^° alms-house existed in the County. Perchance a refer- 
ence to the Supervisor's record may explain the needlessness of a home 
for the poor in early days. It was a simple manner of settling the subject 
when, as has been shown in a previous chapter, the great class of mendi- 
cants could be classed as vagabonds and transported out of this into 
another county. In other cases, however, when circumstances forbade 
this summary way of avoiding charity, the applicants for alms were board- 
ed at the residences of private individuals and the bills charged to the 
County; or, if only aid was needed, the Supervisors gave it aijd charged the 


County. Thus in the records of 1755, we find an entry " John Kinner for 
4 yards of cloth for the Widow Rude ;£"i.i8.o" "George Thompson for 
nursing and attending Susannah Smith in sickness, for 6 weeks ;£'2.8.o." 
" Captain Thomas Smith for keeping Susannah Smith's child one week, 


Among the items for 1 762, appear the following charges for charity : 
"To Isaac Roades for a pair of half- worn shoes for Hendric'k. ^0.4.0 

" To the same for a pair of shoes and old trowsers. 12.6 

"To William Oldfield for ^ gallon rum and digging Mary's grave. 8.6 
" To 6 yds. tow cloth at 2s.6d for Cornelius Decker, a poor person. 15.0 
" To 4^ pounds of soap for said Decker. 1.6 

" To ^ hundred of flour and carting it for said Decker. i i.o." 

At length this primitive method of disposing of paupers was rendered 
impracticable by the increasing population, and a County farm of 42 acres 
was purchased in July 1837, ^^ Mechanicsville, now Viola, and an alms- 
house erected. 

From the opening of this charitable institution until the present time, 
it has been used as a place of restraint for County people, who have been 
smitten by loss of reason, but not severely enough to require confinement 
in an asylum. In his report to the New York Medical Society in 1864, 
Dr. Sylvester D. Willard thus speaks of the alms house : " The whole pop- 
ulation of the Rockland County poor house is 50. During the year there 
were 16 insane people among the number, but at present the number in 
confinement is 10. Of these 6 require occasional confinement: one has 
been in the poorhouse since 1841. Only one male is capable of labor. 
The remaining 9 invalids have neither " amusement, occupation nor em- 
ployment except reading and singing ; the house has not a full supply of 
water, and no bath tubs. The building is of wood, two stories high, 
' rooms, 6xib, ceilings, 9x8 feet. The bedsteads are of wood, and fastened 
to the floor. Sleeping rooms are not heated." 

In 1870, the Supervisors determined on the erection of a building for 
the care of insane persons. In 1879, this structure was completed, was 
rejected as an asylum, and was turned into a home for male paupers. 


This society, the oldest continuous organization in our County, was 
organized on June 4th, 18 16, with' Joseph Dedereras President, Cornehus 
C. Blauvelt, Secretary, and John Cole, Treasurer. No records except the 
original constitution, with one or two amendments, existed till 1828. The 


society was designed for the purpose of supplying the poor with copies of 
the Bible, and, at a later period, added to this the education of the chil- 
dren of the poor. 

In 1838, the society was reorganized as the Young Men's Bible Society 
of Rockland County, with Rev. Peter Quickj President, Revs. Peter Allen, 
Jared Dewing, Isaac D. Cole and Mr. I. M. Dederer, Vice-Presidents, 
Cornelius Sickles, Secretary, and John Polhemus, M. D., Treasurer. In 
November, 1847, another reorganization took place, and the society be- 
came the Rockland County Bible Society. The officers of this new body 
were : Hon. Hugh Maxwell, President ; Judges William Fraser, Edward 
Suffern, and James Garner, Vice-Presidents ; Rev. A. M. Kettle, Sec- 
retary, and D. D. Smith, Treasurer. This society still exists a strong 
and active organization. 


In 1730, Dr. Osborn came to Haverstraw, and from that time till his 
death attended to the maladies of such as called upon him. After this 
first physician came his son. Dr. Richard Osborn, who began practice in 
Haverstraw precinct before the Revolution. At this time also Dr. John 
Outwater was practicing in Tappan. At this early period there was but 
little demand for medical skill. The population was small ; the manner 
of life among the people healthful ; and such intercourse as was held with 
the outside world seems not to have introduced pestilence. 

While the records of the large towns of those days show a plentiful 
number of impostors and quacks, this County seems to have been free 
from them, and the only record of layman treatment that I find was in 
1755, when Adam Weisner was paid £/^-\g-^ " for keeping old Decker's 
daughter two months and twenty-six days and doctoring her.'' 

Early in the Revolution, after the disasterous battle of Long Island, the 
army hospital was removed to Tappan. The medical staff at that time 
consisted of William Shippen, Chief Physician of the Flying Camp ; Isaac 
Foster, Department Director General ; Ammi R. Cutler, Physician General 
of the Hospital ; Phillip Turner, Surgeon General of the Hospital ; WiUiam 
Burrett, Physician and Surgeon General of the Army. Beside these,, were 
Surgeon Van der Weyde, whq, with George Clinton, escaped capture after 
the surrender of Fort Clinton, by swimming across the Hudson River; 
and Dr. James Thatcher, whose Military Diary has preserved many of the 
events of the War of Independence for us. 

The first Medical Society in Rockland County was organized in 1829, 
with Dr. Abraham Cornelison, President. From the close of the Revolu- 


tion till the organization of the County Society, the list of physicians 
seems to be unknown. Dr. Abraham Cornelison was located on the road 
from Clarksville to the brewery, and bills of his for 1813-14 and '15 exist, 
Dr. John Polhemus, by the old mill at Clarksville, and others, doubtless, 
in other sections of the County. In the Coe burying ground, near the 
English church, is a stone to the memory of Jesse Coe, M. D., who died 
in 1825, at the untimely age of thirty-five years, and in the same plot is 
a stone erected to the memory of Dr. William Duzenberry's wife, Marga- 
ret, who died August 3d, 1828. 

The first society does not seem to have flourished. So onerous are 
the duties of a physician, so uncertain the time that he can call his own, 
that the time and labor of attending a meeting, even, but once a year, 
was a burden. Then, too, the distance was great for most of the members, 
and the roads not over- excellent. These causes led to a gradual decay of 
interest, and the virtual death of the organization. 

From the origin of the Society till its reorganization in 1850, many 
physicians practiced in the County, among whom were : Dr. Mark Pratt, 
who settled in Haverstraw in 1833, and remained there till his death in 
1875, and Drs. Smith, Noble, Lee, Hegeman, Johnson, Lilienthal, Ropeke, 
McKnight, Reisberg, Slip, Talman, Chamber, Bogert, Staal, Springer, 
Tyler, Allen and Owen. 

In 1850, the Medical Society was reorganized with Dr. John Deniarest 
as President, the following physicians being present and becoming 

M. C. Hasbrouck. James A. Hopson. Lucius Isham. 

Chas. Whipple. J. C. Haring. . John Purdue. 

Daniel L. Reeves. James J. Stephens. Chas. Hasbrouck, of N. J. 

S. S. Sloat Jacob S. Wigton. 

The Presidents of the Society following Dr. John Demarest have been: 
Caleb H. Austin, 1854. Jacob S. Wigton, 1870-71. 

John Purdue, 1855. * James J. Stephens, 1876. 

J. C. Haring, 1856-57-58-59, James A. Hopson, 1877. 

John Demarest, 1860-61. Edward H. Maynard 1878. 

Moses Cantine Hasbrouck, 

1862-63-64-65. C. H. Masten, 1880. 

S. S. Sloat, 1866-67 and 1872. Gerrit F. Blauvelt, 1881. 

Thomas Blanch Smith, 1868-69. A. O. Bogart, 1882. 

Among the medical men who have joined the society since its reorgan- 
ization are, besides those mentioned among the presidents : Daniel Lake 


and C. L. Humphrey, of Spring Valley ; Bernard O'Blenis, J. C. Haring 
and J. Hengler of Clarksville ; William Govan, of Stony Point ; Benjamin 
O. Davidson, John O. Polhemus, Frank Hasbrouck, George A. Mursick, 
W. S. Stevenson, C. H. Teneyck and J. W. Swift, of Nyack ; H. H. 
House, of Rockland Lake ; Rykman D. Bogart of Pearl River ; E. B. Laird, 
D. F. Wemple and Thomas C. Wood, oT Haverstraw ; N. R. Van Houten, 
of New City, and G. H. Hammond, Wm. S. House, Henry Reisberg, H. 
C. Near, John Sullivan, Isaac J. Wells and George A. Lockwood. 

Many others doubtless have practiced the healing art in this County, 
but their names have passed away. They lived, they labored as no other 
men except physicians ever will labor,, they died. Yet, though the names 
of these simple country physicians be forgotten, their work lives. It is 
through these earnest men that Medicine has advanced, has ceased to be 
a theory, has become a science. They have met pestilence and from their 
battle with it arose quarantine. They have seen the agony produced by 
the surgeon's knife, and to alleviate it discovered ansesthesia ; the perils of 
travail have been overcome and its pains diminished ; they have made the 
blind to see, the deaf to hear, the lame to walk ; they have lived close to 
the example of the Good Physician, and died in the consciousness of work 
well done. 


In the Spring of 1844, B. P. Johnson, then Secretary of the State 
Agricultural Society, suggested to N. C. Blauvelt, of our County, the ad- 
visability of calling a meeting of the citizens, with a view to forming a 
society for the encouragement of agriculture. Accordingly, Mr. Blauvelt 
called such a meeting, and on June 29th, 1844, many of our farmers met 
at the Court House in New City and organized the County Agricultural 
Society, with Abraham Stephens, President, and N. C. Blauvelt, of Spring 
Valley, Secretary. 

The first County Fair was held in 1844, and for several years after- 
ward, on the common in front of the Court House. In those days more 
attention was given to agricultural products, and there was no horse 
racing. The Rockland County Messenger said, in regard to one of the 
features of a fair of those days : " Five teams of oxen entered the list for 
a ploughing match, and earned for themselves great credit as adepts in 
this manly art." At length some of the citizens, who kept fast horses and 
wished a place to try their speed, leased the common, laid out a half-mile 
track, fenced in their property, and permitted the Agricultural Society to 
use the grounds. Horse racing, after this, became part of the regular 
programme of the annual exhibitions. 


In 1875, J- A. Van Riper opened a fair ground, with a half-mile race 
track, at Spring Valley; whereupon the Agri<:ultural Society selected that 
place for their fairs, and erected buildings on the spot. These new grounds 
were objectionable to many, and from the feeling thus caused sprang a 
second agricultural society, which selected for its annual fairs the old 
grounds at New City. Forty-two exhibitions have been held by the So- 
ciety since its organization. 


This organization was effected on October 29th, 1859, with S. D. 
Demarest, President ; Ebenezer Lane, Vice-President ; L. Wilson, Secre- 
tary, and T. H. Gimmel and H. D. Gesner, Executive Committee. The 
first name of the society was, " The Rockland County Educational Asso- 
ciation," and its purpose was the advancement of education in our County. 
In i860, it was thought that greater benefit could be obtained by joining 
with the teachers in Westchester county. Accordingly union was formed 
under the name of the Hudson River Educational Association. 

This organization soon died and the teachers in this County again con- 
sulted among themselves. The society is now called the Teacher's Asso- 
ciation of the County of Rockland. Within the past few years this body 
has increased its activity, and is now exerting a most excellent influence 
in our social life. It is a pleasing feature of later years that our citizens 
are taking greater interest in educational matters, and encourage, by that 
interest, the labors of our educators. It is a pleasing feature, that the too 
often over-worked and under-paid teacher is at last being appreciated as 
the only sure hope of a successful continuance of this republican form of 
government. It is a pleasing feature that both the number and the pro- 
portion of the illiterate in Rockland County is steadily decreasing and the 
number, who are obtaining a higher education, increasing. 


On February 22d, 1878, a meeting of people, who took an interest in 
the history of this County and desired to obtain the story of its origin, 
progress and vicissitudes ere that story should have become altogether 
legendary, was held at the Rockland Female Institute, now the Tappan 
Zee Hotel, for the purpose of organizing a county historical society, which 
should be the collector and custodian of historical records. On February 
30th, of the same year the organization was completed and the society in- 
corporated, under the name of the Rockland County Historical and Fores- 
try Society, by Hon. John W. Ferdon and Charles W. Miller, of Pier- 


mont ; Dr. C. R. Agnew and W. S. Oilman of Palisades ; John L. Salis- 
bury and Garret Van Nostrand, of Nyack ; Henry Whittemore, of Tap- 
pan ; and W. S. Searing, of Tomkin's Cove. 

Like many exemplary movements, this one, after a brief period of ac- 
tivity, fell into a condition of lethargy. The distances between the larger 
villages were great, and it was difficult to obtain a well attended meeting. 
Then, too, the majority of the people did not altogether understand the pur- 
poses of the Society, and were loth to yield their documents and curios to 
its keeping. A few noble efforts were made to excite enthusiasm, efforts 
that, while they seemed to produce but little effect at the time, did really 
tend to educate the public for the future, and then the Society passed into 
a condition of dry rot and seemed in a fair way to pass from existence. 
Through the efforts of some of its former members it was rescued from this 
fate and has now become an active and growing organization, that already 
is accomplishing a task that generations to come will be thankful for, and 
that has a bright future before it. 

We have given the list of the Representatives in Congress, and the 
State Legislature from this section till the organization of Rockland County. 
It is now my duty to add the names of our citizens, who have since been 
chosen to represent us in the councils of the Nation and Sta.te. 

Thirteenth Congress. 
From May 24th, 1813, till March 3d, 1815. 3d District, comprising Rockland and Westchester. 

Peter DeNoyelles, 

Seventeenth Congress. 
From December 3d, 1821, till March 3d, 1823. 3d District, comprising Rockland and Westchester. 

Jeremiah H. Pierson. 

Twenty-Third Congress. 
From December 2d, 1833, till March 3d, 1835. 2d District, comprising Kings, Richmond and 


Isaac R. Van Houten. 

Twenty-sixth Congress. 

From December 2d, 1839, till March 3d, 1841. 2d District, comprising Kings, Richmond, and 

James B, L. Montanya. 

Thirty-Second Congress. 
From December 1st 1851, till March 2d, 1853. 7th District, comprising Rockland and Westchester. 

Abraham P. Stephens. 

Forty-sixth Congress. 

14th District, comprising Rockland, Orange and Sullivan. 

John W. Ferdon. 



John Suffern, from Jan. 28th, 1800, till April 6th, 1803. 
Benjamin Coe, from Jan, 27th, 1807, till June 19th, 1812. 
Samuel G. Verbryck, from Jan. 25th, 1814, till April 14th, 1817. 
Abraham B. Conger, from Jan. 6th, 1852, till July 21st, 1853. 
John W. Ferdon, from January 1st, 1856, till April l8th, 1857. 

Benjamin Coe, 1798-9. 

Sam'l G. Verbryck, 1800-1-4- 7-9 

Peter D.e Noyelles, 1802-3. 
Joh^n Coe, 1805. 
John Haring, 1806. 
Peter S. Van Orden, 1810-15-24. 
Cornelius A. Blauvelt, 1816-17. 
*Abr. Gurnee, 1818-19-21-25- 

Cornelius Blauvelt, 1822. 
John I. Suffern, 1823-1854. 
*Edward Suffern, 1826-1835. 
Levi Sherwood, 1827.28. 
George S. Allison, 1829-30. 
JohnJ. Eckerson, 1831. 
Isaac I. Blauvelt, 1832. 
James D. L. Montanya, 1833. 
Daniel Johnson, 1 834-1 836. 


AbrahamJ. Demarest, 1837. 
David Clark, 1838. 
Benjamin Blackledge, 1859. 
William F. Eraser, 1840. 
Edward De Noyelles, 1841-2. 
Cornelius M. Demarest, 1843. 
John Haring, Jr., 1844. 
Joseph P. Brower, 1845. 
Samson Marks, 1846. 
John A. Haring, 1847. 
Lawrence J. Sneden, 1848. 
Matthew D. Bogart, 1849. 
Brewster J. Allison, 1850. 
Jacob Sickles, 1851.. 
John Demarest, 1852. 
Nicholas C. Blauvelt, 1853. 
John W. Ferdon, 1855. 
Edward Whitemore, 1856. 
James Westervelt, 1857. 

Wesley J. Weiant, 1858-9. 
Peter S. Yeury, i860. 
William R. Knapp,i86i-i874. 
James S. Haring, 1862-63-64. 
Prince W. Nickerson, 1865-66. 
James Suffern, 1867-69. 
Thomas Lawrence, l858. 
James M.Nelson, I870-71-78. 
Daniel Tompkins, 1872. 
William Voorhis, 1873. 
James C. Brown, 1875" 
George W. Weiant, 1876-7. 
James W. Husted, 1879-80. 
John Cleary, 1881-2. 
William H. Thompson, 1883. 
John W. Felter, 1884-5. 
George Dickey, i886. 

* The election of 1826 was contested by Edward Suffern. 
and Edward Suffern declared elected. 

Abraham Gurnee was unseated. 

Authorities referred to "Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New 
York.'' County Records, " Transactions of the New York State Medical Society." " History 
of the Rockland County Medical Society,'' by William Govan, M. D. " The New York Civil 




In a previous chapter I made mention of the poHtical feeling among 
a vast majority of the voters of our County, and gave, what appeared to 
me, the reasons for that feeling. Little change had occurred in the belief 
of the people during the three score and two years which had elapsed be- 
tween the organization of the County and the election of 1 860. Few im- 
migrants had arrived within our boundaries, and few had gone forth. 
Dominant by such majorities as to be secure beyond peradventure, the 
Democratic party had indulged in bitter. family fights for office and such 
spoils as existed, but its organization was so perfect that, on all important 
questions, the warring factions joined against their common enemy. 

One after the other, in the years that had passed since the erection of 
the County, the Democrats of Rockland had seen the decay and death of 
the Federal and Whig parties, and had come to look upon the opponents 
of their principles as malcontents, as disgruntled office seekers, as, in fact, 
political anarchists, who, if they could not rule, would ruin the Nation 
rather than see it well administered by their political enemies. 

With this feeling they viewed the organization of the Republican 
Party, seeing in it nothing more important than the old anti- Democratic 
movement, unless it was perhaps, that this new organization had allied 
itself with and adopted the principles of that band of fanatics known as 
AboHtionists. The election of 1856, dispelled in a measure this sense of 


security. The events, which followed each other with such startling ra- 
pidity between that election and the campaign of i860, the uproars in the 
National Legislature, the insurrection of John Brown and the threats of 
resignation made by Representatives from the Southern States in case a 
Republican was elected to the presidency; had centered attention on this 
new party, and led the Democrats to unite in a solid front. 

And yet neither party realized the meaning of the contest of i860. 
The Democrats stillfelt that their opponents only sought office. That 
those opponents meant to carry out the idea of the abolition of slavery 
never seemed probable. Such a statement might be made to the masses, 
threats of the introduction of ex-slaves into competition with the laborers 
of the County were often indulged on the stump as were pleasantries re- 
garding the Republican desire to have miscegenation made legal ; but 
among the thinking Democrats the subject was not mentioned as a likely 
contingency. Nor were the Republicans less ignorant of the result of the 
campaign. Time after time compromise had followed compromise, and 
they viewed the threats of secession made by the Southern Democrats, as 
a bold attempt to retain power or the usual prelude to a demand for the 
extension of slavery. A majority and a vast majority of the Republican 
voters of i860 in this County did not expect to see abolition successful. 
A still greater majority of the Democratic voters did not expect to see the 
doctrine of State Sovereignty carried into rebellion. 

After an unusually active campaign, in which many of the leading 
statesmen of the time stumped the County, the election was held Novem- 
ber 6th, 1 860, and gave the following results : 

United Candidates : 


Havers traw. 

Breckenridge, ) 

1st. Dist. 2d. Dist. 3d. Dist. 

1st. Dist. 2d. Dist, 

Douglass, > 

422 288 79 

419 250 

Bell, * S 


174 155 59 

378 122 

United Candidates : 



Breckenridge, ) 

1st. Dist. 2d. Dist. 3d. Dist. 

1st. Dist. 2d. Dist. 

3d. Dist, 

Douglass, > 

230 121 216 

124 75 


Bell, ) 


29 60 92 

103 153 


Total United Democrats : 2,369. 

Total Lincoln : 


Democratic majority : 959. 

As all of my readers know, the result of the election was the choice of 
Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States by a popular majority 
greater than that of any one of his rivals, and by a majority of 57 votes in 
the Electoral College. 

For a time the feeling in Rockland County was one of uncertainty 


No one knew just what course to follow. The Democrats, beaten at last 
after years of authority, had to await the action of their national leaders 
before they could agree on a line of policy ; and the leaders, with the sole 
exception of those composing the Southern wing, who had a definite 
policy in view, had no plans. The Republicans, after the subsidence of 
their first enthusiasm over the victory, awaited anxiously the action of the 

It is unnecessary to enter into the details of the events that occurred 
in the Nation at large, between Dec. i, i860 and April 14, 1861. These 
belong to the broader field of national history, and the reader must refer 
to works devoted to the subject for information. My duty is to confine 
myself as closely as possible to the effect produced upon the people of 
Rockland County by these events. In entering upon this work I fully 
realize the delicate nature of my task. Too young to take any active 
part in the contest, but old enough to distinctly recall the bitter feelings 
engendered by the fratricidal strife ; the severing of the friendships of years, 
the disruption of social ties, the hatred which arose between neigh- 
bors, the threats uttered against each other by active partisans of one or 
the other side, with all these recollections vividly awakened, it may seem 
unwise that I should more than touch upon this period. Still another 
objection may be urged — that by education and association during the 
war and by observation since, my political bias is Anti-Democratic. 

Yet, in spite of these things, I prefer to dwell somewhat upon this 
time. • Beyond the mad passions of the contest there appears a something 
grand, God-like. Men who took sides during the Civil War were driven 
to that course, not by military or civil authority, but by their views of 
what was right. They acted under the influence of an IDEA. The war 
is ended. The bitterness of the war is nearly, will soon be forgotten. 
What families in England are still estranged by recollections of their civil 
wars ? The idea for which the war was fought will live forever. 

With abiding faith in the good of men, who follow an idea through 
persecution even unto death ; with confidence in the existence of this 
Government so long as her citizens shall be moved to act for what they 
think right, I now undertake the labor of telling the story of our County 
in the war, uninfluenced by party bias or personal hatred. From all 
sources, without regard to political taint, I have drawn my data, and will 
give it without fear and without favor. 

The secession of one after another of the Southern States produced a 
peculiar political condition in our County. The Republican party still 
viewed the action as part and parcel of a more than usually determined 


effort to obtain fresh concessions, and was outspoken in its condemnation 
of the movement. The Democratic party began the division w^hich after- 
ward obtained. One wing adhered absolutely to the radical doctrine of 
State Sovereignty. It accepted as a right, the act of secession, sympa- 
thized in every movement of the revolting States, and denied with reiter- 
ated asseveration, the constitutional power of the National Government 
to coerce a State. The other wing, while willing to adhere to the princi- 
ples of its party up to a certain point, stopped short as it faced the inevit- 
able issue of those principles, and announced its faith in the inviolate 
nature of the Federal Union. 

Even while events were in this strained though still non-belligerent 
condition, matters at Washington had grown so warlike, that the militia 
of the State was placed under marching orders. On January sth, 1861, 
the 17th Regiment N. Y. S. M., Colonel Edward Pye, was ordered to- 
be in readiness to move instantly. It was not called upon to advance 
further at this time, but at a later period, as we shall see, was sent to the 

Finally, on Saturday, April 13th, 186 1, the news reached our County 
that Fort Sumter had been fired upon, and on the following morning 
the daily papers brought"" an account of its surrender to the Confederate 
forces. Perhaps I may digress for a moment and endeavor to reproduce 
the scenes in Nyack during April 13th and 14th, 1861. On, the former 
day the news was received with a dumb uncertainty : no one seemed to 
fully realize the awful tidings that war had begun. On the latter, which 
was Sunday, Spier street, leading to the old steamboat dock, was filled 
with people, while the dock was crowded, all awaiting the arrival of the 
steamboat Aurora with the morning papers. Long before the papers, 
could be distributed, the news that Sumter had fallen spread to the out- 
ermost edge of the waiting crowds. Instantly meri became frantic with 
rage and patriotism ; the church congregations, which had begun service,, 
were soon made aware of the news by the cheers and yells in the streets, ■ 
and by eager couriers, who hastened to the sacred edifices bearing the 
news. From every pulpit in Nyack that day, arose fervent and patriotic 
prayers, and from every pulpit words were spoken that stirred men's 

On the receipt of the news in Rockland County, party ties were 
abruptly broken. The radical wing of the Democratic party assumed the 
stand-point of disunion under the name of "Peace Democrats," while the 
Union wing at once joined the movement to save the Nation, and became 
known as "War Democrats." 


The first burst of patriotic enthusiasm in our County bore instant fruit. 
At the call of the President for volunteers to save the Union, recruiting 
was begun in Nyack, which led the County in this matter, and by May 
1st, 1 86 1, the following company, lettered G, was ready to take its place 
in the 17th Regiment, N. Y. S. Volunteers, called the "Westchester Chas- 


Captain, James H 
First Lieutenant, Luther Caldwell. 
Brevet Second Lieutenant, L. C. Mabie. 
Second Sergeant, Chas. H. Hawkins. 
Fourth Sergeant, Geo. E. Ingalls. 
Second Corporal, Towt J. Waldron. * 

Fourth Corporal, George Phillips 
Foley, T. V. 

Second Lieutenant, James H. Christie. 
Orderly Sergeant, William Matthews. 
Third Sergeant, Jacob Baker. 
First Corporal, Anthony Lydecker. 
Third Corporal, Chas. H. Putnam. 

Bolmer, Henry 
Bennet, J. H. 
Baker, David 
Blauvelt, Isaac* 
Bertenshaw, Philip 
Curtis, Harvey 
Conover, J. H. 
Dailey, John 
Devoe, George 
Decker, George 
Dutcher, David 
Dutcher, Jacob 
Dealing, Wm. H. 
Dines, James N. 
DriscoU, James 
Ennis, Wm. 
Foster, George 
Foster, Anthony 

Garrabrant, Alfred 
Hawkins, George 
Harrison, Bernard 
Hoffman, Joseph* 
Ives, William* 
Knapp, James 
Lyng, George 
Meissner, Charles* 
Mondawka, W. 
Minerly, Joseph 
Neve, George 
Neal, Walter B. 
Palmer, John H. 
Parcells, John 
Putney, Burril 
Ryder, Alexander 
Ryder, John H. 

Rose, David 
Salters, Dennis 
Smith, I. D. 
See, Thomas 
Tremper, George* 
Thompson, A. G. 
Waldron, Edgar N. 
Waldron, Wm. J. 
Waldron, Carrol S. 
White, Adam 
White, Richard 
Wood, Henry 
Wood, John N.* 
Wood, Daniel* 
Wotten, Daniel 
Dean, Isaac 
Dean, Daniel 
Baker, Wm. H. 

On the evening of May 8th, 1861, the farewell services of Company G. 
were held in the Dutch Reformed Church at Nyack. Long before the 
hour appointed for the exercises to begin, th-at edifice was crowded, and 
after the volunteers had entered, it was difficult to find standing room. 
The sermon was given by William G. Haeselbarth, from the text found, 
Isaiah XXVI : 12; an address was delivered by L. D. Mansfield, and a 
copy of the Bible was given to each volunteer by William Voorhis. 

On the following morning, Thursday, May 9th, the company rendez- 
voused at Union Hall, and marched from there to the steamboat landing, 
foot of Smith Place, from whence it was transported to New York by the 
steamboat Isaac P. Smith. 

It seems wise to follow the further course of this organization before 
continuing with the story of events in the County. On its arrival at the 

*Died in service. 


City, the company was quartered at the Park Barracks, where it remaihed 
till June 14th. Then it was moved to Staten Island. While at New 
York, Luther Caldwell was promoted to the position of Paymaster of the 
1 7th Regiment, and L. C. Mabie became First Lieutenant of Company G. 
At Staten Island the men received their uniforms, consisting of light blue 
pantaloons, dark blue coat and cap, and light blue overcoat. On June 
2 1 st the start for Washington was begun. The subsequent history of this 
Nyack company is brief During the autumn of 1861, dissention arose 
between the officers and men of the organization, and the company was 
disbanded, the men being billeted among the other companies of the 17th 
Regiment. Thenceforth the local identity of the original company was 
lost. That the services of the men who composed it were not lost, is only 
too grimly told by the asterisks which mark so many names. 

To return to the County, and, for the sake of clearness, still continuing 
with Nyack ; we find the feeling produced by the outbreak of the war 
not only dividing all social ties, but even extending so far as to affect the 
places chosen for public meetings. Union Hall, situated on the north 
side of Main street, a few steps west of Broadway, became the resort and 
head-quarters of all Union partisans, while only next in the frequency of 
its use was the chapel of the Rockland Female Institute, or, in warm wea- 
ther, its grounds. The disunionists met at the York House, corner of 
Main street and Piermont avenue. 

A public meeting was held in Union Hall, May 24th, 1 861, to take 
some action in regard to assisting the families of volunteers until such 
time as should permit them to be beyond danger of want. At this meet- 
ing a relief organization was eflfected with the following officers : 

Isaac S. Lydecker, 
Aaron L. Christie. 
Tunis Smith. 
George Green, 

William Voorhis, 

President, D. D. Smith. 

• Vice Presidents. 

D. D. Demarest, 
JohnjW. Towt, 
Peter De Pew, 
D. J. Blauvelt, 

Daniel Burr, 

F. L. Nichols, 
Isaac Hart, 
John V. Burr, 
Wm. B. Collins. 

Col. Isaac Sloat. 

The following committee was appointed to take charge of and supply 
the families in need of aid : 

John W. Towt, 
David D. Smith, 
Tunis Smith, 
George Green, 

William Voorhis, 
D. D. Demarest, 
John V. Burr. 
Isaac Sloat, 
William B. Collins. 

D. J. Blauvelt, 
John W. Moison, 
R. P. Eells, 
S. G. V. Edwards. 


D. p. Demarest was made the treasurer of this organization. During 
the meeting speeches were made by Wm. G. Haeselbarth, Isaac Sloat and 
others. John W. Moison made a forcible plea, that Blauveltville should 
be permitted to do her share in the work in hand, and a letter was read 
from L. D. & C. F. Mansfield pledging $ioo toward the fund. I may be 
permitted to state here, that the people of Blauveltville had contributed 
$700 toward tlie purpose of this meeting by July 4th, 1861. 

While Nyack was thus actively moving in the cause of the Union, 
other parts ot the County were by no means idle. As early as April 22d 
a public meeting was held in the Wigwam at Haverstraw for the purpose 
of encouraging volunteering and raising funds to assist the families of 
recruits. The Wigwam had been erected on the common directly south 
of the Central Presbyterian church and was opened to the public July 27. 
i860. This edifice was used by the Unionists during the war. ' The meet- 
ing was organized as follows : 

General George S. Allison, Chairman. 
John I. Cole, Secretary. 

The following committee was appointed to receive and disburse con- 

Henry M. Peck, 

Alexander Davidson, 

Gen'l G. S Allison, 

Alexander WaldrOH; 

Rev. Fred. L. King, 

J. L. DeNoyelles, 

Rev. Patrick Mahoney, 

Rev. J. J. Smith, 

William Call, 

• Rev. Dr. Crane, 

Rev. A S. Freeman, 

John W. Felter, 

The following 1 

citizens at once subscribed to the fund : 

George S. Allison, 


William Knight, 


John Biggs, 

$ 25 

William Call, 


Samson Marks, Sr., 


Edwin Brockway, 


H. M. Peck, 


Isaiah Millburn, 


T. J. Fredericks, 


John M. Gardner, 


George Benson, 


R. A. VerValen, 


John D. Gardner, 


Levi D. West, 


Sam'lA. VerValen, 


Silas D. Gardner, 


F. J. Wiles & Co., 


C. P. Hoffman, 


A. Davidson, 


Robert Smith, 


Wm. J. Penny, 


Calvin Tomkin.'!, 


Uriah Washburn, 


A Friend, 


Daniel Tomkins, 


John I. Cole, 


J. 0. Schlieder, 


G. C. Vancleaf, 


Thos. Shankey, 


I. M. Gardner, 


John OldHeld, 


Geo. S. Wood, 


G. G. Allison, 


J. L. DeNoyelles, 


J. H. Stephens, 


Abram Felter, 


Arnet Seaman, 


Bradley Keesler, 


James King, 


By May 25 th, 1861, the officers of this association were : George S. 
Allison, President; George S. Oldfield, Secretary; Edward Pye, Treas- 
urer. In December of the same year the committee had fifty families to 
care for. 


Enlistments in Haverstraw were early begun, and continued through 
the summer of 1861. By October, a company called the DeNoyelles. 
Guards had been formed, consisting of the following men : 

Abbott, John 
Ackerman, Wm. E. * 
Adams, F. C. 
Agnew, James 
Allison, Wm. J.* 
Babcock, S. W. 
Babcock, J. P. 
Barry, John 
Blower, John 
Brooks; Dan'l 
Broderick, P. 
Burke, Edw. 
Buno, B. B.* 
Call, Nicholas, 
Conklin, W. S. 
Conklin, Lorenzo D.* 
Coleman, John 
Connolly, Mat. 
Cornelison, James 
Cornelison, Wm. 
Cosgrove, W. M. 
Creney, Jas. 
DeBevoise, Pete. 
Doyle, Hugh 
DeNoyelles, P. 
DeNoyelles, John. F. 

Captain Edward Pye * 
DeLaMontanya, J. 
Dolson Chas. 
Frazer, Wm. M. 
Fletcher, T. A. 
Frederick, Levi 
Gardner, Fenton 
Glassing, Adam 
Gurnee, F. M. 
Hastings, Thos. 
Hedges, Ira M. 
Hedges, Jesse B. 
Herod, Wm. 
Holden, Jas. 
Hinman, W. C* 
King, John. W. 
Knapp, Chas. E.. 
Knapp, J. N. 
Knapp, Daniel E.* 
Jersey, Enos 
Jones, J^ihu * 
l^arkin, Jas. 
Luke Jas. 
Mackey, S. G. 
McGuirk, John 
McDonald, John 
Nye, M. 

Phillips, Edw. 

Odell, Abram 
Osborn, P. M. 
Palmer, John 
Peck, Joseph* 
Phillips, John » 
Rose, J. J. 
Ryan, Patrick 
Seely, R. J. 
Snedeker, Abram 
Smith, John H. 
S h, Dick O. 
Smith, Wm. G.* 
Slack, Wm. C. 
Sherwood, Wm. L. 
Stammers Geo. * 
Stalter, John 
Scott, Wm. 
Titus, John J. 
Terry, Seth 
Turner, Chas. G. 
Thompson, Edw. 
Traphagen. R. D. 
Welch, Richard 
Weiant, Edw. 
Wright, Wm. H. 
Phillips, Wm. H. 

On October 13th, 1861, the DeNoyelles Guard attended the Central 
Presbyterian church for their farewell service. The exercises on this occa- 
sion were conducted by Revs. Mr. Marsh, Dr. Crane, Mr. Hepburn and 
A. S. Freeman. On the following day, October 14th, a flag, raised through 
the efforts of Misses L. Ver Valen and L. Demarest, was presented to the 
company by Rev. A. S. Freeman, the exercises being conducted in the 
lot east of the Wigwam. On Tuesday, October 15th, 1861, the company 
marched to the steamboat landing, through streets crowded with people, 
and took passage on the steamboat Isaac P. Smith for New York. On 
reaching the city, the men were transported to Harlem, and entered camp 
at the Red House with their regiment, the 95 th New York Volunteers. 
Thenceforth the organization was known as company F. 

Even while this company was being enlisted, recruits were received for 

* Died in service. 


another organization, and as soon as arrangements were completed, Col- 
onel A. F. Ingold, A. S. Gurnee and L. B. Weaver moved to the Wigwam 
and set actively to work. By November 20th, 1861, the Stephens Guards 
were ready to leave Haverstraw for the camp at Harlem. 

Captain, A. F. Ingold. Lieutenant, A. S. Gurnee. Lieutenant, J. H. Weaver. 

Aiken, Isaac Knapp, Isaac Osborn, Chas. W.* 

Brewster, Morgan Knapp, George Thorn, William 

Brewster, Dan. B. Weiant, Wm. Phillips, George 

Benson, William Keesler, Bradley Phillips, Wm. 

Bostedo, Charles Keesler, Daniel Stalter, Theodore 

Waldron, Charles Monroe, Jesse Stammers, Jos." 

Fales, William McCormick, Jas. Smith, Richard 

Hammond, Theo. Lent, James Springted, Winfield 

Hill, Jas. M. Weiant, Alexander Seeley, John 
Hudson, John 

On the morning of November 21st, 1861, this company started • 
Marching first to the quarters at Beebe's, the members had breakfast, and 
then went to Bogert's dock where they took the steamer Metamora for 
New York. On arriving at the city they were transported to Harlem and 
entered camp with the 95th Regiment New York Volunteers as Com- 
pany B. 

In October, Dominick Kenedy began recruiting at Haverstraw for the 
9Sth Regiment. By December 5th, 1 861, he had obtained twenty-seven 
members for a new company, and left Haverstraw with this nucleus for the 
camp at Red House. Beside these organized companies, volunteers were 
being recruited at Haverstraw for other regiments. As early as August 
lOth, 1 86 1, ten recruits were obtained from Johnsontown and two from 
Haverstraw for the 5 th Regiment New York Volunteers. In October of 
the same year. Captain James E. McGee was recruiting for Company F, 
of the Irish Brigade. A month later, Lieutenant Samuel W. Babcock 
was appointed to recruit for the 95 th Regiment, and had his quarters at 
W. W. Oldfield's — the Washington Saloon. By December, Lieutenant J. 
H. Weaver was recruiting for the same regiment, having his quarters on 
Main street. 

The 95 th Regiment, N. Y. Volunteers, was largely made up of Rock- 
land County men. It was at first called the "Warren Rifles," and its 
first Chaplain was Rev. A. S. Wolfe, of the M. E. Church at Mechanics- 
ville, now Viola ; its first Surgeon, Dr. S. S. Sloat, of Haverstraw. The 
reghnent remained in camp at Harlem till February 20th, 1862. It was 
then moved to New Dorp, Staten Island, and lay there till March 8th, of 
the same year, when it started for Washington with 900 men. The first 

* Died in service. 


colonel of the regiment was George H. Biddle, who resigned, owing to 
bad health, in the fall of 1863. He was followed by Edward Pye, who 
died in June, 1864, from wounds received at the battle of Cold Harbor. 
From that time till the regiment was mustered out of service, on July 
1 6th, 1865, it was under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel James Creney. 
During its service in the field this command had 1,900 men. It was 
mustered out with 255. 

The loyal movement in the western part of the County was as spon- 
taneous and active as that among the citizens of the east. At the news 
that Fort Sumter had fallen, that war had been begun, meetings for the 
raising of troops to support the Union were held at Ramapo Works and 
Sloatsburgh, and, on September 7th, 1861, a rousing Union meeting was 
held at Sufferns, with the following gentlemen as chairman and assistants : 

Henry L. Pierson, President. • . 

Vice-Presidents : 
Charles D. Wood, Isaiah Paterson, A. C. Wannamaker, 

John D. Christie, Abraham Cornelius, D. C. Cooper, 

Charles T. Ford, Henry Kelly, John Crum, 

E. J. Straut. 

Speeches were made by H. S. Barnes, Abram S. Hewitt, Henry L. 
Pierson, Jr., W. B. McLauren and others. In November, 1861, Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel J. Fred Pierson opened a recruiting office at the Post office at 
Ramapo Works to obtain volunteers for the ist Regiment, N. Y. Volun- 
teers. Most of the volunteers from this section, however, enlisted in com- 
panies formed in Nyack and Haverstraw. 

At Spring Valley, a meeting for the purpose of raising volunteers and 
obtaining funds to provide for their families, was held at the Union 
School house as early as April 30th, 186 1. At this meeting Leonard 
Gurnee was chosen Chairman, and Henry E. Armstrong Secretary, while 
speeches were made by W. B. McLauren, Frank Charlton, Stephen D. 
Herrick, John Stillwell and others. A second meeting was held in th« 
Spring Valley House, May 8th, 1861, under the following officers: 

Andrew Hopper, Chairman. 


Peter Yeury, William Van Wagenen, Henry Sherwood, Henry De Ronde. 

Henry E. Armstrong, Secretary, 

A collection was taken up at the meeting for the benefit of volunteers 

Francis Charlton, 
William Van Wagenen, 

H. E. Armstrong, 
Andrew Smith, 


and their families, and the following committee appointed to solicit sub- 
scriptions for the fund : 

W. B. McLauren, 
E. E. Straut. 
W. T. Hesketh. 

Recruiting was begun, not only in the companies at Nyack and Haver- 
straw, but also by Captain J. G. Wellington at Nanuet. By October 1861, 
the local company, known as the Nanuet Guards, was about half enlisted, 
and barracks had been erected for their accommodation a little east of the 
railroad station. At a later period, an attempt was made to merge this 
organization into some other company and the Guards at once disbanded. 

Upon this termination of his efforts in Ramapo township, J. G. Well- 
ington visited Nyack and opened a recruiting office for the purpose of en- 
listing a company of sharpshooters to be known as " Mad Anthony 
Wayne Scouts." In Nyack, since the departure of Company G., vol- 
unteering had been energetic, and the following members of Companies 
A. and B., 127th Regiment, New York Volunteers, had enlisted: 

Smith, Henry E. 
Smith, George 
Snedeker, Chas. H. 
Thompson, Alfred G. 
Tompkins, Brundage 
Tompkins, James 
Tucker, Edward 

Ayres, Wm. H.* 
Ackerman, Edw. H. 
Ackerman, James 
Benson, Wm. A. 
Brewer, Isaac, S« 
Christie, C. A. 
Christie, D. I. 
Cooper, George 
Conover, A. Jr. 
Creany, James 
Conklin, Samuel 
De Baun, Henry 
De Baun, John 
Forshay, Simeon 

Fields, James 
(iorry, Thomas 
Henderson, John 
Hoffinan, George 


Kelly, Richard 
Lowdie, Alfred * 
Murray, James 
Osborne, Jesse 
Rhodes, Josiah 
Rutherford, John 
Rodgers, Charles 
Scott, Daniel 
Seaman, Tunis D. 
Waldron, Albert. 

Tallman, Peter 
Warner, Chas. H. 
Warner, T. V. W. 
Ware, J. Bradley * 
Welsh, Thomas * 
Wood, George W. 
Ward, John 

Among the other volunteer regiments, which contained men from our 
County, I may mention the the 65th N. Y. Vols, organized in July, 1861, 
as the 1st U. S. Chasseurs. This organization took from Rockland the 
following : 

Brooks, Leonard Rose, Albert Whitaker Lewis 

Falter, John Lent, James Hinman, W. C* 

Kirkpatrick, Hiram Lawson, James McKenzie, John 

Weinant, Edward 

The 6th N. Y. Heavy Artillery was organized and mustered into 
service at Yonkers, on Sept. 2d, 1862, as the 135th Regt., N. Y. Vols. 

*Died in service. 


On October 3d of the same year, the organization was changed from an 
infantry to an artillery regiment. The following are among the volunteers 
from Rockland : 

Company K, 6th Artillery. 
Captain, Wilson Defendorf. 
First Lieutenant, Charles H. Leonard 
Campbell, Wm. Higgins, R. E.* 

Cypher, Edwin Hyer, George' 

Conklin, Alfred • Haeselbarlh, Frank 

Dailey, John G. Jordan, William J. 

Dean, Chas. Murphy, Peter C. 

Dean, John Meissner, Chas. Jr. 

Dickey, Wm. ' Osborn, Cornelius 

Felter, Isaac Phillips, Wm.* 

Hagerman, Chas." No. 1. Phillips, George 

Wotten, John H. 

No. 2. Phillips, George 
Sherman, Wm. 
Smith, Daniel. 
Tetnure, Irvin 
Temper, Wm. N. 
Waldron, Matthew 
Wergen, Simon 
Youmans, Timothy* 
Youmans, Wm. H. 

Other company members from Rockland County. 

Anderson, George 
Allison, Geo. G. 
Babcock, E. 
Babcock, Wm. H. 
Babcock, H. H. 
Basset, M. V. 
Blanch, Isaac* 
Bolmer, Abr. 
Frisbie, Wm. A. 
Call, John 
Conklin, F. P. 
Concklin, Francis 
Concklin, Geo. W.* 
Concklin, Wm. G.* 
Conklin, Orville 
Cosgrove, Henry 
Davidson. John 
Fields, Valentine* 
Dutcher, Uavid 

Fostor, Henry 
Hudson,. Lemuel H. 
Higgins, Wm. 
Ennis, Geo. A. 
Ennis, Henry 
Jones, Jno. II. 
Jones, Geo. H. 
Henion, John 
June, Baxter 
Gilman, Wallace 
Larkin, Jas. 
Goose, Wm. 
March, Isaac 
March, Wm. 
Mann, D. L. 
Hudson, Chas. 
Morgan, D. 
Miller, Jno. C. 
Moore, J. W. 

Nife, Geo. 
Nife, Abram. 
Neilor, And. 
Phillips, Geo. H. 
Purdy, Edward 
Parcells, Wm.* 
Tallman, Chas. W. 
Sutherland, Geo. B. 
Weyant; Wm. 
Rose, Jacob 
Rose, James 
Rose, Moses 
Rose, John 
Strickland, J. H.* 
Strickland, Jno.* 
Strickland, J. 
Wood, Daniel K. 
Youmans, J. E. * 
Yerks, Wm. H. 

The 6th Artillery, which was recruited in the 8th Senatorial District, 
comprising Westchester, Putnam and Rockland Counties, was mustered 
into service with i,ioo men. It was engaged in the following battles: 
Wapping Heights, July, 1863; Wilderness, May 6th and 7th, 1864; 
Laurel Hill, May 12th; Po River, May iSth; Ellison's Farm, May 19th; 
North Anna River, May 23d ; Bethesda Church, May 30th ; Mechanics- 
ville Pike, June 2d and 3d; Front of Petersburg, June 18th and July 26th ; 
Burnside's Mine Explosion, July 30th ; Cedar Creek, October 19th, 1864 ; 
Bermuda Front, Jan. 22d and April 2d, 1865. The regiment reached 

*Died in service. 


New York to be mustered out July 2d, 1865, with 698 men. Of these 
about 250 were original volunteers, the balance being one year men, 
recruited while the regiment was in the field. 

At the invasion of Pennsylvania by the Army of Northern Virginia, in 
1 863, the militia regiments of this and neighboring States were hurried to 
the front. Among those called upon for duty was the 1 7th Regiment, N. 
Y. S. M. This organization at once responded and left Yonkers,' July 8th, 
1863, nearly 400 strong. The companies from our County in this Regi- 
ment were "D," of Stony Point; "F," of Haverstraw, and "I," of Ram- 
apo. The officers and men of these companies at the time of departure 
"were as follows : 

John p. Jenkins, White Plains, Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding. 
Wm. Govan, M. D., Surgeon. F. L. Nichols, Quartermaster. 

Captain, E. W. Christie. 

First Lieutenant, M. D. Marks. 
First Sergeant, E. Rose. 
Third Sergeant, D. D. Mackey. 
First Corporal, P. G. Rose, 
Third Corporal, John Loyd. 
Basley, Henry Dykins, Abr. 

Bird, Geo. W. Dykins, Thos. 

Bradbury, Lewis Fox, Henry 

Brewster, R. Jones, Chas. 

Brooks, N. B. Jones, Samuel 

Burras, W. H. Jonej Peter 

Call, James King, A. J. 

Crum, George Marks, S. J. 

Davidson, T. Macauly, Wm. 

Decker, Wm McElroy, Chas, 

Herman B. McKenzie, Wm. 

Second Lieutenant, Abr. "S. Vanderbilt. 
Second Sergeant, Robert Sims. 
Fourth Sergeant, W. F. B. Gumer. 
Second Corporal, J. H. Owens. 
Fourth Corporal, T. W. Blauvelt. 

Oldfield, W. W. 

Peterson, Benj. 

Peterson, David 

Phillips, R. 

Phillips, J. 

Rose, J. 

Rose, Peter 

Smith, Geo. S. 

Van Wart, C. 

Van Wart, Jacob 
Percival, Drummers. 

Captain, C. P. Hoffinan. 
First Lieutenant, Stephen W. Allen. Second Lieutenant, Isaac De Baun. 

First Sergeant, Geo. S. Oldfield. Second Sergeant, S. H. Davidson. 

Third Sergeant, J. M. Minnerjey. Fourth Sergeant, James Wood, Jr. 

First Corporal, Dan. R. Lake. Second Corporal, Wm. Redner. 

Third Corporal, Abr. P. Jersey. 
Allison, E. T. Fredericks, T. J. Miller, B. 

Anderson, Geo. Felter, Edw. Owens, R. H. 

Babcock, John Grimshaw, J. Parson, O. W. 

Babcock, Hiram Gurney, M. Phillips, Abr. 

Babcock, William Gurney, Wallace ■ Robinson, L. V. E. 

Blauvelt, S. C. Johnson, W. S. Ritzgo, Henry 

Buchanan, R. Kingsland, Wm. H. Ryan, Wm. 


Bengkert, Wm. King, Joe 

Cranston, J. King, Stephen 

Comerford, A. Keesler, Wm. H. 

Denike, C. A. Kirkpatrick, Hiram 

Alonzo Bedell, Walter Hicks, Drummers. 

Seaman, Wm. A. 
Secor, Geo. 
Stickinrider, Jno. 
Waldron, Matthew 

Captain, William D. Furman. 

First Lieutenant, Reuben Riggs. Second Lieutenant, Augustus Coe. 

First Sergeant, C. A. Blauvelt. Second Sergeant, J. J. Wannamaker. 

Third Sergeant, Daniel Springsteen. Fourth Sergeant, D. Sherwood. 

First Corporal, J. H. Goetschius. Second Corporal, Leonard Cooper. 

Third Corporal, Jno. H. Crum. Fourth Corporal, Alpheus J. Coe. 

Ackerson, Geo. E. 
Bertholf, Edw. O. 
Blauvelt, S. P. 
Bush, Harvey 
Charlton, Francis 
Coe, Larry, D. N. 
Conklin, Nelson 
Crum, Edw. 
Dussenberry L. 
Forshee, C. 
Forshee, Hiram 
Furman, Wm. H. 
Gurnee, Wm. H.* 
Hendricks, Wm. 
Hoyt, Rufns 

Hoyt, Harrison 
Hoyt, Wm. 
Johnson, A. 
Johnson, Levi 
Johnson, Robert 
Johnson, Tunis 
Johnson, Wm. D.* 
Jones, B. J. 
McElroy, C. 
McElroy, J. M. 
McMurty, A. 
Murray, Wm. 
Morris, T. J. 
Osborn, A. 
Osborn, Chas. H. 

Perry, Wm. 
Phillips, D. 
Sherwood, J. B. 
Slim, B. S. 
Smith, Alfred 
Springsteen, R. 
Taylor, Edw. E. 
Wallace, John 
Walmsley, Edw. 
Whaley, Ira 
Youmans, C. 
Young, Alfred 
Young, Charles 
Young, Judson 

The 17th Regiment N. Y. S. M , which had been called upon for thirty 
days' service, was mustered into the United States service July 22d, 1863, 
though its time counted from July 8th. It was hurried to Baltimore and 
did garrison duty, first at Fort Independence, and later at Fort McHenry. 
On August 6th, 1861, the regiment returned to New York, and later to 
the County. The trip from New York to Yonkers was made by steam- 
boat Metamora. At this town the regiment disembarked for a dress 
parade, and remained ashore longer than the steamboat captain liked. 
Accordingly, on the return of the Rockland County companies to the ves- 
sel, the captain refused to carry them further. The difficulty was at length 
compromised by his agreeing to transport them to Nyack, from whence 
they were taken to Haverstraw by the Nyack ferry-boat, reaching that 
village at 2 A. M. 

Fortunate it was for this County, that her soil was not, in the Civil 
War, exposed to the march and battles of opposing armies, as in the War 
for Independence. In one sense our people did not realize what war was. 
The current of ordinary life, of ordinary business, flowed on, unbroken 

* T)ied. Gurnee from typhoid fever contracted in camp. Johnson from sunstroke. 


within our boundaries, and the carnage of battle, the exposure of camp 
life, the devastation that marks the track of marching forces, the sicknesses 
that beset military cantonments, were too distant to produce the effect 
which would have followed personal contact. But in another sense, the 
war did come home to us. Of a total population of military age 
amounting to 3,979, no less than 558 served in the armies, and of these, 
89 died from camp exposure or wounds, or were killed in battle. Surely, 
any one who lived during those days of dread — dread, if a battle was not 
fought, that the South would be successful ; dread, if a battle was fought, 
that the lives of loved ones might have gone out in the conflict, or that 
they might' be lying sorely wounded — surely, any one who has passed 
through such heartache, in a measure understands what is meant by war. 
It is with pleasure that, for a moment, I turn from the enlisting of men, 
who went forth to inflict wounds and death, to the noble efforts and work 
of the men and women who toiled to alleviate suffering and prevent death. 
When Company G. was enlisted, its members were supplied by the 
Union women of Nyack with flannel underclothing, handkerchiefs, towels, 
socks, combs, brushes, needle-books and havelocks, and on July 9th, 
these Union women made up and sent a box of dainties and $25 to the 
Nyack Company. During the fall of the same year — 1861 — a number of 
the Union women of Nyack organized a branch of the United States San- 
itary Commission, which magnificent and unique organization, after every 
discouragement from the Government authorities, had at length obtained 
recognition, June 9th, 1861. The first officers of the Nyack branch of 
the society were : 

Mrs. Mary Corey, President. 
Mrs. Mary Gunn, Vice-President. 
Miss R. Annie Green, Secretary. 
Mr. John Gunn, Corresponding Secretary. 
Mrs. Elizabeth Hasbrouck, Treasurer. 
The names of the members of the Nyack Society, which have come to 
me, I .give. I would that this list, as well as that of the volunteers from 
this County, was more perfect, and again urge upon the public the im- 
portance of getting this matter completed before it is too late. 
Mrs. Caroline Dixon, Mrs. John W. Towt, 

Mrs. James Cooper, Miss Louise Towt, 

Mrs. George Green, Mrs. Christopher Rutherford, 

Mrs. George H. Livermore, Miss Sarah M. Green, 

Mrs. De Pew Tallman, Mrs. Delos Mansfield, 

Mrs. B. Davidson, Miss Lizzie Towt, 

Mrs. Blauvelt, (Mrs. Cranston's Mother). 


Previous to the organization of the Nyack Society, Mr. and Mrs. John 
Gunn, and Mrs. Hasbrouck had visited different sections of the County, 
asking donations of clothing, etc., and had obtained 106 articles, consist- 
ing of bed-clothing, under-clothes, etc. The first meeting of the Society 
was called by Mrs, Aaron Remsen, ,and met at Union Hall. After that, 
meetings were held every week, at first in the different churches, till the 
sexton of one of those edifices objected to heating the building for the use 
of " Black Republicans," then at the homes of the members, and finally at 
Union Hall. , 

In the winter of 186 1, the Nyack branch of the Sanitary Commission 
sent to the Central Association, three boxes of delicacies and several 
boxes of clothing. In ,1862, 1,500 articles, consisting of sheets, pillow- 
cases, bed-ticks, quilts, pillows, muslin and flannel shirts and drawers, and 
50 pairs of woolen socks were sent. In 1863, 800 articles, similar to those 
of the preceding year, were forwarded, together with a large amount of 
lint and bandages. In 1864, up to November 12th, 534 articles were for- 
warded to the, Central Association, On April 20th, 21st, and 22d of this 
year, a fair in aid of the Sanitary Commission was held in Union Hall, at 

One of the leading features of this fair was an old Dutch kitchen and 
dinner. Once again, and perhaps for the last time was seen the Dutch 
oven, the open fire-place, the crane, pot-hooks and trammels ; once again 
did descendants of the Dutch settlers don short gown and petticoat, and 
busy themselves in cooking an old-fashioned Dutch dinner. When the 
feast was ready, the company sat around a table, then over two centuries 
old, loaded with savory viands, talked in the . County Dutch patois and 
sang songs, long forgotten, in the same language. 

Another feature of the fair was the presence of Captain Wilson Defen- 
dorf, with his Company from the loth Regiment Veteran Reserve Corps, 
which was stationed at Tarrytown. Before leaving Nyack, this command 
marched up Broadway, to the residence of Jesse Blackfan, stepfather of 
the commanding officer, and later, counter-marched in the door-yard of 
George Green. The amount raised by the Nyack Sanitary Fair was 
$800. To this sum should be added the proceeds obtained from two 
fairs held by the pupils of the Rockland Female Institute, at which they 
obtained $40 and $12. 

The last shipment of articles by the Nyack branch society was made 
June 28th, 1865, and was acknowledged as follows:. 


" U. S. Sanitary Commission, 

Woman's Central Association of Relief, 

II Cooper Union, Third Ave., 

N. v., June, 30, 1865. 
" Mrs. Gunn. Dear Madam: 

I have the pleasure of acknowledging the receipt of one barrel and one bale of hospital supplies 
from the society at Nyack, according to your note of the 28th inst. 

Nyack has worked very faithfully for the Sanitary Commission during the war, and we feel 
sincerely thankful. It seems impossible to realize that the work is indeed over. Our friends con- 
tinue faithful to the end, as our 27 boxes received to-day show. Hoping that you and the other 
members of the Nyack Society will heartily enjoy your well-earned rest, 

" I am, gratefully yours, 
Gertrude Stevens, 

Committee of Supplies.'' 

The last meeting of the Nyack branch of the Sanitary Commission was 
held July 4th, 1865. 

On the organization of the military companies in Haverstraw in 1861, 
the Union women of that place formed a Sewing Circle, which met at the 
homes of its different members, most frequently at that of Mrs. J. L. De 

Among those associated in the work were : 

Mrs. A. S. Freeman, Mrs. J. C. Coe, Mrs. Mark Pratt, 

Mrs. J. L. De Noyelles, Mrs. J. S. Gurnee, Mrs. A. B. Conger, 

Mrs. Edw. Pye, Mrs. Blanch, Mrs. A. Wiles, 

Mrs. Henry M. Peck, Mrs. J. W. Crane, . Mrs. Cosgrove, 

Mrs. George S. Wood, Mrs. B. McKenzie, Miss House, 

Mrs. John H. Stephens, Mrs. J. Gillem, Mrs. Robert Smith, 

Mrs. W. C. Hinman, Mrs. Alfred Marks, Mrs. Susan De Noyelles. 

Mrs. A. E. Suffern, Mrs. S. C. Blauvelt, 

The last named lady knit enough "nice yarn mittens" to allow of a 
pair being sent to every man in Company F. 

" Camp Ward, Dec. 9, 1861. Alexandria, Va. 

"The undersigned, members of Company A. 31st Regt. N. Y. V. would most respectfully 
tender to Mrs. Henry M. Peck and the ladies associated with her, their warmest- thanks, for the 
very generous present of India Rubber Blankets, Under clothing, Stockings and Mitts, they have 
forwarded by express tons." " John Davidson, Madison King, 

" Thomas Davidson, Charles Hicks, 
"James Thompson, Corp. Wm. H. Baker." 

On Feb. loth, 1864, Henry M. Peck stated that several boxes of goods 
had been sent to the soldiers by the ladies of Haverstraw, through his 
hands valued at $600. Beside this grand work of the women, aid was 
given to the U; S. Sanitary and Christian Commissions by church collec- 
tions and from the proceeds of lectures. On Dec. ist, 1863, Rev. James 
M. Freeman gave, as the result of a collection for the Christian Commis- 
sion, $28.75. On April 13th, 1864, Rev. A. S. Freeman delivered a 
lecture, for the benefit of the Sanitary Commission, and raised $67.15. 
The result of a Thanksgiving collection in November of the same year, 
taken in Rev. A. S. Freeman's church, added $61.00 more to the result 


of the noble work carried on in Haverstraw. Among other organizations, 
beside those of Nyack and Haverstraw, which worked for the U. S. Sani- 
tary Fund, must be mentioned the Piermont Knitting Society. 

We must turn now and view an act of the National Legislature, which 
created greater excitement and bitterness in Rockland County than any 
person living had ever seen during her existence, which completed the 
disruption of social relations between Peace Democrats and Unionists ; 
which at one time, for a brief instant, seemed likely to terminate in mob 
violence ; which ended in the practical annihilation of the disunion influence, 
and left it stricken, pitiable in its impotence. I refer to the Act commonly 
called the " Conscription " or " Draft Act." 

The first outburst of enthusiasm, which had led to volunteering on every 
side, was ended. Many had enlisted, regarding the war movement as a 
gigantic holiday excursion, expecting it to be terminated in a few months, 
and feeling that they could enjoy a good time at Government expense 
without inconvenience. The long tampaigns in the West, during which 
the battle of Shiloh was fought, which ended in only forcing the enemy 
into a more compact and impregnable position ; the dreadful Peninsula 
campaign which ended when McClellan and his army were hurled back on 
Washington, leaving every step of the retreat slippery with human blood ; 
and which was followed by Lee's invasion of Maryland, dissipated all 
absurdity in regard to the strength of the contest. Men began to learn 
what war meant by 1863. Many had enlisted on account of the emolu- 
ment, wages, board and clothing, because there was little employment at 
home. The departure of the volunteers, the necessities of the Govern- 
ment in every form, created a fresh impetus in business ; employees were 
scarce, wages high. Financially, there was no longer any inducement to 

By the close of 1 862, volunteering had practically ceased, and the calls 
for 600,000 men, made by the President on July 2d, and August 4th, of 
that year, were unanswered, each State insisting that the other States 
should furnish proportional numbers of men for the army. It was at this 
stage of affairs that conscription was proposed. If, argued those who fa- 
vored the prosecution of the war, we abandon the struggle now, we stand 
before the world, not a laughing-stock, for the lives already sacrificed for- 
bid laughter, but a helpless semblance of authority. We must go forward, 
to do so, we must have troops ; men claim the right to vote ; if they have 
this power they should support that which confers the power. It was un- 
der such feelings that the Act for enrolling and calling out the National 
Forces was passed by both branches of the National Legislature ; in the 


Senate without the yeas and nays having been called ; in the House by a 
vote of 1 1 5 to 49. 

Not without reluctance was the power of conscription conceded. All 
men recognized the gigantic stride toward centralization, that it represent- 
ed, and all feared the effect of such a precedent. Dire extremity alone 
made the motion popular, as dire extremity in 18 14 had led the then Sec- 
retary of War, William Eustis, to propose a similar measure. The Con- 
scription Act became a law, March 3d, 1863. By its provisions all able 
bodied male citizens, irrespective of color, including aliens who had de- 
clared their intention to become naturalized, between the ages of 18 and 
45 ; were to be enrolled. Those between the ages of 20 and 35 were to 
constitute the 1st class, all others the 2d. " The President was authorized, 
on and after July ist, 1863, to make drafts at his discretion of persons to 
serve in the national armies for not more than three years, any one draft- 
ed and not reporting to be considered as a deserter. Persons drafted 
might furnish an acceptable substitute, or pay $300, and be discharged 
from further liability under (Aat draft." 

In accordance. with the Act the enrollment was begun, and in May a 
draft of 300,000 men was ordered. 

To the disunionists of Rockland County the passage of this Act seemed 
too monstrous for belief From the outbreak ol hostilities they had per- 
sistently called for peace, insisting that the war was unconstitutional, that 
the Nation had no power to coerce a State, which wished to withdraw 
from the Union. With unfeigned horror they had seen coercion begun. 
At National victories they mourned ; at National defeats rejoiced. Thor- 
oughly consistent in following their ideas, except in the rather vital mat- 
ter of voting in- a government they disbelieved in, and drawing sustenance 
under its protection, while endeavoring in every way to injure it ; these 
disunionists viewed the Emancipation Proclamation as an outrage, the 
suspension of habeas corpus as an unheard of desecration of the Constitu- 
tion. But the slaves freed were the property of men hundreds of miles 
away, and so long had they been allowed to express their beliefs without 
annoyance, that the probability of the Government interfering with them 
at last seemed slight. 

The Conscription Act was an entirely different matter. It struck close 
home.' They with others would be enrolled; they with others must take 
their chance on the turn of a wheel : if drawn, they must either serve in 
the armies or pay toward the support of a cause they hated, and conster- 
nation and rage filled their minds. 

Ever since the beginning of hostilities, the disunionists had drawn 


more and more apart from the Union men, and at length had come to 
form secret organizations for the better manipulation of their plans. In 
their wrath at the Conscription Act, these disunionists now turned on 
their patriot neighbors and threatened dire consequences if the draft pro- 
ceeded. Among the threats was one to burn the residences of prominent 
Republicans throughout the County, another, to attack and loot the Pro- 
vost Marshall's office at Tarrytown, and destroy the rolls. 

Through the imprudent utterances of some of the less intelligent mem- 
bers of the disunion party, sufficient information of the incendiary plan 
was obtained to determine the Union men on action, and for their mutual 
protection and aid, the Rockland County branches of the Loyal National 
League were formed. These societies had pass-words, employed titles, 
and used the other belongings, that attach to secret societies. That at Nyack 
met weekly and oftener, if necessity demanded. Their mission was ended 
at the close of the war, and they passed from existence. The branch of 
the Loyal League at Haverstraw was organized May 9th, 1863, at a 
meeting at Benson's Hall, the following officers being chosen : 

Alexander Davidson, President. 

George Benson, Peter Van Valer, 

Levi Knapp, Sylvester Knapp, 

George S. Sherwood, Richard Washburn, 

John I Cole, John Oldfield. 

Spencer J. Weiant and Brewster J. Allison, Secretaries. 

This society was joined by most of the Union men of Haverstraw 


The organization at Nyack was completed about the same time as 

that at Haverstraw, and contained among its members the following 

persons : 

Delos Mansfield, Charles Mansfield, 

John V. Burr, Moses G. Leonard, 

F. L. Nichols. Edward Burr, 

George Green, E. B. Johnson, 

Thomas Austin, John W. Towt, 

J. B. Pomeroy, D. J. Blauvelt, 

John Gunn, Peter Voorhis, 

Christopher Rutherford, William G. Haeselbarth. 

This Society contained most if not all of the Unioii men [of Nyack in 
its membership. 


For the purpose of enrollment and draft, a board was created in each 
Congressional District, consisting of the Provost Marshall, a Commissioner 
and a Surgeon. Rockland County was in the loth Congressional District 
of New York, together with Putnam and Westchester Counties. In May, 
1863, Hon. Moses G. Leonard of Rockland Lake was appointed Provost 
Marshall for this District, and established his office at Tarrytown. 

It was evidently the part of the disunionists to throw every possible 
obstacle in the way of the Government in its efforts to carry out the Con- 
scription Act, and their first move was to question the accuracy of the enroll- 
ment. A State law existed, requiring an enrolment of all persons liable 
to bear arms, but, owing to the neglect of the Legislature to appropriate 
money, no enrollment could be had until the means were provided on the 
personal responsibility of Governor Morgan. By this enrollment, as re- 
ported by Adjutant-General Hillhouse, Rockland County stood as follows : 

Population, - - 22,462 

Number of men enrolled, 3.979 

Number of men exempt, - 988 

County's quota, ----- 696 

Volunteered since July 2d, 1862, 258 

Deficiency, - 438 

Liable to draft, - 2,991 

This enrolment was regarded as too imperfect for the draft ordered by 
the President, and a new one was ordered under the supervision of each 
district Board of Enrollment. These local boards were under the com- 
mand of the Provost Marshall Generals of each State, and these, in turn, 
were under the orders of James B. Fry, Provost Marshall General of the 
United States. New York State was divided in three divisions, and the 
State Provost Marshall General for the Southern division, which contained 
the Tenth Congressional District, was Colonel Robert Nugent, who was 
appointed April 25th, 1863. 

Under the Board of Enrollment for our district, which comprised 
thirty-one townships, the enrolling officers for Rocklandj^ County were: 
John I. Cole, for Haverstraw; James H. Christie, for Orangetown; Wil- 
liam D. "Furman, for Ramapo, and A. Cornelison, for Clarkstown. These 
officers at once began work and soon completed their duties, the first to 
finish being A. Cornelison. The enrolment for the County together with 
an estimated quota of one-fifth, to which 50 per cent, is added for exemp- 
tions, was as follows : 


Haverstvaw. \ ^^l^; "Jo^^.g. j -' ^{-; ^ q.ota, 176x50 per cent.=.64 

Orangetown. \ ^S' ^-=774 } H' f^', Ifj quota, .07x50 per cent.=r6i 

I^-apo, \ E; ^\l=S^9 \ l'^ fZl: We 1-'^' 7. X50 per cent.=:o6 

Clarkstown, j "^^l S-=54. j 'f .tsl; 35' quota, 70x50 per cent.=:os 

As soon as the enrollment was completed, the slips and other neces- 
saries were made out and Marshall Leonard prepared for the drawing, 
which was ordered to be begun at Tarry town in the loth District, July 
20th, 1863. Meantime the disunionists had grown bolder in their threats 
to resist the draft, proclaiming, beside the usual formula about the uncon- 
stitutionality of the measure, that the enrolment was unjust and burden- 
some. In pursuance of their plan of action a mass meeting, to discuss the 
legality of the Conscription Act, was advertised to be held in Tarrytown, 
Monday, July 20th, 1863. 

Through his deputy marshalls, the Union men in his District, Revs. 
John Quinn, of St. John's Church at Piermont, and Patrick Mahoney, of 
St Peter's Church at Haverstraw, and Michael Murphy, his hired man, 
Marshall Leonard was informed, that a delegation from New York City 
was to be present at the proposed mass meeting, that incendiary speeches 
were to be made, and that, in all probability, a riot would follow, in which 
the Marshall's office was to be destroyed, with the books, slips, enrolment 
lists and other contents. On the morning of July 17th, when the Provost 
Marshall reached Tarrytown, he learned that a mob from the lower West- 
chester towns was on its march to Tarrytown. What preparation had 
been made by the disunionists of that place to aid them, no one knew. 
The Provost Marshall's office was defenceless — it will be remembered that 
the 17th Regt. N. Y. S. M., had started from Yonkers for the front July 
8th — and if the outbreak had been advanced three days, as appeared 
probable, little resistance seemed possible. 

With all haste the books and papers of the office were packed in the 
carriage of James A. Hamilton, of Irvington, who happened to be in the 
village, and by him were driven out of town and safely concealed The 
next step was to obtain the muskets from the Tarrytown Military Aca- 
demy, and with these, and the shot-guns, that could be secured in the 
village, as many as could be supplied were armed. This armed guard 
was stationed in and around the Provost Marshall's office. From two to 
three score Union men had by this time collected, armed with every con- 
ceivable weapon, and at once organized for duty. The mob, delayed by 
its fondness for liquor, at last reached Irvington, where it was met by word 


from Tarrytown, that as it was ahead of time and unexpected, no aid 
could be given it, while the Marshall had made thorough preparation for 
determined resistance. At this point it disintegrated, and the members 
returned to their homes. At the first alarm word had been sent to the 
Union men in the District, and by afternoon aid came from every quarter. 
A company, which was to remain on duty till military help could be ob- 
tained, was formed among the citizens, and in the care of this guard every- 
thing was left for the night. 

Among the incidents of that day should be mentioned an act of 
Michael Murphy. Learning that there was trouble in Tarrytown, he 
started from Mr. Leonard's home at Rockland Lake, to meet him at the 
ferry landing, earlier than usual, and, before proceeding to the dock, drove 
up to Mr. Rutherford's Military Academy in Nyack, from which he ob- 
tained the muskets. On reaching the river he found that the last boat for 
Tarrytown had gone. On Marshall Leonard's arrival at Nyack, the mus- 
kets, which Murphy had loaded in a row boat to take across the river, 
were replaced in the wagon and driven to the residence of William Voor— 
his, in Upper Nyack — the house next north of the old stone church — 
where they were concealed in the cellar. 

The next day Marshall Leonard and a number of the Union men of 
the District visited New York to obtain military aid. At first they were 
disappointed, the Military Commander General John A. Dix, referring 
them to Governor Seymour and he hesitating to render assistance. In this 
plight, Mr. Rhind, one of the party who had a brother in the navy, sug- 
gested a visit to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. It was made. The Comman- 
dant, Rear- Admiral Hiram Paulding, listened to their story, and promised 
them all possible help. On their return to New York, the committee call- 
ed upon the Police Commissioners and stated their fears, receiving prom- 
ise of aid from them likewise. 

At 4:30 o'clock, on the morning of July 19th, a strong police force un- 
der the command of Captain Dickson and Sergeants McCleary and Bar- 
nett, left New York to patrol the lower Westchester towns ; and a few 
hours later an U. S. gunboat sailed up the river and anchored off Tarry- 

The presence of this gunboat, which patrolled the river from Tarry- 
town to Haverstraw, was a revelation to bpth Union &nd disunion men. 
It represented a mighty government, which, however much disturbed by 
distant foes, could still watch and care for its interests every where and 
punish without fail those who injured them. It brought fresh courage to 
the loyal people of Rockland County. It cast so great a fear upon the 


disunion men, that from the peaceful Sunday, when it was first seen at 
anchor, till the close of the war, no further open threats of violence were 
heard, and no acts of violence committed. 

The draft riots in New York were at length ended by sharp measures. 
Veteran troops were forwarded to that city to prevent further outbursts. 
The militia was returning from the front. People at last realized the fact 
that the Government at Washington was in earnest, and meant to carry 
out the draft. Instantly, pleas for more time to meet the emergency came 
from the townships in the loth District. 

At a special town meeting held in Orangetown, it was voted to borrow 
$30,000 on the credit of the town, to cover the exemption fee of $300 of 
every one who should be drafted. In Clarkstown and Ramapo, it was 
resolved at special town meetings, that each person residing in those town- 
ships, liable to the draft, should pay $25 to the committee-man of his 
school district on or before September 12, 1863, which should go into a 
general fund, to be used to pay exemptions ; those who did not pay were 
not to enjoy the benefits of this sum. It was further resolved in each 
township, that the Supervisor should petition the Legislature to permit 
the raising of a sufficient sum by a tax upon taxable property, to pay the 
exemptions of such as might be drafted over the amount raised by the 
$25 payments. 

In Haverstraw township, which, the reader will remember, at that 
time embraced the present township of Stony Point, a call for a special 
meeting to raise money for the purpose of paying exemptions, was signed 
by sixteen of her leading citizens on September loth. Pursuant to that 
call, a special town meeting was held at Benson's Corners on September 
17th, and organized with Prince W. Nickerson as Chairman, and S. C. 
Blauvelt Secretary. At that meeting the following resolution was adopted: 

" Whereas : The President of the United States, in his superior wisdom, by a Proclamation 
dated September l6th, 1863, has suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus, and whereas it is apparent 
that the suspension of said writ has reference to the pending draft, and the electors of the town of 
Haverstraw may unconsciously place themselves in antagonism to the 'powers that be,' and sub- 
ject themselves to severe penalties by reason of any action that they may take ; 

Resolved : That the electors of said town suspend all action in reference to procuring exemp- 
tion from the operation of the Conscription Act." 

The firemen of Warren, however, raised a fund, to exempt any of 
their number who'might be drawn, by the contribution of $50 per man, 
and petitioned the people of the village to aid them. This, the citizens 
decided to do, at a special election, and voted to raise $900, or as much 
of it as was needed, by a general tax upon the taxable property in War- 
ren village. 


Perhaps a word in regard to Haverstraw in the draft matter is neces- 
sary.. From the beginning, her people proclaimed that the enrolment in 
her case was incorrect, that it was taken when the laborers in the brick- 
yards and the employees in the rolling-mills, print works and other fac- 
tories were at their busiest season. Many of these men were non-resi- 
dents, and at the end of their season, before the drawing occurred, had 
gone from Haverstraw, leaving her citizens with a disproportionate quota. 
This complaint is certainly worthy of attention. But the drawing as origin- 
ally ordered, was to have been held on July 20th, when this floating pop- 
ulation was still in Haverstraw. It was, not held at that time, because the 
violent feeling of the disunionists led them to threaten opposition to the 
draft instead of preparing to meet it. When it was discovered that the 
National Government was not in sport but thorough earnest, a plea for 
more time was made from all the townships, and through the clemency 
of that Government, which many of the residents had threatened to resist, 
in Haverstraw so openly that the gunboat had to patrol the river as far as 
that village, the extension of tirne was granted. This delay in time per- 
mitted the departure of the artisans and laborers. 

On September Sth, 1863, Provost Marshall Leonard reported to 
Colonel Robert Nugent, Acting Assistant Provost Marshall General, that 
he was ready to begin the drawing, and suggested to him the advisability 
of having a military force at Tarrytown during the days of the draft. The 
draft began Wednesday, September 23 d, 1863. On Tuesday, September 
22d, three companies of the 26th Michigan Volunteers and one battalion 
of the 2d Connecticut Flying Artillery with two guns, arrived at Tarry- 
town and went into camp. On the following morning a detachment of 
60 men of the Metropolitan Police, under Inspector Dilks, reported to 
Marshall Leonard for duty. The drawing proceeded in the most peaceful 
manner. Rockland County was drawn during the third day. 

The number of men from this County held for service by this draft was 
204. Of the conscripts, an even half dozen served in person, namely : 
Odell Gardner, of Haverstraw ; Richard Williams, Isaac Osborne, John 
Van Zile, Lewis Matthews, of Ramapo, and Wm. Brown, a Negro, of 

On October 17th, 1863, the President called for 300,000 volunteers, 
and ordered a draft to fill all deficiencies which might exist, Jan. 5th, 
1864. Under this call the quota for Rockland County was 221 hien 
divided among the towns thus : 

Haverstraw - 91 Clarkstown 38 

Orangetown SS Ramapo 37 


In order to facilitate recruiting, a recruiting agent was appointed for 
each town in the loth District, by the Board of Enrolment, by Dec. ist, 
1863. Those appointed in our County were: Lieut. James H. Christie, 
for Orangetown ; Capt. William D. Furman, for Ramapo ; William 
Snyder, for Clarkstown, and Frederick Tomkins, for Haverstraw. 

A special town meeting was held at the Town House, in Orangetown, 
on Dec. 21st, 1863, at which it was resolved that every person liable to 
the draft should pay $25 before Jan. 4th, 1864; that the town should 
offer a bounty of $350 cash for volunteers to the number of 72; that 
$28,000 or as much of it as was needed, should be raised for those boun- 
ties by the issue of town bonds of the value of $100 or upward ; that a 
committee of seven should be appointed by Town Clerk, Henry Blauvelt, 
to obtain volunteers. The following were appointed : 

I. P. Smith, David I. Tallman, Richard De Cantillon. 

John H. Westervelt, Lawrence Mann, C. Van Antwerp, 

Tunis J. Blauvelt. 

On Dec. 28th. a special town meeting in Clarkstown resulted in a 
resolve to give a bounty of $380 for volunteers, and that the sum of 
$19,000 be raised by tax to meet this appropriation. On Dec. 31st, the 
people of Ramapo decided, at a special town meeting, to pay $375 bounty 
for volunteers, and to raise $18,000 by tax for this purpose. 

On Jan. 1 1 th, 1 864, a special town meeting was held at Benson's 
Corners. It was then decided, by a vote of 186 to 108, that the town of 
Haverstraw should raise 75 men, or as many of that number as possible, 
by a bounty of $350 each ; that the Supervisor should raise $27,000 on 
the town's credit, this latter to be met by a general town tax, for the 
purpose of paying these bounties ; that each person liable to be di-awn 
should pay $25, the money from this fund to be used, first to pay boun- 
ties and then to pay exemptions for such as join the fund; that John I. 
Cole, Prince W. Nickerson, James Eckerson, Denton Fowler and Richard 
Washburn should be the committee to receive the $25 payments, and that 
the committee should have the power to reduce or remit this sum in the 
cases of people too poor to pay, they to have the same benefit as the 

On January i8th, 1864, another special town meeting was held in 
Haverstraw, in pursuance of a call issued January 13th, to reconsider the 
resolutions passed January i ith. At this meeting those resolutions were 
rescinded by a majority of 137, and the following carried by a vote of 134: 


That volunteers and substitutes be furnished for all persons who pay $25 
and are drawn. That the Supervisor of the town should borrow on its 
credit a sufficient sum to pay each volunteer or substitute not more than 
$400. If a sufficient number of volunteers or substitutes could not be 
obtained, then the exemption fee of each man, who had joined the fund, 
should be paid. By February i8th, the Supervisor reported that 312 
people had paid $25. Of these, 144 at a later period withdrew their 

By March loth, 1864, volunteering to fill the quotas had been carried 
on in the district to the following extent: Veteran re-enlistments, 358 ; 
volunteers, 613 ; Invalid Corps, 4. The number above or under the quota 
for each township in our County then stood as follows : 

Orangetown, over quota, 44 Ramapo, over quota, 40 

Clarkstown, " " 14 Haverstraw, under quota, 133 

A special town meeting was again held at Benson's Corners on March 
30th, 1864, at which the Supervisor of the town of Haverstraw was em- 
powered to raise $36,000 for bounty purposes on the town's credit, no 
single bounty to exceed $300, and further, " to raise 120 men to fill the 
quota of said town, or so many thereof as in the opinion of the Town 
Board of said town it may be just right for the said town to furnish as her 
proper quota, under the late calls of the President for men." All former 
resolutions passed at any special town meeting since the beginning of the 
year, were rescinded. On April 2 1st, 1864, the Rockland County Mes- 
senger contained the following editorial : 


" Our four towns present quite a contrast with reference to the draft, Or rather, we should say, 
Haverstraw is quite in contrast with the other three towns. Including all calls for troops, Ramapo 
has not only filled her quota, but has ten surplus. Orangetown will have a deficiency of one; 
Clarkstown oi sev/fnteetit and Haverstraw o^ two hundred and twelve.^^ 

Previous to the second draft, on March ist, 1864, Hon. Moses G. 
Leonard resigned from the position of Provost Marshall and W. W. Pier- 
son, of Westchester County, was appointed in his stead. The second draft 
began on May 9th, 1864. Three hundred and eleven were drawn from 
Haverstraw and sixteen from Clarkstown. The other townships had 
filled their quotas. On the same day that the draft occurred, " the Super- 
visor of Clarkstown presented sixteen volunteer enlistments, effected pre- 
vious to the draft and the notices (to drafted men in that township) were 
not served." 

In the second draft the names were taken from the same enrolment as 


that used at first, and, for reasons of which I have spoken, Haverstraw had 
1 26 names drawn of persons who did not report. In this draft her people 
determined, if possible, to put in men, instead of paying exemptions, and 
for this purpose offered the sum of $300 to each drafted man, who would 
furnish a substitute, he to furnish the difference between this amount and 
the bounty paid. By June 9th, 1864, only 17 volunteers had been ob- 
tained by the payment of bounties ranging from $500 to $600. Under 
these circumstances a further draft became necessary to meet the defici- 
ency, and the drawing of 213 names was held on June isth. This drew a 
protest from the people of Haverstraw. For various reasons a new en- 
rollment had been ordered for Rockland County, and Silas G. Mackey 
appointed enrolling officer for Haverstraw. 

On June 23d, at a special town meeting held at Benson's Corners, 
resolutions were passed that the Board of Town Auditors should raise a 
sum, not exceeding $75,000, or so much thereof as might be necessary, 
for the purpose of paying bounties to volunteers for the army or navy 
during the continuance of the war. It was then voted that all previous 
resolutions made since January ist, 1864, should be rescinded. 

The third call for men, made by the President, was issued July i8th, 
1864, and gave 500,000 as the number needed. Quotas for this call were 
based on the revised enrolment. 

To meet this demand, the people of Orangetown, at a special meeting 
held during the first week in December, voted to raise the bounty to $800 
per volunteer. The draft to fill the quotas took place at Tarrytown, Sep- 
tember 23d, 1864. Orange and Clarkstown, having filled their quotas, 
were not drawn upon; but 194 names were called from Haverstraw, and 
1 12 from Ramapo. 

The annual meeting of the Board of Supervisors jn our County was 
held October 4th, 1864. At this the following resolution, introduced by 
William Dickey, Supervisor for Orangetown, was unanimously adopted : 
" That the resolutions passed by this Board at their special meetings, held 
June 14th, June 23d and September 2d, 1864, empowering the several 
towns to raise the sums therein named severally, are hereby reaffirmed ; 
and that, in addition, and for the same purpose, and in the same manner, 
the town of Orangetown be empowered to raise a further sum of $25,000 ; 
the town of Clarkstown, $8,000; the town of Haverstraw, $75,000, and 
the town of Ramapo, $25,000." Early in December, 1864, the President 
called for 300,000 more men, and gave till February 15th, 1865 to raise 
this number, fixing that date for a draft to fill all deficiencies. The quotas 
for Rockland were : 


Haverstraw, 136 Ramapo, 81 

Orangetown, 107 Clarkstown, 82 

Before the close of the year, the people, at special town meetings in 
Orangetown, Ramapo and Clarkstown, had determined on raising volun- 
teers by the payment of bounties, the funds for which should be obtained 
by a tax on taxable property. In Haverstraw a special meeting was held 
January 5th, 1865. At this it was determined, that each person in the 
town liable to be drawn should pay $25 into a fund to be used, either for 
the purpose of paying exemptions or bounties, on or before January 20th. 
Any drafted person who had not paid this sum would have to pay $100 
to obtain the benefits of the fund. It was further decided, that sufficient 
money be raised by a tax on taxable property, to meet any deficiency. 
This Special meeting was followed by another at Benson's Corners on 
February 3d, at which it was resolved to test the legality of the resolutions 
held on January 5 th, because, among other things, it fixed no sum for 
bounties. At this meeting it was further resolved to pay $300 for each 

A drawing took place in Tarry town on February 21st, 1865, at which 
1 1 2 names were taken from Haverstraw. The other townships in our 
County having filled their quotas were not called upon. 

Still another special meeting was held at Benson's Corners on Feb- 
ruary 27th, at which the resolutions passed at the meeting of January 5th 
were re-affirmed as according to an act of the Legislature, passed February 
loth, 1865. It was then resolved that a further sum of $10,000 be raised 
if necessary, and that the bounties offered should be : $300 for one year 
men ; $400 for two year men ; $600 for three year men, and $100 hand 
money in addition thereto. Before any further calls were made. General 
R. E. Lee had surrendered, closely followed by Gen'l Johnson, and the 
long war was over. 

In summing up the results of the draft, the Rockland County Journal 
for August 4th, 1865, makes the following statement: " Each of our towns 
has met in full all the calls upon it with the single exception of Haver- 
straw, which is indeed the only town in the entire district which had not a 
surplus at the time of the order to stop recruiting. 

The vast expenses of the war, the appreciation in values, the tremen- 
dous issue of promises to pay, called greenbacks ; led to recklessness in the 
handling of money, led to dishonest practices. One very common method 
in connection with the draft was for the Supervisors of the towns to 
pocket the difference between what the towns offered for bounties and the 
bounty paid. Thus if the bounty offered was $300, and the Supervisor 


obtained a substitute for $200, in too many cases the $100 difference was 
not turned back to the town's credit. It is with pleasure that I here 
record the action of John E. Hogencamp, Supervisor for Clarkstown from 
1862 to 1867. With every temptation which beset others, and with too 
common usage as an example, this public officer remained true to his con- 
stituents and his manhood, and every dollar that he could save for his 
electors was turned into the town funds. The amount expended by Clarks- 
town, in filling the different calls made for men, was $115,891.25. 

In regard to the debt incurred 'for war purposes, known as the War 
Debt, Rockland County was one of the first in the State to pay it in full 
and her financial record on this momentous matter stands among the 
highest in the State. 

It is necessary now to review the political actions of our citizens dur- 
ing the period of Civil War. I have already said that the Democratic 
Party was abruptly split into two wings by the opening of hostilities, a 
schism which constantly widened, until by the autumn of 1 861, each fac- 
tion had adopted principles which prevented any possible re-union. The 
Peace or disunion, I would here state that I use the name disunion in its 
correct sense and not as a title of reproach, party named its adversary 
" Black Republican," a name intended to express obloquy and given 
because of the abolition principles held by its members. The Republicans 
retaliated by calling their opponents '" Copper-heads," a term of oppro- 
brium taken from a venomous and sluggish snake common to the North- 
ern States, which bites without the warning given by the rattlesnake. 
Each side gloried in its appellation, members of one wearing pinsjmade 
from the Indian heads cut from the copper coin then in circulation. 

Shortly after President Lincoln's inauguration he called an extra ses- 
sion of Congress to meet July 4th, 1861. To this the Peace Democrats 
sent a petition from our County, addressed to " The Honorable, the Senate 
and House of Representatives in Congress assembled," which was signed 
by the names that follow it, most of the signatures being in the original 
handwriting of the signers. 

" The undersigned citizens of the State of New York beg leave to present to your honorable 
body most respectfully the following petition, to wit : 

While they hold themselves ready to maintain and uphold their government in the constitu- 
tional exercise of all its powers, yet they would respectfully pray, for the purpose of preventing 
the horrors of civil war, and for securing the perpetuity of our Union, that you will adopt the 
policy of an immediate General Convention of all the States as suggested in the Inaugural of the 
President, or any other compromise by which these ends may be obtained. Earnestly deploring 
civil war as the greatest calamity that can befall a nation, we pray you may adopt any 
COURSE that may bring peace to our distracted country. 


John M. Baker, 
David I. Tallman. 
M. M. Dickinson, 
Henry Palmer, 
P. A. Harring, 
John Wm. Voris, 
Martin Knapp, 
■John Stephens, 
John Storms, 
■Cornelius Seaman, 
Jacob Mackie, 
H. L. Sherwood, 
A. T. Seaman, 
Claus Meyer, 
Isaac L. Sherwood^ 
JohnH. Ryder, 
William L. Richards, 
Peter Stephens, 
James C. Wool, 
A..B. Cornelison, 
John C. Polhemus, 
James F. McKenzie, 
Thos. Van Orden, 
George Derondi, 
D. D. Ackerman, 
H. T. Blauvelt, 
H. B. Fenton, 
Jacob Horn, • 
John W. Stephens, 
John Tallman, Jr.; 
Samuel Helms, 
Abr. Iserman, 
John Iserman, 
A. G. Polhemus, 
James P. Woertehdy, 
John A. Bogert, 
John T. Blanch, 

D; Van Houten, 
Jacob H. Derondi, 
Spencer Youmans, 
Henry House, 
John S. House, 
William Palmer, 
Joseph Wool, 
I. F. Hawpton, 
Abr. F. Laloe, 
John Vanhouten, 
Nelson Gurnee, 
Joseph Baker, 
Spencer Gurnee, 
A. J. Smith, 
J. A. Vanderbilt, 
Wm. R. Knapp, 
John Blauvelt, 
Chauncey Brady, 
Aaron Ryder, 
George Knapp, 
Joseph Blauvelt, 
Isaac Blanch, 
Christine Huber, 
Jacob Blanch, 
Christian Popp, 
Isaac Tallman, 
Nelson Stephens, 
P. Wm. Nickerson, 
Garret Stockum, 
John J. Post, 
Wm. Bleecker, 
Tunis Blauvelt, 
Jeremiah Knapp, 
P. D. W. Smith, 
S. D. Demarest, 
Leonard A. Gurnee, 
Daniel M. Clark, 
C. C. Burr, 
A. -H. Tyson, 

J. E. Hogencamp, 
A. A. Demarest, 
Wm. D. Youmans, 
Isaac Ver:valen, 
T. A. Demarest, 
Peter Van Houten. 
Win. Coates, 
Wm. Knapp, 
J. C. Haring, 
Peter A. Smith, 
Samson Marks, Jr. 
John Garrabrant, 
Wra. Garrabrant, 
H. Hoffman, 
John Morphed, 
C. H. Demarest, 
R. H. Cooke, 
G. A. Demarest. 
Chas. E. Smith, 
Aaron T. Remsen. 
Edwin P. Palmer, 
A. Van Tassel, 
M. Green, 
G. W. Chamberlain, 
J. W. Bates, 
Thos. Burd, 
Ed. McGowan, 
Rich. Grandwell, 
John W. Felter, 
A. Blakeslee, 
John Palmer, 
Peter Conklin, 
James Allen, 
Peter De Pew, 
David 0. Storms, 
Peter T. Stephens, 
William Dickey, 
Richard Gilhuly, 

Shortly after this petition had been forwarded the following call was 
issued : 


' ' All persons that are in favor of preserving the Union of States, by a peaceful settlement of 
our present difficulties, and opposed to the si£EDDiNG OF BLOOD unnecessarily, all who are 
in favor of freedom of Speech, and the Press, and the right of Petition, all who are opposed to an 
Enormous National debt, and direct taxation, are invited to attend a public meeting to 
be held at the York House, in the village of Nyack, on Monday evening, July 15th (1861), at 7J^ 
o'clock, for the purpose of giving a calm and decided public expression of their views and senti- 


Peter De Pew, John G. Perry, Garret Sarvent, 

Thomas Lawrence, Henry E. Storms, Henry Palmer, 

Daniel M. Clark, Wm. Dickey, James C. Wool, 

Wm. Palmer, George W. Towner, R. De Cantillon, 

Peter Stephens, 

The meeting was called to order by Peter De Pew, who nominated 

John Nafie as Chairman. William Dickey then nominated the following 

Vice-Presidents : 

William R. Knapp, A. A. Demarest, J. J. Ackerson, 

P. W. Nickerson, Thomas Ackerson, J. D. Swartwout, 

John B. Gurnee, John Storms, Sr., Marcus Hoffman, 

John A. Johnson, Jabez Wood, Azariah Ross, 

Joseph Wool, P. D. W. Smith, Henry House. 

M. M. Dickinson and George P. Stephens were made Secretaries of 
the meeting. Among the resolutions adopted were the following, intro- 
duced by Thomas Lawrence : 

Resolved : That while we yield to none in love for the Union of our States, in respect and at- 
tachment to our glorious flag, and in fealty and willing obedience to the Constitution and laws of 
the United States, we nevertheless protest against the attempt to subjugate the people of any State, 
to bayonet them into a love for our Union, or sabre them into brotherhood. 

Resolved : That every Government having a written Constitution for its guide, should strictly 
adhere to its very letter, and no emergency can justify its violation. That the frequent violation 
of the Constitution of the United States by the present Executive, and by those under his authority, 
deserves, and should receive the unqualified condemnation of every American citizen. 

Resolved: That we earnestly entreat our fellow citizens throughout the length and breadth of 
our land without distinction of party, to meet together and place the seal of popular condemnation 
upon the acts of violence and aggression which are dividing our beloved Union ; inviting foreign 
interference ; subverting Constitutional and State rights ; educating a republican people to favor 
a dictatorship destructive to the dearest rights of freemen, and tending to the wildest anarchy and 

The next call for a Peace Meeting was as follows : 

PEACE ! PEACE ! ! PEACE ! ! ! 

Patriots Arouse! 

" All persons in favor of Peace, and the preservation of the Union, all who are opposed to the 
destruction of our glorious country by the present fratricidal war, all who are opposed to 
an ENORMOUS National and State tax, and in favor of freedom of speech, and the right 
OF petition, are invited to attend a mass meeting, to be held at the Court House, at New City, 
on Saturday, the 20th day of July, inst., at 12 o'clock, noon, for the purpose of adopting such 
measures as will tend to a peaceful settlement of our present National difficulties, and permanently 
restoring our beloved country to its once happy and prosperous condition." 

Wm. R. Knapp, John Nafie, Peter Stevens, 

J. B. Gurnee, J. T. Ackerson, J. G. Perry, 

Joseph Wool, Thos. Howell, R. De Cantillon, 

-T. Ackerson, J. M. Baker, Garret Sarvent, 

Jabez Wood, Richard Gilhuley, W. Palmer, 

J. J. Ackerson. R. H, Cook, Isaac Hart, 


M. Hoffman, 
D. D. Demarest, 
H. House, 
M. M. Dickinson, 
Peter De Pew, 
Henry Palmer, 
H. E. Storms, 
D. M. Clark, 
Wm. Dickey, 
W. Willett, 
J. L. Conklin, 
W. Perry, 
G. C. Stephens, 
David Munn, 

A. Haring, 
A. J. Storms, 
E. P. Rose, 
I. A. Lydecker, 
Thos. Lawrence, 
P. W. Nickerson, 
J. A. Johnson, 
A. A. Demarest, 
John Storms, Sr. 
M. D. Bogert, 
J. D. Swartwout, 
J. S. Haring, 
D. I. Tallman, 
A. Ross, 

James Wool, 
Joe. Blauvelt, 
George Dickey, Sr. 
G. A. Demarest, 
John L. De Noyelles, 

F. Van Orden, 
A. Smith, 

I. W. Canfield, 
Levi Gurnee, 

G. A. Harring, 
Jim Coates, 
Wm. Skelly, 

J. T. Blanch, 
Sylvester Gesner. 

The meeting was organized with John A. Johnson, as Chairman. 

Abr. D. Blauvelt, Abr. A. Demarest, 

M. M. Dickinson, Jacob Horn, 

John A. Bogert, Thos. Howell, 

Garret A. Blauvelt, John H. Stephens, 

Among the resolutions passed at this meeting was the following : 

" Resolved, That we witness with dismay the Constitution violated in many of its plainest 
provisions ; the military power over riding the civil ; the liberty of speech and of the press, the 
writ of habeas corpus, that venerable and almost sacred safeguard of the citizen — all, all swept 
away, or ruthlessly trampled upon by those in power, under the specious plea of a military neces- 

The "War Democrats" through James Smith Haring, Chairman, and 
Wm. Govan, M. D., Secretary of the Democratic Central Committee for 
Rockland County; called a meeting at New City, for October 5th, 1861. 
At this meeting Hon. Wm. F. Fraser, was chosen to the chair, and 
Nicholas C. Blauvelt, J. S. Haring, Joseph Cosgrove and Austin L. Fitch, 
were elected Vice Presidents, while M. M. Dickinson, J. L. De Noyelles and 
William W. Gurnee, were chosen Secretaries. Speeches favoring the 
Union over party and expressing a determination to sustain the Govern- 
ment, were made by Hons. A. E. Suffern, Moses G. Leonard, A. B. Con- 
ger and others.* 

The following resolutions were then passed unanimously : 

'^Resolved, That we acknowledge our allegiance to the general government, and recognize in 
the present unhappy crisis of the public affairs, our duty as loyal and patriotic citizens to sustain the 
government in restoring its authority throughout the Republic. 

" Resolved, That the rebellion which has been inaugurated and is being carried on in certain of 
these States against the authority of the United States, and the enforcement of the laws therein. 

*See note at end of chapter. 


has for its unholy object the disseverance of these States, the overthrow of the Constitution, the 
subversion of the laws, and the dissolution of the Federal Union. 

"Resolved, That we believe the rebellion against the government by the so-called Confederate 
States is without just cailse, palliation or excuse, and that it deserves, as it received, the abhorrence 
and detestation of every good citiztn and loyal subject, and that it may be effectually and forever 
suppressed and destroyed, we hereby tender to the government our undivided support in its loyal 
and praiseworthy efforts to meet it force by force. 

"Resolved, That the government should, by all the power of its arms, and every requisite 
expenditure of its treasure, prosecute this war for the maintenance of its jurisdiction, the supremacy 
of its authority, obedience to its laws, and for the protection and vindication of every guaranteed 
right — National, State and individual — until the Constitution be acknowledged and re-established, 
the Union restored, the flag of the Republic, the symbol of nationality and union, with not a star 
obscured, not a stripe erased, float proudly from every eminence throughout the land, and our 
common country march on her future course in all the majesty of peace, justice and freedom." 

From this time till the close of the war, many of the "War Democrats " 
acted and voted with the Republicans under the name of the Union Party, 
and received from the other wing all the hatred and vituperation with 
which they treated the Republicans. Political feeling was carried into the 
churches, and dissolved the ties of Christian brotherhood, and between pas- 
tors and peoples ; it entered the family circle and estranged blood rela- 

Such was the political animosity which existed at the opening of the 
campaign of 1 864. For that contest the Republican party had renom- 
inated Abraham Lincoln, while the Democrats had selected George B. 
McClellan. As weapons of offence the latter party openly denounced the 
prolongation of the war, while privately they condemned the Emancipa- 
tion Proclamation, the draft and the suspension of habeas corpus. Once 
again, and for the last time, a Peace meeting was held at New City, on. 
August 5th, 1864. It was organized by the selection of the following: 

Marcus Hoffman, Chairman, 


John Nafie, Luke Van Orden, Jacob Horn, Daniel Lake. 

M. M. Dickinson, H. Fenton, Henry Palmer. 

A series of peace resolutions were read by Thomas Lawrence and 
adopted. A letter was read from Hon. Gideon J. Tucker, expressing sin- 
cere sympathy with the meeting, and regret that he could not be present, 
as he was in 1861 ; and a speech was made by C. Chauncey Burr, of Bergen 
County, N. J., from which I quote an opening extract ; " About three years 
since, I had the honor to address the people of Rockland County, and I 
then denounced the present war as a crime against humanity and the 


Constitution. That sentiment was then applauded to the echo by the 

The election took place on November 8th, 1 864. In the campaign of 
i860, 3,779 votes were cast in our County, and the Democratic majority 
was 959. 



1st Dist. 2d Dist. 

3d Dist. 

' 1st Dist. 2d Dist. 

3d Dist. 


152 121 


171 188 



126 275 



253 242 



1st Dist. 2d Dist. 

3d Dist. 

1st Dist. 2d Dist. 

3d Dist. 


■ 92 153 


36 59 



128 129 


248 106 


For Governor. 



1st Dist. 2d Dist. 

3d Dist. 

1st Dist. 2d Dist. 

3d Dist. 


126 280 


258 242 



153 "6 


171 188 


1st Dist. 2d Dist. 3d Dist. 

1st Dist. 2d Dist. 

3d Dist. 


127 128 


247 106 



93 153 



36 59 




1st Dist. 2d Dist. 

3d Dist. 

1st Dist. 2d Dist. 

3d Dist. 


128 277 


254 244 



151 107 


165 180 



1st Dist. 2d Dist. 

3d Dist. 

1st Dist. 2d Dist. 

3d Dist. 


126 122 


246 106 



89 150 


34 59 


'he total \ 

^ote cast for Presic 

iential Electors was 3.723- 


majority, 847. 

And now events hastened to the inevitable issue. The awful hammer- 
ing process, which Grant had been pursuing upon the Army of Northern 
Virginia, the march of Sherman, the annihilation of Hood's army, all be- 
spoke the approach of the end. The political hope of the South died on 
Lincoln's re-election. 

It is not uninteresting to look over the files of our County papers dur- 
ing the period of the war. At first they are filled with military ardor and 
military news, to the exclusion of other data ; later, the military news is 
condensed, while the usual County news becomes more prominent ; to- 
ward the last they settle down to a few brief items concerning the opera- 


tions of the armies, while the greater part of the papers is filled with 
information regarding burglaries, church sociables and donations, the an- 
nual fair, reviews of concerts and other matters of local import. There 
had been occasions during the later years, when some of the papers dwelt 
more fully on military events. 'Tis not difficult to recall an old and sorely 
stricken man, bowed and broken, writing the obituary of a son, killed at 
Gettysburg. 'Tis not likely that those who lived in those times will for- 
get the sorrow which filled them when they saw the local papers in 
mourning for Colonel Pye. As a rule, however, military information had 
become so much a part of the daily events that slight attention was paid 
to it by the County sheets. Oh, the long, long, weary war ! 

Early on Monday, April lOth, 1865, the residents of the County along 
the river bank heard the firing of guns across the river, and, suspecting 
from the character of the news during the last few days what it indicated, 
anxiously awaited the arrival of the morning papers. Those papers told 
of the surrender of General Robert E. Lee and his army. Immediately 
began a scene of rejoicing. The private schools in Nyack were closed, 
bunting was displayed from every Union house, and enthusiastic congratu- 
lations were exchanged between the loyal people. At Haverstraw all the 
schools were closed and the children marched through the streets two 
abreast, singing patriotic songs ; guns were fired ; flags unfurled, and 
the church bells were rung during the remainder of the day and nigjit. 
On board the steamboat Isaac P. Smith an impromptu meeting was organ- 
ized by Hon. Moses G. Leonard, and speeches were made and songs sung 
during the continuance of the trip. 

Ere a week elapsed, the flags, which had been thrown to the breeze at 
Lee's surrender, were dropped to half-mast at Lincoln's assassination. 
The last act in the drama of rebellion was a cruel murder. A description 
of the long funeral procession, which escorted the martyr to his grave, is 
not appropriate in this work, and I can only mention the part our people 
took in the matter. Grief among the Union people was universal, and 
emblems of mourning were profuse. In the calamity, even a majority of 
the disunionists seemed sobered and saddened, though a few of the most 
outspoken expressed gratification and rejoicing till advised to be quiet. 
The funeral train journeyed north on the Hudson River Railroad. On the 
day it passed through Tarrytown, the ferry-boat between Nyack and that 
place transported such crowds of people as she never carried before and 
never did again, to see the train. 

As rapidly as possible, after the surrender of Johnson's army, the Union 
armies were disbanded and the men returned to their homes. Those from , 


Nyack arrived on the steamboat early in the summer, and were received 
at Nyack by the citizens, and a procession composed of the fire depart- 
ment, students of Rutherford's Academy, and civic societies, and escorted 
to Union Hall. In front of that building speeches were made by repre- 
sentatives of both parties, a most unwise proceeding, which led this last, 
and what should have been happiest action in connection with the struggle, 
to end in bitterness. 

According to the State Census Report, taken in 1865, Rockland County 
furnished 558 men to the Civil War, of whom 89 were killed in battle, or 
died from wounds or sickness in camp. The statistics (for the correctness 
of which I will not vouch), stand as follows: Clarkstown furnished 74 
men, of whom the greatest number enlisted in any single organization was 
in the 6th New York Heavy Artillery. Haverstraw furnished 198 men, 
of whom many enlisted in the 95th Regiment New York Volunteers, and 
many in the 6th New York Heavy Artillery. Orangetown furnished 123. 
Many in the 17th Regiment New York Volunteers, the 127th Regiment 
New York Volunteers, and the 6th New York Heavy Artillery. Ramapo 
furnished 163 : many in the 9Sth Regiment Volunteers; the 124th Regi- 
ment Volunteers; the 6th New York Heavy Artillery, and the 17th Regi- 
ment N. Y. S. M. Of these troops, 127 were discharged at the end of 
their term of service ; 1 26 resigned or otherwise left the service. At the 
• time of taking the census, the condition of health in 195 was good; in 37 
permanently impaired. Of the deaths : 

Killed in Battle, 25 

Killed by Accident, i 

Died of sickness not acquired 
in service, i 

Died of Wounds, 13 

Died of sickness acquired 37 
Unknown, 12 

The months and years of enlistment are given as follows : 


Apr. May. June. July. Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov, Dec. 

16 21 6 8 26 14 40 21 10 


Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May. June. July. Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. 

42433 4 64 33 862 


Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May. June. July. Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. 

6 3113 48 44516 


Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May. 

18 5 16 

Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May. 

I 7 12 4 I 


"une. July. Aug. Sept. 




2 4 I I 29 





Unknown, 60 

See Appendix — A. 

While obtaining material for this chapter, I was told by a member^ of the War Committee that 
there was treason in that committee ; that certain members of it would hasten from the meetings 
and give information of the proceedings to the leaders of the disunionists. Inquiry among other 
members of the Committee confirmed this statement, and I was given the names of men who were 
said to be guilty. I have been unable to find any written or printed proof of this statement, and 
have therefore refrained from giving it as fact. In the case of the meetings of the Peace and War 
Democrats, however, I have taken the names from hand-bills, newspaper files, and the reports of 
the proceedings. The reader who sees these names attached to resolutions condemning the Gov- 
ernment ; then to resolutions sustaining the Government ; and then to resolutions decrying it 
again, can judge of the fine sense of honor and patriotism, which must have been inherent in these 
men, as well as I. That they were regarded as intelligent, is evinced by the fact that they were 
selected to fiJ the offices which are necessary in any organization. 

Authorities referred to: "American Politics," Johnson; "The Civil War in America," 
Draper; "Notes on Nyack;" "A Retrospect," from the Rockland County Journal; "New 
York and the Conscription of 1863," James B. Fry ; "Adjutant-General's Report for the State of 
New York." Evening Journal and Herald Almanacs. Files of the New York Herald; Rock- 
land County Messenger ; Rockland County Journal. " The American Conflict," Greely ; "New 
York State Census Report." Copy-Book of the Provost-Marshall's Office, (through the kindness 
of Wm. G. Haeselbarth). Letters and Minutes of the Nyack branch of the Sanitary Commission- 
Hand-bills, Advertisements, &c., &c. 




As we have already seen in the chapter relating to patents, a tract of 
land about eight miles long, by from three to five miles wide, was granted 
to sixteen men on March 24th, 1686, and named in the grant the town of 
Orange. • We have also read that at the time of this grant, the division 
line in this colony and East Jersey was not understood, and that the grant 
extended into the latter province. When the division line between the 
two States was finally agreed upon, part of the grant of 1686 belonged to 
Bergen County, and the area of Orangetown was reduced to 16.023 
acres. Still further have we learned, that when this section was set off as 
a County, in 1683, it was named by the courtiers, whose only desire was 
to please their royal patron, after the son-in-law of that patron. It was a 
foregone conclusion therefore, that the first town erected in that County 
should be given the County's name. But, besides the cognomen accorded 
it by the grant, it was often called by the early settlers and their descend- 
ants other names. That of the Indians — Navvasunk Lands — was used 
frequently till the middle of the Eighteenth Century ; and that of the 
tribe from which it was purchased — the Tappaens — which was given to 
their first settlement by the early colonists, was often extended to a 
broader use, and the whole patent called Tappan Town. Up to a very 
recent date I have heard the l^st written name and doubt not, that among 
the older families in the County, it is often used to designate the village o 

It has been already stated that the census returns of Orangetown, 
during its early history, were returns for the whole County, and that any 
attempt to separate the population according to towns, appears futile. 
Not till 1738, do I find any mention of such division, when Eager, in his 
History of Orange County gives the population of each of the four towns. 
A hiatus again occurs till 1790, after which the census returns are returned, 
without intermission. 


In 1738, Orangetown had 830 inhabitants. In 1835, Orangetown had 2079 inhabi 

In 1790, " " 117s 

In 1800, " " 1337 

In 1810, " " 1583 

In 1820, " " 2257 

In 1825, State Census, 1536 

In 1845, " " 3227 

In 1855, " " 5838 

In 1865, " •' 6166 

In 1870, U. S. Census, 6810 

In 1880, " 8266 


The truthfulness of census reports is .always open to suspicion, and 
reference to the returns of 1820, in the above table, will only confirm 

The earliest record of the town is of an election April, 1 744. At this 
were chosen : " Henry Ludlow, Town Clark and Supervisor ; John Cor- 
nelius Haring and John Ackerson, overseers of the fence ; Dolph Lent, 
constable ; John Ferdon, John Nagle, John Perry, Commissioners of the 
highways; Overseers of the high road: Robert Holly, for the Green- 
bush; J. Bartus BJaufilt, for the wagon road; Daniel Vervelia, for Closter; 
Thomas Van Houtten, for Skeairecloy; Daniel Blaufilt, for John Clows 
Land (Clausland); Johannies Bogart, for the mill road; Johannies Meyer, 
pound master ; Renier Wortendyke, Dirck and Tisa Borgard, Assessors ; 

John , Peter Dau, to record the quit rent; Daniel Skureman and 

Cornelius Tallman, overseers of the poor; Abraham Smith, collector." 

The early records of the County, as set forth in the Documents relat- 
ing to the Colonial History of the State, give constant legislative acts 
intended to prevent the tresspass of swine. In keeping with those acts is 
the following resolution, agreed upon by the inhabitants of Orangetown, 
in April, 1783 : 

" That No Swine, having their noses well ringed and yoked with yokes 
the length of the pieces running up and down, being below the Lower 
Cross piece at Least five inches and above the Upper Cross piece at least six 
inches, Shall be liable to be impounded. Swine not so ringed and yoked, 
Who shall get into any person's inclosure, may be impounded, and, unless 
the owner Redems them in four days after notice Shall be given by adver- 
tisement, be put up at the Church Dore of Such impounding by. paying 
the damages and costs and three shillings for each Swine So impounded, 
then the Swine so impounded to be Sold at publick Vendue, and the resi- 
due of the money arising by such sale, after Such damages. Cost and 
pounding Shall be paid to be delivered to the overseers of the poor. 

Recorded by me, 

M. HOGENKAMP, Town Clerk," 



Whenever, in entering upon local history, we come upon unlimited 
and unbounded sections of land under a local name, it is safe to feel that 
we are treading on soil granted to first settlers. Their scope was wide 
and they took full advantage of it. In the neighboring State of New 
Jersey, we have Paramus, which formerly was the name of all the country 
from Sneden's Landing, to the Ramapo ; Pasacack or more commonly, 
Pascack ; a like unlimited tract. In our own County was Kakiat, later 
Hempfstead, which covered all the present Ramapo Township, and ex- 
tended east to the Hackensack : and Tappan, which was only confined by 
the boundaries of the Orangetown patent, and the smaller neighborhood 
ol Greenbush. 

Tappan Landing was the present Piermont. Tappan Slote, the 
present Sparkill. The village proper of Tappan, was as we have seen, the 
, first organized hamlet in the whole section from Newburgh to the Jersey 
line. Here were built the first houses ; here were organized the first 
church society and school ; here were erected the first house for divine 
worship the first court house and jail ; and then — Tappan Village 

Eradicating those villages which have since taken other names from 
her history, and placing the history of her church under the chapter de- 
voted to that subject; we find but little left to say. In 1694, a school 
was organized in the village under the charge of Hermanus Van Huysen. 
For many years this .place was the County Seat, the county buildings were 
located here and here the Board of Supervisors met. In May 1832, the 
Rev. Jacob Cole, ppened a boarding school in the village which was con- 
tinued for about a year. The building of the Erie Railroad left the vil- 
lage to the south and the opening of the Northern Railroad in 1857-59 
passed by it to the east. Recently, the New York, West Shore & Buffalo 
Railroad, has passed through the hamlet, and it may be that this enter- 
prise will bring to Tappan more life. 

Similar to that of Tappan is the history of Greenbush. This place, 
now known as Blauveltville, obtained its name from some object of physi- 
cal nature. In the original patent for Orangetown, we find the name as 
the Greenbush. At this place, near the present graveyard, settled one of 
the original patentees of the Orangetown grant, Lammert Ariansen, and 
built a storehouse. In the case of this man, as in that of others in those 
days when patronymics were changed to suit the necessity or fancy of the 
time, his trade became at length his surname and from Lammert Ariansen 
the Smith we find Lammert Smidt or Smith. Three sons were left by 


this settler. Garrett, who was the great grandfather of the late Cornelius 
T. Smith and Rachel Lydecker, settled south of the Greenbush Swamp. 
Abraham remained on his father's place, and Cornelius built on what was 
then called the ridge, west of the present Erie Railroad. 


Till the construction of the Erie road, this place bore the name of 
Greenbush ; then, in honor of Judge Cornelius J. Blauvelt, it was given its 
present name. Like Tappan, it is a small agricultural hamlet with oiie 
store, a blacksmith shop, and a few houses. The first storekeeper remem- 
bered was John Blauvelt, who was succeeded by Judge Blauvelt, he by 
Isaac Dederer, and he by Smith Demarest. John Raab then took the 
store and conducted it till 1882. In 1867, a store was built and opened 
by the firmof Edebohls & Lediger. Mr. Edebohls died in 1871, and Mr, 
Lediger has since continued the business. 

The post office was first started here on October 14, 1828, with Cor- 
nelius J. Blauvelt as postmaster. On April 9, 1834, this office was dis- 
-continued, but was re-established June 25th of the same year, with Cor- 
nelius J. Blauvelt in charge. In 1840, Michael Klain became postmaster, 
and held the position till April 12th, 1844, when he was succeeded by 
Isaac M. Dederer. On March 31st, 1854,, Simon D. Demarest became 
postmaster. He was followed by John Raab, Feb. 3d, 1864, Henry Ede- 
bohls, Jan. 6th, 1868, and George M. Lediger, Feb. 24th, 1871. 

On May 15 th, 1809, John I. Blauvelt gave a lot of ground for the erec- 
tion of a school. Shortly after, a building was erected, which was called 
the Greenbush Academy. This edifice was of stone and two stories in 
height, the first floor being used for the teachers' residence and a school- 
room, while the second floor was turned into a public hall. About 1850, 
this building was torn down, and the present structure was erected. 

The Roman Catholic Juvenile Asylum property at Blauveltville, was 
purchased in December, 1878, by the Sisters of the order of St. Dominic. 
Its design is the education of indigent female children. 


The name Middletown was given to a section of Orangetown situated 
about a mile west of the Orangeville mills. It was so called because, in the 
days of early settlement in the then Orange County, the tavern that stood 
here was midway between the pioneers on the Kakiat patent and those at 
Tappan. As early as 1720, a log house and tavern owned by a man 
named Ackerman, was built in this section on the farm now owned and 


occupied by John A. Bogert. Some of the foundation of this old tavern 
can still be seen. In 1780, this log house was torn down by David 
Bogert, who then owned the property, and a stone house erected further 
north. Shortly after the completion of this structure, an earthquake 
occurred, which cracked the walls from the roof almost to the founda- 

Perhaps it may not be amiss to mention in this connection the legend 
told of Marias' Rock, a boulder situated on the property of Lansing 
Blauvelt about a mile south of Nanuet oa the Middletown road. Tradi- 
tion has it that in 1730, a little girl some ten years old, was lost from the 
Tappan Settlement and never after heard from. A few years later, the 
skeleton of a child was found lying on the rock, which now bears the lost 
girl's name, and this was supposed, doubtless correctly, to be the remains 
of the wanderer. 

What a vivid picture this gives of the Wilderness our forefathers set- 
tled, of the frightful solitude they entered. Barely a few years over a 
century and a half have passed since a ten year old child, wanderinginto the 
woods after berries or wild-flowers, became lost in a section, where now it 
would be impossible to get beyond the sound of a gun from a human 
habitation and walked on and on, screaming for help, till exhausted and 
famished, she fell asleep on the hard stone. Years passed before her 
skeleton was found. 


On the southwest shore of Long Island, between the present villages 
of Bay Ridge and New Utrecht, formerly lived an Indian tribe named 
Nayack, Nayeeck, Neyick, or Nyack. At this place, as we have read in 
the chapter on patents. Van Cowenhoven bought land after his disappoint- 
ment in regard to the Staten Island grant. The present Gravesend Bay, 
was then called Nyack Bay, and in it the English fleet anchored previous 
to their capture of New Amsterdam in 1663. Suddenly the name of 
Nyack, as applied to that section ceases, and I next find it, applied to the 
present village of that name, on the Hudson, in an old deed bearing date, 
1764, under the spelling Niack. There can be no doubt, that during the 
intervening years, some former resident from the original Nyack on Long 
Island, moved to the newer Nyack, and finding it nameless gave it 

In the chapter relating to patents, I have already mentioned the ear- 
liest patentees of this village, as Claes Jansen in 1671, and Harmanus 
Dows — now Tallman — and Tunis Paulson previous to 1678. 

The growth of the village was slow. In 1799, so little value was at- 


tached to its future, that the property lying between the present ist avenue 
on the north, and De Pew avenue on the south, and extending from the 
river to Highland avenue, was purchased by Abraham Lydecker for 
$4,000. In a previous chapter I have spoken of the lane that led from 
Nyack to the King's highway. Besides this, a road, if the reader cares 
to consider a lane as a road, passed up the present Hudson street, and at 
Franklin street branched, one lane being continued down Franklin street 
to Hillside avenue, then down the present Smith avenue to Piermont 
avenue, and followed the course of that road to the present Piermont. On 
the present Broadway, north of Main street, there were gates at the end 
of every farm — one stood at the corner of the present i st avenue as late 
as 1 8 10, and the last, at Mr. Pollock's place, was removed within, a score 
of years. On the mountain road at Upper Nyack, just east of Highland 
avenue, is a deep hollow — still known by the older residents of the vicinity 
as " Spook's Hollow." From this, north, ran a lane that continued to the 
property now belonging to Joseph Hilton, where it turned east and north, 
and finally reached the mountain near th6 terminus of Broadway. 

While Nyack had but this small communication inland, the valley itself 
was very productive, and in addition to the agricultural products, a good 
business as we have seen had already grown up from the quarries. To 
meet the wants of the growing hamlet, Abraham and Harman Tallman, 
Peter De Pew and Captain Stephen Meyers, built the first market sloop — 
the Aurora — in Nyack, in 1804. This vessel landed at the first dock in 
Nyack, the remains of which can be seen between De Pew avenue and the 
flock factory dock. In the same year Abram Tallman opened the first 
store in the village on the site of the present Smithsonian Hotel. This 
store was later sold to the firm of Austin & Edgar, who eventually failed. 
The next store was opened by Tunis Smith, grandson of Lammert Arian- 
sen Smidt, in the building standing on Main street, at the head of Court 
street, in 18 10, and this was followed by one opened by Peter Smith, on 
Main street, at the head of Cedar street. 

A few years later John Green, started the first lumber yard just north 
of the dock at the foot of Main street, and followed by opening a store in 
1 8 19, on Main street, at the foot of Canfield street. Later this store came 
under the firm of Green & Gurnee, and after the latter's death Green & 
Goetchius. Next, Benjamin Blackledge, opened a store on the site of the 
present York House — corner of Main and Court streets. Coming down 
to more recent days, we find D. D. Demarest, opening a store and lumber 
yard at the present steamboat dock, foot of Smith Place, in 1833. In 
1839, we find the Smith's buying Demarest's store, Azariah Ross building 


the large brick store, on the corner of Court and Main streets, opposite 
the York House, and D. D. Demarest opening the store, corner of Broad- 
way and Burd street, now occupied by R. Gedney. 

Meanwhile Upper Nyack had awakened to activity, pushed by the 
same cause that was aiding Nyack, the quarry business. In 1824, the 
first store was opened by John Van Houten, on the property now owned 
by J. P. Voris. This was afterward occupied by T. Smith Tallman, and 
was then used by Richard Gilhuly, as a restaurant from 1861 till 1864. 
Elijah Appleby, opened a store in 1833, on Broadway opposite the new 
school. In 1840, Daniel Clark took this store afterward moving up to 
the property now owned by J. W. Schuler on the corner of Broadway and 
Tallman street, and later when Tallman street was opened to the river by 
T. S. Tallman, in 1850, he moved to the spot now occupied by George 

The first drug store opened in Nyack was by J3.mes Clark, on the 
corner of Broadway and Burd street, in 1843. This store afterward passed 
into the hands of Johnson, Townsend & Pomeroy, then to Erastus Van 
Houten, afterward to Wolheim, to Corner, and finally to Philip Moeller. 
Next came Mrs. Blauvelt's drug store, still occupied by her, in 1858, and 
De Graff & Ross in 1872. The population of the village in i860 was 
2,016; in 1865, 2,400. 

It is now necessary to look at another business started by the quarry 
growth, that of boat building. The early vessels that sailed on the river 
were known as "keel boats" and "board boats." The first, built with a 
deep keel, had far greater carrying capacity than " board boats," because 
their holds, as well as decks, could be used for storage. But it was only 
when deep water ran close to the shore that these boats could be landed, 
and for Tappan Landing and Haverstraw, they were practically useless. 
For shallow water, the flat bottomed vessel with lee-boards was used. 

The first centre-board boat of any size built in this County, if not in 
the world, was constructed at Nyack, in 1815, by Henry Gesner, for Jere- 
miah Williamson, and named the " Advance." On one of his trips to 
Pavonia with stone, Williamson had seen a Staten Island skiff with a 
centre-board, and the ease with which she was handled, and the closeness 
with which she sailed to the wind, determined him to try the centre-board 
in a larger vessel. In the "Advance" the board was set through the keel, 
which was built of two pieces, with a space for the board, bolted together, 
instead of, as at present, alongside. As may be imagined, there were 
many detractors of the new idea, who said that it would be impossible for 
the weakened keel to be as strong as an unbroken stick of timber, and 


that wood and iron could never be put together strongly enough to stand 
the wrenching of the heavy board amidships. In spite of their gloomy 
view the "Advance" did succeed. Like wine, she improved with age, 
and in later years made the remarkable record of six trips, between New 
York and Nyack in six days, starting on her first trip with a load of 
stone early Monday morning and returning from her sixth trip Saturday 

In 1825, the centre-board sloop, "Parthenia" was built at Nyack, for 
use on Long Island Sound. In this case the board was placed alongside 
the keel, and secured by the bed piece as at present. Again opponents 
to the idea felt positive, that, while a centre-board might work in the com- 
paratively smooth water of the river, it would fail in the rougher water of 
the Sound. The " Parthenia " disappointed these disparagers and proved 
very successful. From this time, centre-board boats were almost univer- 
sally built for inland navigation. 

Up to 1830, when a marine railway was built at Staten Island, it had 
been customary for the purpose of cleaning a boat, to run her ashore on a 
sandy beach at high water, and on the ebb tide to scrub her bottom, and 
apply a coat of tar below the water line. But the beginning of railways 
at Staten Island, compelled Nyack builders to advance still further, and 
add this improvement to their yards. The first marine railway in Rock- 
land County was built by John Van Houten at Upper Nyack, on the 
property now owned by J. P. Voris, in 1834. Next, John Felter built a 
railway just south of Van Houten's in 1839. In later years Felter's yard 
came into the hands of William H. Dixon. In 1874, Voris owned it, and 
built two large coasting schooners there. Since that time it has been dis- 

Shortly after this beginning, the Smiths built two railways at Nyack, 
in or near the ferry slip. Mr. Ross followed in 1845, by building a ways 
where those by the foundry now stand. Perry put down the next ways 
at the dock below the gas-house ; and in 1853, Isaac Canfield built two 
railways in the yard since 1867 belonging to Edward Smith. Nurtured 
by the demands of the quarry men, boat building at Nyack grew with 
rapidity, The most busy season in the yards was in 1835-6, when there 
were sixteen new vessels on the stocks at one time. 

An attempt to name the different vessels built at Nyack would be out 
of place even if the task were possible, and I may but make brief mention 
of those that were out of the ordinary run. In 1863, Wm. Dickey built 
two steamboats for the Camden & Amboy R. R. Co. on the property now 
belonging to Wilson Defendorf, and in 1865-6, he built the " Chrystenah " 


in front of the foundry at Nyack. I would state here that the " Chrys- 
tenah " was a new boat, and not, as so many think, huilt from or on any part 
lof an old hulk. In later years yacht building has grown to large dimen- 
•sions here. At Nyack, too, were built the " Duck," a steamboat experi- 
ment for canal towing, and the catamaran " Henry W. Longfellow," 
•designed by Wm. Voorhis and launched in 1880. This vessel as built 
•consisted of two segar-shaped hulls 200 feet lojig, 5 ^ feet diameter at the 
largest part and 9 feet apart. The hulls were made of boiler iron ,\ inch 
in thickness at the centre, thinning toward the ends. On the hulls rested 
.a single deck 125 feet long, 25 feet breadth of beam, on which was built 
the saloons. The original motive power was a Well's balance engine of 
476 horse power, and a six-blade propeller of 8 feet diameter. 

In 1882, the domed vessel " Meteor " was built at Edward Smith's 
yard. This vessel, built as an experiment, "was mastless and covered with 
a " turtle back " dome, or oval roof, from stem to stern. The " Meteor" 
was 156 feet long over- all, .21 feet 8}4 inches extreme beam, and, as 
■originally built, had a doubled balanced engine, capable of 400 revolutions 
per minute. She was built for the American Quick Transit Co. of Boston 
and was intended to demonstrate that a vessel of this construction was 
more rapid and less liable to injury from the sea than those with masts 
and undomed. In lieu of spars, the large vessels are to have auxiliary 
iscrews, that can be used in case of accident to the main engine. 

On May iSth, 1883, there was launched from the yard of J. P. Vorisat 
Upper Nyack, the steamboat. " Wilbur A. Heisley," built for the Long 
Branch & Seabright Steamboat Co. This boat was 1 5 S feet length of 
keel ; 33 feet beam ; 7 feet depth of hold, and 3 feet draught loaded. She 
was moved by a Ward's tubular boiler and a large stern paddle wheel. 

We must now turn to the manufacturing interests of Nyack. July 
1 2th, 1826, Wm. Perry started a shop for the manufacture of shoes in 
Upper Nyack. In 1828, he removed to Main Street just west of Broad- 
way, and, his business steadily increasing, by 1832, he found it necessary 
to employ a dozen men. 

Following Perry, we find Daniel Burr starting a factory, and shortly 
after forming a partnership with Nathaniel and Edward Burr, under the 
firm name of Burr & Co. A year later Nathaniel left the firm and started 
alone and the firm name was changed to Daniel & Edward Burr, and still 
later, the members of this firm separated, each going in business alone. In 
1855, Edward Burr sold his business to T. Austin and John Burr, who, 
under the firm name of Austin & Burr, opened in Union Hall. Later 
Frederick Dezendorf, joined this firm, the name becoming Austin, Burr & 


Co., and bought out the business of Daniel Burr. In a short time, the 
firm name again changed, Dezendorf starting alone. 

In 1857, the firm of Ketchel, Caywood & Burr, was organized, chang- 
ing two years later into Ketchel & Caywood, John Burr having started 
alone. About the same time, the firm of Smith & Baker started in the 
shop of Wm. Perry. About 1864, Dezendorf gave up the business at 
Nyack, and was succeeded by Mr. Cooke. Later, Edward Burr returned 
to Nyack and began business continuing for three or four years. 

Daniel Burr was the first to introduce the sewing machine into the 
Nyack business. Previous to the general introduction of the machine, 
very much of the sewing on shoes was done at the employee's home, and 
it was a common sight to meet people from Rockland Lake, from the 
mountains at Lyons Hill, now called Mountain View avenue, from Clarks- 
ville and from Piermont ; walking to Nyack with a great bundle of finished 
shoes. In 1866-67, Ketchel & Caywood built the factory on the corner 
of Railroad and Depew avenues, and introduced the steam sewing 
machine. They were the pioneers in steam power in Nyack. Later the 
firm changed, by reason of the withdrawal of Caywood and the entrance 
of Purdy, into Ketchel & Purdy. Later this firm failed and for some time 
the factory stood vacant. 

In 1876, the shoe business which had fallen into a torpid condition, 
was again revived. The year previous — 1875 — C. B. Kenedy had begun 
the manufacture of this commodity on Broadway, but now the business 
was given greater impetus by the opening of the factory at Railroad and 
De Pew avenues, by G. T. & C. Morrow ; by P. Morrell's and A. H. 
Jackman's entrance into the business at Nyack ; and by the opening of a 
factory by Wm. E. Tuttle. In 1878, Conrad Doersch began the manu- 
facture of shoes, followed in 1879 by Charles Theis on the corner of Main 
and FrankUn streets, and Jacob Siebert, who started in a 40x80 feet frame 
building on Main street. 

In 1879, G. T. Morrow built a brick factory, three stories and basement 
40x125 feet, on the corner of Railroad arid Cedar Hill avenues. On his 
removal to this building, the old factory was occupied; the ist floor by 
C. B. Kenedy, and the 2d by Conrad Doersch, the 3d by P. Morrell. In 
1884, G. W. Tremper & Sons began manufacturing on Main street 
Jackman's present factory is a brick building, three stories in height and 
40 feet wide by 180 feet deep. Besides the manufacturers mentioned, 
the shoe business has been carried on in Nyack by Mr. Gardner, by Mr. 
Gedney, and by Glenn & Hadley. The total product of the different 
manufacturers for 1884 was 688,424 pairs of shoes. The pay roll of the 
employees was estimated to be $5,600 per week. 


In 1832, John Tallman, later Tallman & Randall, began the making of 
pianos in a small shop on Burd street. Later they moved up to Fifth 
avenue, and erecting a large building, carried on the business for a num- 
ber of years. After the retirement of Tallman & Randall from the busi- 
ness, Mr. Thompson, formerly an apprentice with them, started in a small 
shop on Piermont avenue. In 1850, Mr. Ross joined Thompson and 
they built the factory corner of Broadway and Third avenue. In 1853, 
Thompson died and the business stopped. Four years elapsed before the 
factory was again opened and the business recommenced by Sumner 
Sturtevant in 1857. In recent years additions have been added until 
the building is now 40x60 feet. 

The manufacture of carriages and sleighs was begun in Nyack by 
Aaron L. Christie in 1835, when he opened a shop on Main street near 
Broadway, moving to the present site in 185 1, and carried on by him 
till 1871, when the business came into the hands of A. E. & J. H. Christie. 
Following Christie, "E. L. Wright began the wheelwright business in 1843, 
and still later, Taylor opened a shop on Main street. 

In 1840, Henry and Abram L. Storms began the manufaetu-re of 
wooden ware in a factory, still standing as the large frame building corner 
ofBuTd and Cedar streets. In 1850, the business was moved to De Pew's 
old grist mill, at the place now occupied by Grant's Flock Mill, and when 
steam power was used, a brick engine house was added. In 1856, the 
factory caught fire and the old mill burned down, the brick engine house 
only being saved. After the fire, the present factory was built. For 
many years the wooden ware business was very heavy, branch factories 
existing in several places. 

Previous to 1850, the -manufacture of sulphur matches was carried on 
in De Pew's mill for a number of years by a Frenchman, named George 
Dimfelt, who employed about a dozen children in the business. But little 
can be learned of this industry. 

The first stone yard at Nyack was started by Tunis Smith at his place 

'at the head of Court street, and, later, his son C. T. Smith, engaged in the 

business. In later years, Blakie started a stone and marble yard on Main 

street, east of Franklin. In 1854, Blakie having left the business, George 

Towner started a mafble yard on Main street. 

In 1850, Wm. Crumbie & Sons opened the Nyack foundery, being 
later joined by Captain Isaac P. Smith. Under their management many 
engines were built and '"set up," and the works obtained a wide-spread 
reputation. Thomas Magee bought the foundery in J863, and has since 
carried on business at it. Under Magee's management many "boilers have 
been made, but he has had little to do with the manufacture of engines. 


In 1879, George W. Griffen began business in Smithsonian Hall, and 
his enterprise, the Rockland Car Head Lining and Decorated Ceiling 
Works is still in operation. In 1881 Coplestone began the manufacture 
of hats in a brick factory, 32 by 96 feet, situated at the foot of Smith 
Place. Two years before, 1879, the factory of the Rockland County 
Straw Works had been built by Nelson Puff at the Bight. 

In 1 88 1, the wooden-ware factory, which had remained closed for 
several years, was again opened by D. A. Grant as a Flock Mill, and the 
business has been continued. The material made at this mill is used in 
the manufacture of woolen goods and wall paper. 

In 1883, the Lockwood Manufacturing Company was incorporated for 
the purpose of manufacturing wrought iron railings. The first ofificers 
were W. F. Storms, President ; E. B. Sipple, Secretary and Treasurer. 

Nyack has been used as a summer resort for many years. The first 
hotel in the village, the Mansion House, was built by C. T. Smith in 1827, 
jvnd stood on Main street, just east of the Voorhis building, to make room 
for which, it was torn down in 1878. It was a large, shingle-sided build- 
ing, with two stories and an attic, facing Main street. During the first 
epidemic of Asiatic cholera in 1832, this house had eighty guests, and Mr. 
Smith was compelled to hire other houses to accommodate his boarders. 
In 1829, Peter Smith opened his house on Main, at the head of Cedar 
street tor boarders, and was followed in a short time by Robert Hart. 
The building of the Orange led largely to the growth of this business and, 
as we Jiave seen in the chapter relating to her, special note was made of 
the accommodation for^boarders in the advertisement of the boat. 

In 1849, the Pavilion was built, and opened by Abram P. Smith. It 
has since been added to as occasion required, until it has now attained 
large dimensions. In later years, the increased demand has led to the 
opening of other houses, and the building of the Palmer, now Prospect, 
House. Among the buildings thus employed is the Tappan Zee House, 
which was formerly the Rockland Female Institute, and was first opened 
for summer boarders by the Mansfields in 1859; the Smithsonian Hotel,, 
formerly the residence of D. D. Smith, the Clarendon and others. 

In 1835, the first post-office was opejied in John Van Houten's store 
at the landing in Upper Nyack, and Van Houten was post-master. The 
mails were carried by the steamboat, and that for Nyack was kept in a 
segar box. In those days of primitive honesty, the inquirer for letters 
was handed the box and allowed to sort his own material out. Following 
Van Houten in 1836, Samuel Canfield received the appointment as post- 
master and the office w^ moved to his place of business, the Dry Dock 


Hotel, corner of Main and Canfield streets. In 1844, Charles Humphrey 
was post-master, and the office was taken to his residence, corner of 
Broadway and Main streets, now occupied by Lydecker & Wool. Under 
the administration of Taylor and Fillmore from 1849 to 1853, William B. 
CoUins was post-master, and had the office on Main near Cedar street. 
From 1853 to 1861, D. D. Demarest was post-master, and the office was 
kept in his store, corner of Broadway and Burd street, now occupied by 
R. Gedney. 

In 1 86 1, Aaron L. Christie was appointed post-master by Lincoln, and 
held the office continuously till his death in July, 1880. His daughter, 
Sarah L. Christie, was then appointed, and held the office till July, 1885, 
when Orlando Humphrey was appointed. During the period while Mr. 
Christie was post-master, the office was moved several times. It was first 
opened on Broadway, on the spot where Hinton's stationery store now 

In 1869, a law rating offices according to their mail distribution was 
passed, the classes running from i to 4 ; Nyack was classed as third. In 
1878, the Nyack office was the largest in the County. Two southern 
mails were made up daily, and in summer, a northern mail was added, 
by tapping the Hudson River Railroad at Tarrytown. Besides these, a 
daily mail was made up for Piermont, Sparkill and stations up the" branch " 
of the Northern Railroad, and for Clarksville, New City, Haverstraw and 
Rockland Lake. The opening of the New York, West Shore & Buffalo 
Railroad led to the carrying of the mail for these inland towns by that 
road, and the business of the Nyack office was reduced. 

The first fire company was organized in Nyack, October 4th, 1834, 
and " Orangetown, No. i " was purchased. This first machine was a 
" bucket " engine^ worked by cranks. This engine was kept in service for 
a half century. It wks in use at the burning of the Arrow, and at every 
large fire since, and for eighteen years was the only engine in the village. 
Cornelius T. Smith was the first captain or foreman. In 1884, No. i 
Company bought a Button steam fire engine, and have obtained a new 
house in South Nyack, near the railroad station. " Mazeppa " Fire Com- 
pany, No. 2, was organized December 27th, 1852. The first officers were 
Wm. Perry, foreman; James Marks, assistant. In January, 1884, this 
Company bought a Silsby steam engine. A hose carriage was pur- 
chased in 1876. Mazeppa's old house was on Burd street, in the rear of 
the Commercial Building. Its present two-story brick building is on 
Main street, east of Broadway. 

January 29th, 1863, "Empire" Hook and Ladder Company, No. i 


was organized, and a truck house built at Upper Nyack. Geo. W. Baker 
was the first foreman ; Henry Palmer, the first assistant foreman. " Jackson " 
Engine Company, No. 3, was organized May 9th, 1867, with Charles G. 
Crawford, foreman, and James E. Smith, assistant. Re-organized May 
2d, 1882; George Gurnee was elected foreman, and James H. Christie, 
assistant. The machine is a hand engine, and the engine house stands 
on Jackson avenue. In September, 1880, "Jackson " Hose Company was 
organized, with Frank Outwater, foreman, and Henry Strack, assistant. 
The carriage was purchased in 1883. The chief engineer and his assistants, 
of the Nyack Fire Department, are elected for two years, under an act of 
Legislature passed in 1859. George Dickey is chief engineer at this time, 
with John Foley, first assistant, and August Gross, second assistant. 

The largest fires at Nyack have been, the burning of the Roman 
CathoHc Seminary in 1838; the Arrow, at the Nyack landing, in 1840, 
and again later; the Storm's Wooden- ware Factory, in 1856: Sickle's 
mill, in 1 865 ; Remsen's house, the barns of Isaac S. Lydecker and Garret 
Sarvent, and the factory corner of Railroad and De Pew avenues. Besides 
being at these fires, Nyack engines have been sent to Sing Sing, Tarry- 
town, Piermont, Rockland Lake and Tenafly to aid in fighting fires. 

Since the introduction of the telephone to the village an alarm gong 
has been placed on the truck house at Upper Nyack and connected widi 
the telephone office, as has the fire bell in Nyack. I think it proper here 
to relate a personal observation of the workings of the department. On 
November 21st, 1884, a barn was burned at Upper Nyack, two miles 
north of the Post office and a mile away from the nearest apparatus. The 
fire was discovered about eleven o'clock in the morning when every one 
was at work. The news of the fire was telephoned to Nyack by a neigh- 
bor, and, within twenty-five minutes from the discovery of the flames, an 
engine was on the spot, followed so rapidly by the rest of the department, 
that inside of forty-five minutes the whole apparatus was at the fire. Ac- 
customed, as I am, to the paid and drilled Metropolitan departments, I 
must express my pleased surprise at this wonderful celerity in the volun- 
teer department of a country village. 

The first school at Nyack, built before 1800, stood near the present 
reservoir on Main street. It was built of unhewn logs, the spaces between 
them being filled with clay, which, when dry, was impervious to wind or 
weather. The seats were rough slabs, taken from the saw mill, and had 
no backs ; the desks, also slabs, were raised but little higher than the seats. 
The name of the first teacher was Davenport. In 1806, a new school 
building, two stories in height, was erected on Broadway, a few feet south 


of the present post office. The school room of this building was down 
stairs, the second floor being used as a hall. In 1827, this building caught 
fire and was destroyed. It was rebuilt, but only one story high. In 1837, 
the school building was moved to its present situation. In 185 1, a new 
building was erected on the same site, and Archibald Stewart became 
teacher. In 1867, a large addition was built to the school, and it remained 
sufficiently large to accommodate its pupils till, in 1884; then another ad- 
dition became necessary and was built. 

School No. IX., at Upper Nyack, was organized in 1844, with Jacob 
Voorhis, George Green and John T. Demarest, as Trustees. The first 
building was erected in 1845, on a lot donated by Wm. Palmer, on the 
south side of the mountain road, a little distance east of the present Mid- 
land avenue. N. G. Spencer was the first teacher, and his salary was $25 
a quarter. In 1867, the school was repaired and an addition erected. 
Until 1884, this school was used ; then a lot was bought, west of Broad- 
way, in Upper Nyack, and a new frame building erected. This new house 
was first occupied in January, 1885 ; Garret Sarvent, J. P. Voris and Har- 
vey Gilchrist, Trustees. 

The records of the Rockland County Female Institute contain the fol- 
lowing entries : " A meeting of sundry gentlemen was convened by the 
Rev. B. VanZandt, pastor of the First Reformed, Protestant Reformed 
Dutch Church, of Nyack, at Union Hall, in the Village of Nyack, on Sat- 
urday evening, December 9th, 1854. The following persons were present : 
Simon V. Sickles, F. L. Nichols, John W. Ferdon, George Green, I. M. 
Dederer, Henry Oakes, D. D. Smith, Peter DePew, Thomas Burd, Tunis 
DePew, M. G. Leonard, D. D. Demarest, James Cooper, R. P. Eells, I. S. 
Lydecker and Rev. B. VanZandt. Simon V. Sickles was called to the 
Chair, with B. Van Zandt, Secretary." Among the Rules and Regula- 
rions for a Female Institute at length adopted, were the following : 

" The name of the institute shall be the Rockland County Female In- 
stitute ; the same to be under the government of a board of trustees, rep- 
resenting the different -religions of the county, one third of whom shall 
be elected annually by the shareholders." 

" The object of the institute shall be to provide the best facilities for a 
practical, thorough and complete female education, on the same system of 
instruction as is adopted in the female seminary at Mount Holyoke." The 
following people subscribed for the stock at $50 a share : 





S. V. Sickles, 


Isaac Sloat, 


M. S. Seymour, 


Peter DePew, - 


C. T. Smith, 


B. Van Zandt, - 


D. D. Smith, - 


Wm. B. Collins, 


H. E. Storms, 


M. G. Leonard, - 


J. W. Towt, 


I. W. Canfield, 


I. M. Dederer, 


P. H. Taulman, 


E. B. Johnson, 

- 2 

Henry Oakes, 


Wm. Naugle, 


James Coates, 

- 2 

Azariah Ross, 


C. Winters, 


Wm. Devoe, 


T. Smith Tallman, - 


Jesse Blackfan, 


James Westervelt, 


L. F. Fitch, 


S. V. Sickles, 


J. V. B. Johnson, 


Abram T. Bell, 


Geo. Green, 

■ - 4 

C. J. Blauvelt, - 


Rev. JaredWest, 


F. L. Nichols, 


Abram S. Crum, 


Peter Voorhis, - 


J. W. Ferdon, 


Edward Green, - 

- 10 

S. M. Huyler & Sisters 

1 - ID 

Thos. Burd, 

- lO 

J. C. Demarest, 


H. E. Storms, - 
Wm. E. White, 


D. D. Demarest, 
James Cooper, 

- 2 

Wm. H. Lee, - 






D. J. Blauvelt, 


J. J. Ackerson, 


R, De Cantillon, 


Wm. Dickey, 


E. E. Conklin, 


R. P. Eells, 


Silas Seymour, - 

- 10 

The building now known as the Tappan Zee House, was erected and 
opened August 28th, 1856, under the charge of Rev. B. Van Zandt. 
Simon V. Sickles, who had conceived the idea, who placed $10,000 in the 
stock of the school, and who gave it other and valuable aid, never lived to 
see the result of his life's ambition ; he died two days after the opening of 
the institution. 

Had Sickles lived to watch over and guide the career of his work, the 
result might have been different : as it was, the Institute in no particular 
fulfilled its founder's wish. Mount Holyoke Seminary was the design he 
aimed to follow ; but like many other grand designs, after the death of the 
artisan, who had planned and struggled, the current of this idea turned 

B. Van Zandt remained in charge of the Institute till January 27th, 
1858, when he was superceded by L. Delos Mansfield, who received his 
appointment March ist, 1858. For the first few years the finances of the 
institution were well managed, and every evidence of success was seen : 
then reverses and difficulties were encountered, which, when ended, left-the 
Institute the private property of Mansfield. For many years the institu- 
tion remained under Mansfield's management, but it never recovered from 
financial difficulties, and was finally closed. 

In 1858, Christopher Rutherford, opened a private school at Ny^ick, 
and in 1859-60, through his efforts the Military Academy was built for 
him and opened under the trusteeship of Richard De Cantillon, Wm. 
Prall, J. W. Towt and Wm. Aspinwall. In the excitement of the Civil 
War, military tactics were introduced in many institutions of learning, and 


to the literary schedule of his academy, Rutherford added the manual of 
arms. A man of great scholarly attainments, urbane and of fine presence ; 
a conscientious man and teacher ; there are many sons of Rockland, who 
look back to him with respect. Mr. Rutherford continued his labors till 
1870, the last year oppressed by the sufferings of Bright's disease, when 
he died, and the academy was closed. 

In 1876, the institution was again opened by W. H. Bannister, A. M., 
under the name of the Rockland College. In 1 878, the college was incor- 
porated under the Regents of the University of this State, with the follow- 
ing trustees : 

Hon. George M. Van Hoesen, President. 

Merritt E. Sawyer, D. D. Demarest, 

R. De Cantillon, I. W. Canfield, 

Wm. H. Jersey, M. W. De Baun, 

Hagerman Onderdonk, James D. Smith, 

D. F. Ackerson, J. H. Edwards, 

Edmund Ehlers, Andrew Fallon. 

Under its present management Rockland College furnishes educational 
facilities for both sexes. 

The number of private schools that have been established at different 
times in Nyack, is large and most of them have been well sustained. At 
present Willistine Hall, started 1881, by the Misses J. A. & J. Kempshall 
and since conducted by them, is situated at Upper Nyack. The Nyack 
Kindergarten, started in 1878, by Miss S. C. Robinson; and the school 
kept by Imogene Bertholf, are the principle private schools. 

The first public burial place at Nyack, was on the point north oi the 
" Bight " in South Nyack. When the first interment in this ground took 
place, is not known. The last body was buried there in 1834, and in 1873, 
the remains of those lying on the point were removed to Oak Hill Ceme- 
tery. About 1730, a place of sepulcher was started on the Mountain Road, 
in Upper Nyack, west of Broadway. There lie many of the early settlers in 
the Nyack Valley, and the names of the Sarvents, Perrys, Snedekers, 
Palmers and Knapps, can still be deciphered. There were buried Major 
John L. Smith, who died August 22d, 1797, and his brother. Captain 
Auri Smith, officers in the War for Independence. The last body was in- 
terred at this spot about 1 867. In 1 800, the Presbyterian Cemetery was 
started, and used for a place of entombment till 1850, when the last body 
was deposited there. In 1869, the bodies were removed to Oak Hill 
Cemetery. In 18 10, burial was permitted on a lot of the farm of Joha 


Gesner, in the present South Nyack, and shortly after a negro burial 
ground was opened on the property of M. Cornelison, near the same spot, 
but little is known of the interments at these places. Another place of 
burial for negroes was on the south side of the Mountain Road in Upper 
Nyack, immediately west of the old school building and between it and 
Midland avenue. At the time the Roman Catholic College was being 
built at Upper Nyack, in 1832, on property now belonging to George 
Green, a chapel was opened in the rear of an old house, that stood north 
of and nearer the road than the present residence. In the yard attached 
to this chapel several of the laborers, who died while the college was being 
built, were interred. After the college was burned and the property 
abandoned ; most of these bodies were removed. 

The necessity of establishing a universal cemetery at Nyack was much 
discussed in 1847, and in February, 1848, a meeting of the citizens of 
Nyack was called, for a public consideration of the subject. The idea 
was approved, and the present site, then the property of D. D. Smith, 

On June 27th, 1848, Oak Hill Cemetery was dedicated in the presence 
of three thousand people, two -thirds of whom were from New York. City. 
The exercises began at one o'clock, with a prayer by the Rev. Mr. Dow- 
ling, followed by an anthem sung by a choir under the direction of Mr. 
Baldwin, choirister of the Carmine street church. The Rev. Mr. Dunbar 
and the Rev. Dr. Adams then delivered eloquent addresses. The dedica- 
tion service was then performed by Rev. Dr. Hardenberg. At the close 
of the dedicatory service, the Hon. Hugh Maxwell delivered an appro- 
priate oration, which was followed by a second anthem ; a prayer by the 
Rev. Mr. Hageman and the benediction by the Rev. Mr. Dewing. The 
Rev. Dr. Dewitt presided at the meeting. 

Under its original organization, D. D. Smith was proprietor of Oak 
Hill Cemetery, and Thomas Burd, Isaac P. Smith and Jones F. Conklin 
the first Trustees, with John Mace of 75 Carmine street, Superintendent. 

Up to March 17th, 1865, •diis place of burial remained the property of 
D. D. Smith, and such adjacent land as was purchased and added to the 
grounds was also vested in his name. Under this arrangement, D. D. 
Smith received four-fifths of the purchase money obtained from the sale 
of lots, while one-fifth was retained by the trustees for the improvement of 
the grounds. On the date in 1865, above mentioned, a special act was 
passed by the Legislature incorporating the cemetery. By the ternts of 
this act, D. D. Smith transferred all of the unsold land in the cemetery to 


the trustees and with them fixed a price on the unsold lots. Of this price 
Smith was to receive seventy-five per cent. 

In 1850, the number of lot owners in Oak Hill was one hundred and 
fifty, the -price of a lot $25, and that of a grave from $4 to $6. In 1870,. 
the number buried in this cemetery was 1,827, and by October 12th, 
1885, the number had reached 4,415. 

The Rockland County National Bank was opened for business June 
23, i860, on the south-east corner of Court street and Smith Place with 
the following Board of Directors. 

Isaac P. Smith, President. 
A. D. Morford, Cashier. 
Isaiah Milburn, D. D. Smith, 

Tunis Smith Wm. Voorhis, 

C. A. Morford, Wm. R. Knapp, 
George Conklin, ^ A. J. Storms, 

D. J. Blauvelt, H. I. Haight, 
Wm. Skelly, I. M. Dederer, 
John Peck, C. A. Fellows, 

E. V. Haughwart. 

After the passage of the National Bank Act of February, 1863, this 
institution became a National Bank with a capital of $100,000. In 1866, 
D. J. Blauvelt was elected President in place of Isaac P. Smith deceased. 
The bank continued on the corner before mentioned for some years, and 
was then removed to the corner of Broadway and Burd street, in the 
Commercial Building. Through bad management in its loans and the 
peculation of employees, the funds of the bank were exhausted, and while 
on Dec. 29th, 1877, the Bank statement showed a capital of $100,000 and 
a surplus of $40,000, on Dec. 28th, 1878 it suspended payment. 

This action was hastened by the failure of the North River & New 
York Steamboat Co., which was indebted to the bank in the sum of 
$27,575.00, and of the firm of D. D. Smith, Jr. & Co. who had been 
loaned both as a firm and as individuals about $100,000. The failure, 
following closely on that of the Rockland Savings Bank, caused much 
feeling against the officers of the National Bank, who were generally be- 
lieved to have been guilty of, to use the mildest term, gross carelessness. 
The stockholders finally decided that a voluntary liquidation was their 
best way out of the difficulty, and under the management of the late 
President the affairs of the bank were settled, paying to the stockholders 
in all four and one-quarter cents on the dollar. The Directors at the 
time of the bank's failure were : 

■ 3SO 

D. J. Blauvelt, President. 

A. D. Morford, Cashier. 
John W, Towt, Moses G. Leonard, 

Isaac S. Lydecker, I. M. Dederer, 

Arnet Seaman, Nicholas Blauvelt. 

The Rockland Savings Bank was incorporated April 14th, 1871, and 
opened for business July ist, 1871, with the following Board of Directors: 

S. W. Canfield, President. 
R. P. Eells, Secretary and Treasurer. 
A. A. Demarest, Isaac Pye, 

John B. Gurnee, Isaac Hart, 

N. C. Blauvelt, E. B. Weston, 

John Wessel, W. E. White, 

S. B. Cole, James C. Wool, 

S. H. Doughty, Wm. H. Whiton. 

James Ketchel. 

The Bank continued in existence till July ist, 1877, when a receiver 
was appointed and the affairs of the bank wound up with a loss of $38,000. 
The President and Treasurer of the bank were indicted by the Grand Jury 
on several counts and were acquitted. Civil suits were then brought 
against them and pressed for some time, but with no result. 

The Directors of the bank at the time of its failure were : 

S. W. Canfield, President. 

R. P Eells, Treasurer and Secretary. 

A. A. Demarest, Isaac Pye, 

Wm. B Collins, J. W. Moison, 

N. C. Blauvelt, E. B. Weston, 

John Wessel, Wm. E. White, 

S. B. Cole, Jas. C. Wool, 

S. H. Doughty, Wm. H. Whiton, 

Jno. I. Polhemus, Abr. P. Smith. 

The effect of these failures, while most disasterous to Nyack at first, 
seems to have been a blessing in disguise, inasmuch as it has banished 
from the leading places of that village men who had obtained public con- 
fidence without deserving it, and whose methods delayed the growth of 
the town. 

The Nyack National Bank was incorporated in March, 1878, with a 
capital of $50,000, and. began business in the building formerly occupied 


"by the Rockland County National Bank, corner of Broadway and Burd 
street. The first Board of Directors were : 

Wm. C. Moore, President. 

C. A. Chapman, Cashier. 

S. R. Bradley, Quentin McAdams, 

Rudolph Lexow, William Voorhis, 

J. Weddle, George C. Stephens, 

Peter K. Knapp. 

During the year 1872, a number of the men at that time prominent 
in Nyack affairs, began the discussion of incorporating the village of Nyack, 
under a general act for the incorporation of villages passed by the Legisla- 
ture April 20th, 1 870. The original intention of those who led in this 
movement, was to include the present village of Upper Nyack, and to 
extend southerly beyond the present south bounds of South Nyack. 
Their design, as expressed among themselves, was to use the taxes ob- 
tained from the outlying sections of the incorporated village, in the imme- 
diate streets of the town, and to out vote the few tax-payers at a distance 
by those who were benefited. This design was early suspected by Garret 
Sarvent, of Upper Nyack, but for some time the suspicions were uncon- 

It came to pass, however, that positive proof of the intention of those 
who were at work in Nyack was put in the possession of a resident in the 
upper village, and the people of that place decided to incorporate the vil- 
lage of Upper Nyack. With this object in view, preparations were made 
as rapidly and secretly as possible, and on September 28th, 1872, the vil- 
lage of Upper Nyack was incorporated, only twenty- five days before 
Nyack. The bounds of this village are : The Hudson River on the east ; 
the division line between Clarks and Orangetowns on the south; the 
mountain on the north, and on the west, by the middle of Highland avenue 
from the southern division line to the Mountain Road, and from thence 
by a line running north-east till it reaches the north boundary a few feet 
east of Midland avenue. 

The first officers of the newly incorporated village, elected September 
28th, 1872, were: 

Garret Sarvent, President. 

Charles A. Fellows, William H. Jersey, 

Peter Voorhis. 
Wm. H. Kipp, Collector. Isaac V. Smith, Treasurer. 

D. M. Clark was appointed Clerk. 


The term of office for the first officers lasted only till March 19th, 1873, 
when, at the annual election the same Board was returned. In the elec- 
tions that have since occurred, Garret Sarvent has been returned to the 
office of President, a position he has thus held consecutively for over 
twelve years. 

Under its new government the streets of Upper Nyack have been 
macadamized, and Broadway lighted by oil lamps. The low rate of taxes 
has drawn to it the main office of the Union Steamboat Company, and 
for a short time, the Pacific Mail Company. The post-office at Upper 
Nyack was established in August, 1885, with George C. Stephens, post- 

The vote on the question of incorporating Nyack was given on October 
23d, 1872. The total number of ballots cast was 484, of which 292 were 
for, and 192 against incorporation. The first officers elected were D. D. 
Demarest, President — who had 341 votes to 1 86 for T. Blanch Smith — 
David L. Crane, Isaac Vervalen, Charles E. Hunter, Trustees ; William 
B. Collins, Treasurer ; Isaac W. Canfield, Collector ; William T. B. Storms, 
Clerk. As in the case of Upper Nyack, these gentlemen only held office 
till the annual election, March 19th, 1873. At that time, D. D. Demarest 
was re-elected by 367 votes as against 38 for T. Blanch Smith, and 8 
scattering ; William H. H. Purdy was elected a Trustee in place of 
Charles E. Hunter ; and J. De Baun, Collector, in place of Isaac W. Can- 

Under the first administration, from October 23d, 1872, till March 
19th, 1873, from fifty to seventy-five oil lamps were purchased and placed 
on the streets, and Smith Place and Burd street from the steamboat dock 
to Broadway, Broadway, from De Pew avenue to Main street; Main street 
to Franklin avenue, and Franklin to the old railroad station, were 
covered with crushed stone. 

In the election held March i8th, 1874, T. Blanch Smith was elected 
President by a vote of 346 as against 215 votes cast for D. D. Demarest. 
James E. Smith, C. De Baun, J. I. Polhemus, Charles E. Hunter and 
George A. Cox were chosen Trustees; William B. Collins, Treasurer; 
Stephen De Clark, Collector; William T. B. Storms, Clerk.; and Charles 
J. Crawford, Police Justice — Crawford declined to serve and Charles H. 
Meeker was appointed. 

This year Broadway was macadamized with lime stone, from Upper 
Nyack to the bridge near Hudson avenue and graded at First avenue. 
De Pew and First avenues were graded from Franklin avenue to Broad- 
way. The election in March, 1875, resulted in the choice of T. Blanch 


Smith, President, with a few scattering votes against him ; James E. 
Smith, C. Debaun, D. A. Ackerman, C. C. Powell, Abr. L. Smith, 
Trustees. Wm. B. Collins, Treasurer; Alonzo Johnson, Collector; 
Peter Stephens, Police Justice ; Wm. T. B. Storms, Clerk. In April, 
T. Blanch Smith died and ' Wm. B. Collins was elected by the Board of 
Trustees to the position of President while George Collins was appointed 

Meantime the fate which Upper Nyack had escaped, was falling heav- 
ily on the lower portion of the village. The heavy tax-payers claimed 
that they were the sufferers, while the non-taxpayers out- voted them, and 
at length they presented a petition to the Trustees asking that a meeting 
be called to determine whether the village should remain incorporated or 
not. This petition was denied. The petitioners then appealed to the law, 
and obtained a mandamus from the Supreme Court to compel the Trustees 
to call a meeting. On the day appointed, however, an injunction was 
served on the Trustees to prevent the election. 

In March, 1876, Wm. B. Collins was chosen President by a vote of 357 
as against 168 for D. D. Demarest ; Jno. A. Sickles and A. L. Smith, Trust- 
ees, in place of C. C. Powell and A. L. Smith ; Orlando Humphrey, 
Treasurer; Peter Stephens, Police Justice ; Wm. T. B. Storms, Clerk, 
and J. G. Perry, Collector. Perry refused to serve and J. C. R. Eckerson 
was appointed in his place. Little was done by the Board except to com- 
bat the anti-corporationists, who accused it of criminal extravagance and 
corrupt motives, while they constantly endeavored to force a vote on the 
question of annulling the incorporation. To the charge, the Board re- 
plied, that they were unjustly blamed for the acts of previous Boards, 
while in the Legislature they attempted to obtain a repeal of the law by 
which citizens were allowed to vote upon the question of a continuance of 
a corporation. 

In the election held March, 1877, Tunis De Pew received 172 votes for 
President as against 169 for Wm. B. Collins; J. N. Perry, Garret Blauvelt, 
and George Dickey, were elected Trustees ; Orlando Humphrey, Treas- 
urer; Charles J. Crawford, Collector; Peter Stephens, Police Justice; 
Charles H. Meeker, Clerk. Tunis De Pew refused to serve, and Wm. B. 
Collins was declared President. Blauvelt and Dickey refused to serve, 
and C. C. Powell was elected in their places. The anti-corporationists 
had labored constantly, and, at length, compelled the Board of Trustees to 
call a meeting, at which the question should be settled. August 7th, 
1877, was appointed; and on counting the ballots there were found 71 
for incorporation, 282 against. On February 7th, 1878, the first incor- 


porated village of Nyack passed from existence, with Wm. B. Collins, 
President; and C. C. Powell, J. N. Perry, A. L. Smith, J. A. Sickles, 
Trustees. With the exception of some hydrants, the remains of a few 
street lamps, and a book-case, the village possessed nothing. The Treas- 
urer reported that he had transferred $ioo, which was in the treasury, to 
the Supervisor ; and the Collector reported the amount of unpaid taxes 
as $2,000. 

Before the end -of the incorporated village, two suits had been begun 
against it, one of which was settled by the Trustees ; the other was that 
of John J. Blauvelt, for damage caused to his property by the grading of 
De Pew avenue. 

On May 25th, 1878, the citizens of South Nyack decided to incorpor- 
ate the district bounded on the north by Cedar Hill avenue; south, by 
the south line of the property of the late C. T. Smith; west, by the old 
Nyack patent line. At the first election held, June 22d, 1878, Garret 
Van Nostrand was elected President; John G. Perry, R. J. Lyeth, G. D. 
Wilson, Trustees; Wm. C. Moore, Treasurer; T. D. Seaman, Collector, 
and C. H. Meeker, Clerk. During the winter of 1882-3, an attempt was 
made to extend the limit of South Nyack as far north as De Pew avenue, 
and a petition was presented to the Board of Supervisors to that effect. 
But the people of Nyack regarded this as an attempt to obtain the school 
building and opposed the movement vigorously. The matter ended by 
the Supervisors denying the right of petition. On February 27th, 1883, 
the village of Nyack was re- incorporated, and at. the first election Wm. De 
Groot was chosen President ; John A. Burke, E. B. Sipple, George F. 
Morse, Trustees; Nicholas Blauvelt, Treasurer; G. W. Hart, Collector; 
and Edw. H. Cole, Clerk. 

Gas was first introduced in the village by the Nyack and Warren Gas 
Light Company, which was incorporated November, 1859, I- W. Canfield, 

The gas works were built in their present location, and the first mains 
laid in the same year. Later, Hon. William Voorhis bought out the 
works and became President. The Nyack Water Works Company was 
chartered March 28th, 1873, through the efforts of Hon. William Voorhis, 
its President. The first reservoir, standing east of Hillside avenue, prov- 
ing insufficient to meet the demands, a second was built near the Pros- 
pect House, followed by a third on Main street, near the ice house. The 
supply being still insufficient, Mr. Voorhis tapped the Hackensack near 
the turnpike bridge in 1883, and by means of a powerful steam pump, 
forced the water up to his reservoir. By this procedure an unfailing sup- 
ply is guaranteed. 


On October 28th, 1883, the Westchester Telephone Company opened 
an office in the Commercial Building, Broadway and Burd street, with E. 
E. Blauvelt, Manager. The Nyack Comet Band was organized in No- 
vember, 1879, Frederick Noll being its first leader. 

The first public hall in Nyack was on the second floor of the school, 
built in 1 806. From the time of the destruction of this building by fire 
in 1827, till the building of Union Hall by R. P. Eells in 1853, no place 
of public resort existed. Such lectures, concerts or other amusements 
as were heard in the village took place in the Presbyterian church, or in 
a little building that stood on Main street, and the speeches of political 
campaigns or Independence Day were generally made in De Pew's Grove, 
which stood just south of De Pew avenue, and stretched from the present 
school to Franklin avenue. Within two score years celebrations have 
been held in that grove, of which now, but a few trees remain. 

Union Hall, standing on the north side of Main street, just west of 
Broadway, was at once a success. There, were held the various fornis of 
amusement, that appealed to the taste and pocket books of the villagers, 
for many years. There, were heard the first words of ominous import 
which betokened the approaching storm of civil war. There, during that 
war, met the Union men of the village, and that branch of the Loyal 
League established in Nyack ; and there, when the Nyack Veterans re- 
turned at the close of the war, was a public reception given them. 

In 1869, the Smith's closed the second floor of their store at the steam- 
boat dock and turned it into a public hall, under the name of Smithsonian 
Hall. This resort remained open, until the failure of the firm in 1878 led 
to a transfer of the property. In 1873, Louis Hoffer, built a hall on De- 
Pew near Franklin avenues, 40 by 90 feet, and with seating capacity for 
600 people, which he named the Nyack Opera House. In i88i, Hon. 
Wm. Voorhis opened a hall, corner of Main street and Broadway, 40 by 
100 feet, and with seating room for 585 people, which he named Voorhis 
Hall. In 1868, the wigwam was opened by A L. Christie, on the corner 
of Broadway and Church street, and used as a public hall for several years. 
In this building Horace Greeley spoke during the campaign of 1868. 

The Rockland County Journal was established at Nyack by Wm. G. 
Haeselbarth, in 1850, the first copy appearing Saturday, August 3d, as a 
twenty-eight column 19 by 36 inch paper. The first three editions were 
printed in New York City. Up to 1861, the paper favored the Demo- 
cratic Party, but on the first attempt at disunion, it entered upon the 
cause of the government. With fearless incision, Haeselbarth attacked 
the disloyal and drew upon himself and paper threats of vengeance. He 


was supported heartily in his course by the Republicans of Nyack, how- 
ever, and the organization of the Loyal League, allayed the fierce desire 
for destruction that pervaded the more rampant members of the opposi- 

In 1 867, the Journal was bought by John Charlton, and the steam 
press was introduced by him in 1873. At a later period the paper was 
enlarged to eight pages and during 1882-83, a sixteen page paper was 
issued. In 1859, Robert Carpenter, foreman of the Journal, left that office 
and on May 19th, of that year brought out the first issue of the People's 
Advocate. The second issue bore the same title, but ere the third was 
issued, Carpenter had formed a partnership with Wm. Wirt Sikes, later an 
U. S. Consul, and the name of the paper was changed to City and Country. 
This business arrangement continued till Sikes left the concern and the 
paper remained in the hands of Carpenter. Until 1868, the paper was 
independent in politics. Then it took up the principles of the Democratic 
Party, and has adhered to them since. 

In 1880, Carpenter died, and E. C. Fisk took the management of the 
paper. In 1881, Fisk and J. J. Hart, purchased the paper and it con- 
tinued in their hands till September 20th, 1883, when Fisk became 
sole proprietor and editor. In November 1884, a stock company bought 
the paper and now controls it. In 1 867, the Monthly Gazette was started 
by C. A. Morford, Jr., but had only a brief existence. On February 14th, 
1879, the Rockland Advertiser was started by M. F. Onderdonk, with 
four pages, fourteen inch columns. In a short time H. G. Knapp, took 
charge, and conducted the paper under the name of the Rockland Adver- 
tiser, and Chronicle till September 1881 Then Lafayette Markle, ob- 
tained the paper and has since managed it under the name of the Nyack 

The Tappan Zee Boat Club was organized in 1871, and obtained a 
barge, gig, six-oared shell, besides many private boats. The shed used 
as a boat house by this club stood at the foot of Spier street, on the north 
side of the present boat house, and the upper part was used by Chas. 
Haines, boat builder. The club passed from existence in 1879. The 
Nyack Rowing Association was organized in May 1881, with J. H. Blau- 
velt, President ; Alex. Pollock, Vice President ; Edw. Merritt, Treasurer. 
The boat house, on the remains of the old steamboat dock foot of Spier 
street, was built and opened June 15th, 1882. 

Oneko Lodge, No. 346, I. O. O. F., was organized March 28th, 1848,. 
with the following officers and charter members : J. N. Johnson, N. G.; 
S. Gesner, V. G.; Jno. Tfurnbull, Sec'y.; W. B. Collins, Treasurer; Henry 


Gesner, A. A. Lydecker, P. Baker and W. Bedell. In August 1867, the 
number of the lodge was changed to 122. Rockland Encampment, No. 
37, I. O. O. F. was instituted August 21st, 1867, with Thos. Lawrence, 
C. P.; W. B. Collins, H. P.; Nelson Puff, S. W.; John H. Blauvelt, Scribe; 
N. Blauvelt, Treasurer ; George H. Cooke, O. H. Dutcher, L. W. Coates ; 
C. D. Snedeker and T. Campbell. Ruth Rebekah Degree, No. 4, I. O. 
O. F. was organized December 30th, 1869, with Nelson Puff, N. G.; Mrs. 
J. Perry, V. G.; Mrs. James Ketchell, Secretary; Patience E. Cook, 

. Rockland Lodge, No. 723, F. & A. M., held its first communication 
July loth, 1872; the charter being granted June 4th, 1873. The first 
officers were: Charles H. Wessels, W. M.; Charles H. Meeker, S. W.; T. 
Blanch Smith, J. W.; J. H. Blauvelt, Treasurer; George H. Cook, Secre- 
tary; Stephen De Clark, Tyler. Nyack Division, No. 203, S. & D. of T., 
was organized June 12th, 1867, with Christopher Rutherford, Worthy 

Waldron Post, No. 26, G. A. R., was organized May 24th, 1867, and 
named in honor of Towt J. Waldron ; the first Commander was Jas. H. 
Christie. The charter ©f the Post was surrendered in 1875. On January 
30th, 1879, the Post was re-organized as No. 82, with Robert Avery, 
Commander. John Hancock Post, No. 253, G. A. R., was organized in 
January, 1882, with George F. Morse, Commander, and thirty members. 
Post Silliman was organized July 21st, 1880, with twenty members. The 
first Commander wasW. H. Myers. The Post had the honor of being the 
first composed of colored veterans in the State. The Jewish Society, of 
Nyack, was organized in March, 1 870, with A. M. Brown, President ; 
Isidore Senigaglia, Vice-President ; Robert Seigel, Secretary ; N. M. 
Kosch, Treasurer. 

Besides these societies, there are in Nyack : The Choral Society, or- 
ganized January 12th, 1880; The National Provident Union, May 2d, 
1883; Rockland County Branch, A. S. P. C. A., September 24th, 1875 ; 
Rockland County Society, Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 1884; The 
Orangetown Law and Order Society, organized February 19th, 1884, with 
Garret Van Nostrand, President ; Seth B. Cole and William Best, Vice- 
Presidents ; Howard Van Buren, Secretary.; John H. Blauvelt, Treasurer. 
The Nyack Helping Hand Association was organized October 2d, 
1882, with George F. Morse, Superintendent; Mrs. J. G Partridge and 
Wm. Lydecker, Assistant Superintendents ; Charles Theis, Secretary ; 
Mrs. J. M. Ackerman, Assistant Secretary; Mrs. Alexander Hudson, 
Treasurer; Mrs. C. F. Randolph, Assistant Treasurer. This association 


grew out of the charitable labor of the benevolent citizens of Nyack, and 
was intended to work still greater good by united effort. In the year 
ending November ist, 1884, this association had received $414.04, and 
expended $307.76.. It had helped 41 families and 137 individuals, and 
given relief to 123 individuals. Beside money, it received large dona- 
tions of food supphes, clothing, coal and medicines. 


The early settlers on the Orange Town patent made the creek or slote 
nowknown as Sparkill their outlet, and, in the progress of time, one of them 
built a mill upon it, in which, as necessity demanded, a mercantile business 
was carried on. The dam, belon'ging to the old mill, became the head of 
navigation on the slote, and, by the dam at the spot where Haddock's 
store now stands, was the Tappan Landing, the first port of entry in the 

In this old mill a store was opened long before the Revolution, by 
Abraham Mabie, who kept it till the close of that war. About 1783, this 
store came into the possession of Major Abraham Taulman, who managed 
it till his death in 1835, when it passed into the possession of his sons. 

During this period the name of Tappan as applied to the spot gradu- 
ally ceased to be heard, and the place was either spoken of as the Landing 
or Taulman's Landing, the point outside of it being called Taulman's 
Point. This name continued till the building of the N. Y. & Erie Rail- 
road in 1839, when Dr. Lord, combining the name of the long pier built 
for that corporation, with the mountainous nature of the surrounding 
country, called it Piermont. At the same time the Sparkill, which had 
theretofore been commonly spoken of as the slote or creek, received its 
present name. 

The nature of the valley of the Sparkill is such, that but two main 
roads can exist and the opening of those from the south must have been 
contemporaneous with the settlement of the Landing. On the north, the 
road was probably opened as soon as settlement along the river bank 

Major Taulman continued business in the old mill till 1805, when a 
new building was erected for a store. We have seen that at his death the 
store passed into the hands of his sons. They continued the business till 
1856, when they sold out to John Myers who kept the store for a year. 
In 1857, Roger Haddock bought Myers out and began business. He 
remained in the old building till 1876, when he moved into a new store 
that he had had built the .previous year. This new building is of brick. 


three stories in height and 40x88 feet in size. One of the floors of this 
building is used as a public hall and is known as Haddock's Hall. 

Beside the store and grist mill at the landing proper, a saw and grist 
mill was erected further up the slote, early in this century, by John Moore, 
a negro, on property purchased from a Mrs. Graham. In 18 10, Moore 
added to this business by starting a carding mill, which gave employment 
to three men. In 18 15, William Ferdon bought Moore out, put improved 
machinery in the mill, and for many years ran it successfully as a woolen 
factory. In i860, he rebuilt the structure, added still further improve- 
ments in machinery and let it to parties from Paterson, N. J. The mill 
changed hands once or twice in the next few years, and was finally de- 
stroyed by fire. At one time fifteen people found employment in this 
factory, spinning yarn and making blankets. 

It may not be amiss to say a word further regarding John Moore. 
His trade was that of building mill wheels, and, among others constructed 
by him, was the wheel for De Pew's mill, which stood on the site now oc- 
cupied by Grant's flock mill in Nyack. He was also a partner of Mr. De 
Pew for some time, and was regarded as an intelligent, upright man. His 
daughter, Mrs. Sisco, and grand-daughter, Mrs. James West, are now 
living on Piermont avenue in Nyack. 

After the building of steamboats, a dock was run out at the mouth of 
the present Sparkill and it was there that the Orange landed, and that the 
Rockland was built. When the long pier was constructed, little further 
use was found for the old wharf and it gradually went to decay. 

The post office at this place answered for both the Landing and Tap- 
pan and seemed to have been kept part of the time in one place and part 
in another. On March 2Sth, 18 15, Philip Dubey, was appointed post- 
master, and the name of the office was Orange. Dubey then owned the 
'^6 House. On May 28th, 1830, Morris Bartow was made postmaster. 
April 9th, 1834, Peter H. Taulman became postmaster, and the name of 
the office was changed to Slote. This change lasted for only a few days, 
and on April 30th, 1834, we again find the name of the office, Tappan. 
Finally, June 26th, 1839, the name of the office became Piermont. After 
•Taulman, David Clark became postmaster, April 28th, 1848, and he has 
been followed by S. A. Jessup, May 15th, 1867 ; John B. Wandle, May 
17th, 1872; and Richard Wandle, January 13th, 1881. In 1872, May 
13th, Sparkill, which up to 1870, bore the name of Upper Piermont, was 
given a separate office with Isaac A. Spencer, as postmaster. He was 
succeeded May 5th, 1880, by Lucretia Spencer. 


The first schoolhouse at Piermont was built early in the century, and 
stood on the east side of the creek, on the road to Palisades. The lower 
part of the building was of stone, which was whitewashed, the upper part 
was wood, painted red. This building remained in use till 1845, when it 
was succeeded by a new frame house. In the course of time, the demands 
upon the facilities of the schoolhouse led to its enlargement. No further 
change was made till 1884, when the present school building was erected 
at an expense of $5 ,000. 

The growth of Piermont depended entirely on the opening of the Erie 
Railroad, the location of its eastern terminus at this place, and the building 
of the locomotive and car works. On the withdrawal of this industry, 
the village began to decline. For an account of the building of the Erie 
■Road, the reader is referred to Chapter XII. In due course of time, two 
round houses, a machine, car and paint shop, foundry, planing mills and 
the -Other structures needed at a railway terminus were constructed here, 
the total number of buildings covering at least four acres. This was the 
period of Piermont's greatest prosperity, and in i860, her population 
reached 2,426. In 1852, the directors of the Erie Road, having had that 
clause in their charter, which prevented them from running in New Jersey 
repealed, made the eastern terminus of the road at Pavonia. After this, 
their works were gradually removed to that place, the large round house 
and other buildings were destroyed by fire, and at length, the few remain- 
ing structures were taken down, and disposed of in various ways. A 
newspaper item in January, 1 862 tells us, that one-half of the inhabitants, 
and many buildings had already gone, and the remainder were to be 
moved before spring. 

Until the opening of the Nyack spur of the road in 1870, Piermont re- 
mained the terminus for passengers and freight on the Northern Railroad, 
but since that time, it has gradually fallen into a condition of decrepitude, 
from which there appears to be no relief 

The village of Piermont was incorporated in 1850. The first oflScials 
consisted of Peter H. Taulman, President ; J. G. Blauvelt, James A. Hop- 
son, S. S Post and J. I. Walsh, Trustees ; and Cornelius Hoffman, Clerk. 
Following P. H. Taulman, the Presidents of the village have been : James 
Westervelt, 1853; J. G. Blauvelt, 1854; John R. Baker, 1856; David 
Clark, 1857; Andrew Fallon, 1858; John W. Blauvelt, 1865; Andrew 
Fallon, 1866; Marcus Hoffman, 1867; John B. Wandle, 1868; Richard 
V. D. Wood, 1871 ; John Van Orden, 1873 ; Roger Haddock, 1882. The 
corporate limits cover an area two miles long and one and a half wide. 

The Fire Department was organized in 1852, with James Westervelt 


as Chief. The first machine — Empire No. i, and the engine house were 
the property of the Erie Railroad Company. Protection Company, No. 
I, was organized in 1856, with David Cole as Chief This company dis- 
banded in 1878. Besides the destructive fires in the Erie Companies' 
buildings, the fire department has had an unusually large number of serious 
fires to combat. Perhaps the most disasterous conflagration was that which 
started at an early hour on the morning of November 20th, 1861. Flames 
were first discovered in Van Voorhis' meat market. The water supply 
gave out in a short time, and the following buildings were consumed : H. 
Cooper's two-story frame house ; I. Van Voorhis' market drying house and 
barn, sheds, etc.; N. H. Lusk, two-story building and barn; A. L. Brown's 
clothing store; F. Bemhardy's drug store; Jacob Wagner's saloon; a 
building forty by thirty feet belonging to J. V. B. Johnson ; a two-story 
building belonging to the Judge Blauvelt estate; the building used by 
Jacob Harrison as a clothing store, and the store and dwelling of Moses 

-Among the societies, social and secret, in Piermont, may be named: 
Piermont Lodge, No. 83, I. O. of O. F., which was organized February 
1st, 1843, with William DeVoe, N. G.; D. A. Mabie, V. G.; John J. 
Lawrence, Secretary; John B. Wandle, Treasurer. 

Wawayanda Lodge, No. 315, F. & A. M., was organized in June, 
1853, with D. B. Parsons, W. M.; R. H. Black, S. W.; E. G. Bennett, J. 
W.; John Randall, Treasurer; D. C. Noe, Secretary Levi F. Ward, S. 
D.; John R. Baker, J. D. 

Rockland Chapter, No. 204, R, A. M., was organized in April, 1867, 
with John Van Orden, Jr., H. P.; W. L. Lawrence, K.; W. S. Van Hou- 
ten, S.; Sumner Sturtevant, C. of H.; John W. Hutton, P. S.; D. Crans- 
ton, R. A. C; A. Smith, M. 3d V.; J. W. VerValen, M. 2d V.; S. D. 
Clark, M. ist V.; J.J.Lawrence, Secretary; A D. Onderdonk, Treasurer. 
American Legion of Honor, Rockland Council, No. 491, was organized 
in April, 1881, with F. B. Wright, Commander; L. G. Clark, Vice-Com- 
mander; L E. GiUies, Secretary; Geo. Pierson, Jr., Collector; George 
A. Knapp, Treasurer ; Ward Phillips, Guide ; G. V. A. Blauvelt, Warden ; 
J. W. Adriance, Sentry ; E. G. Tucker, Past Commander. 

The Law and Order Association, of Piermont, was organized in Feb- 
ruary, 1884, with Hon. John W. Ferdon, President; L M. Dederer and 
Cornelius Auryansen, Vice-Presidents ; R. Haddock, Treasurer, and T. 
M. Peck, Secretary. 

The Piermont Rowing Association was organized in October, 1879, 
with E. N. Whiton, President; L. G. Clark, Vice-President; F. B. Wright, 


Secretary : G. A. Knapp, Treasurer ; J. A. Styles, Captain; A. X. Fallon, 
Lieutenant. During the winter of 1879-80 a fine boat house was built. 

In 1847, Eleazer Lord, LL. D., gave two hundred acres of land, at the 
point of the mountain near the present Sparkill, for the purpose of a ceme- 
tery, which he named Rockland Cemetery. At the time of this donation, 
the Erie Railway had its eastern terminus at Piermont : that place was an 
already populous and growing village, and the grant of land for public 
sepulture was not only a kind, but also a necessitous act. But another 
purpose was intended by Mr. Lord beside that of creating a merely local 
place for interment. The situation of his donation, on the main line of 
travel to and from a growing city, led him to expect this place for burial 
would be used by the inhabitants of New York. Greenwood had been in- 
corporated barely nine years, and was far more difficult of access than 
Piermont ; and the local church-yards in the metropolis were already 
over crowded. 

The change of the Erie Railroad route, that caused the decline of 
Piermont, left Rockland Cemetery far from the line of travel. The ground 
became overgrown with weeds, and was a picture of desolation. In 1880, 
a change was worked through the efforts of William H. Whiton, Andros 
B. Stone, George S. Coe, Jose M. Munez, John W. Ferdon, and others, 
the cemetery was again placed in excellent order at a large cost. Most 
prominent among the spots of interest in this beautiful place for burial is 
Mount Nebo, upon which an observatory fifty feet in height has been 
erected, from which an extensive view can be had. The height above the 
sea on this observatory is 750 feet. 

Among the many mad acts perpetrated in the southeastern part of our 
County, during the era of real estate speculation, from 1870 to 1876, was 
one incorporating the Sparkill Creek Canal Company.. The redundancy 
of this name should have been sufficient to kill the project. This corpora- 
tion was formed for the purpose of opening a canal from the New Jersey 
line, where the Sparkill crosses it, to the Hudson River. The capital was 
fixed at $100,000, and the incorporators were: John W. Ferdon, Hiram 
Slocum, Luciel Saniel, Ambrose Girandat, Isaac Smith Homans, Jr., H. 
G. Torrey, A. A. Demarest, J. V. B. Johnson, Walter Phelps, D. W. 
Kipp, C. Auryansen, Roger Haddock. Further than the passage of the 
act by the Legislature, on May 2d, 187 1, the project never advanced. 

Ere leaving the subject of Piermont it seems proper to speak of the 
road side cave or mine hole, a short distance from Haddock's store. This 
presents an excavation of two passage ways ; the one extending in a west- 
outhwest CO urse, a distance of five and seventy feet ; the other extending 


west bearing rather north for a distance of between forty and fifty feet. 
These passage ways are cut through solid rock and range from four to six 
feet in width, and from three to nine feet in height. At the extremity of 
the longest passage is a beautiful spring of water about six feet in diame- 
ter, and eighteen feet deep. Nothing is known as to when or by whom 
this excavation was made. 


The first name by which this place was recognized, was that of the 
Westchester county ferryman, who gave the permanent appellation to his 
home landing of Dobb's Ferry. That the landing on this shore was often- 
times called Dobbs Ferry during the Revolution is undoubted. That 
name was never popular among our County people however, possibly 
because of its liability to be mistaken for the opposite hamlet, and shortly 
after the Revolution the name Sneden's Landing was generally used. 
That members of the Sneden family already conducted a ferry or were 
about to, in the early days of the War for Independence, is evinced by 
the order from the County Committee of Safety, forbidding them so to do. 
For years this spot was known as Sneden's Landing, and then the name 
was changed to Rockland. After existing for a number of years under 
that name, it was again abruptly re-christened and called Palisades. The 
hamlet contains many fine residences, and its streets and avenues are 
handsoihely laid out. The old wharf, where for so many years, the pro- 
duce of a large section of country was brought to be shipped by steam- 
boat, has almost disappeared. All that remains of its old time customs, is 
a row boat ferry which still exists for the benefit of the casual traveller. 


This is a hamlet in the western part of the township on Narranshaw 
Creek. The first mill in" the place was built in 1780 for Abram Cooper 
and John De Pew. The present building was erected for Rulef Van 
Houten, in 1862, and is at present conducted by Edw. C. Van Houten. 
A short distance southeast of Orangeville, on the Hackensack River, stand 
the Orangeburg Mills. The first mill on this spot was built in 1770, 
by a Mr. Mabie, a Huguenot settler who moved into Orangetown in early 
days. At a later period the large building known as the Atlantic Factory 
was built here for Peter C. Mabie, and about the same time, C. P. Mabie 
started a store in the hamlet. The nearest railroad station to this neigh- 
borhood is probably that on the " Branch " though the New Jersey and 
New York Railroad station at Pearl River, is but a short distance away. 



This is a country railway station and post-office, situated about half 
way between Sparkill and Blauveltville on the " Branch." A small chapel 
for Sunday school and church services, built by James E. Haring stands 
here. The post-office was started Feb. 2>th, 1 861, with Henry A Blau- 
velt as postmaster, and was discontinued Aug. 21st, 1867. It was re-es- 
tablished Jan. I2th, 1880, with James A. Haring postmaster. On Dec. 
24th, 1883, he was followed by Rachel A. Blauvelt. 


This is a local village in the extreme south west of Orangetown, and is 
a station on the New Jersey and New York Railroad. The place takes its 
name from the creek that passes near it, in which many pearl mussels have 
been found. Pearl River contains one store and a hotel. The post-office 
was organized Jan. 17th, 1872, with Julius E. Braunsdorf as postmaster. 
He was followed on Sept. 20th, 1880, by James Serven. In 1873, the 
iEtna Sewing Machine Works were erected by Mr. Braunsdorf and car- 
ried on till his death in 1880, giving employment to 100 men. Sincethat 
closing, until within a short period, the buildings have stood idle. An 
effijrt is now being made to use them for another branch of business. 



For many years before the final construction of this railway spur, cer- 
tain citizens in Nyack had endeavored to have the railroad from Piermont 
extended along shore to that village. Each and every one of these efforts 
were frustrated by property owners along the proposed route, placing so 
high a valuation on their lands, that the financial success of such an exten- 
sion seemed impossible. At length in 1867—68, when the mad specula- 
tion that followed the Civil War was raging, these enterprising citizens, 
who had ever labored for the. extension of the Erie Railroad, determined 
that longer waiting would be ruinous and that, if the road could not be 
brought along the shore, some other way of getting it extended must be 
found. Several informal rheetings and interviews took place between 
those favoring the project and finally a delegation waited upon Messrs. 
Fisk, Gould, Sisson and Roorback, officers of the Erie & Northern Rail- 
roads in relation to the matter. 

These men entered into the idea and promised, that if the people of 
Nyack would raise the sum of $60,000, they would add $40,000, making 
a sum sufficient to construct a road. The Nyack people at once began 


the endeavor to raise their amount, but only succeeded in obtaining $28,000. 
Upon learning this, the railroad men generously offered to accept that 
sum, and make good the balance themselves. Having obtained the Nyack 
subscription, the proposed road was immediately bonded for $100,000, 
a sum amply sufficient to cover all expense, and the bonds sold. By this 
arrangement the railroad men paid not one cent, and had $28,000 from 

The building of the road was begun in August, 1869, and it was 
opened in May, .1870. The occasion of the formal opening was a gala day 
for Nyack. The piiEicers of the Erie and Northern Railroads visited the 
place on a speciali train, were, received and welcomed by a display of flags, 
and the firing of cannon, and were given a dinner at the St. Nicholas 
Hotel on Main street., -As soon as the road was completed, it was leased 
to the Northern Railroad Company, and has since been operated by it. 


Though these roads pass for about an equal distance in the townships 
of Clarks and Orange, I have deemed it wise to speak of them in the chap- 
ter on Orangetown. The Tweed Ring had reached the summit of its 
power. It had prostituted legislatures, influenced the Executive, extended 
its corrupting presence to the Bench ; it had piled up a city debt in New 
York to an enormous figure, had so distorted public opinion and morality, 
that people began to think policy the best honesty, and money, however 
obtained, the sole criterion of social success ; and finally, it had defied 
with contempt, any attempt to overthrow it, and by reason of its immun- 
ity from punishment, had led to the formation of local rings in other 

It was at this time, that the era of fantastic speculation in real estate 
reached Nyack. The opening of the Nyack and Northern Railroad had 
briskly advanced the price of real property; the extravagance which fol- 
lowed the war led to the use of a credit system, at once impracticable and 
dangerous ; and people planned cities, erected buildings, and made fabu- 
lous wealth, in the maddest dreams that ever floated across the mental 
visions of an ordinarily common sense community. 

Among the citizens of that section of the County between Rockland 
Lake and Sparkill, there were many who owned large farms, which the 
tremendous advance in value of land together with the rapid building o' 
railroads throughout the country, permitting distant sections to enter into 
active competition with the Hudson River valley, had rendered unprofitable 
for agricultural purposes. These large land holders were seized with the 

mania for speculation, and determined to open their farms to purchasers. 
With this object in view, the Legislature, which was dominated by the 
Tweed Ring, was appealed to, and the Representative from Rockland — 
James Nelson — was found to be a willing tool for the work. 

In the session of 1871, an act, authorizing the making and openir^ of 
two roads, was brought before the Legislature. One of these roads — now 
known as Highland avenue — was to extend, from the intersection of the 
highway running east of Rockland Lake, with the highway running from 
the lake to Rockland Lake landing, to the highway running from Upper 
Piermont to Orangeburg. This road was to be sixty feet in width, was 
to be opened, graded, macadamized, guttered and curbed, and the com- 
missioners appointed to oversee the building of it were directed to " make 
and flag suitable walks along and upon either side of the same, and, also, 
to make all necessary culverts." The aggregate of expenses for all pur- 
poses was not to exceed $10,000 a mile. The cost of this work was to be 
met from taxes assessed on property lying within a quarter of a mile 
from the centre of the avenue, along its length and on "two strips of land 
lying immediately north and south of the termini of said avenue, within 
the limits of one-half mile north and south, respectively, by half a mile 
east and west. " The commissioners were authorized to assess the pro 
rata tax upon each piece of property included within the taxable limits, 
and to appoint collectors to obtain the assessment ; and they were further 
empowered " to sell the lands assessed, upon which the said assessment 
shall remain unpaid for the space of thirty days after the time for and the 
return of said warrant by said collector or collectors, * * * in the 
same manner as the Comptroller of the State is authorized to sell lands for 
the non-payment of assessments for taxes." 

The commissioners named for appointment in this bill were : Peter 
Voorhis, David J. Blauvelt, William L. Lawrence, William A. Shepard, 
William Voorhis, W. C. Templeton, William H. Whiton, Henry Brinker- 
hoff, and Nelson Puff. 

The other road now known as Midland avenue, was to be opened from 
Main street in the village of Nyack to the Hook Mountain. It was to be 
70 feet in width, was to be graded, paved, curbed and guttered and the 
commissioners were empowered at their discretion, to cause side walks to 
be constructed and flagged. The cost of constructing this avenue was to be 
met by taxes assessed upon all property lying within nine hundred feet of 
the centre of the avenue. 

In case the assessments were not paid in thirty days after the time for 
the return of the collector's warrant, the assessed property was to be dis- 


posed of in the same manner as in the case of Highland avenue. The 
commissioners named for appointment by this bill were : Peter Voorhis, 
Marcena M. Dickinson, Richard P. Eells and William C. Templeton. 

The scheme for the passage of these bills was strongly backed, and for 
a time it appeared as though the project would be forced through. In 
view of the success of the measure the commissioners, named in the bill, 
began individual preparations for gain. One bought a tract of mountain 
land and erected a stone crusher for the purpose of furnishing gravel for 
the road : others purchased property contiguous to the proposed highway, 
and members of the Tweed Ring contemplated the erection of a large 
hotel on the top of the Hook Mountain. 

Through the merest accident the citizens living along the proposed 
roads who were not in the ring, learned of this bill and after difficulty ob- 
tained a copy. At once opposition was started. Meetings were held, re- 
monstrances were signed and a committee consisting of George H. Liver- 
more, Hagaman Onderdonk, Daniel Clark, and Isaac Hart, was sent to 
Albany, to petition against the passage of the proposed act. It was then 
recognized how strong the influence in favor of the bill was and the com- 
mittee, after combatting those who labored for the roads to the utmost, at 
length returned defeated. 

By this tinie the full scope of the contemplated work was understood 
by those resident in the County and anger against the planners of the ave- 
nues, which were commonly called " boulevards " owing to Tweeds con- 
nection with the boulevard in New York city, was expressed on every 
side. Again the opponents of the proposed act petitioned against it, and 
a second committee, consisting of Isaac Hart, Garret Sarvent and George 
Green, visited Albany to appeal against the passage of the bill. This 
committee was joined by Francis Tillou, who bitterly objected to the 
measure. In spite of the earnest protestation of almost all the property 
holders, not named as commissioners, along the proposed route, it was 
found impossible to prevent the passage of the bill. But one course re- 
mained open, that of amending it so as to remove its dangers as far as 
possible. This was accomplished, and the act relating to Highland ave- 
nue was so amended as to abolish the clause for curbing, graveling, con- 
struction of culverts, and flagging of sidewalks ; the expense of building 
was limited to five instead of ten thousand dollars a mile, and the time for 
the redemption of property was fixed at one year. The commissioners 
named in this amended act were: Peter Voorhis, John N. Perry, William 
L. Lawrence, William A. Shepard, William Voorhis, Richard DeCantillon, 
William H. Whiton, Henry Brinkerhoff" and CorneHus T. Smith. 


The amendments to the act relative to Midland avenue consisted of 
the exclusion of the clauses relative to grading, curbing, building culverts 
and flagging sidewalks, the reduction of the expense of construction from 
five to three thousand dollars per mile, an extension of the time for the 
redemption of property to one year, and an extension to three years for 
the time ol building the road. The Commissioners appointed by ,the 
amended act were : Peter Voorhis, Marcena M. Dickinson, George Green, 
Garret Sarvent and Isaac Hart. The last named gentleman declined to 
serve and George H. Livermore was appointed in his place.. Under this 
Board of Commissioners, the avenue was surveyed, opened and con- 
structed for the sum stated in the amended bill, and the Commissioners 
discharged. In the case of Highland avenue, litigation was almost im- 
mediately begun because of unjust and illegal assessment. Work was 
stopped when the road was partially finished and all of the road bed, with 
the exception of the portion between Rockland Lake and the mountain 
road in Upper Nyack, has become overgrown with underbrush and 

James Nelson, the Member of Assembly, who labored so hard for the 
passage of the bill, was overwhelmingly defeated in the elections of 1871, 
entirely through the efforts of Garret Sarvent, and because of his actions 
in the matter. Highland avenue still remains an open field for years of 
legal complications and legislative interference. 

Rinear Kisarike, 1722. 
Cornelius Haring, 1723-28. 
Cornelius Smith, 1729-31. 
Barent Nagle, 1732-33. 
Gabriel Ludlow, Jr., 1734- 

Henry Ludlow, 1740-46. 
John Ferdon, 1747. 
Adolph Lent, 1748-57. 
David Blauvelt, 1758-59: 
Daniel Haring, 1760-63. 
Abraham Haring, 1764. 
Johannes Blauvelt, 1765. 
Thomas Outwater, 1766-74. 
John M. Hogencamp, 1779- 

80, 1 783-1 796. 

Henry Ludlow, 1744-45. 
Robert Hallett, 1746-47. 
JohnDe Wint, 1748-52.' 


Jonathan Lawrence, 1782. 
James Perry, 1 797 -1800- 

James Demarest, 1801. 
Sam'l G. Verbryck, 1802-3- 

James Perry, 1804-5. 
John Perry, 1820. 
Richard Ellsworth, 1823. 
William Sickles, 18124-27. 
Isaac I. Blauvelt, 1830-34. 
Benj. Blackledge, 1835-38. 
John Haring, Jr., 1839-41. 
John J. Haring, 1842. 
John T. Blauvelt, 1843-45. 
John S. Verbryck, 1846-47. 


Richard Blauvelt, 1 799-181 7 

Cornelius Sickles, 1818-20. 

Simon D. Demarest, 1848- 

Wm. E. Smith, 1850-51. 
John C. Blauvelt, 1852-54. 
J. J. Lawrence, 1855. 
M. M. Dickinson, 1856 57. 
James S. Haring, 1858-63- 

William Dickey, 1863-64. 
Isaac M. Dederer, 1872-73. 
D. D. Demarest, 1874-75 
Henry A. Blauvelt, 1876- 

Hagaman Onderdonk, 1882. 
George Dickey. 1880-81, 


John S. Verbryck, 1848-49. 
Henry A. Blauvelt, 1850-54 


Thomas Cutwater, 1754-55 

Andries Onderdonk, Jr., 

Jan Myndert Hogenkamp, 

James Demarest, 1792-97. 
Tunis Smith, 1798. 

Richard Ellsworth, 1821-22. 
David Clark, 1823-24. 
C. I. Blauvelt, 1828-29. 
J. J. Demarest, 1830-38. 
J. B. Blauvelt, 1834-40 
Abram House, 1841-45. 
George Van Houten, 1846. 
J. Youmans, 1847. 

Richard P. Eells, 1855-56. 
A. T. Blauvelt, 185^-58. 
John W. Blauvelt, 1859-67. 
James S. Haring, 1868. 
John H. Blauvelt, 1873. 
John A. Haring, 1874-82. 
W. B. Slocum, 1883. 
Eugene C. Fisk, 1884. 

Authorities referred to : Extracts from village papers ; Lectures by William G. Haeselbarth ; 
Session Laws; Papers and documents contributed by George R. Van Houten; "Notes on 
-Nyack," published in 1878 ; Books and papers contributed by Garret E. Green. 




It is claimed that the name of Haverstraw appears on a map found 
among the Dutch archives in Amsterdam, supposed to have been made 
about 1616. It may be so. We know that Hudson sailed up the river 
seven years before ; that Adrian Block first built on the site of the present 
New York City two years before; and that the permanent settlement oc- 
curred ten years later, in 1626, and it may be somewhat of a tax on 
human credulity to believe, that at that date a map was made of a wilder- 
ness in which one place is located as "the Haverstroo " or " Haverstroo," 
still such a thing is not impossible. 

The first mention I find of the name is in the map of New Netherland, 
by A. Vanderdonck, made in 1656, and it is there spoken of as Haver- 
stroo." In June 1658, occurs the second mention of the name, that I 
have found, in Stuyvesant' s Journal of his visit to Esopus ; " that the 
murder had not been committed by one of their tribe, but by a Newesink 
Savage, who was now living at Haverstroo, or about there ;" again in 
1660 and 1664, the name occurs and after that is frequently used. It is 
doubtless true that this name was given to the place on account of the 
wild oats which grew along the river banks. 

From 1686 till 1719, the present town of Haverstraw was included in 
the laws, taxes and militia duties of Orangetown. But that valley was 
increasing so rapidly in population, the distance was so great and the trail 
so poor between it and Tappan, that the inhabitants petitioned for sepa- 
rate existence and on June 24th, 17 19, the following act was passed: 

" An Act to enable the Precincts of Haverstraw in the County of Orange, to chuse a Supervi- 
sor, a Collector, two Assessors, one Constable, and two Overseers of Highways. * » » 

Whereas, Several principall Freeholders and Inhabitants of Haverstraw, in the County of 
Orange, in Behalf of themselves and others, have by their Petitions to the General Assembly, 
prayed they may be enabled to elect one Supervisor, one Collector, two Assessors, one Constable 
and two Overseers of the Highways, by Reason of their great Distance from Tappan, in the said 
County. ' 


Be it therefore enacted, by his Excellency the Governor, Council, and General Assembly, and 
by the authority of the same ; That from and after the publication of this Act, it shall and may be 
lawful for the Inhabitants of the Districts and Precincts of Ilaverstraw, in the County of Orange, 
from the Northernmost bounds of Tappan, to the northernmpst bounds of Ha,verstraw, and they 
are hereby required and imppwered to assemble and meet together, at the most Convenient place 
in the said Districts, and Precincts, on the first Tuesday in April, annually, and then by a plurality 
of voices to elect and chuse among them one Supervisor, one CoUeotor, two Assessors, one 
Constable, and two Overseers of the Highways, and the said Officers so chosen shall be of the 
Principall Inhabitants and freeholders, within the Districts above said, and also be invested with 
all the Powers, and be obliged to such Services and Duties as all other and like officers in the 
County of Orange, afore said, are impowered and obliged to do. 

And the Assessors and Supervisor so chosen shall act in Conjunction with the rest of the like 
officers in the said County when and as often as occasion shall require, anything to the Contrary 
hereof in any wise notwithstanding." 

In accordance with this Act the inhabitants of Haverstraw proceeded 
to hold their first town meeting and elect their town officers. 

The Orangetown patent bounded the town within circumscribed limits, 
but the erection of the Haverstraw precinct gave a practically unlimited 
area to the jurisdiction of the new town's officers. The present townships 
of Clarks, Ramapo and Stony Point were all included under the name of 
Haverstraw, and the town possessed in 1790, 85,720 acres, about six times 
the area of Orangetown. 

As in the case of Orangetown, no separate census existed for Haver- 
straw before 1738, when 654 people were resident within its limits. Be- 
tween that date and 1790, the next census, the Pond patent, Kakiat, 
Scotland and Ramapo Clove had been largely settled and the population 
had increased to 4,826. The separation of the present towns of Clarks 
and Ramapo in 179 1, brought the population of Haverstraw proper down 
to more moderate figures. 

In 1738, Haverstraw had 654 inhabitants. In 1835, Haverstraw had 2865 inhabitants. 

In 1790, " " 4826 " In 1845, " " 4806 

In 1800, " " 1229 " In 185s, " " 6747 

In 18(0, " " 1866 " In 1865, " " 4113 

In 1820, " " 2700 " In 1870, U. S. Census, 6412 " 

In 1825, State Census, 2026 " In 1880, " 7022 " 

The same remark concerning the census of 1820, holds true in the case 
of Haverstraw as of the other towns. The change ofthe^figures in 1865, is 
due to the separation of the town of Stony Point from her territory in the 
early part of that year. 


As we have seen in Chapter H, the earliest grant of land in the County 
was to Balthazar De Harte in 1666, and reads : " All that tract of land 
lying on the west side of Hudson's river called Haverstraw, being on the 


north side of the hills called Verdrietig Hook, on the south side of the 
Highlands, on the east side of the mountains, so as the same is bounded 
by Hudson's river and round about by high mountains." In Chapter HI, 
I have spoken of the early transfers of land in the patent, and stated the 
names of the original owners of the property on which the village now 

The first road in Haverstraw was the continuation of the King's high 
way, which connected the early settlers with their neighbors in Tappan- 
town. This was soon followed, as the influx of settlers from Long Island 
to Kakiat began, by a road from the river to the new Hempstead, a road 
which was later continued on to Sidman's Pass and down to Tappan and 
became the military road of the Revolution. Scarcely had these lines of 
communication been cut through, however, when the opening of Hassen- 
clever mine and the erection of iron works along Florus Falls Creek, led 
to the construction of a road from the King's highway along the creek and 
Stony brook to the mine. 

Already I have made mention of the dock where Andre is supposed to 
have landed in Haverstraw, and of that built by Edw, W. Kiers near the 
outlet of the Short Clove before the Revolution — this latter dock is now 
owned by Felix McCabe. 

About 1812, John Allison ran out a dock in front of his property, a 
little north of the present steamboat landing ; DeNoyelles built a dock on 
his land nearly opposite the end of South street, and Captain John Felter 
built still a third landing near the foot of Main street. For many years 
DeNoyelles' landing was the most public one, and from it the steamboats 
ran in early days, thus giving it the name, by which it is still known 
among the older people, of the lower steamboat landing. 

As in the case of Tappan Landing and Nyack, Haverstraw had its 
early market sloops, which amply sufficed to carry to the city the settler's 
surplus products and bring back the few luxuries they wished. Until the 
advent of the steamboat, these sailing vessels were the only means of 
communication by water, and the few travellers of those early days found 
them both rapid and comfortable enough. The price of passage was a 
"York" shilling; the time made depended, in great measure, on the direc- 
tion and force of the wind and tide, though some of the vessels wer? 
furnished with sweeps, and, if becalmed, both passengers and crew were 
expected to work their passage down. It is said thaj: more than once 
vessels have been propelled the entire, distance in this manner. 

While the entrance of steamboats upon the route made terribly sad havoc 
with the sloop owners' profits, the market vessels were still continued. 


The first steamboats, landing at Grassy Point, were too distant to be a 
serious injury, and even when the Rockland came, and, later, the Warren 
was built, these relics of an earlier age remained. I append an advertise- 

" Market Sloop. Haverstraw and New York. The subscribers will 
run for the season the new and fast sailing Sloop Sarah Francis, leaving 
the Dock of Abraham Jones, formerly J. Felter's, every Tuesday at 2 
o'clock, P. M., and New York every Friday at 3 o'clock, P. M. 

N. B. — All kinds of freight and produce taken on reasonable terms. 
The boat will run as soon as the ice will permit. 

H. & W. R. Knapp." 
Haverstraw, February 22d, 1849. 

Besides these market sloops, one, the J. G. Pierson, was built for the 
purpose of carrying the products of the Ramapo Iron Works to the city. 
From the factories, the goods were brought to the Haverstraw Landing 
in huge wagons, drawn by six mule teams. I have shown the causes 
which led to the withdrawal of this business from Haverstraw. 

This village did not begin its growth as early as either Ramapo or 
Nyack, but for many years, until the discovery of Jam