NYPL RESEARCH LIBRARIES
3 3433 06250768
HISTORY OF THE
ClfY OF HUDSON
MRS. ANNA r: BRADBURY
ItECOKU rm.VTINtJ ANI» PriK.tHIIINO C'l
HruHoN, N. Y.
ItHH- new YORK!
PUBLIC LIBRARY i
MRS. ANNA R. BRADBURY
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Anatole France, the distinguished French writer re-
marks, as if it were the merest truism "that all historical
works which are not lies, are insupportably dull"
In view of this sweeping assertion it requires no little
fortitude to confess, that this History is absolutely truthful,
to the best of the author's knowledge and belief.
In the adjustment of conflicting facts some seeming
errors possibly may be found, but none that have not
been carefully examined, and have in
"****** nothing extenuate
Nor set down aught in malice."
Grateful acknowledgments are made to Mr. Stephen
B. Miller's "Historical Sketches of Hudson." Had that
work been still in print this would not have been written.
The fear that its valuable material would be lost, together
with the numerous inquiries in relation to the early history
and settlement of Hudson, led to the preparation of this
Thanks are also due to Mr. Peyton F. Miller's "A Group
of Great Lawyers," and to all who have so willingly
assisted by the loan of books and documents, or by the
expression of a kindly interest.
A. R. B.
Hudson, September 15, 1908.
Claim of City of Hudson to Name. — Henry Hudson's
Origin. — Grandfather's Quaint Epitaph. — Arms. — Hud-
son's Early Training. — Contracts Signed Henry Hudson,
Englishman. — Wife and Sons, John, and David, Ances-
tors of Family in America. — Two Voyages for Muscovy
Company. — Voyage of 1609 in Employ of Dutch on "Half
Moon." — First Sight of North America. — Visits From
Indians. — Arrives at Chesapeake Bay. — Anchors Within
Sandy Hook. — Indian Attack. — Burial of John Cole-
man. — Enters New York Bay and Discovers "River of
the Mountains. — Anchors off Site of City of Hudson. — '
Visits Mohicans. — Relics of Indian Village Unearthed. —
Hudson Ascends River to Site of Albany. — Descending
Anchors Again off This City. — Entertains Mohicans. —
Sketch of Mohicans. — Hudson's Soliloquy. — Passes Out
to Sea. — Arrives at Dartmouth, England. — Re-calle^.-4« /
Service of London Company. — Last Voyage I&IO. — (^
Enters Hudson's Bay. — Spends Months in Effort to Find
Passage to the East. — Enters Winter Quarters. — Crew
Led by Juet Mutiny. — Little Food. — Visit from Savage. —
Hudson and Son John Seized and Thrown in Shallop
With Six Sick Men of Crew and Set Adrift. — Staafe
Would Not Stay in Ship. — Shallop Sighted Once Then
Seen no More. — Ship Reached Capes. — Attacked by
Savages. — Prickett Escapes and Brings Hudson's Jour-
nal Safely Back to England, With Remnant of Crew. —
Grief in England Over Hudson's Fate. — Two Ships
Sent Out to Look for Him. — No Clue to His Fate Ever
Found. — Widow Applies for Aid. — Discovery of North-
west Passage by Amundson. — Comparison of Hudson's
Time With the Present xix
The Dutch Occupation.
Return of Half Moon to Amsterdam. — Formation of "West ^
India Company. — Bring Sixty Families in First Ship. —
Take Possession for the Netherlands, — Purchase of
Manhattan Island. — Colonists Come Slowly. — Holland
Free and Happy. — Our First Settler Arrives. — Purchases
Tract of Land From Mohicans. — Death of Patentee. —
Col. John Van Alen. — Death of Justus Van Hoesan and
Wife. — First Cemetery. — Canoe Ferry to Loonenburg. —
The Klauver-rachen. — Dutch Historians' Account of Rich
Farm Lands. — Abundance of Fruit, Game and Fish. —
Colonist Well to Do. — Came in Families, With House
Furnishings and Domestics. — Killaen Van Rensselaer
Patent and Domine Megapolensis. — Fort Orange. —
Commandant Crull. — Church in the Fort. — Schools and
The Dutch Occupation.
First Census. — Slavery Under Dutch and English Rule. —
Emancipation in This State. — Bounty for Killing Wild
Animals. — Post Riders. — Inns Opened on Post Road. —
Mail Coaches. — Hamlet Gathers. — County Formed. —
County Seat at Claverack. — Removed to Hudson. —
Revolutionary War. — Claverack Battalion Raised. —
Dutch Patriots Furnish Officers and Men. — Capture of
Capt. McKinstry. — Indians in Revolution. — Mohicans
Loyal to Patriots. — Commended by Washington. — Con-
sideration of Relations Between England and Holland. —
Led to Her Surrender of American Colonies 9
Rule of the Proprietors.
Nantucket Whaling Industries Ruined by British. — Jen-
kins Brothers Select "Claverack Landing." — Buy Land. —
Build Houses. — Organize. — Minutes of Meetings. —
Name Hudson Adopted. — Col. Van Alen Presents Land
for Cemetery. — Death. — Monument Erected by City 16
Division of Lots. — Dutch Obtained Good Prices. — Enter-
prise Draws Settlers of Good Class. — Friends Erect
Meeting-house. — Description of Same. — Customs and
Dress. — Rhyme of S. B. Miller. — First School. — Ship
Building. — Large Tonnage. — Launching. — Industries Con-
nected With Ship Building.— Rope Walk. — Sail Making. —
Tanneries. — Brewery. — Wind Grist Mill on Prospect
Pen Pictures of Proprietors.
Preparations for Incorporation. — Minutes. — Petition
Drafted. — Presented to Assembly. — Nothing Known of
Government or Finances. — Dutch and English Dwelt in
Harmony. — Social Life. — High Character of Founders. —
Thomas Jenkins' Home. — Death. — Burial. — Seth Jenkins,
First Mayor of City.— Seth Jenkins, Jr., Built 115 War-
ren Street. — Marriage. — Robert Jenkins, Third Mayor. —
Built Chapter House. — Presented by Mrs. Hartley to
D. A. R. — Cotton Gelston.— Squire Worth. — Capt. John
Hathaway. — David Lawrence. — Alexander Coffin. — Ezek-
iel Gilbert, First Lawyer in City 31
Boundaries of City. — Charter Arrives. — First Town Meet-
ing. — City Officials. — Seth Jenkins Appointed Mayor by
Governor. — Seal for City Purchased. — Gaol Erected. —
Whipping-post and Stocks. — Gilbert's Residence. —
City Ordinances. — Chimney Viewers. — Fire Wardens. —
Fire Engines Purchased. — First Fire. — Account of
Same. — Fires Frequent 39
Whale and Seal Fisheries.
Large Cargo of Sperm Oil. — Oil and Candle Works. —
Visit of Talleyrand. — Seal Fishery. — Hudson Port of
Entry. — Commerce Large. — Various Industries. — Traffic
With South. — Causes of Decay of Commerce. — Revival
of Whale Fisheries, — Captains Judah and Laban Pad-
dock. — Captain Paddock's "Narrative" Condensed 46
Water Supply. — Inspector Appointed. — Town Pump. —
Streets Graded. — Sewers Laid. — Columbia Turnpike
Co.— Roads Built.— Night Watch Instituted.— Effigies
on Signs Distasteful. — First Street Lamps Placed. —
Various Ordinances. — Erection of City Hall. — Mayor's
Court and Seal. — Change of Currency. — Contest for
Parade Hill.— Weight of Bread Fixed.— Post Office Estab-
lished. — Post Riders Superseded. — First Mail Coaches. —
First Newspaper. — Advertisements 62
Mortality Among Infant Newspapers. — Balance. — Bee. —
Wasp. — Democratic Club. — Federal Club. — Croswell's
Trial for Libel. — Hamilton's Last Case. — Bishop Doane's
Letter. — County Records. — Strange Sentence. — "Bee"
Case. — Grandfather of President Roosevelt Interested
in Case. — President's Note. — Removal of County Seat. —
City Hall Re-modeled 70
Scows Replace Canoes. — Horse Boat. — Steam Ferry
Boat. — Sloops. — Sloop Owners. — Fare on Same. —
Tourist's Account of Trip to New York. — Fulton's
Clermont. — Curious Advertisements. — First Steamboats
Owned Here 77
Birth. — Early Life. — Paints Portraits. — Buys Home for His
Mother. — Goes to London. — Meets West. — Studies Art
and Engineering. — Visits Paris. — Invents "Plunger." —
Visits Holland. — Experience With English. — Blows up
Vessel and Returns to Paris. — Meets Chancellor Living-
ston. — Experiments on Seine. — Engine Ordered. —
Builds Clermont. — Fulton's Report of Trip up Hudson. —
New York Press Account. — Fulton's Death. — Mrs. Ful-
ton's Re-marriage. — Death. — Burial in Claverack. —
Old Ludlow House. — Relics of Fulton 82
Glimpses of City From Press. — List of Tax-payers. —
First Charter Election. — First Bank. — Its Failure. —
Jemmy Eraser's Fall. — Second Bank Chartered. — Its
Failure. — Hudson River Bank Organized. — Farmers'
Bank. — Savings Institution, and First National Char-
tered. — Masons Instituted. — St. John's Hall Built. —
Burned and Rebuilt.— War of 1812, and Lieut. Beek-
man. — Lodges Instituted. — First Odd Fellows' Lodge. —
Reception of Hon. John Jay 89
First Celebration of Fourth of July. — Party Politics. —
Death of Washington. — Gen. Scott Encamped Here. —
Visit of West Point Cadets. — Gen. Lafayette. — Death of
Lieut. Allen. — Obsequies. — Monument. — Major Gen.
Worth. — His Honors. — Birthplace Admirably Restored.. 100
First Public Library.— Debating Societies. — Franklin Li-
brary Association.— Lectures. - Early Physicians. — Dr.
Younglove. — Capture by British. - Dr. Mann. —
Drowned. — Dr. Samuel White. — Formation of Medical
Society. Dr. S. Pomcroy White. — Last Meeting of Pro-
prietors. Noble Record. — Last Survivor, Capt. Coftln. —
Post Office.— Postmasters. — ^Date of A\oney Order. —
Free Delivery. — Site for New Post Office Purchased.... Ill
First Meeting-house Erected for Friends. — Presbyterian
Second. — Description of Church. — Purchased Present
Site. — Reformed Church Organized. — Built. — Episcopal
Church Built on Second St. — Present Property Ac-
quired. — Inception of All Saints. — Baptist Church
Organized. — Methodist and Universalist Follow. — Three
Lutheran Churches. — St. Mary's Church and Academy.^
Italian Society Build. — Two Hebrew Bodies. — Two
Afro-American. — Clergy of City. — Y. M. C. A. Organ-
Hudson Academy. — First Teachers. — Young Ladies'
School. — Amasa J. Parker's Description. — Hudson Select
Academy Called "Shad." — First House on Prospect
Hill. — Prospect Avenue Improved. — Private Schools. —
Lancaster School, "Why So-called. — How Supported. —
First Teacher. — African School. — Public Schools. — High
School. — Corps of Teachers. — Number Enrolled. — Night
School. — Hudson Responsive to Educational Progress in
This Country 126
The Hudson Bar.
Brilliant Galaxy of Talent. — The Two Spencers. — Martin
Van Buren. — Elisha Williams. — Ambrose L. Jordan. —
Verbal Encounter Between Them 135
The Hudson Bar — Continued.
Hudson Bar. — Anti-Rent War. — John W. Edmonds. —
Early Life. — Presides at Trial of Anti-rent Leaders. — ^
Particulars of Anti-rent "War. — Grievances of Tenants. — (
Incendiary Meetings. — Arrest of Big Thunder and Little 1
Thunder. — Great Excitement. — Threats of a Rescue. — [
Citizens Arm. — Troops Sent by Governor. — Trial Re- \
suited in a Disagreement. — A Second Ended in Verdict of
Conviction. — Judge Edmonds Presiding. — Tilt Between
The Hudson Bar — Continued.
Sketch of Theodore Miller. — Joseph D. Monell. — Edward
P. Cowles. — Josiah Sutherland. — Henry Hogeboom. —
Samuel Edwards. — Aaron V. S. Cochrane 150
Court House. — Criminal Cases. — Remodeled City Hall. —
Court House Succeeded. — City Purchased Present Site
With Park. — Its Cost. — Larger Accommodation Re-
quired. — New Building Erected. — Burned. — Fourth Court
House Nearly Completed. — First Trial for Murder. —
Successive Trials. — Civil War. — 128 Regiment Col.
Cowles. — "Camp Kelly." — Fine Appearance as it Left
for the Front. — Death of Col. Cowles. — Funeral. — Major
Gifford's Death. — Heavy Losses in City and County. —
Col. C. L. Best. — Honorable Career. — Lieut. Comman-
der J. V. N. Philip. — A. & H. Association. — Fairs. —
Cowles Guard Organized. — Its Career. — Company F.
Drum Corp. — Fraternal Societies. — The Elks. — New
Club House 1 56
City Hall Built. — Opening Ceremonies. — Bachelors' Ball. —
A Social Leader. — City Officers Installed. — Franklin
Library. — Lectures Continued. — Library Removed. —
Installed in Chapter House. — Endowed by Mrs. Mar-
cellus Hartley. — Hendrick Hudson Chapter D. A. R.
Organized. — Active in Many Ways. — Fine Chapter
House Gift of Mrs. Hartley. — Early Citizens. — Oliver
Wiswali. — Judge Barnard. — Henry P. Skinner. — Lorenzo
G. Guernsey 1 67
The Press. — First Daily. — Merged in Daily Morning Re-
publican. — Gazette Revived. — Evening Register E.^itab-
lished. — Woolen Mills. — Fulling Mill on Underhill's
Pond. — Iron Companies. — Knitting Mills. — Later Indus-
tries. — Business Conservative. — Shops Improved. — Hud-
son & Berkshire Railroad. — Fire Department Re-organ-
Water Supply — Civic Improvement.
Water Supply. — Vote Decided for River. — Works Fin-
ished. — Quality of Water Becomes Dangerous. — Grav-
ity System Introduced. — Dissolution of Aqueduct Co. —
Also Columbia Turnpike Co., Both Venerable. —
Lamps in Street Replaced by Gas and Electric Light. —
Trolley Lines on Warren St. and to Albany. — Public
Square Improved. — Pretty Park. — Promenade Hill
Also. — Scenes Witnessed From the Latter. — Henry Hud-
son's Visit. — Passing of Clermont. — Wreck of the
"Swallow "—Statue of St. Winifred Placed.— Civic Im-
provements 1 83
Medical Profession. — Charitable Institutions. — Dr. R. L.
Frary. — Dr. A. P. and Dr. C. P. Cook. — Historians'
Limits. — Dr. E. Simpson. — Dr. J. C. Benham. — Dr. J. P.
Wheeler.— Dr. W. Pitcher.— Dr. H. L. Smith.— Dr. C. E.
Fritts. — The Hudson Orphan Asylum. — Home for the
Aged. — Hospital. — Volunteer Firemen's Home. — State
Training School for Girls 194
Hon. John S. Gould.— Dr. F. B. Power.- William A.
Nash. — Valentine P. Snyder. — Henry A. Smith 203
Henry Ary. — Arthur Parton. — Ernest Parton. — Sara Free-
born.— Sanford R. Gifford 209
Glimpses of Authors.
Charles Dickens. — Henry James. — G. W. Curtiss. — Bayard
Taylor and Others 214
The Hudson Social Reading Club. — Its Object and O.ffi-
cers. — Sketch of S. B. Miller, Secretary. — Re-organized
as "The Fortnightly" on Similar Lines. — Society in For-
mer Years. — Its Simplicity. — Card Clubs. — -Deltoton. —
Cow.:itry Club. — Hudson Club. — Musical Taste 216
The Ashmead-Bartletts. — Ion Perdicaris. — Cyrus Cur-
tiss. — Hudson's Attraction for Retired Men. — Richard
I. Wells. — Doctor Oliver Bronson. — Frederick Fitch Fol-
ger. — Joel T. Simpson. — New Era Possibly About to
Dawn. — Manufacturing Facilities. — "Ring Out the Old,
Ring in the New." 219
Biographical Sketch of Henry Hudson.
In writing a history of the city of Hudson at this
time it seems eminently fitting to include a biographical
sketch of our celebrated namesake, Henry Hudson.
Although countless cities bearing his name are strewn
over the land 'Thick as autumnal leaves in Vallombrosa/
not one, with the exception of Hudson, Ohio, which was
founded by his descendants, possesses our peculiar right
A careful perusal of Hudson's journal of the voyage
of 1609, as preserved in that quaint old volume entitled
"Purchas his Pilgrims," proves that he landed on this
site, both on ascending and descending the river.
On his first visit he remained a whole day, and on his
return was detained four days by contrary winds, while
his good ship "Half Moon" swung at anchor off the shore.
"These," Hudson writes, "I spent both pleasantly and
profitably surveying the country, finding good ground
for corn and garden herbs, and goodly oaks and nut
trees, and trees of sweet wood in great abundance."
He also describes his visit to the Mohicans here at
great length. Then too the location of our city on the
bank of Hudson's "River of the Mountains" that vies in
beauty with the castled Rhine, and to which Hudson him-
self referred as his most notable discovery. All these
considerations add a personal interest to the narrative of
the great explorer.
Of Henry Hudson's origin and early histor>', but little
is known. He was born in England, and was a grandson
of Henry Hudson who was an alderman of the city of
London, and who with Sebastian Cabot established the
Muscovy Company, which traded with Russia through the
port of Archangel. Ivan the Terrible, the first of the
Czars of Russia, who is referred to by Elizabethan writers
as Ivan Vasilivitch, Duke of Muscovy, fostered this traffic
and gave the name to the company.
The arms of the Hudson family were " argent semee of
fleurs-de-lis gules, a cross engrailed sable." His tomb
in the old parish church of St. Dunstan's in the East,
bears this inscription:
Here lieth Henry Hudson's corps
Within this Tomb of Stone:
His soul (through faith in Christ's death)
To God in Heaven is gone.
While that he lived an Alderman
And skinner was his state;
To Vertue bare he all his love
To Vice bare he his hate.
He had to wife one Barbara
Which made this Tomb you see
By whom he had of issue store
Eight sonnes and daughters three.
Obiit 22. Decemb. An. Dom. 1555.
There is every reason to believe that Henry Hudson
was influenced by the traditions of his house, to look in
the direction pointed out by Cabot, and after him by
Davis, and Frobisher, for a short route through the polar
seas, to the semi-fabulous empire of Cathay.
Hudson had a wealthy kinsman named Sir Christopher
Hudson, who owned a fleet of armed ships, but it seems
certain that it was in the service of the Muscovy Company,
that he received that training and experience which
served to develop his inherent qualities of coolness and
courage, into the skillful and intrepid navigator.
His most cherished and intimate friend in London, was
Captain John Smith, one of the founders of the colony
of Virginia in 1607. Mention is made of Henry Hudson's
wife and family, in his contract with the Dutch East
India Company, wherein it was agreed that he should
be paid three hundred and twenty dollars for his ser-
vices and for the support of his wife and children.
Further, that his widow was to receive eighty dollars
additional, should the explorer be lost during the voyage.
As the few remaining documents, and these contracts
even with his Dutch employers, are all signed "Henry
Hudson, Englishman," there remains no possible reason
for writing his name "Hendrik." As a matter of fact,
Hudson's negotiations with the Dutch Company, were
conducted with the aid of an interpreter, his ignorance
of the language being as unfortunate as it was complete.
Undoubtedly a large share of his later troubles with his
Dutch sailors, arose from his inability to understand their
Hudson's elder son, John Hudson, accompanied him
on all his later voyages, and finally perished with him.
His second son named David was the ancestor of the
Hudson family, who came to this country in the year
1800, and founded the town of Hudson in Ohio. This
David Hudson, being the fifth of that name in direct
descent from Henry Hudson. It is a pleasant thought
that his descendants have been residents of our country
for more than a century, and are neither English or Dutch,
but citizens of the American Republic.
In 1607, the London Muscovy Company with a re-
newed desire to extend its search for a shorter passage
to the East, offered Henr>' Hudson the command of their
ship, his ability and bravery having been successfully
tested and he himself always eager for new adventures.
"The wealth of the Indies" had passed into a proverb,
and all the nations of Europe were restless and dissatis-
fied because of the delays and difficulties — says an early
authority — in the way of obtaining it; the commerce of
that region being slowly and laboriously brought to them,
partly overland and then floated through the Mediterra-
nean Sea. Hudson gladly accepted the commission and on
the 19th of April, 1607, repaired with his crew of eleven
men including his son John, to the church of Saint
Ethelburga in Bishopsgate Street, and there received the
sacrament, as was the custom of the time. In the good
ship Hopewell on May first, he dropped down the Thames
and headed north, as he says in his journal "for to dis-
cover by the North Pole a passage to China and Japan."
Suffice it to say, that this voyage and also a second,
undertaken for the same purpose in the following year
were unsuccessful, and the London Company becoming
disheartened, Hudson passed over to Holland, and
offered his services to the Dutch East India Company.
His fame as a bold and skillful navigator had preceded
him, and he was speedily engaged for the same object
"to discover if possible a shorter route to the East, and
thus increase their facilities for trade." The quaint
little "Half Moon," a vessel of only about 80 tons bur-
den was soon equipped, and manned with a crew of
twenty English and Dutch sailors, of whom Robert Juet
was Masters Mate
On the 25th of March, 1609, Hudson set sail from
Amsterdam and in a little over a month doubled the North
Cape, and a short time afterward reached the coast of
Nova Zembla. Here he encountered powerful head
winds, huge icebergs and dense fog, as in his former
voyages, and finding it impossible to proceed farther
north he determined to sail westerly, and perhaps add to
the vast discoveries of which he had heard from his friend
Captain John Smith. Hudson had also obtained some
maps from him, on one of which was marked a strait
south of Virginia offering a passage to the Pacific Ocean
or "Great South Sea," as it was called, and he hoped
by this means to reach the East Indies.
So retracing his course he soon doubled the North
Cape again and by the last of May arrived at one
of the Faroe Islands. From thence he sailed for New-
foundland, but being driven about by fierce tempests in
one of which his fore-mast was swept away, it was not
until early in July that he succeeded in reaching it "and
saw a great fleet of French fishing boats off the banks."
"Being becalmed he sent his crew to try their luck and
they were very successful, taking in one day 130 cod-
The wind springing up they set sail, cleared the banks,
passed the shore of Nova Scotia and on the morning of
July 12th had their first glimpse of North America. The
fog now became so thick they were afraid to approach
the land, but on the 18th the weather cleared and they
ran into "a goodly harbor." This was Penobscot Bay, on
the coast of Maine.
Hudson here for the first time came in contact with
the natives of the country, two boats coming off to him
containing six Indians "who seemed very glad at their
coming." He gave them some trifling presents and "they
ate and drank with him." One of them could speak a
little French, and Hudson learned "that there were gold
and silver and copper mines near by, and that the French
people were in the habit of trading with them."
Hudson remained here several days, mending sails and
re-setting a new fore-mast, while some of the crew filled
the water-casks and others amused themselves catching
lobsters. The Indians meanwhile came on board in great
numbers "seeming not at all afraid of Hudson's men
while the crew viewed them with suspicion."
On the day before leaving, one of those acts of cruelty
was perpetrated by Hudson's men, which serve to explain
if not to justify the "Indian atrocities" of later times. Two.
French shallops filled with Indians came to the ship bring-
ing beaver skins and fine furs which they wished to trade
for articles of dress or knives, hatchets and trinkets. The
men "noting where the shallops were laid manned a boat
with six of the crew armed with muskets, took one of
them and brought it on board." This was base enough
but not satisfied with this, "they landed a boat load of
armed men, drove the Indians from their houses and took
the spoil of them." The Indians had shown them only
the greatest kindness and good will, and such conduct
can only be accounted for on the ground that Hudson could
not control his crew, although he was reputed to be a
It is recorded that "they had many quarrels with the
natives, and were a wild ungovernable set of men." In
the light of the tragic events of the following winter, when
Hudson himself fell a victim to their treacherous malig-
nancy, we can readily believe that a spirit of insubordina-
tion incited by the unscrupulous first mate Robert Juet,
had even then undermined his authority.
Hudson finally set sail on July 26th, steering south-
ward along the coast and sighting Cape Cod. Here the
men on landing found "goodly grapes and rose-trees which
they brought to the ship," also, "Indians who were great
smokers and had an abundance of green tobacco, and
pipes, the bowls of which were made of earth and the
stems of red copper."
Proceeding, Hudson passed Nantucket and Martha's
Vineyard, and on August 18th arrived at the entrance of
Chesapeake Bay. Here he was near the mouth of "Kings
River," as the James was then called, on which the first
English settlement had been made two years before, and
named Jamestown. Hudson would have been delighted
to pass up this river and visit his countrymen, and es-
pecially his friend Captain John Smith in the wilds of
America, but the wmd was blowing a gale, so he passed
on. After sailing south until he reached the thirty-fifth
degree of latitude he changed his course to the north,
having become convinced that there was no passage into
the Pacific Ocean, and being desirous of making some
discovery which might prove profitable to his employers.
On the 28th of August, after passing the shores of
Maryland, Hudson discovered a great bay now known as
Delaware Bay. "He examined here the currents and took
soundings but did not land." For nearly a week he now
sailed northward "passing along a low marshy coast,
skirted with broken islands, and on the 2nd of Septem-
ber he spied the highlands of Neversink." The sight
pleased him greatly for he says, "it is a good land to
fall in with, and a very pleasant land to see." On the
morning of the 3rd the weather was dark and misty, but
"Hudson having passed Long Branch sent his boat up to
sound, and receiving a favorable report, in the afternoon,
brought the 'Half Moon' within Sandy Hook." The next
morning seeing that "there was good anchorage and a
safe harbor" he passed farther up, and anchored within
Sandy Hook Bay. Having observed great quantities of
"salmon, mullet and rays in the water" he now sent his
men ashore with a net. It is said they first landed on
Coney Island, and found "plum trees loaded with fruit
and embowered in grape-vines, while snipe and other
birds were floating on the water." The fishing proved
excellent, for they took "ten mullets a foot and a half
long apiece, and a ray as great as four men could haul
into the ship." While lying at anchor Indians from the
Jersey shore came on board and "seemed greatly delighted
to see their new visitors." "They were dressed in deer
skins well cured, and had copper ornaments and pipes.
They had an abundance of food, their land yielding i
fine harvest of maize, or Indian com, from which they
made very good bread." "But they brought with them
green tobacco which they wished to exchange for beads,
knives and trinkets."
During the night a gale sprang up and the ship was
driven ashore but fortunately without injury, being floated
off at high tide the next morning. Hudson then sent a
boat to sound the bay and soon the shores were lined with
natives, men, women and children being drawn thither
by curiosity. The men immediately landed and were
treated with great kindness. Some of these Indians were
more richly dressed than any they had seen, "wearing
mantles made of fine fur or feathers and ornaments of
copper around their necks."
Hudson now sent out five men who passed through the
Narrows making soundings as they went, and discovered
the hills between Staten Island and Bergen Neck, "which
were covered with grass, trees and flowers, the fragrance
of which was delightful." On their return to the ship at
dusk they were attacked by two canoes full of Indians.
It was raining hard and they could only trust to their
oars to make their escape. Unfortunately one of the
men, John Coleman, who had been with Hudson on his
first hard voyages, was killed by an arrow, and two others
were slightly wounded. It was now very dark and they
lost their way, wandering to and fro all night, but the
next morning they returned to the ship bringing the body
of Coleman. Hudson ordered it to be taken ashore and
buried at Sandy Hook, and in memory of the poor fellow
who had met so sad a fate he called the place, Coleman's
Hudson now prepared for an attack but nothing fur-
ther came of it, the Indians indeed seeming to be entirely
ignorant of any trouble, and after a week spent in explora-
tion south of the Narrows, he passed through them into
the Bay of New York, and "finding it an excellent harbor
for all winds," cast anchor.
We left the brave Explorer resting quietly upon the
■waters of New York Bay unconscious that he would win
undying fame on the morrow by the discovery of the most
beautiful river of the New World. His ship was lying
off the entrance to that river and he was filled with won-
der and delight as he watched its majestic waters rolling
down to the sea. He thought too of the probability that
this great body of water coming from the far north, might
prove the long sought passage, to the gems and spices of
the East Indies.
About noon on the 12th of September, with a heart
full of hope he weighed anchor and moved into the stream
he named, "The Great River of the Mountains."
The wind was not fair, so after making only two leagues
he anchored for the night. The next day the wind still
being ahead, he managed by the help of the flood tide to
ascend a little over three leagues farther, which brought
him to Yonkers, and again he cast anchor. The day fol-
lowing, on September 14th, a fine breeze sprang up from
the southeast and Hudson passed up through Tappan and
Haverstraw bays. "The river" the journal says "being
a mile wide" — and "in a region where the land was very
high and mountainous." He was evidently in the vicinity
of the Highlands and his anchorage was probably off West
The ship continued on up the river until they "came
at night in sight of other mountains which lie from the
river side." This was doubtless Katskill Landing. Here
they found "great stores of very fine fish, and very lov-
ing people who brought on board Indian corn and pump-
The next day, September IGth, the wind being fair
they sailed two leagues farther and anchored in the west-
ern channel directly opposite the site of Hudson City.
Let us pause for a moment to contemplate the scene
that then for the first time met the gaze of civilized man.
The bold bluffs that guard the broad South Bay, then
twice as broad as now and unmarred by the unsightly
railway, were wooded from shore to summit with the
"forest primeval," and the air was filled with music and
fragrance from myriads of birds and flowers.
The purpling Katskills welcomed the first beams of day
with answering glow, and held with lingering clasp his
last departing ray.
The noble river ebbed and flowed, laughing and dimp-
ling to the sun, or paling with tender constancy to the
'While o'er it all with shining eyes
The silent stars looked down.'
That the doughty mariner was not insensible to beauty
is evidenced by many entries in his journals, and we can-
not suppose he viewed this scene of surpassing loveliness
without a responsive thrill. —
The "Half Moon" lay off the shore one whole day, and
Hudson describes at length a visit to the hospitable in-
habitants, as follows: "I sailed to the shore in one of
their canoes with an old man who was Chief of a tribe
consisting of forty men and seventeen women. These I
saw there in a house well constructed of oak bark, and
circular in shape, so that it had the appearance of being
built with an arched roof. It contained a great quantity
of Indian com and beans of the last year's growth, and
there lay near the house for purpose of drying enough to
load a ship."
"On our coming into the house two mats were spread
out to sit upon, and some food was immediately served
in well made red wooden bowls. Two men were also
dispatched at once with bows and arrows in quest of game,
who soon returned with a pair of pigeons which they had
shot. They likewise killed a fat dog, and skinned it in
great haste with shells which they had got out of the
"They supposed that I should remain with them for
the night, but I returned after a short time on board
'The land is the finest for cultivation that I ever in my
life set foot upon, and it also abounds in trees of every
"These are a very good people for when they saw that
I would not remain with them, they supposed that I was
afraid of their bows, and taking their arrows, they broke
them in pieces and threw them in the fire."
Thus ends the record of the first entrance of the white
man upon the site of the City of Hudson. It would have
been interesting to look in upon that first function of one
of our very "first families." Doubtless conversation was
limited to the very smallest of small talk, but they had
eloquent gestures, and that of breaking their arrows spoke
louder than words.
The fact that this banquet was held on the site of
the present City of Hudson, was substantiated by finding
the unmistakable remains of an Indian village on this
spot, when excavating for building purposes at the foot
of Warren street.
The weather was warm and Hudson determined to take
advantage of the cool hours of the morning, therefore at
dawn on September 18th he weighed anchor and ran up
six leagues farther, but "finding shoals and small islands
in the middle of the river," he stopped, this time at the
present village of Castleton. After running aground re-
peatedly notwithstanding continual soundings, he finally
reached the site of Albany, and sending a boat with the
mate and four men to explore the upper waters of the
river, he awaited their return. It is said they went as
far as Waterford. While here Hudson was visited by
"an old savage, a governor of the country, who carried
him to his house and made him good cheer." Great
crowds of Indians came on board the ship, and were here
given their first taste of "fire water." Hudson is said
to have grown suspicious of them and fearing treachery
plied their chiefs with wine and brandy, thinking that in
their inebriation the truth would be divulged, but he dis-
covered nothing. It is fair to presume that Hudson was
wrongly influenced to this action by the strong prejudices
of his crew, but it is unfortunate that his fame should
have incurred this stigma, for with this single exception,
he was notably fair and kindly in his treatment of the
The report of the mate being unfavorable to a farther
ascent of the river, Hudson on September 23rd, prepared
for his return, his journal says, "greatly disappointed at
not finding the hoped for passage to the East, but cheered
by the reflection, that he had passed up a great river
nearly one hundred and fifty miles, and discovered a beau-
tiful and fertile region for the future enterprise of his
Returning down the river he again anchored off this
City, and was detained four days, as previously men-
tioned, by contrary winds. Hudson "had a visit from his
old friend the Chief bringing another Chief with him,
also his wife and three Indian women. He treated them
all very kindly, giving them presents and inviting them to
dine with him, which they did, 'the women being as
modest as one could wish to see.' "
The origin of the American Indian is lost in the dim
mysteries of the past, their traditions differing in many
particulars and all equally untrustworthy. Those inhabit-
ing this region, with whom the Discoverer exchanged
such cordial hospitalites, were the Mohicans, the last of
whose tribe, is endeared to later generations, by the
genius of Fenimore Cooper.
They were originally a powerful tribe of mighty war-
riors, having their Council seat at Schodack, called in
their tongue, "Esquitak" "the fire-place of the nation"
and were in possession of a wide domain. This was
wrested from them by the Mohawks who joined with other
fierce Iroquois nations, and drove them to the eastern side
of the river. Here Hudson found them much weakened
in numbers but still at enmity with these powerful foes.
Obtaining an alliance with the Wappingers, the Minsis
and other river tribes the war continued, until the final
struggle took place in 1628, tradition has it on what is
now known as Rogers Island, situated between Hudson and
Catskill. After a day of desperate fighting, and when the
Mohicans were almost victorious, they were decoyed into
a trap by the feigned retreat of the Mohawks, and most
of them were killed or captured. The overthrow of the
Mohicans was complete.
In the year 1736, the pathetic remnant of the once
powerful braves drifted into the mission founded by the
Rev. John S. Sergeant at Stockbridge, Mass. Later on a
few of them were found fighting with the patriots in the
American Revolution. Their old enemies the Mohawks
were on the opposite side.
On September 27th, Hudson continued his journey, an-
choring off what is now Red Hook and also at the site
of Newburgh, of which he writes, "this is a very pleasant
place to build a town on."
He at length arrived at Manhattan Island. Here he
was attacked by unfriendly Indians and it was not until
nine of their number had been killed that he was suffered
Hudson's next anchorage was at the present location of
Hoboken. where he was detained by a storm, but the
morning of October 4th, dawned clear, with a fair wind,
and the "Half Moon" with all sails set passed out to sea,
carr)'ing away her brave Commander, who was destined
never again to behold the stately river that bears his
"Fifty leagues we drew a furrow on that waterway un-
Past the bowered outer islands under cliffs of living
Skirting sunlit fields that billowed to the shores of inland
Under shadowed rocky ranges with their crests of noble
Till the channel shoaled and narrowed in a reach of high-
And the brackish water sweetened and we knew our
quest was vain.
Twas the River of the Mountains, where the silver sal-
And o'er yet untraversed waters lies the passage to
"So; aboard again my trusties! for the spirit will not
We must find the golden passage, be it East or be it
With a seaman's craft and courage, with a single heart
We shall search that ocean fairway from the Tropics to
Yet, when softly lap the surges, in my cabin I may
Of the mighty mountain river, of that broadly-rolling
Where I heard the hum of nations in the whisper of the
While, as breath of future cities, rose the white Septem-
What is all the dazzling treasure that the jeweled East
To our new-discovered countries where the sons of men
But the off-shore breezes freshen and the tide-rush will
So unmoor and set the tiller for the sea-road to
After an absence of a little more than seven months
from Amsterdam, Henry Hudson arrived safely on the
7th of November at Dartmouth, England, his English
sailors having mutinied and compelled him to land at an
It is said by the Dutch historians that England was
jealous of their maritime enterprises, and would not per-
mit Hudson to return to their shores. However that may
be, it is certain that Hudson never saw Holland again.
The news of Hudson's successful voyage and the story
of his discoveries created the wildest excitement in Eng-
land, not only greatly enhancing his fame, but also arous-
ing once more the flagging zeal of the London Company,
and they at once recalled him to their service. Accord-
ingly the ship Discovery, of 55 tons, was manned with
a crew of 23 men, including John Hudson and Robert
Juet, who was again made first mate, Hudson seeming
not yet to understand his treacherous character.
On the 17th of April, 1610, Hudson sailed away on
his fourth voyage, still in quest of the same elusive
"Northwestern passage to the East," and by the 11th of
May reached Iceland. Coasting along the Southern shore
they witnessed an eruption of Mount Hecla. "The in-
habitants of the island were wretchedly poor and miser-
able, but they received them very kindly."
While here, struggling with head winds and icebergs,
Hudson became aware of dissatisfaction among his crew,
"and would have put back forty leagues to send Robert
Juet home on a fishing boat, but being otherwise per-
suaded he kept on to Greenland," where the ice closed
in upon them and they had much difficulty in extricating
the ships. Being at length successful they continued their
course northwest for the American continent.
After innumerable encounters with "floating ice
mountains," one of which toppled over as they passed,
narrowly missing the ship, Hudson at length reached
Davis' straits, crossing which, he entered a bay near the
great straits that are called by his name. Here a terrific
storm overtook him and the ice again closed in about
them. The journal says "some of the men fell sick, I
would not say it was of fear although I saw small sign of
other grief." Even Hudson's heart failed him, as he
gazed upon the desolate scene and could find no way of
escape. "But his crew saw no sign of fear in him, for
he carried a cheerful countenance while they were dis-
mayed and broken spirited,"
Hudson now brought out his chart and showed them
that they had gone one hundred leagues farther than any
other Englishmen had been before, and gave them their
choice, whether they would proceed or turn back.
"But they could come to no decision, the miajority not
caring where they went provided they were clear of the
ice." Hudson reasoned with them and tried to allay
their fears, arouse their hopes, and inspire them with
courage, until at length "they all set resolutely to work
to bring the ship from the ice and free' themselves."
"No scene" the historian says "in the life of Henry
Hudson showed greater firmness and presence of mind
than this; with his ship hemmed in by the ice and a des-
perate crew on board, he rises bravely to the occasion,
and cahns and bends them to his will."
Having now entered Hudson Straits he spent the whole
month of July in passing through them, giving quaint
Puritanic names to the Capes and Islands, such as "De-
sire Provoked," "Isles of God's Mercies," "Hold with
Hope," and to the mainland, "Magna Britannia."
With renewed zeal, now that he saw as he supposed
the long sought passage to the East lying clear before
him, Hudson "sent a number of his men on shore to climb
the hills and see the great ocean beyond." "The ground
was covered with grass and they saw herds of deer feed-
ing, and numerous fowls flying over their heads." A
violent thunder storm drove them back to the ship, but
they reported the supplies of game they found, and
tried to pursuade Hudson to remain if only for a day
or two until they could provision the ship, "but he would
listen to no such request, being desirous of pressing on."
It was now the lOth of September and the whole of
that and the following month were passed in exploration
of the great inland sea that is so well known to us as
"Hudson's Bay." They sailed to the southern extremity,
as the sea was more open in that direction, meeting fierce
tempests and serious mishaps, but all these were trivial
to Hudson compared with his disappointment when he
found he could proceed no farther. He retraced his
course but being convinced that the end of navigation
was at hand, it being now the 10th of November, he ran
the ship into a small bay where they were soon com-
pletely shut in for the winter.
They were now confronted, not only with the rigors
of the extreme northern climate, but also with a scant
supply of provisions, the ship having been victualled for
only six months, and Hudson proceeded with a sad heart
to put the men on an allowance; he also offered a re-
ward for every "Beast, Fish and Fowl" they should kill.
After being here about a fortnight one of the crew,
a gunner named John Williams, died.
The cold increasing in severity, Hudson ordered the
carpenter one Philip Staafe to go ashore and build a house
for the crew, this he refused to do saying "that he could
not work at it in such frost and snow, and moreover it
was no work of his, he being a ship carpenter and not a
house carpenter." However after having time for reflec-
tion he not only built the house, which proved of little
advantage, but he was ever after one of the commander's
warmest friends. Ever since losing the opportunity of
obtaining provisions when they were so plentiful, mur-
merings and complaints had been rife among the crew
and now a portion of them led by the first mate became
so insolent that Hudson was compelled to act.
A court of inquiry was called to try Robert Juet, and
he was proven guilty of having incited the crew to
mutiny ever since leaving Iceland. The boatswain hav-
ing been found to be equally guilty both were removed,
and Robert Bylot and William Wilson were appointed in
The winter closed in drearily enough, though in the
matter of provisions they fared better during the first
three months than they feared, having an abundance of
white partridges, but when they left they could only
occasionally find wild geese and ducks, which soon after
disappeared entirely, and starvation stared them in the
"They wandered over the hills and valleys hunting for
food, devouring even the moss off the ground and buds
or bark off the trees."
"About the time the ice began to break up they were
visited by a savage, the only one they saw during the
winter and were greatly cheered by his coming." Hud-
son treated him with great kindness making him many
presents, and when he left he made signs that he would
come again, which he did bringing his sled loaded with deer
and beaver-skins, but no food. He made signs of many
people both to the North and South, and promised after
so many sleeps he would come again, but he came no
more, and all hope of obtaining provisions through him
were at an end.
"Fortunately when the ice was breaking up they caught
five hundred fish in a net," and thought their sorrows
were at an end so far as food was concerned, but they
were doomed to disappointment, for "on no day there-
after did they take one-quarter of that number."
Many of the crew were disabled from frozen feet, and
all were enfeebled by hardships and exposure, but their
sufferings only increased their irritability, until "they
sought occasions of quarrel with their commander on the
most flimsey pretexts. In this pitiable condition they
were detained in their cold winter quarters until the
middle of June. The ice having now broken up Hudson
prepared to sail, but before hoisting the anchor, he "with
an aching heart divided the small remnant of provisions
among them, a pound of bread and three and a half pounds
of cheese to each man." "And knowing the uncertainty
of what might befall them, he gave to each a bill of
return, which might be showed at home, if it please God
that they came home and he wept when he gave it to
They were detained at their anchorage about a week
and signs of open mutiny grew apace. Their plan was
to place Hudson and all the sick men in a shallup and
set them adrift. Habbakuk Prickett and others, (among
whom was the carpenter), who were friendly to Hudson,
used every argument they could devise to induce
them to desist, but it was all in vain." Prickett then
pleaded for a delay of three days, two days, twelve
hours even, but with no effect except to exasperate the
men, "who became very violent and ordered him to
his berth and would have thrown him in with Hudson
save that although lame he was needed to sail the ship."
They also desired the carpenter to remain but he
declared "he would not desert his commander or stay
with such villians." The Rev. Samuel Purchas says of him,
"Philip Staafe, an Ipswich man, their best purveyor on
shore with his piece, and both a skillful carpenter and
a lusty mariner on board, when he could by no pursuasions,
seasoned with tears, divert them from their devilish de-
signs, notwithstanding they entreated him to stay with
them, yet chose rather to commit himself to God's mercy
in the forlorn shallup than with such villians to accept of
Their plan was now arranged to be executed at day-
break on the morrow, and when Hudson came up from
his cabin, some of the mutineers ran and closed down
the hatchways while two others seized him, and a third
bound his arms behind him. "He asked them what they
meant" and was told "he should know when he was in
the shallup." Severe encounters took place between the
doomed men and their captors "but the boat was now
quickly drawn alongside and the sick and the lame, to
the number of six men, were brought up from their berths
and put into it."
Hudson called Prickett to come to the hatchway to
speak with him, and Prickett crawled up on deck, and on
his bended knees "besought them for the love of God
to remember themselves and do as they would be done
Their only reply was to order him back to his berth
"where Hudson continued to talk with him at the horn
that gave light into his cabin."
Henry Hudson thus bound and helpless was thrown
into the shallup and his son John Hudson was thrown
in beside him. The anchor was now weighed, the sails
hoisted, and they stood eastward dragging the shallup at
the stern. When they had nearly cleared the ice the rope
was cut, and the boat was set adrift. They then com-
menced ransacking the ship, chests were broken open
and every place was pillaged. While they were busy at
this work, some one cried out that the shallup was in
sight, and Prickett entreated them to take their poor
comrades on board again, or at least to take them in
tow to the entrance to the bay, where Hudson and his
companions might perhaps have been enabled to reach
Europe But in truth, this was just what the mutineers
did not want, and so they hoisted sail and stood away
"as from an enemy."
It would have been merciful to kill them at once, but
their cruelty preferred leaving them to a lingering horrible
death, in which Hudson's young son was to share, though
his tender years might have pleaded in his behalf.
The mutineers now kept on their way but like the
proverbial way of the transgressor, it was a hard one.
For a month they were tossed about by severe tempests,
"a fortnight they were embayed in ice, that stretched
for miles around; provisions too began to fail though
they managed to catch a few fish and shoot a few fowl."
But while they feared the perils that surrounded them,
they were far more afraid of returning to England. Green,
their new Captain, "swore that the ship should keep the
sea until he had the King's hand and seal to his pardon."
At length they reached the Capes, and the boat was at
once sent ashore to obtain supplies.
They were met by seven canoes filled with Indians who
seemed overjoyed at seeing them. The next day they
landed a^'ain, all except Prickett. who being lame was left
to guard the boat. The savages now attacked them and
they had great ditliculiy in making their escape. Green
died instantly from his wounds and his body was thrown
into the sea. Three others soon followed, all suffering
terribly before the end came.
Habbakuk Prickett had been twice wounded by the
arrows of the savages, but fortunately not mortally, as
we are indebted to him for the preservation of Hudson's
journal, which he continued until the close of this dis-
They now determined to shape their course for New
Foundland but being too much exhausted to sail the ship,
they were the sport of every wind that blew, and took
the direction of Ireland.
Their diet now consisted of the few remaining candles,
and a little vinegar, and being unable to stand they laid
about the deck in stolid misery. Robert Juet now died
in great agony of starvation and the others lost all hope
of ever reaching the coast of Ireland.
With the death of Juet, the last of the mutineers and
the leader of them all, perished.
"At last it pleased God to bring them in sight of land,
and they strived to reach it, but this they could not do;
but now by God's mercy a still more joyful cry was heard
'a sail! a sail!'"
A fishing bark had marked their distress and kindly
supplying their wants took them safely into a harbor
From thence they were enabled to reach Plymouth
and ere long were in London.
Great was the astonishment of the London Company
when these men appeared before them. They had not
been heard from in nearly eighteen months, and all hope
of ever seeing them again had been given up.
Great too was their sorrow and the sorrow of all Eng-
land, when their sufferings and the sad fate of their
gallant commander became known.
"Hudson had ever reflected honor upon his country and
his countrymen loved him and grieved for him."
The London Company at once decided to send out two
ships, the "Discovery" in which Hudson had sailed, and
the "Resolution," — to search for Hudson and relieve him
if possible, if not to endeavor to ascertain his fate.
Habbakuk Prickett was taken with them as a guide,
and hopes were entertained that they might also dis-
cover the north-west passage.
The ships returned the following year having failei in
both objects. No tidings of Hudson were ever received
and there is no clue to the manner of his death. Whether
the little shallup reached Cape Digges, (which seems high-
ly improbable), and they were murdered by the savages;
whether they died of starvation, or were swallowed up by
the waves, will never be known.
It is probable that Hudson's Bay became at once his
grave and his enduring monument.
The name of Henry Hudson is graven not on perish-
able marble of man's device, and not alone on the
escutcheons of numerous cities, but on a great bay, a
noble strait, and a magnificent river, that shall outlast
It was on June 23rd, 1611, that Hudson and his son
were set adrift to die; in April of the year 1614, his widow
applied to the London Company for employment for a
younger son, "as she had been left very poor."
The Company considered that the boy had a just claim
on them, as his father had perished in the service of the
Commonwealth. They accordingly placed the lad for
nautical instruction in the Samaritan, and* gave him five
pounds for his outfit.
The north-west passage remained unachieved until its
discovery became of little material moment. By a curious
coincidence Captain Roald Amundson sailed through it
in his diminutive sloop Gjoa less than three years before
the three hundredth anniversary of Hudson's first voyage
in its search All honor to the brave Norwegian who
succeeded, where Franklin and Hudson failed, and per-
ished in the attempt.
Three centuries have rolled away since Henry Hudson's
career closed in tragic mystery.
Imagine his amazement and delight could he re-visit
this mundane sphere during the celebration of his dis-
coveries, and view the magnificent pageant to be given
in his honor.
How marvelous to him the huge war ships, embody-
ing the inventive genius of all the ages in construction
and armament, contrasted with his own little 'Half Moon!"
How wonderful the stately steamboat, that grand fruition
of Robert Fulton's ingenius planting in the tiny Cler-
mont! How astounding the 20th Century railway train
speeding by on the bank of his "Great River of the Moun-
tains," — and to crown all a fleet of air-ships sailing in the
blue empyrean ! His astonishment would indeed reach its
height at beholding all these miracles, but when he heard
his name on every tongue from lisping infancy to quaver-
ing age, his heart would glow with gladness, and in the
loving praise of a grateful people he would feel repaid
for all his sufferings.
HISTORY OF HUDSON.
The Dutch Occupation.
When, late in the year 1609, the stanch little "Half
Moon" came sailing into the harbor of Amsterdam, con-
signed to her owners. The Dutch East India Company,
the event created no little excitement even in that phleg-
Henry Hudson, her intrepid commander being detained
in England was unable to accompany the ship, and never
re-visited Holland; but, faithful in the performance of his
duty to his employers, he sent them his journal, and chart
of his discoveries, pointing them with pride to "The
Great River of the Mountains" as he called the Hudson.
This river the Dutch speedily re-named the "River
Mauritius" in honor of their young Stadt-holder, Prince
Maurice of Nassau.
They also called it the North River, to distinguish it
from the Delaware, or South River.
The East India Company proceeded in the following
year to reap the fruits of Hudson's arduous enterprise;
and thereafter continued a brisk and profitable traffic with
the Indians, but made no attempt to colonize. It was
not until the year 1623, that "The West India Company"
was formed with special reference to this essential duty,
I HISTORY OF HUDSON
and brought over sixty families in their first ship, who
settled on the banks of the Hudson river, and on Manhat-
tan and Long Island. It is related that there were four
young couples who were married on the voyage, and who
set up their simple homes in New Jersey.
The West India Company proceeded to take possession
for the Netherlands, by right of discovery, of a territory
about the size of four of our Middle States. At Bowling
Green, where now stands the new Custom House in New
York City, they threw up a fortification, planted the Dutch
flag, with its seven stripes of red, white and blue, one for
each province, and named the place New Amsterdam.
This transaction was completed soon after by Director
General Peter Minuet, in the purchase of Manhattan Is-
land from the Indians, for the sum of sixty guilders or
24 dollars in our money. Other ships followed, bring-
ing more Colonists but they came slowly. They were not
fleeing from persecution, for Holland was at this time
the open asylum for the oppressed of all nations, and they
were a happy and contented people. Those who came
were doubtless attracted by the palpable evidences of
wealth, displayed by the rich cargoes of returning ships,
an idea of which may be obtained from the manifest of
the "Arms of Amsterdam, in 1624." "7246 beaver-skins,
843 otter and 151 minks and lynxes, and other pelts, be-
sides much timber of oak and walnut wood." Then too
they felt a natural curiosity to see the new strange land,
of which they had heard so much.
Whatever may have been the special attraction to these
shores, of our first Dutch settler, we may surely com-
mend his taste in the selection of this locality for his
home, which is certainly "beautiful for situation," "A
City set on a hill."
On the 15th of June in the year 1662, Jan Franz Van
Hoesan, a native of Holland, purchased a tract of land
from the Mohicans, the Indian tribe who entertained the
HISTORY OF HUDSON 3
bold Explorer Henry Hudson so hospitably on this shore
a half century before.
This tract included the ground on which the City of
Hudson is built and a portion of Greenport. It extended
along the river from Stockport Creek on the North, to
the mouth of Kishna's Kill, or creek on the South, which
empties into the South Bay near Mount Merino, and on
the East to Claverack Creek.
Here it met the boundary of the Van Rensselaer patent
and priority of title was contested by the agent of the
Patroon, but after a long litigation the courts decided in
favor of Van Hoesan.
These lands were confirmed to him by patent from
Governor Nicoll, at Albany on May 14th, 1667.
Jan Franz Van Hoesan, the patentee died about the
year 1703 and under the law of primogeniture the prop-
erty passed to his eldest son Jurrieu, but on January 7,
1704 he generously "conveyed to his brothers and sister,
Jacob Jan, Johannes, and Katherine, wife of Francis Har-
dick, his lands lying on and near the river." Francis
Hardick when a boy had run away from Liverpool and
shipped on a trading vessel to Manhattan, from thence
he made his way to the "Landing," obtained employment
of Mynheer Van Hoesan and afterward married his daugh-
In the division of Jurrien's inheritance, Jacob Jan re-
ceived lands to the Northward while those of his brother
Johannes lay upon the river and South Bay, extending on
the North to the road which formed the boundary of the
tract allotted to the Hardicks.
This road or "wagon way" led from the ferr>' along
the line of what later became Ferry and Partition streets,
and continued up to the present Public Square, crossing
which it led out to the interior.
The lands of Johannes Van Hoesan and the Hardicks
comprised a large part of the site of Hudson City, which
4 HISTORY OF HUDSON
has had a continuous existence of nearly two hundred
and fifty years! The Van Hoesan house, on the site of
that occupied by Jan Franz Van Hoesan, is still standing,
near the entrance to the covered bridge North of the
city, bearing the date 1729.
The first sale recorded was a "store and wharf-lot, and
mill site" purchased by Jeremiah Hogeboom, which in-
cluded what is now known as Underbills Pond. A grist
mill was built here which was owned by Peter Hoge-
boom, Jr., in 1783, and is still in evidence. Johannes
Van Hoesan died on October 28, 1724, leaving his lands
to his sons, Jacob and Gerrit, from whom they descended
to Hendrick, Gerrit and Katherine Van Hoesan, who be-
came the wife of Colonel John Van Alen. He was one
of the most prominent as well as most attractive person-
alities of the place. He is described as "a man of noble
feelings and well cultivated mind. In stature he was tall
and well formed, and true to the Dutch taste and fashion
of the day, wore a bright red coat." His residence was
one of the larger of the fine brick dwellings of the early
Settlement, with wide hospitable "stoep," and high pointed
Dutch gables; and his business, which was a flourishing
one, was conducted in a large warehouse with a "sloop-
landing" or wharf, which he owned.
It would be interesting to inquire where Colonel Van
Alen won his military title. Griffis says "that many
Officers who gained distinction in Holland's victorious
eighty years' struggle with Spain, were among our colon-
ists," and mentions Captain John Smith, Captain Myles
Standish, and Governor Petrus Stuyvesant, with many
others. To these we may safely add the name of Colonel
John Van Alen.
Other prominent residents were Justus and Peter Van
Hoesan, descendants of Jurrien Van Hoesan. Justus
Van Hoesan and his wife died at the same time, being
accidentally poisoned by taking arsenic, this event creat-
HISTORY OF HUDSON 5
ing great excitement in the little Settlement. They were
buried in a private burial-ground on land owned by Justus
Van Hoesan, near the lower District School. This cemetery
and one on the north side were used by the inhabitants
until after the opening of the new ground at the present
location, when they were discontinued, and the bodies
There was a canoe-ferry kept by Conrad Flock, starting
from the site of the present ferry and running to Loonen-
burg, (so-called from the Van Loan family,) now known
This was also a Dutch settlement of an early date,
mention being made of a tannery in operation there in
A single canoe was used for passengers, and two were
lashed together in order to carry teams; the wagons being
fastened upon timbers laid across the canoes, while the
horses were tied at the sides and compelled to swim.
This soon gave place to a boat, twenty feet long, very
narrow, and sharp at both ends, on which the horses were
put, and wagons in the centre.
It is recorded that some of these early settlers were
farmers, but they were principally engaged in fishing,
there being an abundance of fine fish in the river, for
which they found a ready market in New York.
Those who preferred farming must have been well
satisfied with the luxuriant fields of indigenous white
clover, they found ready for cultivation, and which gave
the name to the settlement. "Klauver" being the Dutch
word for clover, and "rachen" meaning reach, or field.
But the one employment that engrossed them all, was
trading with the Indians. Even fanners, and the farm
laborers whom they had brought over to assist them,
found it far more profitable and less fatiguing than tilling
It was not until after the fierce Indian wars checked
6 HISTORY OF HUDSON
this traffic that the farmer turned his attention solely
to the land, and found it to be wonderfully fertile and
Van der Donck, the veracious Dutch historian, whose
memory is preserved as the "Yonkeer" or, "Young Master,"
after whom Yonkers was named, tells marvelous tales
of these fields of wheat. Certain it is, that boats were
loading continuously at the "Landing" with their grain
and produce for many years after.
Flax and hemp grew spontaneously, and De Vries de-
scribes these lands as being "very delightful and pleasant
to look upon when they were all green with the wheat
coming up, and the woods interlaced and festooned with
grape vines, the fruit of which was as good and as sweet
as in Holland." "Nut trees, wild plums and berries of
all kinds grew in greatest profusion, deer were plentiful,
the forest was filled with game and the river with fish."
Surely the Dutch immigrant had "a goodly heritage."
Then too they came in whole families, and not unfre-
quently a neighborhood of close friends came together,
which must have added much to their contentment.
They were well to do people, some of them wealthy,
and they brought with them their house furnishings and
in many cases their domestics, as the passenger lists of
the vessels prove.
Their dwellings and storehouses with wharves on the
river front, were duplicates of those they had left. They
were built of small bricks burned with Dutch peat, brought
out to them in ships, and each had its huge brick oven,
savoring of culinary achievements unknown to the new
world. The little colony gained some accessions from
Rensselaerwick the settlement that Killian Van Rensselaer,
the pearl merchant of Amsterdam, was endeavoring ta
found near Fort Orange, now Albany.
The States General of Holland offered a grant of land
HISTORY OF HUDSON 7
with the title of Patroon, which carried with it some feudal
privileges, to any one who would settle fifty families in
the New Netherlands. With the assistance of the Rev.
Johannes Van Mechlin, better known as Domine Mega-
polensis, who in the year 1642 brought over forty families,
Van Rensselaer obtained this grant, and acquired still
larger tracts by purchase from the Indians.
Fort Orange on the site of Albany, was built by the
Dutch government in 1614, as a protection for future
colonists against Indian depredations, and Sebastian
Croll (pronounced Crull) was placed in command. He is
the traditional inventor of the cruller, "of which the
doughnut is the coarser expression."
Lest this should' be deemed too frivolous for so eminent
a personage, it must be mentioned that he was also an
elder in the "Church in the Fort," which was founded
by the Rev. Jonas Michaelius in the year 1628, and which
on the first Sabbath had a membership of fifty persons.
"Some having brought their letters with them from Hol-
land, and others united on confession of their faith."
A school was soon opened in connection with this
church, which is still known in New York City, as the
Collegiate School of the Reformed Church.
Before the year 1662 eleven churches with schools
attached, besides out stations, had been established, and
thirteen ministers provided.
Doubtless there were other schools in addition to these.
Washington Irving has preserved a Dutch Schoolmaster
in the amber of his droller>', but like his other Knicker-
bockers, the caricature is so greatly exaggerated as to
destroy the resemblance to the original.
Claverack was one of the out stations under the care
of the church at Albany until the present Rcfonned
church was organized in 1726. since which time it has
had a settled ministry of more than the average ability.
8 HISTORY OF HUDSON
The present sightly edifice was erected in the year
1767, and is a most attractive and commodious house
In 1704, a Lutheran congregation was organized in
Loonenburgh, and, some of the inhabitants of the "Land-
ing" attended church there, and were among the officers
of that body, being rowed across in small boats.
HISTORY OF HUDSON
Slavery — Post Riders — Revolutionary War.
The first census was taken in 1714, and showed the
population of the settlement to be two hundred and
nineteen, sixteen of whom were slaves.
This mention of slaves recalls the fact that this insti-
tution that we are accustomed to consider purely sec-
tional, existed in all the original thirteen states. It was
not until 1817 that the Legislature of the State of New
York enacted a law providing for its termination ten
years later. This was carried into effect and in 1827 the
blot was removed from our escutcheon.
We cannot be too thankful that the climate and economic
conditions at the North, were not favorable to its reten-
tion. In 1626, seven years after the introduction of
slavery into Virginia, the Dutch East India Company
brought a small cargo of slaves to the Island of Manhat-
tan. The Dutch did not take kindly to slavery, and we
are not surprised to find Domine Megapolensis present-
ing to the Governor a very strong petition for their manu-
This was granted, but a storm of indignation arose
when it was learned later, that the company were selling
the children of these slaves to the highest bidder. It was
stopped at once, and the Company were finally compelled
to hire most of those they brought over to the settlers,
consequently but few were imported.
During this period the relations between master and
slave were almost patriarchal. They were given little
plots of ground to cultivate and were treated most indul-
10 HISTORY OF HUDSON
gently, but under the English rule their lot was one of
suffering and hardship. Their number was also greatly
increased when the Duke of York and Albany, afterward
King James the Second (after whom New York and
Albany were named), was made President of the South
African Company, and directly interested in the profits.
The Governors of all the colonies were continually urged
to greater diligence in the disposal of these large cargoes
There were but few slaves left in this city or county
when the first Emancipation Day dawned, on July fourth,
1827, and the action of "Prince" Martin is typical of the
others. When Judge Martin told him he was free to
go or stay as he pleased, Prince scratched his woolly pate,
already frosted with age, and replied, "Well, Massa, you've
had the meat and you may as well have the bones."
A most wise decision! Prince lived many years in the
old home, most tenderly cared for, and annually led the
joyous procession on "Emancipation Day," resplendent in
the discarded raiment of his master.
The only allusion to wild animals in the early records
of the county is in the year 1775. "A bounty being offered
to every free Indian, free negro or slave, who shall kill
panthers or wolves in Albany or the adjoining counties,
on proof of the same to the justices or Supervisors of
the said county."
At a very early date it was found necessary to estab-
lish regular communication between the Island of Man-
hattan and Fort Orange, and various means were tried.
There were many sloops plying upon the river connect-
ing the settlements with each other, and carrying both
passengers and freight, but they were dependent upon
the wind and subject to serious delays.
Small boats with swift Indian rowers were tried, but
were found unavailable because of storms, and the ice-
bound condition of the river during the winter months.
HISTORY OF HUDSON 1 t
Finally, in 1684 post-riders carrying letters and dispatches
were decided upon, and a post-road was opened with
inns for the rest and refreshment of the weary rider, and
to provide relays of fresh horses. This method proved
feasible and the current expression "post-haste" wouid
indicate that it was at least moderately rapid.
The vocation of a mail-carrier in those early days was
fraught with danger and difficulty. Picking his way over
a mere bridle path, exposed to autumn's gales and winter's
cold and snow, and in constant peril from lurking Indian
foes, gladly must he have welcomed his havens of warmth
and good cheer.
The Post-road of which an occasional mile stone is
still in evidence, traversed the county from north to south,
intersecting the "wagon way" from the Landing, now
the Columbia Turnpike, near the residence of Mrs. George
W. DuBois, which was the Post Station for Claverack,
others being located on either side, at Kinderbrook and
Livingston. The mother of Mrs. DuBois, Mrs. Elbert
S. Porter, remembered distinctly having stopped over night
at this Claverack "stage-house," as it was called, when
as a little girl she traveled with her father by stage-coach
from Kinderhook to New York.
These mail-coaches of a later day necessitated the im-
provement of the road and the enlargement of the inns
or taverns, for the accommodation of the general pubh'c,
and a steady stream of vehicles of all kinds, and of
wagons loaded with farm products, passed over it con-
tinually. A little hamlet of Hollanders had gathered
around the Post Station at an earlier date, and about the
year 1786 a Post Office was opened there.
Columbia county was formed from Albany county on
the 4th of April, 1786, by an act of the Legislature, which
provided "that it should be called Columbia, and that
a Court House and gaol should be erected in Claverack
12 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Accordingly the dwelling now appropriately known as
"Old Court," formerly, and for many years the residence
of Peter Hoffman, was built for the purposes of the
courts. The cost including the goal was 3,600 pounds.
The county goal situated in the rear, was a somewhat
small building of heavy squared timber, strongly clamped
Claverack remained the county seat until the year 1805,
when it was changed to Hudson.
Some of the foremost men of the day displayed their
budding talents in that old Court House at Claverack,
during the eighteen years of its occupancy by the courts;
among them being Ambrose Spencer, Martin Van Buren,
Elisha Williams and Alexander Hamilton.
After a century of peaceful prosperity, our little settle-
ment began to hear the low mutterings of a growing dis-
content, that culminated in the momentous action of the
Continental Congress, suspending commercial relations
with the mother country, whose senseless aggressions had
Universally acclaimed the most successful of all the
colonizing nations of Europe, England failed ignobly when
she tried her "prentice hand" on the American colonies.
Being brought to the alternative of concession or war,
she quickly chose the latter, and the provincials were
proclaimed rebels. In the same year, 1774, the patriots
of Albany county began to raise a Regiment, with its
full complement of from 60 to 100 men to each Com-
pany, and the "First Claverack Battalion" was soon drill-
ing on the clover-reaches near the village of that name.
Mynheer no longer smoked his long pipe, surrounded
by "Yeffvrouw" and "Kinder," but hied himself to the
Post Station, and the newer tavern opposite, to hear
and discuss the exciting news, while train bands with
HISTORY OF HUDSON 1 3
fife and drum, marched and counter-marched on the green
The sturdy Dutch patriots of "The Landing" responded
nobly to the call to arms, furnishing a Lieut. Colonel
Johannes Van Hoesan, a Company raised by Captain Hen-
drick Van Hoesan, and officered by his brothers and
cousin, Ensign Francis Hardick, Jr. Also two non-com-
missioned officers for Captain Richard Esselstyns Clav-
erack Company, besides a large number of Van Hoesans
in the ranks; and of Hardicks, Hogebooms, and Huycks,
not a few.
Jans and Jacob Jans, Jurriens and Johanneses, Hen-
dricks and Gerrits, names so familiar in the early chroni-
cles were all there. It is a fact of pathetic significance
that not one of these names enrolled, was in evidence
in the sales of Dutch property to the Proprietors, ten
A company largely recruited in the town of Livingston
by Captain John McKinstry and Lieut. Thomas McKinstry
of the "Landing," took part in the battle of "The Cedars"
on the St. Lawrence River, May 19, 1776, when Captain
McKinstry was captured by England's Indian allies.
Preparations were made to torture and kill him but a
Free Mason's sign to Brant, who was a member of the
Order saved his life. McKinstry and Brant remained fast
friends during the remainder of their lives, and Brant
was a frequent visitor at the McKinstry mansion, in after
The Americans made a strong effort to keep the
Indians neutral during the Revolution, and secured a
solemn promise from the Six Nations to that effect, but
the. English were determined from the first to avail them-
selves of their aid, and finally by appealing to their
avarice, giving them the most lavish presents of gold
pieces, suits of red clothes, etc., they succeeded in ob-
taining the support of a large proportion of the tribes.
14 HISTORY OF HUDSON
It is also affirmed that the Indians were offered a bounty
for every scalp brought in, thus adding the crowning
horror to the war. Joseph Brant, "Thayendanegea," the
great chief of the Mohawks, was lukewarm and indif-
ferent until he was sent to England, and there feasted
and honored as his predecessors had been, and like them
he returned pledged to do his royal master's bidding.
The Mohicans, leaving the Stockbridge Mission rallied
their scattered warriors, and with the Wappingers, re-
newed their vows of fealty to the patriots, with a de-
votion that has been compared to that of Ruth, and was
expressed in almost the same words.
The occasion for their services came in the following
year at the battle of Bunker's Hill, on June 17, 1775.
The privations the patriots endured they shared without
a murmur, and fought with unwearied bravery to the end.
When the tattered banners were folded away they re-
turned to their white brothers, united by a holier tie, but
no truer friendship than that with which they had met
and welcomed them, to the shores of Hudson's river, in
Washington bore testimony to their worth when he
commended to Congress as the wards of the nation "the
last of the Mohicans."
In view of the patriotic zeal of our Dutch settlers dur-
ing the revolutionary war, the ease with which they
surrendered the colony to the English a century before
would seem inexplicable, did we not take into account
the peculiar relations existing between the two countries
at that time. If the digression is pardonable it is inter-
esting to revert to them in this connection.
During Holland's life- and- death struggle with Spain,
Queen Elizabeth, prodded by her Protestant Premier,
backed by Protestant England, after heart-rending vacil-
lations, at last yielded and granted them a subsidy and a
HISTORY OF HUDSON 15
Reprisals came quickly in the form of the Invincible
Armada, which it will be recalled, after suffering defeat
at the hands of Howard and Drake, was dispersed by a
A similar fate befell the Assyrian General, Sennacherib,
in Old Testament times.
"Like the leaves of the forest when summer is green,
That host and its banners at sunset were seen.
Like the leaves of the forest when autumn has blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown."
By her own heroic endurance and bravery, with the
assistance sent by England, Holland was victorious, and
peace was declared, but it was not an assured peace, and
in 1668 war broke out afresh, in which England, Ger-
many, and Holland were allied against France and Spain.
This war was terminated by the Treaty of Utrecht in
1716, by which Spain yielded Gibraltar to England, and
France resigned her pretensions to Hudson's Bay, Nova
Scotia and Newfoundland.
Holland had learned how to starve in beleagured Ley-
den, and could have repeated the experience in New
Amsterdam if necessary.
When, therefore, we read that "England sailed to Man-
hattan with a small armament, and met with but slight
resistance," we may be sure that such a reception savored
strongly of previous diplomatic ''pour parlcrs.''
In the words of a writer very early in the last century —
"There must have been a strong fund of good sense,
and native talent in our early Dutch settlers, to which
were added a sound judgment, and liberality of feeling,
associated with high principles of honor and patriotism."
England had never for a moment felt contented to
leave Holland in possession of the discoveries of her own
English subject, and had only awaited her opportunity to
prove it, by force of arms if necessary.
16 HISTORY OF HUDSON
The Rule of the Proprietors— 1783-1810.
When the American colonies, obedient to the brave
edict of the Continental Congress in 1774, suspended
commercial intercourse with the mother country, she re-
taliated by preying upon our commerce with all her bound-
None of our industries suffered more keenly from the
depredations of the British, than the whale fisheries, our
New England whalers being driven from the sea. Nan-
tucket was at that time the largest whaling station in
the world, but she was compelled to witness its rapid
However, there was still left a ship to carry the new
flag of the victorious Republic, and the first one seen in
an English port, was flying from the mast-head of a Nan-
tucket whaling ship.
In the spring of 1783, a considerable number of the
inhabitants of that part of the country, with the hope
of bettering their fortunes, determined to make a settle-
ment somewhere on the Hudson River.
To this end two brothers, natives of Nantucket, named
Seth and Thomas Jenkins, left Providence, Rhode Island,
where Thomas was engaged in mercantile business, for
the purpose of selecting a suitable site, taking with them
the sum of 100,000 dollars. On arriving in New York
they called on Col. Henry Rutgers, an old friend of
Seth Jenkins, who offered to sell them his farm on the
East river. They considered his offer, but differed 200
dollars in the price. This, Seth Jenkins offered to
divide, but Col. Rutgers declining to yield, the negotiation
HISTORY OF HUDSON 1 7
The brothers then continued their journey, tarrying at
Poughkeepsie with a view to purchasing, but being de-
sirous of making a full examination of the Hudson river,
proceeded on, and finally decided upon Claverack Landing
as meeting their requirements. At this point they found
the river navigable for vessels of any depth, and the
natural beauty of the location, combined with the fact
that it was in a thriving, thickly settled farming popula-
tion, made it seem in every way desirable.
On the 19th of July, 1783, the first purchase was made
by Thomas Jenkins, consisting of a "store and wharf-
lot" of Peter Hogeboom, Junior, for £2600, paying £500
down, and signing the deed.
This was followed by two parcels of lots bought of the
widow of Francis Hardick and sons, for £1870 and £540,
These three purchases being completed, the brothers
returned to Nantucket for their families, and in the autumn
Seth Jenkins and John Alsop were the first to arrive at
the "Landing"; Seth Jenkin's family, consisting of his
wife (Dinah Folger), four children, Robert, the eldest,
aged eleven years, and Dinah Coffin, the mother of
Dinah Folger. His house was the first to be built, and
while building, his family lived on board the ship. This
and the adjoining dwelling of John Alsop, were on the
northerly side of Franklin Square.
"In the spring of 1784, the other proprietors followed
with their families, bringing with them several vessels,
and in some instances the frames of buildings prepared
at Nantucket, for erection upon their arrival."
One of these was brought by Stephen Paddock and upon
his arrival with his family, Col. Van Alen went on board
of his vessel, and offered them the hospitality of his house
which they accepted, Mr. Paddock remarking "if that
was a sample of the Dutch, they were in a happy land."
18 HISTORY OF HUDSON
"The proprietors afterward found in Col. Van Alen a
The Proprietors' Association as formed was to consist
of not more than thirty members, all of whom should be
merchants, "or concerned in navigating the deep."
The articles of agreement subscribed by them were
ARTICLES OF AGREEMENT.
We, the subscribers, being joint proprietors of a cer-
tain Tract of Land lying at Claverack Landing on the
banks of the Hudson River, purchased by Thomas Jen-
kins of Peter Hogeboom Junr., and others, for the pur-
pose of establishing a commercial settlement, on prin-
ciples of equity, do enter into the following Articles of
Agreement, to wit: —
Article the First.
That each proprietor subscribe for such part of the
above Tract, in proportion as near as may be to his
Stock in Trade, with the others concerned.
Article the Second.
No person shall be permitted to purchase lands within
two miles of the said landing, unless he shall give the
Proprietors the refusal thereof at the rates at which he
himself purchased it.
That each and every one of the proprietors shall settle
there in person and carry his Trading Stock, on or before
the first day of October, A. Dom., one thousand seven
HISTORY OF HUDSON 19
liundred and eighty-five, unless prevented by some un-
avoidable event that shall be esteemed a sufficient reason
by some of the proprietors, for his non-compliance, and
his going immediately after the obstruction is removed.
In case of Death his heirs, executors or administrators,
with fully complying with these Articles, shall be entitled
to the same privileges as other proprietors.
That no person be permitted to dispose of his share
who has not fully complied with these Articles, but said
share revert to the other Proprietors, they paying the
first cost of said share without interest, and that the
proprietors which have complied with the foregoing shall
hold possession of lands according to their several pro-
That no proprietor be permitted to enter any building
on any proprietor's land, until it shall be divided, and
they shall be subjected to such regulations as shall be
hereafter made, for regulating the Streets, Lanes, High-
ways, Gangways, &c.
That we further agree that if any one or more shall
forfeit the right of his or their interest in the afore-
mentioned lands, according to the true intent and meaning
of the preceding articles, that he or they shall if fur-
nished with Deeds or other Instruments of conveyance
from Thomas Jenkins, give up the same to the Propri-
etors, or furnish them with a clear Deed or Deeds of all
their right, title, and interest in said lands, they paying
20 HISTORY OF HUDSON
such person or persons the first cost as described in
That the subscribers do solemnly agree to abide by
the preceding Articles and regulations, and that this In-
strument be signed and sealed by each individual pro-
prietor, and the original be lodged in the hands of the
Stephen Paddock Thomas Jenkins
Joseph Barnard Reuben Macy
Benjamin Folger Cotton Gelston
Seth Jenkins John Alsop
William Hall Charles Jenkins
Hezekiah Dayton Ezra Reed
David Lawrence Gideon Gardner
Titus Morgan John Thurston
Reuben Folger Nathaniel Greene
All the proprietors do not appear to have signed these
articles of agreement, which is explained by the fact that
two or three did not continue members, and the shares
of some were included and covered by the signatures of
the other proprietors. — Extracts from minutes. —
1784, May 14th. The proprietors held their first meeting
at the house of Seth Jenkins, and voted to elect such offi-
cers as were necessary to regulate their internal measures,
so far as their land extended. David Lawrence was chosen
Moderator of the meeting; Reuben Folger, Clerk for one
year. A committee of six, of which Seth Jenkins was
chairman, was appointed to "regulate streets, and to
attend in a particular manner to the fixings of the build-
ings uniformly." It was also voted "that no person
should fix his house without such direction from a
majority of the committee as they might think proper;"
HISTORY OF HUDSON 21
and that "No person should extend his steps more than
four feet from his door or sellar ways."
1784, May 15th. A committee of four having been
appointed "to lay out, sell or lease to David Bunker and
Redwood Easton a convenient lot for a tan yard" reported
that "they had sold one-quarter of an acre near Peter
Hogeboom's grist mill, with benefit of the mill stream
for £8.00 payable £2.00 per annum.^'
1784, May 17th. Cotton Gelston was voted treasurer.
Five proprietors were authorized to call a meetmg,
by making application in writing to the Clerk. "And that
any number of persons possessing sixteen full thirtieths in
the proprietorship shall constitute a meeting and not less.**
1784, June 2nd. It was voted that a number of men
should be employed "to dig on the hill in the direction of
Main street, in order to open a way to the river, and
procure stone for the proprietors."
This was probably the opening of South Front street.
Gideon Gardner was appointed to superintend that busi-
ness." The portion of the future city first occupied was
that nearest the landing, and Cotton Gelston opened
the first store. The first house on Main street was built
by Peter Barnard, just above the residence of Mrs. j. S.
Gould. Below it were orchards and cornfields.
June 28, 1784. It was voted "that a house be immediate-
ly built at the expense of the proprietors, 20 feet by 30 to
be appropriated for a Market House and that Daniel
Paddock superintend the building."
This was the establishment of the first or lower Market
Oct. 24th it was voted "that a bridge be built over th«
great hollow in Main street, with stone abutments." Seth
Jenkins was appointed to have the work done.
The bridge was located in front of the upper comer of
"Warren and Fourth streets.
Oct. 24th. They also voted "that Thomas Jenkins have
22 HISTORY OF HUDSON
privilege to erect a hay scale at his own cost, on Market
Square for five years, he promising not to exact more than
Is. 6d. per load, for weighing."
1784, Nov. 14th. It was unanimously agreed by the
proprietors, that "in futur it should be called by the name
There seems to have been no debate on the change of
name, or the suggestion of any other by the proprietors
than that given. Governor George Clinton was desirous
that the settlement should be called Clinton, and was
displeased that the name met with no favor from the
1784, Nov. 23rd. Thomas Jenkins, David Lawrence and
Gideon Gardner, were appointed a committee "to wait
on Col. John Van Alen, empowered by the proprietors
to purchase his real estate for £2,500 and one-thirtieth
interest in the first purchase made, including one-thirtieth
of his own land."
This property was the dwelling and store and wharf
lot before referred to, and included all the land lying
between Ferry street and the bay, and running easterly
to Front street.
The first child bom after the purchase was Elizabeth
Bunker, who died while young. Her parents were
natives of Nantucket, who came here from Dutchess
In the autumn of 1784, Daniel Paddock and Cotton
Gelston were appointed by the proprietors a committee
to procure ground for a Cemetery. They called upon Col.
Van Alen for advice and assistance and after viewing sev-
eral different localities, settled upon the site of the present
ground, owned by Col. Van Alen. When asked his
price for four or five acres, the Colonel replied "that he
would give that quantity to the proprietors to be used
for a burial ground forever, and for no other purpose.""
Additions have been made from time to time, and
HISTORY OF HUDSON 23
it is now of quite considerable extent, and greatly
admired for the beauty of its scenery. The committee
deserve credit for the selection of a spot, at once so
secluded and so accessible.
The original ground is that portion first entered from
the small gate, and well preserved stones mark the
resting-places of Seth Jenkins, Gelston, S. Pomeroy White
and many others, while beyond are scattered the brown
moss-covered stones grown hoary with age, whose in-
scriptions are almost undecipherable.
The first person buried in this ground was Phebe,
wife of Benjamin Folger, the first man who was buried
there was Colonel John Van Alen, who died December
About the middle of the last century the city erected
a substantial monument to his memory, bearing the
"He was a man of strong mind and liberal heart. He
took an active interest in the settlement of Hudson,
was the donor of the original burying ground, and the
third person buried therein."
24 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Final Acquisition of Land. — Ship Building.
After the death of Col. Van Alen, it was voted "to
ascertain from the widow Van Alen whether she had
power to ratify the bargain, and if so to get writings
drawn and executed immediately."
It was also voted to procure "from Thomas Jenkins
a one-thirtieth or compleat share in the proprietorship,
for the sum of £500 to be made out to Catherine Van
The purchase of the property was completed, and the
proprietors "presented to Mrs. Van Alen No. 10 house
lot, in the first square and Main street."
Mrs. Van Alen built a house on the lot and resided
there until 1787. It was then occupied by Ambrose
Spencer and his son John C. Spencer was bom there.
Its precise locality cannot be ascertained.
Later when Greene street was laid out, a large plot
bore the name of Catherine Van Alen.
With the purchase of about twelve acres additional
from Leendert Hardick, and the division of some un-
claimed water lots among them, the acquisition of land
by the proprietors seems to have rested.
The water lots lay along the South Bay close to the
water's edge, and the proprietors with commendable fore-
sight announced that "any person falling in must not
look to them for damages."
When we reflect that the purchasing power of a
dollar was from ten to twenty times greater in those
days than now, and that the sums paid by the proprietors
were in pounds, multiplying a dollar nearly five times,
HISTORY OF HUDSON 25
the prices obtained by the Dutch settlers would argue very
good values; the proprietors being experienced business
men who would not pay more than the land was worth.
In the meantime the enterprise had attracted desirable
additions from Providence, Martha's Vineyard and New-
port, nearly all of whom were the possessors of comfort-
able fortunes, and the growth of the little settlement was
A very large proportion of the inhabitants were members
of the Society of Quakers, and theirs was the first religious
organization to apply for ground on which to build a
meeting-house as we find in the minutes.
1784, Sept. 8th. It was voted "that divers of the
proprietors being members of the society called Quakers,
who now request that a piece of ground be set apart on
their right for a meeting-house and schoolhouse, there-
fore, they of the said society being proprietors, are author-
ized and empowered to make choice of such one of the
public squares for a meeting-house as they should think
proper, the lot to be given by the proprietors if built
upon before any other society should make application.
The half of the adjoining lot was to be selected also for
a schoolhouse and a deed of conveyance of the lots would
be given for that purpose, and that only."
A lot on the south side of Union street seventy-five
by sixty feet, near the comer of Third street was
selected and a small frame building was erected.
The society increasing rapidly in members, purchased
the lot on the opposite side of Union street corner of
Third, where in the year 1794, they built a large brick
building capable of accommodating six hundred people,
in which they worshipped until 1853, when they occupied
the building vacated by the Methodists.
This was their last meeting-house, their members
having dwindled to a very few families.
Their places of worship were like their garb and
26 HISTORY OF HUDSON
language, devoid of all unnecessary ornament, not evert
a coat of paint being admissible on either the interior
or exterior, which last possessed nothing to designate its-
character or use to a stranger.
The audience-room was divided by a high partition
through the centre which entirely separated the sexes, and
was furnished with hard wooden benches, while facing
these were arranged a few elevated seats, for the elders
of the society, and from which the preachers discoursed,
whenever the spirit moved them.
The juveniles of the congregation were relegated to
the rear of the respective divisions, and an early writer
gives a graphic account of his efforts to keep awake, and
thus avoid the rap on the head administered by the
cane of a watchful elder. He relates that one Jethro
Bell, the better to perform this duty seated himself
among the youthful offenders, and on one particularly
warm Sunday, while leaning forward, with his chin on his
cane fell fast asleep!
An ungodly boy, pretending to flick a fly from the
elder's nose, hit the cane and Jethro fell sprawling upon
his face. We can imagine the horror of the whole as-
sembly at this breach of decorum, and the deep but
silent enjoyment of the boys.
Their worship was ordinarily silent but two preachers
are mentioned who occasionally discoursed to them,
Thomas Comstock and Hannah Barnard, both well
known to "Friends" in other parts of the country.
The same simplicity that marked their place and form
of worship, was carried into every department of life.
They never uncovered their heads in the meeting house
or on any public occasion, and never made use of any
titles in their address of each other, or of the "world's
people," simply calling everyone by their given name.
The Quaker dress was severely plain. No jewelry
was tolerated, and it never varied either in style or color,
HISTORY OF HUDSON 27
but there was a quaintness in the dove-colored dress and
bonnet, and sheer crossed 'kerchief, that was very at-
Lovers of order, hospitable, benevolent, industrious, and
peaceful in all their pursuits, were these fascinating mem-
bers of a society, that not only originated and adorned,
but was itself the best example of the "simple life."
A little rhyme by the late Stephen B. Miller well com-
memorates the "Friends" of those early days of the
Proprietors; we give a portion of it.
"Full four-score years and ten ago
From those lone and sea-girt places,
Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket
Came the Folgers, Jenkins, Macys
And the Paddocks, Worths and Daytons,
And there were Coffins, full a score.
With many more a home to find
Upon North River's quiet shore.
They are all gone! and in our streets
Of those plain days there scarce a trace is,
Little save names are left to tell
Of Bunkers, Jenkins, Barnards, Macys.
Simple in heart, peace-loving men
With sober-minded, worthy dames.
All sweet within and drab without,
And all with good old Scripture names."
No further mention is made of the schoolhouse pro-
vided for in the grant to the Quakers.
The first school opened after the arrival of the pro-
prietors was kept by James Burns in a frame building on
the county road near the river. It had been built and
used for a schoolhouse by the inhabitants of Chivcrack
Landing, and remained until the opening of Front Street,
when it was demolished.
28 HISTORY OF HUDSON
The children of all the leading citizens were pupils
of Mr. Burns, and the building was also available for the
public meetings of the day.
Ship-building was commenced in the first year of the
settlement and was carried on extensively for many years.
A number of vessels were brought here by the proprietors
and in 1786 there were twenty-five, carrying twenty-five
hundred tons owned here; more than were at that time
owned in the City of New York. In 1784 Titus Morgan
made the first application for the privilege of building
a shipyard on the purchase, "adjoining the northernmost
street," agreeing in consideration of a lease being granted
him for four years, (afterward extended to ten), to open
a street from Market street to the river passable for
wagons, at his own expense." This was the opening of
North Front street and the yard was situated at the foot
of State street.
Ship yards were built immediately after by Obed Sears,
Marshall Jenkins, John T. Lacy and others. As many as
five large ships were known to be on the stocks in these
various yards at one time.
Launching days were frequent and were always kept
as a holiday. Booths were erected outside the yard for
the sale of refreshments which consisted principally of
Mrs. Newberry's gingerbread. Schools were dismissed,
the people from the country came in, and with the greater
part of the population of the city, would gather at the
yard and often wait patiently for hours for the moving
of the vessel, which was the signal for the firing of guns,
and the cheers of the crowd.
In addition to the yards here, there were several at
Athens, in which were built some of the largest vessels
owned by Thomas and Marshall Jenkins.
The first ship launched was in 1785 by Jenkins and
Gelston; it was of three hundred tons, called "The Hud-
son" and commanded by Captain Robert Folger.
HISTORY OF HUDSON 29
The extensive commerce of the settlement gave great
impetus to every branch of business, connected with the
building and fitting out of ships. Sail-making, rope-mak-
ing, painting, blacksmithing and many other industries
furnished employment to a large number of men.
In 1785 Thomas Jenkins, Josiah Olcott and others, built
a rope walk six hundred feet long, on the westerly side
of Third and north of State street.
Many of these ropes were of such weight, as to re-
quire several yoke of oxen to convey them to the river
to be shipped.
"The rope walk was ever with the boys a favorite Sat-
urday resort, the processes of spinning and twisting amus-
ing them, while its great length afforded an ample field
for the foot-race." Many a staid citizen of a later day
proved himself there "a fast young man."
Another industry connected with ships was sail mak-
ing. This was conducted by Seth Jenkins and Stephen
Paddock, in a hemp and ducking factory erected on Third
street. They sent a portion of their manufactures to New
York but the greater part were used in the sail lofts
A brewery was established by Benjamin Faulkins who
stated in the Gazette "that he had been regularly brought
up to this philosophical branch of business in England,
and he did not doubt his brewery might become of great
utihty to Hudson by giving his ale the name of "Hudson
Ale," the prices of which were: stock ale five dollars, and
mild ale three dollars per barrel." The brewery was on
the north side near the river.
In addition to the brewery of Mr. Faulkins there was
another in the vicinity of the North Bay. and a third on
the south side of the settlement. "None of these brew-
eries turned out more than five barrels per day, but there
were few more extensive than these, anywhere to be found
at that time." There were extensive tanneries carried on
30 HISTORY OF HUDSON
by a half dozen of the proprietors, and large quantities
of leather were manufactured, for a greater portion of
which they found a market in New York.
A wind grist mill was built on the top of Prospect Hill
by Joseph Barnard, which was a prominent object in all
the approaches to the settlement, and was visible many
miles distant. It gave place to a house for refreshments
with the design of making the hill a public resort, but it
did not succeed. The grist mill gave it the name of "Wind
Mill Hill," by which it was known for many years.
HISTORY OF HUDSON 3!
Minutes. Pen Pictures of the Proprietors.
The minutes of the Proprietors, to which we will now
return, exhibit a strong desire for the incorporation of
1785, Feb. 7th, Seth Jenkins and John Thurston were
appointed a committee "to repair to the manors of Van
Rensselaer and Livingston, and find where said line inter-
sects Claverack Creek, so that the bounds of the in-
tended township, for which a petition is to be presented
to the Legislature, may be more accurately described."
A committee was also appointed to examine and de-
fine the limits on the north and south of the future city.
1784, Sept. 2nd, It was voted that the "three wells" be
stoned and masoned up. The "three wells" were prob-
ably three reservoirs, one of which was in Third street,
another in the vicinity of Second street, and a third near
the Market house.
1785, April 8th, "It was voted that Thomas Jenkins and
David Lawrence be a committee to name the streets;
also that Diamond street be put in a passable condition,
and that the proprietors should send as many men as
convenient until there was a sufficient number to work
them, and on producing a certificate to Titus Morgan they
should be entitled to receive four shillings per day,'' Eng-
1785, April 10th. They voted "that a lot 50 by 120 feet
on Diamond street should be granted to any person or
persons, who would build a schoolhouse. not less than
40 feet by 24, such persons not to receive more than
nine per cent on tlie cost of the building for the use of
it, and to have the power to sell it to the corporation at
32 HISTORY OF HUDSON
large, for their own use, whenever they had opportunity
so to do; and that it should continue to be used for a
schoolhouse, for every description and denomination of
people then settled, or which should thereafter settle
Shortly after its erection Joseph Marshall, who styled
himself "the public's humble servant," gave notice, "that
he designed opening a school in the Diamond street school-
house from 5 to 7 o'clock p. m., each day, for the in-
struction of "Misses" in writing, cyphering, composition,
English grammar, and geography."
The boundaries being definitely ascertained the pro-
prietors proceeded with the business of incorporation.
1785, Feb. 17th. It was voted that "a petition be drafted
to be laid before the Legislative authority of the state,
for the purpose of getting ourselves incorporated, with
city privileges," and that Ezekiel Gilbert, John Thurston,
Ezra Reed, and Seth Jenkins be a committee to draft
the same and with Gen. Van Rensselaer, to repair to
New York as soon as convenient, and present the same
before the General Assembly now in session, and use
their utmost influence to get it passed immediately."
A committee was appointed "to lay out and plot," the
future city. The plot embraced Union, Main, Diamond
and State streets, with Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth
streets crossing them. First street was not opened until
many years later.
"One house lot was voted to Cotton Gelston for his
trouble in laying out the plot."
In all the proceedings of the Proprietors we find but
two or three allusions to their financial condition, but it
is evident from these that they were at times consider-
ably pressed and advised the disposition of certain lots
Of the government of "The Landing" we are unable
HISTORY OF HUDSON 33
to catch a glimpse, but its success must be held to prove
Had the Proprietors understood the language of the
Hollanders, their intercourse would have been less diffi-
cult and more agreeable to both. It is said that the
"Yankees," as they were called, found great amusement
in listening to the broken English of their Dutch neigh-
bors, frequently drawing them out simply to have a laugh
at their expense, but the Dutch had the advantage for
they understood English perfectly, probably from their
intercourse with New York, "while the Proprietors could
not understand a word that they said."
But they seem to have dwelt together in harmony, both
being upright and honorable in their business dealings,
and both possessed of that invaluable adjunct, good com-
mon sense. The distinct nationalities must have lent a
spice of variety, to the social life of Claverack Landing.
We have hints of Dutch frolics and feasting, apple-par-
ings and corn-huskings, with the sweet penalty of finding
a red ear, and of country dances galore; while the stately
dinners, tea-parties and quiltings of the staid New Eng-
landers possess a peculiar charm.
Even the captious critic of "Random Recollections" has
only unqualified praise for the beauty, intelligence and
accomplishments of the gentler sex who graced the so-
ciety of that day.
Certainly no place can claim more for the character
of its founders than Hudson. All of them were men
of influence, ability and activity, and are described as
beinq physically, "stout, well formed, noble looking men."
The Jenkins family, who were the leading spirits in
the enterprise, carried on successfully every branch of
trade and commerce for manv years. Thomas Jenkins
is described as "unitinu; the dignified, princely air of an
old school gentleman, with the address and energy of a
man of business." "Standing on his wharf with his gold-
34 HISTORY OF HUDSON
headed cane in his hand, watching and directing the
preparations for the sailing of his ships, his bearing and
manner was authoritative, but his nature was kind and
His residence was the house Nos. 116 and 118 Warren
street, opposite "The Worth" later divided into two dwell-
ings, the lower of which served for "The Misses Peakes
Seminary for Young Ladies," during a portion of the last
In its entirety it was a palatial home contrasting strongly
with the primitive simplicity of the Quakers and subject-
ing Mr. Jenkins to the charge of being "somewhat aristo-
cratic." Thomas Jenkins died in New York in 1808,
his remains being brought to Hudson on a sloop, and bur-
ied in the ground belonging to the Quaker Society. In
accordance with their strict rules, no tombstone was ever
placed on his grave, and it cannot now be identified.
His son Elisha Jenkins, a leading partner in the well-
known house of "Thomas Jenkins and Sons," retiring
from business with an ample fortune removed to Albany
and becam.e prominent, first as State Comptroller, and
later as Secretary of State.
Seth Jenkins who was the first Mayor of Hudson, and
equally with his brother Thomas, a power in the develop-
ment of the Settlement from its earliest inception, was a
man of high character and excellent abilities. He gave
most unstintedly of his time and personal service, beside
employing his wealth and influence for the prosperity of
Mr. Jenkins served with distinction as Mavor of the
city from its incorporation in 1785, until his death, which-
occurred on July 30th, 1793. His son Seth Jenkins, Junior,
built and resided in the dwelling, Number 115 Warren
street, adjoining the Chapter House and of similar style
before the radical alterations of the latter, for its pres-
HISTORY OF HUDSON 35
He married Sarah Hathaway, who was a sister of Cap-
tain John Hathaway, and an aunt of the Hon. Theodore
From the author of "Random Recollections" who was
a resident of Hudson during its formative period, we
gather a few items of personal interest. He says "Among
the most prominent of the fathers was Robert Jenkins, a
gentleman of the highest respectability, though somewhat
abrupt and decisive in his tone and manner." Robert
Jenkins, a son of Seth Jenkins, inherited his father's
executive ability. At the age of nineteen, he was at
the head of the first cotton mill erected in the state, and
held many positions of honor and trust.
In February, 1808, he was appointed the third Mayor
of Hudson by Governor Daniel D. Tompkins, and served
For over thirty years with the exception of a short in-
terval of two years, the office of Mayor of the City was
fille 1 by some member of the Jenkins family.
In 1811, at the age of 39 years, Robert Jenkins built
the spacious colonial mansion, No. 113 Warren street,
which his granddaughter, Mrs. Marcellus Hartley pur-
chased, and so generously presented to the Hendrick Hud-
son Chapter, of the Daughters of the American Revolu-
tion, as a fitting memorial of her ancestors.
Mr. Jenkins resided in this dwelling until his death on
November 11th, 1819.
A man of exceptional activity and usefulness in the
settlement was Cotton Gelston.
He was the first treasurer to the Proprietors, the first
surveyor and made the first plot of the city. He drew
their first deeds, launched the first ship, opened the first
store, in which was located the first postotfice and was
appointed the first postmaster.
Mr. Gelston was possessed of a choleric temper and at
the last meeting of the proprietors, being violently op-
36 HISTORY OF HUDSON
posed to the transfer of the minutes, books, and papers
to the Common Council, made a determined effort to
burn them. He succeeded in part, but after a struggle
the minutes were taken from him, and saved by Gilbert
Jenkins, thus averting an irreparable loss to the future
Squire Worth is pictured "as a short, thick-set man^
round-shouldered and red-haired; a man of strict integrity
and good sense but excessively odd." He was induced ta
sit for his portrait, but quarrelled with the artist for mak-
ing him look "like a one-story house with the chimney
Captain Hathaway, "a very worthy citizen but troubled
with the asthma, and frequently suffering from the ex-
cellence of his dinner. In politics always calculating
freights rather than majorities, and wisely relying with
more confidence upon his pocket than upon his party.
Still he was a worthy citizen and though close, and some-
what phthisicy, an honest man."
David Lawrence, "a man of keen observation and
ready wit; of strong sense and stronger prejudice. In his
old age gouty, irritable and sarcastic. On hearing that
the Bank of Nantucket had been robbed, 'Ugh!' said the
old gentleman, with an air of contempt, 'I suppose they
forgot to pull the latch string in.' "
This was an allusion to the wooden latchets then in
use, which were placed on the inside of the front door,
and were lifted on the outside by a string put through a
small aperture in the daytime, and pulled inside at night.
"The latch string is out" was a common expression of
hospitality in those days.
The writer occupied rooms in a house at East Hamp-
ton, L. I., some years ago, whose only protection was the
latch string here described, and was glad to remember that
the citizens of that ancient burg, had just previously
voted down a proposed extension of the railroad to the
HISTORY OF HUDSON 37
village, "because it would bring so much wickedness with
The seven miles of heavy staging from Sag Harbor, be-
came an element of safety not before appreciated.
Hezekiah Dayton is next mentioned as "a good citizen
and an upright man, fond of argument, reasoning upon
all things, but in all things unreasonable," "never con-
vinced and never convincing."
"'Ihen comes Robert Taylor, a stout well dressed per-
sonage, arrayed in buff vest and white top boots."
"And then Captain Alexander Coffin, one of Nature's
noblemen, frank, generous, warm-hearted and brave as
Caesar, but withal hot as a pepper-pot, fierce as a north-
easter, yet neither rude, aggressive or implacable. He
was the noblest Roman of them all."
In giving all due credit to the Proprietors for the early
prosperity of Hudson we should not forget that their
efforts were ably seconded by many others, not only
from the immediate vicinity, but from a distance, who
were attracted to the enterprise by its bright prospects.
Ezekiel Gilbert, who seems very early to have taken
an active interest in it, was a resident of Claverack from
which place he removed in 1785, thus becoming Hudson's
first lawyer, first, not only in order but for many years
first in ability. Mr. Gilbert was not a man of great tal-
ent, but he made himself of great service to Hudson, first
in the matter of incorporation, and in 1790, when as a
Representative in Congress, he successfully advocated
Hudson's claims to be made a port of entry.
On returning from Washington, after serving four
years in the House, Mr. Gilbert brought with him a piano,
which was the first one owned in this city.
It seems curious when we reHect upon it, that a little
comnuinity with an experimental existence of less than
a year and a half should so soon, and at a single bound,
aspire to civic honors.
38 HISTORY OF HUDSON
It argues a self-confidence that the event proved was
not ill-founded, else would their "vaulting ambition have
o'erleaped itself." Perhaps though "they builded better
than they knew!"
However, the Proprietors after incorporation continued
their regular meetings "being duly warned," with Mod-
erator and Clerk, and retained their hold upon the land,
as owners, for twenty-five years, deeding lots to the Com-
mon Council as they were needed. Thus presenting the
unique spectacle of two distinct governing bodies in the
same city, at the same time, and composed largely of
the same persons.
HISTORY OF HUDSON 39
On the twenty-second day of April, 1785, the Act of
Incorporation was passed and Hudson became a city, the
third in the state.
The territory of the city as chartered extended from
the line of the town of Livingston on the south, to Major
Abraham's (Stockport) Creek on the north, and to Clav-
erack Creek on the east.
A portion of the town of Stockport was taken off in 1833
and the town of Greenport in 1837 reducing the boun-
daries of Hudson to their present limits.
On the fourth day of May, Ezekiel Gilbert arrived
from New York, bringing with him the Charter of the
City, and the appointment by Governor George Clinton,
of Seth Jenkins as the first Mayor.
Its reception was attended with the firing of cannon,
raising of flags, and every other demonstration of joy and
gratification, by the citizens.
On the day following. Mayor Jenkins issued his proc-
lamation announcing the incorporation of the city, his
appointment as Mayor, and calling "upon all the freemen
within the limits of the city, to meet at the schoolhouse,"
a small frame building then standing on the counrv' road
near the river, "on the Monday following (the 9th day of
May), to choose necessary officers, and to transact other
This was Hudson's first charter election, but it was
conducted without a contest. There is no record of the
vote cast, nor of the population of the city at that time,
but it grew with great rapidity, and from 1785 to 1786,
40 HISTORY OF HUDSON
one hundred and fifty dwellings, warehouses, wharves and
shops were built, besides manufactories.
The first meeting of the common council was held on
the 9th day of May, 1785.
Present — Seth Jenkins, Mayor; Nathaniel Greene, Re-
corder; appointed by the Governor. William Mayhew
and Stephen Paddock, Aldermen; Dirck Delamater and
Marshall Jenkins, Assistants.
The following individuals have held the office of Mayor
by appointment from the Governor and council of ap-
Seth Jenkins, April, 1785.
Thomas Jenkins, November, 1793.
Robert Jenkins, February, 1808.
John Tallman, March, 1813.
Robert Jenkins, February, 1815.
John Tallman, February, 1820.
Alexander Coffin, February, 1821.
From the year 1823 to 1840 the Mayor was electee:
by the common council, since that date they have been
elected by the people.
The first City Clerk was John Bay, 1785. The first
Chamberlain was John Alsop, 1785.
In August, 1785, a seal for the city the same that is
now in use, was purchased; "Nathaniel Greene, Seth
Jenkins, John Bay, Ezra Reed, Stephen Paddock, Ben-
jamin Folger, Dirck Delemater, John Ten Broeck, and
Peter Hogeboom each contributing eleven shillings, and
four pence, to defray its expense." From the early
minutes of the council we make the following extracts:
"1785, June 9th. Land was granted to the corporation
for the erection of a Gaol on the N. E. corner of the
northermost square on Fourth street."
The Gaol which was 30 feet long, 20 feet wide and
one story high, was constructed of logs with iron grates
at the windows. It is said that almost the first prisoner
HISTORY OF HUDSON 41
confined in it, concealed an augur on his person with
which he bored through the logs, and escaped.
1785, July 26th. Abimeleck Riggs was appointed keeper
of the Gaol. On the same date, William Wall was ordered
to have completed the Stocks and Whipping Post at the
Market, which he did, at a cost of 3 pounds, 4 shillings
and 1 1 pence. Eight years later these, then quite common
devices, were ordered removed "to a point, at or near
the common Gaol, and to be under the care and inspection
of the Gaoler."
The punishment of whipping was inflicted for petty
offences, and in addition the offender was sometimes sen-
tenced to be driven out of the city. In that case he was
tied to the tail of a cart and commencing at the lower
end of Main street, received a certain number of lashes
at each corner, until the head of the street was reached,
where he was set at liberty and directed to leave the
limits at once. The officer inflicting the punishment was
called a "Whipping Master" and received his appointment
from the common council.
1785, July 25th. It was voted "that one house lot on
Main street should be given to Ezekiel Gilbert, as a free
donation, for his essential services done the proprietors,
in bringing about the incorporation of this city."
Whether Mr. Gilbert built on this lot is uncertain, but
in the year 1800, he occupied a pleasant country resi-
dence standing on or near the site of the St. Charles
Hotel, and gave to the city a portion of the ground
for the upper Public Square, with the intention of having
it laid out as a park.
1785, August 2nd. It was ordained "that it should not
be lawful for any person or persons whatsoever, to run
or gallop his, her or their Horse, or Horses, through any
of the Streets of the said city, and that if any person
or persons, should be convicted of running, or galloping
his, hers or their Horse, or Horses, through any of the
42 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Streets of said city, he, she or they should, for every
such offense, forfeit and pay the sum of six shillings
current money of the State of New York, to be recovered
before the Mayor, Recorder or any of the Aldermen with
Costs of Suit, one-half to go to the Informer, the other
half to the Overseers of the Poor of the City for the
use of the poor thereof."
1785, Sept. 5th. Ordinances were passed prohibiting
storekeepers from throwing glass in the streets, boys
from swimming near the ferry landing, also prohibiting
any person chopping wood on Main street "with an axe"
and the running at large of "any hog or hogs, goose or
geese, unless properly yoked."
1785, Sept. 7th. "Whereas John Dewitt late of the City
of New York had run away and left his wife and children,"
it was ordered "That Mrs. Dewitt, wife of the said John
Dewitt, with her children, be sent to the City of New
York, the place from whence the said John Dewitt came."
1787, March 1st. "Freelove Clark was ordered to be
sent back to Nantucket, and Stephen Paddock was author-
ized to take proper measures to remove her."
It was the custom to send vagrants back to their for-
mer place of residence, and several instances similar to
the foregoing are reported in the minutes.
In July, 1785. "Chimney Viewers were appointed and
many regulations were established for the protection of
the city, and for the prevention of fires."
It was required by an ordinance "that every house with
three fire-places should provide two leather buckets, and
every house with more than three fire-places, three
leather buckets, sufficient to contain at least two gallons
of water. Brewers, bakers, and tavern keepers, were
required to furnish them, to hold three gallons."
They were to be marked with the owner's initials, and
kept near the front door, ready to be used to extinguish
HISTORY OF HUDSON 43
In 1794, the "Overseers were directed after a fire, to
cause all the buckets to be collected, and carried to the
Market House, where citizens might know where to find
them, and if injured to cause them to be repaired at the
expense of the city; and if any were lost, they were to
be replaced upon proper proof of the fact. Any person
detaining them from the owner above twenty-four hours
after any fire, forfeited for every one so detained twenty
"Fire Wardens were appointed whose duty it was im-
mediately upon the cry of fire to repair to the place, to
direct the inhabitants in forming themselves into ranks,
for handing the buckets to supply the engines with water.
The citizens were enjoined to comply with the directions
of the wardens, and it was expected that all other per-
sons would refrain from giving directions, and would
cheerfully obey such as were given by authorized per-
sons." It was customary for the women to aid in the
lines for passing the buckets, they usually passing up
the empty line, while the men returned them filled.
"The Mayor, Recorder and Aldermen, upon such occa-
sions were to carry a wand five feet at least in length,
painted white, with a gilded flame at the top." "The
Fire Wardens were to carry a speaking trumpet painted
white, and each Fireman was required to provide himself
with a leather cap, with the crown painted white, or
forfeit the sum of six shillings for every month he neg-
lected to do so."
"It was enjoined upon all the citizens in case of fire
in the night, to place lighted candles in their windows,
in order that the inhabitants might pass through the
streets in safety, and to throw their buckets into the street,
that there might not be delay in obtaining them."
"Robert Folger and others were appointed 'bagmen"
to preserve and secure property at fires, and were directed
44 HISTORY OF HUDSON
to procure bags and other implements necessary for that
1799, Nov. 9th. "Paul Dakin was appointed to pro-
cure four small fire-hooks, chains, ropes, poles, and six
ladders, from twelve to sixteen feet long, with hooks and
brads, to be used at fires, in pulling down buildings."
Simple and curious as these regulations may seem,
they were doubtless the best then in use. Notwithstand-
ing all these ordinances considerable anxiety was felt
on the subject of fire, and in 1792, when a number of
buildings were going up, the press suggested that they
should not be placed too near together.
In 1793, a subscription paper was circulated, and it is
said, "twenty citizens showed themselves forward enough
to sign it. An engine was contracted for which was
to cost 100 pounds, hold 180 gallons, and be constructed
with four pumps to throw three hundred feet." "Also to
be fixed with a suction, and do good execution."
The common council on the 17th day of April, 1791,
appointed nineteen Firemen to superintend Fire Engine
No. 1. The engine not being finished at the time prom-
ised, another company was formed in 1794, and an en-
gine was purchased by them. This was No. 2, and they
adopted "a white jacket and trousers, with a leather
cap" as their uniform. That of No. 1 was at first "a
green flannel jacket and leather cap." In 1794, the
council directed that two houses should be built, "suitable
for the wants of the companies, and the protection of their
engines." "They were located, the one in Third street,
and the other near the market, and were of very small
dimensions, but they managed to accommodate companies
of considerable numbers." The engines were very small,
No. 2 being the larger and more powerful. "No. 1 in
after years was called the 'pocket engine' and finally be-
came a plaything for the juveniles in her vicinity."
The first fire in the city occurred in February, 1793,
HISTORY OF HUDSON 45
and was the bookstore and printing office of Ashbel Stod-
dard, publisher of the "Gazette." In the next issue of
the paper the editor said, "The organization of the fire
department being extremely deficient, there being no
engines, no buckets, no water, and no firemen, the fire
was left to take its own course, and it accordingly raged,
not only unchecked but unmolested. Fortunately the night
was calm, and the flames ascended directly upward, to
the very skies, carrying with them innumerable fragments
of paper, and burning books, blazing as they flew, filling
the whole air with their fiery forms, and then descending
in every direction, covering the town, as with a shower
of falling stars." A substantial sum was raised by the
sympathizing citizens and presented to Mr. Stoddard.
In 1825, a fire of some magnitude occurred. Com-
mencing south of Warren street near Front, it extended
through Warren to Diamond, destroying in its rapid prog-
ress a large number of buildings. First street was opened
after this fire, and Front street was rebuilt with stores
and residences of a substantial character. It immediately
became the fashionable shopping district, fairly rivaling
Main street in appearance.
In later years Hudson suffered frequently and heavily
from fires; that portion of the city nearest the river having
undergone an almost complete change from that cause.
46 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Whale and Seal Fisheries.
The early whale fisheries were very successful, the
vessels bringing in large and valuable cargoes of sperm
oil. In 1797, the ship American Hero, Captain Solomon
Bunker, returned from the Pacific with a cargo of sperm
oil, which at that time was the largest that had ever
been brought into the United States.
In Diamond street, between First and Second streets,
were the oil and candle works of Thomas Jenkins, and
on the northeast corner of Second and State streets, were
those of Cotton Gelston. These works were as exten-
sive as any then existing, but the amount manufactured
in one year was not so large as the oil works of later
years manufactured in one month. When Talleyrand
was traveling through the states, he visited Hudson and
was shown through the oil and candle works of Thomas
Jenkins, examining thoroughly into all the mysteries and
details of the manufacture of sperm candles.
Until about the year 1800, the seal fishery was car-
ried on to a considerable extent. Five or six vessels
were constantly engaged in bringing from the Falkland,
and other islands in the South Atlantic, large numbers
of fur and hair seal skins, and usually with them a
quantity of sea elephants' oil. Many of the skins were
sold in New York, but the greater part were tanned here,
the leather being very generally used for shoes.
The last voyage for seals was made in the year 1799,
in the ship "Ajax," Captain Pinkham, Zephaniah Coffin,
"Some of the Captains engaged in the seal fishery, were
accustomed to tell wonderful stories of the islands which
HISTORY OF HUDSON 47
they visited; among other things they boasted that they
lived upon turtles so large, that one man could not turn
them over, and some of the eggs which they boiled,
were little less in size than a man's head."
Hudson became a port of entry in 1790, the first Gov-
ernment officers being Doctor Joseph Malcolm and Isaac
Dayton. It was then rapidly growing in commercial im-
portance and seemed destined to become the second city
in the state.
Some of the statements relative to the business of the
city at that period seem almost incredible, but there is
no reason to doubt their accuracy.
In 1802, on the first day of March, twenty-eight hundred
loaded sleighs entered the city. We find this fact stated
in the "Columbian Balance" of that date. It is said to
have been frequently the case, that a "continuous line of
teams, extending from the river into Main street would
be kept waiting to discharge in order, their loads at the
different freighting establishments."
It is also stated that the South Bay was often closely
dotted with vessels, awaiting their turn at the wharves
to unload, and take on their fresh cargoes. Fifteen ves-
sels heavily laden were frequently known to depart at one
The large brick store-houses near the river, built at
a very early date, and some of which are still standing,
confinn these statements.
The articles exported were beef, pork, shad, herring.
staves, heading, hoop-poles, leather, and countr\' produce.
The packing of beef and pork was very extensively carried
on, large quantities of cattle and hogs coming from Berk-
shire county, Massachusetts. Herring were ver>' abun-
dant; a ship of one hundred tons was known to have been
filled in the vicinity of Rogers Island, at one tide. These
were pickled largely, one thousand barrels each of beef,
and pickled herring, having been sold and shipped from
48 HISTORY OF HUDSON
here in a single day. In addition to the pickling of
herring, shad were put up to some extent, and quantities
of herring were smoked and boxed.
Staves, heading, and hoop-poles were exported to the
West Indies, the vessels in return bringing valuable car-
goes of rum, sugar and molasses. The only ship from
the "old world" ever known to have entered this port,
was a Dutch ship from Amsterdam, consigned to William
Wall, which loaded with lumber and returned to Holland.
During its stay it was visited by a large number of Dutch
people in the vicinity, who were delighted to see a vessel
from their "fatherland" and a crew who could speak
their own tongue.
During the winter months considerable traffic was car-
ried on with some of the southern ports of this country,
principally with Charleston. Articles of commerce with
the South, were provisions and general country produce,
returning vessels bringing cargoes of cotton and rice, the
latter finding a market at New York, but the former was
used for home consumption.
Very few woolen goods were then used, most families
spinning, dyeing, and manufacturing cotton into yarn and
Many branches of industry were directly dependent on
the commerce of the city, and gave employment to a
much larger number of men during the warm season,
than in winter, and it was the custom for many of the
mechanics to seek the South at the close of navigation,
if they did not choose to remain idle, returning in the
We have the following amusing incident connected with
a voyage of one of the vessels to San Domingo loaded
with lumber. It had been rafted down the river late in
the fall, and shipped after the beginning of winter, con-
siderably covered with ice, some of which was still to be
found on her arrival out. It was the first ice the negroes
HISTORY OF HUDSON 49
had ever seen, and so terrified were they by its touch
upon their naked backs, that they plunged overboard
whenever the sailors applied it. The crew enjoyed the
sport so long and so heartily, that the Captain was obliged
to use some severity before he could put an end to it,
and finish unloading.
During the French Revolution and long protracted war
in Europe, neutral vessels were in great demand. Large
prices were paid for freight, and many of the ships owned
here were engaged in the carrying trade. British orders
and French decrees swept many of them away from
their owners, others were lost by shipwreck, and the
embargo and non-intercourse of 1807-8, followed by the
war of 1812, gave a finishing stroke to the commerce of
Hudson. The losses at sea produced great embarrassment
and many failures, and that of the Bank of Hudson in
1819 brought heavy losses upon the neighboring farmers,
thus seriously affecting the prosperity of the city.
In the year 1829, the whale fishery was revived, and
a company was organized at a time when the business of
Hudson was in a most languishing condition. The re-
turns from their first ventures animated their hopes, and
the number interested in the business was largely in-
creased; as many as fourteen vessels being at one time
owned, and fitted out here. The most valuable cargo re-
turned by a single vessel, was valued at eighty thousand
dollars. As many as eight thousand barrels of sperm
oil, were returned in a single year, by the different
A company was incorporated in 1833, under the name
of the "Hudson Whaling Company." Captain Laban
Paddock was President, but the business was transacted
by Robert A. Barnard, Superintendent. Three of the
ships were owned by the company, the remainder by in-
dividuals, and for many years the industr>' was carried on
successfully, with a prospect of its becoming a source
50 HISTORY OF HUDSON
of permanent prosperity to the city. After a time, how-
ever, it declined, and in 1845 was abandoned, after bring-
ing heavy losses upon those who were engaged in it.
The last ship, the "Martha" was sold in that year.
Captain Laban Paddock and his brother Judah were
the sons of Stephen Paddock, one of the Proprietors and
principal men of the early settlement. They were suc-
cessful sea-faring men and amassed considerable wealth.
The house of Laban Paddock, a large brick building. No.
117 Union street is still well preserved. It formerly had
a tall lookout at the back, from whence Mr. Paddock, after
retiring from active business, could watch for his re-
Captain Judah Paddock was engaged in an extensive
and lucrative trade with the West Indies, Liverpool and
In the Masonic Lodge in this city is preserved a sword
which was presented to Judah Paddock, prior to 1800, by
the Empress Catherine of Russia, for relieving a Russian
man-of-war when in distress, and by him presented to
the Lodge of which he was a member, "as a token of his
high regard for Masonry."
Captain Paddock's "Narrative," published in 1818, con-
taining a full account of his shipwreck off the coast of
Barbary, is more interesting than many of the novels of
that day, for which similar adventures furnished a favorite
theme. He relates that he sailed from New York for
Cork, in the ship Oswego of Hudson, on the 8th of
January, 1800, with flax seed and staves. After disposing
of his cargo, he decided to go to the Cape de Verde
Islands for salt and skins, thence back to New York.
Being driven out of his course by gales and strange
currents, he seems to have lost his reckoning, and, on
April 3rd, his ship was driven upon the rocks, off the
coast of Barbary. They succeeded in landing some food
•and water and a few necessaries, including six hundred
HISTORY OF HUDSON 51
dollars in gold which the Captain concealed on his person.
His faithful black man, "Jack" observed the two pieces
of flowered tabinet that the Captain had purchased at
Cork for his wife, and was determined to save them.
Captain Paddock tried to dissuade him from adding their
weight to his heavy pack, but in vain. They now took
up the line of march for St. Cruz (Mogadore), hoping
to obtain assistance from the consul there in getting home,
but after a few days they were captured by Arab slave
traders, and stripped of their clothing, and everything they
possessed. They were then sold into slavery, and the
Captain never again saw his devoted servant "Jack."
They were given but little food, and were driven long
weary miles each day over the burning sand, and scorched
by the pitiless sun of the Arabian desert, "where no
At length, after enduring almost indescribable suffer-
ings, being sold again and again, sometimes rejoining
members of the crew, and not unfrequently meeting Eng-
lish sailors, who were slaves like themselves, the Cap-
tain succeeded in convincing his latest purchaser, that if
he would take him to St. Cruz, he would arrange for their
ransom. Finally, after harrowing delays, on the 18th of
May, he reached the Consulate, and was warmly welcomed
by the British consul, Mr Gwyn. He congratulated Cap-
tain Paddock upon the shortness of his captivity, it being
only six weeks, when they were more frequently kept
months, or even years in slavery. He furnished him with
clothing, and the services of an English sailor in cleansing
and shaving him, which, owing to his neglected condition,
was both a long and laborious task.
Afterward for the first time, the Captain saw himself in
the glass, and "was so shocked at his altered appearance,
he did not get over it for many a day," "such ghastli-
ncss as I never saw in a body that had life and motion."
Captain Paddock showed admirable sense and good
52 HISTORY OF HUDSON
judgment in all his intercourse with the Arabs, but in
nothing more wisdom than in calling himself a British
subject. He knew we would probably not have an Ameri-
can consul at Mogadore, and in fact the nearest was at
Tangier, but the English were a power to be reckoned
with. Consul Gwyn ordered some soldiers at once sent
out to bring in Captain Paddock's crew, and the English
boys who were with them, and arranged the amount of
the ransom, which, including the Captain, amounted to
1700 dollars. This was promptly repaid by our Govern-
ment, after the matter was explained by Captain Paddock,
who also sent a valuable box to Consul Gwyn.
After all arrangements had been made, and Captain
Paddock was about leaving the Consulate, an Arab ped-
dler was shown in, and on opening his pack, imagine
the surprise of the Captain to behold the two pieces of
tabinet, that poor "Jack" had saved from the wreck!
They were purchased by a gentleman of the company, not
knowing that they were once the property of Captain
Paddock, and on ascertaining the fact he made every
effort to induce him to take them. But this the Captain
resolutely refused to do, so the matter was dropped.
The merchants of Mogadore showed Captain Paddock
the greatest kindness and consideration, in honoring his
drafts, and in advancing the money for his ransom, and
that of his crew; and he was the recipient of social at-
tentions from all the prominent residents.
Just one year from the day he left his home in Hudson,
Captain Paddock returned to his overjoyed family, and
on unpacking his trunk was astonished to find carefully
hidden away in the bottom, the light colored piece of
flowered tabinet! So his wife received her present, and
the Captain naively remarks, "wears the gown at times
to this day."
Captain Judah Paddock, like his brother Laban, was a
public-spirited, benevolent man. He was the earliest sup-
HISTORY OF HUDSON 53
porter and most liberal contributor to the Lancaster School
for the education of the children of the poor, and at
his death, which occurred in 1822, he left a legacy for its
Captain Paddock's residence was in the vicinity of the
pioneer Jan Franz Van Hoesan's, near the Bunker bridge,
and was of similar style. It cannot now be identified.
The "Bunker bridge" as the covered bridge was always
called, will no longer be useful as a landmark, having
been condemned as unsafe and replaced by a modern
iron structure during this present year of 1908.
54 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Aqueduct Company — City Ordinances.
In the year 1785, a number of citizens "associated
themselves together for the purpose of bringing water
into the city, to supply themselves and such others as
might be deemed consistent." "Each lot holder was en-
titled to a share in the association on the payment of
twenty-five dollars, with the right to carry it into his pos-
sessions, or house, for the supply of the family, or fam-
ilies, which his house contained, but should not be allowed
to sell water to his neighbor, or any other person."
"Persons not shareholders were supplied on payment
of an annual tax."
The water first brought into the city was from a spring
known as the "Ten Broeck spring," which was given to
them by John Ten Broeck and was located on the Heer-
mance farm, now owned by the Cement Company.
In 1793, the Hudson Aqueduct Company, as the asso-
ciation was called, purchased the "Fountain" situated upon
the road leading from Claverack to Hudson. The legis-
lature was appealed to, and an act was passed "for the
better regulating and protecting the aqueducts in the
city of Hudson, providing for the election of officers,
passage of by-laws, and giving to the Common Council
the right by ordinance to fix a penalty, not exceeding five
pounds, for a breach of any of the by-laws of the Com-
Hezekiah Dayton was for many years Inspector and
Collector, for which service they voted "one shilling per
hour when actually engaged."
It was the custom of Squire Dayton, as he was called,
"to detect leaks and waste, by entering the cellars of
HISTORY OF HUDSON 55
shareholders and listening for the sound of trickling or
dropping water, and reporting the offenders at head-
1778, March 1st. "Forty-one licenses to sell liquor
were granted, for sums varying from eight, to sixteen
shillings." It is fair to infer that something besides water
was imbibed in early times.
1791, August 30th. It was resolved "that John Kemper
be appointed to take the pump-brake and upper box, from
the public pump, and at the hour of six in the morning,
at twelve at noon, and at five in the evening, of each day,
go with, or deliver it to, the hands of some careful per-
sons, to be carried to the pump, that each of the citizens
applying for water, might have an equal proportion, and
that said brake and box, should not be delivered at any
other times of the day, until a constant supply of water
should be found in the pump."
The "town pump" was located near the lower market.
In later times the streets of Hudson were punctuated with
huge unsightly pumps at frequent intervals — usually on
the corners — which are gradually disappearing, under the
modern system of furnishing water to the city.
1794, May lOth. Elisha Jenkins, Thomas Frothingham,
and Jared Coffin, three of the principal men of the place,
were appointed scavengers.
Immediately after the machinery of a city government
was in operation, the work of grading and widening the
streets, and the building of sewers was actively entered
upon, and an ordinance was passed directing "the com-
mencement of paving the sidewalks, in Main street."
1793, September 1st. "Cotton Gelston, Ambrose Spen-
cer and Jared Cottin were appointed to superintend the
work." Previous to this, there was no attempt at uniform-
ity in the walks; "some were stone, others were plank,
but a ^Tcatcr portion were naked ground." Front street,
between Main and Union, required much heavy blasting,
56 HISTORY OF HUDSON
and near the junction, was a deep hollow over which a
bridge was built. Through this hollow flowed a stream
of water, which was entered by another, where the County
road crossed the street, thence emptying into the South
bay. The portion of Allen street between Front and
Third streets, was opened at a very early date, and known
as Federal street. "Main street was opened upon a ridge
that sloped on each side toward the bay, and as far as
Third street, presented a nearly level surface covered with
fields, with a few trees scattered through them."
Fourth street was the upper terminus of the city, and
^'to the City Hall was considered a very lengthy walk."
The road up the Academy Hill was opened by the
Columbia Turnpike Company in the year 1800.
This Company was chartered in 1799, and was the
third Turnpike Company organized in the state.
Not long after, the road leading out of Main street in
a southerly direction was opened by the Branch Company,
and the South Bay road was built by the Howland Com-
pany, the President of which, Mr. Howland was a resi-
dent of New York. The operations of this Company ex-
tended from New York to Albany.
In 1823-4 the road connecting Third street and the
Bay road was constructed, and in 1827 the approach to
the city by Underbill's Pond was completed.
1788, Jan. 5th. "Citizens voluntarily associated them-
selves into a watch against thieves and fires, and to pre-
serve order in the city at night." Shortly after, the Com-
mon Council deeming it a "salutary institution" ordained
"that it should consist of four citizens for each night, to
begin their watch at nine o'clock in the evening, and
continue until daybreak." Jonathan Worth was ap-
pointed to "notify the citizens on the roll, at least twelve
hours before they were to come on the watch, and in
case of absence or disability was to supply their places."
They were empowered to interrogate any persons out at
HISTORY OF HUDSON 57
an unseasonable hour, and unless satisfactory answers
were received, to confine them in the watch-house until
the following morning, when they were taken before
the proper officer and discharged, or punished.
Each man received one dollar a night for his services,
and was provided with a strong oak club, for the double
purpose of protection, and sounding the hours, which was
done by heavy blows upon the posts, or sidewalk, and
crying out with the hour, "All's well." Night locks, win-
dow fastenings, iron safes, revolvers, and the num-
erous articles of the present day, for protection against
burglars were not yet invented, nor had the need of them
been felt. Robberies, however, were frequent, and rowdy-
ism not unknown. Stoops were overturned, gates were
unhinged, signs misplaced, door knockers mysteriously
sounded and many similar pranks were perpetrated, until
the Press complained loudly "of the disgraceful course
certain young men were pursuing and threatened them with
exposure unless they desisted from their evil practices."
Undaunted by this threat we find in 1793, "certain young
men still pursuing their evil practices."
It was the custom in those days to designate the differ-
ent public houses by a portrait of some crowned head of
the old world, on their signs. That of Col. John Mc-
Kinstry, which was the first public house opened in Hud-
son, and was on the site of No. 247 Warren street, was
decorated with that of the King of Prussia. Kings were
not very popular in this country just at that time, and
being distasteful to the young men, they proceeded to
demolish each of them in turn, their hilarious proceedings
being brought to a fitting close, by honoring Air. Kellogg's
sign of General Washington, with vociferous cheers.
They were subsequently prosecuted, and were compelled
to pay heavy damages.
1797. "Cotton Gclston and Mr. Kellogg were appointed
a committee to direct the construction, and the placing
58 HISTORY OF HUDSON
of a number of lamps, not exceeding twenty, in the streets,
and to provide a suitable person to light the same upon
the dark nights."
The Council also resolved to assist the County Magis-
trates in suppressing disorderly behaviour on Sunday. A
committee had been previously appointed, to superintend
the execution of the law against Sabbath breaking.
1801, June 14th. Ordinances were passed "regulating
the sale of lamb, preventing boys playing ball or hoop
in Warren or Front street, prohibiting the smoking of
pipes, or cigars in any of the streets or alleys after sun-
set, and providing for the killing of dogs after the first
day of August."
1801, July 17th. "It was resolved that no meat should
be exposed for sale in the market, or elsewhere in the
city after the hour of eight o'clock, on Sunday morning.
Also, that all barber shops should be shut at the hour of
ten o'clock, on that day.
1801, August 15th. Mr. Hathaway was authorized to
purchase Daniel Allen's house on State street for the
reception of the aged, and other poor of the city, for a
sum not to exceed 480 dollars. This house was used
for the purpose mentioned, until the completion of the
building now owned and occupied by the Hudson Orphan
and Relief Asylum, which was erected as a City Poor
House in 1818, after plans drawn by Robert Jenkins.
Its cost was five thousand and seven hundred dollars.
The first Overseers of the Poor were Cotton Gelston
and Thomas Frothingham, and they were authorized "to
allow Phebe Cummings two dollars and fifty cents per
month, if she would take herself, and her three children
out of the city."
In 1790, "Stephen Paddock and Thomas Frothingham
were empowered to engage and agree with the printer,
to strike off one hundred pounds in small bills, or notes
of credit upon the corporation." "One ream of paper was
HISTORY OF HUDSON 59
directed to be furnished, of suitable quality, and struck
off in 'tickets,' to be signed by the clerk of the city, of
the value of one, two, three, and four cents." There was
a scarcity of silver, and an almost total absence of
"coppers," and these "tickets" circulated freely as "small
1798, May 10th. "Recorder Geljston and Samuel Ed-
munds were appointed to build a fence three boards high,
with red cedar posts, and a suitable gate, around the bury-
ing ground, and have the bushes cleared up." Reuben
Folger was directed to procure a suitable lock. The cost
of the fence was 84 pounds, five shillings and three pence,
and of the lock, four shillings. Previous to this, little
had been done toward improving the ground, which up
to this time had been reached by a road through a piece
of woods leading from the County road, now Green St.
June 10th. Samuel Edmunds and James Nixon were
paid three dollars each, for mending the cover to the
well in Third street. This was one of the reservoirs
before referred to.
1795, March 23rd. Jemmie Eraser was appointed bell-
man, and to be paid sixteen pounds per year. The bell
on the Presbyterian Church was ordered to be rung, at
sunrise, at twelve o'clock at noon, and at nine in the
evening, not less than five minutes at any one time on
working days, and at nine, and ten, in the morning, two,
in the afternoon and nine in the evening on Sunday.
1799, April Oth. It was resolved "that m future the
Common Council meet on Saturday after the Mayor's
Court, in each month at four o'clock, and that fifteen
minutes grace be allowed from Mr. Parkman's clock."
Up to this time, and for many years after, the Council
had no regular place of meeting, hut met at different
public houses, in 1815, they met in a bedroom in the
tavern of Samuel Br>'an on the southwest corner of
Warren and Third streets.
60 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Robert Jenkins then Mayor said that he "considered
it a shame that the Common Council of such a city as
Hudson, should meet in a bedroom, and appointed Oliver
Wiswall and Jonathan Frary, a committee to provide a
suitable room in the City Hall, in which they regularly
held their meetings, until 1835. The new Court House
and jail being then completed, the city regained possession
of the old jail, and fitted it up for city purposes. This was
used until the new City Hall was built in 1855, when
the city officers were more comfortably accommodated.
The vacated property was purchased by John Davis, a
real estate dealer and was known as Davis's City Hall
until it was acquired by Mr. M. P. Williams in 1862.
The City Hall was erected in 1786, on the southwest
corner of Warren and Fourth streets, but the interior
was not finished until Hudson became the county seat,
It was a square brick building in the very plainest
style of architecture, two stories in height. The upper
part was capable of accommodating four hundred people,
being used for public purposes, the lower part for offices.
The Mayor's Court was instituted with the charter of
the city in 1785. It was superseded by Justices' Courts,
and the Police Court.
A seal bearing the device of an anchor with the legend
"'Hudson Mayor's Court Seal" was adopted. Their meet-
ings were held monthly and at that held in December,
1785, Ambrose Spencer among others, was admitted to
practice in the Court.
In 1798, the currency was changed from pounds, shil-
lings and pence, to dollars and cents.
The legislative assembly met regularly in New York
city, until the near approach of the British compelled
the lawmakers to a hasty retreat. This they accomplished
in good order, carr>'ing with them the state archives, and
finding an asylum in Kingston. In 1777, Kingston was
HISTORY OF HUDSON 61
bumed by the Tories, and the archives were hurriedly
removed to the village of Hurley, thence to Pough-
keepsie, where in 1778, the Legislature was convened.
Its sessions were continued there until the evacuation of
New York City by the British in 1783, Washington making
his grand entry on the 25th of November in that year,
when the assembly resumed its deliberations in that city.
In 1797, during the term of the Hon. John Jay as
Governor, it was determined to select a capital of the
state, and an exciting contest ensued.
Poughkeepsie and Kingston had aspirations, but the
principal competitors for the honor were Albany and
Hudson, and Albany secured it by a majority of only
one vote, reminding one of Browning's pertinent lines:
"O! the little more and how much it is!
And the little less, and what worlds away!"
62 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Parade Hill — Gazette — Mail Coaches.
Returning to the early records we find that in 1795,
it was voted "that the certain piece of land known as
the Parade, or Mall, in front of Main street and on the
banks fronting the river, should be granted to the Com-
mon Council forever, as a public walk or Mall, and for
no other purpose whatever."
The "Mall" remained in an unimproved condition for
many years, except the erection of a house for "refresh-
ments." This was octogon in shape and was called the
"Round House," and the hill, until its improvement in
1834, was called "Round house hill." In that year it
was enclosed, walks were laid out, and the name of
"Parade Hill" was adopted.
1794, July 24th. It was ordained "that all bread falling
short of the established weight, or price, should be for-
feited to the city for the use of the poor."
An inspector was appointed whose duty it was to thor-
oughly enforce the ordinance. The established weight
and price, which were kept conspicuously printed at the
head of the Hudson Gazette, was as follows:
Loaf of Superfine flour, 3 lbs. 8 oz., one shilling.
Loaf of Superfine flour, 1 lb. 12 oz., six pence.
Loaf of common flour, 3 lbs. 13 oz., one shilling.
Loaf of Rye flour, 3 lbs. 4 oz., sixpence.
"Walter Johnson was the principal baker, and engaged
extensively in the supply of ships, on the comer of Front
and Ferry streets." "Mrs. Newberry, who kept a small
shop farther up, on Front street, was his rival in the
HISTORY OF HUDSON 63
department of cakes and buns, most of which were sold
through the streets in baskets."
In somewhat later years, Ursula Bunker, better known
as "Aunt Usley," maintained the dignity of a house full
of maiden sisters, by carrying on a domestic bakery. No
tea table was deemed complete on great occasions, with-
out a supply of "Aunt Usley's soft tea biscuits."
1799, October 10th. The name of Main street, was
by resolution of the Council, changed to Warren. The
public were informed of the change by the following
notice chalked on the fences, which at that time were
mostly red and yellow: "This street is no longer Main
Street, but called Warren, by order of the Common
In September, 1799. "The Mayor was reported absent
in town, Alderman Taylor absent in town, the other Alder-
men and Assistants absent out of town, and the Re-
corder 'solitary and alone' adjourned the Council to meet
on the following day at Russell Kellogg's tavern."
1800, April 7th. Peter Hall was appointed bell-man,
"bell to be rung as usual, to be paid at the rate of thirty-
eight dollars per year." Jemmy Fraser was promoted to
the office of City Crier and to receive a reward of not
less than one shilling for every time of service, and not
more than three, agreeably to exigencies of the weather."
1801, August 15th. A committee was appointed to pro-
cure a clock with three dials, to be placed in the steeple
of the Presbyterian meeting-house, and were authorized
to loan not exceeding 200 dollars, to be applied with the
sum already subscribed and deposited in the bank."
This clock was afterward placed in the steeple of the
old Episcopal church.
December 9th, Committee reported that Daniel Rumap
was paid 20 dollars in addition to the sum agreed upon,
for additional work, and that they had placed the clock
64 HISTORY OF HUDSON
in the meeting-house, and had made provision to pay-
Deborah Jenkins 200 dollars for borrowed money."
1803, April 1st. It was resolved "that any member of
the Council not appearing within fifteen minutes after
the hour of meeting, should pay to, and for the use of
the Council, the sum of fifty cents. The time always to
be determined by the City clock." Mr. Parkman's time-
piece had ceased to be the standard.
1799, June" 1st. Elisha Pitken was authorized to erect a
suitable Market House on the jail square, corner of War-
ren and Fourth streets. This was the second or upper
A postoffice was established in this city in 1793, pre-
vious to which time the residents of Hudson were com-
pelled to go to Claverack for their mail.
The first Postmaster was Cotton Gelston and the office
was kept in the upper part of his store, a small two-story
building on the site of 211 Warren street; his dwelling
being at No. 205. Mr. Gelston continued in the office
until the election of Thomas Jefferson to the Presidency
when he was removed and Alexander Coffin appointed
in his place.
Post-riders were superseded by mail coaches in 1786.
In that year an act was passed by the Assembly granting
Isaac Van Wyck, Talmage Hall, and John Kinney "the
exclusive right to erect, set up, carry on, and drive a
stage-wagon between Albany and New York on the east
side of Hudson's river, for a period of ten years; and
restraining all opposition by a penalty of 200 pounds."
They were to furnish at least two covered wagons,
each drawn by four able horses, and trips must be made
twice each week. Fare limited to four pence per mile.
The company advertised that "during the season of good
roads, their stage-wagon would perform the journey in
two days, with a charge of only three pence per mile, but
that in times of bad roads, for the ease of the passen-
HISTORY OF HUDSON 65
gers, the time of running through, would be lengthened
to three days, and price raised to four pence per mile,"
agreeably to Act of Assembly.
"The stopping place in Hudson was at Kellogg's Tav-
ern." This was the second public house erected in this
city, and was on the site of the "Worth." It was kept in
later years by Samuel Bryan and was still the stage-house
and it was to accommodate the large and increasing travel
by stage, that the "Hudson House," now the "Worth," was
built in 1837. It was not uncommon at that time, for two
hundred passengers to stop here daily for meals, dur-
ing the winter months, and of the large number of visitors
to the Springs at New Lebanon during the summer, the
greater part were sent there by stages from this place.
In 1785, the Hudson Gazette informed the public "tha*^
they had agreed to establish a post, to ride weekly to Litch-
field, Conn., where he will exchange papers with the post*^
from Boston, Hartford and New Haven." In 1787 the^
reminded "the public that the post-rider had ridden al-
most half a year not asking for pay, he now requests pay
in good merchantable goods, grain of any kind, or riax
at cash prices." This post-rid also carried small parcels,
and executed commissions, being particularly requested
by the hair dresser of Hudson, "to bring in all the human
hair he could collect on his route in the remote districts."
Ashbel Stoddard was the pioneer printer of Hudson.
On the 7th of April, 1785, he, in company with Charles
R. Webster, a fellow apprentice in the office of the Con-
necticut Courant, commenced the publication of a weekly
newspaper, called th« "Hudson Gazette." In it he points
out to the public the many advantages which would re-
sult to "our already flourishing place." from the establish-
ment of an impartial newspaper. "Being deprived of
these privileges must be seriously felt by Hudson, there-
fore he had commenced the publication of the Hudson
Gazette, to be issued weekly at the rate of twelve shillings
66 HISTORY OF HUDSON
(three dollars) per year; money to be refunded to sub-
scribers who were not satisfied with the paper."
It was a small sheet, not more than eight by ten, printed
on paper of a yellowish tint but with fair type. Its de-
livery was announced for many years by the carrier blow-
ing a horn. Mails were few, one from the east and three
from New York each week by stage, beside the post-
rider of whom mention has been made.
It seems at first to have received but a poor support,
very few advertisements except Mr. Stoddard's own being
found in its columns.
The sale of negroes and rewards for runaway slaves
were the most numerous. Cotton Gelston advertised a
negro as having "walked away being too lazy to run."
At a later date Refine Latting a prominent merchant and
farmer of Hillsdale, advertised "One cent reward for
return of negro girl 'Sal' who ran away from my
premises. All persons are forbid harboring her under
penalty of the law."
In 1786, Mr. Webster withdrew and the paper was con-
tinued by Mr. Stoddard, who greatly improved its appear-
ance. He also published "Webster's Speller" and an
almanac which was highly esteemed, many arranging their
domestic affairs by its weather table.
In the same year. 1786, the list of letters in the post-
office was published for the first time. We give the sub-
stance of some of the curious advertisements found in
Mr. Robardet of Connecticut advertised in the winter
of 1785, that he would open a class for "instruction in the
polite accomplishment of dancing, after the most ap-
proved method." "Scholars would be taken from seven
to fifty years of age." And this in a Quaker City!
Ambrose Liverpool advertised that he would open a
Seminar}', where he would teach all the English branches,
also Latin and Greek classics; also at convenient times
HISTORY OF HUDSON 67
the principles of several musical instruments, and that
he had also several dozen strong English beer, which he
wished to dispose of.''
"Mrs. Hussey notified the ladies of Hudson that she
would be happy to wait upon their commands in millinery,
and mantua making after the most approved fashions,
regularly received from New York City, at her house on
the hill, near the wharf."
Monsieur Hyacinth L'Escure stated that he kept "a
choice lot of Essences near the Market House," also that
he would furnish cushions to the ladies and queues to
the gentlemen, of excellent human hair, for which he
would take his pay in wheat, and Indian corn." Monsieur
"L'Escure had been a drummer under Burgoyne, and was
"barber to the corporation," there being no other at this
time in the city.
He is described as having a frizzled head, broad low
forehead, little black eyes, wide mouth and triangular
visage, and was accustomed to walk back and forth be-
fore his shop door, humming a tune and snapping his
fingers." His dress was in keeping with his person and
profession; "a long striped calico gown, a short white
apron, tight nankeen small clothes, and ruffled shirt, com-
pleted with silk stockings, and yellow slippers."
Hudson's first circus. On August 15, 1786, Mr. Pool
advertised "a circus on the green" stating that he was the
first American, who ever attempted equestrian feats, and
among other wonderful things which he would exhibit,
were two horses, which at word of command would "lay
down and groan." The price of admission was three
shillings, and ladies and gentlemen were "beseeched not
to bring any dogs with them to the performances."
The first menagerie consisting of "two camels" was ad-
vertised for exhibition; they were described as "stupendous
animals," "having necks three feet eight inches long, a
68 HISTORY OF HUDSON
high bunch like a pedestal on the back, four joints in their
legs, and can travel fourteen days without water." The
curious were invited to come and see them without fail.
Admission one shilling.
A few of the many firms doing business here in 1785
were, "Thomas Jenkins, Merchant, who advertised the
best West India and New England Rum. Iron, Salt and
Dry Goods." "Barzilla and Tristram Bunker, Sail-
makers." J. Pritchard, "Taylor and Ladies Habit-Maker,
from London." "Thomas Worth, Silk and Stuff shoes, at
his shop near the Market House," and "Lot Tripp, Drugs
In 1792, the Gazette was somewhat enlarged and its
columns gave evidence of prosperity, "but it was de-
ficient in matters of local interest." Mr. Stoddard's small
one-story building located on the south-east corner of
Warren and Third streets and known for generations as
"Stoddard's Corner," sufficed not only for the publica-
tion of the "Gazette," and Sunday school books, but was
also the emporium for school supplies of every sort, in-
cluding goose quills, which were abundantly festooned
about the store to become seasoned. Metallic pens were
still unknown and school teachers were expected to make
and mend the pens for fifty scholars, as well as set their
Liberal subscriptions from the citizens enabled Mr.
Stoddard to re-establish his business immediately after
the destruction of his office by fire in 1793. He re-built
on the same site and resumed the publication of the
"Gazette," but in 1803 or 4, it was discontinued, other
political papers having taken the field.
Mr. Stoddard was small and of delicate constitution, but
he lived to the age of seventy-eight years, dying in Octo-
ber 1840, a worthy and greatly esteemed citizen.
A semi-monthly literary paper was started in 1824, by
HISTORY OF HUDSON 69
his son, William B. Stoddard, called the "Rural Reposi-
tory;" it was neatly printed in quarto form, and was highly
successful. Its discontinuance in 1851 was much re-
gretted by the many families in which it had been a
regular and welcome visitor.
70 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Early Journalism — County Records.
The history of journalism in Hudson during the early
part of the 19th century, is a record of almost phenomenal
mortality among infant newspapers.
A complete list was compiled in the year 1885, showing
that out of twenty-nine journals that had been started in
the city since its incorporation, only two, the Gazette and
the Republican, and their daily issues survived. In this
year of Our Lord, 1908, the list would be longer, but the
result would be the same.
Mention will be made of a few of the earlier of these
"The Columbian Balance" was commenced in 1801 by
Ezra Sampson, George Chittenden and Harry Croswell,
in the upper part of a store in Warren street, near Second.
Mr. Sampson was a Presbyterian minister who previous
to 1800 was settled over the Presbyterian church in this
City as a temporary supply.
Mr. Chittenden was a book-binder and shortly after,
he established the well known Chittenden Mills, for the
manufacture of paper, in the town of Stockport, which
was then a wilderness. He conducted the business success-
fully until his death in 1845.
Mr. Croswell had been a printer, afterward he became a
Clergyman of the Episcopal church, and was settled for
many years in New Haven, where he died at an advanced
The "Balance" was printed in small quarto form on
dingy paper, but being ably edited had a large subscrip-
tion, and circulated throughout the United States.
HISTORY OF HUDSON 71
It was removed to Albany in 1808, and soon after was
Party spirit ran high between the Federalists and Anti-
Federalists, the "Balance" being the organ of the former,
and the "Bee," which appeared in 1802 of the latter. The
columns of both were filled with bitter personalities, which
led the editors into frequent difficulties.
Soon after the appearance of the "Bee" a small paper,
less than a letter sheet in size, was issued from the office
of Mr. Croswell, called the "Wasp" edited by "Robert
Rusticoat, Esq." Its object was indicated by the follow-
"If perchance there comes a Bee,
A Wasp shall come as well as he."
It was published but a short time and both "Wasp and
Bee" stung with personalities. The "Bee" was published
by Mr. Charles Holt in the upper part of Judge Hezekiah
Dayton's store, on or near the site of Number 23 Warren
street. The lower part of the store was the headquarters
of the Democratic Club; "there 'round a red hot stove
in an atm.osphere blue with smoke, seated on old pine
benches and wooden bottomed chairs, with the dust and
cobwebs of twenty years undisturbed on the shelves, met
the great Anti-Federal fathers of the City."
The Federal Club, of which Elisha Williams, one of
the most influential men in the State was the acknowl-
edged leader, always met in the best furnished room of
one of the public houses. Each party maintained a large,
and well-trained instrumental band, composed of mem-
bers of the party. Mr. Holt sold out his establishment in
1810 to Mr. Samuel Clark, who continued the publication
of the "Bee" until lcS21, when it was united with the
Another important paper of the day was The Northern
\X'hig," commenced by Francis Stebbins in I SOS. He was
succeeded by '^'illiani L. Stone, afterward of the New
72 HISTORY OF HUDSON
York Commercial Advertiser, who conducted it until 1816,
and was succeeded by Richard L. Corse, from whom it
passed into the hands of William B. Stebbins, a son of
the original proprietor, and was discontinued in 1824.
Its circulation was large, and it was considered one
of the ablest Federal papers in the state.
It numbered among its contributors Elisha Williams,
William W. Van Ness, Thomas P. Grosvenor, and others
of that stamp.
Captain Alexander Coffin was one of the most ardent
supporters of the Anti-Federalists. He was a man of
strong political prejudices and fiery temperament, but
also of great personal respectability, and possessing many
noble qualities. After his death his portrait was placed
by the city in the Common Council room, where it still
In 1803, Mr. Croswell published in the Balance a vio-
lent attack on President Jefferson for which he was in-
dicted by the grand jury of Columbia county.
The case came to trial in February, 1804, in the Court
House at Claverack, before Chief Justice Lewis. Attor-
ney General Ambrose Spencer conducted the case for
the people, and William W. Van Ness and Alexander
Hamilton appeared for the defendant. The trial attracted
wide-spread attention, both from the nature of the ques-
tion at issue, and from the eminence of the Counsel en-
Interest naturally centered in the brilliant Hamilton, and
the reporter for the New York Evening Post after describ-
ing the efforts of Spencer, and Van Ness said — "and then
came the great, the powerful Hamilton." "No language
can convey an adequate idea of the astonishing power
evinced by him." "The audience was numerous, and was
composed of those not used to the melting mood, and the
effect on them was electric." * * * "As a profound com-
HISTORY OF HUDSON 73
mentary on the science and practice of government, it
has never been surpassed."
The Court instructed the jury that they were called
simply to decide whether the alleged language had been
published, the court would determine the question of libel,
and notwithstanding the eloquence and pathos of the de-
fense, the case was decided adversely to the defendant,
who was convicted but never punished. It is said to
have been the last case in which Hamilton appeared. Five
months afterward he fell by the pistol of Aaron Burr.
The following note from the Right Reverend William
Croswell Doane, Bishop of Albany, will enhance our in-
terest in the fiery young editor:
April 16, 1908.
I have no relationship by blood with the Croswells,
but Dr. William Croswell of Boston, a son I think of the
Rev. Harry Croswell, was my father's most intimate friend,
and was my God-father, and I was named after him.
What you tell me of the suit in Hudson is most interest-
Always very faithfully,
After the entry of Rev. Harry Croswell upon the minis-
try, his first sermon was preached in (Christ Church in
this city. The occasion drew out a lar.i;c attendance of
his former political friends and acquaintances, and A\r.
Croswell solenmly addressed them, telling them "they
74 HISTORY OF HUDSON
had seen how well he had served his political masters, and
should bear witness how much more faithfully he should
follow the new master, upon whose service he had en-
The old Court House at Claverack was the arena for
many a battle royal between the rival lawyers of the
day; men whose names are synonymous with legal lore,
keen wit, and scathing invective, there met foemen worthy
of their steel.
The first sentence to the penitentiary was in 1798 "two
years for grand larceny, and to remain in County Jail
until prison is completed."
Robberies and horse stealing seem to have become so
common that a resort was had to death sentences. On
April 2, 1788, three men were sentenced for horse steal-
ing; in the curious words of the Court, "that having been
respectively convicted of the felonies you have severally
committed, you shall be taken to the place of execution,
and there be severally hanged by the neck until you be
respectively dead." A man who stole a bee-hive fared
better, his case being put over from term to term and
ending finally in an acquittal, notwithstanding the swarm
of witnesses. Another item found in the early records
of the County Courts, though not particularly connected
with Hudson, is worthy of note because of a general in-
terest in everything concerning President Roosevelt. On
Jan. 12th, 1789, John Bay, attorney at Claverack and the
first Clerk of this City, confessed judgment for 45 pounds
six shillings, and costs, against Joseph Lee, in favor of
James Roosevelt, who kept a country store at Chatham.
Mr. Roosevelt married a sister of Peter Van Schaack,
the founder of the old family of that name in Kinderhook,
and soon afterward removed to New York, where he
amassed a fortune in the iron business. Wishing to know
HISTORY OF HUDSON 75
whether Mr. James Roosevelt was a relative of President
Roosevelt, inquiry was made at "The White House."
The reply was prompt and characteristic.
The White House,
May 6, 1908.
I think that was my great-grandfather. Indeed I am
pretty sure so, because my great-grandmother was a Miss
With all good wishes.
Although the calm of the erstwhile peaceful village of
Claverack, must have been rudely broken by the whipping-
master, and frequent executions, they still clung to the
prestige of being the County Seat. It was not until after
strong opposition, and considerable contention, that the
courts were removed to Hudson in the year 1805, by an
act passed by the Assembly entitled, "An act altering the
place for holding the courts, in the County of Columbia."
The County buildings at Claverack were sold and the
proceeds were expended on the Court House and jail at
The City Hall was at once rc-modcled, and the Com-
mon Council appropriated it to the County, to be used
as a Court House.
They also voted the sum of 2.000 dollars, and a lot
of land for the erection of a new jail. The present ofticc
of the Hudson Register and Gazette is located in the
building, that was then erected for a County prison.
76 HISTORY OF HUDSON
The first session of the courts was held in January,
1806, but the Court House was still used for all public
assemblages, and was the home of each religious orga-
nization in its infancy, until its purchase by the Presby-
1806, Jan. 11th. Benjamin Birdsall was voted by the
Common Council, forty dollars for his services as com-
mitteeman in procuring a change of the County seat. In
the year 1800, the population of Hudson was 3,664, rank-
ing third in the state in commerce, and fourth in manu-
HISTORY OF HUDSON 77
In 1785, a committee was appointed to rent and regu-
late the ferry, which at an earlier date was in the hands
of Conrad Flock. Possession was not obtained by the
city until 1790, when scows with sails, so constructed that
teams could enter from either end were adopted. The
keeper was required to furnish "two scows with four able
bodied men to each, and on reaching the landing at
Loonenburg, it was the duty of some one of the ferrymen,
to blow a shell or trumpet, to give immediate notice of
their arrival, and to remain there fifteen minutes."
A committee was appointed in April, 1803, to confer
with the citizens on the west side of the river respect-
ing a "Canal through the Flats," but they seem to have
been apathetic on the subject, and nothing was done until
1816, when the work was performed under the direction
of Robert Jenkins, Oliver Wiswall and Judah Paddock, a
committee appointed by the Common Council, funds be-
ing provided by a lottery. The scows continued in use
until displaced by the horse-boat, which was built by
William Johnson at a cost of six thousand dollars.
Its introduction was a great event in the history of the
city. The Mayor, Robert Jenkins, and a portion of the
Council made a trial trip around the flats, when the pilot
not yet accustomed to the management of his new craft,
collided with a vessel so forcibly, as to bring the official
party to a level with the deck.
In 1858, to the great relief of everyone the steam ferry-
boat was substituted.
Before the year 1S07, all freight and passenger traffic
was carried on by means of sloops, of which there were a
78 HISTORY OF HUDSON
number of lines, owned by Coffin, Hathaway, Edmonds,
Hogeboom, Van Hoesan and others.
Samuel Edmonds had been with Col. Van Alen, and at
his death had succeeded to his business. Captain John
Hathaway was an enterprising man of English puritan
descent. He advertised that "his sloops had better ac-
commodations than any others on the river," and also said
"that he would be pleased to have any body
to whom he was in debt, call on him and get
their pay, // they wished it." The journey to New
York was made by sloops, under the most favor-
able conditions of wind and tide in twenty-four hours,
but more frequently required four or five days an aver-
age trip being from two to three days. Fare was three
dollars, the Company finding board and lodging, or one
dollar and fifty cents, the passengers "finding themselves."
In 1806, two packets were built exclusively for pas-
sengers, not even a package of goods being allowed on
them. They are said to have been the first vessels con-
structed in this country for passengers only. They were
called "The Experiments," and were commanded by Cap-
tains Laban Paddock and Elihu Bunker. Steam naviga-
tion was introduced in the following year, owing to which
they proved unprofitable. John Lambert, an Englishman
stopping here, three months after Robert Fulton passed
up, says that on the 22n 1 day of November, he
"embarked on one of the fine new sloops called the
'Experiments,' built expressly to carry passengers between
Hudson and New York." "It was fitted up finely, and
accommodations were very comfortable; fare for passage
five dollars including a bed-place (berth) and three meals
a day "with spirits." "About nine o'clock we left the
wharf, which was crowded with people to see us depart,
and having a smart breeze, soon left the City of Hudson
behind us." He does not say when he reached New York!
On the 17th day of August, 1807, Fulton's steamboat, the
HISTORY OF HUDSON 79
Clermont, passed here through the Western channel, mak-
ing the passage from New York in thirty-three hours,
"without sails or oars, being propelled by a common water
wheel, which was moved by the assistance of machinery,
with steam." "On her return trip the next day, she grati-
fied the citizens of Hudson by making her passage through
the Hudson channel." Every spot which afforded a sight
of the river was crowded with people eager to get a view
of "the great curiosity."
Not long after her first trip she came from New York
in twenty-seven hours, landing here with one hundred
and twenty passengers, which fact was considered worthy
of a special notice. In the "Bee" of June, 1808, appeared
the following curious advertisement:
For the Information of the Public.
The Steamboat will leave New York for Albany every
Saturday afternoon exactly at 6 o'clock and will pass
West Point about 4 o'clock Sunday morning.
Newburgh 7 do.
Poughkeepsie 1 1 do.
Esopus 2 in the afternoon
Red Hook 4 do.
Catskill 7 do.
Hudson 9 in the evening
She will leave Albany for New York every Wednesday
morning exactly at 8 o'clock and pass
Hudson about 3 in the afternoon
Esopus 8 in the evening
Poughkeepsie 12 at night
Newburgh 4 Thursday morning
West Point 7 do.
As the time at which the boat mav arrive at the differ-
80 HISTORY OF HUDSON
ent places above mentioned, may vary an hour more or
less, according to the advantage or disadvantage, of wind
and tide, those who wish to come on board, will see the
necessity of being on the spot, an hour before the time.
Persons wishing to come on board from any other land-
ing than here specified, can calculate the time the boat
will pass, and be ready on her arrival. Inn keepers or
boatmen who bring passengers on board, or take them
ashore, will be allowed one shilling for each person.
Prices of Passage — From New York.
To West Point
Newburgh and West Point
All other passengers are to pay at the rate of one
dollar for every twenty miles, and a half a dollar for every
meal they may eat.
Children from 1 to 5 years of age, to pay one-third
price, and sleep with the persons under whose care they
Young persons from 5 to 15 years of age, to pay half
price, provided they sleep two in a berth, price for each
one who requests to occupy a whole berth.
HISTORY OF HUDSON 81
Servants who pay two-thirds price are entitled to a
berth; they pay half price if they do not have a berth.
Every person paying full price is allowed 60 lbs. of
baggage; if less than whole price, 40 lbs. They are to
pay at the rate of three cents a pound for surplus bag-
gage. Storekeepers who wish to carry light and valu-
able merchandise, can be accommodated on paying three
cents a pound.
Passengers will breakfast before they come on board;
dinner will be served up exactly at 2 o'clock; tea with
meats, which is also supper, at eight in the evening; and
breakfast at 9 in the morning; no one has a claim on the
steward for victuals at any other hour.
The Clermont had been lengthened, improved, and re-
named the North River, before the opening of the season
of 1808. These minute regulations were doubtless adopted
by her owners when she was then placed on the route.
She was commanded by Capt. Wiswall.
The first steamboat owned here was the Legislator, pur-
chased in 1828, by the Hudson Tow Boat Company.
Previous to this, large barges built for the transportation
of freight, had been towed to New York by steamboats
running from Albany.
The captains of the steamboats in that day were very
important personages, wearing a unifomi profusely
trimmed with gold lace, and carrying a silver trumpet,
through which they gave their orders.
The Legislator was soon succeeded by several lines
of fine steamboats, which are still plying nightly between
Hudson and New York, and daily between Hudson and
Albany, and inter\'ening points.
In addition to these we have "the neatest and swiftest
steam fcrr>'-boat on the river." So wrote the author of
"Historical Sketches of Hudson" in the year 1860.
82 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Should the reader have become weary of digressions,
and aver that this at least is too far afield, the writer
can only plead in extenuation the tempting material placed
at her disposal, from records in the possession of Robert
Fulton's grandson, Robert Fulton Ludlow, of Claverack,
It is hoped that the timeliness of this little sketch
may, with its truthfulness prove its own raison d'etre.
Robert Fulton was born in the year 1765 in Little
Britain, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania.
He was of Irish parentage, his father having emigrated
from Ireland in 1750, and purchased a farm of three
hundred and sixty-four acres, in the town of Little Britain,
for which he paid, nine hundred and sixty-five pounds.
There Robert Fulton was bom, being the third child
and eldest son. The following year the farm was mort-
gaged and the family removed to Lancaster, where the
father died in 1768.
Like many men of Fulton's mould the routine of school
life had no attractions for him, much to the serious con-
cern of his master, and also of his mother. He pre-
ferred to spend his time in the machine shops and fac-
tories in the neighborhood, where he was a prime favorite.
He was clever with the pencil in drawing and designing,
and when he was seventeen years of age he went to
Philadelphia, where he supported himself by painting
He made the acquaintance of Benjamin Franklin and
other distinguished men while there, who seem to have
been much interested in him.
HISTORY OF HUDSON 83
So successful was he in his profession, that in four
years he saved enough to enable him to satisfy his boy-
hood's dream, and buy a home for his widowed mother.
Selecting a snug little place in Washington county, Penn.,
he bought it and deeded it to her. "A Golden Deed,"
one of his biographers calls it, thinking possibly —
"So shines a good deed in a naughty world."
Having thus affectionately provided for his mother, and
being advised to go abroad for his health which was never
very vigorous, in 1791 — at the age of twenty-one years,
he proceeded to London. Here he was cordially wel-
comed by Benjamin West, the celebrated artist, then at
the height of his fame, and was invited to become an
inmate of his home.
Benjamin West was also a native of Pennsylvania and
his father was an intimate friend of William Penn.
Fulton's life in London apart from his art studies as
a pupil of West, was devoted to the work of perfecting
himself as a civil engineer.
It is evident from his correspondence with Lord Stan-
hope, a portion of which is still extant, that so early as
1783, he entertained the idea of propulsion by steam,
while he pursued with ardor the study of canals, which
he advocated in place of turnpikes, and in which he never
lost interest during his very active life.
Fulton contributed to various London journals on his
favorite topic, and published a treatise on "The ^fpi-
provement of Navigation" illustrated by plates mflde from
his own drawings, a copy of whicU fiaving been sent to
General Washington, was most graciously acknowledged.
In 171)7. having been made a civil engineer in 'OS,
Fulton took up his residence in Paris, in the family of
the Hon. Joel Barlow, then United States Minister to
France. Here he acquired the French and German lan-
guages, and also applied himself to the study of higher
84 HISTORY OF HUDSON
mathematics, and other branches of science which com-
pleted his equipment for practical work.
On the 3rd of July, 1801, Fulton and three companions
tested a "plunger" as he called it, named the "Nautilus,"
and descended twenty-five feet below the surface of the
Seine, remaining submerged one hour. On August 7th,
with a store of compressed air contained in a cubic foot
of space, the "Nautilus" remained under water six hours,
without inconvenience to the occupants. Fulton also in-
vented a crude torpedo which was to be launched from
England kept Fulton under close surveillance while
these experiments were being made, as she was then at
war with France, but Fulton seems to have disliked Na-
polean too much to desire to place them at his disposal.
An English deputation suggested an interview with a
neutral friend in Holland, to which Fulton acceded,
spending three months there, but while accomplishing
nothing tangible in diplomacy, he made some clever
sketches of Dutch character, and scenery.
While the Dutch government was strictly neutral, a
private citizen, presumably of Amsterdam, furnished
Fulton with part of the money to go on with his experi-
In 1803, the English Minister made a distinct proposi-
tion to Fulton to withdraw from France, and give Eng-
land the benefit of his inventions. This he consented
to do, but on his arrival was surprised and hurt by the
unfairness of the English in trials of his torpedoes. "Ob-
taining permission he blew up a Danish vessel of two
hundred tons, as if it had been a bag of feathers," and
soon after returned to Paris.
On the arrival of the Hon. Robert L. Livingston as
American Minister to France, Fulton's attention was turned
afresh to the subject of steam navigation. This meeting
of Robert Fulton and Chancellor Livingston was a for-
HISTORY OF HUD50N 85
tunate event in the history of the steamboat, the one
a man of great wealth and business sagacity, the other
an inventive and artistic genius.
At once experiments were made with models on the
Seine, and ere long, from Fulton's own original speci-
fications was ordered, out of England's best shops, the
engine that was to propel the first successful steamboat
in the world!
Livingston had previously experimented somewhat on
his own account, with the assistance of Brunei who was
a French refugee, afterward famous as the Engineer of
the Thames Tunnel in London.
So sanguine of success was the Chancellor, that he
applied to the Legislature of the State of New York for
protection, and a bill was passed granting him the exclu-
sive right to navigate the waters of the state for twenty
years, "providing he produced a boat within a year, that
would attain a speed of four miles an hour."
While the bill was on its passage. Judge Livingston
was the butt of the legislature and the standing joke of
the callow members; which is not strange when even the
learned Benjamin Franklin, and the American Philosophi-
cal Society of Philadelphia pronounced the scheme im-
possible and impracticable, giving weighty reasons there-
for. "The project," wrote Fulton, "was viewed by the
public with indifference, or contempt, as a visionary
scheme. Never did a single word of encouragement, or
of bright hope, or a warm wish, cross my path. Silence
itself was but politeness, veiling doubt, or hiding its re-
The trial boat built by Livingston at great expense
was never used, and the legislative enactment was ex-
tended to cover the joint ownership of Livingston and
Fulton, until it was finally repealed.
In i8()(). Robert Fulton returned to America, and active
work on the Clermont (named after Chancellor Living-
86 HISTORY OF HUDSON
ston's estate on the Hudson) was begun at once. The
engine did not arrive from England until 1807, and the
hull having been constructed in a ship yard on the East
River, the boat was completed in August, and ready for
her first trip on the 16th of that month.
The boat was launched amidst a crowd of jeering spec-
tators but when "Fulton's folly" demonstrated its inherent
wisdom, the jeers were silenced or turned to awe and
The appearance of the Clermont at night must have
been of an order to produce those sensations.
The dry pine fuel sent up a column of fiery sparks and
vapor many feet above the flue, and the noise of her
revolving paddle wheels was not reassuring.
The white wings of the "Half Moon" two hundred years
before, had startled the untutored savages, but they were
as the visit of an angel, compared to this fiery monster.
Fulton in his published report, says: "I left New York
on Monday at one o'clock, and arrived at Chancellor Liv-
ingston's seat at one o'clock on Tuesday — time twenty-four
hours, distance one hundred and ten miles. On Wednes-
day I departed from the Chancellor's at nine A. M., and
reached Albany at five P. M. The sum is one hundred
and fifty miles in thirty-two hours, equal to nearly five
miles an hour. Returning I made it in thirty hours —
just five miles an hour."
Fulton also says "that throughout the whole passage
both ways, the wind was ahead, so the steam engine had
no assistance from his sails." The whole report bears
the stamp of real greatness in its modesty and simplicity.
In June, 1813, the New York journals had glowing ac-
counts of a "Notable display of Steamboats in New York
harbor, nine being displayed at once! The Robert Fulton
for the East River, one each for the Potomac and James
Rivers, and three running to Powles-Hook and Hoboken;
HISTORY OF HUDSON 87
a circumstance of no trifling importance, as it adds much
to the despatch, certainty and security of the principal
ferries." Fulton's steam ferry boat is minutely described
as "one of the marvels of the day."
In 1815, when only fifty years of age, Robert Fulton
died, worn out by toil and anxiety. A succession of law
suits to defend his numerous inventions, hastened the end.
He rests in Trinity churchyard in the city of New York,
but his fame undying will live forever in the memory
of the American people.
Robert Fulton married a daughter of Walter Livingston,
whose spacious country house erected before the Revolu-
tion, is still in good preservation. It is situated in the
town of Livingston and has been occupied for many years
by the Crofts family.
Here after the death of her husband, Mrs. Fulton and
her three children resided for some time. She afterward
married an English gentleman named Charles Augustus
Dale, and removed to England.
Only eleven years after Robert Fulton's death she fol-
lowed him to the tomb, and was buried among kinsfolk
and friends in her native land. A modest monument in
the fine old cemetery in Claverack, New York, bears this
simple inscription :
Harriet Livingston Dale
Died March 24, 1826. '
Aged 4! years.
One of her daughters married Robert Morris Ludlow,
whose only child, Robert Fulton Ludlow, resides in the
old Ludlow house, erected in the village of Claverack in
Here are preserved manv valuable relics of Robert
Fuilton. notably a portrait of Fulton painted by Benjamin
West and presented by the great artist "to his pupil as
a memento." Also a portrait of Joel Barlow, and a variety
of sketches painted by Robert Fulton, showing artistic
88 HISTORY OF HUDSON
talent of a high order. The original compass by which
the first steamboat Clermont was navigated may here be
seen, the needle still pointing to the magnetic pole, un-
mindful of the flight of years, that have witnessed the
marvelous development of that mysterious power, which
binds the needle's point and flashes in wireless teleg-
raphy, and telephony across the sea.
Although it is not claimed that Robert Fulton's mind
was the first to conceive the possibility of applying steam
to the propulsion of vessels, it must forever be conceded
that the final success of this great invention was due to
his genius, persistence, and practical ability.
HISTORY OF HUDSON 89
Glimpse of City — Banks — Lodges Instituted.
A glimpse of the appearance of Hudson in 1807 may
be obtained from the account given to the press by our
"English Tourist," whom we left voyaging to the metropo-
lis on board the packet "Experiments."
Possibly he saw on the beautiful hill just below thic
city, the rare merino sheep just sent over by Chancellor
Livingston, from the noted flock of Prince Rambouillet,
near Paris. These were distributed among his different
farms along the river, and gave its name to Mount
Our Tourist says: "In the evening we arrived at Hud-
son. This town is of modern construction, and like Troy
consists of one long street. The houses are of wood or
brick, many of them built with taste, and all spacious and
commodious. Shops and warehouses are numerous, and
there are several large inns from which I conceived that
a considerable trade was carried on between this town
and the interior. It has the appearance of a thriving
settlement and advantageous for commerce. There are
several large brick warehouses near the wharves for the
reception of goods, and a great many small vessels sail
continually between this town and New York.
"Ship building is carried on here, and a vessel of three
or four hundred tons was just ready for launching. Sev-
eral other vessels of that size were also in the harbor."
Another writer of the same date sees only the "com-
manding views on every side," and says, "With Mount
Merino on the south, Becraft's Mountain on the east, fine
northern views, and the Catskills, alwavs a delight greet-
90 HISTORY OF HUDSON
ing one's eyes on the west — Hudson is in many particulars
without a rival."
A Gazeteer published in 1810, says, "Hudson has a
population of nearly 5000, fifty-four of whom are slaves.
It has two banks, combined capital two hundred and sixty
thousand dollars; four houses of worship, one each for
Quakers, Presbyterian, Episcopal and Methodist, and an
Academy, a handsome brick edifice beautifully located,
with a magnificent view. Also a Masons Lodge and some
District Schoolhouses." "But few of the streets are yet
paved or lighted by public lamps." "The town is supplied
with excellent water from springs conveyed in aqueducts.
Principal spring is about two miles from city, foot of lime-
The Gazeteer speaks of Hudson's rapid progress and
predicts its continued growth. The population of Al-
bany in 1810 is given, as about 12,000, 254 of whom were
Compared with the mushroom-like growth of recent
cities, especially in our western states, the increase seems
small in both Albany and Hudson, but we are reminded
that there was but little foreign immigration in those
days, and very few facilities for travel.
And while from our standpoint the city seems crude
and chaotic, with its many ungraded, unpaved, and un-
lighted streets, it was doubtless as far advanced in these
respects as other cities of the same, or even of an older
The following list of such of the inhabitants as were
assessed one hundred pounds, and upward, in the year
1797, is taken from the "tax book" for that year, which
was certified to as follows: "This Tax Book contains the
value of each man's estate, both real and personal, within
HISTORY OF HUDSON
the city of Hudson, to the best of our knowledge accord-
ing to the usual way of assessm'=*nt "
Hudson, 27th May, 1797.
McArthur, Arthur £140
Allen, Benjamin 160
Allen, Howard 200
Alsop, John 400
Ashley, William 260
Barnard, Joseph Est. 210
Barnard, Abisha 130
Bunt, Jacob 250
Bunker, Solomon 130
Bunker, Silas 150
Bunker, Barzilla 120
Bunker, Elihu 130
Becraft, Jonathan 230
Bolles, John R. 120
Bolles, Jeremiah 160
Burk, James 100
Cotfin, Alexander 300
Coffin, Jared 135
Coffin, David 340
Coffin. Uriah 120
Coventry, William 300
Comstock, Thomas 170
Clark, George 105
Clark, Daniel 170
Cheanee, Abiel 190
Delemater, Dirck 550
Delematcr, Claudius L. 470
Delemater, Claudius 150
Dakin. Paul 160
Decker, George 225
Dayton, Hezekiah 205
Dayton, Isaac 100
Elting, James 300
Everts, J. & Sons Est. 180
Ernst, John L. 120
Edmonds, Samuel 180
Folger, Reuben 225
Folger, Benjamin 100
Frothingham, Thomas 140
Frary, Giles 300
Greene, Nathaniel 820
Gelston, Cotton 415
Gilbert, Ezekiel 160
Gardner, William 120
Goldthwart, Thomas 180
Greene, John 140
Hardick, John F. 280
Harder, Jacob, Jr. 250
Harder, John M. 120
Heydorn, Adam 225
Hosmcr, Prosper 135
Hyatt, James 230
Hubhcll. Levi 100
Hammond, Abncr 1 10
Haxtum. Benjamin 130
Hogeboom, Peter 540
Hailonbcck, William 320
Hallcnbcck, Robert 320
HISTORY OF HUDSON
Hollenbeck, Mathias 200
Hollenbeck, John R. 180
Hollenbeck, William G. 140
Hathaway, John 500
Hoxie, Christopher 160
Huyck, Casper Est. 300
Irish, Jonathan 100
Jenkins, Thomas 2660
Jenkins, T. & Sons 1150
Jenkins, Seth Est. 850
Jenkins, Marshall 750
Jenkins, M. & Son 310
Jenkins, Charles 270
Jenkins, Lemuel Est. 200
Jenkins, Deborah 195
Jenkins, Robert & Co. 200
Johnston, Walter 120
Kellogg, Russell 270
Lawrence, David 325
L'Escure, Hyacinth 115
Mooklar, James & M. 230
Morgan, James 105
Morton, Reuben 1 15
Macy, Capt. Reuben 450
Morrison, James 170
Moores, Reuben 130
Nixon, James 200
Nichols, Samuel G. 150
Northrop, Isaac 125
Olcott, Josiah 225
Paddock, Stephen 425
Paddock, Daniel Est. 130
Plass, John 435
Power, Thomas 233
Parkman, Thomas 100
Reed, Ezra 900
Rand, Peter 190
Race, Jonathan 135
Riley & Storrs 100
Schermerhorn, John 100
Spencer, Ambrose 180
Sears, Nathan 100
Slade, William' 100
Thurston, John 120
Ten Broeck, John Est. 600
Ten Broeck, Jeremiah 550
Ten Broeck, Samuel 130
Tobey, Seth 325
Tallman, John 120
Van Hoesan, J. H. Est. 700
Van Hoesan, Abraham 190
Van Hoesan, Peter 290
Van Hoesan, Jenny 105
Van Hoesan, Peter Est. 100
Van Rensselaer, H. I. 600
Van Rensselaer, Wm. 430
Van Deusen, Tobias 300
Van Allen, Adam 265
Vander Bergh, Peter 165
Vander Bergh, James 165
Whittaker, Ephriam 210
White, Mrs. 140
Whitlock, Thomas 145
Worth, Shubael 225
Worth, Thomas 2nd 100
Webb, Job 140
Ward, Samuel 200
This list is interesting not only as showing the growth
•of the city in wealth during the twelve years since its
HISTORY OF HUDSON 93
incorporation, but it has also served to preserve the names
of a portion of our early citizens.
It is recorded that in 1803, the following vote was cast
at a charter election "not warmly contested and not a
Federal. — For Supenn'sor, Cotton Gelston, 232.
Democratic. — For Supervisor — Jared Coffm, 180.
In 1806, at a charter election a vote of 500 was cast,
and in 1807 at a state election, a vote of 700. Until
1815, city officers were elected on a general ticket, and
were obliged to qualify on the night following the day
of the election. In that year the law in this respect was
changed, and the city was divided into two wards, Third
street being the line of division.
It is unnecessary to dwell on the ephemeral, political
and civic questions which have agitated Hudson, even
those of recent date have already become "flat, stale and
As regards national affairs we cannot forbear quoting
once more the sapient reflections of the author of "Random
After deploring the "decline and fall of that patriot
race which guided our country from 1770 to 1790," he
continues; "Though we gain in some things we lose in
others; we gain in knowledge but seem to fall back in
principle," which is as true of today as of 1804. He pro-
ceeds to console himself by a contemplation of the sins
of the chosen people, on which he expatiates at some
length, concluding thus: "But it is incumbent upon us
diligently to remember that the transgressions of these
later days are not to be cloaked by comparison with those
illustrious ancients, whether Jews or (jcntilcs' — which
certainly leaves the modern sinner without the smallest
loophole of escape!
In 1792, the Rank of Columbia was chartered with
a capital of $160,000. It was the first bank organized in
94 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Hudson, and the third in the state, there being at that
date but one in each of the cities of New York and Albany.
It occupied a building near the foot of Warren street
later known as the Hosmer house, until 1803, when it
was removed to the corner of Warren and Second street,
going thence to number 231 Warren street. Thomas
Jenkins was the first President and under his wise and
prudent management it was very strong and successful.
After his death in 1808, its affairs were not so judi-
ciously conducted and in 1829 it failed, inflicting grievous
losses on both the city and county.
James Nixon was the first Cashier and in this con-
nection we recall the sad downfall of our quondam friend
Jemmy Fraser, whose promotion from bell-man to the
exalted and dignified office of town crier has been faith-
fully chronicled in a former chapter. It happened that
Mr. Nixon in going late one evening from the office to
his home, lost the key of the bank, and after a long
and unsuccessful search was compelled, as the last resort
to send for Jemmy.
Now truth constrains us to acknowledge that Jemmy's
habits had become increasingly bibulous, and his con-
duct on this occasion was only a too deplorable example
of his recent performance of his official duties.
However, he was duly directed to cry the lost key
through the streets of the city, with a reward of two
dollars to the finder, and was specially charged to let no
one know that it was the key of the hank. So a little
after sunrise Jemmy commenced his round, bell in
hand, — ding, ding — ding, ding! "Hare ya! Hare ya!"
But early as it was Jemmy's potations had already been
numerous, and the boys crowding and shouting at his
heels added to his confusion, so he quickly forgot his in-
structions as to what to say, and more especially as to
what not to say. Still jingling his bell stoutly he began
Again: "Hare ya! Hare ya! Lost, between Jamie Nixon's
HISTORY OF HUDSON 95
and twalve o'clock at night, a large kay." Here the boys
interrupted him with, "What sort of a key . was it?"
"Go to the de'il!" cried Jemmy, turning short upon
them, "an' I tell ye that, ye'll be gettin' into the bunk
For this very natural but injudicious reply, Jemmy
lost his position.
The second bank was organized in 1808, called the
Bank of Hudson, with a capital of $100,000. It was
located in the rooms vacated by the Bank of Columbia
until its own structure at 116 Warren street was com-
pleted. It was never a very strong institution and failed
in 1819, but with the failure of these two early banks,
our dismal record is concluded, there have been none
since. Through we know not what of storm and stress
our later institutions have passed successfully.
The President of the Bank of Hudson was John C.
Hogeboom, Cashier, Gorham A. Worth. After its fail-
ure the banking building was never again used for busi-
ness purposes, and subsequently became the hospitable
home of the Hon. Henry Hogeboom, a son of its first
The Hudson River Bank, the third organized in this
city, was chartered in June, 1830, and in July of that
year purchased the property number 231 Warren street,
which they occupied until June 17, 1907, when they re-
moved to their new building number 520 on the same
Oliver Wiswall was President of the Hudson River
Bank until 1855, when its charter expired and the pres-
ent organization commenced operations under the presi-
dency of Robert A. Barnard.
It was converted into a National Bank in 1865 and
Stephen A. DuBois was its third President.
The Farmers' Bank was chartered in 1838. and re-
organized in 1865 as 'The Fanners' National Bank of
96 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Hudson." They erected their present fine banking build-
ing, No. 544 Warren street in 1873.
The Hudson City Savings Institution was incorporated
in 1850, and from small beginnings has grown to be a
very strong organization. They have occupied the prem-
ises No. 230 Warren street for many years. The First
National Bank was organized in 1864 and removed to
their present convenient location in the Opera House
building in 1869.
The oldest public institution in the city of Hudson is
that of the Order of Free Masons, a Lodge having been
organized in 1786, only three years after the arrival of
At a meeting called at the public house of Col. John
McKinstry a petition was prepared to the Grand Lodge
of the State of New York, requesting that "a Charter
might be granted them, for the purpose of making, pass-
ing, and raising Free Masons." This was signed by eight-
een of the most prominent men of the Settlement. It
will be remembered that Col. McKinstry's life had been
saved during the war of the Revolution, by Captain Joseph
Brant, on his giving the masonic sign, and it is note-
worthy that a Mohawk Indian Chief was sufficiently civil-
ized at that early day, to comprehend the tenets of Ma-
sonry, and prove an acceptable candidate for membership
in the Order.
On the occasion of Captain Brant's last visit to Col.
McKinstry in 1805, he visited the Hudson Lodge "where"
it is said "his presence attracted much attention."
Lodge No. 7, received its Charter in 1787, and the Offi-
cers, of whom Worshipful Seth Jenkins was Master, were
duly installed by the Worshipful Senior Grand Warden
The Lodge continued to hold its meetings in some one
of the public houses until 1795, when on petition of
Marshall Jenkins and Samuel Edmonds, the proprietors
HISTORY OF HUDSON 97
granted a lot of land on the southeast corner of Union
and Third streets "to the Society called Free Masons for
the purpose of erecting a building suitable for their use,
which must be fifty by twenty-five feet in size and must
never be used as a tavern."
The corner stone was laid on June 12, 1795, and the
building "with its four gables and a cupola, was con-
sidered an ornament to the city." It was dedicated with
impressive Masonic rites on December 27, 1796.
On July 4, 1829, it was partially destroyed by fire and
a new St. John's Hall was erected on the ruins. In the
war of 1812, the lower part of the Hall was used as
barracks, for soldiers enlisted under Capt. Smith of the
U. S. Light Dragoons and Lieut. Theophilus E. Beekman,
It was this service that first brought Mr. Beekman to
this city, of which he became one of the most prominent
citizens. During a row among the soldiers in the barracks
which he was endeavoring to quell, he received an injury
for which he afterward drew a pension.
If the truth may be told, we fear the dashing Lieuten-
ant did not regret that disabling wound so deeply as he
ought, having surrendered to the captivating charms of
the pretty daughter of Captain John Hathaway.
For some unexplained reason Captain Hathaway re-
fused his consent to their marriage, and the ardent lovers
eloped. After their return they sought parental forgive-
ness, but in vain, the irate father was obdurate, so they
took rooms at No. 2S3 Warren Street, from whence the
weeping bride could look with tear-dimmed eyes across
to her beloved home, which seemed closed to her forever.
Captain Hathaway 's residence at No. v^lO Warren street
was well-known for many years as the Beekman house,
and was highly prized as one of our choicest survivals of
the Colonial period, but it was recently metamorphosed
into something new and strange.
98 HISTORY OF HUDSON
In a short time the Captain relented and the young
couple were taken home, where "they lived happily ever
To return to Masonic matters, from Lodge No. 7, have
originated Hudson Royal Arch Chapter No. 6 instituted
in 1798. Lafayette Encampment No. 7 of Knights Temp-
lar, organized in 1806, now Lafayette Commandery, and
Aquila Lodge No. 700 instituted in 1870. In addition
to these there are the Masonic Hall Association and the
Masonic Club, incorporated in 1897 and 1899 respectively.
St. John's Hall which is the home of all these Masonic
bodies was torn down in 1889 and rebuilt on a much
larger scale, affording ample and convenient accommoda-
tions. One cannot but wish that they had added the
"four gables and cupola" of a century ago, when "it
was considered an ornament to the city."
The first Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fel-
lows in Hudson was chartered in 1824. Allen Lodge No.
92 was instituted in 1843 and Hudson City Lodge No.
389 in 1849. The latter is the only Lodge of that Order
now in existence in this city.
The first notable reception of a distinguished guest by
the city government, was that accorded to the Hon. John
Jay on the fourth day of July, 1792. He came from Al-
bany by way of Kinderhook, and was met at Claverack
by a cavalcade of two hundred gentlemen. "After call-
ing on William H. Ludlow," at the Ludlow house, "where
they regaled themselves with a glass of wine," they
escorted him into the city.
Here he was received by a salute from Frothingham's
Artillery, and proceeded to Russel Kellogg's tavern
where "an elegant entertainment had been provided,"
his Honor, Seth Jenkins, then Mayor, presiding. Mr. Jay
drank to "the prosperity of Hudson" which called out
the Mayor in a speech, concluding with a toast to "the Man
of the Day," to which Mr. Jay replied at some length.
HISTORY OF HUDSON 99
"In the evening a large number of the principal citi-
zens called to pay their respects, and on the following
morning the honored guest boarded the sloop Pompey and
sailed for the residence of Governor Lewis; amid the ac-
clamations of the people and the firing of cannon. The
Hon. John Jay succeeded Governor Lewis in the guber-
natorial office and, as previously stated, was Governor of
the State of New York in 1797, when the seat of legis-
lation was removed by the General Assembly, from New
York City to Albany.
100 HISTORY OF HUDSON
The Military — Noteworthy Events.
The military spirit survived quite strongly in all the
states after the close of the Revolutionary war, and as
early as 1786, Hudson maintained a company of Artillery,
commanded by Captain Daniel Gano.
A second company was formed in 1788 called Frothing-
ham's Artillery under the command of Captain Thomas
Frothingham, which aided in the celebration of the 4th
of July in that year, which was the first observance of the
day in this city, and of which we have the following re-
"Fothingham's Artillery ushered in the day with a
salute of thirteen guns on the eminence near the river,
which with three cheers enlivened the countenances of
the very numerous crowd present. At three o'clock in
the afternoon an elegant dinner was provided at Russell
Kellogg's tavern at which was present a large number
of the most respectable inhabitants of the city." "Patri-
otic toasts were drank, which were announced by a dis-
charge of cannon. The day closed with a most beautiful
exhibition of fire-works, at which were present a great
many ladies and gentlemen from the adjacent country,
who seemed to retire extremely pleased with the evening's
The day was celebrated annually with much spirit after-
ward, and as the bitterness of party strife increased po-
litical celebrations were introduced, and we have frequent
accounts of two celebrations; and occasionally the me-
HISTORY OF HUDSON 101
chanics of the city, apparently disgusted with both parties,
added a third.
One party had its orations in the Presbyterian church,
the other in the City Hall, and upon one or two occasions
the Episcopal church was used.
In 1786, Ezekiel Gilbert is spoken of as Brigade Major,
and in 1788, Marshal Jenkins as Adjutant of the Regiment.
In 1793, a third company of Artillery existed under the
command of Benjamin Haxton called Haxton's Artillery
and shortly after, a company of Infantry under the com-
mand of Captain Nicholas Hatheway, (who was not
related to Captain John Hathaway, and who spelled his
name with an e). Hatheway's Infantry wore a uniform
consisting of "a black cocked hat, blue coat faced with red,
and white or blue pantaloons."
We find no allusion to either of these companies except
in the following proceedings of the Common Council
on the receipt of the intelligence of the death of Wash-
At a Common Council holden in and for the City of
Hudson the 26th day of Dec, 1799. Present Cotton Gel-
ston, Esq.; Recorder, Elisha Pitkin, Paul Dakin, Samuel
Edmonds, Thomas Power Aldermen, Robert Folger, Rob-
ert Taylor, Silas Rand, Rufus Buckus, Assistants,
The Council having received certain accounts of the
Death of our illustrious, beloved General Washington, and
being desirous of testifying their sorrow in the most pub-
lic manner, do Resolve; "that the citizens be immediately
notified to repair to the City Hall, to form a procession
to the Presbyterian Meeting House, where suitable prayers
will be made by the Rev. Mr. Sampson, and an Eulogy
102 HISTORY OF HUDSON
will be spoken by Mr. Gilbert on the solemn occasion."
"The procession to move in the following order:
Capt. N. Hatheway's Company of Infantry with Arms
reversed and Musick
Muffled & Shrouded
Recorder and Orator.
Common Council two and two.
Officers of the late Revolutionary Army.
Other Officers Civil and Military.
Citizens, two and two."
"During the moving of the procession, the bell was
tolled, all places of business were closed and the citizens
wearing crape on their left arms, assembled in great
numbers to listen to Mr. Gilbert's touching and eloquent
eulogy, commencing with the words, 'He is not dead,
but sleepeth.' Upon this occasion Haxton's Artillery fired
Following Capt. Hatheway's Infantry came the Wigton
Artillery, commanded by Capt. William Wigton, wearing
a similar uniform. At this time party feeling was strong
and was carried into every department of life. The
papers were filled with the most bitter personalities, each
party had its club, its bank, and each its military com-
pany. The Wigton Artillery was the Republican Com-
The Hudson Greens, a company of Infantry was the
Federal Company. Their uniform was "a green coat and
pantaloons, black hat and green feather." Harry Cros-
well was one of its early commanders.
Both of these companies were ordered off in the war
of 1812, and stationed at New York. Shortly after the
opening of that war General Winfield Scott, with seven
hundred men, encamped over night in this city, on the
HISTORY OF HUDSON 103
open green then lying on the easterly side of the pres-
ent Court House.
Under the lead of Capt. John Hathaway the General
and his men were supplied with wood, coffee and an
abundance of the best provisions. "The lighted camp
was visited by a large number of citizens, and on the
following morning General Scott proceeded on his way
North, passing up Warren Street, himself the admiration
of the hundreds crowding the sidewalks."
"Captain Hathaway was a generous, public spirited
man, at the same time, extremely close and particular in
all matters of business. He was an ardent supporter of
the war of 1812, and gave liberally in various ways in
support of the soldiers."
In the year, 1820, Hudson received a visit from the
Cadets at West Point, who encamped on the hill over-
looking the South Bay and remained about four days.
Their camps covered the entire hill which at that time
was of much greater extent than at present.
Hudson at that period being for the first time without a
military company, the Cadets were received by a caval-
cade of citizens under the direction of a committee ap-
pointed by the Common Council. A ball was given by
the citizens at Holley's tavern during their stay, and the
hospitalities of the city both public and private were so
marked and generous, as to draw from them a warm
expression of gratitude on their departure. Immediately
after this visit the "Hudson City Guards were organized,
their uniform consisting of a 'blue coat, silvered buttons,
white pantaloons, with a high bucket shaped leather hat,
surmounted by a white plume about half a yard in
length.' " "It was considered in its day a fine uniform,
and the company, always with full ranks and spirited,
was the pride of the city."
In the same year, 1820, the Scotch Plaids were or-
ganized, their uniform being in accordance with their
104 HISTORY OF HUDSON
name, of bright plaid, trimmed with black, and bright
buttons; the cap was of black beaver, low, with a cluster
of black plumes in front. "It was an attractive dress and
from its novelty is said to have been the favorite com-
pany with young Hudson." Both of these companies did
escort duty on the occasion of the visit of General La-
fayette to Hudson in 1824, this city having been one of
the first in the Union to send a committee to New York,
to meet Lafayette, and to tender him its hospitalities.
In September of that year Lafayette came up the river
on the steamer James Kent to visit various places on its
banks, and on his arrival at the residence of the Hon.
Edward P. Livingston, the Mayor of Hudson, Rufus Reed,
and distinguished citizens, Gens. Van Rensselaer and
Fleming, and their respective suites, accompanied by the
two military companies before mentioned, and the Hud-
son Brass Band, proceeded down the river to greet La-
fayette and escort him to this city.
On their arrival at Clermont, the seat of Judge Living-
ston, they participated in the festivities provided, and after
a short visit at Catskill, reached Hudson about noon on
the following day.
Here, it is recorded, "Lafayette met with a reception
the most heartfelt and joyous ever bestowed upon man."
"He was conducted to an elegant carriage drawn by
four black horses, attended by four grooms in livery, and
accompanied by a lengthy procession of military and
citizens of Hudson and vicinity, under the direction of
Col. Charles Darling as Marshall of the day — was carried
through all the principal streets, which were literally
choked with people — to all of whom Lafayette tried in
vain to bow." "Arches of evergreens and flowers were
erected at various points, bearing inscriptions of welcome,
and that at the head of Warren street, was surmounted
by a colossal figure of the Goddess of Liberty, bearing in
her hand the Stars and Stripes."
HISTORY OF HUDSON 105
At the Court House, which was filled "by elegantly
dressed women," the General was welcomed by his Honor,
the Mayor, to whom he replied in a brief speech. Sixty-
eight veterans of the Revolution were then presented
to him, for each of whom he had a kind word; after them
the military officers, and lastly "the elegantly dressed
"Dinner had been provided for a great number of people
at Mr. Allen's tavern, and over the chair designed for La-
fayette was suspended a wreath of beautiful flowers, en-
closing an appropriate poetical greeting, while around the
room were the most tasteful and elaborate decorations
which had been anywhere seen on his journey." "But
these labors of love were all lost, the want of time pre-
venting his remaining for dinner." However, "he alighted
from his carriage and remained a short time, partaking of
a glass of wine, after which he bade the multitude fare-
well, and proceeding directly to the river, embarked for
Albany, about the middle of the afternoon."
The particulars of this reception are taken from the
Commercial Advertiser of that date, whose reporter ac-
companied General Lafayette on his extended tour through
In addition to the Guards and Plaids, there was also
at that time an organization known as the Hudson Mili-
tary Association the only mention of which is in connec-
tion with the funeral obsequies of Lieut. Allen, U. S. N.
After the passing of these organizations the military
spirit of Hudson seemed to become extinct, and it was
some years before the formation of the Hudson Light
Guards, afterward known as the Worth Guards, com-
manded by Captain Edward P. Cowles.
This company did good service as we shall see, during
the Anti-rent disturbance, after whicli it was disbanded
and no military organization followed until after the
106 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Beside her local military, Hudson has cherished with
pride the memory of her noble sons, who won their laurels
in the regular service, fighting the battles of their coun-
try. Among the earlier of these heroes, was Lieut. William
Howard Allen, who was distinguished as an officer of
the United States Navy, and very highly esteemed as a
Lieut. Allen was bom in Hudson on July 8, 1790, was
appointed a midshipman in 1808, and a Lieutenant in
In the year 1813, he took a conspicuous part in the
engagement between the "Argus" and the "Pelican," and
in June, 1822, was given the command of the "Alligator."
On the 9th of November of that year, he was killed
while boarding a piratical vessel on the coast of Cuba,
whither he had gone to rescue some merchantmen who
were held captive.
The intelligence of Lieut. Allen's death cast a deep
gloom over the city.
A public meeting was held at the City Hall, at which
Alexander Coffm, Elisha Williams, Ambrose L. Jordan,
and Doctor Samuel White, presided, and a eulogy was
pronounced by the Hon. James Strong.
His remains were interred at Matanzas, but after some
correspondence between Oliver Wiswall, then Mayor of
Hudson, and the Secretary of the Navy, they were sub-
sequently removed to this city.
On the fifteenth of December, 1827, the schooner
Grampus arrived at New York bearing the body of our
lamented hero, and was met by a committee deputed by
the Common Council, headed by John W. Edmonds and
Under the escort of the marine corps, accompanied by
Commodore Chauncey, and a numerous body of naval
officers, the procession left the Brooklyn Navy yard, and
were joined at New York, "by the Common Council and
HISTORY OF HUDSON 107
prominent citizens of that city, in immense numbers, who
attended them to the Hudson steamboat in waiting."
Here a salute was fired by a detachment of artillery,
and by the marine corps, and the remains were delivered
to the Hudson deputation by Commodore Chauncey.
On arriving at this city, the funeral cortege moved to
the cemetery, amid the tolling of bells, and firing of can-
non, in the following order:
Hudson City Guards.
Athens Lafayette Guards.
The Military under command of Col. William A. Dean
with standards furled and drums muffled.
The Reverand Clergy.
Borne by Lieuts. Gregory, Hollins, Newman, Coxe and
Midshipmen Lynch and Nichols. Mourners including
Messrs. Bloodgood, Schermerhorn, Lawrence,
Pinckney of the United States Navy.
Hudson Military Association.
Brigadier General Whiting and his suite.
The Mayor and Recorder
Clerk and Marshal of the City.
Clerk and Sheriff of the County.
Committee of Arrangements.
After the committal of Lieut. Allen's body to the grave,
near that of his mother, the funeral service was read by
the Rev. Mr. Stebbins, and a volley was fired over his
tomb by the military. The procession then returned to
the United States Hotel where it was dismissed.
At three o'clock, p. m., the Naval Officers sat down
to a public dinner in company with about one hundred
citizens and the evening was spent at the hospitable man-
sion of Col. Livingston. On the following day the offi-
108 HISTORY OF HUDSON
cers paid their respects to the Mayor and departed amid
the roar of cannon, with the heartfelt gratitude of the
whole city for their generous attention on this occasion.
The correspondence beween the Naval Officers and the
Committee is subjoined.
Hudson, December 21, 1827.
The officers of the Navy assembled on the present mel-
ancholy occasion, reciprocating the sentiments expressed
by the citizens of Hudson, return their thanks for the
imparalleled tribute paid to the memory of their late gal-
lant associate. They at the same time return their ac-
knowledgments for the liberal hospitality which has
characterized the whole proceeding; and in departing, beg
leave to say, that whether applied to the individual or
professional standing of their departed member, the con-
duct of the citizens, is alike honorable to their feelings
and principles as men and patriots. Laboring under
emotions too powerful to be conveyed in adequate lan-
guage, they tender the committee a grateful and affec-
Hudson, December 21, 1827.
The committee of the City of Hudson, in acknowledg-
ing the favor of the officers of the navy, assembled on
this occasion of paying the last honors to the memory of
the lamented Allen, gladly avail themselves of this op-
portunity to assure those gentlemen of the high sense
entertained by this whole community of the obligations
conferred upon them, by the attendance of individuals de-
servedly distinguished for their public and private worth;
as the committee cannot entertain a doubt that the lives
of those officers of the Navy will be as honorable, so
they cannot but hope that their deaths will be as glorious,
HISTORY OF HUDSON 109
and their memories as much respected as that of the gal-
lant and unfortunate William Howard Allen.
By order of the committee.
David West, Chairman.
William A. Dean, Secretary.
The fine marble monument which marks the grave of
Lieut. Allen was erected to his memory by the citizens of
his native place in 1833, and on the extension of Federal
street to Fifth, two years later, it was with one accord
renamed Allen street in honor of Lieut. Howard Allen.
Major General William Jenkins Worth was another of
those early heroes whose fame adorns the annals of this
city, and whose remains should also have found a rest-
ing place among his kindred. General Worth was bom
in Hudson in the fine old dwelling number 21 1 Union street
on March first, 1794. He was a son of one of the original
proprietors, and entered the United States Army during
the war of 1812. He served with distinction, and at its
close was brevetted Colonel, and appointed Superintend-
ent of the Military Academy at West Point. He rendered
valuable service in the Seminole War in 1841-'42, and
was given a command with rank of Brigadier General in
the war with Mexico. Here he greatly distinguished him-
self both at the siege of Vera Cruz and at the stomiing
and capture of Monterey, in recognition of which he was
brevetted Major General and presented a sword by Con-
General Worth visited Hudson in 1844 and received
from his fellow citizens a warm reception, and a valuable
sword as a testimonial of honor and esteem. This sword
and several others presented by the United States gov-
ernment and by various cities, are preserved in the State
Library at Albany.
General Worth died of Cholera at San Antonio on May
7, 1849, and was buried in New York, the citizens erect-
1 1 HISTORY OF HUDSON
ing a handsome monument to his memory, on Madison
Square, in that city.
In recounting these public occasions of various kinds,
we are conscious of a genuine satisfaction amounting to
a pardonable pride in noting how creditably the Hudson
authorities acquitted themselves on them all.
The dwelling to which allusion has been made as the
birth-place of Major General Worth, is a noteworthy ex-
ample of the survival of the fittest, as applied not solely
to the house, but in an especial manner to the owner, who
is a lineal descendant of General Worth. The building
has not only wonderfully escaped the ravages of "times
effacing fingers," but also the more ruthless rage for
improvement, which has improved beyond recognition so
many of our noblest Colonial structures.
Under the wise and skillful restoration of its present
occupant, it has received all the modern accessories to
comfort and convenience, and still has retained, and even
accentuated the style of the period of its erection. Whether
the ancient virtue of cordial hospitality, now unhappily
waning, has not also been retained and accentuated, is
left to the decision of those who are its fortunate recipi-
HISTORY OF HUDSON 1 1 1
Public Library — Early Physicians — Post Office.
Notwithstanding the manifold distractions attending the
enterprise on which the proprietors had entered, it is
pleasing to note that so early as 1786, they established a
circulating library, called the Hudson Public Library, of
which Shubael Worth, one of their number, was for many
years the Librarian. The books, to the number of three
hundred, were kept in the store of Mr. Worth, which he
built on fhe northwest corner of Warren and Second
Books were furnished subscribers on the following ac-
Four dollars per year, one dollar and twenty-five cents
per quarter, and to occasional readers, at the rate of two
cents per day. Subscribers were allowed "to keep books
as long as desired, except books new, and in great demand,
which must be returned within one week;" "for the use
of the books, persons could pay either in money, or
Notice was given that persons desiring to subscribe,
could do so by leaving their names at the printing office
of the Gazette.
We like to think that it was in this literary pasture
that General Worth was wont to brouse, and that the
taste for letters here cultivated by his niece Lydia Worth,
was transmitted to her son. John Worth Edmonds, and
joined to his native talent, led him eventually to the
Bench of the Supreme Court.
It appears also in her later descendant, to whom we
have previously alluded, in an insatiable love for books.
Debating societies were much in vogue at an early day.
1 1 2 HISTORY OF HUDSON
the debates being so popular as to draw large audiences.
A small library collected by one of these societies named
the Franklin Hall Association was chartered in 1837 as
the Franklin Library Association.
It occupied a room which was fitted up especially for
its use, at an expense of four hundred dollars, on Union
street nearly opposite the Episcopal Church.
From this small beginning grew a membership of two
hundred and fifty, possessing about twenty-five hundred
volumes, sustaining an annual course of lectures, and
with an income of nearly fourteen hundred dollars.
The first lecture before the Association was delivered
by Prof. Horatio S. Potter of Union College, in 1838, in
the old Episcopal Church; his subject was "Truth." The
able and well-beloved Bishop may have recalled that early
experience, when visiting Hudson in later years. Horatio
Potter was an Uncle of Henry C. Potter, both of whom
were Bishops of New York.
Before leaving the period of the Proprietors, mention
must be made of the excellent physicians who became
residents of the city, immediately after its incorporation.
An early writer says, "Hudson was noted for its eminent
physicians," an eminence which has been well maintained
to the present time.
Doctor Wheaton, who also kept a drug store, was the
first who came, and was soon followed by Doctors Tallman,
Malcolm and White, all of whom were established here
before the close of the 18th century.
Doctor Wheaton is spoken of as a careful judicious
practitioner. His first residence was near the foot of War-
ren street on the southerly side, but he afterward built
the large brick dwelling number 243 Union street, which
was for many years the home of Mr. Israel Piatt, and still
later the residence of Mr. George Gibson.
In 1791, Dr. Wheaton formed a partnership with Dr.
HISTORY OF HUDSON 1 1 3
Moses Younglove, who was celebrated for his successful
treatment of the smallpox.
Doctor Younglove had a most thrilling experience in
the war of the Revolution. He entered the army from
the eastern part of the Country as Brigade Surgeon to
General Herkimer, was taken prisoner at the Battle of
Oriskany by the infamous Captain Butler, stripped of
clothing and valuables, and after receiving every possible
insult, was turned over to the Indian allies, to be killed.
In some way he managed to escape, but he never re-
covered from the effects of the horrible tortures that were
inflicted upon him.
Doctor Younglove died on Jan. 31, 1829, and his ashes
lie beneath a handsome monument in our cemetery. Not
far away lie the remains of "Doctor John Milton Mann,
who was drowned while crossing the river from this city
to Athens, Aug. 24th, 1809, aged 43 years." It is said
that the accident which thus deprived the community of
a most valuable life, was entirely caused by the clumsy
mismanagement of the scow then in use.
"Doctor Mann was born in Attleborough, Mass., he was
educated at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Is-
land, and came to reside in Hudson in the year 1800."
This city is indebted to him for the introduction of vac-
cination, "though here as elsewhere the philanthropic
enterprise was obliged to contend with prejudice, and
"The Common Council of Hudson, of which body he
was a member, voted that they would attend his funeral
and wear crape on the left arm thirty days on account of
their respect for his character and their regret for his
loss." The city also erected his monument.
No member of the medical profession in Hudson's
early day, attained so wide a reputation for ability and
skill as did Doctor Samuel White. His superiority as
a surgeon as well as a general practitioner, aside from
1 1 4 HISTORY OF HUDSON
his remarkable success as an alienist, made him known
throughout the state, and gave him a large practice.
In 1882, he established an institution for the treatment
of the insane in the building now owned and occupied
by the Hudson Orphan and Relief Association on State
street. Here he associated with him his son, S. Pomeroy
White, and they continued this humane work until the
opening of the State Asylum at Utica, and were successful
in curing a large proportion of the hundreds of patients
Dr. S. Pomeroy White was born in Hudson in 1801,
and died in New York City, on June 6, 1867. He like
his father became distinguished both as a medical prac-
titioner and a surgeon, performing operations new to the
profession in this vicinity, which demanded the highest
courage and skill. He removed to New York in 1833.
Dr. George H. White, the youngest son of Dr. Samuel
"White, was also a well known and successful physician.
His health failing, he went south but received little benefit,
and returning home, died in his 51st year. Both Dr.
Samuel White and Dr. John M. Mann were charter mem-
bers of 'The Columbia County Medical Society," which
was founded in 1806, and members of the committee ap-
pointed to prepare its Constitution and By-laws.
Recurring for the last time to the minutes of the pro-
prietors, we find them making a final disposition of their
affairs preparatory to terminating their existence, as a
1795, March 9th. The proprietors deeded to the Com-
mon Council "all streets and lands not theretofore appro-
priated, to be opened by them at their discretion, when-
ever it would benefit the public; also the burial ground
presented to the proprietors, excepting such part as was
enclosed by the Society of Friends, and to be conveyed to
When we recall the fact that nearly all the proprietors
HISTORY OF HUDSON 1 1 5
were Quakers, we cannot but admire the generous cor-
diality with which they responded to the requests of every
religious denomination, donating grants of land freely to
all "without money and without price," and thus furnish-
ing a commendable example to saints of a later day.
It is with great reluctance that we take our leave of
this unique and picturesque body of men, with the fol-
lowing closing minute:
1810, May 23rd. The last meeting of the proprietors was
held; being duly warned. Stephen Paddock was elected
Moderator. Erastus Pratt, Clerk. It was announced that
provisions had been made for the delivery of the pro-
prietors' books, plot of the city, etc., to the Clerk of the
city, and for the passage of a law by the Legislature for
a confirmation of all the divisions made by them."
We have before alluded to the violent opposition mani-
fested by Cotton Gelston to the surrender of the books
and minutes to the Common Council, and we may imagine
that it was in the midst of great excitement and commo-
tion that the motion was made and carried to adjourn
Their meetings had necessarily been more frequent
than these extracts would indicate, but the proceedings
related principally to the disposition and exchange of their
lots, or "public squares" as they termed them, and to the
laying out of the "public roads" or streets.
On the whole the proprietors had every reason to feel
satisfied with the result of their labors, while furnishing
in themselves a most remarkable instance of unselfishness
In all that body of men, associated together for more
than a quarter of a century in a common business enter-
prise, not a single individual proved faithless to the
pledges given, or recreant to the trusts imposed.
Many of the original proprietors, including the Jenkins
brothers had passed away before the date of this last
1 1 6 HISTORY OF HUDSON
meeting. Seth Jenkins lived but ten years after coming
to the settlement, and Thomas Jenkins as we have said,
died in 1808, but each left a deep and lasting impress upon
the character of the city. The last survivor of the pio-
neers was Captain Alexander Coffm who died in 1839,
in the ninety-ninth year of his age. His personal char-
acteristics have been previously described, but his life was
filled with incident and variety, quite worthy of mention.
In 1774, he carried back to London as passengers on
his ship, the consignees of the tea which had recently
served to furnish forth the "Boston tea-party." He was
twice captured by the British during the Revolution, and
was bearer of dispatches from Benjamin Franklin in
Paris to the American Congress.
Captain Coffm was elected Mayor of Hudson in 1821,
serving one term, and held the office of postmaster con-
tinuously for nearly twenty-three years. The office was
kept in his house, which was at first a frame building on
the site of 116 Warren street, afterward he resided on the
south-west corner of Warren and Second streets.
The postoffice of Hudson has always been a migratory
institution, each successive postmaster finding for it a
new place. During one term it was housed at No. 247
Warren street and in 1842 Justus McKinstry being post-
master, it was installed in the dwelling erected and oc-
cupied by him, No. 311 on that street.
The office was then located for some years in the Hirst
building, removing to the City Hall in 1867 and thence
to its present quarters in 1886.
The money order system was introduced in 1864 and
the Free Delivery on October 1, 1887. Mr. Henry R.
Bryan the present postmaster, has held the office since
April 1, 1899, having received his appointment from Pres-
Through the persevering efforts of General John H.
Ketcham, who was for many years our faithful Represen-
HISTORY OF HUDSON 1 1 7
tative, an appropriation of seventy-five thousand dollars
was made by the 59th Congress, in the spring of 1907,
"for a Post Office building at Hudson, New York."
A fine site was purchased in February, 1908, on the
corner of Fourth and Union streets, and it appears to be
quite certain that in the near future the city will have a
convenient and permanent home for the mails.
Returning for a moment to the house of Justus McKin-
istry, it is perhaps worthy of note as having been the
first dwelling that was plumbed in Hudson.
The date was about 1S55, and the innovation was con-
sidered by many to be a very questionable, if not dan-
Mr. Theophilus Beekman and his wife were still living
in the Hathaway (or Beekman) house opposite, at that
time. Mr. Beekman was a very fine looking old gentle-
man, in a gay flowered dressing gown, or driving a high
stepping horse; and was always accompanied by two
1 I 8 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Churches — Clergy — Christian Association,
As we have seen a larger proportion of the original
Proprietors were adherents of the Quaker faith, and in
1784, the year following their arrival at Claverack Land-
ing, they built for their use a simple and convenient house
of worship. The second religious organization formed
in the City of Hudson was that of a Congregational body.
In the year 1790, Marshall Jenkins applied to the
Proprietors "for a grant of land, on which to erect a
place of worship." The lot deeded to them was on the
corner of Allen, then known as Federal street and Second.
On this was erected a plain brick structure, surmounted
by a spire of considerable height, from which a charming
and unbroken view of mountains and river was to be had,
while it was itself a conspicuous ornament to the land-
In the belfry was hung the bell which rung by Jemmy
Eraser, for the modest stipend of 16 pounds per year,
(paid by the city), summoned the laborer to his daily
toil, and announced at noon and night, the welcome hour
The edifice was as plain within as without. A huge
sounding board overhung the high pulpit, and high-backed
pews and green blinds, complete the picture. The walls
were kept clean with whitewash which, with candles seem
to have been a heavy tax upon the Trustees' fund.
The church applied for admission to the Presbytery at
Albany in 1794, and called the Rev. Mr. Thompson as
pastor, at a salary of 175 pounds per year.
Among the early supporters of the church were Am-
brose Spencer, Elisha Williams and Martin Van Buren.
HISTORY OF HUDSON 1 1 9
In 1833 the trustees were instructed to purchase the old
Court House and lots, on the corner of Warren and Fourth
streets, "for a sum not exceeding 4,000 dollars." On this
site the congregation proceeded to erect their present
church building, which they remodeled in 1876.
The society also owns the building 439 Union street,
which they purchased for a parsonage.
Believing that there was room for another church or-
ganization in the city, a few members of the Presbyterian
church, with other citizens met at the office of Joseph D.
Monell for consultation. Being desirous that the new
organization should be of the Reformed Dutch order, they
made application to the classis of Rensselaer, and on the
20th day of September, 1835, a society was organized by
a committee consisting of Rev. Messrs. Andrew Kittle,
Peter S. Wynkoop and Richard Sluyter, bearing the name
of The First Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Hud-
Their first services were held in the old Court House,
and the first sermon was preached by the Rev. John B.
Hardenburgh, then of Rhinebeck, later of New York City..
The present church edifice was completed in the follow-
ing year, and was dedicated on December 18, 1836. The
sermon on the occasion was preached by the Rev. John
H. Van Wagnen, from the text "And it was at Jerusalem
the feast of the dedication and it was winter:" John 10.22.
The church building was enlarged in 1866, and the in-
terior remodeled, the exterior still retains its early Dutch
A commodious and pleasant Parsonage on Allen street
was purchased at an early date.
in 179vS, John Tallman and John Powell presented a
petition in behalf of the Fpiscopal society "for a grant
of land on which to build a house of worship." The War-
dens finally selected a lot on the comer of State and
Second streets. The buildiiir was commenced immediately
120 HISTORY OF HUDSON
but owing to pecuniary embarrassments, was not entirely
completed until 1823. The name Christ Church was
adopted in 1802, and the first service held was on Christ-
mas day of that year.
In 1803, a parochial charity school was established in
connection with the church which numbered forty scholars.
Their first organ was erected in 1811 at a cost of four
hundred and fifty dollars.
The old church was occupied, until the year 1857, when
their new and beautiful edifice on Court street was con-
secrated by Bishop Horatio S. Potter.
A convenient Chapel and rectory have been added, thus
completing a most attractive and commodious church
For many years Christ Church sustained the Chapel
of All Saints in the suburbs of the city, besides rendering
substantial assistance to churches and missions in other
parts of the country.
All Souls' Church had its inception in a Sunday School
taught by Mrs. E. M. Cookson on the Academy Hill. The
work had a remarkable growth and in 1861 was orga-
nized a mission. In 1864 a Chapel was built and in
1887, it became a separate parish. It has always re-
ceived the fostering care and assistance of Christ Church.
The Baptist Church was organized at the house of H.
P. Skinner in 1810. They worshipped for a time in the
Mayor's court room in the Court House. In 1818 they
removed to the corner of State and Fourth streets, where
they remained until the completion of their present church
in 1861. A Sunday School was founded by this church
in 1820, which is said to have been the first organization
for the religious instruction of youth in the country.
The Methodist body early applied through Samuel Wig-
ton, for a lot on which to build. In 1790, the Proprietors
gave them their choice of any lots not previously granted,
HISTORY OF HUDSON 121
and they selected one on the corner of Diamond and Third
streets on which they built a small frame building.
This was followed by the erection of a brick structure
in 1825, which they afterward exchanged for lots on which
their present commodious church was erected in 1853.
They also own a pleasant parsonage on North Fifth
The organization of the Universalist Church was formed
in 1817, and was followed by the erection of a modest
edifice on the corner of Third and Allen streets, within
The society continued to worship there until 1867 when
the building now occupied by them was completed.
The adjoining house has been acquired, which gives
them a convenient parsonage.
There are three Lutheran Churches in Hudson, the
oldest St. John's dating from 1866, was organized by
the Rev. William Hull, and worshipped in the old Uni-
versalist Church until their present building was erected
St. Matthews German Evangelical Lutheran, was in-
corporated in 1869, and Emanuel Lutheran was formed
from a division in St. Matthew's Society, in 1893.
All have church edifices that are adequate and con-
venient for their requirements, and the Emanuel Society
has also its own cosy parsonage.
St. Mary's Church parish was organized in 1841, its
members worshiping in St. John's Hall until the comple-
tion of their present church, which was dedicated in 1849.
A parochial school was sustained by St. Mar>''s parish
from an early date, and in 1899 St. Mary's Academy was
built, ^'iving them a well equipped educational structure.
In 1907, the Italian residents of the city purchased a
portion of the site of the first "Market House" as it was
called, and have erected thereon a Catholic church for
122 HISTORY OF HUDSON
A small body of Hungarians were granted the use of
the First Reformed church in the early part of the year
1908 for their services, which presages a suitable building
for them at some future time.
These facts disclose an unsuspected foreign element in
the population of the city, which is of comparatively re-
There are also two Jewish organizations, consisting
of the Hebrew, and New Hebrew synagogues.
Hudson has two Afro-American churches. The Zion
Methodist Episcopal, dating from 1855, and St. John's
Methodist, which was organized by seceders from Zion
church in 1873.
This brief review of the churches of this city, although
necessarily incomplete, brings to our loving remembrance
the faithful ministers of the gospel, and the many saintly
men and women who have prayed and labored to make
these churches what they are; who
"Wrought in a sad sincerity;
Themselves from God they could not free:
They builded better than they knew, —
The conscious stone to beauty grew."
It is quite impossible to treat the subject of the clergy
of Hudson in detail, only a few of the names that have
floated down through the generations may be mentioned.
That of the Rev. Bildad Barney is quite too fascinating
an alliteration to be passed unnoticed. His parents doubt-
less wished to commemorate Bildad the Shuhite of
Biblical history. His pastorate in the Presbyterian church
was of brief duration.
The Rev. John Chester (afterward D. D.) was a tire-
less worker, whose fame has been familiar to our fathers,
and thence to ourselves. He in addition to his pastoral
work edited a magazine and labored for the resuscita-
tion of the "African School" as it was called.
HISTORY OF HUDSON 123
At his installation the customary dinner was provided
at Messrs. Nichols and Bements, at which the Mayor
and corporation were invited to dine with the Presbytery.
The Rev. Dr. John Gosman was one of the profoundest
theologians of his day, yet so simple and so lovable that
he was greatly successful in his work. He was especially
effective when he forgot to bring his sermon from home,
and as he said "had to shake it out of his sleeves."
When he soared too high, or delved too deeply for his
people to follow, they probably thought with the old Scotch
woman, that "it had a heavenly sound."
The Rev. Dr. Henry Darling, tall, dignified, the quint-
essence of clerical courtesy, afterward President of Ham-
ilton College; and then recurs the opposite personality
of the Rev. Dr. David D. Demarest, small of stature, but
of excellent mental gifts, and fine scholarly attainments.
He had the distinction of rearing four sons for the min-
istry, one of whom is now the President of Rutgers
College at New Brunswick. The Rev. Dr. David D.
Demarest held the position of Professor of Pastoral
Theology in The Theological Seminary of the Reformed
church, during a period of thirty-three years, until his
death in 1898.
The Rev. Dr. William S. Leavitt is still warmly cherished
in many households, who anticipate with pleasure his
annual visit to his friends here. The record of the
Rev. Dr. William Watson is one of long and faithful
service, and of excellent results, in building up the Epis-
copal church in this city. He was followed by a long
line of able and devoted rectors, two of whom, the Rev.
George F. Seymour, and the Rev. Sheldon M. Griswold.
subsequently became Bishops, the former of Springfield.
111., and the latter of Salina, Kansas.
A spray of rosemary "that's for remembrance" is laid
upon the grave of that saintly man of God, the Rev. Dr.
124 HISTORY OF HUDSON
William Henry Gleason, and with his name we will close
these brief sketches.
There are a hundred others who have labored with
equal zeal and devotion in the churches of Hudson,
and who deserve an extended recognition, but a limited
The Hudson Young Men's Christian Association was
organized in May, 1866, largely through the influence of
Mr. James Gifford, who had been for some years an active
member of the Boston Association.
Temporary rooms were secured at 118 Warren street,
which, becoming too small, the second floor of the build-
ing number 403 Warren street, comer of Fourth was
These commodious rooms were handsomely furnished
by 'the ladies of the city, and were thrown open to the
public on November 27, 1866.
A small library was gathered from the generous gifts
of friends, and the indefatigable efforts of Dr. John C.
DuBois, who voluntarily served as librarian for several
After two or three removals the Association purchased
its present permanent home at 435 Warren street on
April 18, 1895, at a cost of 12,000 dollars.
This building was readily adapted to the purposes of
the institution, and the addition of a well fitted gym-
nasium in 1902, at an expense of 9,000 dollars, com-
pleted the usual appointments.
It is centrally located and with its ample accommoda-
tions, the membership of two hundred would seem to be
A city which, from the proportion of saloons to the
population has won the unenviable distinction of stand-
ing second on the list in the state, should sustain "The
Christian Association" in self defience. Let the stranger
who invariably comments on the number of saloons on
HISTORY OF HUDSON 123
our pi^incipal thoroughfare, be enabled to observe at
least one public effort to provide a proper, and con-
genial place for our young men to congregate.
If there must be "cakes and ale" it is regrettable that
they should be so numerously and so blatantly dispensed;
and also that the appropriation of the Sabbath, for the
celebration of the fetes of the foreign element, should
be permitted. It is a privilege which is rightfully refused
to the native born citizen, even in the case of his one
great national holiday, the Fourth of July.
These undesirable features of the continental Sabbath,
not only break its quiet calm with noisy explosives, but
fill our streets, until a late hour, with a rollicking crowd
126 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Schools — Private and Public.
The Hudson Academy was chartered in 1807 and the
erection of a building was commenced at once, the land
for that purpose having been donated by Capt. Seth G.
Macy, who built and occupied the fine residence now
owned by Capt. Lathrop in Stockport — (then a part of
Hudson). Capt. Macy established the works afterward
purchased by Joseph Marshall, and so widely known as
Marshall's Print Works.
The site on which the Academy stands is greatly ad-
mired for its beautiful prospect. The hill was at that
time covered with fine forest trees which extended south
beyond Mr. Ten Broeck's line, and west to the Public
The first teacher employed by the Trustees was Andrew
Carshore, a man noted for his ability, and among those
who subsequently filled the position were the Hon.
Amasa J. Parker, late Justice of the Supreme Court of
this state, and Josiah W. Fairfield.
Judge Parker writing in 1885 of his early acquaintance
with the Academy, first as a pupil and afterward as Prin-
cipal, a period extending from 1819 to 1827, says: "The
Academy building was charmingly located on Prospect Hill,
and in part surrounded by a beautiful grove, of which
classic Greece might justly have been proud, a grove
where the muses might well have lingered. Later vandal-
ism destroyed it, and ("horresco referens") converted it
into cord wood!"
A school for Young Ladies was opened in connection
with the Academy.
"Salary of the Preceptress was one hundred dollars per
HISTORY OF HUDSON 127
year, tuition four dollars per quarter, for higher English,
languages and mathematics, and two dollars for lower."
''Rates for board were one dollar and fifty cents per week,
and persons taking pupils to board became responsible
for their tuition." "Conveyances were provided for Young
Ladies to and from their residences, both for those of
the city, and those boarding here from abroad," thus
leaving no excuse for non-attendance in inclement
Only one dividend of 50 cents a share was paid on
'the stock, and it became of no value, but the returns
from the Academy in the form of educational advantages
have never been computed. As nearly every man of
prominence in Hudson and vicinity, was at some time
a pupil there, they must have been considerable.
The Hudson Select Academy in South Third street
was built in 1813, by an association of which Seth Jenkins
(who was a son of the original proprietor), was President.
It was not very successful, and Mr. Jenkins made a
great effort to secure the passage of an "Act by the
Legislature granting to the Academy the fishing grounds
in the vicinity of Hudson, with the right to impose a tax
on all persons fishing upon them, the income to go to the
institution." He was strongly opposed, and failed in his
attempt, but it gave to the building the name of the "Shad
Academy," by which it was known until its final dis-
continuance for school purposes.
The improved Public Schools, which are more con-
veniently located drew the patronage from the older
Academy and it was closed for a time, but was reopened
in l<Sf)7, and thoroughly renovated.
It was conducted successfully for about twenty years,
but the establishment of a High School, furnishing all its
advantages free of cost, proved the finishing blow to its
The Academy building is now the property of the
128 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Board of Education, and has fallen into a state of innocu-
ous desuetude, which if continued, must end in its eventual
disintegration. This is deeply regretted by many who
deprecate the obliteration of the old landmarks, and who
hope the venerable institution may again become of use.
The first house erected on Prospect Hill was the resi-
dence of Captain William Ashley, later the home of Mr.
George McKinstry, and still known as the McKinstry
house. The privilege of naming the hill was to be given
to the individual who should first erect a dwelling there,
and Captain Ashley claimed it. After some disagreement
with others interested, he declared that "he named that
hill Prospect Hill, and Prospect Hill it should be." A
very appropriate name, for it affords a prospect which,
for extent, beauty, and variety, is rarely equalled.
Prospect Avenue was not named until about 1863. It
was a wretched country road, full of ruts and holes until
that date, when the residents constructed the present
well built street at their own expense, and kept it in
order. They also planted the trees on either side, thus
making it one of the most attractive approaches to the
The private schools of Hudson were noted in early,
as well as later years, as being of a high order of ex-
cellence. Mention is made of a Female Seminary in the
earliest files of the Gazette, and Classical Schools for
boys were successfully conducted by Andrew Hunting-
ton, Ebenezer King and the Rev. J. R. Coe. They were
succeeded by the Rev. E. Bradbury, whose school was sit-
uated on the corner of Union and Second streets.
It is perhaps not generally known that Major Marshal
H. Bright, the able editor of the "Christian at Work"
was born in the house just alluded to, and that he was
buried in our cemetery in 1907.
In 1848 the Misses Peake established a "Young Ladies
HISTORY OF HUDSON 129
Seminary," that for more than thirty years attracted the
patronage of the best people of the city and vicinity.
It was located at Number 216 Warren street with a
fine schoolroom in the adjoining dwelling. Miss Eliza-
beth Peake, the head of the institution, was a person
of superior mind and culture, and was the author of two
very excellent books, one "Pen Pictures of Europe," and
the other a "History of the German Emperors," which
necessitated research in the great libraries of Germany,
and exhibited great ability.
The Hudson Female Academy was opened in 1851, in
the building now owned and occupied by the Hudson
Orphan Asylum, and under the direction of the Rev.
John B. Hague was very prosperous. In 1865 it was
removed to number 31 Warren street and was soon after-
The Misses Sarah and Cornelia Skinner established a
"School for. Young Ladies" in 1867 in their home on
Warren street. Their accommodations soon became in-
adequate and in 1870 they built the convenient school
building number 281 Union street, where they continued
deservedly popular for many years.
Private kindergartens prepared successive generations
of children for the graded schools, and both invaded the
province of the private schools, and combined to greatly
lessen their number.
Although a number of grants were made by the pro-
prietors for school purposes, no provision seems to have
been made for free education before 1816.
In September of that year, a number of gentlemen
met at the "Library room," to consider the practicability
of establishing a Lancaster School in this city. These
schools were so named from Joseph Lancaster, an English
educator who as early as 1808, had opened schools in
various towns in I^ngland, for the partly gratuitous in-
struction of the children of the poor.
1 30 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Mr. Lancaster came to America in 1818 and was quite
as successful in prosecuting the work here, as he had been
in England and Canada. He opened a pay school in New
York Cit)^ at a later date, which was a complete failure,
and he died in 1829, in straightened circumstances.
The meeting resulted in the organization of the "Hudson
Lancaster Society" which was incorporated by an act of
the Legislature passed on April 15th, 1817, with the
Elisha Williams Judah Paddock
James Strong Thomas Jenkins
Robert Taylor Prosper Hosmer
Daniel Coffin Josiah Underbill
Patrick Fanning Samuel White
Samuel Plumb Robert Alsop
Subscriptions to the amount of thirteen hundred dol-
lars were received and the erection of a brick building
was at once commenced, the Common Council having
granted a lot for the purpose on the south-west comer
of Fourth and State streets. The school was opened on
Oct. 13, 1817. It was not wholly a free school, one hun-
dred scholars at first receiving gratuitous instruction, the
number afterward being dependent upon the financial
condition of the society. For its support it received from
the Common Council the school money, the excise fund,
and that from lottery licenses, the balance being raised
by individual contributions. A committee of the Trustees
visited the school monthly, and no scholar was admitted
without the inspection of a physician, if requested by a
teacher, and no pupil was retained in the school who
was not kept clean and decently clothed.
The first teacher employed by the Trustees was
Josiah Underbill. He received five dollars per year for
HISTORY OF HUDSON 131
each free scholar, and those who were able to pay for
tuition were charged at the following rates: reading and
spelling, one dollar per quarter; reading and writing, one
dollar and fifty cents, with addition of arithmetic, two
dollars, with grammar or geography, two dollars and
twenty-five cents, if both those branches were taught, two
dollars and fifty cents. Thus was the mental pabulum
served up, a Id cartel
Three hundred and forty-one pupils were admitted dur-
ing the first two quarters. In 1828 the number of chil-
dren in the compact portion of the city, between the ages
of five and sixteen, was reported, as being 1,012.
Steps were taken in the same year 1817, for the sup-
port of an "African School" in connection with the Lan-
Annual contributions, varying from twelve to twenty-
five dollars, were promised by the different religious so-
cieties, and, with fifty dollars from the Council and twen-
ty-five from the Lancaster Society, a school was immedi-
ately established in the old Methodist church on Third
street; not now standing. This school languished for want
of adequate support, and was finally closed in 1833.
The Lancaster School was sustained until 1841, when
the Trustees conveyed their property to the Common
Council and the public schools were organized.
The city was divided into three districts, sites were
selected for school-houses in the upper and lower dis-
tricts, and the Lancaster building was occupied as num-
ber two, or the middle district school.
The act of the Legislature incorporating the free schools
provided for three superintendents, and the first persons
appointed by the Council, were Oliver Bronson. Josiah
W. Fairfield and Cyrus Curtiss, who were "authorized to
purchase the sites, and have suitable buildings erected."
The High School was organized in 1879 and was fol-
1 32 HISTORY OF HUDSON
lowed by the organization of the Board of Education in
Application having been made in 1884 the Hudson High
School was recognized as the Academical department, and
received under the visitation of the Regents of the State
of New York. In the same year a single School Su-
perintendent was substituted for the three previously ap-
pointed, and William P. Snyder was the first, who occu-
pied the position.
Provision was made for the High School in 1887 by the
erection of the building on the corner of Sixth and State
streets, now used for the Grammar School. This proving
insufficient, in 1889, the Trustees of the Hudson Academy
offered the cfty the free use of the Academy, which had
been closed for three years, and also made all necessary
The Common Council gladly accepted this means of
temporary relief, and the High School was placed in
possession on October 14, 1890, with ceremonies befitting
the occasion. In the winter of 1892-3 "A special act of
the Legislature empowered the Board of Education to
build a High School building, commensurate with the
increasing necessities of the educational system of Hud-
son." The centrally located site of the old Lancaster
structure was used for this purpose, and ample, and
convenient accommodations were provided, at a cost of
34,000 dollars, to which may be added the sum of 9,456.22
expended for a new heater, during the year 1908. A
simple and attractive building was erected in 1902 for
the use of the Third or lower district, called the Allen
street school, which brings the amount invested in school
buildings up to 90,000 dollars. The number enrolled in
all grades is 1,350. Thirty-seven teachers are employed,
and total disbursement for year ending on August 1, 1908,
A serviceable working library has been in use for many
HISTORY OF HUDSON 1 33
years, and by judicious purchases under the care of the
Board of Education, is of increased value, as a necessary
adjunct of the schools.
The addition of manual training about six years ago,
and a commercial and shorthand department, added dur-
ing the past year, have both been very successful, and
are of great advantage to the pupils.
There seemed to be a manifest unfairness in furnish-
ing the training necessary for admission to college, or
technical schools, and doing nothing in the way of special
preparation of the mass of scholars, who will pursue an
ordinar)^ business career.
The establishment of a night school during the past
winter, was also a step in the right direction, and with
a larger appropriation, many of its difficulties can be
The effort to beautify the grounds surrounding the Pub-
lic School buildings, which was begun in 1898-9, was
highly commendable, and has resulted in making them
not only an ornament to the city, but must also exert a
refining influence upon the children. The power of en-
vironment cannot well be overestimated, and the addi-
tion of pictures within the rooms, to the beautiful flowers
growing without, cannot fail to produce a most beneficial
effect on the esthetic development of youth.
It will readily be seen that the average child in this city
possesses all the needful opportunities for obtaining a
thorough education, ^'ith a competent superintendent, a
corps of faithful, well trained teachers, and the watchful
services of the ubiquitous truant officer, it is difficult to
see how an average child can escape. But it has been
aptly said "you can lead a young man to the Univcrsirv',
but you cannot make him think!"
In simple justice to the noble men and women, who
have devoted the best years of their lives to the Public
Schools of Hudson, it should be said that both schools
134 HISTORY OF HUDSON
and teachers, have always ranked with the best in the
state, in places of this size. Many of our teachers have
risen to high positions as educators, notably Edward P.
Waterbury, who was at the time of his death, and for
many years previously, the President of the State Normal
School at Albany.
Hudson has shown a strong desire to possess the best
advantages for the education of her children, since an
early date. She was among the first to organize a Lan-
caster School, the forerunner of the Public Schools, which
she was also quick to adopt as soon as they came in
Her private schools were of so superior an order, and so
universally patronized, that the free schools were possibly
not fostered to the extent they otherwise would have been^
and doubtless the reopening of the Academy in 1867-8,
had a deterrent effect upon the establishment of a High
School. But the initial movement for that event, eman-
ated from the Principal and Trustees of the Academy,
with the full knowledge that here, as elsewhere, it would
probably supercede that institution, and that the occupa-
tion of the Principal, like Othello's, would be gone!
Happy is it for Hudson that she felt and responded
to the grand wave of educational progress, which during
the past twenty-five years has swept over our land. It
argues hopefully for her future development in every
respect, and on the highest lines.
HISTORY OF HUDSON I 35
The Hudson Bar.
A consideration of the legal luminaries of Hudson is
now in order.
In the early part of the 19th century the local bar was
conspicuous for its brilliancy, and it seems probable that
in no place of its size were there congregated so large a
number of remarkable men. Drawn thither by the rapid
growth, and prospective enlargement of the city, they took
up their residence here, and Hudson became noted for
the eminence of its legal talent. This reputation has been
well sustained throughout the intervening years, and
there has been no time, when Hudson has not been ably
represented in the highest courts of the state.
Foremost in this galaxy of talent was Ambrose Spencer,
who was born in Salisbury, Conn., in 1765, was graduated
from Harvard in 1783 and entered the office of Mr. John
Bay in the Village of Claverack, in 1785.
Mr. Bay was a lawyer of high standing and wide rep-
utation in his profession, and was at that time Clerk of the
City of Hudson.
This office he relinquished in favor of Mr. Spencer, who
then removed to this city.
Mr. Spencer pursued his legal studies with such en-
thusiasm, that when he was admitted to the bar his abil-
ity and acquirements were already recognized, and he was
soon employed in cases of the gravest importance.
Offices of trust were showered upon him and he be-
came in quick succession. Attorney General of the state,
a Judge of the Supreme Court, and Chief Justice, from
which office he retired in 1S23.
Mr. Spencer's wife, with whom he had eloped soon after
136 HISTORY OF HUDSON
his 18th birthday, "was a woman of a lovely nature and
a fine mind." She was the mother of six sons, all of
whom were born in Hudson, and two daughters, who
were born after their removal to Albany. Mr. Spencer
was a potent factor in the policies of the day, and im-
pressed everyone with the depth and sincerity of his con-
victions. Strength seems to have been his most striking
characteristic, strength mental, moral, and physical.
He was a man of deeply religious temperament, and
became a member of the Episcopal church some years
before his death, which occurred in 1848, in the eighty-
third year of his age.
John Canfield Spencer, the eldest son of Judge Am-
brose Spencer, also rose to high distinction, and was the
recipient of a variety of honors, of which mention can be
made, of only the most important.
John C. Spencer was bom in Hudson in 1788, and
after finishing his college course, studied law in Albany,
and was admitted to the bar in 1809. He was appointed
Secretary of State in 1839, was made Secretary of War
in 1841 and Secretary of the Treasury in President Tyler's
Cabinet, in 1843. Mr. Spencer formed an intimate
friendship with M. de Tocqueville during his visit to this
country in 1838 and annotated his great work on "The
American Democracy." Mr. Spencer died in Albany in
Martin Van Buren was the only President of the United
States that Columbia countv has produced, if we except
the Hon. Samuel J. Tilden. Every unprejudiced person,
whatever his party affiliations may be, will now admit
that Mr. Tilden was rightfully elected to the Presidency.
He was prevented from taking his seat by measures
familiar to all, but it is certain that old Columbia was
entitled to the honor of having a second son in that dis-
Martin Van Buren was born in the Village of Kinder-
HISTORY OF HUDSON 137
hook in 1782, and was educated at the Kinderhook Aca-
demy. At the age of fourteen he entered the office of
Francis Silvester to pursue his legal studies, and in 1803,
was admitted to the bar. Mr. Van Buren married Miss
Harriet Hoes, who died in 1819, leaving four sons; he
never remarried. Early in 1809 he removed to Hudson
and formed a partnership with Cornelius Miller the father
of the late Hon. Theodore Miller.
Mr. Van Buren's advancement was rapid. In 1812 he
was elected a State Senator; in 1815, Attorney General
of the state, and in 1828, upon the death of Governor
De Witt Clinton, he succeeded him as Governor. This
office Mr. Van Buren resigned soon after, to become
Secretary of State in the Cabinet of President Andrew
In 1831 Jackson appointed him Minister to England
and while there he evinced great ability as a Statesman
and diplomat, imprlsssing everyone by his grace and
charm of manner.
The Senate failed to confirm his appointment and on his
return in 1832, Mr. Van Buren was elected Vice President
on the ticket with President Jackson, by a large majority.
In 1836 he was elected President of the United States,
and was the first person of Holland descent, to hold that
office, Mr. Theodore Roosevelt being the second.
Mr. Van Buren was a candidate for re-election in 1840,
and also in 1848, but was defeated.
In 1841, he purchased the Van Ness place in Kinder-
hook, called Lindenwald, and to this he now retired, and,
as he Says in his will, "passed the last and the happiest
years of my life as a Farmer in my native town."
Mr. Van Buren passed away in I8G2, deeply lamented
by all who knew him.
Washington Irvine lived at Lindenwald for a time as
tutor to the children of Peter Van Ness, and while there
wrote some of his well known Sketches.
1 38 HISTORY OF HUDSON
John Van Buren, a son of Martin Van Buren, was
born in Hudson, in the brick house, opposite the McKin-
istry place, in 1810. He was graduated from Yale in 1828
and studied law with Benjamin F. Butler, his father's
After his admission to the bar in 1831, Mr. Van Buren
accompanied his father as Secretary of Legation on his
mission to England, and on his return six months later,
he opened an office in Albany, for the practice of his
In 1845, Mr. Van Buren was elected Attorney General
of the state, and assisted District Attorney Theodore
Miller, in the prosecution of the Anti-rent leader. Smith
A. Boughton, known as "Big Thunder."
The case came to trial in March, 1845, before Judge
Amasa J. Parker, and resulted in the disagreement of the
jury. The second trial in the following September, will
be found at length in the sketch of Judge John W. Ed-
Mr. Van Buren visited England and Ireland in the year
1838, on professional business, and was received with the
most marked attentions. It was from dancing with the
Princess Victoria during this visit, that he was called
Mr. Van Buren was a man of undoubted talent, and of
unusually attractive personal appearance. He died on
the Steamship Scotia, while returning from Europe in
William W. Van Ness was born in Claverack and com-
menced his legal studies in the office of John Bay at
the age of fourteen, which he completed in the office of
Chancellor Livingston in New York.
Mr. Van Ness married the daughter of Mr. John Bay
and after his marriage removed his office to Hudson.
Governor Morgan Lewis, appointed him a Judge of the
Supreme Court in 1807, and he remained upon the bench
HISTORY OF HUDSON 1 39
fifteen years, after which he opened an office in New
York. He was an ornament to his profession and his
judicial career was a most briUiant one.
He died in Charleston, South Carolina in 1823.
Benjamin F. Butler was born at Kinderhook Landing,
now Stuyvesant, in the year 1795. After careful prepar-
ation he entered the law office of Van Buren and Miller,
in Hudson in 1811. He accompanied Mr. Van Buren to
Albany and after his admission to the bar they formed
a partnership which continued until Mr. Van Buren re-
tired in 1828, leaving Mr. Butler with a very large and
lucrative practice. He was appointed to the office of At-
torney General in Jackson's and Van Buren's Cabinets,
but he is especially noted as one of the Revisers of the
Statutes, having been associated with John C. Spencer
in this work in 1824. For this duty Mr. Butler was
peculiarly fitted by his previous training and by his ability,
enthusiasm and endurance.
Mr. Butler should not be confused with General Ben-
jamin F. Butler of Massachusetts, who became notorious
during the Civil War, and who was a man of entirely
different, and inferior qualities.
In the year 1818, Mr. Butler married Miss Harriet
Allen, a sister of Mrs. Nathan Chamberlain, well-known
to the older residents of Hudson, and of Lieut. William
H. Allen, whose tragic fate has been related in a former
portion of this history.
Mr. Butler died in Paris, in 1858.
Among the famous lawyers of his time none was ac-
corded a more prominent place, as an orator and publicist,
than Flisha Wilh'ams. He was born in Pomfret, Conn.,
in 1773, and was of a noted family.
After a rather limited preparatory training he studied
law with Fx-Chief Justice Tapping Reed of Litchfield.
Conn. When not quite twenty years of age. he started
out to seek his fortune, and opened an office in Spencer-
140 HISTORY OF HUDSON
town, Columbia county, then an important and promising
Two years later he married Miss Lucia Grosvenor, the
daughter of his guardian, and in 1799, removed to Hud-
son, where he spent the subsequent years of his life.
Like all great orators he was the idol of his immediate
locality, but his great talent soon won for him a reputa-
tion, and a practice not limited even to the state.
Mr. Williams is described as a man of imposing figure,
with a countenance of manly beauty, beaming with intelli-
gence, a voice of soul-subduing sweetness, and a brilliant
As the leader of the Federal party many offices were
pressed upon him, but he declined them all, except that
of Member of Assembly, and of the Constitutional Con-
vention of 1812.
Mr. Williams was President of the Bank of Columbia,
in this city for some time and resided for many years on
the place now owned by Richard Aitken.
Early records of the Presbyterian church mention Am-
brose Spencer and Elisha Williams among the attendants
at those services.
Elisha Williams died in New York, in 1833.
Closely associated with the name of Elisha Williams
is that of his great rival Ambrose L. Jordan, who was bom
in the Town of Hillsdale, in this county in 1787. After
his admission to the bar, he removed to Cooperstown,
where he quickly rose to a high rank as a lawyer. In
1820, he came to Hudson and here continued the practice
of his profession. Mr. Jordan is said to have been the
perfection of intellectual and physical manhood. Tall,
erect, of a commanding presence, with a most expressive
face, and an eye which in moments of excitement flashed
like an eagle's."
His oratory was of the highest order of forensic elo-
quence, his voice soft and musical as a flute, and our
HISTORY OF HUDSON ' 141
family annals glow with the brightness of his wit. Mr.
Jordan's quickness at repartee and also the amenities of
the bar in those days, are illustrated by the well known
anecdote, of his verbal encounter with Elisha Williams.
In the course of an exciting trial, in which they were the
opposing counsel, Mr. Williams took occasion to remark —
"You, sir, have brass enough to make a brass kettle,"
"and you, sir," quickly retorted Jordan, "have sap enough
to fill it."
In 1824, Mr. Jordan purchased the Columbia Republican,
changed its politics from Democratic to Republican, and
with his brother, Allen Jordan, and later one or two others,
published it successfully until 1834.
Many important offices were proffered Mr. Jordan, but
he seems to have preferred the professional to the official
life, although after his removal to New York in 1838,
he became a member of the constitutional convention
from this county, and succeeded John Van Buren as At-
torney General of the State of New York.
Mr. Jordan was a man of untiring industry and his con-
scientious devotion to the interests of his clients, coupled
with his great ability, procured him an immense practice.
He was employed as counsel for the Anti-rent leaders,
whose trial will be a part of the succeeding sketch. Dur-
ing Mr. Jordan's residence in New York, his professional
business became so large, that he associated with him
his son-in-law, Edward Clark, and among their clients
was Singer, the inventor of the sewing machine that bears
his name, who had become involved in expensive litiga-
tion to protect his patents.
Through the sound advice, and sagacity of his lawyers,
he was extricated from his difficulties, and enabled to
exploit his invention successfully.
After Mr. Jordan's retirement from practice, Edward
Clark purchased an interest in the Singer Company, [he
stock of which became immensely valuable.
142 ' HISTORY OF HUDSON
Mr. Jordan's death occurred in 1865, and he is buried
on the brow of the hill, in our beautiful cemetery, near
the flower-bordered grave of Alfred Coming Clark, whose
widow became the wife of Bishop Henry C. Potter, lately
In this "City of the Dead," a crowd of well-remembered
forms, and dear familiar faces, throng the halls of mem-
ory, and so instinct with life were they, it would seem
"E'en in their ashes live their wonted fires."
HISTORY OF HUDSON 143
The Hudson Bar — Continued — Anti-rent War.
At the close of the Revolutionary War a young com-
missioned officer named Samuel Edmonds, who had left
college in Rhode Island, when a mere lad to join the
patriot army, found himself on his discharge, with only
his horse and equipments and a small amount of continen-
tal money as his sole possessions.
He came to Claverack Landing and was given employ-
ment by Colonel John Van Alen, with whom he remained
until his death. Young Edmonds then started in busi-
ness for himself, in which he was successful, and became
one of the most prominent citizens of the new City of
Hudson. He married Lydia, daughter of Thomas Worth,
a son of Shubael Worth, one of the original proprietors,
and an uncle of the renowned General William J. Worth.
John W. Edmonds, the son of Samuel and Lydia, was
born in Hudson March 13, 1799, was prepared for college
at the Hudson Academy, and was graduated from Union
College in 1816.
He entered the office of Van Buren and Miller, and
after his admission to the bar commenced the practice
of law in this city.
In 1824, the Hudson Gazette was purchased by Oliver
Wiswall and some other leading Democrats, and young
Edmonds was engaged as editor at a salary of three dol-
lars a week.
Mr. Edmonds removed to New York in 18v^7 and was
soon immersed in an extensive and lucrative practice.
He attained a high position among the legal lights of the
day, and in 1845, after holding various offices, was ap-
pointed a Judge of the First Circuit Court, and in Sep-
144 HISTORY OF HUDSON
tember of the same year presided at the second trial of
the Anti-rent leader Smith A. Boughton, known as "Big
The Anti-rent war as it was called, grew out of
the wide-spread discontent of the tenants of manorial
leases, by the terms of which they bound themselves to
perform certain services, and deliver annually certain
products of the soil to the landlord, in payment for the
use of the land.
These leases were dependent on a life or lives, at the
close of which the land reverted to the landlord, and the
tenant was compelled to seek a home in some other lo-
cality. Naturally this destroyed any spirit of enterprise,
or desire for improvements, and houses and farms plainly
showed the result. In sections where tenants had been
allowed to purchase their farms, the buildings were of
the most approved pattern and the land was cultivated
with care, showing thrift and prosperity. Emissaries from
these more favored localities came to stir up the discon-
tented tenants, and fan their irritation into open resist-
Bands of armed men, masked and disguised as Indians,
paraded through the towns and speeches of the most in-
flammatory character were made, especially inculcating
their war cry "down with the rent." Some years earlier
the grandfather of Judge Henry Hogeboom, Cornelius
Hogeboom had been killed by the rioters, while dis-
charging his duty as sheriff, and his wife had passed away
soon after from grief and shock.
It can readily be seen that the office of sheriff of this
county, was neither safe or desirable at that particular
time, but Henry C. Miller, the father of Stephen B.
Miller, author of Historical Sketches of Hudson, was not
a man who would flinch in the performance of his duty.
In attempting to serve some writs on December 12, 1844,
he had been overpowered by the Anti-renters, who with
HISTORY OF HUDSON 145
loaded pistols had taken them from him and burned them.
On December 18, during one of their lawless meetings
at Smoky Hollow, now Hollowville, a young man named
W. H. Rifenburgh was shot and killed.
Sheriff Miller now determined upon the capture of the
ring leaders and accompanied by Joseph D. Monell drove
at once to the village, which is about six miles out. The
crowd had largely dispersed before their arrival, being
doubtless somewhat frightened at the tragic result of the
meeting, and they found the leader. Smith A. Boughton,
alias "Big Thunder," and his principal accomplice Mor-
timer C. Belding, known as "Little Thunder," sitting quiet-
ly in a back room of the tavern, divested of masks and
The Anti-renters made but slight resistance and were
speedily placed under arrest.
Their followers around the door put up a fierce fight
to rescue them, but with the assistance of his aids, the
sheriff hustled them into a carriage and soon had them
safely lodged in the Hudson jail.
The city was wild with excitement. Rumors of a res-
cue and threats to burn the jail were rife.
Armed patrols of twenty citizens in each ward were
established; and the Hudson Light Guard, Captain E. P.
Cowles, was ordered to be in readiness at a moment's
notice. A large number volunteered their aid from Cats-
kill and a smaller force came from Athens.
The whole county was aroused in behalf of the pris-
oners who after a preliminary examination had been re-
manded for trial at the spring term of court.
Meetings were held at which the most violent speeches
were made, and men and money were freely offered for
A proclamation was issued by the Mayor, Cyrus Curtiss,
calling for the enrollment of five hundred minute men,
and a company of one hundred were enlisted for thirty
146 HISTORY OF HUDSON
days, under Captain Henry Whiting, late of the United
States Army, and stationed at the Court House with four
pieces of artillery. An attempted rescue was frustrated
by this precautionary measure. These bodies of citizen
troops were placed under the command of Colonel Charles
Darling, and were ordered to "rendezvous at Davis's City
Hall in case of alarm."
*- "Arrangements were made by which the approach of a
hostile force would be known and reported long before
its arrival, and notice given the citizens by ringing the
bell of the Presbyterian Church."
At the request of the Common Council the Albany
Burgesses Corp, under Major Franklin Townsend, came
down, but the unrest increasing rather than diminishing,
Governor Bouck was finally appealed to, and four com-
panies of infantry from Albany, and one of cavalry from
New YorK, were ordered here.
These were quartered at the various hotels and upon
the boats then wintering at the wharves.
"Hudson presented the appearance of an armed en-
campment. Sentinels walked their lonely round night
and day, and the streets resounded with martial music,
and the tramp of soldiery." After the first apprehension
of danger had passed, the bright uniforms lent an aspect
of gayety to the city, and an additional attraction to the
Bands of disguised men continued to fire upon officers
of the law and destroy their papers, but with the pro-
tection of small detachments of soldiers many arrests
were made, and comparative quiet was restored. Aside
from these excursions the stay of the Military here was
a lengthened holiday, the monotony of which the grateful
Hudsonians did all in their power to relieve.
The officers of the various companies were lavishly en-
tertained by the Mayor and other prominent citizens, and
HISTORY OF HUDSON 147
the Light Guard gave a ball at the Hudson House in their
uheir ranks were not thinned by the enemy they came
to meet, and the only hair breadth escape recorded was
the firing on a sentry of the Emmet Guards stationed at
the Hudson House, (The Worth) "by a solitary horse-
man at the midnight hour." One of the columns on the
front portico received the bullet, the mark of which is
still plainly visible. Not the slightest clue to the in-
dividual who fired it, was ever obtained. ' *
The Anti-rent leaders were captured on the 18th of
December, 1844, and it was not until the end of January,
that the troops were gradually withdrawn, having been
here over a month.
A grand review of the whole force, including Light
Guard, Home Guard, and Volunteers, was held by the
Mayor, followed by a parade furnishing a military dis-
play, probably never since equalled in Hudson.
As has been stated the case of Boughton was tried
at the March term, 1845, before Judge Amasa J. Parker,
and resulted in a disagreement of the jury, this was owing
to the difficulty of obtaining witnesses for the prosecution.
A second trial was set down for the following Sep-
tember, and in the intervening months District Attorney
Theodore Miller, labored assiduously to procure testi-
mony. The county was filled with those who sympathized
with the tenants — whose grievances were unmistakable, un-
American and indefensible, a struggling remnant of feudal-
ism in a free country. But nevertheless they must be
taught that a resort to violence and bloodshed, would
not be tolerated, and that the sanctity of the law must
The case came on at the time set. Judge John W. Ed-
monds presiding. As in the previous trial Attorney Gen-
eral John Van Burcn assisted District Attorney Theodore
148 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Miller, and Ambrose L. Jordan and James Storm were
employed for the defense.
The trial lasted over four weeks and attracted the
widest attention. It ended in the conviction of Smith A.
Boughton and a sentence of imprisonment for life, but
he was pardoned by Governor Young, after serving only
a short time.
The ends of justice however were attained, the con-
viction of the leader put an end to Anti-rentism in this
county forever. His accomplice Mortimer Belding was
allowed to go free.
The Landlords became dissatisfied with the returns
from their investments, and the sale of the lands to the
tenants, solved the whole difficulty, and farms and build-
ings took on a different aspect.
During the heated debate of the second trial, the learned
counsel, John Van Buren and Ambrose L. Jordan, became
involved in a personal encounter. Judge Edmonds after
administering a calm and dignified rebuke, committed
them both to jail for twenty-four hours, for contempt of
court. The imprisonment was not very severe, the par-
lor and office of the sheriff being assigned to them re-
spectively, and both within the limits of the Court House.
Profuse apologies were made on the following morning,
and the case proceeded as though nothing had happened.
Judge Edmonds was elected a Justice of the Supreme
Court in 1847, which office he resigned six years later.
After the death of his wife in 1850, he became a
stanch believer in Spiritualism, and until his death in
1874, was active in the advocacy of that doctrine.
Judge Edmonds left minute directions for his funeral
and interment in the grave with his wife. The bar of
New York had erected a handsome monument to the
HISTORY OF HUDSON 149
memory of Mrs. Edmonds in the Hudson cemetery, and
on a space left for the purpose is engraved:
John Worth Edmonds
Born in Hudson March 13th 1799
Died in New York April 5th 1874
Death joins the ties that death destroys.
150 HISTORY OF HUDSON
The Hudson Bar — Continued.
Hon. Theodore Miller, who as District Attorney was
largely instrumental in procuring the conviction of the
Anti-rent leader, was bom in the City of Hudson in
He was the son of Cornelius Miller, whose brilliant
career was terminated by his early death, and of Beulah,
a daughter of John Hathaway, one of the early settlers
Mr. Miller was educated at the Hudson Academy, and
pursued his legal studies in the office of Campbell Bush-
nell, at that time one of the leading lawyers of the city.
After his admission to the bar, he threw himself at once
into the politics of the day, and was soon known as a
forcible and eloquent speaker. In 1843, Mr. Miller was
appointed District Attorney for Columbia county and the
following year the Anti-rent troubles broke out, and his
admirable discharge of the arduous duties of the office,
paved the way to the higher rewards of his profession.
Mr. Miller was elected a Justice of the Supreme Court
in 1861, and at the expiration of his term was re-elected
This was followed in 1874, by his election as an Asso-
ciate Judge of the Court of Appeals.
Mr. Miller's many years of practice at the bar, and
his wide experience both at Circuit and General Term,
together with his habits of industry and research, enabled
him to achieve distinguished success as a jurist. On
May 16, 1886, having reached the age of seventy years,
Judge Miller was retired under the limitation as to age.
After his retirement he passed most of his time at
HISTORY OF HUDSON 151
his old home in Hudson, surrounded by his friends and
family, until August 18, 1895, when the end came.
The kindliness and sincerity of Judge Miller's nature
endeared him to a wide circle of friends, and his brave
and cheerful endurance of the sad affliction of the loss
of his sight, evoked the deepest sympathy from them all.
"He endured as seeing the invisible."
The name of Joseph D. Monell stands out prominently
in the annals of Hudson during the Anti-rent period.
He was born in Claverack in 1781, and was educated at
the school of Andrew Carshore, a teacher of wide re-
pute in that day.
Mr. Monell practiced law in Cherry Valley and in
Claverack, removing to Hudson in 1806, after it became
the County Seat.
He held various positions of trust in both City and
County, and was most highly esteemed for his strict in-
tegrity and excellent abilities. •
His son, Claudius L. Monell after practicing his pro-
fession in Hudson for a time removed to New York, where
he became a judge of the Superior Court of that city.
Hon. Edward Pitkin Cowles, was born in Connecticut,
and was graduated from Yale College. He came to
Hudson soon afterward and studied law with Ambrose
On his admission to the bar he opened an office in this
city, in 1840, and associated with him, his brother, David
Judge Cowles removed to New York, in 1852, and was
appointed a Justice of the Supreme Court of this state,
in 1855. After his retirement from the bench he con-
tinued the practice of his profession until his death, which
occurred in 1874.
Durini; the residence of Judge Cowles in Hudson, he
formed a military company, named the Hudson Light
Guards, afterward the Worth Guards, whicli has been
152 HISTORY OF HUDSON
mentioned, as being the only military organization in the
city, when the Anti-rent war broke out, and as rendering
excellent service in the emergency.
Their uniform, which was a very handsome one, was
gray with red stripes and facings and large bear skin
The company was disbanded soon after the removal
of Captain Cowles to New York.
Hon. Josiah Sutherland, who rose to high distinction
in the legal profession, was bom at Stamford, New York,
was graduated from Union College in 1825, and finished
his law studies in the office of Bushnell and Stebbins in
Mr. Sutherland began the practice of law in the town
of Livingston, and in 1831, was elected District Attorney
of Columbia county, an office which he held twelve
In 1838, he removed to Hudson, and formed a partner-
ship with his brother-in-law, Robert McClellan. With the
exception of two years spent in Washington as a Repre-
sentative in Congress, Mr. Sutherland continued to reside
in this city until his removal to New York, in 1851.
Judge Sutherland served two terms as a Justice of the
Supreme Court, declining the office of United States Dis-
trict Attorney, proffered him by President Buchanan.
He was elected City Judge of the Court of General
Sessions, which office he retained until his retirement
from public life.
He died in 1887, deservedly esteemed and regretted
by all who knew him.
The so-called round dances were first seen at a large
and brilliant party given by Judge Sutherland, during his
residence at 115 Warren street, which was purchased
soon after by the Hon. John Stanton Gould.
Hudson society hardly knew whether to be shocked or
amused, so it decided to be both!
HISTORY OF HUDSON 153
The Comtesse de Boigne in her delightful Memoirs,
tells an amusing anecdote of the reception accorded these
undignified successors of the stately minuet, in England.
"No English lady ventured to waltz until the young Duke
of Devonshire on his return from the Continent praised
its grace and beauty, observing that a woman was never
seen to better advantage than when waltzing. This asser-
tion was passed from mouth to mouth, and at the next
ball, all the young ladies were waltzing The Duke ad-
mired them greatly, but added carelessly that "he at any
rate had decided never to marry a lady who waltzed."
The Dutchess of Richmond, the most clumsy of match-
making Mammas, with three marriageable daughters, to
whom the Duke made this revelation nearly fell off her
chair with horror. She repeated the statement and con-
sternation spread from seat to seat. Before the end of
the evening the good Dutchess was able to announce, that
"her daughters felt an objection to waltzing, that no per-
suasions of hers could ever overcome." Some pretty girls
of more independence continued to waltz, but the major-
ity ceased at once.
Hon. Henry Hogeboom, the distinguished jurist, was
born in the Town of Ghent, in 1809. He was prepared
for Yale College at the Hudson Academy, and after his
admission to the bar in 1830, made Hudson his perman-
Judge Hogeboom was a profound thinker, skilful in
analysis, and felicitous in application. He was a man of
most imposing appearance, and of extreme deliberate-
ness of speech and manner, which on occasion rose to
the height of impassioned eloquence.
His unselfish kindliness endeared him to all, who knew
him, especially the younger nienibers of the bar, to whom
he was ever readv to extend a helping hand. He was
elected Judge of the Supreme Court in 1857, by a
nattering majorit>', and re-elected in 1SI)5. remaining an
154 HISTORY OF HUDSON
ornament to the bench until his death, which occurred on
Sept 12, 1872.
Judge Hogeboom's house which was formerly the Bank
of Hudson, No. 116 Warren street, was a social centre
for many years; Mrs. Hogeboom possessing remarkable
powers of attractiveness and vivacity, and both being
exceedingly fond of society.
Hon. Samuel Edwards, of whom Hudson is justly proud,
was bom in Glenville, Schenectady county. New York.
He was graduated from Union College in 1862, and
soon after took up his residence in Hudson.
In January, 1887, he was appointed by Gov. David B.
Hill, a Judge of the Supreme Court of the State of New
York, and in November of the same year, was elected
to that office, for the term of fourteen years.
In April, 1890, Judge Edwards was designated by Gov.
Roosevelt, as Associate Justice of the Appellate Division
of the Supreme Court of New York, and served until the
expiration of term, on December 31st, 1901.
Judge Edwards spends much time in travel, visiting
the different countries in a leisurely and delightful fashion,
that is so conducive to perfect enjoyment. But one may
be permitted to doubt, whether the Judge sees many finer
views, than that from his study windows.
Hon. Aaron Van Schaick Cochrane, was born in Cox-
sackie. New York, in 1858, of Scotch, Irish and Dutch
He was graduated from Yale College with the class
of 1879, and in the same year entered the office of An-
drews and Edwards, as a law student.
In 1881, he was admitted to the bar, served three years
as District Attorney of the county, and in 1896, was elected
our Representative in Congress.
Judge Cochrane held this position for two terms, and
in 1901, was elected a Justice of the Supreme Court of
the State of New York. He was appointed by Governor
HISTORY OF HUDSON 153
Higgins to the Appellate Division of that Court in 1906.
Judge Cochrane's progress has been rapid, sure, and
steadfast, partaking strongly of the characteristics of his
ancestors. He is still so young that he bids fair to ex-
haust the honors, and like Alexander, will sigh for more
worlds to conquer.
A continuance of these biographical sketches, which
have so imperfectly described the few personages selected,
is unnecessary even if space would permit. Other mem-
bers of the modern bar to whom it would be a delight
to refer, are all too well-known to require description.
Included in these is the Hon. Casper P. Collier, who has
been so fitly characterized as the "connecting link be-
tween the bar of our county and the legal 'giants' of
former days." We need add nothing to this praise. A
cloud of witnesses attest his worth as a sound and able
lawyer, and a conscientious man, possessing one possibly
rare trait, that of always advising a client to settle, and
thus be enabled to dispense with his services!
We recall the impressive personality of Mr. John Gaul,
the flowing locks and clear cut features of Mr. Robert
E. Andrews, the genial smile of Judge John C. Newkirk,
and the introspective gaze of Judge Darius Peck, all
eminently worthy of extended mention.
We commend them, and all others so regretfully omitted,
to our well equipped Hudson biographer, with the hope
of a second "Group of Great Lawyers."
156 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Court House — Crimes — Civil War.
We will now turn our attention to the evolution of our
present ornate Court House, which with calm effrontery
mars the graceful contour of the ancient park.
The first building occupied by the courts in Hudson
it will be recalled, was the old re-modeled City Hall,
which remained in use for more than a quarter of a
century. Complaints of the condition of the building,
and of the insecurity of the jail were constant, a grave
indictment of the latter being found in the records, and in
1829, the repairs amounted to the sum of seventy-five
In 1833, the subject of erecting a new Court House
was considered, and a committee was appointed to as-
certain what Hudson would be willing to contribute toward
the expense. The Common Council offered "to take the
old county buildings and lots, for 7,000 dollars and ap-
propriate $3,000 toward new buildings." They would
"also procure warranty deeds for four acres situate at the
southerly termination of Fourth street, and guarantee the
title to the county, reserving to the corporation the same
privileges as in the old building."
Lots being secured, John P. Mesick, John W. Edmonds
and James Mellen were appointed a building committee,
plans were selected and the Court House was built, and
ready for occupancy in 1835. Total cost including the
site was $26,211.51.
It was of simple Grecian architecture, two stories in
height surmounted by a dome, and a triangular pedi-
ment supported by six Ionic columns, formed an impos-
HISTORY OF HUDSON 1 5 7
ing entrance. For nearly three score years and ten, it
was the pride of both city and county, but it became
too small for the requirements of the larger city, and was
torn down to make room for a more commodious struc-
A much larger building, of a similar style, was erected
in 1900, at a cost of about $100,000, and a jail and sheriff's
house, costing respectively $22,000, and $9,000, were built
in the same year.
This Court House was destroyed by fire on January
27, 1907, and the comer stone of its successor was laid
on the 14th of the following September. Work is pro-
ceeding rapidly and it is expected to be ready for occu-
pancy in October, 1908. Cost of building will be about
$200,000. The jail and house of the sheriff, fortunately
escaped the flames, so will not have to be replaced.
The first trial for murder after the removal of the
Courts to Hudson, was that of Margaret (alias Peggy)
Houghtaling, for killing her child, and resulted in her
conviction and execution, on October 17, 1817. This
is the only case of the hanging of a woman, recorded in
Columbia county. There was afterward some doubts en-
tertained as to her guilt.
The next trial of importance was that of the Anti-
rent leader Smith A. Boughton, in 1845, which has been de-
scribed at length in the sketch of the Hon. John W. Ed-
monds. The case of Joseph Brown, who was indicted for
the murder of Angeline Stewart, (alias Angie Brown), on
the 15th of January, 1868, attracted considerable atten-
The means used for her destruction, being the burning
down of the house in which she was securely confined,
added to the horror of the crime. Brown was convicted
and hanged on May 30, 1808, just four months after
Another most atrocious crime, was that of Oscar F.
158 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Beckwith, who murdered Simon A. Vandercook, in Aus-
terlitz, Columbia county, on January 10, 1882. After
having two trials each resulting in his conviction, and
appeals which only affirmed them, he was hanged in the
yard of the jail in this city, in 1888.
The next case on this criminal calendar, is that of John
Schmidt, a native of Prussian Poland, who was indicted
on September 12, 1893, for the murder of his step-son,
William Hildebrant, a lad of only 19 or 20 years of age.
The crime was committed near the Town of Philmont.
The defendant admitted his guilt but maintained that the
act was committed during a heated quarrel.
Schmidt was found guilty of murder in the first degree
on June 1, 1899. An appeal was taken and on Novem-
ber 26, 1901, the conviction was affirmed.
Circumstances attending the homicide gave rise to
doubts of his sanity, and expert alienists appointed by
the Governor, confirmed this view of the case. He is
now confined in the prison of Dannemora, as an insane
criminal under sentence of death.
The last case on record, and one that created not only
the deepest interest in this city, but also wide-spread at-
tention throughout the state, was that resulting in the
conviction of three young men, scarcely more than boys,
ranging in age from 20 to 26 years.
Having conceived a fancied grudge against their uncle,
Peter A. Hallenbeck, a respectable farmer of Greenport,
Willis, Burton and Frederick M. Van Wormer, accom-
panied by their cousin Harvey Bruce, drove to his house,
on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1901, and knocked for
admission. On Mr. Hallenbeck's opening the door they
all fired simultaneously and he fell, riddled with bullets.
No less than eight or nine wounds being found upon his
They were jointly indicted, and the trial was the absorb-
HISTORY OF HUDSON 159
ing theme of discussion during the remainder of the
On April 18, 1902, the jury rendered a verdict of
guilty, and sentence of death was immediately pronounced.
Harvey Bruce having made a confession was used as
a witness for the State.
An appeal was taken, and a decision unanimously sus-
taining the judgment of the Court was handed down on
May 22, 1903.
All three of the Van Wormer boys were subsequently
electrocuted at Dannemora. They are said to have been
good looking boys, and Frederick exceptionally handsome,
but in the opinion of those who studied them closely,
they were degenerates, whose characters furnished no
foundation for reform.
Harvey Bruce demanded a separate trial, and received
a sentence of twenty years' imprisonment.
He was taken first to Dannemora, but later was trans-
ferred to Sing Sing, where he now is.
The opinion of the Court of Appeals complimented the
District Attorney, upon the degree of care, which had
marked the trial of the case on behalf of the people.
In closing this brief resume of capital crimes, it is
worthy of note that not one of them was committed in
Hudson, or by a resident of Hudson. The city has fur-
nished her quota of criminals, but none have incurred
the death penalty.
There have been many cases of interest, of less serious
import, notably a suit for breach of promise, in the third
decade of the past century, which filled the columns of
the local press with the loving effusions of both parties,
to the infinite amusement of the public.
It is said to have proved an effectual deterrent, to the
expression of sentiment in correspondence, for a long
160 HISTORY OF HUDSON
The series of exciting events that culminated in the
Civil War are too familiar to require recital here. Al-
though more than a generation has passed away since its
close, some desolate hearts are left, to sigh "for the touch
of a vanished hand, and the sound of a voice that is
still!" In response to the demand for troops a call for
volunteers was issued on July 23, 1862, by John V. Whit-
beck, Granville P. Hawes and Edward Gifford, of this
The ranks of "Company A." were filled in a few days,
and others were rapidly recruited. These companies
formed a part of the 128th Regiment, under the command
of that gallant Officer Colonel David S. Cowles.
The Regiment was quartered and drilled on the Fair
Grounds, and "Camp Kelly" attracted daily crowds of
On the 30th of August, a handsome stand of colors
was presented to them by the patriotic ladies of Hudson,
with appropriate ceremonies, and on September 5, 1862,
the whole city turned out with hearts bursting with pride,
but with tear-dimmed eyes to witness their departure for
Colonel Cowles was a tall, handsome man of soldierly
appearance, and rode at the head of his Regiment with per-
fect grace. There are still many, who can recall his
knightly form as he passed through our streets for the
On the 27th of May, 1863, Col. Cowles fell mortally
wounded, while leading an assault on the fortifications at
Port Hudson. He refused to be carried to the rear, and
allowing but one Sergeant to remain with him, he calmly
faced the end. With perfect composure he handed his
watch to his attendant, asking that it should be returned
to his mother, who had presented it to him in his boyhood,
and saying, "Tell my mother, I died with my face to the^
enemy." With full consciousness of the approach of
HISTORY OF HUDSON 161
death he closed his eyes, murmuring "Christ Jesus receive
The body of Colonel Cowles was brought home and
buried with military and civic honors, Masonic bodies
from eleven towns participating. Every tribute was paid
to his memory, but none more worthy than the sincere,
but unspoken grief of his fellow citizens.
Around his monument gather the Memorial Day throngs
to listen to the praise of our heroes, but they are
"Beyond the parting and the meeting,
Beyond the farewell and the greeting."
Colonel David Smith Cowles was born in Canaan, Conn.,
February 26, 1817. He was graduated from Yale College,
and was admitted to the bar of Columbia county, in 1843,
after which he entered upon the practice of law in
Hudson, as a partner of his brother, Edward P. Cowles,
and was elected District Attorney in 1856. When the
Civil War broke out he was in the enjoyment of a fine
practice, which he gave up at once at the call of his
country, and entered with ardor upon the work of saving
Major Edward Gifford, also of the 128th Regiment,
was captured by the enemy on the day preceding the
attack on Port Hudson, and after an imprisonment
of thirty-nine days, made his escape on July 4, 1863,
by swimming the Mississippi River. He was in the
water four hours, and the hardship and exposure,
in his already weakened condition, were too great
for his strength. He passed away in New Orleans on
August 8, 1863, and his remains are interred among his
kindred in his native city.
These cases selected for special mention are only two
among thousands of brave men and true, who laid them-
selves on the altar of patriotism, a willing sacrifice, and
162 HISTORY OF HUDSON
to whom a happy, re-united country owes perpetual grati-
The citizens of Hudson and the county were swift to
prove their loyalty to the Union, in every possible way.
Previous to raising the four companies for the 128th
Regiment, they had furnished a full company for the
14th, besides contributing largely to the 159th. In addi-
tion to these, many enlisted in Regiments of Cavalry and
in the regular army and navy.
The 128th Regiment returned with 400 men out of the
960, who went out, and 173 added by recruits. The county
had a population of 44,905 at the close of the war, a de-
crease from 47,172 at its beginning, in 1860, showing the
inroads made in every hamlet, by the casualties of the
great conflict for National existence.
Hudson was well represented for forty-one years in the
regular army of the United States, by Colonel Clermont
Livingston Best, who was undoubtedly one of the ablest
Artillery Officers in the service.
Col. Best was born at Tivoli, New York, on April 25,
1824, but removed to Hudson when quite young and al-
ways considered it his legal residence.
He was graduated from West Point in the class of
1847, and was attached to the Fourth Artillery until his
appointment as Major in 1867.
The summary of his early experiences by his biographer,
Brig. General D. W. Flagler, shows that the young
Lieutenant was well prepared for the promotions incident
to the Civil War, by his varied and faithful service as
a subordinate. Beginning with the Mexican War, he says
"whether participating in operations against the bandits
of the Rio Grande, the Seminoles of Florida, the Bor-
der Ruffians of Kansas, or the Mormans of Utah," he was
obtaining invaluable experience. The Civil War was the
epoch of great armies and arduous field duty, and through-
out its continuance Captain Best was actively engaged.
HISTORY OF HUDSON 163
At the Battle of Cedar Mountain, Va., he commanded
not only his own battery, but performed the duties of
Chief of Artillery of the Fifth Corps, and so efficient was
the artillery that, according to Confederate accounts, "it
prevented 'Stonewall Jackson' from making his victory
The Fifth Corps becoming merged in the Twelfth Corps,
Captain Best still continued its efficient Chief of Artillery,
and at Antietam, "it was the powerful group of artillery
gathered under the direction of Captain Best," that "Stone-
wall Jackson" said "stayed his farther advance."
At Chancellorsville, it was similarly effective in check-
ing the advance of Gen. A. P. Hill, after a day's hard
fighting in which the Union Army had been repulsed. A
new formation was made, and it was here (if the digres-
sion may be permitted), that Stonewall Jackson, not ob-
serving closely, rode in front of the Twelfth Corps, and
was fired upon by our skirmishers, but was not hit. Turn-
ing quickly, he rode rapidly toward his own forces, when
they, mistaking him for a Union Officer, fired, and he fell,
mortally wounded by his own troops.
We cannot follow in detail the distinguished services
of Captain Best at Gettysburg, and in the west. It is
said that he made such modest reports, that they were al-
most overshadowed by those of officers, who were per-
fectly willing to claim the glory!
At the close of the war, Major Best was honored with
a Brevet Colonelcy in addition to his two previous promo-
tions for specific battles, and in 1883, he was appointed
Colonel of the Fourth, his old Regiment, and stationed at
Fort Adams, Newport, R. I.
This position Colonel Best held until 1888, when hav-
ing reached the age limit for active service, he was trans-
ferred to the retired list, making New York city his
home, until his death, which occurred on April 7, 1807,
164 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Well did he deserve the not too eulogistic epitaph^
upon his impressive monument in our cemetery.
The name of Lieut. Commander John Van Ness Philip
fitly closes this roll of honor.
Although a native of Claverack, some of his closest
friendships were formed with residents of this city, but
he gave himself to his country, and held it above all ties
of locality and kindred. John Van Ness Philip was bom
in Claverack, in 1823, and after finishing his studies at
the Van Rensselaer Institute at Troy, he entered the
United States Navy.
He served during the war with Mexico, receiving the
rank of Lieut. Commander, after which he received the
appointment of Assistant Professor of Mathematics at
Annapolis. After a service of five years in this position,
he resigned his commission, and retired to the scenes of
When the firing on Fort Sumter announced that the
struggle with the South had commenced, Lieut Philip
hastened to Washington, and offered his services to the
Government in any capacity they might select. His offer
was gladly accepted, his rank restored and he was as-
signed to duty with the blockading squadron, in May,
1861, which position he held until his death from yellow
fever, in September, 1862.
Lieut. Philip was a brave officer, a public spirited citi-
zen, and a faithful frien 1.
He had evinced the liveliest interest in the affairs of
the county, and was the founder of the Hudson and Col-
umbia County Agricultural and Horticultural Association,
of which he was the first President.
This company was formed by a few gentlemen for the
purpose of encouraging an improvement in stock, and
farm products, by the usual premiums, and the annual
fairs are exceedingly popular. The Fair Grounds ad-
HISTORY OF HUDSON 165
jacent to the city are conveniently situated and are
thronged with visitors from all the county towns.
The greatest attraction that can be offered at these
fairs is the presence of the Governor of the State, and
on this occasion, September 16, 1908, which is the 299th
anniversary of the landing of Henry Hudson on these
shores, a hearty welcome is being extended to Governor
Charles E. Hughes, who was yesterday nominated for
a second term.
Governor Hughes is a man whom the people delighteth
to honor, and his re-nomination is a signal victory over
machine-made politics and politicians.
Returning for a moment to our local military organiza-
tion, we find that the "Cowles Guard," so named in honor
of the lamented Colonel David S. Cowles, was organized
in April, 1878, and was mustered into the New York
State Militia, as the 23rd Separate Company, on May
They immediately received their arms and equipments
and in the autumn of that year their Armory was com-
pleted. This was located in the rear of the Court House
and is now a part of the new jail. The company was
ordered out for service during the Spanish War, and left
Hudson on July 26, 1898. After remaining at Camp
Black, on Long Island, for a time, they were sent to Green-
ville, South Carolina, where they remained until mustered
out of the United States service, on March 25, of the
When the Separate Companies were organized as
Regiments, the 23rd became Company "D." Fir^t
Regiment on March 15, 1899, and on May 1, 1905,
Company F., Tenth Regiment. They were on dut>' dur-
ing the switchman's strike at Buffalo in August. 1892,
and also at Stockport in June, 1901, to enforce quaran-
The corner stone of their new Armory was laid
166 HISTORY OF HUDSON
on September 4, 1897, and it was occupied by the Com-
pany in December, 1898. Contract price for the build-
ing, was 29,288 dollars, exclusive of the site. It is of
appropriate architecture, and is rightly considered an or-
nament to the city. Company "F" are a well drilled, finely
set-up body of men, and our citizens have good reason
to feel proud of them. We have also a Company F.^
Tenth Regiment Drum Corps, numbering fourteen
Hudson abounds in fraternal societies whose aims are
beneficent, or social, all of whom seem to be flourishing
like "the green bay tree" of the Psalmist. Of these the
more prominent are the Elks, Knights of Pythias, Wood-
men, and Maccabees.
The Hudson Lodge, No. 787, B. P. O. E. was chartered
June 23, 1902, with a membership of 82, which in 1908,
had increased to 193.
Their beautiful new Club House was opened on March
7, 1908, with a public reception which was a very
successful occasion, and on the 9th, the lodge held their
first session in their new house. It will be highly en-
joyed and appreciated by the members of the lodge, who
had previously met in rooms in the Opera House.
HISTORY OF HUDSON 167
City Hall — Free Library — Chapter House — Some Early '
The erection of a new City Hall in 1855, was greeted
with great satisfaction by the residents of Hudson, for
there had been previously no suitable place for public
On the completion of a new Court House and jail
in 1835, the old jail on the corner of Fourth aad Warren
streets, was leased and remodeled by John Davis, and
under the name of "Davis's City Hall," was used for
this purpose during the ensuing twenty years. There was
also a room at the top of the Van VIeck building, which
served for small assemblies, but neither of these met the
requirements of the city.
The Hall, which cost 27,000 dollars, contained an
auditorium of fair size with a semi circular gallery at
one end, and when first completed, a lecture platform
and desk at the other. It was furnished with plain settees
in the style of the Lyceums of the day.
The building was opened with addresses of felicitation
by Mayor Dormandy and prominent citizens, and later
a grand Bachelors' Ball was given, being the first, anJ
doubtless, one of the finest of its kind ever hold in Mud-
One of the social leaders at the time was Mr. Stephen
A. Du Bois, and it is safe to affirm that he not only headed
the affair, but was extremely useful at its close. It was
quite characteristic of Mr. Du Bois to meet any little
deficits from his own plethoric pocket.
He was a man without business, except a directorship
168 HISTORY OF HUDSON
in the Hudson River Bank, and its President from 1865,
until his death, which occurred in 1869, and he found
his greatest enjoyment in making others happy. It is
not strange that he was universally popular with all ages,
from the youngest debutante, to the grave and reverend
seigneurs, who were his contemporaries.
The "Bachelors" were not permitted to pay all the
expenses, nor indeed to reap all the pleasure of that
occasion, for the gallery of the Hall was filled with the
older, non-dancing members of society. The admixture
of the older element, even unto the third generation, with
the younger set, has not been uncommon in Hudson, and
has formed one of the chiefest charms of its social
The city offices were immediately installed in the City
Hall, and the Post Office was located in the eastern cor-
ner of the building, from 1867 to 1886. The First Na-
tional Bank occupied its present banking rooms in 1869.
The auditorium was remodeled later, and furnished with
folding chairs, drop curtain, and other accessories of the
stage, after which it was called the Opera House. Its
name has since been changed by each succeeding lessee.
The Franklin Library Association was assigned excellent
accommodations, while in the auditorium above, was held
the Course of Lectures, the proceeds from which, over
and above expenses, together with annual subscriptions,
amply met all expenditures for librarian, and additional
These lectures had been held in the different churches,
or the Court House, since 1837, but not with the regular-
ity and frequency which now characterized them.
It was a liberal education to listen to such men as
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wendell Phillips, Edward Everett,
Henry Ward Beecher and others of equal merit. They
drew immense audiences, people coming from neighbor-
HISTORY OF HUDSON 169
ing towns within a radius of more than twenty miles,
regularly throughout the season.
Then too we occasionally had an opportunity of meet-
ing the celebrities in a social way, at supper or recep-
tion — but the day of the Lecture Bureau closed, rather
suddenly as it seemed. Prices for such lecturers as we
had been accustomed to hear advanced enormously, and
the aftermath was not attractive.
The annual subscriptions were mostly continued, and
the Library was kept open as usual until 1874; but with
a limited number of new books, and those selected, of
an undesirable order, many declined to renew their sub-
scriptions, and the books, numbering between four and
five thousand, were removed to No. 171 Warren street,
and thence to the Fourth Street Public School building,
and given to the city.
In 1898, the Hendrick Hudson Chapter of the Daugh-
ters of the American Revolution decided to establish a
"Free Library," having collected quite a number of his*
torical works, to which was added the use of the books
formerly owned by "The Franklin Library Association."
This Library was opened to the public on April 25,
1898, in the Fourth street school building, which had
become "The Hudson High School."
After the Hendrick Hudson Chapter received its beau-
tiful Chapter House they purchased from the Board of
Education about 1600 of the most serviceable books of
The Franklin Association Library and installed them in
their present commodious quarters.
In addition to the books continually added by the com-
mittee of the "D. A. R. Free Library," it has been the
recipient of many valuable presents, and now numbers
about 6,500 volumes. Circulation in 1907 amounted to
Its present usefulness and success is largely due to the
1 70 HISTORY OF HUDSON
interest and generosity manifested by Mrs. Marcellus
Hartley, who, in 1903, liberally endowed the institution.
A marble tablet placed in the Library bears the in-
Of Hendrick Hudson Chapter D. A. R.
is endowed in the name of
Frances Chester White Hartley
Hudson is to be sincerely congratulated upon having
so good a collection of books placed freely at the dis-
posal of her citizens and of the stranger within her gates,
by both of whom it seems to be highly appreciated, as
is also the unfailing patience and courtesy of the librarian
The Hendrick Hudson Chapter of the Daughters of
the American Revolution was organized on December 26,
1895, and incorporated under the laws of the State of
New York on July 9, 1898. It has a membership of 112.
September 16 was selected as "Chapter Day" in com-
memoration of Henry Hudson's first anchorage opposite
the site of the City of Hudson.
In addition to the establishment of the Free Library,
which has been dwelt upon at length, the Chapter is
active and influential in the affairs of the organization in
the state and nation, while it furnishes an additional local
centre of social life, encourages the study of American
history, the observance of patriotic days, and has given
prizes in the Public Schools for essays on those subjects.
The Chapter has gathered in its museum, which is open
to the public, over three hundred articles of both ancient
and modem times, and has held a Loan Exhibition full
HISTORY OF HUDSON 1 7 1
of historic interest. In giving occasional free lectures,
and in lending the building for charitable purposes, be-
side other works of mercy and kindness, the Chapter has
shown itself mindful that "the greatest of these is char-
But the chapter has itself been favored far above other
chapters in being presented with a fine old colonial man-
sion for their Chapter House. This was fitted up with
every convenience for their use, including beside library
and reading room, a parlor, museum and charming
auditorium, which together with many beautiful things,
was given to the chapter by Mrs. Marcellus Hartley of
New York, who added to her generous gift, the con-
siderate munificence, of a fund for its maintenance.
Mrs. Hartley, who is a life member of the chapter, be-
came interested in its welfare through the efforts of its
members to procure a building fund, by the sale of a book,
called "Mary and I go to Europe," the manuscript of
which had been presented to them for that purpose, by
its author, Doctor H. Lyle Smith of this city.
In the foyer facing the entrance is placed an artistic
bronze memorial tablet, whose inscription tells the sim-
ple story of a loving remembrance.
This Tablet is erected to the memory of
who with his brother Thomas founded the City of Hudson.
He was appointed its first Mayor by Governor Clinton
which distinction he enjoyed from April 1785 to his death
Also to his son
who was appointed the third Mayor by Governor Daniel
D. Tompkins, serving a period of ten years, from 1808
to 1813, and 1815 to 1819.
Robert built this house in the year 1811, where he
resided until his death Nov. 11, 1819.
1 72 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Presented by his granddaughter to the Hendrick Hudson
Chapter D. A. R.
Frances Chester White Hartley
A. D. 1900.
The fifteenth of May, 1900, was the notable date of
the most noteworthy event in the history of the D. A. R.
Flowers, music and light were lavishly used to deco-
rate and render still more attractive their beautiful Chap-
ter House and the choicest of the elite were gathered
to greet Mrs. Marcellus Hartley, and to receive formally
from her the gift, so generously proffered. Addresses
were made by Doctor H. Lyle Smith, the Chapter's faith-
ful friend, in his own inimitable way — by the Mayor of
the City — and then, in simple, well chosen words, Mrs.
Hartley conveyed her splendid gift. A fitting, grateful
response of acceptance by Madame Regent was followed
by the presentation to Mrs. Hartley, of appropriate reso-
lutions previously adopted. A fine portrait of the donor
adorns the wall of the home-like parlor, which was pre-
sented in response to the ardent, and oft-expressed de-
sire of the Chapter.
Mention has been made of Seth Jenkins, Jr., a brother
of Robert Jenkins, who resided at No. 115 Warren street,
adjoining the Chapter House. A more distant relative,
Oliver Wiswall, became an important factor in the de-
velopment of this city.
Mr. Wiswall was bom on the island of Martha's Vine-
yard, where his father, Samuel Wiswall, died, and he,
with his mother, removed to Hudson when he was nine
After a brief period spent at "Marm Wilson's" school,
at the age of thirteen, Mr. Wiswall entered the store of
his uncle, Marshall Jenkins, then doing business in the
HISTORY OF HUDSON 1 73
building on the corner of Front and Warren streets, later
the residence of Mr. Ebenezer Gifford.
In 1801, he formed a partnership with Captain Beriah
Pease, who came here soon after the Proprietors, and
had been employed in the Merchant Marine service.
They occupied a small frame structure No. 114 Warren
street until 1804, when they erected the large brick build-
ing No. 118 on the same street, that being the "business
centre" of the city at that time. This sufficed until 1820,
when Mr. Wiswall entered into the freighting business
under the firm of Wiswall, Smith and Jenkins, in which
he continued until his retirement from active life. Mr.
Wiswall's purchase with others of the Hudson Gazette
and his connection with the Hudson River Bank as its
first president have been noted.
He served the city as Mayor, and was also a Super-
visor and Member of Assembly. He was full of interest-
ing reminiscences, and contributed much of the material
of Mr. Stephen B. Miller's "Historical Sketches of Hud-
son." Mr. Wiswall died at his home on Mt. Merino on
January 27, 1863.
A valued friend and contemporary of Mr. Wiswall was
Robert A. Barnard was bom in 1787, in the dwelling
on the corner of Warren and First streets, which his
grandfather built in 1784, and in which the three genera-
tions of the family lived and died. Judge Barnard men-
tioned the fact of his residence in this house during a
visit to England and Scotland, in reply to the charge
that "the American people were so fond of change that
it could not be told one year, where they would be the
next." The Judge remarked that he was an exception,
and his statement could hardly be credited.
The very few years of schooling which in common with
most of the boys of that day, were allotted to him, were
passed under "Marni Wilson's" guidance, and the Judge
1 74 HISTORY OF HUDSON
was launched on his future career. This was that of an
active business man, and particularly devoted to the whale
fishery during its revival in 1829.
Judge Barnard did much to promote the prosperity of
the city that his ancestors helped to found.
He succeeded Oliver Wiswall as President of the Hud-
son River Bank, and filled a variety of positions, includ-
ing that of Postmaster, Senator, Member of Assembly,
Associate Judge and Presidential Elector.
Possessing a retentive memory. Judge Barnard also
furnished a store of valuable and interesting matter to
the "Historical Sketches."
Judge Barnard passed away in the house his grand-
sire built, on January 20, 1872, at the age of 85 years.
Mr. Henry Harder, or "Doctor," as he was familiarly
called, was another whose recollections though somewhat
dim, were of assistance to the author of the "Sketches."
He was a boy of about seven years of age when the
Proprietors came here, and was living with his uncle,
Justus Van Hoesan, who must have been a descendant
of that Justus Van Hoesan, who with his wife, met a
sudden and tragical death from accidental poisoning,
nearly a century before Mr. Harder's birth. All of which
has been duly set down in order, in the early portion of
The Justus Van Hoesan house was on the site of the
residence of Mr. Daniel Limbrick, near the South Bay,
which was destroyed by fire some years ago.
Mr. Harder dimly remembered the coming of the Pro-
prietors, but very little connected with it, and with his
passing away, the last link bet^^^een the city of today, and
the "Claverack Landing" of 1783 was broken.
Mr. Henry P. Skinner belonged to a class of early
merchants, who were actively identified with the business
interests of the city.
His quiet tastes and somewhat retiring disposition, led
HISTORY OF HUDSON 1 75
him to decline public offices, but he well sustained the
character of a useful, benevolent and enterprising citizen.
For more than four score years he retained his wonderful
vitality, attending daily to his business, and never failing
to take his accustomed walk of miles, before breakfast.
Except the closing sentence, how fitly and admirably,
every word here written of Mr. Henry P. Skinner, applies
to our respected and valued fellow townsman, Mr. Lorenzo
G. Guernsey, who happily is still with us.
In his departure from the city, which he has known,
and where he has dwelt for upwards of half a century,
will pass away the last living representative of its earlier
business men and interests.
1 76 HISTORY OF HUDSON
The Press — Industries.
The newspapers now published in Hudson fitly illus-
trate the doctrine of the survival of the fittest. Launched
afresh in the year 1824, by Ambrose L. Jordan and
Oliver Wiswall, both have had an unbrpken success up
to the present time.
In 1845, the Columbia Republican was purchased by
William Bryan and John Moores, the latter retiring in
1851, leaving Mr. Bryan sole owner until 1862, when
Frank H. Webb, recently deceased, acquired a half in-
terest, and the firm of Bryan and Webb continued its
publication during the ensuing fourteen years.
Mr. William Bryan was a prominent citizen, and for
eight years was Postmaster of Hudson, combining the
duties of the office with those of a successful publisher,
an example since followed by his son.
Mr. Frank H. Webb was a native of Claverack and a
descendant of one of its oldest families. He wielded a
fluent pen, as is shown in his little brochure called
"Claverack, Old and New," and in various other writings.
The Hudson Daily Star, which was the first daily paper
published in Hudson, was established by Alexander N.
Webb in 1848. It was very popular and on August 18
of that year it gave so vivid an account of a conflagration
in Albany on the day previous, when 500 buildings were
burned, that it roused the citizens of Hudson to the im-
portance of re-organizing and enlarging the local fire
department. A call was issued for a meeting at Rogers'
Columbia Hotel on the evening of the 19th, which re-
sulted in the organization of the "First Volunteer Fire
Company" with foreman, assistant foreman, secretary and
HISTORY OF HUDSON 177
Steward, also a committee to draft a constitution and
In 1850, Mr. A. N. Webb published 'The Weekly Star,"
and in 1873 was succeeded by his son, Herbert N. Webb,
who sold them both to Louis Goeltz, with whom Mr.
Bryan formed a partnership in 1876, and they were
merged respectively in "The Weekly" and "Daily Re-
After the death of Mr. Goeltz in 1877, Mr. Bryan con-
tinued the publication of both papers until May 5, 1881,
when he associated with him his son, Henry R. Bryan.
This partnership was severed by the death of Mr. William
Bryan on September 11, 1897, since which time Mr.
Henry R. Bryan has been the sole proprietor and editor
of both journals. They continue to be the consistent
organs of the Republican party, and both weekly and
daily editions are ably and judiciously conducted.
"The Weekly Gazette" was resuscitated by Oliver
Wiswall and a few leading Democrats in 1824, who pur-
chased the plant at a cost of $500.
It was published by Hiram Wilbur — Mr. John W. Ed-
monds' duties being limited to the editorship. The print-
ing office was in the upper story of the store of Reuben
Folger, on the northeast corner of Warren and Second
In 1834, it passed into the hands of P. Dean Carrique,
who continued its publication for nearly a quarter of
In 1857, it was acquired by the Messrs. R. F. and M. P.
Williams. R. F. Williams entered the army on the break-
ing out of the Civil War in 1861, leaving M. P. Williams,
now deceased, the sole editor and proprietor, a position
which he filled with great ability, for thirty-five years.
Mr. Williams commenced the publication of "The
Hudson Evening Register" in connection with "The
1 78 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Weekly Gazette," in 1866, and both have had a successful
and prosperous career.
Becoming incapacitated for business by continued ill
health, Mr. Williams sold the journals to a syndicate, and
retired in 1896. His death occurred in April, 1906.
Both "The Weekly Gazette" and "The Evening Regis-
ter" are, as they have always been, the exponents of
the Democratic party, or some one of its divisions.
Many of the early industries of this city were discon-
tinued after the decline of shipbuilding, but others took
their place and Hudson has a variety of manufactures in
successful operation at this date.
The last flouring and grist mill, the successor of that
owned by one of our earliest settlers, Peter Hogeboom,
Jr., was demolished in 1874 to clear the site for the pump-
ing house of the water works.
Soon after the war of 1812, the manufacture of woolen
cloth, principally satinets, was begun by William Van
Hoesan and others, among whom was Jonathan Stott.
"The Northern Whig" of January 10th, 1826, advertised
"for sale by Jonathan Stott at the Wool Warehouse, a
few doors below the Post Office, on Warren street, 1,000
Jenny spindles, from the Sheffield Manufactory, England,
a first rate article. Also Wool of all qualities, satinet
warps, and Indigo. Cash paid for all kinds of Wool
Mr. Stott's factory was burned in one of the large fires
that devastated that part of the city, and he removed
soon after to the site of Stottville, where he could avail
himself of the water power of the Claverack Creek.
Two of the fires alluded to occurred in quick suc-
cession, one in 1838, with a loss of $150,000 and in
1839, loss $175,000; insurance amounting to only about
one-third in each case.
The tavern of Samuel Bryan was burned in August,
HISTORY OF HUDSON 1 79
1838, and was replaced by the building that is now *'The
Worth." About seventy buildings were destroyed in
1839, including factories, warehouses, four wharves and
a vessel loaded with flour. The fire started in the large
wool warehouse of Samuel Plumb, and was directly trace-
able, as was also the previous one, to sparks from the
steamboats Legislator and Congress.
Mr. Samuel Plumb, who is often referred to at this
stage of the city's growth, built the fine residence now
owned by the Mclntyre family, and also set out the
magnificent Norway spruce that graces the lawn on the
approach to the dwelling.
To return to our industries. A fulling mill and flannel
factory was built by Josiah Underbill, on the hill below
Underbill's pond, which thus obtained its name.
A hot air furnace was started in 1816, which passed
into the hands of Starbuck and Gifford in the same year,
and is still successfully conducted.
The Hudson Iron Company was formed in 1848, and
extensive works were built which produced annually
22,000 tons of pig iron. Long continued depression in
the iron industry, and the necessity of substituting im-
proved machinery, caused the works to be closed, and
they were afterward demolished.
The Columbia Iron Company was incorporated in 1857,
and turned out 18,000 tons of iron per year for a num-
ber of years. This furnace was destroyed by fire.
The Allen Paper Car Wheel Company, so named for
the inventor, afterward The American Paper Car Wheel
Company was organized in 1874, and established its
plant in this city. In 1897, it was purchased by The
Railway Steel Spring Company and consolidated with
other car wheel manufactories, this branch being enlarged
The business of manufacturing knit goods is one of
the most thriving in Hudson. The first knitting mill was
180 HISTORY OF HUDSON
erected in 1872, and was followed by others in 1881, 1882
To these must be added the Hudson Fibre Company
for the manufacture of cotton batting, a planing mill,
cigar factories, and various other industries too numerous
to mention. All are exceedingly prosperous, furnishing
employment to large numbers of our inhabitants, as does
also the gathering of ice during the winter season.
Extensive cement works, and brick yards are success-
fully conducted, employing almost exclusively foreign or
The general business of Hudson is carried on in a safe,
conservative manner rarely resulting in failure. Possibly
some lines have been too restricted, forcing people to
go elsewhere for articles they would prefer to find more
conveniently at home. Some of the firms date from a
half to three-quarters of a century ago, and in a few in-
stances are conducted by the descendants of the founders.
The frequent fires which have inflicted such severe
losses, have in almost every case proved a blessing in
a fiery guise. The streets have been vastly improved by
the attractive buildings which have replaced those that
were burned and which possess all the modem and de-
sirable facilities for doing business.
Hudson has been sometimes called (rather unwisely
it would seem) by its own residents, "a finished city,"
and if it be true, as we were recently informed, "that
there was but one manufacturing site left in Hudson,"
the situation is rather alarming, though there has been
another purchased since, that seemed to be quite eligible.
But the fact is plain that the city cannot expand to
any great extent within its present limits, and it is hard
to understand why our forefathers in 1837 allowed the
town of Greenport to encircle us, almost to our very
doors. A census in 1840, gives the population of Hudson
as 5672, "after about 1800 had been taken off" during
HISTORY OF HUDSON 181
the previous decade by the formation of the towns of
Stockport and Greenport. The idea of a re-union in
the form of a "Greater Hudson" suggests itself, but can-
not be hopefully entertained, as we can offer them little
inducement as an offset to our tax budget.
The accounts of the procedure in locating the Hudson
and Berkshire Railroad are interesting. In 1827, the
Common Council appointed a committee of "Five Per-
sons for the purpose of meeting the exploring committee
from the State of Massachusetts, in relation to the con-
templated railroad from Boston to the North River."
A development from this proceeding a few years later,
was the loaning by the City of $50,000 in aid of the
Hudson and Berkshire Railroad on bond and mortgage.
In 1835, the road was commenced, and as it was ex-
pected to promote the business prosperity of Hudson the
stock was subscribed to the amount of $250,000 by our
citizens. The road was opened in October, 1841, but it
did not prosper and the stockholders lost their investment.
Steam power had not been considered on this road up
to this time. "It was believed that animal power was
better adapted for the transportation of the endless load-
ing, such a dense and industrious population required!"
We learn from records of the Common Council, that
the disastrous fires still occurring at intervals led to the
thorough reorganization of the Fire Department, and the
purchase of additional apparatus. John W. Edmonds,
afterward Judge Edmonds, was appointed the first Chief
Engineer, and served until his removal to New York in
1837. His name is perpetuated in Edmonds Hose Com-
pany No. 1.
Steam fire engines were provided by the city in the
months of April and August, 1868, and when the in-
creased water supply in 1874, rendered hand engines use-
less, the companies were transformed into Hose and Hook
and Ladder Companies.
182 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Suitable engine houses were built for their use, in 1887
and 1889, and thus the new appurtenances were provided,
but the willing and unselfish service still continues to be
of the voluntary order.
It has been stated that two at least of the large fires
that devastated this city at an early period, were caused
by the showers of sparks thrown off by the steamboats.
These were produced by the use of wood as fuel, and it
was not until 1835, that coal was substituted. It is
worthy of note that the first blower and furnace adapted
for its use were the invention of Daniel Dunbar of Hud-
The name of Power has been closely connected with
improved facilities for transportation, from the earliest
Hudson Steamboat Co., in 1808, to the present time.
Captain George H. Powers, who built and owned sev-
eral boats, and who controlled the Hudson Steam Ferry
from 1880 until his death, was perhaps the most actively
engaged in this line of business.
HISTORY OF HUDSON 183
Water Supply — Civic Improvements.
In 1835, the Legislature was petitioned "to allow the
Hudson Aqueduct Company to enlarge its capital and
thus enable it to substitute iron pipes for the wooden
ones then in use."
This was granted, and eked out by cisterns and water
tanks was made to suffice until 1871.
In that year the question of an addition to the water
supply became acute, and an Act was passed by the
Legislature authorizing the expenditure of $250,000 for
that purpose. A commission was appointed to have sur-
veys prepared, and estimates made. The conclusion was
reached that the appropriation would not be sufficient, and
in 1873, a new law provided the sum of $350,000.
A special election was held to give the people an op-
portunity to vote on a choice between the Hudson river
and Lake Charlotte, a body of pure water, that sparkles
like a huge solitaire, in its setting of living green. A
very small niajority were found to be in favor of the
river. They did not recall that little rhyme of Cole-
ridge's, so applicable to our noble Hudson, and the cities,
which it is compelled to wash.
"The river Rhine it is well known
Doth wash your City of Cologne,
But tell me nymphs! what power divine
Shall henceforth wash the river Rhine?"
Construction was commenced in March, 1874, and the
work was prosecuted with such energy that water was
flowing through the system on the first of the following
The cost of the Water Works was kept within the ap-
184 HISTORY OF HUDSON
propriation and the whole undertaking was successfully ac-
complished under the Commission of which Mr. Frederick
Fitch Folger was Chairman.
The increase in the consumption of water was rapid.
In 1876, 430,014 gallons were consumed; in 1880, 827,475;
in 1887, 436,221,664; and in 1903, it was estimated that
1,400,000 gallons were consumed on an average per day.
The street which was opened to reach the reservoirs
led through private grounds, but the Commission was
given the amount of land required, and was urged to
make the street its present width of fifty feet. When
they demurred at the expense of making it more than
thirty-five feet, the owner offered to pay the difference
rather than have it any less. He also had the trees
set out on either side of the street, in the year 1876, and
there were just 76 trees. A coincidence of the Cen-
The Hudson river, although not attractive as a source
of water supply, was ideal in its volume, there being
no fear of a shortage from any possible cause, but after
some years, fears began to be seriously entertained in
regard to its health fulness.
While the filter beds were under the watchful care of
Keeper Stevens, they were kept as clean as it was possible
to keep them, and the danger was held in abeyance, but
later the typhoid bacillii took possession, and turned
one of life's priceless blessings into a deadly poison.
In March, 1900, the press of the city began a cam-
paign of education and appeal, backed by the physicians,
with full statistics proving the alarming increase in the
number of cases of typhoid fever. People resorted to
mineral water, or to the Aqueduct water, except those
who refused to believe either the Board of Health or the
press, and manifested a senseless opposition to every
form of relief.
The advocates of pure water continued to urge the
HISTORY OF HUDSON 185
matter, the press well in the van, through the years 1900
and 1901. The Board of Public Works had preliminary
surveys made of all sources of supply, by Superintend-
ent Bishop and C. C. Vermeule, a noted engineer, both re-
porting in favor of a gravity system. In February, 1902,
a bill providing for the expenditure of $270,000 and the
appointment of a special Water Commission with power
to decide on the best plan, and execute it, was passed
by the Legislature. It was also passed by a majority
vote of the Common Council, after a public hearing which
was unanimously in favor of such action.
The Mayor returned the bill with his disapproval, and
thus destroyed all hope of relief for that year.
Fortunately a new Mayor succeeded, who, when the
bill was passed a second time, heartily approved, and it
was signed by Governor Odell on April 4th, 1903.
On April 18th, the Mayor appointed a Water Commis-
sion whose members were highly satisfactory to all citi-
zens. They at once elected Mr. Arthur Gifford, Presi-
dent, and proceeded to have the streams under considera-
tion analyzed by the State Board of Health. On a favor-
able report being received, it was decided to have a grav-
ity plant from New Forge, via Churchtown, and Cornelius
C. Vermeule was engaged as consulting engineer, and
Hubert K. Bishop as Chief engineer, to have charge of
The resolution as adopted provided for "taking of the
water from Taghkanic Creek at New Forge, for the erec-
tion of a reservoir and settling basin at Churchtown,
and for the distribution of 3,000,000 gallons of water
daily. The pipe line to be taken through Claverack to
the Hudson reservoirs." Bids for contracts were given
out, and on May 30. 1903, were awarded. Rights of way
were secured where possible, and a condemnation commis-
sion was finally appointed to whom all disputed cases
were submitted. It was considered quite a victor\' for
186 HISTORY OF HUDSON
the city when their awards for riparian rights were found
to be less than $1,000 more than the cit)^ had offered.
The work was pressed as rapidly as possible, and not-
withstanding the many annoying delays and difficulties
experienced, water was flowing into the reservoirs at Hud-
son on the 19th of February, 1905.
The pipe line is twelve and a half miles long, the dam
contains 8,000 cubic yards of masonry, weighing about
12,000 tons. Storage capacity 82,000,000 gallons, the
water covering fifteen acres.
The Hudson reservoirs were not only thoroughly
cleansed, but were practically made into new basins, to
avoid any possibility of contamination. A deplorable ac-
cident, by which three men were killed, and one injured,
occurred during this part of the work, on October 3, 1905.
A small engine used to furnish steam to the gravel wash-
ing machinery, being insufficiently provided with water,
exploded with terrific force.
The cost of the whole plant was within the amount
appropriated, which speaks volumes for the business abil-
ity and prudent management of the Water Commission.
Public spirited, they gave freely of their time and energies,
and honest — in these days of graft it is refreshing to
witness the expenditure of a fortune, and know that the
city received dollar for dollar.
The number of deaths from typhoid fever was reduced
from 152, in 1904, to only 2, in 1906. These figures re-
quire no comment.
The passing during the present year of the old Hud-
son Aqueduct Company is noteworthy, and its final dis-
solution should be chronicled. The company was char-
tered in 1790, a petition having been presented to the
Legislature in 1789, stating that they had "at considerable
expense brought water into the city by an aqueduct, from
a spring two miles distant, and felt the need of a regular
HISTORY OF HUDSON 187
system to compel shareholders to bear their equal por-
tion of expenses for repairs, etc."
The Act then passed seemed to meet their every re-
quirement and has been given at length in an earlier por-
tion of this work.
In 1793, the Aqueduct Company purchased the "Huyck
Spring," later known as the "Fountain," water having
been previously brought through pipes from the "Ten
Broeck Spring," which is situated on the old Heermance
And now, no more shall we behold the unsightly
pumps at too frequent intervals along our streets, and
while they will be missed, they cannot well be mourned.
It is said that a very near-sighted lady once shook hands
with one of the long-armed pump handles, thinking she
was greeting a dear friend, but for the truth of this
statement we do not vouch.
The "Fountain" furnished pure sparkling water, which
gushed with perennial freshness from its rocky bed, and
the Aqueduct Company deserved the grateful thanks of
the whole population of Hudson, in addition to the prompt
payment of water rates.
Another organization of equal antiquity has been re-
cently dissolved; "The Columbia Turnpike Company,"
which was the third chartered in the State of New York,
dating from 1799.
It was composed entirely of Hudson men, and the capi-
tal stock was 25,000 dollars. It ran to the Massachusetts
line, and began taking toll in 1800. For more than a
century the toll gate stood, and it still seems as if the
ghost of the departed toll-gatherer would rise, and with
shadowy hand extended, challenge our advance!
In 1828, we find that a petition to the Common Council
resulted in the appointment of a comiiiittee, who "re-
ported in favor of putting fifty poles with lamps, not more,
and that they be located at the most convenient places.
188 HISTORY OF HUDSON
To be lighted only on the moonless nights." These lamps
burned sperm oil, and nothing else was used until about
the middle of the century, when a substitute was found
in the form of etherial oil, or burning fluid. This being
of a volatile and inflammable nature, was considered very
dangerous, but the Hudson Gas Company came to the
rescue in 1850, and in the fall of that year the streets
were first lighted with gas, and its use soon became gen-
eral throughout the city.
This company was absorbed by the Hudson Electric
Light and Power Company which was incorporated in
1888, and was consolidated with the Albany and Hudson
Railway and Power Company in 1899.
This organization supplies the city with Electric Light
and operates the Hudson Electric Street Railway, which it
built in 1890. It also acquired the steam railroad to
Albany, via Stottville and Kinderhook, which was built
in 1889, substituted electric power, and opened it for traffic
Between 1824, and 1830, considerable advance was
made in re-paving, and in paving additional streets, also
a number of sewers were laid, but after this effort only
necessary repairs seem to have been made from time to
time, for many years.
"The improvement of the Public Square," is alluded
to. This as we have seen was intended for a pub-
lic park by the donor, but for some inscrutable rea-
son it was denuded of its fine old forest trees, and
paved with cobblestones. To complete the devasta-
tion, the Hudson and Berkshire Railroad was al-
lowed to cross it, and thus it remained until 1878, when
the matter was taken up by a resident on the upper
side of the Square. Subscriptions were solicited and a
sufficient sum was raised, together with the gifts of the
coping and trees from individuals, to transform the treeless
desert into a refreshing little oasis. The Boston and Al-
HISTORY OF HUDSON 189
bany Railroad Company atoned in a measure for its pres-
ence, by generously furnishing sufficient gravel to fill
in the whole surface of the Park.
In the same year, 1878, the authorities took measures
to improve the Promenade Hill, by the erection of an
ornamental iron fence along the full length of its dan-
gerous frontage, and by increased attention to its walks
Mr. Miller tells us that this Park was the favorite re-
sort for lovers in early times, and doubtless many a pretty
Quakeress has here murmured her coy "yes," from the
depths of her fetching Quaker bonnet, as also later,
"the girl of the period" may have done, since there are
some customs that never become obsolete!
But the Hill has witnessed other scenes of momentous
importance, as when in 1609, Henry Hudson was ban-
queted there by his courteous Indian hosts, and when, two
centuries later, it was thronged with people to witness
the passage of the Steamboat "Clermont," and to marvel
at a craft, "propelled by neither sails or oars." Still an-
other occasion that drew people to the hill was the wreck
of the Steamboat "Swallow" commanded by Captain A.
H. Squires. It was on April 7, 1845, at nine o'clock of
a dark and stormy night, that the boat driven far out of
her course, ran upon a large rock in the western channel,
and was broken in two. The accident happened just above
the Village of Athens, and small boats speedily went to
the rescue, and succeeded in saving many lives, but about
forty were drowned. In this city the church bells were
rung, citizens were aroused, and every effort was made
to succor the poor sufferers, whose cries could be dis-
tinctly heard, but in vain. In less than twenty minutes
the boat disappeared and all was still.
It is said that she was afterward raised, re-built, and
plied for some years on the Connecticut river.
The custom of ringing the church bells to call the peo-
190 HISTORY OF HUDSON
pie together prevailed, for secular as well as for sacred
purposes for many years. It was not until after the
middle of the last century that they were dispensed with,
and a tall tower with heavy fire-bell was substituted, to
call the firemen to their duties.
The city was then districted and numbered, and the fire
alarm now signifies the location of fires by ringing a
A syren whistle has also been placed on the Public
Square, which gives most ear-piercing information to the
residents of that section of the city.
To return once more to the Promenade Hill, which was
selected as a proper and desirable site for the statue of
St. Winifred, "Presented to the City of Hudson by Gen.
John Watts de Peyster, 1896," and which was unveiled
with suitable ceremonies, and an address of acceptance
by the City, delivered by the Hon. Casper P. Collier.
The familiar legend of St. Winifred runs thus:
St. Winifred was a noble British maiden, who was
beheaded by Prince Caradoc for repelling his persistent
The head rolled down a hill, and where it stopped a
spring gushed forth, which is Holywell, in Flintshire,
Wales, famous still as a place of pilgrimage. She is the
patron saint of virgins. Caradoc was called by the
General de Peyster remarked when giving the statue,
that "he knew there were many saints in Hudson, but he
hoped there was room for one more."
The stranger re-visiting Hudson after an interval of
about twenty years could not fail to note a great improve-
ment in our shopping district. It would perhaps be more
noticeable than in the residential part of the city, although
several handsome dwellings have been erected within that
HISTORY OF HUDSON 191
But anyone who can recall the impression our former
low buildings made upon them after an extended sojourn
in larger cities, (as though a whirlwind had removed the
upper stories), cannot fail to contrast their inferior ap-
pearance with the places of business on our principal
These are really creditable structures, a few having
glass fronts, and all with fine large show windows, in which
their wares are effectively displayed.
Within these alluring exteriors are to be found in
many cases, the usual appointments and appurtenances
of the regulation department store.
During the last decade of the 19th century a deter-
mined effort was made in the very necessary, as well as
desirable direction of civic betterments, and excellent
progress and good results were accomplished.
Warren street, from the Park to the river, was re-paved
with asphalt blocks in 1890. Additional and enlarged
sewers were laid. A number of streets were macadam-
ized, and the upper part of Warren street and Worth
avenue also received needed attention.
All these public benefactions in their preservation and
extension will continue to require the expenditure of
money and energy — and still there's more to follow!
A new charter was procured for the City of Hudson
in 1895, which provided additional commissions for every
One of the most important of these, and one whose
efficient handiwork is to be seen in many civic improve-
ments, is the Board and Superintendent of Public Works.
To this and to the still more necessary Board of Health,
Hudson stands deeply indebted. The creation of a City
Court and the office of City Judge; clearly defining the
duties and powers of the Board of Education, and the
formation of Public Charities, Cemetery, and Police Com-
missions have all been productive of good results.
192 HISTORY OF HUDSON
The public parks and grounds surrounding the school
buildings were first improved in 1898-9, and the sums
expended in clipped lawns and beds of flowers have made
most gratifying returns in the increased attractiveness of
Our early forefathers adhered to their custom of de-
pending on night-watchmen for many years, adding to
their number until there were fourteen on duty every
night! The day seems to have been left without any
guardians of the peace. Like the little boy, who only
prayed to be taken care of at night, saying he could take
care of himself in the daytime !
But at length two constables were appointed, and these
were succeeded by a limited number of policemen.
In 1873, the police department was re-organized and
consists of a Chief and six men, to whom a sergeant was
added in 1895, and the whole force was placed under
the direction of a Police Commission of three, as pro-
vided by the new Charter.
For more than half of the last century the cemetery
received but little attention, and until 1855, nothing was
done, as we learn from the records, except to "place a
fence around it, and clear away the bushes."
In that year some attempts were made to improve it,
but with only partial success, and it was not until 1872,
that the work was taken resolutely in hand. A few per-
sons formed themselves into a "Cemetery Association,"
raised a fund of about three thousand dollars, to eke
out the small amount appropriated by the City, and the
grounds gradually assumed their present improved ap-
In order to insure a permanent income a number of
annual subscriptions were secured in payment of personal
attention to lots, from year to year, and a system of per-
petual care was also later adopted by the Cemetery Com-
HISTORY OF HUDSON 193
On June 18, 1895, the city purchased the adjacent prop-
erty of Mr. Brockbanks, which furnishes the convenient
and ample enlargement that had become necessary, while
the dwelling can be used as a much needed mortuary
chapel, and also contains the office of the superintendent.
The whole was enclosed with a neat iron fence, finished
with ornamental gates at the principal entrance, which
were presented to the city in 1896, and the grounds then
received the name of "Cedar Park Cemetery," Seldom
has the expenditure of time, effort and money, been more
richly repaid, for nature has done her best to make the
views surpassingly beautiful, and asks but little help
194 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Medical Profession — Charitable Institutions.
That "peace hath her victories no less renowned than
war" is well exemplified in the triumphs of modern thera-
peutics, and antiseptic surgery, but the residents* of Hud-
son have been always highly favored in having physicians
who kept well abreast of the discoveries in medical science,
and who were able and skillful practitioners.
Among the first of these was Doctor Robert G. Frary,
who was bom in 1793, and was licensed to practice medi-
cine in 1815. He soon obtained recognition and became
a member of the County Medical Society in 1818, and
of the New York State Medical Society in 1836.
Doctor Frary was elected Vice-President of The $tate
Medical Society in 1845 and its President in 1851.
In addition to the active duties of his profession, Doc-
tor Frary took a deep interest in municipal affairs, and
served as Mayor of Hudson from 1836 to 1846, beside
holding minor offices.
His death which occurred on Dec. 29, 1862, was deeply
regretted, and in recognition of his valuable services to
this city, the grateful citizens erected a monument to his
Another of our most prominent and greatly beloved
physicians was Doctor Abijah Perkins Cook, who
was born at Hyde Park, New York, in 1808. He was
graduated from the Hudson Academy in 1831, and pur-
sued his medical studies with his brother. Doctor George
W. Cook. After receiving his degree from the College
of Physicians and Surgeons, Doctor Cook began the prac-
tice of medicine in Chatham, removing to Hudson in
HISTORY OF HUDSON 195
1840, where he was actively engaged in the duties of
his profession, until his death in 1884. •
Doctor Cook early became a convert of Homeopathy,
and was elected a member of the American Institute of
Homeopathy in 1847, he was chosen President of the
Homeopathic Medical Society of this state in 1865, and
was elected a permanent member of that body in the
He was emphatically a professional man, and he de-
sired only the honor of being a successful physician. In
this he was surely gratified, for his extensive practice
was a sufficient proof of his skill and devotion, while
he had, in an eminent degree, the faculty of inspiring
confidence. Doctor Cook came of a family of noted
physicians on both his father's and mother's side, and his
son, Doctor Charles P. Cook, who succeeded him, well
sustains the traditions of his sires. He is now the oldest
and most prominent Homeopathic physician in this city,
and one of the very few whom we can recall, that was
born here, so large a proportion of Hudson's public men
having been born elsewhere!
Perhaps however it may be a higher compliment to the
city to have been selected as a place of residence after
their arrival at years of discretion. It may also have
been observed that many of those, of whom mention has
been made, have passed away, and lest some irreverent
person should dare to suggest that, like the succulent
tuber, the best part of Hudson seems to be under the
ground, we hasten to explain, that on the contrary, the
impartial historian is surrounded with a veritable em-
barrassment of riches, on which the inexorable limits of
space forbid an entrance.
To return to our physicians, the name of Doctor
Elbridge Simpson will suggest itself to many of the
older citizens. He was born at Ashfield, Mass., in
1812, and soon after the completion of his medical
196 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Studies, came to this city, where he passed the whole
of his professional life. Failing health compelled Doctor
Simpson to seek rest and restoration in travel but he
returned to Hudson, before his death, in 1880. Doctor
Simpson possessed in a large degree the family trait^
which was so marked in his brother, Mr. Joel T. Simpson,
of always extending a helping hand to those who were at-
tempting to obtain a foothold in this workaday world.
More than one struggling young physician was cheered
and encouraged by Doctor Simpson, and enabled to prove
that 'everything (even patients) comes to him who waits.*
Doctor John C. Benham was also a successful prac-
titioner in this city for many years.
He was born in Catskill, New York, in 1816, studied
anatomy and surgery under Doctor March of Albany, and
was graduated from the Medical Academy at Woodstock,
Vt., in 1837.
Doctor Benham removed to Hudson in 1847, and made
it his permanent home, pursuing his profession here dur-
ing the remainder of his long life. He was a man of
high character, and generous, not only of his means, but
of his time and skill, in his ministrations to the poor.
A noble Christian gentleman.
Doctor John P. Wheeler, who was a contemporary of
Doctor Benham, naturally next recurs to memory.
Doctor Wheeler was a native of Red Hook, New York,
and was born in 1817. He studied medicine with his
father, and commenced practice in this city, becoming
a member of the County Medical Society in 1843.
Doctor Wheeler was eminently successful as a prac-
titioner, and was also a man of wide reading, and fine
culture. He died in Hudson on June 28, 1901.
Doctor William H. Pitcher, although a resident of this
city for only seventeen years, greatly endeared himself to
all who knew him.
He was bom in 1825, and was graduated from the
HISTORY OF HUDSON 197
Woodstock, Vermont, Medical Academy, in 1853. Three
years later he commenced the practice of medicine in
Hudson, and resided here until his death in June, 1872.
Doctor Pitcher was active in both the State and County
Medical Societies, and was highly esteemed as a physician,
and as a man. The citizens of this city erected a monu-
ment to his memory, as an evidence of love and esteem.
Doctor Henry Lyle Smith was born in New York City
in 1843, was prepared for college at Williston, Mass.,
and pursued his medical studies with Doctor John P.
Wheeler, in this city.
Doctor Smith was graduated from the New York College
of Physicians and Surgeons in 1867 and after two years'
practice at Bellevue and Blackwell's Island, he took up
his residence in Hudson, and acquired a large practice.
Doctor Smith was an unusually versatile man possessing
a variety of talents.
He wrote on both musical and medical topics and also
a humerous account of a European trip, the manuscript
of which he donated to the local chapter of the D. A. R.,
proceeds of publication to be used toward a building fund.
Doctor Smith passed away on February 11, 1904, sin-
cerely mourned by a host of friends.
The whole community was also deeply moved by the
death of Doctor Crawford Ellsworth Fritts, at so early
an age — when in only his 46th year. Doctor Fritts was
born in the Town of Livingston in 1850, and after his
graduation from the Hudson Academy, he became a stu-
dent with Doctor H. Lyle Smith in this city. He was
graduated from the New York College of Physicians and
Surgeons in 1875, and became resident physician of the
Kings County Hospital. In 1877, Doctor Fritts located
in Hudson, and soon acquired an immense practice. His
office was one of the best equipped for his profession
in the state, and it was daily thronged with patients.
Doctor Fritts was a member of both the County and
198 HISTORY OF HUDSON
State Medical Societies, and also of The New York State
He was consulting physician and surgeon of the New
York Central, and Albany and Hudson railroads, and
also consulting physician of the Girls' Training School.
He held many local offices beside those immediately
connected with his practice, including a directorship in
the Hudson River Bank, the Vice Presidency of a
Knitting Company and Surgeon of Company F., Tenth
Doctor Fritts was especially interested in the Hudson
City Hospital, and was not only an active factor in its
establishment, but was enthusiastic in its support. He
donated to the institution the best obtainable operating
outfit, and personally directed the proper preparation of
the surgery for its use.
A summer which the Doctor spent in Europe, might
have given him the sorely needed rest and change, had
he not combined with it, a course of study with an eye
specialist, which while it greatly increased his efficiency
in that branch of his profession, prevented his obtaining
the recuperation which ought to have been his first and
Dr. Fritts had an extended acquaintance throughout
this and adjoining counties, who with a large circle of
more intimate friends united to grieve over his untimely
death, which occurred on April 6, 1904. Tireless energy
and unresting toil, undermined his naturally strong consti-
tution and left him powerless to resist the encroachments
of disease. A fund of between five and six thousand
dollars was collected from the citizens of Hudson in
1906, which was used for the purchase of the Crawford
E. Fritts Memorial Home for Nurses, No. 888 Columbia
Certain improvements were made which added greatly
to its value, and in July, 1908, the property was conveyed
HISTORY OF HUDSON 199
to the Trustees of the Hudson City Hospital, for their
The house has accommodations for from fifteen to
twenty nurses and furnishes them the comforts their ardu-
ous vocation requires.
The consideration of the Charitable institutions of Hud-
son, follows quite accidentally but with great appropriate-
ness upon that of the medical profession.
No one who has not been engaged in the work of
these institutions, can imagine the continual call made
by them upon the time and strength of the physicians of
our city, nor the willing cheerfulness of their response.
The Hudson Orphan and Relief Association is the old-
est and one of the most beneficent of our charities.
It was founded by Mrs. Robert McKinstry, who
sheltered little waifs at first in her own home. In 1841,
she rented a few rooms at a cost of 100 dollars per year,
but soon after her father, Mr. Abner Hammond, become-
ing interested gave her a suitable site on which by per-
sistent effort an asylum was built, at a cost of 6,000
dollars. Small, timely bequests and constant solicitation
supported the venture, until a larger legacy in 1879 en-
abled the Trustees to purchase their present fine building
with its ample grounds, which was fitted expressly for
their requirements, and forms an ideal home for the
Mrs. McKinstry was President of the institution until
her death, which occurred quite suddenly on June 22,
1862, and its prosperity, if not its very existence, was the
direct result of her unselfish devotion to its interests. The
asylum has accommodations for fifty children, and in
1904, a well furnished Kindergarten was installed, for the
use of the younger ones. It is liberally endowed, and
bears the name of "The Lucius Moore Memorial Kinder-
The Home for the Aged was the next Charitable insti-
200 * HISTORY OF HUDSON
tution established in Hudson. It was incorporated on
May 5, 1883, and was opened on October 23rd, of the
same year, in a rented building on the southeast corner
of Fifth and Union streets.
In 1895, a suitable place with grounds on the corner
of South Seventh and Union streets was purchased. This
with judicious alterations and improvements, was con-
verted into a convenient and capacious "Home," which
was ready for occupancy in April, 1896.
Being enabled by the generous remembrance of its
friends to assume the support of a larger number, and
desiring to extend its benefits to as many as possible, a
wing containing twelve additional rooms was erected in
Although the accommodations are by this means en-
larged to twenty-eight it has retained the same attractive
features of a private home which differentiates it from
the ordinary institution of the kind.
The Hudson City Hospital was incorporated on Decem-
ber 17, 1887, as the result of an earnest effort on the
part of a few of our citizens, and at the urgent request
of Mr. Alfred Van Deusen, who wished to leave to such
an institution, preferably located in this city, a legacy
of 5,000 dollars. Further action was deferred until June
1, 1893, when a building on the northeast comer of
Washington and Fifth streets was rented, properly pre-
pared, and used for hospital purposes until July, 1897.
A legacy of upwards of 30,000 dollars which was left
to them by Miss Sarah Bayley, then became available,
and a desirable site on Prospect avenue and Columbia
street, was purchased. On this was erected the present
hospital building, which was ready for occupancy in 1900,
the first patient having been received on June 6, of that
year. It has thirty beds and all the appliances and fur-
HISTORY OF HUDSON ' 201
Tiishings that are to be found in well appointed institu-
tions of the kind.
The surgery has been mentioned as being particularly
■complete in its special requirements, and a diet kitchen has
been presented to the hospital by a friend, who knew
the importance of that department, in caring for the sick.
A Nurses' Training School is conducted in connection
with the Hospital, and the "Crawford E. Fritts Memorial
Home" provides for the wants of the whole body of
nurses required. An ambulance was the very essential
contribution of the ladies of the city, at an early date.
A Hospital Auxiliary composed of the gentler sex, adds
not a little to the funds and fittings of the work, by the
various means employed.
Patients are received at the usual rates, but a large
proportion of its service is charity, pure and simple, it
having been an especial boon to the poorer classes.
The New York State Training School for Girls is lo-
cated in one of the suburbs of Hudson.
This institution was opened on April 15, 1887, as a
"House of Refuge for Women," but was not successful.
Notwithstanding the most faithful effort, extending over
a period of fifteen years, only five per cent gave satis-
factory proof of reformation.
It was thought that more encouraging results might be
obtained from girls of an impressionable age, conse-
quently the institution was re-organized, and re-opened
as a "Training School for Girls," on June 1, 1904.
The age limit is from ten to sixteen years, and they
are taught all branches of housework and the nursery,
together with nursing, and other industries.
All the girls have regular instruction in gymnastics and
chorus singing. The Institution is most admirably man-'
aged and the reports show that it is meeting with abun-
dant success. The total number of inmates in May, 1908,
202 HISTORY OF HUDSON
was two hundred and twenty-eight, and sixty-five em-
ployees, thirteen of whom were teachers.
The Volunteer Firemen's Home located just north
of the city proper, completes our list of public charities.
The corner stone of the main building was laid on June
28, 1892, and the Institution was formally opened on
June 5, 1895.
The last addition costing 35,000 dollars has just been
completed, making about 50,000 dollars spent for improve-
ments during the past two years. Number of inmates at
present is sixty-eight, and the Home has accommodations
for at least fifty more worthy guests.
This most excellent charitable institution is supported
by a tax on foreign insurance companies doing business
in this state. The tax is two per cent, and the State
Firemen's Association receives ten per cent of the money.
HISTORY OF HUDSON 203
Among the men whose names and fame adorn the
annals of Hudson, the Hon. John Stanton Gould stands
John Stanton Gould was born in Newport, Rhode Is-
land, on March 14, 1812. He was of Quaker parentage
and his most cherished heritage was the memory of the
brave steadfastness of his ancestors, under their cruel
and wicked persecution.
After finishing his course at the Friends' School in
Providence, he was given his choice of a profession, and
deliberately decided to enter the print works of his rela-
tive, Benjamin Marshall of Stockport, Columbia county,
as a chemist.
Mr. Gould was elected a Member of the Assembly in
1846, but he was never in any sense a politician, and
early became interested in matters of a humanitarian
order. He was instrumental in forming the State Prison
Association, of which he was subsequently made Vice-
Here Mr. Gould's broad philanthropic views found full
scope in devising means for the amelioration of the con-
dition of the prisoners, and many measures for the ref-
ormation of the dangerous classes emanated from his
The science of Agriculture greatly appealed to Mr.
Gould and his writings on this and kindred subjects are
among the most valuable contributions to this topic, lead-
ing to his appointment as President of the New York
State Agricultural Society. Mr. Gould's lecture on
"Grasses" before that body, illustrated by the exhaustive
204 HISTORY OF HUDSON
collection of these products of the soil, which is still pre-
served in the State Museum at Albany, was one of the
most masterly ever presented before that society.
But perhaps the crowning work of his studious life
was that in connection with founding the chair of Agri-
culture in Cornell University, on the opening of which
iVlr. Gould was chosen to lecture on Agriculture and the
Mechanical Arts. This position he filled for twelve years,
and v/as one of the most popular professors at Cornell
until his death, on the 8th of August, 1874.
Mr. Gould removed to Hudson in the year 1852, hav-
ing purchased the fine old colonial dwelling No. 115
Warren street. Here he passed the remainder of his life,
drawing around him a few choice friends, amid an
atmosphere of genial hospitality, which under the benig-
nant sway of his excellent wife has been well preserved
to the present day. May it be long ere her cordial wel-
come shall be missed by her large circle of loving friends.
Mr. Gould had a happy gift of imparting knowledge
which, with his command of language made him a valu-
able acquisition both to the public platform and to so-
ciety. Without a trace of ostentation or self-consciousness
he would devote his encyclopedic learning to the enlight-
enment of a school girl, as willingly as he would converse
with a more congenial pedant.
Another whose distinguished attainments reflect credit
upon this city is Doctor Frederick Belding Power, Ph. D.,
LL. D., F. C. S., who ranks as one of the four great
chemists, of the world. Doctor Power, whose ancestors
were among the earliest settlers of Hudson, his
great grandfather having been prominent in its affairs
before 1787, was born in this city on March 4,
1853. Under the tuition of William P. Snyder he
pursued his studies at the Hudson Academy, at the
conclusion of which he entered the College of Phar-
macy in Philadelphia. He was graduated in the spring
HISTORY OF HUDSON 205
of 1874, with the highest honors, receiving the prize in
After thus demonstrating his talents in this direction
Doctor Power was strongly urged by professional friends
to devote himself to the science of Chemistry, and in
pursuance of this purpose, he took his departure for Ger-
many in 1876.
Here he became matriculated as a student in the Kaiser
Wilhelm University of Strasburg, and spent four years
in the study of Chemistry and Natural science. During
the last three of these. Doctor Power served as Assistant
to Professor Phickiger, one of the faculty, which was in
those days a rare distinction for an American, it being a
salaried position and a Government appointment. In
1880, Doctor Power received his degree of Doctor of
Philosophy and soon after returned to America, where he
was at once tendered a position in the Chemical Labora-
tory, of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, his old
This he accepted and retained for about three years,
during which he published in connection with his late
lamented friend. Doctor Frederick Hoffman, of New York,
"A Manual of Chemical Analysis," a large work which
then appeared in three editions. As a means of relaxa-
tion from other duties and for further culture, Doctor
Power attended evening classes at the National School
of Elocution and Oratory, receiving the diploma of the
In 1883, Doctor Power received a call from the State
University of Wisconsin at Madison, which he gladly ac-
cepted, as in the work of organizing and conducting a
Department of Pharmacy in that institution, a wide field
of usefulness was opened to him amid most congenial
surroundings. During the nine years Doctor Power occu-
pied this position, he not only formed many cherished
friendships, but in addition to his regular duties, found
206 HISTORY OF HUDSON
time for research, and for the translation of German
scientific works, and also served on the Committee of
Revision of the United States Pharmacopoeia.
In the meantime an invitation was extended to him to
assume the directorship of some newly established chem-
ical laboratories in the East, and after spending four
years in Passaic, New Jersey, Doctor Power acceded to
the urgent request of a former classmate at Philadelphia,
Mr. Henry F. Wellcome, and joined him in London. Spec-
ial laboratories were established in the central part of
the city in 1896, to be known as the "Wellcome Chem-
ical Research Laboratories," and of these Doctor Power
is the scientific director. With the assistance of a staff
of highly trained chemists, a large amount of scientific
research has been accomplished, which is embodied in
nearly one hundred publications. Products representing
the results of their labors have been shown at numerous
exhibitions, both in this country and in Europe, receiving
the highest awards — and gold medals, a "grand orize,"
and diploma of honor, are a few of the distinctions be-
stowed upon Doctor Power and his collaborators.
Limited space forbids the enumeration of the honors
that have been showered upon Doctor Power both at
home and abroad, only a few of which appear in the
alphabetical adornments of his name.
We rejoice to be able to add that although he has be-
come a resident of London for a time, England can claim
no more. Doctor Power values too highly the honor of
American citizenship ever to surrender it, and Hudsonians
may still continue to follow his career with unabated
pride and pleasure.
Of equal, although quite different distinction, are the
two well-known bankers who by righ*^ of birth, come with-
in the purview of these little sketches.
William A. Nash, who is one of the accredited author-
ities on finance, was bom in this city in 1840
HISTORY OF HUDSON 207
When he was seven years of age, his family removed
to Brooklyn where Mr. Nash spent all his boyhood years,
attending the public schools, and graduating at No. 13
De Graw street, at the early age of fourteen.
He immediately entered the Corn Exchange Bank as
a messenger boy, remaining five years and rising to a
Mr. Nash then entered the Oriental Bank where he
spent three years, returning to the Corn Exchange Bank
at the expiration of that time as receiving teller; he was
soon promoted to be paying teller, and in 1872 was made
Eleven years later, in 1883, Mr. Nash was elected
President of the Corn Exchange Bank, and on the 25th
anniversary of his occupancy of that position, a handsome
loving cup was presented to him, as a mark of apprecia-
tion and esteem.
Mr. Nash is a tireless worker and possesses a genius
for figures, and a penchant for books.
Since 1893, he has been one of the controlling spirits
of the New York Clearing House, and its President in
1895-6. He was also a member of the committee who
bought the land and directed the construction of the new
During the panic of 1893, Mr. Nash was one of the
five men who, as the executive committee of the Clearing
House, had that financial disturbance in charge. At that
time he showed a breadth of view, backed by a fear-
lessness combined with conservatism, that placed him in
the front rank of the able bankers of the country.
Mr. Nash has ever retained his interest in the city of
his birth, and although his visits are infrequent he will
respond to occasional inducements.
Valentine Perry Snyder, the distinguished banker, was
born in Hudson on March 10, 1850. He is the son of
the Rev. William P. Snyder, who was for many years
208 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Principal of the Hudson Academy and Superintendent
of the Public Schools. His mother was descended from
Francis Cook of the "Mayflower."
Mr. Snyder was educated at the Hudson Academy, and
declining to enter college, much to his father's chagrin,
he began his wonderfully successful business career at
the age of fifteen, as an accountant in the Hudson River
Bank. From there he went to the Chatham National
Bank of New York, subsequently forming connections
with the First National Bank of Fishkill, and Third Na-
tional Bank of New York.
Upon the appointment of Hon. Daniel Manning as
Secretary of the Treasury, under the first Cleveland ad-
ministration, Mr. Snyder was selected for his private
secretary, and later he held various positions in the
Treasury Department, the last being that of Deputy Con-
troller of the Currency, which office he filled until 1887,
when he was appointed National Bank Examiner for the
City of New York.
On January 1st, 1889, Mr. Snyder became Assistant
Cashier of the First National Bank of New York, and
soon after was elected Vice President, and later President
of the Western National Bank of that city. On its con-
solidation with the Bank of Commerce of New York, Mr.
Snyder was elected President of the combined institutions,
a position which he fills with great credit, together with
directorships in many of the most important corporations
in the country.
At the close of the Russo-Japanese war, Mr. Snyder
was decorated by the Emperor of Japan with the Order
of the "Rising Sun," for his assistance to the Japanese
government, in placing its war loans in this country and
Europe, and for other valuable services rendered.
The Order is one of truly Asiatic gorgeousness, con-
sisting of a magnificent ruby, set in a star, surrounded
by golden rays.
HISTORY OF HUDSON 209
The fact that Mr. Snyder has near relatives in Hudson,
will insure his continued interest in her welfare, an in-
terest that is most cordially reciprocated by her citizens.
Henry A. Smith, who is one of the Vice Presidents of
the National Bank of Commerce in New York, was a
resident of Hudson for a number of years.
His education was conducted by the Rev. William P.
Snyder at the Hudson Academy, after which he entered
the Farmers' Bank in this city, where he received his
training in the banking business.
In the meantime his father's occupation led to the
removal of the family to New York whither Mr. Smith
followed, and in the course of time became a member of
the official board of the Bank of Commerce with his
congenial friend, Mr. Valentine P. Snyder.
The portraits of our forefathers were painted, appar-
ently to a great extent, by Mr. Prime, whose handiwork
appears in the ancestral halls of many of our citizens.
These are said to have been good likenesses, but in pose
and expression they seem somewhat stiff and wooden,
to us of a later generation.
Mr. Henry Ary, an artist of unquestioned merit, next
occupied the field, the most important of his portraits being
that of Washington, which is owned by the city, and
adorns the chamber of the Common Council.
He also painted landscapes which exhibit real artistic
feeling, some of which may yet be seen in the homes of
Mr. Ary is recalled as possessing a rare artistic sense,
and an intense love of nature. He was also a charming
personality, and greatly respected.
The picturesque scenery of Hudson proved an inspira-
tion to the talented Parton brothers, Arthur and Ernest,
both of whom are natives of this city. Soon after reach-
ing his majoriy, Mr. Arthur Parton entered the studio of
210 HISTORY OF HUDSON
William T. Richards of Philadelphia, where he obtained a
thorough, and conscientious training in the technicalities
of his art, after which he opened a studio in New York,
which has since been his place of work. His residence
being at Yonkers and his summer home in the Catskills.
In 1869, Mr. Parton went to Europe, and during a
year spent in study and travel, obtained a knowledge of
the works of the Barbizon school, which has been of in-
estimable advantage to him in later years.
He was elected an Associate of the National Academy
in 1872, and twelve years later was made an Acade-
mician, and is also a member of the American Water
Mr. Parton has been a most industrious painter, and
his works have received the highest awards of merit
both in Europe and in his native land, some portion at
least of which we would desire to enumerate, did space
Mr. Parton has a daughter who has inherited much of
his artistic talent, and Miss Hilda Parton's portraits al-
ready attract most favorable attention.
Mr. Arthur Parton is essentially an American artist,
finding his subjects in American scenery, and is to be
highly esteemed as such — his brother Ernest early became
a resident of London, England, a fact of which we cannot
think otherwise than regretfully.
Mr. Ernest Parton went direct to nature for his teacher
and she repaid his devotion, by kindly unfolding to him
her choicest secrets.
Not long after locating in London, Mr. Parton sent
to The Royal Academy Exhibition of 1879, a picture called
"The Waning of the Year," a November scene. The Presi-
dent and Council of the Academy hung the picture in the
place of honor, in one of the Galleries and purchased it
under the terms of the Chantrey bequest. It hangs in the
collection of "The Tate Gallery," with the other Chantrey
HISTORY OF HUDSON 2 1 1
pictures. Needless to say that Mr. Parton is well estab-
lished in London. He is a member of every Art Society
and has received several medals abroad.
Mention of Miss Sara Freeborn, artist and sculptor,
should not be omitted from these pages.
Miss Freeborn's family came to Hudson when she was
a little girl, and lived for a number of years in the
dwelling that is now the Chapter House.
Here Miss Sara's talent was exhibited at the early age
of nine years, by a profile bas-relief of herself, modeled
for her mother's birthday. The likeness, caught from a
mirror, was excellent. Miss Freeborn was also a painter
of portraits for a time, but she preferred the chisel to the
brush, which in middle life led to her removal to Florence,
Italy, in order to be convenient to the quarries of Carrara
marble. In her pleasant home she ever welcomed with
gladness her American friends, and especially those from
Miss Freeborn passed away quite suddenly during a
visit to this country not long since, and was laid to rest
among her kindred in our lovely cemetery.
The altar in Christ Church in this city, which was exe-
cuted by Miss Freeborn, commemorates her beautiful and
wondrously spirituelle sister, the wife of Doctor John P.
Wheeler, who placed the memorial in the church she
loved so well.
We bring these imperfect sketches to a close with the
name of one whom the younger artists revere and whose
place in the realni of art has never been quite filled.
Sanford Robinson Gifford was born in Greenfield, New
York, in 1822. /f ?-5
His father soon after removed to Hudson, where he
became engaged in the iron business, and all Mr. Gifford's
impressionable boyhood's years were passed amid the
beautiful scenery of this city.
It is not surprising that his artistic nature expanded, and
asserted itself, with such influences as these thus early
212 HISTORY OF HUDSON
exerted upon him. So dear did these views become to
him that on many occasions when arriving on a visit
to his relatives, Mr. Gifford went first to the heights be-
yond to drink in the inspiration they afforded.
In 1842, Mr. Gifford entered Brown University, where
he remained two years, and then proceeded to New York,
to avail himself of the few advantages there offered for
the study of art.
For one year he devoted himself to the study of draw-
ing, perspective and anatomy, with a view to portrait
painting, but in 1845, he determined to become a land-
scape painter, which was the true bent of his talent.
After exhibiting in the Academy for five years, Mr.
Gifford was in 1851, elected an Associate, and in 1854, an
Then followed successive seasons spent in sketching,
in every part of the old world, with intervals only in his
native land. In September, 1857, Mr. Gifford returned
to New York, and occupied the studio No. 19 in the Studio
Building, No. 51 West Tenth street, which he retained
until his death.
Mr. Gifford joined the famous Seventh Regiment of
New York City at the outbreak of the Civil War, and
accompanied it to Washington in 1861. He was also out
with the regiment in 1862 and in '63. In 1868, he again
went abroad remaining two years, after which he occupied
himself sketching in this country for four years, leaving
scarcely any accessible portions unvisited.
In July, 1880, not feeling well he went again under
medical advice, to the region of Lake Superior, but be-
came so ill that he was compelled to hasten home. After
lingering a few weeks, Mr. Gifford passed away in the
City of New York, on the 29th of August, 1880, in the
fifty-eighth year of his age.
"Mr. Gifford possessed an imperishable spark of genius.
HISTORY OF HUDSON 2 1 3
which he fanned assiduously throughout his whole life and
has left an ever-burning impress of his character on his
works." Certain it is that Mr. Gifford's pictures remain
upon the walls of memory, as though painted on the inner-
most recesses of the mind.
Beside these whom Hudson can claim by right of birth
or residence, artists like the distinguished Frederick E.
Church, who was the intimate friend of Sanford R. Gifford,
and the great painter of marines, M. F. H. de Haas, have
given our views the stamp of the highest artistic appre-
ciation. The latter during his frequent visits pronouncing
the combination of mountain and river to be unsurpassed
in beauty, and the former by placing his home within
the radius of six miles, which in his mature judgment
contained the finest scenery in the world.
Our glimpses of authors on their flying visits to Hudson,
like those of the other personages of distinction we have
mentioned, have closely resembled those of the fabled
angelic visitants, in being "few and far between."
Miss Alice B. Neal published in 1850 a book entitled
"The Gossips of Rivertown," meaning Hudson, thereby
giving offense to many of the good people of this city.
Though how any one could be offended at such emascu-
lated caricatures of human nature is past finding out.
Miss Neal mentions "the excitement occasioned by
Charles Dickens passing through Main street," and says,
"every traveler who arrived at the 'Rivertown House'
(Hudson House) for months afterward, that was so un-
fortunate as to wear a linen blouse, and have an uncom-
mon quantity of long light hair was surely 'Dickens him-
self again.' "
That was Mr. Charles Dickens' first visit to this country,
which was followed by "American Notes" after his return
That book by "Boz". doubtless delighted the Britisher,
214 HISTORY OF HUDSON
but was less pleasing to the people of this country who
had so hospitably entertained the author. However un-
palatable it may have been, much of it was true, and it
probably did us good
"To see oursel's as others see us!"
Mr. Henry James visited Hudson in September, 1905,
and curiously enough he was also gathering material for
his "American Notes," published serially in "The Atlantic
Monthly" and "North American Review," and later col-
lected in book form.
Mr. James arrived with two ladies and a French poodle
in an automobile, which required some repairs. The party
went to "The Worth" for dinner, requesting to bring the
poodle to the dining room with them.
On being informed that dogs were not allowed in that
room, but would be well cared for elsewhere, they departed
and as Mr. James relates, "found dinner at a cook shop,
after encountering coldness at the door of the main hotel
by reason of our French poodle." "This personage had
made our group admirably composed as it was, only more
illustrious; but minds indifferent to an opportunity of in-
tercourse, but the intercourse of mere vision with fine
French poodles, may be taken as suffering, where they
have sinned." "The hospitality of the cook shop was
meanwhile touchingly, winningly unconditional, yet full
of character, of local, of natural truth, as we liked to think,
documentary in a high degree — we talked it over — for
How very Jamesian that is! But there was better stuff
than that in the "Notes," or the book would not have been
worth the binding.
The incident was the occasion of much mirthful com-
ment in Hudson, but it only exhibits the smallness of the
really great Analyst, in his analytical extremes.
Among others of the craft of authors who have been
entertained in this city (but not at a "cook shop"), we
HISTORY OF HUDSON 215
recall the charming George William Curtiss — the delight-
ful raconteurs, Bayard Taylor and George Kennan, and
also W. Elliot Griffis, our American historian who out-
Hollands the Hollanders, in admiration of the Dutch.
Hudson is frequently, though erroneously mentioned
as being the birthplace of Francis Brett Harte, and a recent
post card purports to exhibit the house in which he was
born. The facts in the case are these:
Mr. Hart's father v/as for a time the Principal of the
Hudson Academy, and lived on the corner of North
Seventh and State street. Here a daughter was bom and
named Margaret, soon after which the family removed to
Albany, where Mr. Harte was employed as a teacher of
the classics in the Albany Female Academy, and where
Francis Brett Harte was born. •
Mr. Harte has near relatives living in this city, whom
he used occasionally to visit in his early years, but he
never resided here.
216 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Clubs — Notable Residents.
The Hudson Social Reading Club composed of fifty-
members was organized on January 22, 1879, "for the pro-
motion of social intercourse based upon intellectual cul-
ture." It being then late in the season, further action
was deferred until the following autumn, and the first
meeting was held on the evening of November 10, 1879.
The Rev. William D. Perry was elected President of
the club — a position which he filled with much ability.
The literary menu was prepared by an executive com-
mittee who after due consultation, announced the fort-
nightly "feast of reason and flow of soul."
Mention of these executive sessions brings to our re-
membrance, with a sigh of regret, the thoughtful face of
Miss Mary Gifford, at whose suggestion the club was
formed, and who evinced a great interest in its welfare,
while she continued to reside in Hudson.
The genial mien of a certain reverend gentleman (not
then a D. D.) who still dispenses undiluted spiritual
pabulum to his receptive congregation in this city, recurs
to mind, and also the form of our gifted secretary, to
whom Hudson owes a debt of gratitude for the preserva-
tion of her early history.
The writer offers no apology for a digression, in order
to pay a tribute to the memory of Mr. Stephen B. Miller,
author of "Historical Sketches of Hudson."
Mr. Miller was a descendant of one of the oldest fami-
lies of Claverack, a branch of which removed to this
city, where he was born, on October 7, 1823. He was a
man of high character, upright, generous, unselfish, and
the soul of honor.
HISTORY OF HUDSON 2 1 7
His affection for Hudson was as discriminating as it
was deep and abiding, and it is almost pathetic to note
in his "Sketches," how sensitive it made him to any un-
just criticism applied to her.
Almost his closing words in that work are an appeal
to her citizens to speak well of their own city, which ought
not to have been necessary, one would think, but which
unfortunately is still too much required. His clear eye
saw how injurious had been the strange habit of depre-
ciation so often indulged.
Mr. Miller passed away on June 11, 1905, leaving a
large circle of friends to mourn his loss.
Returning to the "Reading Club" to which Mr. Miller
and others contributed most interesting papers, we have
delightful memories of the charming entertainments fur-
nished to its members, and occasional guests.
Variety was secured by setting apart one evening in
each season, to be devoted to music, and another to the
drama. These were exceptionally enjoyable.
On November 5, 1888, the "Hudson Social Reading
Club" was reorganized, and renamed "The Fortnightly,"
which club has been successfully conducted on similar
lines for the past twenty years. Its twentieth anniver-
sary will be appropriately celebrated during the coming
season. A few changes were made, the most important
of which was the omission of gentlemen, and the decision
to hold the meetings in the afternoon instead of evening.
There can be no question that the "Social Reading
Club" and its successor "The Fortnightly," have pro-
moted social intercourse, and have widened the horizon
of their members. It is very desirable that such an
organization should be maintained.
The social life of Hudson has always been of an ex-
ceedingly pleasant character, but in recent years enter-
tainments have become so elaborate, and the expenditure
so lavish that they are less frequent than formerly.
218 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Possibly a return to something of the simplicity of
our mothers might be of advantage.
A uniformly successful hostess of several generations
ago, on being congratulated upon her delightful "parties"
(they were so called then), she replied, "Oh! I have really
nothing to do but get agreeable people together and they
do the rest." So easy — like pushing a button, and presto!
a charming party emerged!
It is a far cry from those simple but enjoyable affairs,
which always included plenty of music and dancing, to
the functions of the present day. As an instance, one
has only to recall a single season of a few years since,
when "The Ben Greet Company of Players" in "As You
Like It," "The Kneisel Quartet," a mammoth theatre
party, and several vaudeville troupes, were provided for
the delectation of Hudson society. It is hardly neces-
sary to say that, with the exception of one or two notable
"Readings," there has been nothing of importance since.
The lovers of cards (and their name is Legion) are
enabled to "bridge" these intervals successfully — clubs
for the purpose bemg both numerous and prosperous.
A smaller club named "Deltoton" has been a source
of profit and pleasure to some of the younger ladies of
Hudson for a number of seasons.
Its object is "mutual improvement along literary lines,"
to which has been added some useful outside work in
the form of "Mothers' Meetings," which v/ere intended
for the betterment of the homes, and the infusion of a
more hopeful spirit among the weary workers, in the
lower section of the city.
Under the auspices of "Deltoton" and "The Fort-
nightly" such men as John Fiske, Jacob Riis, Doctor Luther
Gulick, John Graham Brooks and others have been heard
and enjoyed by Hudsonians.
The Country Club, as its name implies, is an associa-
HISTORY OF HUDSON 219
tion of ladies and gentlemen who are devoted to golf and
They have a convenient little club house at the links
just outside the city, where athletics and afternoon tea
combine to while away the hours.
The Hudson Club which is composed only of gentle-
men, was formed in 1873, for "mutual enjoyment of ra-
tional pleasure." The Club occupy the residence of the
late Doctor Abijah P. Cook, on Warren street, which
affords ample room and is conveniently located.
Hudson has never been considered a musical city "par
excellence," but it possesses much musical talent, which
is exhibited not alone in a perfected technique, but also
in a finely cultivated taste. This appreciation of the best
artists renders Hudson a most attractive field for concert
troupes, as Miss Thursby and others have borne abundant
testimony. In former years the noted musicians like the
celebrated lecturers, were within our financial reach, but
the enormous salaries demanded now rerder it impos-
sible to meet their requirements in a city, v/here only a
limited number would be willing to pay city prices, for
the privilege of listening to them.
It seems almost incredible that Thomas's Orchestra was
brought to Hudson some years ago by subscription, and
the citizens felt well repaid by just one gala performance.
Of the number of notables who have visited or re-
sided in Hudson, only a few can be mentioned.
In the year 1854, William L. Ashmead Bartlett, with
his mother and elder brother Ellis, came to this city, oc-
cupying at first the house of Prof. Blanchard, No. 117
Warren street, and afterward No. 118, on the opposite
side. Hudson had been especially commended to Mrs.
Bartlett as an ideal home for herself and children, by
220 HISTORY OF HUDSON
Mr. Cyrus Curtis of New York, who had been himself
a resident here for some years, at an earlier period.
Many persons will remember Mrs. Bartlett and the two
little boys, all attired in deepest mourning, for the hus-
band and father, then recently deceased. Mr. Morrill,
assistant rector of the Episcopal church, was employed as
tutor, until at the proper time the education of the Bart-
lett brothers was continued at the Episcopal College at
Annandale. Quite suddenly the family were called to
England by the serious illness of one of Mrs. Bartlett's
sisters, Mrs. Brooker, and they never returned. Mrs.
Bartlett passed away about seven years ago. Her letters
breathe the deepest affection for "dear old Hudson," and
the friends whom she always hoped to see again.
The education of the Bartlett boys at Eton and Oxford
was assumed by Mr. Brooker, their uncle, and the mar-
riage of the younger to the Baroness Burdett-Coutts is
familiar to all. Notwithstanding the disparity in age —
nearly forty years — the union was a happy one. Lady
Burdett-Coutts was a vigorous horsewoman and pedestrian
at the age of sixty-six, and for many years afterward,
and possessed in a marked degree that elusive quality
She was annoyed by the persistence of suitors — de-
clining the offers of such men as Napoleon III and
Disraeli, she found in the young Philadelphian the friend-
ship, that grew into an affection which never failed her.
Mr. Burdett-Coutts devoted himself to the adminis-
tration of his wife's charities most unselfishly, and proved
an invaluable aid to her in every possible way.
Lady Burdett-Coutts and her husband greatly desired
to visit their American relatives, whom she always wel-
comed so cordially and entertained so delightfully, but
her innate dread of the ocean prevented. On more than
one occasion their steamer accommodations were engaged,
HISTORY OF HUDSON 221
but at the crucial moment of sailing the courage of the
Another notable recalled was the guest of our Presi-
dent one evening, at the Social Reading Club.
A pleasant, unassuming gentleman, who was introduced
as Mr. Ion Perdicaris, quite unwillingly furnished sev-
eral paragraphs to the press not very long ago
While sitting quietly in his home in the suburbs of
Algiers, he was taken captive by that boldest of bandit-
chiefs, Rais Uli.
Mr. Perdicaris rather objected to giving aid and com-
fort to the enemy to the extent of $75,000, but after an
imprisonment of a few weeks, his health was becoming
impaired, so he yielded and was set at liberty.
Mr. Cyrus Curtiss, to whom allusion has been made,
was a most highly esteemed citizen of Hudson for many
years. He was Mayor of the city during the Anti-rent
war, also one of the three Superintendents of Public
Schools first appointed by the Council. Later he removed
with his family to New York, but always retained the
friendships formed while a resident here.
The pure bracing air, fine drives, and charming scenery
of Hudson have always possessed a peculiar attraction for
the weary retired business man, seeking a quiet, restful
place "far from the madding crowd," in which to set
up his Lares and Penates.
The first instance recorded was that of Mr. Richard
L Wells, who came here with his family from New York,
on a sloop in 1808, with all his household goods. The
spacious mansion No. 10 Partition street, had just been
completed by Mr. Alexander Mitchell, who built several
fine houses in this city. It was much admired by Mrs.
Wells, who chanced to be paying one of her frequent
visits to her father, Mr. Josiah Olcott, who has been
222 HISTORY OF HUDSON
mentioned in a former portion of this work, as the partner
of Thomas Jenkins in the rope-walk and also in other
business enterprises. His residence was the well known
"Olcott House" on the corner of State and Third streets.
In this large, comfortable dwelling, Mr. Olcott lived and
died. His sons and later descendants are prominently
known in law and finance, while his daughters, Mrs.
Richard I. Wells, Mrs. William Folger and the Misses
Olcott, all now deceased, are most pleasantly remembered
by all who knew them.
Mr. Wells purchased the house referred to on Parti-
tion street, and it became one of the most hospitable and
delightful homes in this city.
Somewhat later, the property of Samuel Plumb, now
known as the Mclntyre place, became the residence of
Doctor Oliver Bronson, also of the leisure class. He
was active and useful in civic affairs — was one of the
Superintendents of Public Schools, and with Cvrus Cur-
tiss and Josiah W. Fairfield, served faithfully in the work
of fostering and improving them.
Doctor Bronson removed from Hudson and Mr. Fred-
erick Fitch Folger next occupied the estate, beautifying
it, and spending many happy years there.
Mr. Folger had retired from active business in New
Orleans, and became an invaluable acquisition to this
city. Public-spirited, able, and willing, he served on vari-
ous commissions, and devoted much of his well-earned
leisure to the best interests of our citizens.
Mr. Joel T. Simpson who, during a long period, dis-
pensed both a cordial hospitality and beneficent charity,
from his lovely home, had also retired from business in
To these might be added the names of many others
who have found amid our beautiful surroundings the
health and comfort they desired, and who have contributed
HISTORY OF HUDSON 223
immeasurably to the civic betterment and social life of
But in this utilitarian age there is no longer room for
such a city of refuge; where the worn toiler may find
rest, and where churches, schools and market are easily
accessible, together with the joys of friendly intercourse.
People who are flying from the noise and smoke of the
metropolis are compelled to go farther afield, and are
happily finding, on landed estates throughout the country,
all needed requirements.
It is quite possible that a new era is about to dawn
upon the city of Hudson.
Its admirable facilities for transportation by rail or
river, and its abundant water supply furnish the advan-
tages for manufacturing that are so eagerly desired for
our young men; although unfortunately it has been the
universal experience of places of this size, that the younger
element would still seek the greater possibilities of the
However, the experiment could be tried, and if it
should make for the fuller development of the city on the
best lines, everyone will most heartily rejoice.
But the bells that ring in the new, ring out the old!
May they also,
"Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring in the valiant man and free.
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land.
Ring in the Christ that is to be."