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A HISTORY OF 

OLD KINDERHOOK 



FROM ABORIGINAL DAYS TO THE PRESENT TIME; INCLUDING 
THE STORY OF THE EARLY SETTLERS, THEIR HOME- 
STEADS, THEIR TRADITIONS, AND THEIR 
DESCENDANTS; WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THEIR 
CIVIC, SOCIAL, POLITICAL, EDUCATIONAL, 
AND RELIGIOUS LIFE 



EDWARD A. COLLIER, D.D. 



WITH WO ILLUSTRATIONS AND 3 MAPS ^ 



G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS 
NEW YORK AND LONDON 
Ube Iknicfterbocftec press 

1914 






Copyright, 1914 

BY 

EDWARD A. COLLIER 



Zhe Itniclterbociier f>re0s, t^ew ]I?orft 
t 

DEC 18 1914 

©GI,A891004 "-' , 



PREFACE 

THE suggestion of this history came from Mr. WilHam 
Wait, as we met in our cemetery one Sunday afternoon 
nearly seven years ago. An immediate reference of the plan 
to the same quiet resting-place might possibly have proved 
to be the wiser course. Certainly if a tithe of the magnitude 
and difficulty of the work had been realized, it would never 
have been undertaken. And yet a task that ought to have 
been completed before so many of our elder citizens had 
passed away, should be undertaken. Kinderhook, one of the 
oldest towns in the State, and one whose contribution of 
eminent men to public life cannot readily be paralleled, 
should have its story told more fully and accurately than is 
possible in a county history. Nearly fifty years ago, indeed, 
a small beginning was made in the gathering of material for 
a proposed history; but the exactions of service which had a 
prior and superior claim, and the announcement that two 
other writers, natives of the town, had a similar work in 
hand, led to the now regretted abandonment of the project. 
Seven years ago, however, relief from an active pastorate, 
continued for forty-three years, a realization of the unwisdom 
of having those "idle hands" of which Watts wrote waming- 
ly, a degree of familiarity with place and people as great 
perhaps as that of any who had time for the work, and the 
expressed wish of many, led to the undertaking of what must 
be largely a labor of love. 

The work is designed to be chiefly a history of old Kinder- 



IV 



Preface 



hook; first the original District, then the Town, and finally 
the Village proper. Valatie and the parts of the original 
territory of which we were despoiled for the formation of 
adjoining towns are by no means neglected, but necessary 
limitations have precluded their receiving equally full con- 
sideration. 

The labor involved has been enormous. A short para- 
graph sometimes represents long and laborious research. 
No known available source of information has been neglected. 
Land-papers in the Secretary of State's and other public 
offices, State and County; deeds, mortgages, and wills in- 
numerable recorded in Albany, Hudson, Kingston, and New 
York, together with many unrecorded papers loaned by 
friends ; the treasures of the great libraries, including priceless 
manuscripts (now largely perished) in the custody of our 
courteous State Archivist, Mr. Van Laer, to say nothing of 
histories, alleged histories, gazetteers, and newspaper files, 
have been searched with the utmost care in reading and 
copying. Many Dutch records have been translated or their 
substance furnished, in some cases by Mr. Van Laer himself. 
The records of the old Kinderhook church, covering nearly 
two hundred years, have been of incalculable value; and 
possibly fifty years of very frequent scrutiny of them may 
justify the hope of the approximate accuracy of data derived 
therefrom. In every quotation there has been strict ad- 
herence to the original text, and all responsibility for incon- 
sistencies in the spelling of names is expressly disclaimed. 
Three variations in such spelling in one document, and as 
many as fourteen spellings of the same name, have been 
noted. Descendants of the old families may find in their 
records ample authority for any spelling they prefer. 

The genealogical and biographical notes are numerous 
and relate to nearly all the old families, but are given of 
necessity merely in outline. They are, however, reasonably 
complete and accurate. As long as descendants of the same 
original ancestor are not agreed as to the accuracy of the 



Preface V 

published genealogical records, even those of Pearson and 
Munsell not excepted, it is not to be assumed that I have 
threaded my way through the inextricable maze with un- 
erring step. Authorities supposedly correct have been 
followed, and if I have erred it is in excellent and even illus- 
trious company. Personal research in behalf of many 
seeking to establish impossible family relationships corrobo- 
rates the statement of Professor Pearson in his Genealogies 
of the First Settlers of Albany that ''it is to be feared that, 
through tradition or something worse, a large element of 
fiction has been introduced into many genealogies. " 

Footnotes are few, notwithstanding the suggestion that 
"they look well." Inasmuch as the indices of the many 
volumes of the Documentary History of the State, the Docu- 
ments Relating to the Colonial History, Munsell's Annals and 
the like, volumes familiar and accessible to the novice in 
historic research, reveal the authority for a multitude of 
unimportant details mentioned, the pedantic display of 
footnotes concerning an Indian foray or the building of a 
bridge seemed unnecessary and even undesirable. For all 
really important land-papers, records, and narratives, the 
source of authority will be found incorporated in the text. 

While the gazetteers furnish many dry-as-dust industrial 
and other details, said to be loved by posterity, the news- 
paper files give informing and entertaining glimpses of the 
every-day life of the fathers; of their exciting political 
campaigns when the stability of American institutions was 
imperilled by the candidacy of a Kinderhook justice; of 
their notable celebrations, barbecues, and gorgeous training 
days ; of their churches and schools ; of their sloops and stage- 
coaches ; and of the occasional sad aberration of local editors 
and bards in the by-ways of frivolity and sentiment. The 
story of the old homesteads, inns, and the people in them is 
told with considerable fullness. Many biographical sketches 
reveal Kinderhook's exceptionally large contribution of 
notable men to every department of public life. In reminis- 



vi Preface 

cences of old times Kinderhookers may see the village and 
their forebears as others saw them, and the gossip of the 
author concerning men and things fifty years ago may be an 
appropriate finale. 

Obligations to helpers cannot be fully acknowledged, but 
many are named in the text. The first place belongs to Mr. 
William Wait, an enthusiastic antiquarian and Indian 
archaeologist. His suggestions and the treasures of his fine 
library, as well as his artistic taste and skill in the matter of 
illustrations, have been of great value. Next in order are 
the voluminous notes of the late Mr. Pierre Van Buren Hoes 
who passed away when his sketches of Kinderhook and its 
people were but begun. Through the kindness of his widow, 
Mrs. Anna Miller Hoes, and of his son, P. Ernest Hoes, all 
that material has been made available and helpful. The 
Rev. Roswell Randall Hoes, Chaplain U. S. N., has also 
rendered valuable assistance. So, likewise, have Mr. PhiHp 
Van Alstine and Dr. Wm. B. Van Alstyne, both of New York 
and both deeply interested in Kinderhook's early history. 
Our accomplished State Archivist, Mr. Arnold J. F. Van 
Laer, and Miss Van Peyma of the genealogical room of the 
former State library, are to be thankfully named. To Mr. 
Peyton F. Miller of Hudson I am indebted for permission to 
use his A Group of Great Lawyers as if written by myself. 
Very great also was my obligation to my lamented friend, 
the late Colonel Silas W. Burt, for the loan of the charming 
manuscript volume containing his recollections of his early 
life in Kinderhook. From the late Mrs. Aaron J. Vander- 
poel, Mrs. W. G. Hibbard of Chicago, and Mr. Robert C. 
Van Schaack of the same city, daughters and grandson of the 
late H. C. Van Schaack, of Manlius, N. Y., came the privi- 
lege of examining and culling from his three large folio 
volumes of Revolutionary Autographs, containing many 
autograph letters and other documents pertaining to those 
times. Then a host of good people have not only loaned 
valuable documents but have had their lives made miserable 



Preface vii 

in part by ceaseless questions. Their unmentioned names 
would make a partial census of the town. I must, however, 
name Mr. Calvin Ackley of phenomenal memory of persons 
and events long passed; and also Mr. Chas. M. Bray, who 
made many searches of titles in Albany and Hudson. All 
these at least will rejoice at the completion of this work. 
Many, with no faintest conception of the labor involved, 
have been impatient at the long delay in writing finis. 
Thankful that with spared life and reason I can now write it, 
I dedicate the book to all the sons and daughters of dear old 
Kinderhook. 

My long-time friend, the Rev. Dr. W. E. Griffis, bade 
me God-speed as this new voyage out upon the dark and 
stormy sea of authorship was begun. He also, most kindly, 
warned me against being "swamped in a sea of archasological 
details." Perilously near it have I been many a time, but 
now my battered bark is at last safely within a haven of rest, 
which is sweet, even though it be not in all respects the 
"desired haven." Laus Deo! 

E. A. C. 

Kinderhook, N. Y., July i, 1914. 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. — Discovery and Indians ..... i 

II. — Physical Features, Boundaries, and Census 22 

III. — Settlement, Land Grants, Devolution of 

Title, and Land Litigation ... 40 

IV.— Who Was Who 88 

V. — What Was What 125 

VI.— War Times 165 

VII. — Gleanings 205 

VIII. — Celebrations and Sundry Notable Meetings 242 

IX. — Churches and Schools ..... 270 

X. — Financial, Fraternal, and Other Organiza- 
tions ....... 300 

XI. — Highways, Public Utilities, Industries, 

Cemeteries ...... 320 

XII. — Old Homesteads, Inns, and People in Them 350 

XIII. — Biographical Sketches ..... 390 

XIV. — Reminiscences ...... 481 

Appendix ....... 531 

Index ........ 561 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



FACING 
PAGE 



The Village of Kinderhook from Prospect Hill 

Frontispiece 
The " Half Moon " in Kinderhook Waters 
Major Abram's Creek 
Kinderhook Lake 
Merwin's Lake 

The Binnekill .... 
A View from the Creek . 
Kinderhook Lake 
Stuyvesant Falls 
The Staats House 

A Grain (or Wine) Jar, Unearthed in the Cellar 
OF THE Staats House . 



Dishes Used when Burgoyne was 
Kinderhook 



Entertained at 



The Reformed Protestant Dutch Church 

St. Luke's Lutheran Church, Valatie 

The Methodist Episcopal Church, Valatie 

The Presbyterian Church, Valatie 

St. Paul's Episcopal Church . . . . 

The Methodist Episcopal Church . 

Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church 



7 
7 
24 
24 
26 
26 
26 
26 
44 

44 

187 
276 
276 
278 
278 
280 
280 
282 



Xll 



Illxjstrations 



FACING 

PAGE 

St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, Valatie 282 

The Academy and Boarding Home, 1855 

High School, Valatie 

The Village Hall 

The Union Free School . 

Before the Fire 

Before the Fire 

The Village Bridges 

The Creek near the Bridge 

The Silvester House 

The Jarvis-Nink Home 

The Ritzema-Dennis-Clapp House 

The Old House on William Street 

Orchard Home .... 

sunnyside ..... 

The Stephen Van Alen-W. B. Van Alstyne House 

Bye-low .... 

The Van Alen Homestead, where Katrina Van 
Tassel Lived 

The Merwin Farm House, where Ichabod Crane Lived 

Jesse Merwin ...... 

Jesse Merwin 's Monument 

The Site of Ichabod Crane's Schoolhouse 

The Pruyn-Bray-Beekman Homestead 

Major Goes's Inn ..... 

C. Van Schaack and Wynkoop House 

The Heermance-Schnapper House . 

A Pre-Revolutionary House . 

The Benedict Arnold (?) Inn, now Chrysler House 370 



Illtastrations 



xiu 



FACING 
PAGE 

The p. Van Schaack-Mix-Harder House . . 375 

The p. S. Hoes-G. S. Collier House . . .375 

Martin Van Buren's Birthplace .... 376 

Lindenwald ........ 376 

The Van Buren Monument 376 

The J. Vanderpoel-Myers-Burt House . . . 379 

The Village Square 379 

Crow Hill- Whiting-Howard 381 

Elmhurst 381 

The H. Snyder-D. C. Smith House . . . .382 

The Francis Pruyn-Davie Homestead . . . 382 

Old Fort, Chatham Center 385 

The Old Bridge and the Col. P. Van Alstyne House 385 

The Kinderhook Hotel 387 

The Old Farmers' Hotel (Central House) . . 387 

Martin Van Buren 413 

Washington Irving 4^3 

The Van Buren Certificate 416 

Indian Village . . . . . . . .416 

Martin Van Buren's Office Docket . . . 426 

Part of a Letter from Irving to Merwin . . 426 

General Whiting 438 

Hon. John H. Reynolds 438 

Edward A. Collier 502 

The Pruyn-Wilcoxson House 503 

The ChAteau (Wynkoop Homestead) . . . 503 

The Van Buren Elm, Lindenwald Road . . .511 

At the Turn of the Lindenwald Road, near the 

schoolhouse . •. . . . . . 511 



av 



Illustrations 



A View of Valatie . 

Main Street, Valatie 

The Hoes Homestead, Valatie 

Broad Street . 

The National Union Bank, Chatham Street 

Broad Street, in Winter 

Albany Avenue . . . 

The Stagecoach Blacksmith Shop 

Mike Clancy and His Kinderhook-Hudson Mail 
Carrying Outfit 

The Grove 

The Cemetery, Begun in 1817 

L. L. Morrell's House 

The Flats from the Grove 

L. Milham-A. T. Ogden . 

The Parsonage of the Reformed Dutch Church 

A Faithful Soldier, Sexton, and Friend . 

137 F. N. Y 



MAPS 

Old Map of Kinderhook ...... 

Vrooman's Map, 1756, of the Division of the Great 
Kinderhook Patent of 1686 .... 

Map of the Town of Kinderhook .... 



FACING 

PAGE 

514 
514 
514 

522 
522 

528 



30 

76 
124 



A HISTORY OF OLD KINDERHOOK 



History of Old Kinderhook 



CHAPTER I 
KINDERHOOK AND ITS INDIANS 

Name — Territorial Extent — Discovery — Hudson's Visit — Indian Occupancy 
— Indian Names — The Last of the Mahicans. 

KINDERHOOK (Kinder-hoeck) means Children's Corner. 
The prosaic prefer Point. Referring to this meaning 
Ruttenber says, "There is a fragrance in the fact which 
makes the name more palatable than most Dutch geo- 
graphical terms." Another breath of fragrance, we add, 
comes to us from Claverack — Clover Reach. 

The original location of the name was on the river-bank 
near Light House Creek. This explains the constantly re- 
curring phrase in early land papers — "behind Kinderhook." 

The first known appearance of the name is remarkable 
and of great significance. It is on what is called Adriaen 
Block's (possibly Cornells Hendrick's) "Carte Figurative," 
dated 1614-1616. No present-day place-name in the State 
is of earlier record. On that chart Albany is Nassau, and 
New York, Manhattes. The chart is, as Bacon states, 
"shockingly mendacious" in its mislocation of some names; 
Esopus, for example, on the east side of the river; but it iS 
accurate as regards the location of Kinderhook. 



2 Old RinderKooK 

This early appearance of the name instantly disposes 
of all the alleged and variant traditions as to its origin ex- 
cept the most pleasing, namely, that it was given by Hudson 
or his crew because of the Indian children gathered to see 
the strange monster on the river. Inasmuch as the telegraph 
and telephone had not as yet been installed in the wigwams 
of the Indians, it seems probable that it was an anchored, 
somewhile abiding, and not a mere passing ship which called 
the children together in sufficient number to occasion the 
giving of the name. Returning home the explorers reported 
the incident, and down the name Kinderhook went on that 
very early chart. 

To Henry Hudson belongs the honor of the discovery 
of Kinderhook when the Half Moon anchored in latitude 
42° 18', September 18, 1609. 

Our authority for this and other statements to follow is 
De Laet's Nieuw Werreld, 1625. John De Laet, a member 
of the West Indian Company and an eminent geographer, 
claimed that he wrote with original documents, inferentially 
Hudson's Journal and Juet's Log Book, before him. Robert 
Juet, Hudson's clerk, kept a daily log book with evident 
care. Director Jameson, of Carnegie Institute, Washington, 
in his Narratives of New Netherland, assures us that "De 
Laet's work is composed with system, precision and accu- 
racy." Both Hudson and Juet were English, and their 
leagues and miles English and not Dutch. Interpreters of 
these records have come to different conclusions. After 
Yates and Moulton, Brodhead and others, it would ill be- 
come us to assume that we can settle the disputed question 
in favor of Kinderhook waters as the most northerly anchor- 
age of the Half Moon. It is certainly, however, not settled 
adversely; and while we do not claim a proved case, we do 
claim a greater degree of plausibility and probability for 
this view than for any other. All conditions considered, 
the Half Moon of our picture puzzle fits more perfectly 
in Kinderhook waters as the final anchorage than any- 



RinderHooK and its Indians 3 

where else. We present the argument for what it may 
be worth. 

The first important presentation of the view for which 
we contend was by Rev. Dr. Samuel Miller in his address 
before the N. Y. Hist. Society in 1809, published in their 
first volume. 

In Capt. Simms's Frontiersmen of New York, we read: 
"Captain Hudson ascended the stream above the present 
city of Hudson, and from thence sent his mate with four 
hands in a boat to prosecute the survey, who, it is believed, 
ascended the river to the present site of Albany." 

From Historical Collections of the State of New York we 
quote the statement of Barber and Howe, 1841 : 

Hudson appears to have sailed up the river a little above 
where the city of Hudson now stands; and beyond that point 
he himself never ascended. Not considering it safe to proceed 
further with his ship he sent a boat with five hands to explore and 
sound the river higher up. The boat proceeded eight or nine 
leagues beyond where the ship lay at anchor; but finding the 
soundings extremely irregular and the depth in some places not 
more than seven feet, it was judged inadvisable to attempt any 
further progress. 

Finally, in this partial citation of authorities, in Randall's 
History (1870, p. 12) we read: "On the 19th, he (Hudson) 
reached the present site of Kinderhook, from whence, having 
sent a small boat to a point a little above Albany, he com- 
menced, on the 23rd, his return voyage." 

Much importance is given to the statement of Emanuel 
Van Meteren, Dutch consul at London for twenty-five years 
until his death in 161 2, which is that the ship ascended the 
river to latitude 42° 40', approximately that of the present 
Lumber district, Albany. 

We also have Lambrechtsen's statement that the river 
was sailed up to latitude 43° ; that is more than twenty miles 
above Albany. Recalling the rapids then existing beyond 



4 Old HinderKooK 

Troy, and having a fall of about twenty feet, the statement 
is absurdly inaccurate, if strictly interpreted. 

Yates and Moulton cite from A Record of West India 
Voyages that the highest latitude reached was 42° 40'; but 
whether by the Half Moon or its boat is not stated. We 
submit also that the writer, thirty-eight years after Hudson, 
quoted by Brodhead is not a prime or conclusive authority. 

Morse {American Geography, 1789) gives the latitude of 
Hudson as 42° 23', Albany, 42° 36'. It is quite conceivable 
that Van Meteren also erred. Concerning his and all like 
statements we remark: 

I. They are inconsistent with the original narrative of 
Hudson and Juet. This explicitly declares that the small 
boat went ''eight or nine leagues'' beyond the most northerly 
anchorage of the Half Moon. It was gone all day, not re- 
turning until ten o'clock at night ; presumably a twelve- or 
fourteen-hour trip to say the least. But it is certain that 
the boat could have gone only about two leagues above 
42° 40'. We must anchor the Half Moon in Kinderhook 
waters to make that eight or nine league twelve-hour trip 
possible. 

II. De Laet, with Hudson's narrative professedly 
before him, expressly states that it was in latitude 42° 18', 
approximately that of the mouth of Stockport Creek, that 
Hudson made his memorable visit ashore. Beyond this 
point the Half Moon sailed only about two leagues, that is, 
to Kinderhook waters, and there for about four days re- 
mained at anchor and thence returned after the trip of the 
small boat ''eight or nine leagues" beyond; that is, to the vi- 
cinity of Albany. It is alleged that De Laet's latitudes and 
Juet's leagues and miles were probably inaccurate. The 
precision of our U. S. Coast Survey is not to be expected; 
but we may not assume errors to fit our theories. The 
latitude of Sandy Hook bar, which the Half Moon hesitated 
to cross because "there was no more than ten feet of water, " 
is given with approximate accuracy, and there is no warrant 



tlinderKooK and its Indians 5 

for the assumption that 42° 18', as the latitude of Hudson's 
visit ashore, is incorrect. The miles and leagues of Juet's 
log are, it is alleged, too many for the actual distance sailed. 
Quite true for a modern steamboat trip, but possibly not 
for the Half Moon tacking hither and yon as compelled by 
adverse winds. 

III. The details of the original narratives as regards 
the vicinity of the final anchorage of the Half Moon point 
to the same conclusion. A friend, very familiar with this 
part of the river, and a practical navigator, assures us that 
the details — ^^ shoals in the middle of the river with deep water 
on either side and hi the proximity of three small islands^' — 
are met in this locality and in no other. 

IV. We have this narrative of the first stage of the 
return trip: 

At tweule of the clocks wee weighed, and went downe two 
leagues to a Shoald that had two channels, one on the one side, 
and another on the other, and had little wind, whereby the tide 
layed vs upon it. So, there wee sate on ground the space of an 
houre, till the fioud came. 

The narrative in all its details agrees perfectly with the 
theory of Kinderhook waters as the starting-point, and the 
well-known flat near the four-mile lighthouse as the place 
where the Half Moon grounded. 

The editor of Juet's Journal {New York Historical Col- 
lections, New Series, Vol. I.) added this note: 

"Ship navigation in the river extends five or six miles above the 
city of Hudson, to about the latitude 42° 18'; beyond this point 
vessels drawing more than six feet of water are generally unable 
to ascend." Moulton supposes the Half -Moon to have been of 
the small class of vessels of less burthen than sloops plying 
between Troy and New York. But it will be remembered that 
on making Sandy Hook, Hudson at first declined entering what 
appeared to be the mouth of a large river, because it had a very 



6 Old HinderKooK 

shoal bar before it, where they had but ten feet of water. Is it prob- 
able, then, that he ventured or was able to pursue his course 
beyond the point indicated as the head of ship navigation on the 
river, when he would encounter shoals of only six or seven feet 
at high water? 

De Laet, after describing "Kleverack" (Clover Reach) 
and other "Reaches" as "dotted with sands and shallow 
both on the east side and in the middle of the river," writes: 

Finally the Hart's Reach succeeds as far as the Kinderhoeck : 
at this place and beyond, the river at its greatest depth has but 
five fathoms of water and generally only two or three. Beyond 
the Kinderhoeck there are several small islands in the river, one 
of which is called Beeren Island. 

We confess to a profound admiration for the skill of the 
theoretic pilots two hundred and forty years after Hudson 
who, under these conditions of unknown tortuous channels 
and innumerable shoals, navigate a ship of eighty tons, which 
drew too much water for the bars of the Delaware and hesi- 
tated and grounded at Sandy Hook with its ten feet of 
water, to the vicinity of Albany, and thence send a small 
boat twenty-four miles or more up the rapids. 

All are agreed that through the day and night of Septem- 
ber 1 6th, the Half Moon was at anchor within near view of 
the Catskill Mountains, possibly near Catskill, possibly 
Tivoli. There, Juet narrates, ^' We found very loving people 
and very old men and were well used.'' The natives supplied 
them with Indian corn, pumpkins, and tobacco. The next 
day tortuous channels and many shoals, with which all 
navigators of the Hudson are familiar, made progress diffi- 
cult and slow. They ran only ''six leagues higher.'' The 
Half Moon grounded twice but was "heaved off" and finally 
safely anchored, where it remained about a day and a half. 
The latitude, according to De Laet, was 42° 18', approxi- 
mately, as we have already said, that of the mouth of Stock- 




The "Half Moon" in Kinderhook Waters 

From a photograph 




Major Abram's Creek, Looking West 
Near here Henry Hudson Landed 

From a photograph 



RinderKooK and its Indians 7 

port creek, Th.eTe,DeLaet states, " Hudson landed.'' Then 
and there he discovered Kinderhook and trod its soil. 
Beyond this the Half Moon went about six miles and an- 
chored, where it remained about four days. It was the 
cynosure of all eyes, especially of those of the gathering 
children, and the place was therefore named Kinderhook. 
And the name continues while Albany was successively 
known as Nassau, De Fuyck, Fort Orange, Beverwyck, 
Albany, Willemstadt, and Albany; not to say Aurania ("ffort 
Aurania"), which was doubtless the English phonetic spell- 
ing of the Dutch Oranje (Orange). Most respectfully do 
we remind Albanians, who insist on docking the Half Moon 
where we beheld her replica in 1909, of what Governor 
Nicolls with reason wrote to Jeremias Van Rensselaer: 
"You should not grasp too much." 

We have presented our argument and deem it plausible 
if not conclusive. Certainly no other conclusion is indis- 
putably established. 

That this was the view of Martin Van Buren we do not 
positively affirm; but among the pleasing memorabilia of 
him is his alleged reply when at a royal reception Queen 
Adelaide asked how far back he could trace his ancestry. 
Bowing with all courtly grace he answered, "As far back 
as Kinderhook, Your Majesty." 

Of course we who know Kinderhook best are not sur- 
prised that Hudson should have regarded it as the Ultima 
Thule of his personal explorations and the Ne Plus Ultra of 
his desires. 

Hudson's visit to Kinderhook was on Friday, September 
18, 1609. The narrative from his own journal is as follows: 

I sailed to the shore in one of their canoes with an old man, 
who was the 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 



8 Old RinderHooK 

maize or Indian corn and beans of the last year's growth, and 
there lay near the house for the purpose of drying enough to load 
three ships, besides what was growing in the fields. On our 
coming into the house two mats were spread out to sit upon, and 
immediately some food was served in well made red wooden 
bowls; two men were also despatched at once with bows and 
arrows in quest of game, who soon after brought in a pair of 
pigeons which they had shot. They likewise killed a fat dog, and 
skinned it with great haste with shells which they had got out of 
the water. They supposed that I would remain with them for 
the night, but I returned after a short time to the ship. The land 
is the finest for cultivation that I ever in my life set foot upon, 
and it also abounds in trees'of every description. The natives are 
a very good people, for when they saw that I would not remain, 
they supposed that I was afraid of their bows, and taking their 
arrows, they broke them in pieces and threw them into the fire. 
Hospitality and goodness abide in Kinderhook still. 

The Indians who so kindly welcomed Hudson were the 
Mahicans, sometimes mistakenly identified with their 
cousins the Mohegans, whom Cooper immortalized. Their 
domain included the whole eastern shore of the upper Hud- 
son as far as the falls of the Mohawk and thence eastward 
indefinitely. They were a tribe of the Lenni-Lenapes, 
which means Original People. The domain of the Lenapes 
extended along the Atlantic seaboard from the St. Lawrence 
to Florida, and as far inland as the valley of the Mississippi, 
and even to some tribes beyond. But of this region a small 
portion near the Great Lakes, and that extending across 
New York and through the valley of the Mohawk and to 
the headwaters of the Delaware and Susquehanna, was 
occupied by the Mengwe, otherwise called Iroquois or Six 
Nations; and a small portion along the Gulf at the south 
was inhabited by the Creeks and Cherokees. The Lenni- 
Lenapes, it is stated, had been reduced in numbers by 
1660, to 90,000; about one half of the total number of Indi- 
ans east of the Mississippi. 



ninderhooK and its Indians 9 

The tradition of the Mahicans concerning their early 
history, which is essentially that of the Lenni-Lenapes, is 
given by Heckewelder in substance as follows : Their ances- 
tral home was in the far West beside great waters that 
ebbed and flowed. Moved by the Great Spirit to seek new 
hunting grounds in the East, they started upon their jour- 
ney. It was long and perilous and involved many bloody 
conflicts with hostile tribes through whose territory they 
must needs go. Years of privation and suffering came and 
went without their finding a place of rest. They came to 
many great waters but to none that ebbed and flowed until 
they reached the Hudson. These waters were like those of 
their ancestral river. They named them Mahicanituck, the 
river of the Mahicans. Here the Great Spirit would have 
them '' kindle a fire and hang a kettle whereof they and their 
children might dip out their daily refreshment.'^ 

Their Council fire and palisaded village or castle were 
in Schodack, meaning Fire Place or Place of Council. The 
site was Castle hill within the present village of Castleton, 
Another place of rendezvous was in Valatie, the Indian 
name of which (Pachaquak) signifies Meeting Place. Beeren 
Island was long known as the island of the Mahicans, and 
Smack's as Aepjen's Island. 

Eskuvius, alias Aepjen (Little Ape), was the Mahican 
head Sachem and Peace Chief. The name Aepjen was 
probably the Dutch phonetic spelling of an Indian name 
of much more dignified meaning. Kesieway (Kesse Waye) 
was another Peace Chief who was in later years a mail- 
carrier between Albany and New York. The function of 
a Peace Chief was to maintain tribal covenants and also to 
negotiate treaties of peace for his own people and for others 
when invited thus to serve. We find Aepjen thus serving 
with the sachems of five other tribes in New Amsterdam, 
in 1645, to terminate a desolating war of five years' contin- 
uance. Their signatures, with those of William Kieft and 
other Dutch officials, were affixed to the treaty. Aepjen's 



10 Old K-inderHooK 

mark is charmingly like a child's picture of a giraffe with a 
long neck but very short legs and a straight tail of the same 
length. It was meant doubtless for a wolf, the emblem of 
his tribe. Again in 1660 he was one of three Mahican chiefs 
who went to Fort Amsterdam in the interests of peace with 
the Esopus Indians. Laying down, we read, four belts of 
wampum before Governor Stuyvesant, "These," he said, 
"are a guarantee that the Kalebackers (possessors of guns) 
desire peace, and that we are authorized to treat in their 
behalf." 

Traditionally, Emikee, whose name occurs on an Indian 
deed and on the subsequent Baker and Plodder land-patent, 
was the owner of the present site of the village of Kinder- 
hook and of a portion of the flats toward Valatie; and one 
Pompoen (whence Pompoenick) was the swarthy proprietor 
of Valatie or land to the east of it. As late as 1812, when 
attorney Martin Van Buren was arguing one of the almost 
interminable land cases, he rather ungraciously referred 
to Emikee as "only an Indian." The retort was that the 
attorney was born on Emikee's land. 

In our iconoclastic age some are disposed to regard 
Emikee as a myth, partly because Chancellor Kent, in one 
of our most important land cases, of which we shall have 
more to say, used the words, "the Emiquees land," suggest- 
ing possibly a tribe or family of the Mahicans. That the 
word was a corruption of Maquas (Mohawks) is not credible. 
The Mohawks, sometimes victors and at other times the 
vanquished even in their own fastnesses, in the frequent 
conflicts between the two tribes, never owned any of our 
territory. That Emikee and Wattawit, our chief Indian 
landholder (for himself or his family) , were one and the same 
is possible. But for ourselves we have a profound respect 
for Emikee as a veritable person, and shall drop a quiet 
tear over his grave when we find it. He should have a 
monument in our village park, and we will receive subscrip- 
tions therefor. 



ninderKooK and its Indians II 

The principal trails of the Indians through the wilder- 
ness, unbroken save by patches here and there under crude 
tillage, were two: one near the river; and the other, following 
the lines of least resistance, nearly identical with the road- 
bed of the Boston and Albany Railroad and long known as 
the "New England Path." 

The friendliness of the Mahicans who welcomed Hudson 
was continued for many years. With scarcely an exception 
their lands were bought, not stolen. The price was often 
trifling indeed, but satisfactory to the owners. Under the 
Dutch in 1629, and the English in 1664, the extinguishment 
of the Indian claim by purchase was a prerequisite to the 
granting of a land-patent. The Indian owner or the Sachem 
of the tribe was required to appear in person before the 
Albany authorities and attest the satisfactory sale. 

On Manhattan, not here, occurred the alleged repetition 
of Queen Dido's exploit at Carthage. A bit of land, only 
what a bullock's hide would cover, that they might "raise 
a few greens for their soup," was asked for and freely given. 
But when the thrifty suppliants, laying aside their Virgil, 
proceeded to cut the hide into small strings which enclosed 
a considerable plot, the Indians said nothing, for they had 
several acres left, but they did considerable thinking, to the 
effect possibly that the verdants in the bouillon were already 
in evidence. 

In 1623 Mahican chiefs brought to commander Jorise at 
Fort Orange, large presents of beaver and other peltry, and 
asked for covenants of friendship and privileges of traffic. 
They are reported as saying at that time that they made a 
wide distinction between the Dutch at Fort Orange and 
those at New Amsterdam. We blushingly accept the tribute 
as undoubtedly merited. And yet we will say that there 
was a decided distinction between the fierce warlike Dela- 
wares of Manhattan and our peaceful loving Mahicans. 
Moreover, when we read in the narrative of the Swedish 
naturalist, Peter Kalm, of his visit to Albany, in 1749, — 



12 Old RinderHooK 

"Nobody comes to this place without the most pressing 
necessity," and read his description of the inhabitants as a 
people whose "avarice and selfishness are known through 
all North America," we are humbled. But Albany was 
not Kinderhook. 

The "merrie making" which followed Hudson's visit to 
the Mahicans was the beginning of a sorrowful story. In 
later years their love for the white man's "fire-water" became 
an insatiable appetite most destructive as always in its 
results. No wonder that some called it "devils' blood." 
The record is painful and humiHating to the last degree, 
but the long story of impoverishment, demoralization, 
disease, and death requires no recital here. Two hundred 
years later, Heckewelder writes of the traditions of that 
fateful merrymaking as still current among the Indians. 
He gives the derivation of the name Manhattan from a 
long Indian word meaning "the island where we all became 
intoxicated." Inasmuch as the earliest authorities refer 
to the locality as "Mana-hatta" we respectfully put an 
interrogation mark after Mr. Heckewelder's derivation, 
and are assured of a more pleasing pedigree for the name. 

The Indians were not wholly uncared for by the Colo- 
nial authorities : among the " Lawes establisht by the Author- 
ity of His Majestees Letters patent granted to his Royall 
Highnes James Duke of Yorke and Albany," we find the 
law regarding the purchase of lands from Indians already 
referred to; other laws for their protection from injuries; 
forbidding the sale of weapons, ammunition, intoxicating 
liquors without license, etc.; and then this for the safe- 
guarding of the morals of settlers: "No Indian whatsoever 
shall at any time be suffered to Powaw or perform outward 
worship to the Devil in any Towne within this Government." 
There was also this charming protection of the sanctity of 
marriage: "Any person proven guilty of perjury, who has 
thereby attained a Double Marriage . . . shall bee boared 
through the tongue with a read hot iron." 



tlinderKooK and its Indians 13 

The devil-worship referred to was thus explained in 
Robert Livingston's letter to Bellomont in 1770: "God, 
they say, is good and lives above. Him they love because 
He never do's them any harm. The devil they fear and 
are forced to bribe by offerings, etc., that he do them no 
harme." 

How tenderly solicitous the Dutch fathers were for the 
health of the Indians we learn from Jed's Historical Frag- 
ments which tell us of the ordinance of 1653 against the 
selling of white bread or cake to the natives; and we are 
pleased to note that in 1655, Jochim, the baker, was tried 
for selling them sugar cakes and also for baking bread 
under weight. This last was such a heinous offense 
that notice was affixed to the church door (1681) that the 
price of white bread was to be seven stivers (14 cents) 
wampum, for a loaf weighing one Dutch pound. 

Our Mahicans seem to have been numerous and strong 
at the time of Hudson's visit and for twenty years thereafter. 

In apparent confirmation of this, which is not the com- 
monly accepted view, we find in what is known as Van Cur- 
ler's but was probably (Mr. Van Laer thinks) Surgeon 
Vanden Bogaert's Journal of his expedition among the Iro- 
quois (1634-35), a reference to an abandoned fortress of the 
Mohawks, from which (his Indian guide informed him) they 
had been driven not many years before by the Mahicans. 
Indeed, so independent were they that the first settlers at 
Fort Orange found them entirely unwilling to part with 
any of their territory. Even the West India Company was 
unable as late as 1625 to purchase from them the site of 
Fort Orange. It was not until after their disastrous defeat 
by the Mohawks on Roger's Island, in 1629, that the Mahi- 
cans consented to sell any part of their ancestral domain. 
Then, through the steady encroachment of the white man, 
as well as the triumph of their ancient foe, they soon became 
a comparatively small and feeble folk. 

Their treatment by the Dutch and English authorities, 



14 Old liinderHooK 

while not especially oppressive, tended to make and keep 
them "women," as the Indian phrase was. The conciliation 
of the Mohawks, and the other nations of the famous Iro- 
quois League, seemed and probably was essential to the 
progress and even the continued existence of Fort Orange 
and its dependencies. The Mohawks, hoping to obtain 
arms with which they might more successfully than of late 
contend with the Indian allies of the French in Canada, were 
quite disposed to be conciliated. Hence the summons to 
all to the notable conference at Norman's Kill in 1618. In 
the treaty there concluded the Iroquois held one end of the 
Peace Belt and the Dutch the other, while the middle of it 
rested on the shoulders of the Lenni-Lenapes and the Mahi- 
cans. All the white man's power was pledged against the 
people who should first unbury the hatchet. 

The Mahicans appear to have remained true to the 
covenant of 161 9 to the last. We may be sure they were 
not of the marauding band of Indians who in 1664 burned 
the Staats house at Stockport and devastated to some extent 
the interior. Nor were they of those allies of the French 
who in 1748 and 1755 made their sudden attacks with torch, 
tomahawk, and muskets. On the contrary, they were 
ready to serve our people with their lives if need be. When 
in 1 69 1 Fort Orange was threatened with an attack by 
the French and their savage alHes, the Mahicans were "the 
River Indians" who obeyed the summons to defend the 
imperilled fort. And when in 1696, Captain Dubeau and his 
band from Montreal were marching from the vicinity of 
Fort Orange to attack Kinderhook, our faithful Mahicans 
surprised and defeated them. Doubtless there were occa- 
sional lapses from virtue on the part of individuals, as there 
have been, it is reported, among the sachems and braves of 
the Great Wigwam of Manhattan. But on the whole the 
Mahicans were faithful to their early covenant of friend- 
ship. The characterization of the River Indians by Smith's 
History as "dastardly tribes to whom governors gave pres- 



RinderHooK and its Indians 15 

ents for promises never meant to be performed," is inac- 
curate and unjust. They sealed their covenant of friend- 
ship with the English, as well as with the Dutch, with their 
own blood. 

In evidence of this we quote a portion of the address of 
the Mahicans to Governor Fletcher, when he came to Albany 
in 1693 to confer with them and other Indians. It should 
be noted that the Mahicans had received considerable 
accessions after King Philip's war (1676), by the coming of 
their cousins from New England. 

We cite a fragment of the address: "Wee return you 
also our hearty thank's for renewing and makeing bright 
that covenant chain, wee will alway's Oyle and greeze it 
that it should never Rust. Thereupon they presented half 
a belt of Wampum." They did lubricate the covenant 
chain; for, when the same Governor visited Albany in 1696, 
passing through Kinderhook on his way, one of the very 
first things he did was to send for our Indians "who had 
knocked a party of seaven Frenchmen on the head," and 
"for their better encouragement" gave them six pounds for 
each one they had killed. 

Although involving a break in the continuity of our 
narrative, the frequent and manifold use of wampum (sea- 
want), in Indian traffic treaties and common life, justifies a 
paragraph of explanation. Wampum was made of bits of 
shell rounded, perforated, and usually strung on a sinew of 
an animal. The strings varied in length according to cir- 
cumstances and were sometimes measured by the fathom. 
Several strings interwoven to about the width of a hand 
constituted a belt. The beads, so-called, were usually like 
small pieces of broken pipestem, white, black, red, or purple 
in color, and were more valuable if polished. Those of 
cylindrical shape, made from the red pipestone of the West, 
were more valuable still. The beads were used for money, 
for personal adornment, and as symbolic tokens and pledges. 
Their color, number, and arrangement were significant of 



l6 Old liinderKooK 

ideas, intelligible to the Indian if not to the white man. 
At conferences and councils and in the making of treaties, 
the Indian orator was wont to punctuate the paragraphs 
of his oration by laying down strings, belts, or fathoms of 
wampum varying in length, value, and symbolic meaning 
according to the importance of the subject-matter of his 
address. 

These belts were also in a degree their historic annals 
and the records of the mutual obligations of giver and re- 
ceiver. We read of an Indian who in time of need claimed 
from a white man the fulfillment of a promise he had re- 
ceived forty years before, and of which he had a memorial 
belt. A sachem or other dignitary was the official keeper 
of these memorial belts. From time to time he would 
gather the younger members of the tribe about him and 
solemnly explain the significance of each belt, thus handing 
it down from father to son and from generation to generation. 
The explanation was listened to with reverent silence until 
completed. Then, only, some aged warrior might speak of 
any detail which the keeper of the belts had possibly 
forgotten. 

As money, wampum was an unstable currency, with a 
constant tendency to depreciation. A well-polished black 
bead was worth two white ones. In 1641, at the famous 
Seawant-Wampum Exchange, which stood (we assume) 
on Aepjen's Island, six unpolished, or four well-polished 
beads were worth one stiver (about two cents). In 1658, 
eight white and four black beads were valued at one stiver, 
and four years later twenty-four white beads and twelve 
black were worth one stiver. A fathom of wampum was 
valued at $i.66X. These market quotations are correct, 
whatever the unimaginative may allege concerning the 
precise location of the Seawant-Wampum Exchange. 

Resuming our proof of the fideHty and serviceableness 
of our Indians, we cite the testimony of Robert Livingston 
(1700) in a letter to Governor Bellomont, in which he says, 



ninderHooK and its Indians l^ 

"The River Indians have done signal service for this govern- 
ment in the late war." 

For yet another interesting item of evidence, we have 
the notable address of the River Indians to Lieutenant- 
Governor Nanfan (1701) in the presence of Peter Schuyler 
of "His Majesties Councill," the mayor, aldermen, and 
other dignitaries. The Mahican sachem Sacquans was the 
speaker whom we quote in part : 

Father. Wee became like a people in darkness see soon as wee 
heard of the death of our father the late Earle of Bellomont our 
Govenour and soe continued till the sun shined again upon us by 
your coming . . . wee esteem ourselves happy that there is such 
a person pitch'd upon to be our father and Governour who wee 
hope will take care of us — Doe give two beavers. 

Father. Itt is by Gods permission wee meet here together 
and wee are heartily glad to see you, and since itt is requisite 
you should know our strength wee have made an exact calcula- 
tion and wee are now two hundred fighting men . . . and hope 
to increase in a years time to three hundred, doe give a belt of 
Wampum. 

Father. Itt is now ninety years agoe since the christians 
came first here, when there was a covenant chain made between 
them and the Mahikanders the first inhabitants of this River, 
and the chain has been kept inviolable ever since and we have 
observed that neither Bears grease nor the fatt of dear or Elks 
are soe proper to keep that chain bright, the only forraign 
(sovraign) remedy that wee have found by experience in all that 
time to keep the chain bright is Beavers grease, doe give two 
Beavers. 

The fifth paragraph of Lanfan's reply is as follows: 

The great King of England my Master being made sencible 
of your steddy adherence to the Crown of England sufficiently 
demonstrated by your forward and frequent venturing your lives 
against the French in the late warr has been graciously pleased 
to command me to assure you of his Royall protection and has 
sent you a present. 



1 8 Old RinderHooK 

This was the present, besides what was given to parti- 
cular sachems privately: "30 Gunns. 5 kettles. 4 dozen 
knives. 5 looking glasses, i ps red i ps blew strouds, 
I ps blanketts, 8 keggs of Rum, 200 barrs lead, 40 Bags 
powder, 3 Rolls tobacco, 10 Hatchets, 10 shirts, 24 pair 
stockings, gross of pipes, 2 vatts beer, 50 loaves." 

In Barber's Historical American Scenes it is narrated, 
in substance, that a delegation from Massachusetts being 
in Albany to confer, in common with our authorities, with 
the Six Nations, it became necessary for Colonel Schuyler to 
send a letter to Niagara. It was intrusted to an Indian who 
was to bring back the reply. During his absence Colonel 
Schuyler was taken quite ill. The messenger, on his return, 
went to the council chamber but finding Colonel Schuyler 
absent would give the letter to none other, notwithstanding 
all assurances and solicitations. He was then offered fifty 
pounds for the letter and his service but scornfully refused 
the offer. The perplexed commissioners then threatened 
to take the letter by force, whereupon, with his drawn knife 
in his right hand and the letter in the left, he said with indig- 
nation that he would plunge the knife into his own heart 
before he would be guilty of a breach of trust. And he was 
"only an Indian." 

The Indian names of familiar localities are not without 
interest. They are to be found on old maps, deeds, surveys, 
land-patents, and in the colonial records so voluminously 
on file among the archives of the State. In many cases, 
however, their orthography is so variant in different docu- 
ments, and even in the same document, that authorities 
are unable to decide as to the correct form and the precise 
significance. Ruttenber makes note of forty-nine variations 
of one name. 

Like the early Hebrew Bible names they were all signi- 
ficant. They were vivid word-pictures ; and yet, eyes skilled 
in discerning them do not always see the same pictures. 
For example, "Skenectadea," some have said, was the Indian 



ninderHooK and its Indians 19 

name for the present site of Albany, and Ruttenber assembles 
this picture gallery of varying interpretations: "Beyond 
the opening" (Morgan); "Beyond (or on the other side of) 
the door" (O'Callaghan), and "Beyond the Pines" (Horatio 
Allen). Mr. Ruttenber deems Mr. Allen's interpretation 
exhaustive and correct from the standpoint of a Mohawk, 
but himself prefers a Dutch origin for the name and the 
meaning — ' ' beautiful portion. ' ' 

Premising that where authorities differ we give but one 
orthography without claiming exactitude, we present the 
following details, nearly all of them from the older land- 
patents : 

The Hudson River, named by the Dutch Mauritius, 
was called by some Indians Shatemuc (Eel-fishing Place), 
and by others, as before stated, Mahicanituck, the river of 
the Mahicans. The vicinity of Chittenden's Falls was 
termed Cicklekawick, a wild, dashing stream. Two tracts, 
farther up the creek, were called Najokassick and Wachca- 
nossoonsick. One of the falls still beyond was named 
Casesiawack. A portion of the site of Kinderhook village 
was Machackoosk and that of Valatie, Packaquak, the 
cleared or meeting-place. In parenthesis, we respectfully 
suggest to our neighbor a return, as in the case of Sing- 
Sing, to the sonorous Indian name, rather than the perpetu- 
ation of the unmeaning nasality, Va-lay-she, for the good 
old Dutch pronunciation V61-a-che, meaning Little Falls 
as distinguished from the greater falls below. It is related 
of the late Hon. William H. Tobey that, hearing a lawyer in 
Court say Va-lay-she, he wrathfully exclaimed : "What does 
the fellow mean? There is no such place." Ruttenber 
to the contrary notwithstanding, French's Gazetteer is correct 
as to the meaning of Valatie, Little Falls. 

The hills f o the east of Valatie toward Chatham Center 
were named Pennekoes. The Kleine Kill was Kenagtiquak, a 
small stream or beginning place. Kinderhook Lake (Great 
Fish) was Wogasheuachook, while the smaller Knicker- 



20 Old KinderHooK 

bocker Lake had appropriately the less imposing name 
Heithoock (Tree). The Eykebush (Oak Woods) Creek 
was called Pettanock. Pompoenick may have meant 
playground. The Indians had their places of sport. 

Our Mahicans, few in number compared with what 
they had been, rapidly faded away. The official enumera- 
tion of 1689 revealed but 250, including women and children, 
in the entire county of Albany, of which Kinderhook was a 
district. Seven years later they had dwindled to ninety. 
Strong drink, "one of the fatal first gifts," says O'Callaghan, 
of the civilized Christian to the untutored heathen, was 
their greatest enemy. Their wisest men at least understood 
this. At their conference with Lord Cornbury in 1702 a 
sachem stood up and prayed that, "y^ Rum (100 gallons) 
given in y^ present might be lodged somewhere till their 
Conference was over since they are now just begunn and 
if their people should fall a drinking they should be unfitt 
for businesse; upon which it was ordered to be lodged in 
M'. Livingstones seller." It was not long until all were 
gone; most of them to unknown graves; a few to their kin- 
folk beyond the Taghkanics and in Stockbridge, a remnant 
of them serving on the side of the Americans in the Revolu- 
tionary War, as their ancient foe, the Mohawks, served 
the British. Later on, the very few survivors of the once 
powerful race of the Mahicans were removed, first to Madi- 
son County, N. Y., in 1785, and then to the Ohio country 
and to Canada. 

We are indebted to Mr. Heckewelder for the pathetic 
story the Lenni-Lenapes and Mahicans were wont to tell: 

We and our kindred tribes lived in peace and harmony with 
each other before the white man came into this country. Our 
council-house extended far to the south and far to the north. In 
the middle of it we would meet from all parts to smoke the pipe 
of peace together. When the white men arrived in the south we 
received them as friends; we did the same when they arrived in 



HinderHooK and its Indians 21 

the east. It was we, it was our forefathers, who made them 
welcome and let them sit down by our side. The land they 
settled on was ours. We knew not but the Great Spirit had sent 
them to us for some good purpose, and therefore we thought 
they must be a good people. We were mistaken; for no sooner 
had they obtained a footing on our lands than they began to pull 
our council-house down, first at one end and then at the other, 
and at last meeting each other at the centre, where the council- 
fire was yet burning bright, they put it out and extinguished it 
with our own blood, with the blood of those who had received 
them, who had welcomed them to our land. The blood ran in 
streams into our fire and extinguished it so entirely that not one 
spark was left us whereby to kindle a new fire. . . . The whites 
will not rest contented until they shall have destroyed the last 
of us, and made us disappear entirely from the face of the earth. 



CHAPTER II 
PHYSICAL FEATURES, BOUNDARIES, POPULATION 

Contour — Extent — Elevation — Soil — Waters — Fruitage — Warden's Natural 
History. Boundaries: Albany County — Kinderhook District — Its Spol- 
iation — Chatham Boundary — Ghent Boundary — Stuyvesant Bound- 
ary — Village Boundaries — Valatie Boundaries. Notable Field Books — 
Population, 1 790-1910. 

THE present town of Kinderhook is in contour an irreg- 
ular parallelogram about eight miles long and four 
wide, containing approximately 20,800 acres; not a third 
of the original area. The northerly part, about two thirds 
of the whole, is table-land to which there is a gradual ascent 
from the Hudson River, 

According to the Kinderhook Quadrangle, U. S. Coast 
Survey, the village, at the Albany Southern station, is 259 
feet above sea-level ; Valatie, near the cemetery, 243 ; Niver- 
ville, 328; Sunnyside, 245; the Post Road, about three miles 
above the village, 320; Kinderhook Lake, 288; Prospect Hill, 
with its superb outlook whence in 1777 the light of burning 
Kingston was seen, 557, the highest elevation in the present 
town ; Old Chatham, is 539 feet and near it is a hill marked 
1080 feet elevation. 

Near the river much of the soil is clay, furnishing excel- 
lent material for numerous brickyards. Early in the 
eighteenth century there was a brickyard on the old Scher- 
merhorn-Pruyn homestead now owned by the Misses Beek- 
man; another on the Van Alstyne farm; still another on the 

22 



PKysical Featxires, Boxindaries, Population 23 

farm on the Eykebush road where the late Rear-Admiral 
Philip was born; and yet another on the Bidwell-Platner- 
Bray place. Undoubtedly most of the ''bricks brought from 
Holland'^ were made here. In the interior the soil is a sandy 
loam, much of it originally very fertile and still bountifully 
productive when intelligently cultivated. The sandy soils 
are rich in phosphorus, as evidenced by the large yield of 
grain per acre. The clay soils are relatively richer in potash. 

The original timber was mostly pine. Until within a 
few years there stood in the cemetery one tree at least 
which beheld Burgoyne's captive army passing by, and 
which in its youth may have heard of, if it did not see the 
Half Moon anchored in our waters. 

Kinderhook District was and is well watered. About a 
mile south of the Rensselaer County line is Kinderhook 
(Great Fish) Lake; of irregular shape, about nine miles in 
circumference, and with a maximum depth of about forty 
feet. On the western side is the grandly pine-clad "Point," 
an attractive and famous resort for many generations. On 
the opposite variously-wooded shore, for a time connected 
with the Point by a bridge, is Electric Park, which the 
Albany Southern Railway Co. and their predecessors have 
improved and beautified, adding the accessories wont to 
be found where summer-day pleasure seekers most do con- 
gregate, but excluding all disorderly persons, and that 
which above all else makes people disorderly and otherwise 
offensive. Pleasant afternoons and evenings during the 
summer season the spacious and attractive grounds and 
open-air theater are thronged by visitors from near and far. 

In 1818, the legislature having passed an Act prohibiting 
fishing for three years in this and other lakes in the county. 
General Whiting initiated and carried through the stocking 
of these lakes with pickerel. Fifty-six persons, subscribing 
from a shilling to $5 given by Whiting and Clark, gave 
$48, for which forty-eight pickerel were bought of Enos 
Smith of Stockbridge. Twenty- three of them were placed 



24 Old RinderKooK 

in Kinderhook Lake and were the progenitors of the many 
thousands which since that time have delighted (or disap- 
pointed) the thronging disciples of Isaac Walton. 

While the several minor lakes or ponds cannot all be 
even named, we were very remiss if we failed to mention 
Merwin's, nestled among the hills beyond the Ichabod 
Crane schoolhouse. Not only is it a notable and pleasing 
feature of one of our finest drives, but it is also especially 
memorable as a frequent fishing-resort of Irving with his 
boon companion, Jesse Merwin. As we pass we seem to see 
these worthies and cronies drowning worms if not catching 
fish; and, in their absence, we see Irving's old fisherman, 
whom, with his multitudinous poles and lines outstretched 
from his boat, Irving charmingly likened to a big spider 
at the center of his web. 

A short distance north of Kinderhook Lake is little 
Round Lake; and about a mile to the northwest is Knicker- 
bocker Lake, also small. Old deeds call it Snyder's Lake. 
Through this ran the division line between the De Bruyn 
and Gardenier patents. The present boundary between 
the towns of Kinderhook and Chatham runs through Round 
and Kinderhook lakes. Both of these connected lakes 
are supplied partly by their own springs, and partly by 
small streams which have their sources in Rensselaer County. 

The outlet of Kinderhook Lake is at the southern end 
and was known to the fathers as the Vollitje's Kill. This 
takes a winding southwest course of nearly three miles to 
the village of Valatie and there empties into the much larger 
Kinderhook Creek. The numerous fountains of this latter 
notable creek are widely scattered and many of them far 
away; some in Rensselaer County, others among the hills 
of New Lebanon and near the Massachusetts border. The 
most considerable feeder in New Lebanon is the Wyamo- 
nock Creek. Our creek, flowing with many windings in a 
generally southwest course through the town of Chatham, 
welcomes, near the Kinderhook line, the waters of the Kleine 




Kinderhook Lake 




Merwin's Lake, Irving's Fishing Resort 



PHysical Features, Dovindaries, Popvilation 25 

Kill which has received tribute from a multitude of brooks 
and from Queechy Lake in Canaan. The general course, 
not without many vagaries responsible for much litigation 
in years gone by, is southwest, through Valatie, along the 
eastern border of Kinderhook village, near which it receives 
a little stream on which the old "Mud Mill" formerly stood; 
and then on toward Stuyvesant Falls, singing perhaps as 
it goes of auld lang syne when on one side or the other the 
Silvesters, Van Schaacks, Wynkoops, Pruyns, Van Alens, 
Dingmans, Van Burens, Van Nesses, and Van Alstynes 
rejoiced in its rare beauty. At Stuyvesant Falls its two 
considerable cataracts and the rapids between win the admi- 
ration of every beholder. Before the dam was built the 
upper fall was the Horseshoe Fall of Niagara in miniature. 
Lesser but still beautiful falls are at Rossmans and Columbia- 
ville; the last-named the famous Major Abraham Staats's 
falls of the days of old. After leaving Stuyvesant Falls, 
in compliment to the advancing Claverack Creek, our 
creek turns southward, runs through Rossmans, and thence 
to Columbia ville where it welcomes the Claverack from the 
south, and the two flow amicably together to the Hudson 
at Stockport. Neither creek, however, will surrender its 
historic and beautiful name to the other, and so they leave 
both names at Columbiaville and agree to be called Stock- 
port Creek. This, known in early times as Major Abram's 
creek, was once navigable for small vessels. 

The waterfalls along the course of our creek are nu- 
merous and still very beautiful, notwithstanding their 
fearful marring at the hand of man. Few streams in the 
State in its earlier history at least, furnished so many and 
such excellent sources of water-power as this, until many 
thousand acres of its water-shed were denuded of their 
trees, and tens of thousands of contributory springs and 
rills exposed to consuming suns. It was called ^^ another 
Brandywine.'' The power was largely utilized. As revealed 
by the oldest maps, deeds, and wills, sawmills and grist- 



26 old RinderKooK 

mills were abundant; and then later in rapidly increasing 
number came the numerous factories and other industries 
of which we read in the successive Gazetteers. The water- 
power is still utiHzed to a considerable extent, but in dry 
seasons must be supplemented by that of steam. Not 
infrequently the rocky channel, where torrents are wont to 
rage and roar in times of freshet, can be traversed from shore 
to shore dry-shod. The Claverack Creek gathers its waters 
from a multitude of tributaries in the eastern and southern 
parts of the county. Lake Copake being one of them. Three 
fourths, probably, of Columbia County are drained by these 
two creeks. 

At one time enormous quantities of wheat were here 
raised and shipped to New York from Stuyvesant, as will 
be noted hereafter. Changed conditions long ago compelled 
its abandonment as a staple crop; and now rye, hay, and 
mixed crops with fruit-culture and dairying are the reliance 
of the successful agriculturist. Approved modern methods 
mixed with brains are winning notable results, and are 
making our town and county one of the choice garden spots 
of the State. The State Department of Agriculture, and 
the National as well, together with the mutually helpful 
granges, pomological, and kindred associations are import- 
ant factors in securing better results than were dreamed 
of by the harder working fathers. 

In the first volume of The Balance and Columbia Reposi- 
tory (Hudson, 1802), there appeared an article entitled 
"The Natural History of Kinderhook." It was written 
by the Rev. Daniel B. Warden, then principal of our Aca- 
demy. Although the somewhat pretentious title is scarcely 
justified by the subject-matter, it is pleasant reading, but 
much too long and unimportant to be quoted in full. The 
location of the village is given with reasonable accuracy. 
The fine view of the "Blue" (Catskill) Mountains, including 
the " reverberating reflection " of sunHght by the snow, and the 
value of their changing appearance in weather prognostica- 




The Binnekill 




A View from the Creek 




Kinderhook Lake 




Stuyvesant Falls 



PHysical Features, Boundaries, Population 27 

tions; the origin, course, and beauty of our creek with espe- 
cial note of its greater falls, and of the ''awe and terror'^ 
occasioned by the breaking up and passing out of the ice 
at the end of the winter, are all felicitously described. The 
closing paragraph we quote: 

The good state of health which the people of Kinderhook 
enjoy, with the many instances of individuals arriving to a great 
age evinces that the air is very pure and salubrious. It has never 
been subject to any generally fatal sickness, and, compared to the 
population of other towns there are fewer deaths than in any 
other settlement in the State. Many die from mere old age free 
from the oppressions of disease. Isaac Vosburgh of this place 
was 105 years old when he died. EHza Vosburgh was 93. An- 
other woman of the same name was 95, with three brothers each 
above 90. Mrs. Pruyn is 84 and quite healthy. A slave of Mr. 
Van Alen's, called Kate, is 100, and a black man of Mr. Vos- 
burgh's is of the same age, both active and performing manual 
labor. 

In comment upon this, the late H. C. Van Schaack wrote 
{Historical Magazine, 1873): "The number of present resi- 
dents who have passed the age of three score and ten is 
very large. Many of them have attained the age of eighty, 
and there are several nonogenarians. Longevitarianism 
in families has not been uncommon here." 

Boundaries 

Albany County was one of twelve into which the Prov- 
ince of New York was divided by the Colonial Assembly of 
1683, and was thus described: 

"To conteyne the towne of Albany, the colony of Rens- 
selaerswyck, Schonectade, and all the villages, neighbor- 
hoods, and Christian habitatcons on the east of Hudson's 
river from Roeliffe Jansen's creeke, and on the west from 
Sawyer's (Saugerties) creeke to the Saraaghtoga." 



28 Old K-inderHooK 

The Assembly of 1691, under William and Mary, de- 
clared all the acts of the previous Assembly "null and void," 
but made no change in the bounds of Albany County. 

On the 24th of March, 1772, what is now Columbia 
County (organized as such April 4, 1786) was divided into 
four districts of Albany County. The Kinderhook District 
was thus delimited : 

All that part of the said county of Albany which lies to the 
northward of Claverack District, to the southward of an east line 
from Bearen island in the Hudson River to the eastward of 
Hudson's River, and to the west of a straight line drawn from a 
point in the said East line from Bearen Island ten miles distant 
from Hudson's River, and continued due south till it strikes the 
north bounds of the District of Claverack, shall be one separate 
and distinct District, to be called and known by the name of the 
District of Kinderhook. 

The north boundary of Claverack is described thus: 
"a line beginning at the mouth of Major Abraham's Creek, 
and running thence up to the first falls, and thence east as 
far as this Colony extends." The territory east of Kinder- 
hook was known as Kings District. 

The error of a few writers and some maps that have re- 
presented any part of our territory as belonging to Rensse- 
laerswyck has been due to their inadvertent changing of 
grants of land to the Patroon from the west to the east side 
of the river. And from fair Claverack too, though Jeffer- 
son's map stretches her name in capitals over all our domain 
up to Rensselaerswyck and writes us down small, we must 
decidedly withhold any title to even one inch of our territory 
as above delimited, however much we may love her. The 
map referred to represents, we think, the disallowed claim 
of John Van Rensselaer, the occasion of prolonged and vexa- 
tious litigation, as will hereafter appear. It was certainly 
wrong, as witness the explicit language of the foregoing 
boundary descriptions and of the first patents, and also the 



PHysical Featvires, Bovindaries, Popvilation 29 

protest signed by more than two hundred residents of our 
District. The protest which we found among the state 
Hbrary archives probably perished in the recent fire; but 
happily it is still on file (Saintsbury's Catalogue informs us) 
with a colored map, among the archives of the Privy Council, 
London. 

The land along the Stockport creek granted to Major 
Staats in 1667 was distinctly "north of Claverack.'' By the 
Act of 1772 the northern boundary of Claverack was stated 
with precision to begin at the mouth of the Stockport creek, 
thence to the first Fall, and thence ''due east'' indefinitely. 
The U. S. Topographical Map (Kinderhook Quadrangle) 
indicates that ''due east'' line as running a Httle south of the 
present West Ghent church and north of the John C. Hoge- 
boom house, Ghent. All the territory north of that line 
to Rensselaerswyck, about eleven miles, and ten miles 
east from the river, was in the District of Kinderhook. It 
thus appears, and from later legislation as well, that Kin- 
derhook has generously contributed of her original wide 
domain to the formation of five townships. Considerable 
portions of Chatham (1795), part of Ghent (1818), all of 
Stuyvesant (1823), and a large section of Stockport (1833) 
were originally parts of old Kinderhook ; as were also Schut- 
ters, Willow, and Little Islands in the Hudson, transferred 
to New Baltimore in 1823. Schutters Island is now Hotal- 
ing; Willow is south of Hotaling and at low water almost a 
part of it. Little Island, west of Hotaling, originally large 
enough to be used for pasturage, is now but a cluster of 
rocks over which a signal light is placed. Such at least is 
the statement of an aged resident of New Baltimore. 

By an Act of the Legislature, dated March 7, 1788, the 
Town of Kinderhook was thus defined: 

All that part of the County of Columbia bounded westerly 
and northerly by the County of Albany, southerly by the north 
bounds of the city of Hudson, as far as to the first falls of Major 



30 Old RinderHooK 

Abraham's creek and from thence running east; and (bounded) 
easterly by a Hne running from a place in the north line of the 
County of Columbia ten miles distant from the river, due south 
until it strikes the said east line from the said falls, shall be and 
hereby is erected into a town by the name of Kinderhook. 

The original town was thus approximately ten miles square. 
March 17, 1795, all our territory east of the lakes down 
to the Claverack line, a tract two or more miles in breadth, 
was detached to form in part the Town of Chatham. In 
1 84 1 there was a controversy with Chatham officials as to 
portions of our eastern boundary. The dispute was re- 
ferred to Surveyor- General Holly who appointed Evert 
Van Alen of Greenbush to survey the line. On his report 
the boundary was finally determined and declared as follows : 

. . . from the middle of the Latches Vlackie Creek where it enters 
the little lake, southerly and in a direct line through the Great 
Fish Lake to the Gardenier Point at the south end of said lake 
and then southerly in a direct line to the bridge over the Khne 
Kill Creek a little east of the house [now Mr. P. H. Bain's] 
formerly owned by Cornelius Van Schaack deceased. 

Van Alen's survey was twenty-three years after the forma- 
tion of Ghent, as noted below. It therefore did not include 
the southern part of our original eastern boundary. This 
is described in the Act of 18 13 as continuing from the afore- 
said bridge "southerly along the said creek to the souther- 
most point of the great bend opposite the house formerly- 
belonging to Myndert Vosburgh, deceased, thence southerly 
in a direct line toward the house of Martin H. Hoffman until 
it intersects the northern boundary line of the town of 
Claverack." 

April 3, 1 818, a section along our south border was taken 
to form in part the Town of Ghent. Our new south bound- 
ary was delimited as "beginning 28 chains above Major 
Abraham's Falls and running thence easterly to the Kleine 
Kill creek near the house of William Wagoner." 






7lyi. 



'^c^^ .SO-'^'^ 




PHysical Featvires, Bovindaries, Popvilation 31 

By the Act of April 21, 1823, the Legislature completed 
its spoliation of old Kinderhook by taking from us the whole 
of the present Town of Stuy vesant which included the upper 
part of the later town of Stockport; also the three islands 
already named which were given to New Baltimore. The 
Act reads as follows: 

All that part of the town of Kinderhook in the County of 
Columbia, beginning at or near the store of Abel S. Peters at 
Kinderhook Landing at high water mark, and running from 
thence east three miles and twenty chains; thence south five 
degrees west to the north line of the town of Ghent, and north 
five degrees east to the south line of the town of Schodack; 
thence along the same westerly to the main channel of the 
Hudson's river ; thence down the same to where Major Abraham's 
creek empties into the said river; thence up the said creek as it 
winds and bends to the north line of the town of Ghent; thence 
eastward along the same until the line running north and south 
five degrees east shall intersect the same — shall be and is hereby 
erected into a new Town by the name of Stuyvesant, and the 
first Town Meeting for the purpose of electing Town officers in 
the said Town of Stuyvesant shall be held at the house of Walter 
Butler ... on the first Tuesday of May next. 

Money on hand and "the poor" were to be "equitably 
divided" at the hotel of John Lewis, Kinderhook. 

All these new Towns were to assume a just proportion 
of the debts of old Kinderhook and were to continue to pay 
for the maintenance of bridges in which they had a common 
interest. Subsequently, Stuyvesant, on its petition, was 
relieved from its obligation to pay one half the cost of our 
village bridges. The lot and dwelling (now the transformed 
Whitbeck home) belonging to Kinderhook and used as a 
Poor House, within the limits of the new town of Stuyve- 
sant, were to be paid for or the matter otherwise settled as 
might be agreed. The boundaries we have given are those 
of modem Kinderhook. 

Lest our History be much too voluminous we must "bid 



32 Old K-inderHooK 

our wajrward sisters (or children) depart in peace." We will 
not wholly neglect them, but cannot give them the same 
consideration that we give to those abiding in the home. 

On the 1 8th of April, 1838, the Legislature passed "An 
Act to incorporate the Village of Kinderhook, in the County 
of Columbia." Sec. I. thus describes: 

Boundary Lines. . . . Beginning at and on the northerly 
side of Kinderhook creek, at a point where the division line 
between the town of Kinderhook and the town of Stuyvesant 
crosses the said creek near the dwelling house of Adam Van 
Alstyne, running thence north-easterly along the said northerly 
side of said creek and up the same to a post in the division 
between the land of Moses W. Leach and land lately owned by 
Samuel Crandell; thence northerly to a small bridge commonly 
called Rowland's Bridge, which crosses the road leading from 
the village of Kinderhook to the Village of Valatie; thence 
westerly to and including the dwelling house of John N. Harder 
to the road commonly called the Eikebush road, to the westerly 
side of last mentioned road ; thence along the westerly side of last 
mentioned road to the Stuyvesant line; thence along said line 
to the place of beginning. 

A few years ago the westerly boundary line of the Corpora- 
tion was changed so as to run a short distance west of the 
present Wm. Hotaling place. 

A petition for the incorporation of the village of Valatie 
was presented to the Court of Sessions, Hudson, in November, 
1853. The petitioners were: Jacob P. Miller, James Patton, 
Ansel Canoll, Robt. Trimper, C. I. Tremain, J. W. Stickles, 
J. Billis, C. A. Osborn, Wm. P. Rathbone, Wm. Bradley, 
Robert Martsh, Moses England, Alfred Wild, Edwin Hoes, 
and Henry M. Penoyer. 

From the Field Book of the survey by Mr. Ackley we 
quote the following general description of the boundaries 
of the 648 square acres included in the Corporation, omit- 
ting minor details of courses and distances. 



PHysical Features, Boundaries, Population 33 

Beginning at a point marked on a plank in the middle of a 
bridge over a small creek crossing the former road between the 
villages of Kinderhook and Valatie, [the road east of our two 
bridges]. Said road is noted as a monument in the boundaries 
of the corporation of the village of Kinderhook, being now the 
lands of John Isbister, . . . and runs from thence S. 53° 50' E., 
2C 51L, crossing the present road to the westerly bank of the 
Kinderhook creek. Then through the land of said Isbister on 
west side of said creek. Then . . . crossing said creek to the 
hard land on the easterly side. . . . Then to the westerly side 
of a road leading from Valatie to Chatham 4 Corners, and nearly 
opposite dwelling house on the farm of Dr. A. P. Cook. Then 
... to the top of a hill east of said road. . . . Then to the 
southerly side of a road leading from Valatie to Chatham Centre, 
and opposite the dwelling house of Col. Shufelt. Then along 
the southerly side of said road. . . . Then crossing said road and 
along the westerly side of Kirk Lane ... to a mark on the 
fence. Then leaving said lane ... to the top of a knoll. Then 
... to the westerly side of the Lake road running through 
John G. Schism's farm. Then along the westerly side of said 
road . . . (with varying courses) to the lands of N. Wild . . . 
crossing the water of N. Wild's mill pond to a white oak tree on 
the east side of a road opposite the premises of B. Conant. Said 
road leading out of Valatie and intersecting the post road at 
Guide Board near the dwelling house of Stephen Miller. Then 
S. 72° 45' W, 31C. 97L. to the northerly side of a black oak tree 
standing on the lands of J. Carpenter. Then ... to a cluster 
of three ash trees standing on lands of John Isbister. Then . . . 
to the place of beginning. 

Within the proposed Corporation there were, it was stated, 
1557 inhabitants. For reasons now unknown the petition 
was not granted at the time ; but three years later, March 
25, 1856, Valatie became incorporated. The question had 
been submitted to voters and was carried; 135 votes for 
and 78 against incorporation. 

At the first election of village officers, held April 23, at 
Captain E. Spaulding's hotel (burned about forty years 



34 Old K-inderKooK 

ago), W. P. Rathbone, Sylvester Becker, J. H. Cornin, John 
Rogers, and G. W. Bulkley were chosen Trustees; J. Mesick, 
B. Mesick, and H. L. Miller, Assessors; B. Conant, Treas- 
urer; James Miller, Clerk; James Mesick, Poundmaster, 
and Abram Brewer, Collector. 

Not inappropriately we may conclude this chapter with 
an interesting record of certain minor boundaries, and old- 
time land marks. It is from the Field Books of our most 
noted surveyor prior to 1800, Mr. John E. Van Alen. We 
found them in a cabinet in the Albany County Clerk's 
ofifice, among the treasured volumes there, both in Dutch 
and English, whose fading pages we have closely scanned 
and from which we have constantly drawn. 

In this instance much personal labor has been saved us 
by "Jed's" (Mr. A. S. Hollenbeck, of Albany) account of 
these books as printed in the Rough Notes several years 
since; and which we quote, adding here and there an ex- 
planatory note. The narrative seems to us of sufficient 
interest to descendants of old-time residents at least to 
justify its reproduction. 

One of these field books has written on its cover, in quaint 
characters, the words, Kinderhook, lygi — Bruyn Reght & Hoff 
Town, while the other is called Field Book of Pompoonick. 

The former contains the original notes of the survey of the 
De Bruyn patent, written in good English, though occasional 
Dutch words show that the original language of the Holland 
settlers had not entirely died out at that time. In this survey 
Van Alen's chainmen were, to use his own language, "Matthew 
McKeg at the hind end; Peter Van Valkenburgh (son of Lam- 
bert) at the fore end; Dirck Van Alen, flagman." 

"On Wednesday, 7th June, 1791, I began at the N. side of 
Prans Pieterse (Clauw, or Clow) saw kil, said to be the old mouth 
of the said kil, to run the south line of De Bruyn's Patent. This 
spot is directly opposite a gully or ditch on the south side and is 
also at the west part of the bushes or woods." 

In the course of his survey Van Alen passes "Van Alstyne's 



PKysical Keatvires, Boundaries, Popvilation 35 

barrack," enters field of H. H. Van Valkenburgh, arrives at a 
"white ash tree noted in the survey of Poolsborough in March 
1789, for the S. E. corner of Batten Landt, " and finally reaches 
the "road from Eike Bosch (oak woods) to Peter Van Valken- 
burgh's. " " Here I end my day's work and lodge at Mr. John 
Van Alen's" [father of Lucas I.]. 

The next day the surveyor entered the "field of Lamb. V. 
Valkenburgh, " south of the "fence between him and Tobias Van 
Buren, " crossed "F. Pieterse's saw kill to S. side," and after 
reaching Tobias Van Buren 's "clear field, I find myself some 
considerable distance S. of where the old line is said to have 
gone. I therefore from this spot run ... to the stump of a 
pitch pine tree shewn by Lourens Van Alen for an old mark." 
Then he crossed a "small run tending NWly, " and a little later 
finds himself "in the pine woods," soon after which he reaches 
"Robert Van Deusen's clear field," and next "put a pitch pine 
stake at the E. side of the road from Van Dyke's to Kinderhook. 
Here I stopt & went to Mr. Van Dyke to Dine." (Arent Van 
Dyck.) 

After dinner he continued his line and reached a "pitch pine 
tree with old marks, " which marks, he decides, are "about 35 or 
40 years old." Next he was "at the E. side of the Post Road; 
here I put up a black oak stake, and ran along the Post Road. " 
His line passed the " S. W. corner of Elias Larrabee's house" and 
the "S. E. corner of William Kers dwelling house." He also 
passed the houses of Widow Kerr and Nathan Deyo (hotel 
keeper on the Post Road). Later he was on the " W. side of the 
road to Van Deusens," and "from here Anthony Pool's old cellar 
bears due west." He then reached "Denslow's house. End 
day's work here; lodge at V. Dyckes. " 

" Friday, 9 June, 1791. — In the morning began at the White 
Oak tree set up by Deyo for the Schillipot boom, and ran . . . 
to the N. E. corner of Mr. Van Dyckes Tan House, " and from 
thence to the "stake at the E. side of the road at which I left 
off yesterday to go to dinner; then went again to the S. E. corner 
of Denslow's house, . . . from where I find the Duyle Gat 
possessed by Anthony Van Derpoel, dec'd, bears N. E." From 
Denslow's house he continued the line, after passing through 
Van Deusen's old field, to the southwest corner of Sebring's saw 



36 Old R-inderKooK 

mill. "From here I go with Arent Huyck and Caleb White to 
do some business at Pompoonick." 

In another book marked Field Book of Pompoonick Van Alen 
has recorded the "business at Pompoonick" mentioned above, as 
follows: 

"On Friday, 9th June, 1791, after having finished a survey 
for the Proprietors of De Bruyn Patent, I went with Aaron 
Huyck to his house, where I dine, and in the afternoon I began 
at the N. E. corner of the house of Andries I. Huyck, now in the 
possession of Frederick Tobias, and ran in order to ascertain the 
course and distance from this spot to the house of John Bullis." 
His first course ends "on top of the hill, " the second, "in the rye 
field "; the third, "infield;" "from here" (he says), "the chimney 
of Abraham Johnson's house bears N. E,; the fourth, "ends in a 
road" (from here "Johnson's chimney bears N. W. "); the fifth, 
" ends in road " ; the sixth, "ends in wheat field, " and the seventh 
finished the course at the house of John Bullis. 

Returning to the Kinderhook Field Book, Van Alen says: 
"On Monday the 20th June, 1791, in the afternoon, I left home 
and went down to Kinderhook to perform a survey on the 
trail between Van Alstyne and Capt. Philip, and lodge that 
evening at Peter Van Schaack's. Tuesday, 21 June, I attended 
the view, and in the afternoon began at the north side of Col. 
Van Ness's farm, at the East side of the Kinderhook Creek, to 
traverse the Kinderhook Creek." The surveyor's sixth course 
brought him "to the place on the East Bank of the Kinderhook 
Creek shewn me by Hendrick Moor for the place which the jury 
were yesterday shewn for the South Bounds of Evert Luycas' 
land. " Other points spoken of in the survey, and which may or 
may not be recognized by the generation of to-day were "Ding- 
man's burned house," "Gerret Dingman's or Hendrick Moore's 
stoop," "Casparus Dingman's house," "L. Van Alstyne's old 
house," "division fence between Dingman and Van Ness," "the 
Sounding Ground" (whatever that may have been), "Van Ness's 
painted fence," "Dennis Davis's fence," "the river of water 
coming out of Vly," "the brow of the hill where the old road 
used to go down the hill to Van Alstyne's mill," "the field of 
Coenrad Ham, " "John Cole's house, " " the field of Felter Lant, " 
"corner of Louren Rysdorp's," "north point of Grimmelde 



PHysical Features, Boundaries, Population 37 

Vly," "fence of David Shulter," "the Groote Lake Vly," "the 
brook coming out of the Groote (great) Lake," "where Peter 
Elkenburgh shews his possession to be, " "lot of Hendrick Hoflf, " 
"southeast corner of John Haver," "farm of Michael Wolf," 
"south end of the Race Ground," "north Hne of lots I laid out 
in Nutenhook Patent, " "abreast of Taylor's, " "southeast corner 
of Moorehouse's dwelling," "Peter Lyke's house," "Tun. T. 
Crandel's house," "abreast of Samuel Rice's," "abreast of R. 
Campbell's," "Joseph Eldridge's," "N. Kittle's," "abreast of 
Hanneke Mayer's," "sign post of V. Valkenburgh, " "abreast 
of Peter L. Vosburgh's, " "Hendrick Miesick's house." 

Van Alen dined at Mesick's, and "from here went to Capt. 
Shethar's at Kinderhook, with an intent to take passage home 
(Albany) with Stephen Wynes; he not coming this afternoon I 
lodge at Mr. Peter Wynkoop's, and on Friday, 24 June, in the 
morning early, Mr. Wynes came to Mr. Shethar's. I took pas- 
sage with him and arrived at home about noon. " 

"Sunday, 26th June, in the afternoon, sat out for Claverack 
to attend the Circuit Court on the above business. Reach 
Kinderhook and lodge at Van Schaack's. 

"Monday, 27th June, 1791 — In the morning went with Mr. 
Van Schaack to Claverack, where I remained on the business of 
Capt. Philip till Sunday, the 3d July, when the jury brought in 
a verdict in his favor ; we then went home. 

"Monday, 4th July, 1791 — This morning Caleb White and 
others of the Pompoonick people came down to Claverack to 
attend their trial with Deyo. I now begin my services for them — 
that is, I from this time begin my attendance on their trial. 

"Tuesday, 5th July — This day also I attend on the Pom- 
poonick trial. At evening Capt. Philip informed me it was 
necessary to perform a survey at Coenrad Hoffman's, for which 
purpose I sat out with him in the evening ; arrive at John Kittle's 
in the night, where I lodge. " 

The next day Van Alen surveyed the farm of Dirck Smith, a 
rough map of which is included in the field book. His statement 
continues: "Then dine at Hoffmans — in the afternoon return 
to Claverack. On my way there met John Miller and Matthew 
McKeg, who came in great haste to fetch me to attend the tryal 
between Deyo and Bullis. When I got to the Court House found 



38 Old RinderKooK 

Deyo nonsuited. I lodge this night at Mr. Carshore's" (the 
school teacher). 

"Thursday, yth July — This day I attend the court to see 
whether the tryal between the Van Alstynes and Hoffman is to be 
brought on. Near noon I find it is put off. I now prepare to go 
home; set out in the afternoon; reach John I. MuUer's (Miller's) 
on the Post Road, where I lodge. 

"Friday, 8th July, 1791 — This morning about 9 o'clock I 
reach home." 

The Skillipot Boom (or tree) was evidently an ancient sur- 
veyor's mark, and had some bearing on the surveys of the lands 
thereabout, its location being in dispute. In a memorandum 
note in the Pompoonick field book Van Alen says : 

"The general course of Valleties Kill is N. 24 deg., 56 min. E. 
The course from the mouth of Valleties Kill to Pennekoos is S. 
83 deg., 51 min. E, which is inclined to the general course of 
Valleties Kill with an angle of 71 deg., 13 min, 

"The course from the Valleties Kill to the Skillipot Boom is 
said to form an angle with the course of Valleties Kill equal to 
that of the Pennekoos, which, if so, the tree must bear N. 46 
deg., 17 min. W." 

Many changes have occurred in the 120 years that have 
passed since these old books were written, and it is doubtful if 
many of the present generation have ever even heard of the 
" Sounding Ground, " the "old road that used to go down the hill 
to Van Alstyne's mill," the "Grimmelde Vly," the "Race 
Ground," or the "Pennekoos bergh." 



PHysical Features, Boundaries, Populations 39 

CENSUS 







si°° 











60 PO 


10 








_rtoo 


00 


















■"^-o 


M^- 




c 


a 



2 

la 


Valatie vilk 
Incorporate 




1790 


4461 






638 slaves 


1800 


4348 






Part of Chatham detached, 1795 


1810 


3709 








1820 


3963 






Part of Ghent detached, 181 8 


1830 


2706 






All of Stuyvesant and part of 
Stockport detached, 1823 


1840 


3512 


1400 






1850 


3970 








1855 


3864 


1078 




State Census 


1865 


4008 


1 160 


1634 


1 ( it 


1870 


4055 








1880 


4200 




1775 




1890 


3709 


963 


1437 




1900 


3333 


913 


1300 




1910 


2947 


'698 


I2I9 





Incomplete; many names omitted. 



CHAPTER III 

SETTLEMENT, LAND-GRANTS, DEVOLUTION OF TITLE 
AND LAND-LITIGATION 

Settlement: Hindrances — Inducements — Time and Place — The Staats 
House — Claver's Mill — Wadsworth's Visit. Patents: Powell — Watta- 
wit and Westenhook Indians — Staats — Baker and Plodder; Nuttenhook — 
De Bruyn — The Groot Stuk — Schuyler — Great Kinderhook — Harmense 
— Gardenier — Van Schaack and Van Alen — Kinderhook Trustees — 
Beatty's Surveys — Williams's and Others' Petition — J. Vosburgh's and 
Others' Caveat — Huyck — Peter Vosburgh — Geertruyd Coeyman's Deed 
— Surveys at Nuttenhook — De Witt's — John Van Ness — Indefinite 
Boundaries. Devolution of Title: Bleecker's Survey — Division of 
John Tysse Goes' (Hoes) Estate — Division of Kinderhook Patent. Land- 
Litigation: The Livingston Claims — The Conflicting De Bruyn and 
Baker and Plodder Patents — Resulting Great Law Suit. 

THE Dutch, whom the irreverent charge with moving 
"majestically slow," were not alert in entering upon 
their newly discovered possessions. The return to Holland 
of a trading vessel in 1610 with a rich cargo of furs bought 
of the Indians for baubles occasioned considerable excite- 
ment; but beyond the establishment, about the year 1613, 
of a trading post with a fort so called and a few huts about 
it on the southerly end of Manhattan, and a similar post on 
Castle Island near Albany a little later, nothing in the way 
of colonization was attempted until later explorers (Block 
and his followers) had reported in the early autumn of 1614 
their observations and experiences. And then, the exclusive 
^^ Freedoms and Exemptions'^ granted to the United New 
Netherland Co. in 1614, as regards the navigation of these 

40 



Settlement 41 

waters and traffic with the Indians, and the still more mo- 
nopolistic charter of the West India Co. in 162 1, were not 
conducive to rapid colonization. Those companies were 
purely commercial, with no interest in promoting immigra- 
tion beyond the demands of their own exclusive and lucra- 
tive traffic. 

The charter of the first-named company assumed to 
grant commercial control of all the coast line "betweeji New 
France and Virginia,'' latitude 40°-45°. In 1621 this com- 
pany became the much enlarged and more powerful West 
India Co. which. Motley tells us, "received a roving com- 
mission to trade and fight and govern for twenty-four years, 
and incidentally establish Dutch settlements." Then in 
1629 this great company inaugurated the feudalistic system 
of the Patroons (Latin, patronus, protector). By this act 
any member of the company who within four years after 
giving notice, should establish colonies of fifty persons over 
fifteen years of age, was to receive a tract sixteen miles long 
on a navigable stream (eight miles if on opposite shores) 
and extending as far into the interior as the "situation of the 
occupiers will permit." To these patroons almost unre- 
stricted and irresponsible power was given. They were 
empowered to establish their own civil and criminal courts; 
appoint their own local officers and magistrates; and, a few 
specified cases excepted, punish offenders. Whatever the 
abuse of power and breach of contract on the part of the 
Patroon, ' ' tio man or woman, son or daughter, man servant or 
maid serva?it," might leave his service before the expiration 
of the contract time without the written consent of the 
Patroon. 

However justly these feudal barons are said to have been 
"men of exalted patriotism, inflexible integrity, and culti- 
vated intelligence"; however wisely and beneficently they 
ruled their vassals, and however liberal the terms of the 
contracts, it was not to be expected that many of independent 
spirit and means would be willing to call any of those men 



42 Old RinderKooK 

lord and master. Most of the families that came both to 
Esopus and Kinderhook would have none of it. They were 
freemen, not serfs. For more than twenty years the guns 
of the Patroon Van Rensselaer, on Bearen Island, made 
Kinderhook the head of free navigation of the Hudson ; and 
for a much longer time it was the territory nearest to Fort 
Orange free from domination by any patroon. It was 
"between two manors." 

In 1638 wiser counsels prevailed and New Netherland 
was thrown open to free immigration and unrestricted trade. 
Then the tide hitherward flowed strongly and rapidly. 
That beaver-pelts were bought for forty cents and sold for 
three dollars or more may have stimulated immigration. 
One ship sailing from the River Mauritius (the Hudson) 
in 1626 had a cargo of 9250 pelts mostly beaver, besides 
samples of wheat, rye, barley, oats, buckwheat, canary 
seed, hemp, flax, with considerable oak and hickory timber. 
In Fort Orange, one reports, there were "as many traders as 
persons." And it is possible, as alleged, that the farmers 
became traffickers, and sent their runners into the forests 
to intercept the fur-laden Indians on their way to Fort 
Orange; a most heinous offence. We prefer however to 
assume less mercenary motives for the rapidly increasing 
immigration. We give much influence to Evert Nieuenhof, 
the poet-publisher of Vander Donck's book (1665) who 
prefaces it with three original stanzas, the last of which 
will suffice to give the reader a taste of their rare quality. 

Then, reader, if you will, go freely there to live; 

We name it Netherland, though it excels it far: 
If you dislike the voyage, pray due attention give 

To Vander Donck, his book, which as a leading star 
Directs toward the land where many people are. 

Where lowland Love and Laws all may freely share. 

We cannot forbear adding that nearly two hundred years 
later (1842) one of Kinderhook's brilliant galaxy of poets. 



Settlement 43 

a lineal descendant we assume of Nieuenhof, after importu- 
nately invoking Apollo, Melpomene, and all the immortal 
Nine, thus sang in worthy emulation of Nieuenhof himself: 

Then come, ye anxious suitors from afar, 
Come hasten here, all other climes o'erlook; 

Come, where the fairest buds of beauty are. 
And take a wife — a Girl of Kinderhook. 

That Kinderhook District was the only territory along 
the Hudson near Fort Orange where lands free from the 
control of the Patroons could be obtained drew hither settlers 
of independent spirit and of some means. Colonists of 
the Patroon also, if industrious and provident, prospered 
under the liberal terms of their three years' contract. On its 
termination they were able to become independent land- 
owners and sought lands and homes of their own as near as 
might be to Fort Orange. Our first settlers were of both 
these classes; some fairly well-to-do and coming hither direct 
from Holland and New Amsterdam; others, as the Van 
Rensselaer MSS. reveal, men of character and thrift who 
had profited by their contract with the Patroon. 

Our Holland settlers loved the riverside and the banks of 
the Kinderhook, and Claverack creeks as building sites. The 
oldest existing homesteads and the remembered sites of 
others now gone are to be found uniformly thus located. 
The flowing waters were a sweet reminder of Fatherland. 

Our territory was owned largely in the first instance by 
non-residents. The subsequent purchasers of smaller tracts 
came not, as in many localities, in colonies, but as families 
or small groups of families. It is therefore difficult if not 
impossible to state with precision who the first settlers were 
or where they located or when they came. 

Neither the occurrence of the name Kinderhook on the 
chart of 1614-1616 nor its mention by De Laet in 1625 of 
necessity indicates actual settlement at the time. The only 
significance of either is as the name of a point or cove given, 



44 Old RinderKooK 

remembered, and recorded for some such reason as that 
hitherto stated. Martin Van Buren is quoted as saying 
that the first settlements were about the year 1640. They 
could not have been much later, for Joost Hartgers in 1651 
and Van der Donck in 1656 allude to Kinderhook as one of 
the principal settlements on the river. 

The region first occupied was a little north of Stuyvesant 
Landing. Claver's (Clow's) sawmill was on Light House 
creek at a very early date. A few years earlier or later the 
Staats dwelling was built near the mouth of Stockport 
creek. Then the river bank and the lands along the Kin- 
derhook and Claverack creeks began to be occupied here 
and there. Long before 1700 the Groote Stuk (Great Piece), 
extending from the creek at Valatie, and on both sides of it, 
to the vicinity of Lindenwald, was taken up as noted later. 
Additional details concerning our first settlers will appear 
in our account of the Land Grants and in the next chapter. 
These and other families to be named were Hollanders with 
the exception of a few Swedes ; notably the Scherp (Sharp) 
family, after whom the vicinity of Mr. Dudley Van Alstyne's 
present shop was at one time known as Sharptown. Dirck 
Hendrikse (Bey. Best?) was also a Swede. 

It is of record that at a very early period there was built, 
probably by the Patroon, a stone fort south of Stockport 
creek; and that north of it and near its mouth stood the 
house of Abraham Staats. This, burned by marauding 
Indians in 1664, was soon thereafter rebuilt and is possibly 
the old house near Stockport Station. Whether only the 
roof and interior of the first dwelling were burned, and the 
present massive stone walls, three feet in thickness, were 
parts of the original house is unknown. That in digging in 
the cellar a few years since a massive grain jar was 
unearthed gives a degree of plausibility to the latter 
view. 

In 1654 Major Staats purchased of the Indians two 
hundred acres along the Stockport Creek and received from 




The Staats House, the Oldest House in the County 

From a photograph 




A Grain (or Wine) Jar, Unearthed in the Cellar of the Staats 
House 

From a photograph 



Settlement 45 

the Dutch authorities a Ground-brief, as it was termed. 
The land is spoken of as "north of Claverack." 

It is also of record that in March, 1664, he leased his 
"bouwery, house, barn and rick" to Jan Anderissen (John 
the Irishman). 

It is however probable that the Claver's mill and house 
on Light House creek were erected somewhat earlier. The 
name Kinderhook was evidently given in the first instance 
to a locality about "sixteen miles" below Albany, as 
stated in the journal of the Labadist fathers hereafter 
noted. 

By a law of 1660 it was required that for their mutual 
protection the settlers of new districts should group their 
dwellings in villages, under the penalty of forfeiture of their 
holdings. It thus came to pass that the larger part of the 
land which a settler owned and cultivated might be at a 
considerable distance from the smaller tract about his 
village homestead. The Rev. Benjamin Wadsworth, whose 
visit in 1694 will be narrated later, wrote of Kinder- 
hook as consisting of three groups of houses. The old 
maps enable us to locate one group in the eastern part 
of our present village, and a second group at Valatie; 
but the location of the third is conjectural, probably 
Poelsburg. 

The Powell patent, so called, of July, 1664, was not ap- 
parently a formal patent like those subsequently issued, 
but simply a permission to purchase, granted by the Com- 
missaries at Fort Orange and confirmed by Governor Stuy- 
vesant and his Council at Fort Amsterdam ; with the proviso 
that the title should be transferred to them as representing 
the West India Company. Payments by the grantees to the 
Indians were to be refunded by the Company or balanced 
against the tithes. The surrender of the Province to the 
English in September of that year made a confirmation of 
this and other land grants necessary. Governor Nicolls's 
confirmation of this grant reads as follows : 



46 Old RinderHooK 

Whereas the late Governor and Councell of the new Nether- 
lands, did on the loth day of July, 1664, Grant unto Thomas 
Paule, Hendrick Abells and others a Certaine Parcell of Land, 
lying and being betwixt the Nutten and Kinder Hoeck near 
ffort Albany, as by their Peticon and the Grant doth Appeare, I 
do hereby Allow of the said Grant unto the aforenamed Persons, 
if they or some of them have or shall Purchase the Propriety of 
the Natives, and Posesse and Plant the same, of which they 
shall bring unto mee a due Certificate. They shall have a Pattent 
for the said Lands by Authority from his Royall Highnesse the 
Duke of Yorke for theire farther Confirmation therein. Given 
under my hand at ffort James in New Yorke on Manhatans 
Island the 29th day of March, 1665. 

Following that we have the record of the small beginning 
of the ultimately large Powell patent. (Deeds, vol. i., p. 11., 
Sec. of State Office.) It was of 200 acres of "meadow, 
called Nehuseke or Nenewoskeek, along the Seepus (River) , 
Kinderhook." The deed was given by the Indian Tauka- 
makeheke, and dated June 27, 1666. 

The formal Patent, if issued, does not seem to have been 
recorded, and we are without any description of its bounda- 
ries. The earliest maps reveal it as being a large tract in- 
cluding the whole of Stuyvesant Landing, with a river-front 
of about one mile and extending thence with the same width 
a little south of east for about three miles, near to and inclu- 
sive of portions of the present Van Alstyne neighborhood. 
The original petition for the grant bears these names: 
Thomas Powell, Teunis Abrahamsen, Claes Van den Bergh, 
Hendrick Cay, Jochem Ketel, Evert Luycassen, Bert Bagge, 
Jan Dicksen. They ask permission to purchase "a fine piece 
of land between Kinderhook and NuUe?ihook.'' They say they 
can no longer make their living in this village {Bevenvyck, 
Albany) ajtd are obliged to settle with their families in the 
country to gain their bread with God's help and honorably.'' 
Powell et al., who have seemed mythical personages hitherto, 
have become real and respected since we read their petition. 



Land Grants 47 

Gov. Nicolls's Confirmation changes Powell to Paule 
and adds the name Hendrick Abells (Abelseon) a precentor 
of the Kinderhook church. 

After Powell's death, as appears from the Albany Court 
Records, Robert Ortier (Orchard) proved to the satisfaction 
of the court that he was an equal owner with Powell of 
certain lands which Powell had sold without Ortier's consent, 
and the sales and deeds were declared void. Powell's 
widow seems to have thought that the best way to end her 
troubles was to marry Robert. At all events, she did so; 
and thenceforth, as the Index of Grantors and Grantees in 
Albany reveals, there were many sales by Orchard and his 
wife, some of them to their neighbors, the Van Alstynes. 

We find a charming illustration of the common indefinite- 
ness of boundaries, and an otherwise interesting document, 
among Mr. Hosford's treasured papers of his wife's branch 
of the Van Alstyne family. It is a certified translation of 
the Dutch deed (1671) of Robert Ortier and Jannetje Van 
Donk to Jan Martense (Van Alstyne), for "70 good andwhole 
and merchantable beaver skins,'" of 'Hand behind Kinderhook 
south of Dirk the Swede, west of Jacob Martense and the creek, 
and to the east of a very small creek parting the land of Andries 
Hansen; . . . without any charge issuing thereon saving the 
Lord's Right.'" The number of acres is not stated, but they 
were doubtless many, for fifteen years later Powell's widow 
deeds to Jan Martense "70 or 80 acres of the Vly or Mash" 
(the well-known marshy tract) for jive beavers. Both of 
these tracts were in the original Powell patent and are 
owned by the Van Alstyne family to-day, many of whom 
have conscientiously recognized 'Hhe Lord's Right." 

Before this, however, while Jannetje Powell was yet a 
widow, she conveyed several sections of her very consider- 
able estate to various purchasers. The Index of Grantors 
in the Albany County Clerk's office and the books of Deeds 
to which it refers reveal the sale to Andries Hanse Scherp 
(Sharp) and Jurrian Collier, in 1683, of a tract of 300 acres. 



48 Old Rinderhook 

In 1684 she conveyed to Stephen Janse Cooningh (Conyne), 
land ''received by ground-brief in 1667/8.'" In 1686, for five 
beavers, she sold to Jan Martense (Van Alstyne) "a// ^ Vly 
or mash . . . on y^ north side of y^ said Martense' s bouwery, 
containing 70 or 80 acres.'' Four months later Jan and Dirkje 
his wife sold to Gerrit Teunisse, of Catskill, for six pounds, 
the half or moyety off that Vley or mash Scituate Lyeing and 
Being att Kinderhook on the north of ye said Jan Martense' s 
Bowery or Farm, the whole mash containing by Estimation 
Seventy or Eighty acres be itt more or Lesse." 

The records show that in 1671 and later considerable 
sections of the Powell patent were sold to Hendrick Coen- 
radts (Van Bon.), Laurens Van Alen, Jacob Martense, 
Dirck Hendrickse de Swede (Bye, Bey), Andries Hanse 
(Sharp), and Jan Martense (Van Alstyne). 

In Col. MSS. xiii., pp. 399, 545, we have the two fol- 
lowing records. In 1665 the Mahican chief Wattawit, the 
proprietor of a certain parcel of land back of Kinderhook, 
appears before the Albany authorities and declares that he 
sold to Evert Luycassen a tract that ''lies east of the Kill and 
is half of the middle piece. He has given the other half to 
Volckert Jansen as a present and token of his friendship to 
satisfy an old debt for corn." 

Wattawit does not seem to have been greatly enriched 
by his sale, or must have squandered his wealth, for in 1680 
we meet him again as a mail carrier "in need of a shirt." 

The second record is the deed of five Westenhook Indians 
to Dirck Wessels and Gerrit Teunisse of a tract consisting 
of "four fiats on both sides of Kinderhook Kill about one Dutch 
mile {three English miles) from Jan Van Tys sen's place; the 
two largest flats are on the east side of the Kill and the one to- 
wards the north contains about 27 Morgens {54 acres) ajtd the 
southerly about 14 morgens. The two other flats, on the west 
side of the Kill, contain about 25 and 6 morgens. The four 
flats with the woodlarid to the high hills are bounded on the 
south by land bought by Jan Bruyn of Pampoen and at the 



Land Orants 49 

north by Matitminimaws land.'' The deed is dated Oct. i, 
1679. 

In March, 1667, Major Staats, who had hitherto only a 
ground-brief for his land, had his title confirmed by Gover- 
nor Nicolls and received a formal patent. The description 
part reads as follows: 

... a Neck of land commonly called by the Indyan name 
Chickhakwick lying and being on the East side of the River Striking 
along the great Kill to the first Great fall of water and from thence to 
the ffishing Place where there is a Tree market with the letter A 
. . . containing two hundred acres. 

To this tract four hundred acres were added by a Patent 
granted by Governor Dongan in 1685 ; the whole six hundred 
acres lying together in one body. At that time and for a 
hundred years thereafter, the Stockport creek, formed by 
the confluence of the Kinderhook and Claverack creeks, 
was known as Major Abraham's Kill. 

Charles Clinton's survey of these tracts in 1752 gives 
this more detailed description : 

The first tract is bounded westerly by the Hudson River; 
southerly and easterly by the Kinderhook Kill and northerly by a 
line running from the first great fall in the said Kill, south 89 
degrees west 113 chains to the Fish Place on the Hudson river 
where a tree formerly stood marked with the letter (A). The 
second tract joins the north side of the former and begins at the 
Fish Place where the said marked tree stood and runs thence 
along the line of the said first tract, north 89 degrees east, 72 
chains and fifty links ; thence north 58 chains and 50 links ; then 
south 89 degrees west 69 chains to the river and thence along the 
bank of the river to the place of beginning ; containing 400 acres. 

The map of the survey reveals the house of Samuel Staats 
near the mouth of Stockport creek; about one and a half 
miles north, near the Fish place, the home of John Staats 
with that of Isaac Staats about one half-mile beyond. About 



50 Old RinderHooK 

a mile and a half east of Samuel Staats*s house appears that 
of John Carroll. 

The third important Patent, especially important be- 
cause of the long-continued litigation to which it gave rise, 
was the Baker and Plodder Patent. The names have been 
mistakenly reversed hitherto, and nothing known, it was 
said, of the patentees. We are happy to make them known. 
As was always required, the tract had previously been pur- 
chased of the Indian owners. The consideration was '^one 
blanket, one axe, three hoes, two bars of lead, three handsful 
of powder, one knife and one kettle.** Shortly after this pur- 
chase Governor Nicolls issued a Patent for the tract to 
Captain John Baker and Jacob Jansen Plodder. 

Because of its importance in connection with subse- 
quent land-litigation we give its descriptive part in full 
(Land Patents, vol. ii., p. 244), date, April 15, 1667: 

A Confirmacon Graunted unto Capt. John Baker and Jacob 
Jansen Plodder for a certain parcell of Bushland neare ffort 
Albany. . . . 

Richard Nicolls Esq. . . . Whereas Capt. John Baker and 
Jacob Jansen Plodder have with my Lycense made Purchase of 
ye Indian proprietors of a Certaine parcell of Bushland near 
ffort Albany together with a Creek or Kill with the fall of waters 
running North and South lying and being on ye north syde of 
Eunick's Land at Kinder Hooke and on ye West side of the great 
Kill conteyning by estimacon — Acres of Land ye Deed of Pur- 
chase from ye said Indians bearing date at ffort Albany March 
18, 1666. Now for a Confirmacon, etc. 

We call attention to the original spelling of "Emikee," of 
later renown. 

The grantees, it would seem, were permitted to make their 
own "estimacon" of the number of acres. We can identify 
"the fall of waters running north and south** as that of the 
Valatie kill. We are able also to state, following the alleged 
example of certain learned commissioners after months of pro- 



Land-Litigation 51 

found thought concerning a disputed boundary, that Baker 
and Plodder's land was bounded on the south by Emikee's. 
And if the over inquisitive and exacting ask for precision as 
regards Emikee's tract, the rejoinder is, that it was bounded 
on the north by Baker and Plodder's. What could be 
simpler or more satisfying! It is not surprising that later 
years were filled with litigation, when it was discovered 
how largely the fourth Patent covered the same territory. 
Two years later Baker's interest in this Patent was assigned 
to Plodder. Singularly, a deed recorded in Hudson (Deed 
Book, ZZ., p. 461), in 1854, given by Esther Bird and others, 
of Newark, N. J., to Shepard C. Keith of the same place, 
gives additional details concerning this Patent. After de- 
scribing the property in the terms of the original Grant of 
1667, as recorded in the Secretary of State's office (Patents, 
2d series. Liber 2, p. 65), it goes on to say: "being the same 
premises described in the conveyance made by one Walthan- 
sett to John Baker and Jacob Jansen Plodder bearing date 
the 1 8th. day of March, 1666, and being the same premises 
described in the conveyance made by Johannes Gardenier 
to John Cooper, Obadiah Cooper, Jacob Cooper, bearing 
date the 6th. day of June, 1774." 

Long anterior to the litigation concerning this Patent, 
as noted later, there was the petition of John Cooper to 
"Honble the Convention of the State of New York," setting 
forth that he "has the sole right and property in said lands 
vested in him and his heirs by virtue of a conveyance and 
power of attorney which he has honestly obtained from the 
heir at law"; that he "can now prove the bounds of said 
lands by several ancient persons whose decease might here- 
after cause him to Loose his right thereto." He therefore 
prayed for the appointment of "some proper person or 
persons to examine the said ancient evidences, that the 
same may be recorded and your petitioner freed from the 
great risque of losing the benefit arising therefrom in any 
future Court of Justice, Either of Law or Equity." The 



52 Old RinderHooK 

petition is dated March 4, 1777. Had it been granted, 
much vexatious Htigation might have been prevented; but 
the Convention had so many other and more important 
matters demanding attention that this petition seems to 
have been in vain. 

But a trifle less indefinite than the Baker and Flodder 
Patent, and laying a good foundation for subsequent con- 
troversy and litigation, is the Hans Hendricksen or Nutten- 
hook Patent. Omitting unessential legal phraseology only, 
we quote (Pat., vol. ii., p. 174): 

A Confirmation Graunted to Hans Hendricksen for a Parcell 
of Land neare Albany. 

Richard Nicolls Esq. . . . Whereas there is a certain 
Parcell of Land neare Albany lying & being on y^ East Waal 
beginning Northwards at ye first point of Nutten Hooke & 
stretching alone ye side of little Nutten Hooke till ye come to 
Marinelutts Creek or Kill so runs into ye Woods about the depth 
of a Dutch Myle (three English miles) which said Parcell of Land 
was upon the first day of February 1666 with the Approbacon & 
consent of ye Commissaryes Purchased for a valuable Considera- 
con from the Native Indian Proprietors of that place by Arent 
Van den Bergh together with ye Meadow Ground or Valley 
lying within the said Lymitts belonging thereunto And whereas 
the said Arent Van den Bergh did upon ye 17th day of this 
Instant Month of ffebruary make Sale of all his Interest in the 
Premises to Hans Hendricksen whereby the right & Title therein 
is devolved upon him Now for a Confirmacon. , . . The Patent 
is dated the "24th day of ffebruary 1667." 

Years ago, much more frequently than now, we were 
wont to hear of Brown (Bruyn) Right as denoting the 
northerly part of our town. The origin of the designation 
appears in the most notable of all the earlier patents, that 
issued by Governor Dongan in 1668 to J. Hendrix De Bruyn. 
The earlier Indian deed bears the names, Pompoenick, 
Taeppehismen, and Attawanoe. Their "marks" are much 
more artistic and picturesque than those of the ilHterate 



Land-Litigation 53 

of our time. That of Attawanoe for instance looks like 
a small bug with sixteen legs. The tract, beginning about 
a mile south of the Rensselaerswyck border, had a river- 
front of about three miles, and extended thence eastward 
about six miles. The descriptive part of the Patent is as 
follows : 

. . . from Davidson's Creek which Creek lies against bear 
island called in the Indian tongue Pahpapaenpemock and from 
the said Creek stretching southerly along the river to the saw 
kill of Frans Peiters Claver the Creek in the Indian tongue called 
Pittannoock stretching to the East and in the woods to the first 
two lakes or inwaters which are called by the Indians Hithoock 
and Wogashawachook. 

The Patent gives no other boundaries nor is the number 
of acres stated, but they were about 19,000. While there is 
indefiniteness as to boundaries, there is a precision and com- 
prehensiveness as regards ''appurtenances and heredita- 
ments" worthy of emulation by modern conveyancers. We 
quote, verbatim, literatim et punctuatim: 

. . . Houses Barnes Buildings fencis Gardens Orchards 
Soyles Pastures ffeedings Inclosures Woods Underwoods timber 
Trees Swamps Marshes Waters Rivers Rivoletts Runs Brooks 
Lakes Streams Ponds Quarrys Mines Mineralls fishing fowling 
hunting Hawking Silver and Gold Mines excepted. 

The consideration was "five Bushells of good Winter 
Merchantable Wheate att New Yorke," payable annually. 
Evidently De Bruyn, who owned several houses in Albany 
and considerable tracts in Bethlehem and Catskill, was one 
of the great land speculators of his time. His title to the 
first great tract passed in 1707 to Laurence Van Alen and 
by his will of 17 12 was devized to his nine children. 

To J. H. De Bruyn, Evert Luycas, Dirck Wessels, and 
Peter Van Alen, in 1671 and later, several successive patents 
were issued covering tracts on both sides of the creek and 



54 



Old RinderKooK 



extending from Major Staats's "bouerie" to or beyond 
Valatie. It, or a considerable part of it, came to be known 
as "TheGrooteStuk." 

In very many of the earliest land-papers this Groote 
Stuk (Great Piece) is named. The phrase appears on our 
earliest map and might be regarded as indicating the older 
part of Kinderhook village. It was for long a puzzle to us 
as regards its precise location. It is only from information 
derived piece by piece from a multitude of sources that we 
are able to state with approximate accuracy, that while 
the older part of the village was in the Groote Stuk, the 
term included much more. It was a tract beginning at 
the creek at Valatie and extending thence southerly along 
both sides of the creek through the old village of Kinderhook 
and as far probably as Lindenwald, or the easterly line of 
the Nuttenhook patent. Prior to 1668 it had been pur- 
chased of the Indians; the renowned Wattawit being the 
owner, personally, or as representing a tribe or clan of the 
Mahicans. 

In vol. iii., p. 60, of Patents, we find this Confirmation 
of title: 

.... a tract " not farre from Nuttenhook and ye Kinder Hoeck 
known by ye Indian name of Machackoeske, stretching on both 
sides of ye Kill and goeing up Northerly next to ye land formerly 
(in 1665. See p. 59.) bought of ye Indians by Evert Luykassen 
and so to Pachaquack (Valatie), which said piece or Parcell of 
land hath been . , . purchased from the Indian native owners 
by Evert Luykassen, J. H. Bruyn and Dirk Wessels, May 1666, 
of which they sold a fourth part to Pieter Van Alen." 
The confirmation is dated June 26, 1668. 

June 31, 1695, Pieter Van Alen deeded his share in the 
Groote Stuk to Pieter Vosburgh, eldest son of the litigious 
Geertruy Vosburgh. Dirck Wesselsen sold his share with- 
out recorded deed to Marte Cornelisse (Van Buren), the 
great-great-grandfather of President Van Buren. The sale 



Land-Litigationi 55 

was confirmed Feb. 17, 1707-8. Marte willed this property 
to his son Peter whose wife was a sister of Peter Vosburgh's 
wife, and the sisters "lived," we read, "on adjoining farms." 
Evert Lucassen's only child, Elbertje, married Lawrence 
Van Alen, the purchaser in 1707 of the great De Bruyn 
patent. Elbertje was her father's only heir, and through her 
his share in the Groote Stuk, excepting a few portions pre- 
viously sold, became vested in Lawrence Van Alen, already 
an enormous landholder. March 4, 17 12, Van Alen gave 
deeds of land in and near Kinderhook to six of his nine 
children; and on the same day these children conveyed to 
Johannes Van Deusen (their brother-in-law) and his wife 
Christina Van Alen "the half of that land called the Stroak." 
Sept. 30, 1707, De Bruyn gave one half of his share in the 
Groote Stuk to the children of Lawrence Van Alen. All 
these statements may be verified by consulting the Deed 
books and the Index of Grantors in the Albany County 
Clerk's office. What became of De Bruyn's remaining 
half-interest in the Groote Stuk we have been unable to 
ascertain. We conjecture, however, that at an earlier un- 
recorded date it had been sold to Lawrence Van Alen and 
was the portion which in 1679-80 and '82 Van Alen sold to 
Jan Tysse (Goes). In later years the last-named appears 
in possession of the northerly section of our famous Groote 
Stuk ; and Lambert Janse (Van Alstyne) as owning the most 
southerly. 

In the Fort Orange Court records, the important parts 
of which relating to Kinderhook were kindly translated for 
us by our State Archivist, Mr. Van Laer, we find that in 
March, 1678, Lawrence Van Alen, attorney for (and son-in- 
law of) Evert Luycassen, applied for an order for the divi- 
sion of the Groote Stuk among its four owners. Evert 
Lucassen (Backer), John Tysse (Goes), Marten Cornelise 
(Van Buren), and Peter Vosburgh. 

Lawrence Van Alen's application was granted and an 
order for division by lot was issued; actual possession in 



56 Old RinderKooK 

severalty, however, not to take place until Fall, after the grain 
had been gathered. No attention seems to have been given 
to the order, for in 1681 complaint was made by inhabitants 
of Kinderhook (not named) that some of the owners would 
not consent to the division, whereupon it was ordered that 
it be made within eight days without further delay. A year 
later the Commissioners, Melgert, Abrahams, and Claes 
Petten, report that they have made the division by measur- 
ing the fences and marking upon trees the portion assigned 
to each, namely, 600 paces. In the interim Luycassen had 
transferred his title to his son-in-law, Lawrence Van Alen, 
and Cornelise disposed of his portion, so that now Van Alen, 
John Tysse, and Isaac and Jacob Vosburgh are the owners. 
"The gate through which John Tysse drives alone and all 
the other gates must be kept in good repair." 

The same records show that in 1678 land-litigation which 
continued more than a hundred and fifty years had already 
begun. In its inception and its continuance it was largely 
due to the indefiniteness of boundary lines and to the fact 
that in some cases the patents w^ere conflicting. 

In 1680 Lawrence Van Alen sues Jan Tysse concerning 
the division and the survey of land south of the latter's 
house, formerly belonging to De Bruyn and Luycassen; 
also to compel Tysse to keep the division fence in repair 
and to compensate Van Alen for his charges and labor. 

The same year Gerrit Teunisse asks the Court to compel 
Peter Vosburgh to fulfill a contract which the former has 
made in the presence of witnesses to sell him (Vosburgh) 
land for 120 beavers in six years or sixty beavers cash. 

In 1682 the four owners of the Groote Stuk last named 
sue Andries Gardenier for trespass, claiming that his house 
stood on their land ^^ which runs to the creek, while he is entitled 
to the creek only." Gardenier in defense produces an earlier 
title than theirs and nonsuits them. 

These items from the Court record may seem too trivial 
to be noted, but they furnish us here and there missing 



Land-Litigation 57 

pieces of the Groote Stuk picture puzzle. The fenced por- 
tion, if not the whole of that mysterious tract, consisted of 
four parts, each 600 paces long. Assuming that the pace 
of that time was five feet (as Munsell states) , we have alto- 
gether a tract of more than two and a quarter miles long. 
The east and west lines we cannot locate with precision, 
but we know that they included the creek and a somewhat 
narrow and irregular strip of land on each side. But the 
heart of the tract, portions of which were ^'sometimes over- 
flowed,'' we can definitely locate as beginning at or near 
Valatie and extending thence along the creek for about two 
and a quarter miles and including the eastern part of our 
village, and south as far as the Van Alen farm or possibly 
Lindenwald. Several deeds of known lots on William Street 
confirm this view. We have a decided impression that 
Emikee {alias Wattawit?) would tell us that a large part at 
least of the Groote Stuk was his land. We are satisfied also 
that we can identify this tract with that originally granted 
to De Bruyn, Luycassen, Dirk Wessels, and Peter Van Alen, 
in 1 66 1, as hitherto noted. 

From a deed in the possession of Henry (grandson of the 
late Henry) Snyder we are able to trace the present Datus 
C. Smith place back to its original Indian owner, Wattawit; 
and we find to a certainty that a portion at least of the old 
Schermerhorn-Pruyn estate, including the site of the present 
Beekman residence, belonged to the same Wattawit, per- 
sonally, or as the representative of his folk. 

In 1685 a Patent was granted to Philip Schuyler for 800 
acres lying for 2000 paces along the Great New England 
Path, substantially the present roadbed of the Boston and 
Albany Railway. 

The most important in some respects of all the patents 
was that issued by Governor Dongan in 1686 and known 
as the Great Kinderhook Patent. It included, as will be 
seen, several of the patents already noted. 

Hitherto large sections of Kinderhook District had been 



58 Old RinderHooK 

owned by non-residents. By invitation or permission set- 
tlers had occupied and improved portions of the land without 
acquiring any recorded title so far as appears. These 
settlers and patentees, numbering thirty-one in all, having 
doubtless made satisfactory arrangements among themselves 
of which there is no record, in 1686 applied for and received 
the "Kinderhook Patent." Owing to its importance we 
transcribe it from the original record, omitting two repeti- 
tions of the thirty-one names and a clause now and then of 
the customary redundant legal phraseology unessential to 
its meaning. (See Appendix.) 

In the early years of the eighteenth century several 
additional and important land-patents were granted. 

In 1703 Tierck Harmense (Visscher) received a patent 
for land between Swartahook and Great Nuttenhook; also 
in 1740 for land purchased of Essie Hendry ksen, as noted 
below, together with three hundred acres vacant land lying 
south and west of the Kinderhook Patent of 1686. 

In Land Papers, iii., pp. 90 and 129, appears the petition 
of Andries Gardenier (1702) for a patent for a tract of land 
*' between the colony of Renselaerswyke and Chinder hooke.'* 
He obtained permission to purchase 1000 acres, and in 1702-3 
records the deed of ^'Aqtiake, impowered by his mother Mane- 
nagkeha and his two younger br ether en, Aarpamit and Meno- 
nanpa, all native Mahikan Indians.'* The consideration was 
"30 pounds Currant Money and one fathom of Duffels together 
with four half {?) of good beer.'' 

Six years later Rip Van Dam and others reported recom- 
mending that the petition be granted, (Vol. iv., p. 155.) Three 
days thereafter a warrant for a patent was issued. The 
descriptive part reads: ''A tract of woodland lying on the east 
side of Hudson's river north of De Bruyn, beginning by David- 
ties hook thence running up said river 1300 pases more or less 
to the bounds of Renslaerswick, being over against the south 
end of Barren Island, thence with the same breadth t?ito the 
woods eastward six English miles or thereabouts to a small 



Land-Litigation 59 

lake which empties into the Great Fish Lake, being bounded 
between the patent of Kinderhook and Renslaerswick." 

For this he was to pay, "Yearly and every year . . . att 
New Yorke . . . att or upon the ff east Day of the Annuncia- 
tion of the blessed Virgin Mary Commonly called Lady Day 
the Rent or Summe of Six Shillings.^* 

To him also patents were issued in 1708 for several 
tracts, the north boundary of which began at Nutten Hook, 
and amounting to nearly 5000 acres, for which he was to 
pay a yearly rent of four shillings "att New Yorke att or 
upon the ff east day of the Birth of our Lord God.'' 

Without date, but endorsed as read in Council in 1703, we 
have in Land Papers, iii., p. 124, addressed to Lord Cornbury, 
etc., the "Petition of Lawrence Van Schayke and Lawrence 
Van Aela, planters, praying Lybertie and Ly cense to purchase 
from the Indians in order to obtaining her Majesty's Grant to 
a parcel of land to the Eastward of Maj. Staats, stretching 
eight English miles into the woods, for the purpose of settling 
and improving." With the petition is a rude map of lands 
along the river from Major Staats's to David's Hook. Stuy- 
vesant is "the land of the Swede" and there is an unkind hint 
that Essie Hanse at Nutten Hook has no title for land on 
which she had lived for thirty years. 

In Land Papers, vol. iii., p. 157, there is the record of a 
deed (1703) given by Essie Hendrickse, widow of Hans 
Hendrickse, to Tierck Harmense, of lands north of Abram 
Staats's two tracts. The deed refers to two patents for the 
land issued to her husband in 1667 and 1695. In an earlier 
record of the petition for the patents the tract is spoken of 
as "long in his possession and improved." These constituted 
the Little Nuttenhook patent. The whole tract with the 
exception of a portion theretofore released to their son was 
sold for 1 56 pounds and is thus described : 

"A certain parcel of land near Albany, lying and being at 
ye east wall, beginning northward of the first point of Nutten 
Hook and stretching along the side of ye Little Nutteri Hook 



6o Old RinderHooK 

till you come to Marmehead creek or Kill, and soe runs into 
the woods about a Dutch mile, {three English miles).'' 

The records seem to show that Tierck wanted Essie's 
lands at Great Nutten Hook as well, for, in 1704 (Land 
Papers, iii., p. 185), Essie Hanse petitions Lord Cornbury: 

That her late husband thirty years since with great charges and 
labor made improvements upon land which she had peaceably 
enjoyed since his death. That Tirck Harmise unjustly coveting 
the widdow's right and improvement had by Petition and false 
alegations therein endeavored to obtain a patent. She prays that her 
livelyhood may not be given to another and that no advantage may be 
taken of her ignorance in neglecting to apply for a confirmation of 
her possessions. 

She now prays for a patent for land "from Great Nuttenhook 
running along the river to Swartahook and so carrying the 
same breadth eastward four miles into the woods." 

In Land Papers, iv., p. 17, we find, dated Sept., 1704, 
an order of Lord Cornbury for the issue of letters patent 
to Tirk Harmense for three tracts; the first for 466 acres 
beginning at the north end of Nutten Hook, thence east 
into the woods 322 chains, thence southeast 120 chains; 
the second a tract of 300 acres north of the above and along 
the river; and a third tract of forty acres adjoining the 
preceding and completing the compactness of the whole. 
The second tract had been previously purchased of Essie 
Hanse. Her appeal seems to have been, in part at least, 
successful. 

A large portion of the easterly part of this Nutten Hook 
Patent was subsequently owned by Gerrit Van Schaack 
and his heirs and later became the property of Matthew 
and Lourens M. Goes. Van Schaack's (later Timothy Clos- 
son's) mill and dwelling were at Stuyvesant Falls. The 
map of John E. Van Alen's survey in 1785 shows also the 
surveys of Bleecker in 1743 and 1749. Van Alen's survey 
was for Matthew, Lourens M., John D., and Peter D. Goes, 



I^and-Liti^ation 6i 

among whom he divided a large tract, the south boundary of 
which ran 138 chains east from Martin Van Alstyne's mills 
at Chittenden's Falls. 

On p. 155 of the same volume is Cornbury's order for 
the patent to Andries Gardenier for the tract north of the 
great De Bruyn Patent, already described. It is dated 
Oct. 1 708 and notes the yearly quit rent of six shillings. In 
the book of Deeds, vol. v., p. 213, we find the grant of con- 
firmation by the Trustees of Kinderhook, elsewhere named, 
to Jan Goes, son and heir of Jan Tyssen Goes, deceased, and 
to the eight children of Lawrence Van Alen, heirs of Evert 
Luykassen, deceased, '^as by deed of sale from the native 
Indians and Pattent,'' a large tract, the instructive description 
of which we quote: 

beginning and stretching on both sides of a certain Kill or creek 
Called and known by the Indian name Najokasink and by the 
Christians the Beowers Binne Kill thence westerly into the woods 
. . . to greate Spring or groote fontyn . . . along the waggon road 
to great piece or groot stuk by a valley along the brink of the hill to a 
certain place called water Kuyl, and from thence easterly to the Klay 
Kuyls Kill and from thence southerly to the lands of Lawrence Van 
Alen, along the said bounds westerly to the first mentioned bounds. 

The grant is dated 171 1, and the tract evidently included 
much of the land on both sides of the creek near, possibly 
in part in, the easterly section of the present village. The 
record of the subsequent transfers by these heirs would 
require a volume of its own. The records may be found in 
the Albany County Clerk's office. 

In Land Papers, vol. vi,, p. 173 {see p. 159 for petition), 
we have a description of John Beatty's survey of "two tracts 
of woodland containing together about 4000 acres . . . 
laid out for Conrat Borghart and Elias Van Schaack." 

The descriptive part of the first reads: 

Beginning on the east side of Kinderhook creek or kill by the 
high fall commonly called Major Abram Staats' fall . . . thence 



62 Old RinderKooK 

east 148 chains, then south by west 316 chains, then northwest 
5 degrees north 184 chains, then down the Claverack kill to its 
intersection with Kinderhook creek, then up Kinderhook creek 
including all ye turnings and windings thereof to ye first station. 
The whole being bounded on the west by ye Claverack and 
Kinderhook creek and on the other sides by ye King's woods, 
containing 3590 acres. 

The measurements stated in miles and decimals were 
1.85, 3.95, and 2.3 respectively. 

The second tract was in the northern part of the district 
between Rensselaerswyck and the "General Patent" and 
east of the Gardenier tract. 

It is thus described : 

Beginning on the east side of a small run of water on the bounds 
of Kinderhook patent, neare where the said run watereth out 
of a small lake or pond (Knickerbocker lake?) which . . . lyeth 
to ye northward of ye great pond or lake, east 103 chains, north 
41 chains, west 97 chains, to the small run above named on the 
border of Andries Gardenier, thence down to the point of begin- 
ning; containing 410 acres; both tracts together 4000 acres. 
The survey is dated Oct. 25, 171 7. 

The smaller tract subsequently became the property of 
"Burger Huyck and Co.," and was the "land in their 
possession" adjoining which was the much larger tract for 
which they obtained their patent. 

A map of the two tracts surveyed for Borghart and Van 
Schaack in Land Papers, vi., p. 174, shows that a consider- 
able portion of the first tract was in Claverack. It was 
evidently Borghart's portion, for in 1767, in reply to Henry 
Van Rensselaer's caveat of protest, we have (L. P., xxiv., 
p. 16), the petition of the sons of Coenradt (John, Coenradt, 
Garret, Peter, and Jacob), and two sons-in-law, Isaac Van 
Duersen and Peter Sharpe, reciting the "Licence and Pur- 
chase" in 1729. The issue of the controversy belongs to 
the history of the Claverack Manor. 



Land-Litigation 63 

In 1729-30 (Land Papers, x., 105) we find the petition 
of Thomas Williams, Cornells Jacobse Schermerhorn, and 
Leendert Conyne for a "licence to purchase a tract of 1000 
acres lying on both sides of Kinderhook creek between the 
north line of Kinderhook patent and the manor of Ranslaers- 
wick." 

A month later Jacob Vosburgh, Jacob Isaackse Vosburgh, 
Jr., Johan Vosburgh, J. Abse Van Alstyne, and Johan Ten 
Broeck enter their caveat against the encroaching petition 
of Williams and others, and this leads to a warrant for the 
survey of the north bounds of the Kinderhook Patent; 
this being the more necessary because it had been found 
that distances stated in the patent and actually measured 
distances did not always agree. Williams and others seem 
to have been thrown out of Court for, in 1731 (Land Papers, 
X., pp. 152, 170, and xi., p. 6), w^e have the petition for and 
survey of a grant of 6000 acres to Burger Huyck and others, 
adjoining to lands of which they were possessed, to the 
northward of lands formerly belonging to Dirck Wessels 
and Gerrit Teunisse. The survey was made in 1731 and 
a patent given. These ''others'' were in some cases merely 
nominal owners; named, because of the law that no patent 
for more than 1000 acres to one person was to be granted. 
The full list of patentees was Burger Huyck, Lambert Huyck, 
Peter Van Alen, Johannes Vosburgh, Joachim Kallier, 
Isaac Vosburgh, John Van Alstyne, Johannis Ten Broeck, 
and Casper Rouse. 

This tract, together with a grant to Peter Vosburgh of 
1900 acres (an approximate parallelogram in shape), included 
the whole northern part of the district south of Rensselaers- 
wyck and east of the De Bruyn patent, the two lakes and 
the Gardinier grant. The extreme northeast point of the 
tract is indicated on the map of the survey as being eleven 
miles from the Hudson, far within the present boundary of 
Chatham. The Field Book and map of the survey are in 
the Surveyor-General's office. The tract is thus described : 



64 Old RinderHooK 

A Certain Tract of Land Scituate Lying and being in the 
County of Albany on both sides of the Kinderhook Creek or 
River, Beginning at a small black oak tree marked with three 
notches standing on the brow of the falling off hills, near the 
south end of land granted to Derick Wessels and Geritt Teunisse, 
and on the west side of the Kinderhook Creek or River and the 
south side of a small Run of water running down the said Hills, 
which tract runs from the said Black Oak tree, north 60 degrees 
west 95 chains; then north 5 degrees east 40 chains, to the 
easterly boundary of a tract of land granted to J. H. De Bruyn; 
then along his bounds, north 27 degrees east, 93 chains to a large 
fish pond; then north easterly along the south and east sides of 
the said pond to the mouth of a Run of water called the Bouren 
Kill and running into the said Pond. Then along the said Bouren 
Kill to the mouth of another small Run which runs out of a small 
Pond there into the said Bouren Kil; then along the said Run of 
water to the said small Pond ; then northerly along the east side 
of the said small pond, and along a Run of water which runs into 
the said Pond, which Run of water is called Lischer's Killickie 
(Muitzes Kill), being the easterly Bounds of a tract of land 
granted to Andrew Gardineer, to the south bounds of the Manor 
of Rensselaerswyck. Then along the said Bounds east 70 chains; 
then south 79 degrees east, 190 chains. Then south 15 degrees 
west, 135 chains. Then south 45 degrees west 135 chains. Then 
south 45 degrees west 286 chains; then north 60 degrees west 84 
chains to the said Black Oak tree where this tract began; con- 
taining in the whole 6921 acres of land and the usual allowance 
for Highways. 

The house of John Van Ness is located near the southeast 
corner of the Huyck tract. On the northerly section of the 
Peter Vosburgh tract, 1908 acres in all, five undesignated 
dwellings appear. But the surveyor goes on to say : 

There are five persons settled on the tract, viz. John Print 
who has about 30 acres under improvement, Henry Salisbury 20 
acres, Gisbert DeWitt 15, Cornelius Ostrom 20 and Jacob Fry 
15 acres, all under some degree of improvement, as none have 
been settled above two years except Jacob Fry who has been 



Land-Litigation 65 

there near five years, and all settled without any pretension of 
title. 

Through the courtesy of Mr. Frank Palmer of Kinder- 
hook, and of his wife's brother, Mr. Edgar B. Thomas of 
Great Barrington, the present owner of the document, we 
have had before us an interesting old deed, written on a 
piece of parchment thirty-three inches wide. It is dated 
1743, and was given by Geertruyd Coyemans as one of the 
executors of her husband's (Andries Coyemans) will, to 
Alexander Van Alstyne, blacksmith, of Kinderhook. It 
refers to an earlier deed of the same property from Coenradt 
Borghardt in 1720. It is termed the ^^ Defeeresses land'' 
and was evidently what fifty years ago was the Edward A. 
Thomas farm. He was the father of the present holder of 
this old document. The consideration was three hundred 
pounds of current money of the Province of New York. 

In Land Papers, xxvi., pp. 106, 146, may be found the 
return of surveys (1768), with a map, of two tracts of 
land. They are triangular pieces whose common apex is 
at Swarta Hook, with a base line of about ^ of a mile 
along the north boundary of Harmanse's tract "of 300 
acres " at Nutten Hook. The tract along the river contained 
122 acres and was surveyed for Hugh Munro. The second 
tract of 125 acres was surveyed for Joseph Smeeton. The 
division line between the two, from Swarta Hook to the 
Harmanse tract, was about 1% miles long. The accom- 
panying map reveals these dwellings at intervals along the 
river-front south of Swarta Hook: I. Sharp, Gisbert Claw, 
Abr. Wingood, and Jacob Falkinburgh. 

In 1790 Surveyor-General De Witt surveyed a tract of 
897 acres for these parties: for Dirck Woodcocks (198), 
William Steves (200), Joel Champion (192), Job Champion 
(173), and George White (134). The tract was bought for 
two shillings an acre and is described (Land Papers, xlix., 
p. 143) as "Beginning at a marked white oak tree standing 



66 Old RinderHooK 

on the south bound of the Manor of Rensselaer at a distance 
of 12 chains and 75 Hnks from the south-west corner of the 
stoop or shed of the dwelHng house of Henry Goes." 

In Land Papers, xl., pp. 7, 8, are the returns of two 
surveys (1791) for John Van Ness: the first for a tract of 
427 acres adjoining the north bounds of the patent granted 
to Burger Huyck and others. The second is for a tract of 
200 acres adjoining a tract laid out for Dirck Woodcock. 

The larger tract was Mr. Van Ness's bounty land; re- 
ceived in accordance with the acts of the Legislature of 
1 78 1 and 1782, whereby, bounties of unappropriated lands 
were granted to those who had raised troops for the defense 
of the State or to complete the Line of the State in the ser- 
vice of the United States. The Surveyor-General, Simeon 
Dewitt, thus reports his survey to Governor Clinton: 

All that certain Tract . . . beginning at the north east corner 
of the patent heretofore granted to Burger Huyck and others 
and running thence along the north bounds thereof, s. 86° 45' 
West, 22 chains and 80 links to a tract of 200 acres laid out for 
the said John VanNess; then along the same. North 75 chains, 
to a tract laid out for Dirck Woodcock; then along the same, 
North 40° 30' East, 2 chains and 30 links to the south bound of 
the manor of Rensselaer ; then along the same easterly 52 chains 
and 80 links to the west bounds of the Kings' District ; then along 
the same. South 45' East, to the Kinderhook creek; then down 
along the same as it winds and turns to the aforesaid tract 
granted to Burger Huyck and others, and then along the same 
to the place of beginning, containing 427 acres of land, the same 
being laid out as nearly in the form of a square as conditions 
permitted. 

We have now given what we deem to be a sufficiently 
full account of the original titles to nearly all the territory 
comprised in Old Kinderhook. It is to be remembered that 
there were some who occupied land by private agreement 
with the natives without any other title. Others, if Isaac 
Goes's statement to Abraham Lott in 1774 was accurate, 



Land-Litigation 67 

seized upon unappropriated lands wherever they could find 
them and added them to their own holdings. But we 
suspect that Isaac was grouty that morning, for there could 
not have been so very much in his time to be thus seized. 
With the exception of a narrow irregular tract along the 
creek (the Groote Stuk), which included parts of both Kin- 
derhook and Valatie, we have covered our entire territory 
with land patents, in several places apparently two deep. 

The tracts thus granted cannot all be located with pre- 
cision on any map that has been or can be made. At first 
and for many years the territor}^ was wholly unsurveyed and 
largely unknown. One undefined tract was designated as 
adjoining another equally ill-defined. The first surveys 
when made were of the crudest sort. Distances were meas- 
ured by uncertain pacing, poles, ropes, harness-reins, and 
even by this phrase: "about a quarter of an hour's walk, 
according to my walking." Marked trees subject to decay, 
tree-trunks, one white oak readily mistaken for another 
which would include a greater number of acres, heaps of 
stones easily removed, and variable water-courses were des- 
ignated as stations in the surveys. ''Variable water-courses,'* 
we say, for our streams had a perverse way of refusing to 
flow discreetly as the grantors and grantees of patents said 
they did and must. Occasionally also, in sheer caprice if 
not with malice prepense, they would abandon an old chan- 
nel for a new one, as our staid old Kinderhook creek has done 
more than once. This was most reprehensible conduct on 
the part of our streams, for in connection with conditions 
before stated it tended to promote long and most vexatious 
litigation. Lawyers, Courts (the Supreme and the Court 
of Errors), Commissioners and Chancellors, all tried to 
settle what would not stay settled until the Legislature of 
1 8 12 and 18 13 appointed Commissioners whose decisions 
were to be final even if they cut the knots they could not 
untie. The Commissioners were given two years for their 
investigation, and later the time was extended. 



68 Old RinderKooK 

Under these conditions it is evident that the Devolution 
of Titles is a subject of extreme difficulty. It is only by 
laborious study of many maps, surveys, wills, and deeds 
(many unrecorded) that even approximate accuracy can 
be secured. Obviously also general outlines only can be 
given. The whole story as regards any one of a dozen of 
the old families would require many pages of dry-as-dust 
details. "Posterity delights in details," John Quincy 
Adams tells us, but we cannot make a volume of this chapter. 
Omitted details are accessible in the Land Papers of the 
Secretary of State's office, supplemented by the Index of 
Grantors and Grantees, and the books of Deeds in the Albany 
County Clerk's office, and later that of Columbia County. 
The Index leads us to suspect that when any of the nine 
children of Lawrence Van Alen had a family party title 
deeds were passed instead of cake. 

Doubts arising as to the validity of their numerous ex- 
changes and divisions of their inheritance, they obtained 
from the Legislature a special Act of Validation, passed in 
February, 1793. It recited that in 1751-52 the said (De 
Bruyn) tract was vested in the legal representatives of 
Lawrence Van Alen in nine shares or proprietary rights: 
that a part of the said land was laid out into lots and the 
remainder exchanged ; that is to say, land on the west side of 
Pine Ridge and Kallekoenbergh (Turkey Hill) for land on 
the east side, of which a map had been made and deposited 
in the Columbia County Clerk's office. Unfortunately 
this map has disappeared. Doubts arising as to the validity 
of such division and exchange, it was ratified and con- 
firmed, and the land vested in fee simple in proprietors re- 
siding thereon. The remaining undivided land, east of 
Pine Ridge and Kallekoenbergh, was to be divided accord- 
ing to the provisions of the Act for the Partition of Lands. 

In several successive volumes of the "Collections" of the 
N. Y. Historical Society may be found abstracts of the wills 
of many residents of Old Kinderhook which were filed in 



Land-Litigation 69 

the New York Surrogate's office. These and all other known 
and available sources of information have been studiously 
scrutinized and many helpful items thence derived. 

The principal De Bruyn Patent, of apparently about 
19,000 acres as finally delimited, was sold in 1707 to Lourens 
Van Alen for four hundred pounds. {See Appendix.) This 
Lourens was a son of Lourens Lourensen who is reported 
as being in Beverwyck in 1630. About 1673 his son Lourens 
became a resident and landholder here. In 1690 he was 
commissioned as a Justice of the Peace and in 1703 was 
elected one of the first trustees of the District. He and his 
brother Pieter were the progenitors of the once very numer- 
ous families of Van Alen and Van Allen of this whole region. 
Before 1686 he married Elbert je Evertse, daughter of Evert 
Luyckassen (Backer), one of the early patentees of several 
large tracts. Through his wife (and there were many like 
instances) Lourens received considerable additions to his 
own large holdings, notably his share in the famous Groote 
Stuk. Lourens and Elbert je had nine children; six sons 
and three daughters. The sons were Lucas, Lourens, 
Jacobus, Johannes, Stephanus, and Pieter. Their daughters 
were Emmetje (Jannetje), Catharina, and Christina, who 
married respectively, Leendert Conyn, Melgert Vanderpoel, 
and Johannis Van Deusen. The will of their father, who 
died in 1713-14, provided that his estate should be divided 
among them share and share alike. For more than fifty 
years much of the estate was held in common by amicable 
agreement; Conyn and Vanderpoel occupying the portion 
along the river and as far east as the "Pine Ridge" (the 
present Ridge road) and Kalkoen-berg (Turkey Hill), 
where, "beautiful for situation," stands the house of the 
late P. Eaton, now owned by Cornelius Van Alen. Johan- 
nis Van Deusen and his wife were in possession of a large 
tract near and including part of the present village of Valatie. 
His house stood near the existing bridge at Valatie. Lands 
on both sides of the creek, including the south side of Main 



70 Old RinderHooK 

Street and the island, were parts of his estate. We note in 
passing, although it was not a part of the De Bruyn patent, 
that "het Ilantje" (Island No. lo) was sold in 1735 to Mat- 
theus Goes for forty pounds. The deed describes it as 
"bounded on the south and west by a pond of water called 
Binnegat and on the north by land of the heirs of Dirck Goes, 
then in possession of the said Johannis Van Deusen." 

The remainder of the De Bruyn patent between these 
outlying portions was in the possession of Lourens's six sons. 

For facts stated as regards the devolution of title of the 
western section we are indebted to Mr. Philip Van Alstine, 
of New York. 

The name Poelsburg, long applied to a portion of that 
region, is of obvious derivation. The original Conyn and 
Vanderpoel houses, built of brick and in the best style of 
the time, stood on the river-bank. The Melgert Vander- 
poel house was built in 1719. Later, Melgert's son, Barent, 
built a stone house (burned in 1825) on what is now known 
as the Radley farm. Jacobus Vanderpoel, son of Barent, 
built on the river road about one half mile south of his 
father's house, on the present Gifford place. Leendert 
Conyn's daughter, Weintje, married Abraham Van Alstyne. 
On the death of her father she received the northern part 
of his estate including Schutter's (Hotaling) Island. Conyn's 
daughter, Catharine Ten Broeck (wife of Dirck Wessels), 
his son Leonard, and his granddaughter Henderecke Beeck- 
man (whose mother, Angetie Conyn married Jan Van 
Buren and died before her father), received lands at Roeleff 
Jansen's Kill and at Kleine Kill. The son of Abraham Van 
Alstine and Weintje (Lavina) Conyn was Lieutenant-Colonel 
(later Colonel) Philip Van Alstine, of distinguished service 
during the Revolution. 

The Melgert Vanderpoel mansion passed to his son 
Johannis and to the latter's son Isaac who continued to 
occupy it until it was declared forfeited to the State. It 
then came into the possession of Philip Van Alstine who 



l^and-Liti^ation 71 

died in 18 14, leaving two sons, John P. and Abraham P. 
A third son, Isaac P., had been killed by Indians at a landing- 
place on Lake Erie in 1784. The house built in 1719 was 
burned in 1872. 

John P. Van Alstine married Elizabeth Bork, daughter 
of Dominie Bork. In 1822 he sold the old Conyn place 
and about 255 acres of land to William Johnson and built 
what is now known as the Whannel house about one half 
mile north of the former. He died in 1831, and in 1839 his 
three sons sold their father's estate and moved West. Abra- 
ham P., the other son of Colonel Philip Van Alstine, married 
Catalyntie Gardenier, and had three children : Maria, who 
married Jesse Van Ness, the father of Philip and the grand- 
father of Jesse P. of East Greenbush who married Ella 
Milham of Stuyvesant; Cornelia, who married Peter L. 
Van Dyck; and Philip, the grandfather of Philip who fur- 
nishes these items. At the death of Abraham P. his pro- 
perty became vested in his son Philip and in his sons-in-law, 
the Van Nesses and the Van Dycks. The original Jesse 
Van Ness house of stone is still standing on a crossroad near 
the Schodack line. His son Philip's home on the Ridge, 
north of the district schoolhouse, is well remembered. That 
of Peter L. Van Dyck was on the Ridge road. Later, Arent 
Van Dyck, who married Hilletje, daughter of Stephen Van 
Alen, came into possession of a tract which included the farm 
now belonging to Lewis J., son of Frank Bion Van Alstyne. 

The fullest and clearest statement we have found of the 
ultimate disposition of the remainder of the De Bruyn 
patent, east of the Pine Ridge, is in the agreement between 
Lourens L. and Johannis L. Van Alen, sons of Lucas and 
grandsons of Laurens. The orginal document, loaned by 
Mr. J. S. Hosford, is before us as we write. It is dated 
February 4, 1 801. It recites: 

That their grandfather among other real estate was seized 
of a tract of land called the De Bruyn patent; that by his last 



72 Old RinderKooK 

will and testament, excepting sundry parcels previously disposed 
of, the patent was devized to his nine children, share and share 
alike: that his son Evert transferred his ninth to his brother 
Lucas: that in 1730 Johannis Van Deusen and his wife Christina 
Van Alen made over her ninth to her brothers Lucas, Stephanus, 
Jacobus, and Leonard Conine, her sister's husband: that in 
1743/4 Lucas devized his several shares in the patent and other 
real estate to his two sons Lourens L. and Johannis L., share and 
share alike, to be divided when Johannis came of age: that in 
1769 this partition was made in part: that at the time of making 
this partition a great part of the De Bruyn patent was undivided 
and held in common by themselves and the other proprietors so 
that a full, perfect and absolute division was impossible; that a 
partition of these remaining undivided lands was made in part 
in 1793 and in part in 1799, by Commissioners appointed by the 
Columbia County Court of Common Pleas, in accordance with 
the general Act of the Legislature for the Partition of Lands: 
that under this partition the undivided lands of the patent were 
laid out into eight Allotments and each Allotment into seven 
lots representing the proprietary shares of Stephanus, Jacobus, 
Lucas, Evert and Peter Van Alen and also of Peter Martese 
Van Buren and Johannis Van Deusen, in accordance with an 
agreement made in 1792: that those to whose names lots were 
drawn became entitled to and seized of the same as by the report 
of the Commissioners on file in the County Clerk's office. 

Then follow minute details of allotments among these 
several proprietors and also the releases of Lourens and 
Johannis to each other and to other proprietors of right, 
title, and interest in lands as allotted. These details are too 
numerous and extended for record here. They may be found 
in the Columbia County Clerk's office; but Surveyor Bleeck- 
er's map said to accompany the report is missing. Without 
it it is impossible to locate the several allotments to indi- 
viduals. Old residents, however, remember well what large 
sections of the great patent were in the possession of the 
descendants of the original Lourens down to a comparatively 
recent period; as indeed portions are to this day. But a 



Land-Litigation 73 

few years since the Van Alen homesteads were to be found 
on every road threading the De Bruyn patent, and there 
was probably not one of the old families with whom the 
Van Alens had not intermarried. The farm of the aged 
Peter Harder who died in 1864 (the grandfather of the late 
Edson Harder of Valatie) was the old-time homestead of 
Cornelius Van Alen whose family burial plot may still be 
seen near his house. Owned of late by Mr. Wheeler is the 
homestead of all the eight children of Lucas I. Van Alen, 
son of John L., as the initial I (interchangeable with J) 
signifies, and a grandson of Lourens. It retains traces of 
its ancient dignity and elegance, but is of peculiar attractive- 
ness to us as the birthplace of John, Elizabeth, and Lydia, 
whom we ''have loved long since and lost awhile." What we 
have known as the Walker place was originally a part of the 
Lucas I. estate. Of the remote descendants of Lourens 
there are some still here, but very many more are widely scat- 
tered. The name, once borne bv a multitude, has now but 
few representatives in Kinderhook, and, like several other 
once notable names here, is not unlikely to become extinct. 
In the Albany County Clerk's office may be seen the 
map of Bleecker's survey (1769) of "part of the land granted 
to Lawrence Scherp, Casparus Conyn, Jr. and others." 
The tract is largely if not wholly identical with the Powell 
patent of a hundred years earlier. It lies on both sides of 
the present Landing Road from the river to and including a 
large lot of "corn land" numbered 47, and lying northwest 
of Marte Van Alstyne's house and barn. Along the river 
are fourteen lots, twenty chains in depth and of varying 
width. We give the names of the owners in order from south 
to north and the width of their lots in chains and links. 
Peter Van Buren, 5.35; Peter Vosburgh, 5.30: Lewis Hoes, 
4.2: Dirk Hoes, 5.22: Dirk Hoes, 3.12: Casparus Conyn, Jr., 
3.12: Lewis Hoes, 3.12: Alida Scherp, 5.12: Peter Vosburgh, 
2.56: Peter Van Buren, 2.56: heirs and representatives of 
Lawrence Scherp, 10.25: Casparus Conyn, Jr., 6.53: Lewis 



74 Old R-inderHooK 

Hoes, 6.53: Dirk Hoes, 6.53. The entire tract is approxi- 
mately 68.70 in width and 271 chains in depth. Excluding 
the fenced farm of Francis Clauw, in the vicinity of the 
present Half-way House so-called, the remainder of the tract 
is divided into thirty-three large plots, making forty-seven 
in all, which were distributed, probably by lot, among the 
owners already named, except that plot 47, the ^'corn land," 
considerably larger than the others, was held in common, 
each owner having an undivided interest. 

We have already noted the transfer of other portions of 
the Powell Patent to the Van Alstynes; lands still in the 
possession of their descendants. Several other transfers were 
made by Jannetje, Powell's widow, and later jointly by her 
second husband Robert Orchard and herself. In Deeds, iii., 
p. 242, for example, we learn of her transfer in 1684 of land to 
Maes Comelisen which a month later he sold to Adam Ding- 
man. It is described as bounded on the west by lands of 
Peter Moree, on the east by those of Lawrence Van Alen, 
on the south by the Kinderhook Creek, and on the north by 
the hill. How charming the precision of that northern 
boundary, "the hill." A valued friend assures us that the 
old-time folk were honest, simple-minded people whose word 
was as good as their bond, and who had little care for legal 
documents, promissory notes, and the like. Possibly, some 
of them : but the voluminous records of the almost unceasing 
litigation of later years leads us to think they were not all 
so simple-minded and honest that notes, bonds, and preci- 
sion as regards boundary lines would not have saved them 
from many vexatious law suits, to the loss however of the 
legal luminaries of the day. 

In the Albany County Clerk's office (Deeds, E, pp. 156- 
7), we find recorded the agreement of the children of John 
Tysse Goes (171 1) as to the division of his estate in accord- 
ance with the terms of his will, dated 1708. 

As this agreement, even more than the original will, is 
instructive in several respects, we quote its substance. 



Land-L<itigation 75 

Premising that the will made ample provision for the sup- 
port and comfort of his wife, Styntie, and that his eldest 
son, Matthias (Tyse) , was to have one cow and forty shillings 
for his birthright, also "the small Creeck,^' and the testator's 
interest in a mill owned in partnership with Peter Schuyler 
and Sybrant Van Schaack, the substance, and in part the 
precise language of the agreement, is as follows: 

To his two sons, John and Dirk, all his real and personal 
estate. To John, "the half of two pieces of land stretching along 
the Kill nearly upon a north east line and striking off from Abram 
Staats' Bowery the first piece goes on both sides of the creek and 
is called Najakasick, abutting on the land of Evert Luykasse. 
The other part goes further up and is known as Wachanosoonick, 
excepting however the land heretofore conveyed to Jochem 
Lamersen (Van Valkenburgh) and Peter Moree. Together with 
the house, barne, barracks and orchard; together with part or 
shear (3^) of the Land called the Groote Stuk at Kinderhook 
aforesaid, lying on both sides of Kinderhook Kill, being not far 
from Nutten hook known by the Indian name Machackoes, 
stretching on both sides of the Kill and going up northerly next 
to the land formerly bought of the Indians by Evert Luykasse 
and so to Pachaquack (Valatie). Except what part or shear is 
reserved to Derick Goes. " 

The agreement, too long to quote in full, goes on to state 
that Matthias Goes, eldest son of John Tysse, 

agrees with his brothers John and Dirk for himself and for his 
sisters Anna, wife of Isaac Vosburgh; Teuntie, wife of Jacob 
Turk; Judick, wife of Isaac Huldriks and Majaka, wife of Burger 
Huyck, to the choice of Hendrick Hansen of Albany, Lawrence 
Van Schaack, Bartholomew Van Valkenburgh and Coenraet 
Burgaert of Kinderhook as arbitrators, they to choose a fifth if 
necessary, to appraise and award the lands devized by John 
Tysse as before stated, all parties to abide by their findings. 

Two days later the decision was rendered to the effect that 
John was to pay 135 pounds and Dirk thirty-five pounds 
to the other heirs. 



76 Old RinderHooK 

In Book E, pp. 1 86, 218, and F, p. 501, we note transfers 
by Jacob Martense to Louisa Van Schaack; Michael Calier 
to Elias Van Schaack; and Joachim Staats to Sybrant G. 
Van Schaack. The last-named land was a part of the 
Staats's patents. 

The Devolution of Title, as regards the great Kinderhook 
Patent, is happily clearer than in many other cases. We give 
that patent essentially in full in the Appendix. It was 
granted, it will be remembered, in 1686, and included within 
its limits most of the patents previously granted, except the 
greater De Bruyn, the Gardenier north of it, the Powell, 
Nuttenhook, Staats Patents, and the Groote Stuk. Until 
1762-63 the thirty-one patentees seem to have been tenants 
or owners in common with no recognized ownership in 
severalty beyond that of occupancy and improvement. It 
was the appearance of new claimants to portions of the terri- 
tory that led to the legalized division. 

In 1762, Margaret Livingston, Geertruy Coeymans, 
and James Livingston preferred a claim as part owners of 
lands in the actual possession of H. De Bruyn and thirty 
freeholders who were occupants of the tract in dispute. All 
the parties having petitioned for a Commission to survey the 
lands, define boundaries, and allot the territory among 
the freeholders in accordance with the Act for the Partition 
of Lands, it was appointed. The Commissioners were Ger- 
rit Van Den Bergh and Volkert Dow of Rensselaerswyck, 
with Harmanis Wendell of Albany. Their surveyor was 
Isaac Vrooman, the Deputy Surveyor-General. After 
twelve weeks' publication of their meeting in three New 
York weeklies, they met in Quackenboss's tavern on the 
Post Road north of the village and continued in session sixty- 
eight days. At the end of that time the whole Kinderhook 
Patent of 1686 had been carefully surveyed, divided into 
six large Allotments, and each of these in turn subdivided 
into thirty-one parts; that is, as many parts as there were 
rightful claimants. The claims of the instigators of the 



Land-Litigation 77 

survey were evidently disallowed. We are indebted to the 
labors of this Commission for the valuable "Map of the 
Division of the Kinderhook Patent" to which we have 
frequently referred. 

The Field Book of the survey reveals that the smallest 
of the six Allotments contained in round numbers about 
1060, and the largest about 8500 acres. The thirty-one 
lots into which each Allotment was subdivided varied from 
about 34 to 300 acres. These are rude estimates based on 
the scale of the map and only approximately correct. 

The next service required of the Commission was the 
assignment of the land thus divided and subdivided to the 
thirty-one freeholders entitled to its possession. The law 
required that this should be by lot. The meeting therefor 
was held at the tavern of Walter Block in New York. As 
many tickets as there were freeholders and Allotments were 
placed in a box and were drawn out by William Thomas, a 
boy of twelve, in the presence of Daniel Horsmanden, 
Judge of the Supreme Court. As the tickets were drawn 
the subdivisions of the large Allotments were assigned, 
each freeholder being entitled to six of the smaller plots. 
In some instances they were contiguous and in others widely 
separated. They were all minutely recorded in the final 
report of the Commission. With that record and the map 
before us we can locate the tracts falling to each person 
named with precision. Each one was supposed to take 
what came to him, occasioning no doubt some disappoint- 
ments which might be removed by private arrangement 
among themselves. 

To meet the expenses of the Commission a tract of 1721 
acres was reserved. The homesteads of Gerrit Van Schaack 
and Marte Van Alstyne were its eastern boundary ; the Powell 
patent its northern, and a line from Swarta Hook on the 
river to Abram Staats's falls its western. In December 
this tract was put up at auction at Quackenboss's tavern. 
After several lower bids, that of Robert Livingston of about 



78 Old RinderKooK 

1750 pounds was accepted. The itemized bill of the Com- 
mission for services and expenses was somewhat over 906 
pounds. After its payment from the proceeds of the sale 
the surplus was divided among the freeholders. 

This surplus, amounting to twenty- seven pounds for 
each freeholder, was distributed to most of them in 1764 
and to others three years later. From the report of the 
distribution it appears that most of the freeholders had either 
parted with their right therein or sold their allotments. 
We have this possibly instructive record of payments, 
twenty-seven pounds each unless otherwise noted. 

Gerrit Teunisse's share to John Van Rensselaer. 

Marten Cornelissen's to Barent and Abraham Van Buren. 

Jan Tysse's (Hoes) to Johannis L. Van Alen. 

Isaac Forsburgh's to Barent Van Buren and Myndert 
Vosburgh, Albany. 

Gerrit Jacobsen's (two shares) to Jacob H. Ten Eyck. 

Omeda (Ami) Legrange's to Jacobus Legrange. 

Andries Hansen's to Luykas Goes. 

Robert Sielksen's (Sickles) to Andries Kittle. 

Andries Gardenier's to Petrus and Andries Gardineer. 

Hendrick's Coenradt's (two shares) to Jacob H. Ten 
Eyck. 

Adam Dingman's to Albartus Dingman. 

Lambert Janssen's to William Van Alstyne. 

Claas Beever's (Beevert) to Gerrit Van Schaack. 

Albert Gardenier's to Peter Van Alstyne and Johannes 
L. Van Alen. 

Jan Martensen's (Van Alstyne) to Isaac and Maritie 
Van Alstyne. 

Yeanrich Kalljer's (Jurie Collier) four shares to Marten 
Jacobsen and Andries Hansen. 

Jacob Forsburgh's to Dyreck and Pieter M. Vosburgh. 

Francis Pieterson's to Cornelius Van Schaack. 

Tom Craven's to Cornelius Van Schaack, 

Jan Jacobse Gardenier's to Volkert J. Witbeck. 



Land-Litigation 79 

Peter Forsburgh's to Myndert Vosburgh. 

Let it not be deemed ungracious that as faithful chron- 
iclers we note in the itemized bill of the Commissioners the 
charge of more than forty-eight pounds for liquid refresh- 
ments for two of them. 

At that time, and for many years thereafter, an ample 
supply of such refreshments seems to have been an essential 
to the proper conduct of most public functions and to most 
public functionaries. An extract from a " Reckoning of the 
Committee of Safety," in 1776, reveals fifty-three pounds due 
Yates & Co., for nine days' entertainment of several persons 
at meals, etc., more than eighteen pounds of which was for 
the etc., namely ''wine, toddy and cyder.''^ From the same 
authority (Robert's New York in the Revolution) we glean 
that a major-general was allowed four gallons of rum monthly ; 
a brigadier-general three; subordinate officers two and one- 
half, but the poor chaplains only two. At about that time 
Robert Livingston reported that he had ordered " six barrels 
of beer to encourage the people to enlist.'" And when at the 
end of the war a grand dinner was given to the French am- 
bassador, General Washington, and many other celebrities, 
while the bill for 120 dinners was forty-eight pounds, that 
for liquors was more than eighty-five pounds, which in- 
cluded the significant item of three pounds for sixty wine- 
glasses broken. Eight only of the guests took coffee. In 
olden times rum was a sine qua non, not only at house and 
barn raisings and in the harvest fields, but also at funerals, 
and for the building of churches as well, as a cash book of 
1 8 14 which we have before us attests on every page. As 
regards this and much besides the delver into the records of 
the past finds the halos of glory about many heads not as 
bright as he had thought them to be, and sees not a little 
of the enchantment, which distance lends to the view, dis- 
pelled. The golden age is not behind us. But — Revenons 
d nos moiUons. 

The claim of Margaret Livingston et al. to the heart of the 



8o Old RinderHooK 

Kinderhook District had scarcely been disallowed by the Com- 
missioners of 1762, when a claimant to large sections of the 
southern and eastern border lands of our District became 
more and more insistent and clamorous. The lands in ques- 
tion had been held by those who were in possession or by their 
ancestors as far back as 1686 at least, but were now claimed 
by this already large landholder. The Sir William Johnson 
MSS. of 1769 contain several communications from Kinder- 
hook's most eminent and representative citizens of the time 
concerning "the hardships and oppressions a certain Person 
was inflicting upon worthy and industrious people." One 
letter declares that "if it were true as he alleged that he had 
the commissions in ten companies of the militia at his dis- 
posal for the furtherance of personal ends, this township 
had everything to dread from a Person with whom nine- 
tenths of the community were perpetually at variance," 
The oppressions of this claimant became at last so unen- 
durable that an appeal was made for the protection of the 
Governor and Council in New York. The petition from 
Kinderhook is in H. Van Schaak's handwriting and bears 
the marks of his cultivated, scholarly style. We quote 
from Land Papers, vol. xviii., p. 155: 

To his Excellency, the Right Honorable John, Earl of Dun- 
more, etc. . . . 

The Petition of some of the principal Proprietors of 
Kinderhook in behalf of themselves and others. 
Most humbly Sheweth: 

That your petitioners are some of the 
principal Proprietors of the Patent of Kinderhook granted to 
their ancestors and others in 1686. 

That their claims under the said Patent greatly interfere 
with the claims lately set up by John Van Rensselaer Esq., 
Tenant Proprietor of Claverack. 

That therefore any act of Government in favor of that claim 
may prove hurtful to the interest of your petitioners and others 
who stand in the same predicament. 



Lrand-Litigation 8i 

That under these circumstances your petitioners are alarmed 
at a report which prevails here that the said John Van Rensselaer 
has lately applied to your Lordship to be restored to the command 
of a Regiment of Militia-foot for that part of the Manor of 
Rensselaerwyck which lies at Claverack, thereby intending, as 
your petitioners have reason to fear from his former conduct in 
the distribution of military commissions, to deliver the com- 
missions of inferior officers to persons living on lands which are 
by no means admitted to be within Claverack : a measure which 
cannot fail to give color to another extension of Claverack 
injurious to the claims of your petitioners. 

That your petitioners however would not presume to trouble 
your Lordship upon the subject of Mr. Van Rensselaer's applica- 
tion if it were not for a petition which is privately handed about 
for signing and addressed to your Lordship. , 

That as the promoters of this petition are persons who have 
very little interest in the claims with which your petitioners 
contend against Mr. Van Rensselaer and the avowed promoters 
of his interests — they cannot help being uneasy at the manner in 
which this petition obtains signatures, more especially as your 
Petitioners are informed that it contains something injurious to 
the eastern claims of this Township. 

That the Petitioners of the before mentioned Petition are 
inconsiderable in number and interest when compared to the 
whole number of freeholders and inhabitants living within this 
District. 

Your Petitioners therefore humbly pray that the said peti- 
tion may not be considered as containing the sense of the major- 
ity of the Inhabitants nor be suffered to militate against the 
Township before the collective sense of the Inhabitants can be 
fairly obtained as is customary here at their Town meetings, or 
such other relief as your Lordship shall think proper. 

This Petition is dated April 24, 1771, and bears these 
signatures: Johannes Goes, Cornelius Van Schaack, Jacob 
Gardinier, Johannes T. Vosburgh, Barent Van Buren, Myn- 
dert Vosburgh, Jan Tys Goes, Cornelius Van Schaack, Jr., 
Peter Van Slyck, Peter Van Slyck, Jr., Dirck Goes, Luykas 
Goes, Goes, Peter S. Van Alstine, Lowrence L. Van 



82 Old RinderKooK 

Alen, David Van Schaack, Dirck Gardinier, Johannis D. 
Vosburgh, Cornelis Van Schaack, Franz Pruyn, Andries 
Kittle, and Peter Vosburgh. The second petition of Hke 
purport was signed by 230 persons Hving beyond our Hmits 
in Spencertown and Nobletown. Special representations 
were also made to the Privy Council in London, both by 
petition and by messenger. The petitions and a colored 
map of the region are on file in the office of the Privy Council 
to this day. Although Mr. Van Rensselaer failed in the end 
to establish his claim it occasioned much anxiety and distress. 
We may in charity believe that there possibly was some tech- 
nical foundation in law if not in equity for his amazing pre- 
tensions, arising from the well-known obscurity of the land 
patents in some cases and from their actual conflict in others. 
For example. The Kinderhook correspondent of Sir Wil- 
liam, who wrote most strongly and bitterly against the pre- 
tensions and conduct of "a certain Person," had this to say 
of the Westenhook patent, "no evidence can be procured to 
establish the boundaries of it, it being the most obscure and 
unintelligible description perhaps ever known." Not all 
the patents were as lacking in precision as that one, but 
enough of them were so indefinite, as heretofore stated, as 
to give rise to protracted and disastrous litigation. Obvi- 
ously the growth and prosperity of the district must have 
been seriously affected thereby. Possible purchasers of 
lands for settlement would not buy, and those in possession 
would hesitate to do much in the way of improvement while 
titles were subject to challenge, and costly litigation of 
uncertain issue was necessary for the defense of their pro- 
prietorship. 

Preferring to complete so far as seems desirable the 
subject of land-litigation in this connection rather than recur 
to it again, we anticipate the events of a few years and give 
an account as brief and clear as we have been able to make 
it of those notable lawsuits occasioned by the conflict 
between the Baker and Flodder and the De Bruyn patents. 



Land-Litigation 83 

Martin Van Buren, Abraham Van Vechten, and Elisha 
Williams were among the brilliant counsel, and no less a 
jurist than the Chancellor among the presiding Justices. 
Two lawyers were asked to furnish us an abstract of these 
intricate cases but politely declined the privilege, leaving 
us to find our way through the dismal swamp as best we 
might. 

The litigation in the early years of the nineteenth cen- 
tury was between parties who each claimed title to a tract 
of land in the vicinity of and including the Valatie Kill, on 
which a gristmill and a sawmill had been built. It was a 
tract claimed to be within the boundaries, vague as they 
were, of the Baker and Plodder Patent (1667) of which we 
have written. 

The great De Bruyn Patent, issued in 1668, was based 
on an earlier Indian deed, and those deriving title therefrom 
claimed that it covered no inconsiderable part of the alleged 
Baker and Plodder tract. 

While the whole region was but sparsely settled, and 
indeed until long after the De Bruyn Patent, bought by 
Lawrence Van Alen in 1707, was divided among his nine 
children in accordance with his will, no attention seems to 
have been paid to the claimants under the Baker and Plodder 
Patent, who settled upon the disputed tract, erected their 
mills, and remained in undisturbed possession for thirty-two 
years. Increase of population and of land values as well, 
taken in connection with many divisions and subdivisions 
of the ancestral estate, and numerous transfers of title by 
deeds and wills, — the minute details of which would be useless 
and tedious, — at last brought the rival claimants face to face 
in the courts by the beginning of actions of ejectment. The 
Columbia County Circuit Court records of July, 1806, and 
Johnson's Reports (vol. 8, p. 498) of Cases in the Court for 
the Correction of Errors (Peb. and March, 181 1), in the Case 
of Daniel Prier and Peter Cooper against James Jackson, 
ex. dem., Johannis L. Van Alen and John J. Van Alen, reveal 



84 Old RinderKooK 

that the last-named parties brought an action of ejectment 
against the former. Sudam and Wilhams appeared for the 
plaintiffs and Van Buren and Van Vechten for the defend- 
ants. In the Circuit Court, Daniel D. Tompkins presiding 
Justice, a verdict was found sustaining the claims of the 
Van Alens; a verdict stated to be in conformity with the 
opinions of the Judge as expressed in his charge to the jury. 
The charge was to the effect : I. That the construction of 
boundaries was a question of law, not to be submitted to the 
jury. II. That the De Bruyn Patent was to be understood 
as stretching throughout its whole length from the river to 
the two lakes with the same breadth as that of its western 
border along the river, and thus of necessity include the 
tract in dispute. III. That the Baker and Plodder Patent 
was void because impossible of definite location, and: IV. 
That the adverse possession of thirty-two years was in- 
sufficient to toll the right of entry (establish title). Subse- 
quently a Bill of Exceptions was filed to the charge of 
Justice Tompkins and in i8ii the case came up for review 
by the Court of Errors, Judge, later Chancellor, Kent presid- 
ing. By a vote of 14 to 6 the judgment of the court below 
was reversed, the Chancellor delivering the opinion. The 
substance of it was: I. That the De Bruyn Patent was 
not to be understood as stretching with the same breadth 
throughout from the river to the two lakes, but that its north 
and south lines were to be drawn from the north and south 
extremities of the lakes to the corresponding north and 
south stations on the river, thus entirely excluding the 
disputed tract. II. That the Baker and Plodder Patent 
was not void because of uncertainty. There was one dis- 
senting opinion given by H. Yates, Jr., Senator, but by a 
vote of 14 to 6 the judgment of the court below was reversed, 
the record remitted, and a venire facias de novo (new trial) 
awarded. 

Disputes and controversies concerning this and other 
tracts claimed as parts of the De Bruyn Patent still con- 



Land-Litigation 85 

tinuing, with no hope of final determination without a 
number of lawsuits attended with great delay and expense, 
all parties finally agreed to apply to the Legislature for relief. 
The parties were the Van Alens, claiming title under the 
De Bruyn Patent, and Peter Cooper, Daniel Frier, Andrew 
Sergaman, John Niver, Jr., Thomas Watson, Thomas F. 
Tobias, Reuben Bullock, John Goedemoet, Cornelius Wat- 
son, Marcus Niver, Michael Niver, Jacob Goedemoet, the 
heirs of Henry Ham, deceased, and others not named, in 
possession and claimants under the Baker and Flodder 
Patent. 

The relief requested was an act of the Legislature appoint- 
ing Jacob Radcliffe and David B. Ogden of the city of New 
York, and Thomas Rudd of the town of Poughkeepsie, as 
Commissioners to determine finally the rights and titles of 
all the parties, and all disputes and controversies relative 
thereto. The Act was passed June 8, 1812, as was also an 
Amendment in 18 13, extending the time for final report. 
The Commissioners were 

to hear and examine all disputes and controversies between 
the said parties respecting the title to the said land or to any 
part thereof, by any or either of them, and, finally, to determine 
such disputes, controversies and claims; which determination 
shall be absolutely binding and conclusive, and shall, to all 
intents, construction and purposes whatsoever, absolutely vest 
the right title and interest of every part of the said lands in such 
person or persons, and for such estate or estates, and in such way 
and manner, as shall be named and specified in such determina- 
tion. 

On the 1 6th, 17th, i8th, and 20th of September, 18 13, 
the Commissioners "heard and examined the disputes and 
controversies between the parties, respecting their title, 
rights and remedies, and after the hearing, made and 
published their final order, award and determination upon 
the premises." 



86 Old RinderKooK 

The material items of their award were: I. The re- 
versal of the decision of the Court of Errors as to the south 
boundary of the De Bruyn patent, thus restoring the line 
to its earlier location as run by Surveyor John E. Van Alen. 

II. The extension of the eastern boundary line of the patent 
to the point of intersection with the restored south line. 

III. All lands east of this eastern boundary to remain in the 
possession of the parties in occupancy. IV. The title to a 
part of the farm known as the Ambler farm, John Niver in 
possession, was vested in those claiming title under the 
De Bruyn patent; but Niver, on the payment of $30 per 
acre, to Peter Van Schaack as their representative, to receive 
title and hold and enjoy the same forever. 

It was this last finding that was thereupon especially 
attacked. In an action of ejectment, Oct., 18 14, the plaintiff 
recovered judgment. From this judgment an appeal was 
taken to the Supreme Court and was argued in January, 
181 7. (Johnson's Reports, vol. 14, p. 96), Jackson, ex. 
dem.j Van Alen and Van Alen against Ambler. Attorney- 
General Van Buren and Van Vechten appeared for the plain- 
tiffs and Emmet and Williams for the defendant. The final 
opinion of the Court, delivered by Judge Spencer, sustained 
the decisions and confirmed the acts of the Commissioners, 
and gave judgment for the defendant, except as to land 
east of the De Bruyn patent and therefore beyond their 
jurisdiction. 

Not even by this decision, however, were vexatious litiga- 
tions ended on the part of those claiming title adverse to 
that of those in possession. It was not until April 23, 181 7, 
that the coup de grace was given to all these litigants by this 
enactment of the Legislature: "That the said award . . . 
shall be and is hereby ratified and confirmed to all intents, 
constructions and purposes whatsoever, notwithstanding 
the infancy, coverture or other legal disabilities of any of the 
parties claiming title to the said land or any part thereof." 
Thus ended at last these prolonged and most disastrous 



Land-Litigation 87 

litigations, to which, thankful for preserved reason, we 
give a final and glad farewell. ' 

' After the foregoing account was written it was reviewed by Mr. P. Ernest 
Hoes who studied the cases and suggested a few explanatory words here and 
there, which we have gladly added to our narrative. 



CHAPTER IV 
WHO WAS WHO, 1664-1809 

Notes Anent the First Patentees and Freeholders — Resident Subscribers to 
Oath of Allegiance, 1699 — Church Records, 1716, 1734 — Town Tax List, 
1744 — Names on the Map (1756) of the Division of the Great Kinderhook 
Patent, (1686) — Assessment Roll, 1809. 

THE story of the land-grants has revealed the names of 
many patentees and freeholders. As hitherto noted, 
the patentees of several of the larger tracts were non-resident 
land speculators. Concerning the actual settlers, what has 
already been stated need not be repeated in further narration 
of Who was Who in those early years and later. Professor 
Pearson's First Settlers of the Ancient County of Albany, 
Munsell's Annals (10 volumes), Fernow's Albany Records, 
HoUenbeck's Historical Fragments, many volumes in our 
State Genealogical Library, and wills and deeds of record 
in Albany, New York, and Hudson are the authorities upon 
which we have freely drawn. Abstracts of the wills of many 
of the early residents of Kinderhook may be found in the 
New York Historical Society Collections. 

Major Abram Staats, the original patentee of land along 
the river and the Stockport creek long called by his name, 
was a non-resident. 

He was evidently a man of versatility and thrift. We read 
of him as a surgeon of Amsterdam who came to Fort Orange 
in 1642 with the Reverend John Megapolensis, the first 
pastor of the Albany Church. He practiced his profession 

88 



Who was Who, 1664-1809 89 

for six years; was Councilor one year and President of the 
Council four years, receiving some emolument therefrom. 
He was also the owner of the sloop Claverack, plying between 
Fort Orange and New Amsterdam. After obtaining a 
license to traffic with the Indians he shipped more than four 
thousand beaver pelts in one year. 

In 1664 his " house, barn, rick, and bouwery " were leased 
to John Andriassen (John the Irishman?), but his lands, to 
which additions were made as noted, were later occupied by 
his sons and grandsons, Samuel, Isaac, Johan, and Joachim, 
as revealed by maps and early deeds. Another son was 
" Abram of Claverack. " 

Frans Pieterse Claver (Clauw, Klaw, Clow), one of the 
very earliest settlers, was a carpenter in Fort Orange in 1656. 
Not long thereafter he built a sawmill on what was for 
many years known as his Kill, the present Light House creek. 
His mill was doubtless the first of its kind in this entire 
region. As his name will recur in connection with the visit 
of Danker and Sluyter in 1680 we will add only this here, 
that Frans had two sons, Hendrick and Jurrian, who were 
the fathers of large families and the progenitors of the many 
Clows (and other variations of the original name) in this 
and adjoining counties. 

Baker (of the Baker and Flodder patent), the Albany 
records reveal, was at one time Deputy Governor of Albany, 
and in 1669 he sold his house there to Wynant Gerritse 
Vanderpoel, an ancestor of our Vanderpoel families. We 
regret to find that that same year Baker was tried on the 
complaint of Sheriff Swart of Albany for an assault on 
William Patterson. William, it appears, was relentless, 
notwithstanding this amende honorable: "(I) doe Confesse 
what I did to you was rashly and unadvisedly don, and I am 
Willing to be friends with you, and desire yo'r Excuse for my 
Passion, and so do I drink to you." We regret to say, that 
suit was not withdrawn and the decision was, that Baker was 
to pay Patterson "a summe of two hundred gild'rs Zewant 



90 Old RinderKooK 

and the charges of the Committee to be equally paid by them. ' * 
We cheerfully acknowledge our indebtedness to the dis- 
cernment of our late honored State Historian, Mr. Hugh 
Hastings, for the hint — that this item furnishes a final 
answer to a frequently repeated and very perplexing query 
concerning William Patterson. The caption to Mr. Hast- 
ings's official record is: ''The original William Patterson and 
his historical brick ^ It may be permissible for a State Histor- 
ian thus to lapse occasionally from dulness, but far from us 
be all such reprehensible levity. 

It was to this Baker that the following instructions were 
issued by Governor Nicolls (Colonial Records, p. lo) : 

Lett not your eares be abused with private storyes of the 
Dutch being disaffected to the English, for generally, we cannot 
expect they love us, but when you have sufficient testimony 
against any Dutchman of words or actions tending to ye breach 
of peace, or scandalous defamation, deliver over ye testimonyes 
to the Commissaryes, from whom I expect justice shall bee 
done. 

Plodder also has been unknown in former sketches of our 
history. From the records of Albany County we learn that 
he was a carpenter who came from Campen in 1637, and 
incurred the displeasure of the Patroon by demanding higher 
wages than he thought proper. From the same records, and 
also from Professor Pearson's First Settlers of the Ancient 
County of Albany, we glean the information that Plodder was 
an alias for Gardenier. Happily no discredit is implied to the 
''alihs,*' for it was not uncommon for a man to have two or 
even three names, either one of which he would use with 
charming inconsistency as his mood might be. This Plodder 
then was no other than Jacob Janse Gardenier, one of the 
ancestors of many families of that name long and honorably 
known in Kinderhook and Schodack. Tradition alleges that 
he was a famous gardener; whence possibly his later surname. 

The descendants of Jacob Jansen Plodder will forgive 



Who was WKo, 1604-18O9 91 

him we trust for prematurely selling his real estate in New 
York City as narrated in early records. In 1656 he bought 
a tract of land on Wall Street, between William and Pearl* 
having a frontage of 290 feet, but soon subdivided and re- 
sold all except a strip in the rear washed by the waters of the 
bay. In 1665 complaint was made to the "Hon^^^ Prudent 
and Very Discreet Gentlemen, the Commissaries & Schout of 
Albania," that Flodder had allowed fences and sheet piling 
to fall in decay to the injury of his neighbors. He was 
ordered "to build up and line the bank situate before his 
lot on the East river." No attention seems to have been 
paid thereto for a year, for he was then ordered to make the 
repairs within six weeks, in default of which the land was to 
be sold by execution. 

Of the co-patentees with Powell, Jochem Ketel is sug- 
gestive, to say the least, of relationship to if not identity with 
Joachim Ketelhuyn (Kettel, Kittle, Kittell) who was in 
Rensselaerswick in 1642, and whose two sons were David 
and Daniel, both having large families, as was the prevailing 
rule in those times. There is ample early authority for the 
preferred modem spelling, Kittell. 

A very notable co-patentee with Powell was Evert 
Luycassen (Backer, Baker). Professor Pearson suggests the 
surname Wyngaard, and that Evert was a son of Lucas 
Gerritse ¥/yngaard who was in Beverwyck in 1657. Evert 
sold his interest in the Powell patent to Jacob Janse Garden- 
ier, and in 1671, together with De Bruyn, Dirck Wessels, and 
Pieter Van Alen received a joint patent to a considerable 
tract along both sides of the creek, a tract later known as the 
"Groote Stuk." Evert's wife, Jannetje, and their daughter, 
Elbert je, were among the passengers arriving in 1658 by the 
Brownfish. (Bowier Van Renss. MSS.) The daughter, 
Elbertje, subsequently became the wife of Lourens Van 
Alen, the purchaser of the great De Bruyn patent, and was 
thus one of the progenitors of the innumerable Van Alens, 
Van Alstynes, Vanderpoels, Van Deusens, and a host besides. 



92 Old RinderHooK 

In 1677 Adam Dingman appears here as the purchaser of 
a tract of land from his father-in-law, Jacob Janse Gardenier. 
He was the head of a large family connected by marriage 
with the Salisburys, Mullers (Miller), Swartouts, Hoge- 
booms, Van Nesses, and many more. He was born in 
Haerlem, Holland, and was living in Greenbush in 1663. 
He was one of the first road-masters of the District, an office 
of much importance in those days. His estate included the 
property now belonging to Mr. Elmer Wagoner and that of 
his deceased uncle, Erastus Wagoner. Woordenboeck van 
Nederland, p. 51, reveals "Dingeman" as being in the 
province of Overysel. 

Many descendants of Adam Dingman abide in our town 
and county and many more are widely scattered abroad, but 
the surname, like many others once common and prominent 
here, has now well-nigh disappeared. At present writing we 
recall only Mr. Charles Dingman, living at Pretty Town as 
the charming locality was formerly called. That cluster of 
attractive homes is about three miles southwest of the village 
on the crossroad running from the Post Poad (near Mr. 
Moore's) to what is now known as Brookside, on the Albany 
Southern Electric. Cornelius, son of Martin C. Van Alstyne, 
represents another F. F. K. at Pretty Town, still not un- 
worthy its old-time name. 

The list of freeholders of the Kinderhook Patent of 1686 
well illustrates the frequent omission of surnames. In many 
cases they had none, but assumed them in later years. Then 
the locality from which a man came, or his occupation, or 
some personal peculiarity, or even such an incident as his 
birth during a storm at sea (Storm Van Der Zee) suggested 
the assumed name. While many had no surnames, others, 
like Plodder, had two or more. Frequently a father's Chris- 
tian name was given to a son, and then to grandsons in every 
branch of the family and thus perpetuated from generation 
to generation. Evidently the student of Dutch pedigrees 
has a difficult subject. Identity of surname is not of necessity 



Who was Who, 1664-1809 93 

any evidence of kinship. Especially is this true as regards 
the innumerable Vans. Van means "from." That your 
name, dear reader, is Van Buren, is in itself no evidence of 
any relationship to the eighth president of the United States. 
As well conclude that all New York hotel guests registered 
''Jrom Chicago'' are blood-relations. The student of Dutch 
genealogies will be helped, however, by remembering that the 
suffix " se " or " sen " means "son " or "child of " ; and that fre- 
quently a man's father and also his grandfather were thus 
indicated. The middle initial of a man's name commonly 
stood for that of his father, I and J, and C and K being 
interchangeable. Thus Lucas I. Van Alen was a son of John ; 
and the latter by his middle initial L, was thereby indicated 
as a son of Lucas. 

Supplying from many later documents the omitted (or 
subsequently assumed) surnames of the freeholders of the 
Kinderhook patent of 1686, we have the following more 
intelligible list of those who had "seated and settled" here 
before that date. Gerrit Teunissen's surname was Van 
Vechten. He married Grietje Volkertse Douw. His will 
(1700) mentions his wife and two sons, Johannes and 
Volkert. 

Martin Cornelissen's surname was Van Buren. He was 
a son of Cornells Maas Van Buren and Catalyntje Martense, 
sister of Jan Martense (de wever) Van Alstyne. Martin's 
will (1703) mentions his wife Maritje, his children, Cornelius, 
Peter, Martin, Maria, Catalina, Magdalena, and grand- 
children. He was the great-grandfather of President Van 
Buren. 

Jan Hendrickse De Bruyn, the patentee (1668) of the 
enormous tract long known as his "Right, " and the patentee 
of other smaller tracts as well, was, as already stated, a non- 
resident speculator in land here and elsewhere. In 1678, in 
response to an order of the Albany sheriff forbidding him to 
traffic with the Indians, on the ground that he was a resident 
of New York, he stated that for more than twenty years he 



94 



Old RinderKooK 



had been a burgher of Albany. The Court, however, rejected 
his claim as invalid, for the reason that he had not kept fire 
or light in Albany for an entire year. He was the owner of a 
lot in Albany on the south side of State Street between 
Broadway and Green Street, and of another on the corner of 
State and Quay Streets. 

De Bruyn had evidently prospered financially since 1655, 
when he agreed to serve as a soldier in the place of Hendrick 
Loest for "seventy guilders and a pair of shoes." After his 
disposal of his holdings here he disappeared from view and 
we know nothing of him or his descendants. 

Peter Schuyler, the patentee of eight hundred acres 
bordering on the Kleine Kill, was also a non-resident. He 
was Albany's first mayor and one of the ancestors of the 
notable Schuyler families. 

In 1671, as joint-patentees with De Bruyn and Lucassen, 
the name of Dirck Wessels (Ten Broeck) and Pieter Van 
Alen appear. The latter was a son of Lourens Lourense Van 
Alen of Albany and a brother of Lourens, the purchaser of 
the De Bruyn patent. That same year, by request of the 
inhabitants of Kinderhook, he and Adam Dingman were 
appointed road-masters. He had two sons, William and 
Johannes, and was the ancestor of a very large branch of the 
Van Alen famihes of the county. Dirk Wessels Ten Broeck 
was also a non-resident. 

The freeholder Jan Martense Van Alstyne was the 
founder of the family in New Netherland and the ancestor 
of all of that name resident here for 250 years. From Hoi. 
Doc, vol. ii., p. 154, we learn that in 1646 he was a resident 
of New Amsterdam, and joint purchaser with Hendrick Jan- 
sen of a yacht. In 1 657 he appears in Beverwyck (Albany) as 
the owner of a lot on Broadway. Soon thereafter he became 
the patentee of two tracts of land in the present Ulster 
County, and somewhat later was the purchaser of an un- 
designated tract "behind Kinderhook." 

The name is so variously spelled in the early records, 



W^Ho was "Who, 1664-1809 95 

both church and civil, that its original form and derivation 
are matters on which opinions differ. In later years some 
branches of the family dropped the Van. Mr. Lawrence Van 
Alstyne, of Sharon, Conn., states that "records in Holland 
show the family to be of early origin, being traced under 
different names to the crowning of Otho, a.d. 936." 

Mr. Dingman Versteeg, the courteous Librarian of the 
Holland Society (who has not yet forgiven the English for 
the capture of New Amsterdam), with Heringa's Woorden- 
boeck in hand, led us through a careful study of "Aalstein" 
and "Aalsteyn, " both of which are of authority. His 
conclusions were that : Stein (or Steyn) means castle, barony, 
or Manor house; and that Aalstein (or Steyn) means: The 
Castle of the Eels — probably a castle in the province of 
Drenthe which was destroyed in the wars of the Netherlands 
prior to 1600. As to the local origin of the name we have this 
confirmatory item from the Marriage Records of the Dutch 
Church, New York, that Marte, a son of Jan Martense, the 
founder of the family in New Netherland, was from Meppel, 
a town in the province of Drenthe. 

Jan Martense's wife was Dirckje Harmense, daughter of 
the patentee of a large tract from Nutten Hook eastward. 
Through her in part as well as by purchase from Powell's 
widow as before noted, and the later division of the Kinder- 
hook patent, and his much earlier purchase of land "behind 
Kinderhook" as stated above, Jan Martense came to be the 
owner of large tracts, portions of which are to this day in 
possession of the eighth generation. Hugh, James, Edward, 
Barent, and Jane were of the generation gone. Hugh 
of Old Chatham, Edward P., and Edward are with us 
still. Maria, the daughter of James, married Mr. J. Spencer 
Hosford who, with his daughter Laura, resides on his wife's 
ancestral estate. Jane, daughter of Hugh (Sen.), married Mr. 
L. L. Morrell, who, with his daughter Alice, abides with us. 
Maria's daughter, Ella V. A. Hosford, is the wife of one of our 
village physicians, Nathan D. Gamsey, M.D, 



96 Old RinderHooK 

The freeholder Lambert Jansen Van Alstyne was a son 
of Jan Martense. He married, about 1682, Jannetje, 
daughter of Thomas Janse Mingael and Marritje Abramamse 
Vosburgh. Their eight children were : Catharine, who mar- 
ried Bartholomeus, son of Jochem Van Valkenburgh and 
Eva Hendricks Vrooman; Marritje; Thomas, who married 
Maria, daughter of William Van Alen and Marritje Van 
Patten; Johannes, bp. 1691; Dirckje, bp. 1695, m. Peter 
Vosburgh; Antje, bp. 1698; Annatje, bp. 1700; and Pieter, 
bp. 1702. 

Lambert's tract of 698 acres was on the east side of the 
creek and adjoining the estate of his father on the west. It 
included the present Lindenwald estate. His wife was his 
first cousin once removed and was evidently much younger 
than himself, for in 17 13 she married Lambertse Van Valken- 
burgh as her second husband and became the mother of five 
additional children. Lambert's son, Thomas, came into 
possession of the lands across the creek, and was an ancestor 
of the late Judge and Mayor Van Alstyne of Albany; also 
of Thomas Van Alstyne, M.D., who passed his later years, 
and died, in Kinderhook, whose son Franklin B. is a present 
resident. Lawrence Van Alstyne, a descendant of Lambert, 
has published a volume of 141 pages which is only a partial 
account of that branch of the Van Alstyne family. 

Dirck Hendricksen (de swedt, The Swede) was sur- 
named Bey, a name well-known in later years in the southern 
part of the county. A deed of his, dated March 7, 1675-6, 
conveys land "behind Kinderhook" to Peter Dumoree. He 
died before 1716. His wife's name was Sarah Verhael. Of 
his children it is known that Engeltie married Michael 
Collier and that Helena became the wife of Samuel Gar- 
denier. 

The freeholder Jan Tysse Goes (Hoes) was a son of 
Matthys Jansse who is reported as being in Beverwyck in 
1 66 1. In addition to his widely scattered allotments of 
land, under the division of the Kinderhook Patent of 1686, 



Who W^as WKo, 1664-1809 97 

he was the owner of a fourth part of the Groote Stuk. His 
first wife was Brechje Maryna, widow of Claes Cornehse 
Van Voorhout. He married secondly, Styntje Janse Van 
Hoesen and died in 1705. He was the ancestor of all the 
several families named Goes (Hoes) in the town and county ; 
families which have included many of eminent name and 
valued service in every walk of life. His sons, named in the 
foregoing chapter, were holders of large estates and engaged 
in manifold activities. His daughters married, as heretofore 
stated, men of eminent character and standing and thus 
connected the Hoes family with nearly every other of notable 
name. Martin Van Buren's mother and wife were both 
descendants of Jan Tysse. Such also were Peter S. Hoes, 
Rev. Dr. John C. F. Hoes, and Pierre Van Buren Hoes, 
deceased. Among the living we name William M. Hoes of 
New York, Chaplain Roswell Randall Hoes of the United 
States Navy, Mr. J. Howard Van Buren, of Nyack, and Mr. 
P. Ernest Hoes (lawyer) now of New York City and Yonkers. 

Omeda Legrange (Omie-de-la-Grange) was a son of 
Johannes, a Huguenot, who came from La Rochelle, France, 
about 1654, and settled in New Amsterdam. In 1656 he 
was a trader in Fort Orange. His wife was Annatje De Fries. 
Their children were Omey, Johannes, Christian, and Isaac. 

Andries Hanse (Sharp) was in Beverwyck in 1660. In 
1 67 1 Ortier and his wife (the widow Powell) sold him land 
"behind Kinderhook, separated from that of Jan Martense 
Van Alstyne by a little brook." His wife Gerritje was a 
daughter of Teunis Teunisse de Metselaer (the mason), and 
their children were Johannes, Gysbert, and Lawrence. 

Peter Bosse is supposed to have been a son of Cornelis 
Bos who was in Beverwyck in 163 1. In 1688 Peter married 
Barentse (Coeymans? Bratt?). 

Robert Silksen was a son of Zacharias Sickels of Weenen. 
He was a corporal in the West India Company's service and 
served as such at Fort Orange in 1659. Zacharias subse- 
quently moved to Rockland Co., N. Y., and settled at a 



98 * Old RinderKooK 

place now, and for a long time, known as Sickeltown, where 
years later the Rev. Dr. Jacob Sickles, for many years 
pastor of the Kinderhook church, was born. Robert mar- 
ried Geertruy Ridderhaus. 

Andries Gardenier, the patentee of a considerable tract 
north of the De Bruyn patent, was a son of the famous Jacob 
Janse Flodder-Gardenier. In 1642 he was a carpenter in 
Beverwyck. He married Eytje Aries, widow of Hendrick 
Gerritse Van Weenen. His will, dated 1704, mentions his 
wife and their children — Andries, Jacob, and Arie, all young. 

Henricke Coenrade Ten Eyck (from the oaks) was a son 
of Conradt Ten Eyck. He was born in 1656 and married 
Marya, daughter of Jan Frans Van Hoesen. In 1671, when 
Ortier and his wife sold so much of the Powell patent, they 
conveyed to Hendrick "land west of the Kill behind Kinder- 
hook and bounded south by that of Lourens Van Alen. " 

Albert Gardenier, another son of Jacob Janse, was a 
carpenter in Beverwyck in 1667. He was later a resident of 
Kinderhook but moved to New York about the year 1693. 

The freeholders Isaac and Jacob ffosburge (Vosburgh) 
were brothers. Their father was Abraham Pietersen Vos- 
burgh, son of Pieter Jacobse who was in Beverwyck about 
the year 1630. Abraham, spoken of as a cooper and a car- 
penter, was in 1654 a successful fur-trader. Jacob Vosburgh 's 
wife was Dorothy Janse, a daughter of Jan Martense Van 
Alstyne. The descendants of Isaac, Jacob, and Peter Vos- 
burgh also a freeholder here, became very numerous, and 
the name a prominent one in public and private life. Isaac 
Vosburgh, a carpenter and trader, married Anna Jane 
Goes. 

The freeholder Yeaukim Lammersen was Jochem Lam- 
bertse Van Valkenburgh, son of Lambert, also a freeholder, 
who was in Beverwyck as early as 1644. Jochem 's second 
wife was, as already stated, Jannetje Mingael, the widow of 
Lambert Van Alstyne. This family also became very large, 
with many branches and not a few distinguished names. 



Who Was Who, 1664-1809 99 

Only within recent years have the ancestral estates of the 
Van Valkenburghs passed into other hands and many 
honored bearers of the name passed away. 

The freeholder Michael Kalier (Collier) was a son of 
Jochem who came to New Amsterdam prior to 1644. Mich- 
ael's first wife was Engeltje, daughter of Dirck, the Swede, 
and his second, Fietje, daughter of Jurrian Van Hoesen. 
Yeaurick (Yurryan, Jurrian) Collier, also a freeholder, was 
a son of Michael. The latter soon moved to Coxsackie and 
was the ancestor of the Greene County families of his name. 
Of his many well-known descendants we name the lawyers 
Isaac and Casper of Hudson, and Gerrit Sager of Kinder- 
hook; also Reverends Isaac and Isaac H. Collier, and the 
latter's distinguished son William. 

Of other freeholders named in the Dongan Charter our 
information is scanty and of somewhat doubtful authority. 
We give what items we have been able to gather from all 
available sources. 

Jacob Martense (yeoman) had a farm adjoining Jan 
Martense Van Alstyne, "behind Kinderhook, " and later 
sold half thereof to Gerritt Teunisse Van Vechten. He 
bought his land of Robert Ortier and Powell's widow in 
1671. He subsequently moved to Schenectady. Children: 
Johannes, Maria, and Ytje. 

Gerrit Jacobsen is supposed to have been a son of Pieter 
Jacobsen, of Rendsburgh, and his wife Gysje Peters. They 
came to Fort Orange in 1639. 

Andries Hause Huyck married Catharine Lammerse Van 
Valkenburgh. He was the chief patentee of the great tract 
east of the lakes and was the ancestor of many prominent 
families, including one branch of the Bains, once so numerous 
and honored, now with few resident representatives. An- 
dries's will mentions his wife Catharine and these children : 
Johannes, Lambert, Burger, Cate, Jochem, Cornelius, Anna, 
Andries, Maria, and Margaret. 

Of the freeholder Tom Craven we find no record except 



100 Old RinderKooK 

of his sale to Robert Livingston of land previously bought of 
Jan Martense. 

Andreus Hause (Barheit?) was at Kinderhook in 1675. 
He had previously lived at Coxsackie. His wife was Geertje 
Teunis, daughter of Teunis Teunisse, before mentioned. 

ffrancis Petersen named in the charter was Frans Peter 
Claver of whom we have already given some account. 

We have noted hitherto the land-grant of 3590 acres east 
of the creek, and partly in Claverack, to Coenradt Borgh- 
ghardt and Elias Van Schaack. Coenradt we knew; but 
who was Elias? His name occurs in several English records, 
but we find no trace of him elsewhere. After a long time it 
occurred to us that English writers and speakers who made 
Aurania from the Dutch Oranje might easily turn Claas into 
EHas. If that was the case then all is clear. Later, the lands 
granted to the mythical Elias were certainly owned by the 
known descendants of Claas, Lourens, and Gerrit. Moreover, 
of the six land-papers relating to the grant, Elias personally 
signed but one (L. P., viii., p. 34). There his signature is 
exceedingly indistinct, but the first two letters appear to be 
CI. While we cannot be certain, we think that Elias and 
Claas were one and the same. EHas we know not; but Claas 
has been as a bosom friend for years. If mistaken in this we 
venture an alternative conjecture that Elias was a bachelor 
brother of Claas whose son Lourens inherited his uncle's 
estate. The sons of Claas were: Dominicus, b. 1667; 
Arent, b. 1676; Lourens, and Emanuel. Dominicus and Arent 
went to Catskill or Coxsackie in 1720. In 1753, according to 
the Albany records, Dominicus, then over eighty years old, 
made three affidavits for Samuel, Joachim, and Isaac Staats 
(sons of Abram) as to the location of the ^'fishing Place, Lit- 
tle Nuttenhook and Marmalhts kill,'* stations and boundaries 
of Major Abram's original patents. He told how in his youth 
he had often floated boards down the kill from his father's 
sawmill. 

About all we know of Emanuel Van Schaack is that he. 



Who Was AVKo, 1664-1809 loi 

was the father of Comelis who was the owner of a sloop, a fur- 
trader, and the possessor of large and scattered tracts of land 
here and elsewhere. 

This Cornelis was the father of the eminent Peter, Henry, 
and others of the name who filled a very large place in the 
history of the town, and several of whose descendants are 
still happily with us. We have said ''this Comelis" (son of 
Emanuel) for the reason that, to say nothing of Comelis, Jr., 
his son, there were at least two others whose names were the 
same. Presumably they were all related, but how nearly we 
have been unable to ascertain. 

Coenradt Borghardt, for almost every possible spelling 
of whose name there is ample authority, was long and promi- 
nently identified with the civil and religious life of the town. 
His home was not far from the brick schoolhouse on the 
Landing Road. Of him also we shall have occasion to write 
again. 

We were greatly grieved to read in the Albany Court 
records that these great landowners, Elias and Coenradt, 
were in 1671 haled before the Court for ''stealing potatoes." 
We were pleased, however, to find that at the trial of the case, 
after the examination of four witnesses, they were honorably 
acquitted. But to moderate their joy they were charged the 
costs of trial. Their accuser was presumably impecimious 
and irresponsible. 

In the northwestern part of the District, near the river, 
lived Leendert (Leonard) Conyne and Melgert Vanderpoel. 
Leendert was presumably a son of Lendert Phillipse who was 
in Beverwyck in 1665, and a brother of Philip Leendertse of 
Coxsackie and of Casper Leendertse of Claverack. Leendert 
married Emmet je, daughter of Lourens Van Alen, the pur- 
chaser of the great De Bruyn patent. Their children were : 
Elbertie, 17 14; Agnietie, 171 7; Philip, 1720; Lourens, 1722. 
He had a dock where an ice-house now stands. 

Melgert Vanderpoel, son of Melgert Wynantse and 
grandson of Wynant Gerritse in Beverwyck prior to 1674, 



102 



Old RinderKooK 



lived about a mile south of Conyne. In 1696 he married 
Catharina, a sister of Conyne's wife. They were the Kinder- 
hook ancestors of many families of the name, of which the 
Hon. James Vanderpoel, Dr. John Vanderpoel, and his 
sons Dr. S. O. Vanderpoel and the eminent jurist, Aaron J. 
Vanderpoel, LL.D., were distinguished resident representa- 
tives. Melgert's children were: Elbertje, 1697; Ariaantje, 
1699; Lourens, 1701; Maria, 1703; Johannes, 1705; Abraham, 
1707; Jacobus, 1709; Isaac, 171 1, and Catryna, 17 16. 

Not far from the northeast boundary of the District 
lived John Van Ness. The lower part of his substantial 
stone and brick house, originally having the customary 
loopholes for defense against marauding Indians from 
Canada, is still standing near the Kinderhook creek in what 
is now the town of Chatham. He was the Kinderhook 
ancestor of many families of the name once living here or in 
other parts of the county. Among his descendants were 
Peter Van Ness, the builder of Lindenwald, and his dis- 
tinguished sons; and also the late Dr. Sherman Van 
Ness. 

" Who were Who " as the principal male residents here in 
1699 we may learn to a large degree from the following list of 
names: for it was surely with alacrity and enthusiasm that 
men over sixteen years old, whose fathers had fought in the 
Thirty Years' War, obeyed the summons in 1699 to take the 
oath of allegiance to King William of Orange. From a much 
larger list of the inhabitants of '^places adjacent to ye south- 
ward of Albany'' we select those who were presumably resi- 
dents of Kinderhook, Later civil records and those of the 
Kinderhook Dutch Church, which begin in 1716, have been 
of help in making the selection. A few names belonging to 
other localities may be in our list and a few others omitted 
that should be here; but it is approximately correct. Being 
earlier and much more complete than any hitherto given it 
seems to us such an illuminating record as to be worthy the 
space it requires. The names are spelled as originally 



Who Was WKo, 1664-1809 



103 



written. The additions within brackets are suggestions 
only of the probable surnames subsequently assumed, so far 
as later records and other sources of information enable us to 
supply them. 

Hend. van Ness 

Pieter Van Alen Gysbert Scherp (Sharp) 

Bartholomeus Van Volkenburgh Johannes Huyck 



Koenradt Bogart 
Adam Dinghman 
Burger Huyck 
Andries Gardinier 
Johannes Van Alen 
Jan Van Ness 
Lawrense Van Alen 
Domminicus Van Schaick 
Manewel Van Schaick 
Evert Van Alen 
Cornells Van Schaick 
Luykas Van Alen 

Pieter Martense (Van Buren) 



Dirck Van der Kar 

Lambert Janse (Van Alstyne) 

Hendrick Beekman 

Edward Wider (Wheeler) 

Andries Scherp (Sharp) 

Johannes Van Hoesen 

Isach Vosburgh 

Pieter Vosburgh 

Casper Conyn 

Cornelis Martense (Van Buren) 

Melgert Abrahamse (Van 

Deusen) 
Isaac Janse Van Alstyne 



Frans Pietersen (Klauw or Clow) Jacob Van Hoesse (Van Hoesen) 
Gerrit Teunise (Van Vechten) Jan Van Hoessen 
Luycas Janse (Van Salsbergen 



or Salisbury) 
Teunis Van Sleyck 
Jonatan Janse (Witbeck) 

Joh. Van Vechten 

Stefannis Van Alen 

Hendricus Jansen (Witbeck) 

Hend. Solsberger 

Cornelis Stevessen (Mulder or 

Miller) 
Abr. Dirckse V. Veghten 
Pieter Hogeboom 
Andries Huyck 



Cornelis Maasen (Van Buren) 
Jan Tyse Goes (Hoes) 
Cornelis Teunissen (Van 

Vechten) 
Arent Van Schaick 
Marte Cornelise (Van Buren) 
Harmen Janse (Van Salsberger) 
Jan Van Hoesen Jun. 

Robert Tewissen (Van Deusen) 
Matys Janse Goes (Hoes) 
Jerimias Milder 
Dirck Teunisse (Van Vechten) 



Johannes Dirkse (Van Vechten) Andries Janse (Witbeck) 



104 Old RinderKooK 

Rissert Jansen van den Borke 
(Richard Janse Van Den 
Bergh) Jacob Janse Gardinier 

Beginning with 1716 the records of the Dutch church 
enable us to discern more clearly and completely " Who was 
Who " from that year onward. The records of baptisms and 
marriages, with the exception of those of a few years which 
are missing or possibly not made when there was no resident 
pastor, are complete down to the present time. In those 
days an infant was usually baptized within a few weeks of 
birth and an unbaptized child was a very rare exception. 
Two large volumes containing thousands of names, and 
many other records, are in Dutch. A written copy of the 
names, through the thoughtfulness of the late Aaron J. 
Vanderpoel, LL.D., is in the Library of the Holland Society 
of New York. 

Faithful to copy in every particular, and here as else- 
where disclaiming all responsibility for orthography, we 
append the following list of communicants from 171 6 to 
1730; a list which earlier missing pages would somewhat 
enlarge. We give it as indicating residents of a very large 
extent of country in which for many years this church 
stood alone. 

Leendert Counyn, Aendries Brosie, Thenis Van Slyck, 
Thomas Wiler, Catrina Verrin, Elsie Vallakenburgh, Ariaen- 
tie Mulder, Ariaentie Van Derpoel, Breghie Wieler, Eva 
Valekenburgh, Maria Wieler, Catriena Van Slyck, Arent 
Van Dyck, Johannis Huyck, Gerret Dingman, Cornelia 
Dingman, Comelis huyck, Gertruy huyck, Jochem Van 
Valkenburgh, Jun., Elsie Valkenburgh, Maria Van Aelstyn, 
Jannetie V. D. kar, Rachel Gardenier, Anna Onderherk, 
Chath. Wyler, Gertruy Vosburgh, Louwerons Van Allen, 
Aendries Klauw, Maria L. Cawv, Johan Spoor, Sara Spoor, 
Gerrit Van D. Poel, Marten van Deusen, Lena van Alen, 
Jannetie van Schayk, Sara Gardeiner, Marten Vosburgh, 



W^Ho Was ^VKo, 1664-1809 105 

Marg: Gardenier, jann: Vosburg, Maria V. D. Poel, Anna 
Tippens, Maria Sister immatie moor, Elyz : Lischer, Lambt. 
Valkenburg, heyltie V. Dyck, Cathrien vosburgh, pieter V. 
Dyck, Johanna Sluiter, Elizabeth Gardenier, AHda V. Alen, 
Eva V. Valkenburgh, Jacob Dingmanse, John Fitzgerald, 
Sara Gardinier, Isaac Van Aarnem, Jannetje Van Aamem, 
Annatie V, Buren, Lena Huyck, Engeltie Gardinier, Catha- 
rina Huyck, Rachel Huyck, Christyna Huyck, Cathalina 
Huyck, Peter V. Slyck, Engeltie V. Slyck, Barentie V. Slyck, 
Harmen V. Salsbergen, Cornelis Van Buren, Abraham Vos- 
burgh, Barend Vosburgh, Johannes Goes, Marten Van 
Buyren, Cornelis Van Schaack, James Rous, Debora Springer, 
Anna Wurmer. 

The "Trouw-Boeck" of the Dutch church, the first and 
for many years the only Marriage Record in the town, begins 
in 1717. Before that time and for eleven years thereafter, 
until the first pastor came, baptisms and marriages here, with 
only a few exceptions, were recorded in the register of the 
Albany church, whose pastors rendered occasional service 
in this place. The baptismal and marriage records of the 
Kinderhook church fully transcribed would in themselves 
make a large volume. We have counted as many as 114 
baptisms in one year. Their transcription in full is obviously 
impossible in this volume; but it may be of interest to de- 
scendants of the early settlers to have a few pages from the 
first Trouw-Boeck transcribed. 

TROUW-BOECK 
By Petrus Van Driessen 

1717 28 Jochum Van Valkenburgh and Elsie Klauw 

1720 Jan. 30 Pieter Vosburgh and Helena Goes 

1724 Feb. 8 Caspar Conyn and Hendrikie Van Schayk 

1726 Sept. 18 Lucas Van Alen and Elizabeth (?) 

By Johannes Van Driessen 

1727 July 9 Johan Pierterze and Catharina Haver 
1727 Johannes Van Valckenburgh and Antie Van Sardam 



io6 



Old RinderhooK 



1727 
1728 
1728 

1728 

1728 

1728 

1728 

1728 Oct. 6 

1728 Oct. 9 

1728 Oct. 26 

1729 April 8 
1729 May II 



Caspar Springsteen 
James Livingston 
Jacob Gardenier 
Jacob Van Valkenburgh 
Pieter Van Valckenburgh 
Johan Mattheus Louer 
Cornelis Van Salsbergen 
Cornelis Van Schayck 
Theunis Oosterhoud 
Hendrikus Spoor 
Dirck Vosburgh 
Arend Van Der Kar 



1729 Aug. 2 Pieter Klauw 

1729 April 16 Pieter Wenne 

1729 Sept. II Frans Van Valckenburgh 

1729 Nov. 7 Marten Van Buyren 

1729 Nov. 16 Johannes Dingman 

1730 Jan. 2 Thomas Turck 
1730 Jan. II Yzaack Van Deuzen 
1730 Mar. 3 Hendrik Van Valkenburgh 
1730 Mar. 28 Johannes Hogeboom 

1730 Sept. 19 Bartholomeus VanAalsteyn Jr, 

1730 Dec. 18 Tammes Brand 

1 73 1 Jan. Edward Brown 

1 73 1 Jan. 31 Jacob Schermerhorn 
1 73 1 Sammuel Halenbeck 

1 73 1 Adam Van Alen 

1 73 1 James Rouws 

1 73 1 Jozua Broeks 

1732 Jan. 3 Nicolas Rouws 
1732 James Springer 
1732 Yzaack Woodkock 
1732 Pieter Van Dyck 
1732 Casper Rouws 



and Maghdalena Schermerhoorn 

and Catharian Coens 

and Cathalyntie Scherp 

and Catharina Turck 

and Mareytie Vosburgh 

and Anna IMargaretha Rouws 

and Catharina Van Der Kar 

and Lydia Van Dyck 

and Eva Conyn 

and Rebecka Van Valckenburgh 

and Alida Van Alen 

and Scharlottha Van Der 

Werken 
and Hanna Wurmer 
and Jannetie Van Vechten 
and Maria Van Dyck 
and Dirckie Van Buyren 
and Geesie Janzen 
and Eva Van Valckenburgh 
and Seytie Burger 
and Mareytie Klauw 
and Elbertie Van Alen 
and Angnetha Goes 
and Debora Springer 
and Susanna Matre 
and Maratie Schermerhorn 
and Lysbeth Conyn 
and Catharina V. Aalsteyne 
and Angnetha Gardenier 
and Geezie Bond 
and Marghriet Brendell 
and Abigaal Adams 
and Dina Janzen 
and Catharina Wederwax 
and Christina Wyles 



Officiating Clergyman Unknown 



1733 July 29 John Van Valckenburgh 
1733 Sept. 21 Steven Barend 

Oct. 2 Sander Van Aalsteyne 
1733 Nov. 9 Abraham Fonda 
1733 Dec. 7 Jeronymus Van Valckenburgh 
1733 Dec. 21 Hendrik Clauw 

1733 Dec. 28 Hendrick Burghaard Jun. 

1734 May 13 Pieter Cool 
1734 July 3 Seaborn Heart 



and Elizabeth Halenbeck 

and Wyntie Van Valckenburgh 

and Elbertie Van Alen 

and Elberthie Van Alen 

and Mareytie Van Buyren 

and Rebecka Goewey 

and Catharina Huyck 

and Alida Dingman 

and EUenor Dillin 



W^Ko Was Who, 1664-1809 



107 



1734 Aug. 9 Mattheus Goes 
1734 Aug. 23 Andries Huyck 

1734 Aug. 30 Gysberth Clauw 

1734 Nov. 29 Abraham Van Aalsteyne 

1734 John Cooper 



and Catharina Vosburgh 

and Maghdalena Van Buyren, 

widow 
and Neeltie Scherp 
and Wyntie Conyn 
and Elizabeth Gardenier 



The sequence of dates in several instances suggests the 
weekly visit of a dominie to supply the pastorless church, 
and, to suit his convenience, the choice of Saturday or 
Monday as the wedding day. 

In the records of 1729 we find a list of the contributors 
to the salary of the Rev. J. Van Driessen, the first pastor. 
For the information it gives of the families then residing here 
we give the list in full. Here as elsewhere (we say again) we 
transcribe decipherable names with exactitude and are not 
responsible for the orthography. 



Abraha Van Aalsteyn 
Stephan Van Alen 
Burger Huyk 
Cornelis Schermerhorn 
Pieter Vosburgh 
Hendrik Klauw 
Barent Vosburgh 
Hendrik Gardenier 
Gysbert Scherp 

Dirk Goes 
Margariet Goes 
Gerrit Dingman 
Joh Van Deusen 
Jan Tysse Goes 

Adam V Alen 
Hendrick Klauw 
Pieter V Dyck 
Jogchem Kalger (Collier) 
Everd Whieler 
Hendrick V Valkenburgh 
Johaan Boom 
Gerrit Van Schaack 
Jan Wotkock 
Eytie Gardenier 



Joh. Van Alen 
Melgert Vander Poel 
Pieter Van Alen 
Lambert Huyk 
Pieter Vosburgh Junior 
Tobias Van Buyren 
Barent Van Buyren 
Andries Gardenier 
Jacob Dingman 

Johanns Van Aalsteyn 
Joh Goes 

Cornels Van Buyren 
Jan Burgaart 
Joghgum Van Valken- 
burgh 
Sander V Aalsteyn 
Coenraat Borghaart 
Pieter Lodewyck 
Basteyaan Litzjer 
Mattheus Goes 
Areje Gardenier 
Matths Culver 
Louwerens Scharp 
Cornelis Sluyter 
Johanns Huyck 



Lauwrens Van Schaack 
Leendert Conyn 
Yzaak Vosburgh 
Dirk Gardenier 
Lucas Van Alen 
Abraha Vosburgh 
Marten Vosburgh 
Jacob Turk 
Bartholomeus Van 

Valkenburgh 
Marten Van Buyren 
Cornelis Van Schaak 
Theunis Van Slyk 
Abraham Staats 
Hendrik Burgaart 

Pieter V Slyck Junr. 
Thomas V. Aalsteyn 
Frans V Valkenburgh 
Edward Whieler 
Johanns Vosburgh 
Adam Dingman 
Louwrens Van der Poel 
Jan Robbertze 
Jan Wotcock, junr. 
Jacob Gardenier, junr. 



io8 



Old RinderKooK 



Pieter V Valkenburg 
Cornelis Huyck 
Gysbert Scharp 
Pieter Yzack Vosburgh 
Salomon V der Kar 
Jan Zeel 

Pieter Van Slyck 
Yzaak V. Aalsteyn 
Yzaak van Aarnhem 



Joachem V Valkenburg 
Jacob Gardenier 
Frans Klouw 
Casper Rouwe 
Klaas Becker 
John Clement 
Dirck Vosburgh 
Luycas Witbeck 
Volkert Witbeck 



Lammart V Valkenburg 
Johannes Pieterze 
Coenraat Ryssier 
Klass V der Kar 
Jeems Livingston 
Kasper Planck 
Johs Hogeboom 
Jonas Witbeck 
Andries Witbeck 



Claas Gardenier 
Nicolaas Kittel 



Johannes Beekman 
Jacob V. Valkenburgh 
Jacob Schermerhorn 



Abram V. Valkenburgh 
Hendrik Schermerhorn 



The last seven, reading across the page, have the caption — 
*'£w die van Schoodack^ 

There were other famihes in the southern part of the 
Kinderhook District, but as they were much nearer the 
Claverack church their names are to be looked for there 
rather than here. 

It is noticeable that the soon familiar names Bain, Best, 
Pruyn, Van Ness, Van Vleck, and others do not yet appear. 
They came later. 

Great was our joy when our State Archivist placed in 
our hands the now perished Kinderhook Tax List for the 
years 1744-5. We have thought it of sufficient interest to 
copy in full. It is illuminating, not only in its revelation of 
resident landowners and the relative amount of their hold- 
ings, but also to some extent of the relative location of their 
homes. At many points we can see the Assessors, Cornelius 
Van Schaack and Jacobus Van Alen with their attendant 
scribe, going from house to house in regular order. It is to 
be remembered that the New York pound was about one-half 
the value of the English pound. 



ViKo W^as WKo, 1664-1509 



109 



Marten Van Deusen 
Bata Van Deusen 
Mattheus Van Deusen 
Daniel Lotts 
Johan. V. Aelstyn 

Abr. V. Aelstyn 26 

Johan. Vosburgh 10 

Peter Van Alen 25 

Lammert Huyck 16 
Andries Huyck Jr. 

Johannis Huyck 4 

Burger Huyck 32 

Johannis Huyck 2 

Johannis Goes 22 

Willem Ciauw 6 

Samuel Wheeler 3 

John Roberson 2 

Evert Wheeler i 

Johan Van Deusen 24 

Luykas Goes 7 

Jan. Tyssen Goes 2 
Jac. Martense Vosburgh 2 

James Denton i 

Peter Goes 2 

Tobias V. Beuren 11 

Cornelius V. Schaack 14 

John Cooper 6 

Corn. V. Beuren 3 

Barent Vosburgh 12 

Abr. Vosburgh 11 

Elizabeth V. Dyck i 

Margareta Goes 15 

Marten V. Beuren 15 

Jacobus V. Alen 31 

Johannis Scherp 4 
Lawrence Decker, the land 

he lives on 7 



Andries Scherp 

Peter Van Dyck 
Matthew Goes 
Luykas V. Alen 
Sara V. Alen 
Evert V. Alen Jr. 
Abraham V. Alen 
Gerrit Dingman 
Thomas V. Aelstyn 



38 



TAX LIST. 1744 



Arent Van Dyck 2 

Arent Pruyn 6 

Maria V. Alen 5 

Corn. V. Alen 25 

Sander V. Aelstyn 13 

Jan. Borghardt 25 

Gerrit Borghardt Jr. 2 

Isaac V. Aelstyn 22 

Marten V. Aelstyn 16 

Gerrit V. Schaak 30 

Matt. Goes Jr. 6 

Johan. Staats 6 

Samuel Staats 16 

Jochem Staatg 10 

Isaac Staats 7 

P. Cornelisen i 

Johan Backus 2 

Jacob Miller 2 

Volkert Witbeck 6 

Luykas Witbeck 6 

Andries Witbeck 6 

Jonas Witbeck 6 

Gerrit V. Hoesen i 

Abr. Wyngard i 

Geysbert Clauw 3 

Lourens Scherp 9 

Andries Scherp Jr. 2 

Hendrick Clauw i 

Solomon Scherp I 

Peter Clauw i 

Adam Van Alen 18 

Jacobus V. Alen Jr. 3 

Francis Clauw Jr. 10 

Johan (?) 3 

John Van Salsberg i 

Benjamin Thomas (?) 
Bartholomew V. Valken- 

burgh 6 



Peter V. Valkenburgh Jr. 
Abraham V. Valkenburgh 

Jr. 3 

Dirckse Vosburgh 6 

Jochem B. V. Valkenburgh 3 

Thomas Doran 
Jur. Van Hoesen 
Willem V. Aelstyn 
House he lives in 



Lambert Van Valkenburgh 4 

Frans Van Valkenburgh I 
Jothem Van Valkenburgh 

Peter Van Valkenburgh 10 

Ryckart Van Valkenburgh 7 

Frans Clauw 6 

Barthqlomous V. Aelstyn I 

Hendrick V. Valkenburgh 4 

Elizabeth Van Der Poel i 

Johannis Van Der Poel 14 

Melgert Van Der Poel 4 

Jocobus Van Der Poel 10 

Leendert Conyn 30 

John Van Beuren 6 

Laurens Van Der Poel 7 

Jacobus Vosburgh i 

Adam Van Alen Jr. 8 

Tunis Van Slyck Jr. 15 

Peter Van Slyck 12 

Peter Vosburgh 6 

Dirck Van Slyck 20 

Jacob Gardenier 9 

Arie Gardenier 12 

William Clark I 

Dirk Goes i 

Dirk Gardenier 15 

Jacobus Gardenier is 

Samuel Gardenier 15 

Hendrick Gardenier 15 

Dirck Vosburgh IS 

Barent Van Beuren 22 
Roeleff Clerck and the lands 

he lives on 7 

John Wheeler I 

Peter G. Van Beuren 2 

John Ten Eyck I 

Joseph Cornick I 

Cornells Scherp 2 
Peter Bartholomew Vos- 
burgh 2 

John Scott I 

Anthony Quackenbush i 

Lowrens V. Alen 2 

Anthony Lewis I 

Paterick Mc. Arthur I 

Jacob Jan. Gardenier i 

Jan. Gardenier i 



Total £1100: @ $2750 



The original loose paper perished in the lamentable Library 
fire. 

With the map (1756) of the Division of the great Kinder- 
hook Patent (1686) before us we can make many additions 
to foregoing lists of freeholders and early settlers : and, assum- 
ing the accuracy of the survey and the correctness of the 
scale, can locate the homes of many with considerable 
precision. 



no Old RinderHooK 

The whole territory, known in later years as the Kinder- 
hook District of Albany County, had a river-front of about 
eleven miles, from Stockport creek on the south to Rens- 
selaerswyck. Thence the line ran east ten miles, — that is, 
two miles or more beyond Knickerbocker lake. Striking a 
little' west of south it reached a point eight miles east of the 
starting-point, to which it returned. An accurate map of the 
County will show that Kinderhook thus included, as before 
stated. North Chatham and Chatham Centre in the east, 
land south of Ghent village, the northern part of Stockport, 
the whole of Stuyvesant, and three islands in the river. 

Starting from Stockport creek and following the river 
near its bank, we find about two miles from the creek the 
home of Isaac Staats. About a mile beyond hved Andries 
Witbeck. Houses without name were on both Great and 
Little Nutten Hook. At intervals of about one-half mile 
were the homes of Jacob Valkenburgh, Gerrit Van Hoesen, 
and Abraham Wyngart. Yet nearer together were the houses 
of Gysbert Claw, — Sharpe, Peter Van Buren, Peter Vos- 
burgh, and Lawrence Goes. Two and one-half miles from the 
last-named (Poelsburg) and with intervals of about a half- 
mile between, were the dwellings of Jacobus Vanderpoel, 
Barent Vanderpoel, John Vanderpoel, and Leonard Conyn, 
the last-named about one mile south of Rensselaerswyck. 
This Conyn had a private dock. 

Returning to Stockport and following the course of 
Kinderhook creek, we find near Rossmans the home of a free 
negro : one-half mile north of this the house of Tom Dun ; at 
Stuyvesant Falls the mill of Gerrit Van Schaack with his 
dwelling nearly a mile north. The homes of Marte and 
Isaac Van Alstyne were near the present dwellings of Edward 
Van Alstyne and J. S. Hosford, and about a half-mile beyond 
was that of Jan Burgart. Thence to and including the 
village the map shows sixteen houses without name and the 
first church. Broad Street and Albany Avenue were not yet 
laid out. The old road, clinging closely to the creek in its 



Who Was WKo, 1664-1809 iii 

whole course, swept from near W. B. Van Alstyne's present 
residence quite to the east of Broad Street, to the old village, 
thence through William Street, and thence about as now to 
Paghaquak (Valatie). This side of the present bridge at 
Valatie we find the residence of Lucas Goes, Hans Goes, and 
— ' Robert Van Dusen. Beyond the bridge, and along the course 
of the creek, we note the home of Samuel Wheeler, near Mr. 
Chas. Wild's late residence, and then in succession the 
dwelling of William Claw, and the mill and residence of D. 
Goes. Next came the homes of Andries Huyck, Richard 
Huyck, and Stephen Van Alen, near the hill Penekoes. Be- 
yond and toward Chatham Centre were the homes of Peter 
Vosburgh, Abraham Van Alstyne, and Jan. Van Alstyne. A 
little to the south and west of the junction of the Kinderhook 
creek and the Kleine Kill we note the name Tobias Van Slyck, 
and then along the Kill, at varying intervals of from one- 
half a mile to two miles, we observe the homes of Jacob 
Gardenier, Arie Gardenier, Peter Van Slyck, Dirk Gardenier, 
Dirk Vosburgh, Barent Van Buren, and, near the Claverack 
boundary, the dwelling of Widow Livingston. Returning 
and fording the Kinderhook creek a little below the present 
bridges and following substantially the existing road toward 
Stuyvesant Falls, we find the homes of Isaac Goes, John 
Goes, Lawrence Van Alen, Evert Van Alen, Gerrit Dingman, 
and Thomas Van Alstine ; the last-named about one-half mile 
southeast of the home of Marte Van Alstyne on the other side 
of the creek. The map strikingly illustrates how closely the 
Hollanders clung to the water-courses. 



112 



Old H-inderHooK 



ASSESSMENT ROLL OF THE REAL AND PERSONAL ESTATES 
IN THE TOWN OF KINDERHOOK MADE THE 27TH DAY OF 
MAY IN THE YEAR 1809 AGREEABLE TO AN ACT FOR THE 
ASSESSMENT AND COLLECTION OF TAXES, ETC. 



Names of Possessors or Reputed Owners 



Value of 

Real 
Estate 



Value of 

Personal 

Estate 



Total 



Acker, Peter 

Acker, Peter, Jr 

Angel, Joshua 

Adams, John 

Austin, Caleb 

Burgert, Lambert 

Burgert, Elizabeth 

Bennet, Increase 

Barthrop, William 

Bidwell, John 

Balis, Luther 

Briggs, Nathaniel 

BuUick, Ruben 

Butler, Medad 

Beaumont, Oliver 

Baker, Edmond 

Bullick, Ellis 

Bullick, Ellis, Jr 

Bain, Hugh 

Butler, Joseph 

Beaumont, John 

Barton, James 

Baim, William 

Butler, John 

Burns, James 

Bain, Peter 

Bullick, David 

Buice, Samuel 

Bidwell, Alexander 

Bidwell, David 

Barton, Joseph 

Botchford, Thomas G 

Bennet, Lyman 

Barrit, Thomas 

Bain, William 

Beekman, John P 

Bird, John 

Saghman, Jacob 

Beckwith, Abner (Non-Resident) 

Clary, Samuel 

Carr, William 



£ 
300 

1900 
50 
50 

2625 

200 
1000 
750 
113 
150 
825 
1000 

700 

450 

300 

1300 



300 

300 

150 

50 

100 

100 

60 

75 

250 
150 



50 
800 



45 
200 



£ 
50 

20 

400 
250 



30 



25 
200 

25 
75 
400 
20 
20 

100' 

10 
50 



20 

50 

200 

20 
50 
50 
150 
10 



£ 

300 

50 

1900 

50 
70 

3025 
250 
200 

3000 
750 
113 
180 
825 

1000 

25 
900 

475 

375 

1700 

20 

20 
300 
400 
150 

60 
150 
100 

60 

95 

50 

450 

150 

20 

50 

50 

150 

60 

800 

200 

45 
200 



Who W^as Who, 1664-1809 



113 



Names of Possessors or Reputed Owners 



Value of 
Real 

Estate 



Value of 

Personal 

Estate 



Total 



Cole, Peter 

Crandle, Samuel 

Crandle, William Pitt 

Cole, John. 

Claw, Lambert 

Claw, Jacob 

Claw, Caty 

Claw, Garrit 

Claw, Polly 

Cook, Zacheus 

Clapper, John 

Claw, Andrew 

Clapper, Jacob 

Claw, William , 

Cole, Adam 

Clapp, Gilbert - 

Clapp, Edy 

Crocker, Luther , 

Crocker, Sarah 

Claw, John M , 

Claw, Henry M 

Claw, Andrew F , 

Chesley, John 

Chittenden, George. . , 

Cochran, John , 

Claw, John G 

Cornel, Alexander . . . . 

Crandle, Thomas 

Claw, Christopher. . . . 

Cooper, Peter P 

Conelison, John 

Castle, Elijah 

Calkins, Eliphalet. . . . 

Crapser, David 

Crandle, Joseph 

Chamberlain, Asa. . . . 

Clark, James 

Claw, Ephraim 

Claw, Henry G 

Cashore, Robert M . . . 

Cammel, John 

Coon, Myndert 

Cnute, Garrit 

Cnute, Nicholas 

Church, Doctor 

Curren, James 

Duel, Jeremiah 

Dobbs, Daniel 

Dobbs, Esper 

Deyo, Nathan 



8 



£ 
300 

375 
225 

37 
900 
600 
300 

50 

50 

600 

525 
100 
400 

285 
1600 

200 
1050 

225 

900 
50 



500 
200 
150 
225 



40 
300 

750 



100 
200 



80 
80 



150 
750 



£ 

75 
75 



225 

150 

75 

25 

30 

300 

50 

200 
50 

200 
1000 

100 
50 
20 

15 
200 

50 



30 
100 
20 
20 
40 
20 

50 

50 

250 

20 

50 
25 
50 

20 



20 
50 



£ 

375 
450 
225 

37 
1125 

750 

375 

25 

50 

80 

600 

825 

100 

450 

285 

1800 

250 

1250 

1225 

1000 

100 

20 

15 

700 

250 

150 

225 

30 

100 

20 

20 

80 

20 

300 

50 

50 

250 

20 

750 

50 

25 

150 

200 

20 

80 

80 

20 

50 

150 

750 



114 



Old RinderKooK 



Names of Possessors or Reputed Owners 



Dingman, Casparus. 
Dingman, Garrit. . . 
Deming, Clirasa. . . . 
Dingman, Rodulfus. 

Dederick, Philip 

Dickie, William .... 
Dederick, Christian. 
Dederick, Philip P. . 
Dederick, PhiHp W. 

Drum, John 

Dingman, John. . . . 

Dopp, James 

Darling, William. . . 
David, Jonathan. . . 

Devoe, John 

Devoe, John Jr 

Drum, Frederick . . . 



Edwards, Thomas and Elijah . 

Eyler, Johannes 

Edy, Thomas 

Edy, Thomas F 

Eyler, Cornelia 

Easterly, Martin 



Fowler, John 

Folandt, George. . 

Fitch, Abel 

Fosmire, John Jr . 

Fosmire, John 

Fowler, Delaware. 
Franklin, John. . . 
Fowler, Samuel. . . 
Finch, Andrew. . . 



Gardinier, William. . . 
Gardinier, Aaron S . . 
Gardinier, Dirck . . . . 
Gardinier, David. . . . 
Gardinier, Aaron . . . . 
Gardinier, Samuel H. 
Gardinier, Peter I . . . 
Gardinier, Cornelia . . 

Gillet, Moses Jr 

Gardinier, John 

Goes, Dirck D 

Goodemote, Jacob. . . 

Goes, John B 

Goodemote, John. . . . 

Goes, Barent I 

Goes, Robert 



Value of 

Real 
Estate 



£ 

600 
600 
900 
350 
600 
900 
100 
100 
900 

25 
675 



50 
100 

150 

1200 

100 

20 

400 

488 

1200 

400 
300 

300 



2650 

825 
825 

2525 
500 

525 
188 

150 
225 

75 
500 



75 



Value of 

Personal 

Estate 



£ 
100 



100 
100 
100 



100 



10 

50 



25 

20 

25 
50 



Total 



£ 

700 

600 

900 

450 

700 

1000 

100 

100 

1000 

25 

675 

10 

50 

50 

100 

25 
150 

1200 
20 

100 

25 
20 

50 





400 


40 


528 




1200 


50 


50 


350 


750 


50 


350 


50 


50 


50 


350 


75 


75 


100 


100 


50 


50 




2650 


100 


925 




825 


300 


2825 




500 


25 


550 


50 


238 


25 


25 




150 


50 


275 




75 


50 


550 


25 


25 




75 



^WKo Was Who, 1664-1809 



115 



Names of Possessors or Reputed Owners 



Goes, Barent I. Jr. . . . 

Goes, Ephraim 

Goes, John L 

Goes, Laurence 

Goes, Lucas 

Groat, Henry 

Goes, Laurence 

Goes, Richard I 

Goes, Albert 

Goes, William 

Gillet, Joel 

Gardinier, Laurence. . 
Gardinier, Andrew. . . . 

Groat, John 

Griffin, Timothy 

Gillet, Gilbert 

Geeres, Peter 

Garfield, Elijah 

Goes, Richard 

Goes, Nicholas 

Groat, Henry Jr 

Groat, John W 

Haver, Christian 

Harder, Philip 

Harder, Nicholas 

Harder, William 

Holmes, Palmer 

Head, Michael 

Henderson, Henderick 

Head, Henry 

Ham, Conradt 

Hauze, Zacheriah 

Harder, Wilhelmus. . . 

Harder, Martin 

Huyck, Christina 

Huyck, Burger I 

Head, Jonathan 

Haight, Abraham 

Hilton, John 

Hilton, Benjamin 

Huyck, Burger 

Ham, John 

Ham, Netty (Widow). 

Hogan, John 

Hauze, Simon 

Hogeboom, John 

Haight, Jesse 

Howard, Joseph 

Hurd, Truman 

Herrick, Henry 



Value of 

Real 
Estate 



250 
75 

675 
975 
650 
900 
1600 
200 
100 
150 
75 

225 
50 

100 
20 
55 



50 
50 



900 
2250 
2400 
1600 



1300 
300 
100 
150 
375 

1450 
500 

300 

200 

50 

75 

400 

50 
20 

30 

75 
375 

35 
400 



Value of 

Personal 

Estate 



200 

25 

50 

150 

200 

75 
100 

50 
20 



100 
50 

100 
50 

25 
30 
25 



50 
100 
400 
400 
100 

25 
100 

30 



100 
150 

150 
50 
40 

300 



50 



Total 



450 

100 

50 

825 

1175 

725 

1000 

1600 

250 

120 

150 

75 

100 

275 
150 
150 
20 
80 
30 
25 
50 
50 

50 
1000 
2650 
2800 
1700 

25 
100 

30 

1300 

300 

200 

300 

375 

1600 

550 

40 
600 
200 

50 

75 
400 

50 
40 
30 
75 

425 
35 

400 



Ii6 



Old ninderKooK 



Names of Possessors or Reputed Owners 



Herrick, Nathan . . 
Hallenbake, John. 

Holland, Jane 

Houghtailing .... 
Haver, John C . . . 
Haver, Peter C. . . 
Hogeboom, Dirck . 
Hare, Thomas . . . 
Holkim 



Jones, Daniel 

Jones, Daniel Jr 

Jones, Cornelius. . ••••••• •.•,•••.; 

Jenkins, Robert (none Resident) 

Kittle, John Jr 862 

Kooper, Martm | 362 

Kooper, John M 

Kerner, Martm 

Kerner, Christopher 

Krum, Martin 

Knights, John 

Kittle, Henry John 

Kittle, Andrew 

Kain, Cornelius 

Kittle, Margaret 

Kittle, Nicholas 

Keyzer, Jacob... 

Kooper, Peter C 




675 
675 
550 

1500 
100 

800 
1275 



50 
1200 



Like, Peter 

Ludlow, Daniel 

Lovejoy, Andrew 

Landt, Falta.. 1 75 

Lapham, Eliakim ^^o 

Link, PhiUp 75 

Lusk, Nathan '.'.'.'.'.'. 

Lape, John j 1200 

Locy, David 

Loman, Peter . . . _. 

Lovejoy, Benjamin 

Link, John 



Matrot, Peter jooo 

IMower, John ' ' jqq 

Mower, John Jr ' ^25 

Moore, John I ^25 

Moore, Jacob Jr-;- • 600 

Mandevill, Jeremiah ^ 

McMechan, Alexander ' 

McAllister, William 



100 



50 
100 

50 
30 

10 
600 
200 

10 
100 



80 

25 
50 
50 

50 

150 

25 

50 

50 

300 

10 



100 
862 
862 
675 
675 
650 

1500 
100 

50 
900 

1275 
50 
30 

60 

1800 

200 

ID 

175 
750 

75 
80 
1200 
25 
50 
50 

50 

1250 

125 

575 
525 
650 

3300 
20 



WKo Was Who, 1604-1809 



117 



Names of Possessors or Reputed Owners 



McEntire, William . . 
McEntire, George. . . 

Moore, Jacob 

Moore, John A 

Mead, Gilbert.. r; . . . 
Mead, Nathaniel . T. . 
Mead, Daniel . . .T. . 

Melious, William 

McNiel, James 

McNiel, Thomas. . . . 
McKeg, Cornelius. . . 
Manton, William. . . . 

Man ton, John 

McNiel, David 

Miller, Peter 

Mower, John Jr 

Moore, John 

Noney, Zebulon 

Nevil, John 

Niver, Marcus 

Niver, John Jr 

Norton, Lemuel 

Niver, Michael 

Noyes, Samuel G. . . . 

Pruyn, Francis 

Pomeroy, Anna 

Paddock, Peter 

Pruyn, Arent 

Person, Eliphas 

Philips, Abraham. . . . 
Pulver, Wilhelmus. . . 

Pulver, John 

Philip, Peter, Jr. . . . 

Pultz, Daniel 

Philip, Henry 

Pultz, Bastian 

PhiHp, John 

Pomeroy, Zacheus. . . 

Philip, Jacob I 

Pruyn, John 

Pruyn, John, Jr 

Philip, Eva (Widow) 

Penoyar, John 

Philip, Jacob 

Patterson, Robert. . . 
Patterson, Alexander 

Pulver, William 

Pultz, John 

Potter, William 



Value of 


Value of 


Real 


Personal 


Estate 


Estate 


£ 


£ 




250 




15 


350 




300 




340 




340 


50 




10 


1200 


200 


1200 


50 


75 




25 


25 


900 


100 


1200 


200 


50 




300 




300 


25 


50 






50 


10 


10 


600 


100 


975 




600 




600 






20 


900 




450 


50 


100 




1115 




50 




450 


100 


200 


50 


1000 


200 


375 




675 


100 


450 




600 


50 


975 






50 


2400 


600 


75 




50 




225 


100 


300 


50 


150 




150 


50 


2000 


200 


250 


50 


1000 





Total 



25 
150 

350 
300 

340 

390 

10 

1400 

1250 

75 

50 

1000 

1400 

50 
300 

325 
50 

50 

20 

700 

975 

600 

600 

20 

900 
500 
100 

1115 

50 

550 

250 

1200 
375 
775 
450 
650 
975 
50 

3000 
75 
50 
325 
350 
150 
200 

2200 
300 

1000 



II{ 



Old RinderKooK 



Names of Possessors or Reputed Owners 



Potter, John G 

Potter, William, Jr. 
Philip, John, Jr. . . . 
Phineas, Prentice. . . 

Pomeroy, Josiah 

Pruyn, Francis, Jr. 



Quilott, James. 



Risedorp, Laurence. . . . 

Row, John 

Race, Benjamin 

Race, Benjamin, Jr. . . . 

Race, William 

Rogers, John 

Reynolds, Nathaniel . . . 

Reynolds, Ezra 

Reynolds, Peter 

Remsey, Jane (Widow) , 

Rivenburgh, John 

Reed, Ira 

Reghter, Zachariah .... 
Risedorp, John 



Ray, Alpheus . 



Sweney, Edward 

Stalker, Gilbert 

Staats, Samuel 

Smith, Jacob T 

Staats, Isaac A 

Schoomaker, John A 

Sipperly, John 

Sheldon, George 

Sheldon, Seneca 

Snyder, George T 

Smith, George P 

Silvester, Jane (Widow) .... 

Silvester, Peter, Jr 

Slingerlandt, Abraham 

Staats, Daniel 

Sharp, Henry 

Seism, John 

Scott, Joseph , 

Shaver, Lucus 

Shaver, Jacob , 

Simons, Catherine (Widow). 

Simons, Jacob 

Snyder, Tunis G , 

Smith, William 

Smith, Henry W 



Value of 

Real 
Estate 



100 

250 
100 



525 



500 

400 

450 

2800 

75 
550 
400 

50 
250 
200 
225 



450 

400 

575 
1300 

75 

1500 

450 

1 150 

75 
825 
700 

75 

20 

600 

300 

225 

900 

75 

75 

200 

200 



Value of 

Personal 

Estate 



50 
50 



50 



20 

25 

40 

100 

4000 

200 



10 
50 
50 
50 
50 

50 
200 

50 
300 

50 
150 

100 
20 



25 
200 

50 
50 



Total 



£ 

50 

50 
100 
250 
100 

50 

525 

20 
500 

25 
440 

550 
6800 

75 
750 
400 

50 
250 
200 
225 

10 

50 

50 
100 

50 
450 

50 

400 

625 

1500 

125 
1800 

500 

1300 

75 

925 

700 

75 

40 

600 

300 

250 

1 100 

75 

125 

250 

200 



W^Ko ^Was Who, 1064-1609 



119 



Names of Possessors or Reputed Owners 



Spickerman, Andrew 

Southerland, Elijah 

Shulters, Martinus 

Shulters, George 

Staats, Isaac 

Sickles, Zacheriah 

Southerland, George 

Sickles, Garrit 

Stevers, David 

Sharp, John I 

Sharp, Laurence P 

Sharp, Peter P 

Schermerhorn, Cornelius. . . 

Shaver, John L 

Staats, John A 

Staats, Abraham 

Staats, Jacob 

Staats, John 

Staats, Abraham I 

Staats, Jacob A 

Shufalt, John, Jr 

Shufalt, John I 

Shufalt, John 

Sharp, Andrew I 

Sickles, James 

Salmons, Gershorn 

Salmons, Ruben 

Stevers, Elijah 

Smith, Tunis P 

Shaver, John F 

Sickles, Gilbert 

Salisbury, Abraham 

Shaver, George 

Sharp, Solomon 

Stephenson, William 

Snyder, Mary (Widow) .... 

Stephenson, John 

Sitzer, Jacob 

Sitzer, Frederick 

Sitzer, John 

Silvester, Francis 

Snyder (Widow) Pine Wood 
Schermerhorn, William, Jr. 

Schermerhorn, Peter C 

Stephenson, Thomas 

Sharp, Peter L 

Sharp, John L 

Stratton, William 

Smith, Jacob 

Spencer, John S 

Shufelt, Frederick 



Value of 
Real 

Estate 



£ 
975 

75 
200 

75 
350 
200 
150 
250 
500 

675 
300 
300 

1300 
175 
125 

1500 

750 
750 
975 
75 
900 



250 

75 
300 

200 

450 

525 

75 

600 

150 

250 

1200 

1400 



100 

75 
200 

75 



50 

50 

200 



Value of 

Personal 

Estate 



400 

50 
100 
800 
300 



100 
20 

50 

80 

50 

50 
50 

40 

200 

50 
20 
50 
20 
1200 

100 
20 
25 
50 
20 
50 
25 



Total 



975 

75 

200 

75 
350 
200 
170 
250 
500 

675 

300 

300 

1700 

175 

175 

1600 

1550 

1050 

975 

75 

1000 

20 

50 

250 

155 
300 

50 
200 
500 
575 

75 

600 

190 

250 

1400 

1400 

50 

20 

50 

20 

1300 

75 
300 

95 
25 
50 
20 
50 
75 
50 
200 



120 



Old R-inderHooK 



Names of Possessors or Reputed Owners 



Smith, William I 

Slingerlandt, Catherine. . . . 
Seism, Jacob 

Taylor, Haimen 

Taylor, Baltus 

Townsend, John 

Teal, William 

Traver, Jonathan 

Tipple, Jacob 

Thorn, Michael 

Traver, Benjamin 

Tobias, Thomas F 

Teal, William L 

Teal, Annanias 

Turk, Jacobus 

Turk, John.. 

Thomas, David 

Taylor, William 

Upton, Edward 

Van Alstyne, John P 

Vosburgh, Jacob B 

Van Alen, Abraham 

Van Buren, Abraham 

Van Alen, James I 

Vosburgh, John A 

Vosburgh, Abraham, Jr. . . . 

Van Alstyne, Nap 

Van Hoesen, Dirck 

Van Hoosen, George A. . . . 
Vosburgh, Cornelius B . . . . 

Van Schaack, Maria 

Vallet, Stephen 

Van Hovenburgh (Widow). 
Van Hovenburgh, John . . . 
Van Vleck, Abraham I . . . . 

Van Vleck, Abraham 

Van Vleck, Isaac A 

Van Vleck, Henry 

Van Vleck, Aaron 

Vosburgh, Barent E 

Vosburgh, Herman 

Van Schaack, Peter 

Van Alen, John L., Jr 

Van Valkenburgh, Conradt 

Van Slyck, James 

Van Alen, Jacobus L 

Van Ness, John 

Van Alstyne, John 



Value of 


Value of 




Real 


Personal 


Total 


Estate 


Estate 




£ 


£ 


£ 




20 


20 


100 




100 




25 


25 




50 


50 




50 


50 


100 




100 


6oo 


100 


700 


900 


50 


950 




50 


50 


300 




300 


475 




475 


450 




450 


450 




450 




20 


20 




20 


20 




50 


50 


50 




50 


300 




300 


200 


300 


500 \ 




20 


20 ' 


800 


50 


850 


300 




300 


1125 


200 


1325 


300 




300 


600 




600 


75 




75 




25 


25 


75 


20 


95 


150 




150 


150 




150 




70 


70 


450 




450 




30 


30 


1500 


3000 


4500 


575 


300 


875 


575 


300 


875 


375 


100 


475 


375 


100 


475 


200 


50 


250 


300 




300 


1900 


1200 


3100 


300 




300 




50 


50 


75 


100 


175 


750 




750 


600 


2500 


3100 


4000 


1200 


5200 



WKo W^as >A^ho, 1664-1809 



121 



Names of Possessors or Reputed Owners 



Van Alstyne, Isaac 

Van Alstyne, Abraham 

Van Valkenburgh, Cornelius 

Van Alen, Cornelius S 

Van Dyck, Henry L 

Van Alen, Stephen 

Van Vleck, Isaac A & Abraham for store they 

occupy 

Van Valkenburgh, Daniel 

Van Buren, Maria 

Van Dusen, Stephen 

Van Deusen, Laurence 

Van Slyck, Peter P 

Vosburgh, Myndert P 

Van Buren, Martin P 

Van Buren, Abraham P 

Van Buren, Gosea P 

Van Dyke, Mathew 

Van Valkenburgh, William 

Van Valkenburgh, Henry H 

Vosburgh, Samuel 

Van Alen, John 

Van Alen-, Abraham 

Vosburgh, Peter 

Van Dyck, John 

Van Deusen, James 

Van Slyck, Samuel 

Van Buren, Daniel & Dowe (Non Residents) . 

Van Alen, Laurence, I 

Vredenburgh, John 

Van Alstyne, Thomas 

Vosburghi Hannah. .' 

Van Alen, Peter 

Van Valkenburgh, Peter R 

Vosburgh, Joshua 

Vosburgh, William 

Van Hoesen, Abraham G 

Van Hoesen, George 

Van Hoesen, Mathew 

Van Hoesen, Abraham 

Vosburgh, Jehoiakim 

Van Alstyne, Martin 

Van Alstyne, Cornelius 

Vosburgh, John L 

Vosburgh, Abraham L 

Vosburgh, Bertholomew 

Van Hoesen, William 

Van Hoesen, Isaac 

Van Derpoel, Andrew 

Van Alen, Isaac 

Van Alen, Cornelius 



Value of 


Value of 




Real 


Persona' 


Total 


Estate 


Estate 




£ 


£ 


£ 


300 


400 


700 


2250 


600 


2850 


50 




50 


1700 


100 


1800 


600 




600 


800 


50 


850 


300 




300 


75 




75 


300 




300 


300 




300 


300 




300 


375 


150 


525 


900 


1200 


2100 


150 


100 


250 


75 




75 


75 




75 




50 


50 




50 


50 




20 


20 


1 100 




HOC 


1725 




1725 


1500 




1500 


100 




100 


500 




500 


800 


100 


900 


1200 


300 


1500 


150 




150 


75 




75 


1125 


200 


1325 


1050 




1050 


600 


400 


1000 


150 




150 


50 




50 




25 


25 


50 




50 


975 


100 


1075 


975 


200 


1175 


975 


100 


1075 


1050 


100 


1 150 


600 




600 


1500 




1500 


1425 


100 


1525 


900 


200 


1 100 


1200 




1200 


150 




150 


150 


50 


200 


75 


25 


100 


1050 


50 


1 100 


1300 




1300 


1300 




1300 



122 



Old RinderHooK 



Names of Possessors or Reputed Owners 



Van Alen, Lucas I 

Vredenburgh, Benjamin 

Van Buren, Anthony 

Vredenburgh, David 

Van Valkenburgh, Henry I 

Van Buren, Tobias D 

Van Alen, Henry 

Van Hagen, John I 

Van Derpoel, Barent 

Van Dyck, Laurence 

Van Dyck, Henry 

Van Alstyne, Philip 

Van Dyck, Stephen 

Vosburgh, Gilbert 

Van Kewren, Cornelius 

Van Alen, Tunis 

Vosburgh, John G 

Van Hagen, John 

Van Valkenburgh, Jehoikim 

Van Bramer (Widow) 

Van Dyck, John C 

Van Hoesen, Elizabeth 

Van Valkenburgh, William H 

Van Alen, Laurence L 

Van Alen, Rhoda 

Vredenburgh, John Jr 

Van Dyck, Peter C 

Van Dyck, Laurence C 

Van Valkenburgh, John 

Van Alen, Maria 

Van Alen, Laurence L., Jr 

Van Alen, David 

Vosburgh, Abraham 

Van Valkenburgh, Bartholomew J 

Van Alen, Lucus 

Van Alen, Jacobus 

Vosburgh, Peter J 

Vosburgh, Aaron 

Vosburgh, Garrit 

Van Alen, Adam 

Van-Buren, Maria (Widow of T. P. V Buren) 

Van Valkenburgh, John H 

Vosburgh, Peter L 

Van Schaack, Cornelius 

Van Bramer, Thomas 

Van Bramer, Jacob 

Van Alen, Dirck 

Vosburgh, Mathew 

Vosburgh, Jacob M 

Van Buren, Barent P 

Van Dyck, Isaac 



Value of 


Value of 




Real 


Personal 


Total 


Estate 


Estate 




£ 


£ 


£ 


1650 




1650 


450 


200 


650 




25 


25 




25 


25 


75 


25 


100 


1800 




1800 


500 




500 


150 


25 


175 


1800 




1800 


1500 




1500 




400 


400 


8000 


1 100 


9100 




50 


50 




20 


20 


1050 


600 


1650 




20 


20 


200 


50 


250 


1400 




1400 


750 




750 


265 




265 


20 




20 


200 




200 




50 


50 


2100 




2100 


300 




300 


400 


100 


500 


1 800 


300 


2100 


75 


40 


115 


200 


40 


240 


75 




75 


150 




150 


150 




150 




10 


10 1^ 


600 




600 


600 




600 


2000 


500 


2500 


2300 


2500 


4800 


900 




900 


225 


500 


725 


600 




600 


300 




300 


225 




225 


800 




800 


800 


300 


HOC 


50 




50 


75 




75 




10 


10 


500 




500 


100 




100 


1400 


100 


1500 


350 


100 


450 



Who W^as Who, 1664-1809 



123 



Names of Possessors or Reputed Owners 



Van Buren, Richard T 

Van Buren, Martin T 

Vosburgh, John E 

Van Hagen, Jehoiakim 

Vosburgh, Samuel J 

Vosburgh, Henry M 

Van Hoesen, John 

Van Ness, David Jr 

Van Ness, Abraham 

Van Ness, WiUiam P 

Van Ness, John P. (Non Resident) 

Van Ness, Jesse 

Van Looven, Isaac 

Van Buren, Laurence 

Van Buren, Ephraim T 

Van Alstyne, Adam 

Van Valkenburgh, Andrew 

Van Alen, Evert J 

Van Valkenburgh, Andrew A 

Van Valkenburgh, Nicholas A 

Van Valkenburgh, Lambert A 

Van Dyke, Arent 

Van Dyke, George 

Vosburgh, William 

Van Kuren, Cornelius, Jr 

Van Valkenburgh, Martin 

Van Alen, Lydia 

Van Schaack, Henry 

Van Slyck, Barent 

Van Derpoel, James J 

Van Hoesen, John J 

Van Bramer, Peter 

Van Buren, Ephraim 

Van Alen, Lucus P 

The Estate of Peter L. Van Alen Deceased 

Williams, Jeremiah 

Wendover, Stephen 

Waderwax, John 

Witbeck, Volkert 

Waterman, Darius 

Wyngort, James 

Witbeck, Andrew A 

Witbeck, Isaac 

Winn, William 

Welles, Noah 

Waderwax, Thomas 

Witbeck, Andrew 

Webber, Alpheus 

Watson, Cornelius 

Watson, Thomas 



Value of 


Value of 




Real 


Personal 


Total 


Estate 


Estate 




150 




150 


75 




75 


450 


75 


525 


150 


25 


175 


675 


50 


725 




50 


50 


1200 


150 


1350 


225 




225 


20 


20 


40 


6000 


2300 


8300 


1500 




1500 


500 


50 


550 


500 


50 


550 


100 




100 


75 




75 


1600 


100 


1700 


400 


100 


500 


200 




200 


250 


50 


300 


100, 




100 


50 




50 


150 




150 


50 


10 


60 


50 




50 


75 


25 


100 


75 




75 


200 


50 


250 


800 


2725 


3525 


250 


50 


300 


300 


50 


350 


200 




200 


50 




50 


50 




50 


75 




75 


800 




800 




20 


20 


2000 




2000 




20 


20 


2000 




2000 


100 




100 




20 


20 


1000 


100 


1 100 


1000 


100 


1 100 


500 


50 


550 




50 


50 


30 




30 


1225 


100 


1325 


150 


50 


200 


600 


100 


700 




50 


50 



124 



Old RinderHooK 



Names of Possessors or Reputed Owners 



Wildey, Joshua 

Wildey, Bishop 

Wildey, Gersham 

Witbeck, Albert 

Whiting, Charles 

Welch, John 

Whipple, Elisha 

Wynkoop, Silvester Peter 
Webster, Daniel 

Yeralomin, John 

Yeralomin, Peter 

Yale, James 

Yale, Noah 



Value of 

Real 

Estate 



75 

50 

100 

75 



75 
50 



600 
600 



Value of 

Personal 

Estate 



50 

100 
25 



50 

50 
20 

20 



Total 



75 

50 

150 

75 
100 

25 
75 
50 
50 

650 
20 

600 
20 



We the Assessors for the Town of Kinderhook do hereby 
Certify that the foregoing Hst of Names are duly assessed 
according to the best of our Judgment in Witness whereof 
we have hereunto Set our hands : 

Jno. L. V. Alen 
Cornelius Schermerhorn 
George Van Hoesen 
Cornelius Watson 



CHAPTER V 
WHAT WAS WHAT 

"Kinderhook Formation" — Quiet Times — Fort Good Hope — English Atroci- 
ties — Geertruy's Troubles — Hatfield Captives — Visit of the Labadists — 
The Comet — Jacob Leisler's Invitation — Captain Bull Comes to Town 
— Ensign Abraham Janse — Fast Day — Paulus Van Vleg — Reverend 
Benjamin Wadsworth's Visit — Scandalous Doings — Albany's Requisi- 
tions — Graham's Memorial — Peace Disturbed — First Census — Slavery — 
Return of a Fugitive — Indian Forays — King Hendrick and the Great 
Conference — Other Indian Forays — Women Hold the Fort — Abraham 
Lett's Visit — First Militia Companies — Their Equipment and Training. 

IN our search for information concerning What was What 
in the long ago, we were highly elated when we read in the 
card-catalogue of the Astor Library — Kinderhook Formation. 
We called for and examined the book until we met the state- 
ment — "the Kinderhook epoch ushered in a long period of 
quiet"; a remark which the envious will say is not inapt, 
but which led us to reject the book as an authority concern- 
ing What was What in our early history. We are not sur- 
prised, however, that our good name has been given to one 
of earth's strata, and also to a Pullman sleeper. Professor 
John C. Smock of Hudson kindly instructs us, that "the 
Kinderhook Formation " in the valley of the Mississippi was 
so named because of its similarity to the formation at 
Kinderhook in Illinois. 

Although ancestors of ex- President Roosevelt were living 
here, yet with no railroads, steamboats, newspapers, tele- 
graphs, telephones, sputtering motor-cycles, automobiles, 

125 



126 Old K-inderHooK 

aeroplanes, and most happily no brazen-voiced grapho- 
phones, the days and years were passed in tranquillity 
unknown to our strenuous times. And yet there be those 
who say — better one of our years "than a cycle of Cathay. " 

Francis Parkman, in his Montcalm and Wolfe accurately 
describes prevailing conditions here, except when disturbed 
by occasional Indian forays, when he says: "In the well- 
stocked dwellings of the Dutch farmers along the Hudson 
there reigned a tranquil and prosperous routine; and the 
Dutch border town of Albany had not its like in America for 
unruffled conservatism and quaint picturesqueness. " 

It was apparently with entire equanimity that in 1664 
the burghers of Kinderhook heard of the surrender of New 
Amsterdam, and twelve days later of Fort Orange to the 
British, and of the new names, New York and Albany. 
Happily no vandal hand touched our name. It was too 
beautiful to be changed. 

None were disturbed in person, property, or private 
occupation. All existing rights and privileges were con- 
firmed and protection promised. Religious toleration was 
proclaimed ^^ even unto Quakers and Anna-Baptists,''^ as the 
horrified Dutch Director-General wrote to the West India 
Company. Changes of names and officials and the transfer 
of public property were almost the sole evidences of changed 
sovereignty. 

The demand for the surrender of New Amsterdam, which 
could not be resisted by Governor Stuyvesant, was, accord- 
ing to the Dutch view, but the culmination of a long series of 
English encroachments. It is, however, only fair to state 
that in 1622 the English ambassador to their High Mighti- 
nesses entered a protest against the encroachments of the 
Dutch. With chastened spirit also we have read the title 
of a pamphlet — "Printed by Thomas Matthys in St. Paul's 
church-yard, at the sign of the Cock," which purports to be 
"a Faithful Account of a Bloody, Treacherous and Cruel 
Plot of the Dutch in America purporting the total Ruin and 



WKat Was What 127 

Murder of All English Colonists in New England. ... To 
succeed in this their Devilish project they supplied the Wig- 
wams with arms and ammunition which they received from 
Holland — that Fountain of Treacheries." Very meekly do 
we present our contention. 

By right of discovery the Dutch claimed not only New 
Netherland in its commonly restricted sense, but also Long 
Island, both sides of Fresh (Connecticut) River, and the 
whole coast line from Cape Cod to the Delaware. 

As regards the valley of the Connecticut it is of record 
that in 1633 the land "called Connittekock " (long before 
the English came there) was purchased from the Pequatoos, 
with the consent of the Sequeen whom the Pequatoos had 
recently conquered. Soon thereafter, and near the present 
city of Hartford, a Block House was built by the Dutch and 
called Fort Good Hope. Under its protection, which seems 
to have been slight, tillage of the soil was begun. But the 
few settlers had short-lived peace. "The encroaching Eng- 
lish," says the Remonstrance of Vander Donck and ten 
others (1649) to the West India Company, "readily admit 
that the country is justly ours, but their pretence (is) the 
richness of the land and that it lies waste; also that the 
Company will do nothing but protest." The farmers were 
beaten with sticks and stones; their farming implements 
were broken and thrown into the river; their horses and 
cattle were empounded and all manner of indignities heaped 
upon the people. We had not fully appreciated the enormity 
of these offenses until we read in Graham's History the 
itemized record, a few selections from which will suffice: 

April 25, 1640, "Those of Hartford . . . struck Evert Deuk- 
ings a hole in his head with a stick, so that the blood ran very 
strongly down his body." June 24, 1641, "Some of Hartford 
have taken a hog out of the common and shut it up out of mere 
hate or other prejudices, causing it to starve for hunger in the 
Stye." May 20, 1642, "The English of Hartford have violently 



128 Old RinderHooK 

cut loose a horse of the honored Company that stood bound upon 
the common." 

The worst, however, remains to be told ; for we read that 
"the Arms of their High Mightinesses affixed to a tree by a 
hook," in token of Dutch sovereignty, was torn down and the 
face of a fool substituted. But, crowning outrage of all and 
grossest lese majeste, the protests of Director-General Kieft, 
in Latin and divers other languages, were treated with 
contempt: a contempt, however, of which many think his 
administration, if not his personal character, was eminently 
worthy. And yet it was this Kieft who in 1645 appointed a 
day of public thanksgiving for restored peace with the 
Indians and ordered, as we have sometimes wished our 
authorities would, that text and sermon should be appropri- 
ate to a day of thanksgiving. 

From the Remonstrance of Vander Donck we learn also 
that eight or nine years before, the English had "made 
repeated efforts to purchase from the Indians a large tract of 
land on the east side (of the HudvSon) . . . not more than 
three or four leagues from the Colonic of Rensselaerswyck. " 
How deplorable the consequences to Kinderhook had they 
effected the purchase, and how great our debt to our faithful 
Mahicans words cannot express. Even as late as 1756 
Governor Hardy reported to the Lords of Trade the preva- 
lence of the appalling rumor that Massachusetts people were 
presuming to lay out a township within the Kinderhook 
Patent, which rumor he would at once investigate. From 
the late Tunis Harder we received years ago the tradition 
that there was no smut in the wheat here until after the 
Yankees came. He did not know that our father was the 
first superintendent of the first Simday school organized in 
Plymouth, and that our ancestral graves are on the summit 
of Burial Hill there. 

The contention at Fresh River was likened by an English 
writer of the time to that of two dogs snarling over a bone. 



What Was What 



129 



Doubtless the Dutch were content that an EngHshman 
should liken his own people to a snarling dog, and they had 
a word — "Janker" (snarler, yelper, howler), which exactly 
fitted the case. We respectfully commend to philologists 
this possible derivation of the word Yankee; a suggestion 
for which we are indebted to Mr. William Wait. 

The culmination of all these encroachments in the 
capitulation of New Amsterdam has been noted. In the war 
with England in 1673 the Dutch retook the city, changing 
its name to New Orange and that of Albany to Willemstadt. 
Many hailed the restoration of Dutch sovereignty with un- 
bounded joy: but in less than a year the treaty of West- 
minster restored the whole Province to English rule which 
continued a century. In the main that rule was for many 
years wise and beneficent. While no important rights were 
invaded, the sometimes oppressive monopoly of trading 
companies and the intolerable feudalism of the Patroon 
experiment were restrained. 

We regret to note that life here was not altogether 
tranquil; for, as the Fort Orange Court records amply 
reveal, there were occasional disturbances of the general 
placidity. In addition to the petty lawsuits hitherto noted, 
our litigious Geertruy was plaintiff or defendant in many 
others. She had been left a widow with four or five young 
children. Her second marriage, ten years later, was un- 
happy and was followed after a year or two by separation, 
she resuming the name of her first husband, Abraham 
Pieterse Vosburgh. She was compelled to fight her own way 
and care for her fatherless children. Evidently she could 
and did. As early probably as 1676 she came here to live; 
for in that year as already noted she sued Jan Tyssen Goes 
for trespass on her land on the "Half Moon at Kinderhook. " 
Later in the Court records, which fairly bristle with her 
name, we find the following cases. As Roy den W. Vos- 
burgh, one of the thousands of her descendants, some of them 
notable, remarks — they are trivial but "still throw an 



130 Old KinderKooK 

interesting light on everyday occurrences in the lives of the 
early settlers of Kinderhook. " 

July 5, 1681. Pr. Borsie, from Kinderhook, plaintiff, vs. 
Geertruy Vosburgh, defendant. Plaintiff says that defendant 
has accused his wife of theft of her chickens and that she has 
proofs of it (the accusation). Defendant says that some of her 
chickens remain with the plaintiff (that is to say, Geertruy's 
chickens are in the plaintiff's yard) but she denies having accused 
her of theft. The Hon. Court, having heard the case, threw it out 
of court, as being too unimportant to be dealt with, and condemns 
both parties to pay the costs. 

September 5, 1682. Andries Jacobse Gardenier, plaintiff, vs. 
Geertruy Vosburgh, defendant. Plaintiff complains that one of 
his pigs has been bitten to death, on the land of Geertruy Vos- 
burgh and that her land lies open (unfenced). Plaintiff asks for 
damages. Defendant denies that she has caused his pig to be 
bitten to death and says that her land is not open. The Court 
orders that the plaintiff's demand be dismissed, as there is no 
proof. Plaintiff to pay the costs. 

Both these cases [Mr. Vosburgh adds] show that Geertruy 
was a woman of sharp wits and well able to look out for herself, 
when appearing in Court. She had evidently profited by her 
long experience in other cases, and had learned most of the legal 
tricks. 

There was surely also no little excitement on the last 
Monday of May, 1678, when a very noteworthy company 
passed through Kinderhook. On the 19th of the preceding 
September, fifty Canadian Indians suddenly attacked the 
little hamlet of Hatfield, Mass. Nearly all the men were in 
the cornfields and too far away to render timely help to their 
defenseless wives and children. Three houses and four well- 
filled bams were burned. Fourteen homes were invaded 
and from one to four inmates of each killed or made captive. 
There were seventeen of the latter, mostly women and young 
children, who were carried away to the vicinity of Quebec. 
Benjamin Waite and Stephen Jennings, husbands of two of 



What \Vas What 131 

the women, overcoming great difficulties and braving many- 
perils, reached Quebec in January, found the captives, and 
ransomed the living for two hundred pounds. Three had 
been tortured and killed, but two little ones had come who 
were named Canada Waite and Captivity Jennings. It was 
not until April 19th that the homeward journey could be 
begun. With untold hardship and suffering they reached 
Albany the 22d of May. From there Mr. Waite wrote to 
Hatfield asking assistance, and this is in part his letter: 

... I pray you hasten the matter for it requireth haste. 
Stay not for the Sabbath; no shoeing of horses. We shall en- 
deavor to meet you at Canterhook (Kinderhook). We must 
come very softly because of our wives and children. I pray you 
hasten them; stay not night or day, for the matter requireth 
haste. 

They rested in Albany from Wednesday tmtil Monday 
and then walked from there to Kinderhook where horses 
from Hatfield met them. Their progress thenceforth was 
everywhere triumphal. The women of Kinderhook gave 
them tearful welcome, tender and bountiful hospitaHty, and 
a heart-felt God-speed. 

In 1680 the devoted Labadists, Jasper Bankers and 
Peter Sluyter, of Friesland, made their memorable visit to 
Kinderhook. The narrative may be found in full in the 
Memoirs of the Long Island Historical Society, vol. i. Cap- 
tain Franklin Ellis (later Major and now deceased) gave a 
portion of it in his History of Columbia County, and added 
the comment of the Rev. J. Edson Rockwell — that "no 
one familiar with the scenery arotmd Stuyvesant Falls can 
fail to recognize the description.'' Possibly so; but those falls 
seem much too far inland and too far south to meet the 
conditions of the narrative. We are disposed to think rather 
of the mill-stream of Claver, four miles north, as the locality, 
where in later years Leonard Conyne had a sloop-landing 
near the mouth of the stream. Inasmuch as the voyagers 



132 



Old H-inderKooK 



write of Kinderhook as ''about sixteen miles below Albany," 
we think Conyne's was their landing-place and Claver's the 
mill-stream. 

Long after coming to this conclusion from independent 
study of the narrative, we were pleased to find this confirma- 
tory statement in Historical Fragments by "Jed" (Mr. C. S. 
Hollenbeck) published in the Albany Argus several years 
since: — "Claverwas nicknamed 'de kint van weelde' (the 
child of luxury)." 

That the explorers speak of the falls as "sixty feet" high 
need not perplex us. Such estimates by unscientific en- 
thusiastic travelers are often wide of the mark. These same 
writers speak of the Cohoes Falls as about lOO feet high, 
whereas their actual perpendicular fall is forty feet. The 
character of the Labadist visitors warrants confidence in the 
general accuracy of their narrative. We transcribe from 
their journal: 

We came to anchor at Kinderhook, in order to take in some 
grain which the female trader before mentioned had there to be 
carried down the river. 

May I St, Wednesday. We began early to load, but as it had 
to come from some distance in the country and we had to wait, 
we stepped ashore to amuse ourselves. We came to a creek where 
near the river lives the man whom they usually call The Child 
of Luxury, because he had formerly been such an one, but who 
now was not far from being the Child of Poverty, for he was 
situated poorly enough. He had a saw-mill on the creek, on a 
water fall, which is a singular one, for it is true that all falls have 
something special, and so had this one, which was not less rare 
and pleasant than others. The water fell quite steep in one body, 
but it came down in steps, with a broad rest sometimes between 
them. These steps were sixty feet or more high, and were 
formed out of a single rock, which is unusual. I reached this 
spot alone through the woods, and while I was sitting on the mill 
my comrade came up with the Child of Luxury, who, after he had 
shown us the mill and falls, took us down a little to the right of 



WKat Was "What 133 

the mill, under a rock on the margin of the creek, where we could 
behold how wonderful God is even in the most hidden parts of 
the earth; for we saw crystal lying in layers between the rocks, 
and when we rolled away a piece of the rock, there was, at least, 
on two sides of it, a crust or bark, about as thick as the breadth of 
a straw, of a sparkling glassy substance, which looked like 
alabaster, and this crust was full of points or gems, which were 
truly gems of crystal, or like substance. They sparkled brightly, 
and were as clear as water, and so close together that you could 
obtain hundreds of them from one piece of the crust. We broke 
off some pieces and brought them away as curiosities. It is 
justly to be supposed that other precious stones rest in the 
crevices of the rocks and mines as these do." 

And now, alas! 

On returning to the boat, we saw that the woman-trader had 
sent a quantity of bluish wheat on board, which the skipper 
would not receive, or rather mix with the other wheat ; but when 
she came she had it done [italics ours], in which her dishonesty 
appeared ; for when we arrived at New York he could not deliver 
the wheat which was under hers. 

Who this woman-trader was who thus cowed the skipper, 
because he was a mere man, we cannot affirm. It may have 
been our litigious friend Geertruy. It looks like her. Who- 
ever it was, she ought not to have " had it done,'' for the law 
of 1669 was " that noe Wheat or other graine be transported or 
mingled with other without the Come he very well cleansed ^ 
But to this day Kinderhook women generally have things 
done ; better things and in better ways. 

The prevaiHng tranquillity of Kinderhook was broken 
also, we may be sure, by that notable disturber of the peace, 
the great comet of 1680. While we have no account of the 
views and feelings of our people anent the awe-inspiring 
stranger in their heavens, we may assume they were the 
same as those of the authorities and people of Albany. 
Concerning the latter we have definite information in the 



134 Old RinderHooK 

following letter of the " Comissaries " of Albany to Captain 
Brockholles, then in New York. 

1st Jany, 1681. 

Hon"^ Sir . . . wee doubt not but you have seen ye Dreadfull 
Comett Starr wh appeared in y^ southwest, on ye 9th of Decem- 
ber Last, about 2 a clock in y^ afternoon, fair sunnshyne wether, 
a litle above y^ Sonn, wch takes its course more Northerly, and 
was seen the Sunday night after, about twy-Light with a very 
fyry Tail or Streemer in y^ West To ye great astoneshment of all 
Spectators, & it is now seen every Night w* Clear weather, 
undoubtedly God Threatens us wh Dreadfull Punishments if wee 
doe not Repent, wee should have caused y^ Domine Proclaim a 
Day of fasting and humiliation tomorrow to be kept on Weddens- 
day y^ 12 Jan in y^ Town of Albany & Dependencies — if wee 
thought our Power & autority did extend so farr, and would 
have been well Resented by Yourself, for all persons ought to 
humble Themselves in such a Time, and Pray to God to Withold 
his Righteous Jugements from us, as he did to Nineve Therefore 
if you would be pleased to graunt your approbation wee would 
willingly cause a day of fasting & humiliation to be kept, if it 
were monthly; whose answer wee shall Expect with y® Bearer. 
. . . The Indian Wattawitt must have a Blankett & shirt att 
York. [This V/attawitt, now a mail-carrier, was our quondam 
owner of much of our territory.] 

To this it was replied : 

New Yorke, Jany 13th 1680. 

Gentlemen, Yor's of the first Instant by the Indian post 
recevd . . . wee haue seen the Comett not att the time you 
mention only in the Evening The Streame being very large but 
know not its predicts or Events, and as they Certainly threatens 
Gods Vengence and Judgments and are premonitors to us Soe I 
Doubt not of yor and each of yor performance of yr Duty by 
prayer &c, as becomes good Christians Especially at this time, 

Yor affectionate ffriend 

A. Brockholles. 



What Was What 135 

In 1690 the news of the massacre at Schenectady, sent 
by special messenger from Albany to Kinderhook and 
Claverack, occasioned no little alarm; and the report (un- 
founded it turned out to be) in 1699 that a thousand French 
and Indians were approaching caused a general flight of the 
people to the protection of the Albany forts and forces. 

Undoubtedly also there was a great stir in 1689 when the 
people were summoned to Albany by Jacob Milborne, the 
son-in-law of Jacob Leisler, the Governor de facto if not de 
jure. Leisler's Rebellion, as it has been called, was a Colonial 
sequel of the English revolution which deposed James II. 
and gave his crown to his daughter Mary, whose husband 
was William of Orange. The intense excitement caused 
thereby in New York, the division of the people into two 
bitterly hostile parties, the appearance of Leisler as the cham- 
pion of the people and virtually their accepted ruler, the 
flight of the "aristocrats," as they w^ere termed, to Albany, 
their organization and claim to be the only legitimate govern- 
ment until the will of the new sovereign should be made 
known, the dispatch of Milborne to overthrow this rival gov- 
ernment, and the sad and even shameful sequel require no 
fuller notice from us. It was, doubtless, when Milborne was 
nearing Albany that he issued his summons to "the inhabi- 
tants of Kinderhook and adjacent places that they do forth- 
with repair themselves to the Citty of Albany to receive 
their rights Privileges and Liberties in such a manner as if 
James ye second had never bene. " Inasmuch as Milborne 
failed in his mission, it seems probable that the perturbed 
people of Kinderhook lived and died without knowing pre- 
cisely what the proffered rights, privileges, and liberties were. 
And yet they doubtless knew that James II., on his ascension 
to the throne in 1683, had refused to confirm the rights and 
privileges which he had granted as the Duke of York and 
Albany; had forbidden the establishment of any printing- 
press in the Colony, and had filled the important official 
positions with intense partisans of his own religious belief. 



136 Old RinderHooK 

However that may have been, that Milborne's summons 
occasioned no Httle excitement appears in the report of Mr. 
Van Rensselaer and Captain Teunisse. They had been sent 
to Hartford by the Albany authorities with a message of 
thanks for proffered aid against the French and Indians. 
Passing on their return through Kinderhook they reported 
that they "found y^ People Very much Inclined to mutiny 
who were Preparing themselfs to come hither ... So y* 
we had much adoe to stop them however some Came. " 

Subsequently a force was sent from Hartford and was 
met here by an escort from Albany. Remembering well how 
a usually staid and most attentive congregation was thrown 
into a flutter a few years since by the passing during service 
of a troop of U. S. Cavalry, we may be assured that Captain 
Bull and his eighty-seven soldiers from Connecticut made 
no small stir, among the small boys at least. And it was the 
same when, in December, 1696, Governor Fletcher passed 
with his troopers on the way to Albany. 

After the impressive scene in Albany when Captain Bull 
"Drew up his men in y® midle of ye Broad Street gave three 
volleys & was answered by 3 guns from ye fort, " one of our 
young but valorous ensigns was honored with a commission 
and credentials which we reproduce : 

Whereas Ensign abraham Janse (Van Alstyne) is ordered to 
convey three men with thirty horses to woodberry who came 
here with ye Souldiers sent hither for there Majes Service. These 
are in there Majes name King Wm and Queen Mary to will 
and Require all there Majes Subjects of this County of albany 
and to Desyre all there Majes Subjects in ye neighboring Count- 
ies and Collony to be aideing and assisting to ye sd Ensign and 
three men in ye Prosecution of there journey and to furnish them 
with such necessaries as they and there horses shall have occasion 
upon sd Journey being for there Majes Service given att ye Citty 
hall of albany ye 26th day of november in ye first year of there 
Majes Reign Ad. 1689. 

Pr. Schuyler, Justice of ye Peace. 



What Was What 137 

The next day the justice, who was also mayor, affixed his 
name to the following proclamation of a Day of Fasting and 
Prayer. 

By the Mayor aldermen and Commonality and Military 
officers of ye Citty of Albany and Justices of ye Peace and 
Military officers of ye sd County. 

Wee haveing taken into Consideration ye Lamentable Con- 
dition of this Citty and County, occasioned by a dreadfull warr 
threatened from without, of which our neighbors and all yes have 
already felt ye smart, as also ye manifold Divisions and factions 
which are amongst ye Inhabitants within, which are fatal Tokens 
for Land & Church, It is therefore thought Convenient to keep a 
Day Extraordinary for fasting & prayer upon Weddensday ye 
4th of Decembr 1689 to Pray to almighty God (whose wrath 
and anger for our manifold Sinns and transgressions is Righte- 
ously kindled against us) for Pardon and Remission of our Sinns 
and to free us from ye blody sworde of our Enemies without and 
especially from ye Inhuman Barbarity of ye heathen, and on ye 
oyr syde to bynde ye hearts and mindes of ye People within with 
Love and unity to ye Praise of mighty God and ye welfare of ye 
Church and Country, Prohibiting therefore upon sd day all 
manner of servile worke all Rideing Playing or oyr sorts of Re- 
creation which may hinder or obstruct ye worship of God that 
day Chargeing and Commanding Expressly all ye Inhabitants 
of this Citty and County to keep ye sd fast day most Solemnly, 
Thus given at ye Citty hall of albany at a meeting of ye Conven- 
tion ye 27th day of november 1689 in ye first year of there 
Majes Reign. God Save King William and Queen Mary. 

In 1645 the Assembly of the West India Company passed 
a resolution of instruction for their representatives at Albany 
that "the smaller places shall be served by precentors, com- 
forters of the sick, and schoolmasters who shall offer up 
public prayers, read aloud from the Old and New Testament? 
and from printed sermons, and tune the Psalms." 

Kinderhook, as we elsewhere note, had some one to 
"tune the psalms" and render other important if less me- 



138 Old RinderHooh 

lodious religious service long before the end of the seven- 
teenth century. So far as we have been able to ascertain the 
third precentor here was Paulus Van Vleg (Vleck). 

In November, 1702, Colonel Schuyler of Albany received 
the following impressive document from His Excellency 
Lord Cornbury and his Council. 

His Excellency in Councill being informed that one Paulus 
van Vleck hath lately wandered about the country preaching 
notwithstanding he hath been formerly forbid by his Excellency 
to do the same and is lately called by some of the Inhabitants 
of Kinderhook to be their Clark without any license from his 
Excellency for so doing It is hereby ordered that the high sheriff 
of the county of Albany do take care to send the s*^ Van Vleck 
down by the first opportunity to answer before this board. 

Hearing of this, four officials of the church (Nov. 30): 

Declare that Paulus Van Vleg during the whole time that he 
hath resided here and since he was accepted as Precentor and 
schoolmaster of our Church hath truly comported himself to the 
Great content of our congregation, and that, in all the time that 
he was forbid to preach he hath never preached in house or barn 
or in any place in Kinderhook, but that he performed the office 
of Precentor as one Hendrick Abelsen, before his death, hath 
done at Kinderhook; We have received said Paulus van Vleg 
because one Joghem Lamersen (who was our Precentor here) 
hath resigned the precentorship and frequently complained that 
he could not perform its Duties any longer. We further declare 
that the above named Paulus Van Vleg never took away the key 
of our church, but that we brought it to him in his house. 
Yohannes van Alen Coenraet Borghghrdt Abram van Alstyne 
Lammert van Yansen (Van Valkenburgh) . 

But the wrath of Cornbury and his Council was not thus 
easily to be appeased, for we find this letter of the Albany 
sheriff to Secretary Cozens, dated January, 1702/3: 

Sr Yours of the loth December came safe to my hands with 
an inclosed Order of Councell for the speedy summonsing of 



What Was What 1 39 

Johannis Van Alen Coenradt Borghghrdt, Abrahm van Alstyn 
and Herman van Jansen, the three former I have discharged my 
Duty by sending them to my Lord & Councell, as dyrected, but 
the latter Herman van Jansen, is not to be found within my 
Liberty, no man Knowing such a person in this County, . . . 
Sr Your Humb Ser*^ 

Jacob Fiesch Saerf. 

It was joy to Lammert that the warrant was for Herman. 
The others did not at once obey the summons to New York 
in the dead of winter, and one of them sought to avoid it 
altogether by this pathetic appeal, dated January 28, 1702/3: 

The humble petition of Conraet Burgert, humbly sheweth 
That whereas your Lordship's Petitioner is summoned by the 
Sheriff of the Citty and County of Albany by a sumons from 
Your Lordship and Councill to apear before your Excelly & 
Councell In New Yorke And whereas I demanded a Copy of the 
Sumonce from the Sheriff & would give him all Due Satisfaction 
therefore which he Denyed to give me, soe that as yett I know 
not what is aleadged against me; therefore Your Excelly & 
Councills petitioner humblys Begs Your Excelly Favour to 
Refer the Case till the Spring of the year by Reason of the Could 
Winter and Ilconveniencys to my great Damage of my family or 
if Your Excell: Would be Pleased to Referr the Case to be De- 
cided by any Justice or Justices of the Peace, In Our County 
whom your Lordship shall Please to apoint which favour the 
Knowledge of yr Excellencys honour and Justice gives me no 
Reason to Doubt of and your Petitioner as in Duty bound shall 
always Pray. 

CoENRAET Borghghrdt. 

But neither the softening of the belligerent Borghghrdt 
into beguiling Burgert in the first sentence, nor the delicate 
flattery of the last availed. Hearts were obdurate. The 
letter was "Read in Councill and Rejected. " Indeed, before 
it was written fresh instructions, with the error corrected, 
had been issued to the sheriff who, March 2d, thus replied: 



140 Old K-inderKooK 

Sr Yors of y^ 26th Jany came safe to my hands and was 
Surprised to find that the three men I summoned by order of 
Councell have not made their appearance; for they gave me 
faithful assurance of their faithfull performance I have according 
to order sumond Lammert van Jansen and allso spook to the 
other three, so that all four designe to be at the Councell before 
next week expires. . . . 

And now the sequel : 

In Council nth March 1702/3: John Van Alen Coenraedt 
Borghghrdt Abraham van Alstyne and Lammert Jansen appeared 
before this Board this day in obedience to an order of Councill, 
and they acknowledging their error & submitting themselves 
thereon were discharged with a caution to be more carefull for 
the future. 

They were. The descendants of three of them at least 
were not tories seventy-five years later. 

After this episode we lose sight of Paulus for a few years, 
but in 1709 meet him in New York applying for appointment 
as chaplain for a Dutch regiment about to march to Canada. 
The Governor and Council order Dominies Du Bois and 
Antonides to ordain him, but they conscientiously refuse. 
Paulus, however, obtains quasi ordination from Freeman, 
himself an irregularly ordained Westphalian tailor, and 
marches away in fine feather. His service, however, is short, 
for in 1 710 we find him in Bucks County, Pa., where he 
organizes several churches and others in New Jersey. About 
a year later he marries a daughter of an elder of the Sham- 
meny church, but about a year thereafter rumor reports a 
wife living in Holland. The rumor is at last proven true, 
and in 1 71 5 it is reported that "he has run out of the coun- 
try. " At all events we see him no more. It appears that had 
the laws of the Duke of York already reverted to been in 
force, it would have been proper that Van Vleg should " bee 
boared through the tongue with a read hot iron,''^ so that he 
could no longer ** tune the psalms.'* 



What W^as What 141 

Let us hope that his heart at least learned to pitch the 
51st Psalm in its true key, that of "a broken and contrite 
spirit." 

A family Bible in the Van Alstyne family contains a 
record worthy of reproduction. It is an extract from the 
journal of the Rev. Benjamin Wadsworth of his journey 
from Boston to Albany to treat with the Five Nations. 

Ye next morning [Aug. 11, 1694] we set forward about sun- 
rise and came ye foremost to Kinderhook about three ye clock. 
Ye rest which were hindered by reason of ye Col. Allen's being 
not well came about 2 or 3 hours later. Here we took up our 
quarters at ye house of ye John Tysen, where we kept ye Sabbath, 
and ye having no minister we had ye libertie of using ye meeting 
house. 

The John Tyssen house was near if not identical with that 
still standing with its gable toward the creek, near the former 
Albany Southern Station in Valatie. Mr. Wadsworth adds: 

In this place there is very rich land. A curious river runs 
through the town on ye banks of which ye is some interval land. 
Ye are not many inhabitants I think ye say but twenty families 
or thereabouts at most. Ye houses are in three parcels in ye 
town and ye are two forts one whereof I saw. 

The present homes of Mrs. Schnapper, and of Mr. John 
Nink, and the old Wynkoop house were at one time forts or 
fortified dwellings. 

An extract from the Court Minutes of 1689 reads in part: 

Resolved that Capt. Gerrit Teunisse and ye Commission 
officers of his company doe order a fort to be made att ye Groot 
Stuk [Kinderhook village], and one at Pompoenik where it 
shall be thought most convenient since ye fort about the barn of 
Lawrence Van Ale [near the present Van Alen homestead beyond 
the bridges] is judged Dangerous ... all which is for ye people's 
most security & what ye sd Capt and officers shall doe herein ye 
inhabitants there are to submit too upon your Perills. 



142 Old RinderHooK 

It was in the first church edifice, or its successor, that a 
notable scandal received merited rebuke. An Albany pastor 
it undoubtedly was who one Sunday beheld with amazement 
three strange fashionably dressed women enter the little 
church. Whence they came we know not, but minister and 
people were scandalized beyond expression. The women had 
low-necked dresses, profusely powdered hair, and fashionable 
patches of black court-plaster on their cheeks. They thought 
no doubt to overwhelm the common country-folk with their 
grandeur; but their triumph over their modest, awe-stricken 
sisters did not last long. Such folly and sin were not to pass 
imrebuked, and the Dominie was equal to the occasion. 
And this, according to tradition handed down from genera- 
tion to generation, was the way he did it. Looking straight 
at them he said: "There are three things that are an 
abomination in the sight of the Lord: — nakedness without 
poverty, grey hairs without age and scars without wounds. " 
The women left with feathers drooping. 

With mortification, however, have we read that in 1667 
Jochim Lambertsen (Van Valkenburgh) was appointed an 
under-sheriff "to prevent the profanation of the Sabbath 
by the hard driving of Kinderhook people." It is with 
regret also that we give the following sad record : 

Att a Mayor's Court, Feb. 6, 1693-4.? 

Johannes Appell sheriffe esqr: vs. David Ketelyn, Daniel 
Bratt defts. The Sheriffe demands of ye defendants ye somme of 
tenn pounds of a fine for selling drink to ye Indians at Kinder- 
hook on a sabbath day, about a month agoe. Pr. Martense 
constable, being sworn says yt a month agoe on a sabbath day, 
he was sent by ye justices of ye peace and found ye 2 defts in an 
Indian house at Kinderhook selling drink to ye Indians and yt ye 
Indians were drunk-found a kegg of rom by ye skinns, and ye 
defts took away the skinns and the kegg. 

The defts deny the fact and putts them upon the country. 
The case deffered till next court day for ye evidences. 



What 'Was What 143 

Other items from the same Annals (Mimsell's) reveal the 
requisitions of the Albany authorities upon the service and 
means of our people. In 1693 Kinderhook was required to 
furnish 85 "stockadoes" toward the completion of a fort at 
Albany, and also fire-wood and candles. In 1694, of an 
assessment of forty-six pounds for the removal of three 
houses in Albany, Kinderhook was to pay sixteen pounds 
and fifteen shillings; and for the Block houses south of the 
city, to furnish two hundred loads of "good oak, ippere, bill, 
stell or dry pine and ashy." In the three succeeding years 
there were demands for "good fyre wood, none excepted but 
best linde and y^ sparegrene wood, amounting to 390 loads; 
and money demands of twenty pounds for y^ ajancy" 
(Indian?), fifteen shillings toward a gift to James Parker, the 
Public Printer, and forty-one pounds "for y^ Cittys ar- 
rearages. " 

Why Kinderhook should be assessed for the removal of 
Albany houses was a mystery until we later and elsewhere 
found the record that the houses were within the range of 
certain guns newly placed for the defense of the city, and 
that they obstructed the view of an approaching foe. For 
those reasons the removal was decreed and the cost made a 
county charge. Doubtless Kinderhook paid its assessment, 
for Governor Fletcher had impressively warned the people 
that the French Governor of Canada was "spilling forth his 
brags that he would be Master of Albany that winter," and 
that would have been bad for Children's Corner. 

We have a glimpse of the condition of affairs in the 
closing years of the century in the Memorial of James 
Graham to the Earl of Bellomont, the Governor, concerning 
the negligence of former Governor Fletcher. The Memorial 
is without date, it was evidently subsequent to 1697. It 
reads in part as follows: 

And notwithstanding y^ yearely damages did befall y® 
inhabitants in y^ said frontieers, yett y^ said Coll. Fletcher was 



144 Old K-inderHooK 

so negligent that he never sent out any scout, or left orders for ye 
doeing thereof, that at last y^ Assembly, w'^'^ did not profess to 
be soldiers did raise mony & appointed Com" to send out scouts 
to watch y® motion of y® enemy, by w'^'^ meanes the enemy w'^'^ 
was designed to cut off Kinderhook were discovered and all cut 
off, and this was in y^ yeare 1696. In y^ yeare 1697 the Assembly 
tooke the like care by w'^'^ there was no mischiefe done by y^ 
enemy as formerly altho y® garrison was weaker than ever, but 
Coll. Fletcher not having raised one man altho large sums raised 
by the Assembly for that purpose (were) perverted by him. 

Mr. Graham was the Attorney-General at the time. He 
was subsequently a member of the Assembly and its Speaker. 

The assessed valuation of Kinderhook in 1701 was 889 
pounds on which a tax was laid of three stivers wampum 
(six cents) on the pound, for repairs of the Albany court 
house and jail. 

The Minutes of the Council in New York in 1703 record 
a petition from several inhabitants of Kinderhook which 
reveals the fact that the peace of the village had been 
greatly disturbed by recent elections of local officials. The 
substance of the petition is this : 

We the inhabitants of the Village of Kinderhook . . . pur- 
suant of our antient Custom and usage to Chuse our Commis- 
sioners as alsoe overseers of highways viewers of ffences and 
Constables have this year . . . made Choice by order of the 
Justices And by the majority of voices Lawrence Van Ale Dirck 
Vander Carr and Peter Van Slyck were Chosen Commissioners 
with which Choice the whole village was then Content. But 
after that to witt upon the eighth day of June last Some of our 
village opposing the same Contrary to our said antient Custom 
and usage made Choice of new Commissioners against which we 
doe protest and desire to maintain the first Choice . . . and 
humbly pray that his excellency the Governor and his Council 
would be pleased to protect us in the same. (Signed by) Luke 
Van Ale, Evert Van Ale, Cornelius Van Schaack, Steph. Van Ale, 
Lambert Huyck, Elias Van Schaack, Lawrence Van Schaack, 
Peter Van Ale, Evert Wieler, Samuel S. Gardner, Andrew Huygh, 



"What AVas WKat 145 

Johannes An dries Huygh, Andries Gardner, Johannes Van Ale, 
Manuel Van Schaack, Adam Dinghman, Jacob Gardner. 

Following this was a second petition from the same 
parties giving the more definite information that "a perticu- 
lar body'' without warning and against protest ^*did by a 
Newstarted Invention of their own'' choose Peter Phosberg, 
Lambert Janse Van Alstead, and Peter Van Slyck to be 
Trustees. We regret that we are left in the dark as to the 
issue. The usual course was to refer such petitions to the 
Assembly. 

The first known census of Kinderhook was in 17 14. It 
revealed a population of 293, of whom thirty-two were 
slaves. In 1769 it was reported to Sir William Johnson that 
in this District, and that to the east as far as the woods, there 
were at least a thousand men able to bear arms. 

According to the census of 1790 the total population was 
4461, including 638 slaves. Claverack had 340 slaves and 
Hudson 193. Slaves were held here at a very early period 
and in increasing numbers, and thus continued to be until 
slavery ceased, July 4, 1827. 

The U. S. Census of 1790 (the first) we deem of sufficient 
interest to be given in full. It reveals 730 resident families, 
their size, and to a degree their relative wealth (or poverty) 
in slaves. {See Appendix.) Not a family had the "regiment 
of slaves " of which traditions of ancestral grandeur and some 
writers tell us. 

There were exceptions doubtess as regards the character 
and conduct of both masters and slaves, here as well as in the 
South, but as a rule the slaves received kind treatment and 
were loyally and lovingly devoted to the families of their 
masters. There are those yet living who remember the 
stories their grandparents were wont to tell of the frequent 
gathering of the slaves of a neighborhood in the kitchen of 
the old homestead for an evening of merrymaking, and how 
not only the children but master and mistress, and visitors 



146 Old HinderKooK 

as well, would be amused spectators of their mirth and 
charmed listeners to their music. 

Mrs. Grant, in her fascinating Memoirs of an American 
Lady (London, 1808), certain descriptive parts of which 
Southey characterized as "Homeric," in writing of slavery 
as she beheld it in Albany accurately pictured it as it existed 
in many households in Kinderhook. She wrote : 

In the society I am describing, even the dark aspect of slavery 
was softened into a smile. . . . Let me not be detested as an 
advocate for slavery, when I say, that I have never seen people 
so happy in servitude as the domestics of the Albanians. . . . 
They would remind one of Abraham's servants, who were all 
born in the house, which was exactly their case. They were 
baptized too, and shared the same religious instruction with the 
children of the family ; and for the first years, there was little or 
no difference with regard to food or clothing, between their 
children and those of their masters. ... I have no where met 
with instances of friendship more tender and generous, than that 
which here subsisted between the slaves and their masters and 
mistresses. Extraordinary proofs have often been given in the 
course of hunting or Indian trading, when a young man and his 
slave have gone to the trackless woods together. The slave has 
been known, at the imminent risk of his life, to carry his disabled 
master through trackless woods with labor and fidelity scarce 
credible; and the master has been equally tender on similar 
occasions of the humble friend who stuck closer than a brother; 
who was baptized with the same baptism, nurtured under the 
same roof and often rocked in the same cradle with himself. 
Affectionate and faithful as these home-bred servants were in 
general, there were some instances (but very few) of those who 
. . . betrayed their trust, or habitually neglected their duty. 
In these cases, after every means had been used to reform them, 
no severe punishment was inflicted at home. But the terrible 
sentence, which they dreaded worse than death, was passed — 
they were sold to Jamaica. The necessity of doing this was be- 
wailed by the whole family, as a most dreadful calamity, and the 
culprit was carefully watched on his way to New York lest he 
should evade the sentence by self-destruction. 



What A^as What 147 

"Aunt Jane" Van Alstyne, of precious memory, told 
us that her grandfather, having whipped a slave boy who, 
he afterwards found, did not deserve that particular punish- 
ment, went to him and told him he was sorry. "Never 
mind. Master," said the boy, "there have been so many 
times I deserved it when I didn't get it, it's all right." 

When they were baptized, as many were in later years, 
they were recorded as Pomp, Nan, and the like, slaves of this 
or that master. Selecting an entry at random, we quote this 
baptismal record : ; 

Abigail \~^y , i Nigeren van Jacobus Van Aalen 

When the slaves became free they assumed surnames, 
frequently those of their former masters. The descendants 
of those slaves are with us still, and the names Vanderpoel, 
Van Ness, Barthrop, Burgett, Harder, and many others are 
memorials of the bondage of their ancestors. Many yet 
living remember well and with respect old Tony Harder, 
Harry Barthrop, and Peter Burgett who were born in slavery. 
Harry was given to Mrs. Dr. Barthrop by her father John 
Pruyn at the time of her marriage. Harry's tall, gaunt 
figure was a very familiar one on our streets and in the old 
Dutch church, which he would not forsake for that of his 
own race. He was polite and kindly to everybody. None 
could pass him on the street on the darkest night without 
hearing his voice of recognition and respectful greeting. 
His knowledge of the occult medicinal virtues of all manner 
of roots and herbs, and of the secret habitat of each in 
meadow, forest, and swamp, was profound. Many the times 
that we have seen him returning from a long tramp, bearing 
on his shoulder a large sack filled with these mystic elements 
of rare elixirs and cordials. 

Peter Burgett, the slave of Abraham Burgett, was 
another who received and was worthy of the respect of the 
entire community. He was an unordained lay preacher 



148 Old liinderKooK 

among his people. In familiarity with the Bible, in spiritual- 
ity, general intelligence, ability, character, and good common 
sense he was by far the superior of most of their ordained 
preachers here, in our time at least. 

In 1830 there was a very painful illustration here of the 
saying of Sterne: "Disguise thyself as thou wilt, still, 
Slavery, still thou art a bitter draught." 

In May of that year Mr. Richard Dorsey of Baltimore 
suddenly appeared in Kinderhook in quest of a fugitive slave. 
The poor fellow had learned to read and write, and through 
a letter to some incautious or treacherous friend in Baltimore 
his hiding-place became known. Mr. Dorsey found his slave 
in the employ of General Whiting, and, as the law then was, 
having proved his claim before Judge Vanderpoel, obtained 
a writ of ownership and extradition; armed with which he 
manacled the fugitive and took him to Baltimore. We note 
with pleasure that in the lot of the late William Wall, in our 
village cemetery, there stands in a place of honor near the 
family monument a stone in memory of '^faithful Eliza, " once 
their slave. It honors them as well. 

All the people here past middle life remembered well 
the dreadful massacre at Schenectady. Major Peter Schuy- 
ler's report to Governor Fletcher in 1693, that he had sent 
out men to range the woods, fearing that some skulking 
parties might straggle down as far as Kinderhook, while in a 
degree reassuring, was still disquieting. The tidings in 1696 
that Captain Dubeau from Montreal, not strong enough to 
attack Albany, had started for Kinderhook, and would have 
reached here had not the watchful Mahicans surprised and 
defeated him, was not conducive to a feeling of security on 
the part of an almost defenseless people. Their peril was not 
unknown to the Albany authorities. Among the Colonial 
Documents of the State we find a Memorial of Robert 
Livingston, Secretary for Indian Affairs, dated 1 701-3, to 
the Lords of Trade, recommending the building of several 
forts, among them a stockado fort here, to be 



What Was What 149 

garrisoned with soldiers and a troop of dragoons, and a company 
of bushlopers or woodrunners to be raised of the youth at Albany 
in the summer time to go through the woods daily from garrison 
to garrison which with scouts continually out to range the woods 
from the several smaller garrisons will be a means to secure our 
families. Moreover if these garrisons be not secured the inhabi- 
tants will desert their farms. ... It was found by experience 
in the last war that while these (the forts) were garrisoned the 
country was secure, but no sooner were they deserted but the 
enemy gained ground and scalped our people near the very gates 
of the city. 

Evidently the stockado or fort was built and then neglected, 
for in 1704 Mr. Congreve reported to the Lords of Trade 
that it was "out of repair and needed a garrison of thirty 
men. " Probably, however, its defensive value was equal at 
least to that "newly erected" work in New Amsterdam, of 
which Peter Stuyvesant so pathetically complained in 165 1 
as being "rooted up, trampled down and destroyed by the 
community's hogs, cows and horses, as may be seen daily to 
our shame and reproach." 

The French and Indian wars of 1 744-1 748 and of 1756- 
1763 were sources of much alarm and of occasional peril. 
Even in times of nominal peace, the aggressions of the French 
were so constant, and their courtship of the Six Nations so 
assiduous that we quite sympathize with the testy Dongan 
in his irate letter (Sept., 1687) to De Nonville. After ad- 
verting to the orders De Nonville had received "from his 
Master to live well with the King of England's subjects, " he 
added: "But I find the air of Canada has strange effects 
on all the Govenors boddys. " And again a month later he 
wrote: "A man of an ordinary cappassitie might see what 
your intentions weer. " 

About two years later, the Albany Records inform us, 
Mr. Wessels and Regnier "Were Desyned to Communicate 
to the farmers of Kinderhook and Claverack — nothing can 
be Expected but y' ye french will doe all ye mischieffe they 



150 Old H.inderHooK 

can to this govermt & every one to be upon there guarde & 
take care they be not surprized." 

Francis Parkman is our authority for the statement 
that, within three months of the year 1746, thirty-five bands 
of French and Indians, numbering from six to thirty, left 
Canada to harry the frontier of the New York and New 
England colonies. 

As indications of coming war with France increased, the 
fears of our almost unprotected people became more intense. 
Petition after petition from individuals of prominence and a 
most pathetic one, Sir William Johnson states, from the 
inhabitants as a whole, for a garrison and for rangers to 
patrol the forests eastward and northward, at last moved the 
Assembly to direct the employment of fifty such rangers. 
In 1 745 came the tidings that a party of four hundred French 
and 220 Indians had captured and destroyed Saratoga, the 
old town made famous by Burgoyne's surrender thirty-five 
years later. Following closely upon that was the sacking of 
Hoosic. A little later it became known that Stockbridge 
was in peril from an investing force of six hundred French 
and Indians. Consternation and terror were not unknown 
to Albany itself. How much greater the alarm here, with the 
whole territory practically open to the merciless foe ! Under 
these conditions they petitioned the Governor and his 
Council in New York for "thirty men to garrison the two 
Block houses to the north and east of the village at the 
expense of the Province, or of the inhabitants if a law were 
passed making it a common charge on all the people. " The 
petition was referred to the Assembly. 

Later in the same month, as the sense of peril increased, a 
second petition was sent to New York praying that "100 
men might be posted for defense against the skulking parties 
of the enemy's Indians." After due deliberation this tran- 
quillizing answer was returned : 

His Excellency and the Council are of the opinion it would be 



WKat Was What 151 

advisable for his Excellency to wait till the Albany River is 
entirely Open, and if nothing should happen in the mean time 
so as to make it necessary to employ the Virginia Company (now 
in the Fort in this City) on any other service, to send that Com- 
pany to Kinderhook. 

The Company never came; but April 29, 1747, the Colonial 
Assembly voted "unto Cornelius Van Schaack the sum of 
585 pounds to be by him employed in payment of 50 effective 
men . . . who are to Range and Scour the woods in the 
country for 90 days. " The captain was to receive six shill- 
ings per diem, the lieutenant, four, and 48 privates, 2s. 6d. 
each. "For his care and trouble, " Mr. Van Schaack was to 
be paid 2 pounds 10 shillings for every 100 pounds expended. 
His bill for the service of the rangers until November, '47, 
was 348 pounds, 17 shillings, and 6 pence. We are pleased to 
note that 6 pence. 

Remembering Schenectady (where snow-images were the 
only sentinels at the gate), Saratoga, Hoosic, and the condi- 
tion of affairs which made it possible for skulking savages 
to fill even Albany with alarm, it would seem that, with 
notable and honorable exceptions, there was somewhere 
official inefficiency and negligence, if not selfish greed and 
graft which fully justified King Hendrick's contemptuous 
though magnificent oratory. 

King Hendrick, though the greatest of all the Mohawk 
chiefs, was, strange to say, a Mohawk only by adoption. 
He himself and his family were Mohegans, the kinfolk of our 
Mahicans. 

In June, 1754, war being again apprehended, twenty- 
five Commissioners, representing seven of the colonies, met 
in Albany to treat with the Six Nations concerning unity of 
action against the common foe. 

This Commission, Francis Parkman writes, was composed 
of "a body of men who for character and ability had never 
had an equal on the Continent." Benjamin Franklin was 



152 Old RindlerHooK 

one of them. There were about 150 Indian representatives 
in attendance. 

Lieutenant-Governor De Lancey in his opening address 
told the Indians that the Commissioners had come to 
strengthen and brighten the chain of friendship. After 
adverting to their apparent disaffection of late, and the long 
scattered condition ot the confederated tribes, he wanted to 
know if the encroachments of the French were with their 
consent or approbation, and then concluded with the words: 
"Open your hearts to us and deal with us as bretheren. " 

Omitting much, we quote the story of the sequel from 
Stone's Life of Sir William Johnson. 

Three days afterward, the Lieutenant-Governor attended 
by all the Commissioners, in behalf of his majesty and the 
several colonies, met the Indians in the courthouse to hear 
their reply. As soon as they were seated, the sachems of the 
Six Nations, glittering with ornaments and clothed in their 
richest robes and feathers, came in and seated themselves 
with all the pomp of an Indian ceremonial. Then, amid a 
deep silence, Abraham, a sachem of the upper castle of the 
Mohawks and a brother of King Hendrick, rose and said: 
"Bretheren, you the governor of New York, and the com- 
missioners of the other governments, are you ready to hear 
us?" The Governor having replied in the affirmative, King 
Hendrick, venerable in years, rose, and with all the dignity 
which his white hairs and majestic mien gave him, holding 
up the chain belt to the gaze of all, advanced a few steps and 
said: 

" Brethren: We return you all our grateful acknowledgements 
for renewing and brightening the covenant chain. This chain 
belt is of very great importance to our united nations, and to all 
our allies. ... As we have already added two links to it, so we 
will use our endeavors to add as many more links to it as lies in 
our power. 

"Brethren: As to the accounts you have heard of our living 
dispersed from each other, 'tis very true." Then, burning with 



'What Was What I53 

indignation, as he recalled the long neglect with which his ser- 
vices had been rewarded by the English, with eyes flashing, and 
his whole frame quivering with the honest anger which had so 
long been pent up within him, he exclaimed — "You have asked 
us the reason of our living in this dispersed manner. The reason 
is, your neglecting us for three years past." Then taking a 
stick and throwing it behind him — "you have thus thrown us 
behind your backs and disregarded us ; whereas the French are a 
subtile and vigilant people, ever using their utmost endeavors to 
seduce and bring our people over to them. . . . 'Tis your fault, 
brethren, that we are not strengthened by conquest, for we would 
have gone and taken Crown Point, but you hindered us. . . . 
Instead of this you burnt your own fort at Saratoga and ran 
away from it, which was a shame and a scandal to you. 

"Look about your country and see, you have no fortifications 
about you; no, not even to this city! Look at the French; 
they are men; they are fortifying everywhere! But, we are 
ashamed to say it, you are like women, bare and open without any 
fortifications!" 

Thus closed one of the most eloquent Indian speeches ever 
uttered. A speech, which for its truth, vigor and biting sarcasm 
has never been equaled by any Indian orator ; scarcely excelled 
by one of any other race-^and which, containing strains of 
eloquence which might have done honor to TuUy or Demosthenes, 
will ever stand among the finest passages of rhetoric in either 
ancient or modern history. 

Less than a year after this notable conference the pre- 
siding officer of the Assembly, Lieutenant-Governor De 
Lancey, reported to the Lords of Trade that "the Assembly 
had passed an Act to raise looo pounds for the purpose of 
securing Kinderhook, a Principal frontier on that side of the 
river." The Act was passed February 19, 1755 (Colonial 
Laws, iii., p. 1038), and reads: " Unto Cornelius Van Schaack 
and Abraham Van Aelstyn the sum of one thousand pounds 
for fortifying and securing the town of Kinderhook." How 
much of this munificent sum was raised and expended we 
know not. Something however was done, for we find that 



154 Old K-inderKooK 

for scouting on the frontiers of Kinderhook during April and 
May, 1757, Francis Claw and his detachment of militia 
received an appropriation by the Assembly of fifty-one 
pounds and seven shillings. 

Evidently there should be a monument to King Hendrick 
in our village park, as there is at Lake George. There was a 
wax figure of this noted chieftain in Philadelphia, soon after 
his death in battle against the French Indians. A white man 
who had known him well as a most faithful friend, coming 
unexpectedly upon it and forgetful for the moment of his 
death, impulsively rushed forward and threw his arms 
about the cold image of the hero. 

While the disastrous lack of prompt, energetic action, 
on the part of the Governors and their Councils on the one 
hand and the Assemblies at Albany on the other, may sur- 
prise us, we should remember the steadily increasing and very 
significant jealousy of the Assemblies for the rights of the 
people, and their growing restlessness under every attempted 
dictation. Suggestions, however wise, were not received 
kindly if made with an air of authority. They charged 
Governor Clinton with seeking to restrain the liberty of the 
press. They virtually told him to his face that he and all 
the governors were beggars, sent over to enrich themselves 
at the expense of the colonists. Clinton, by the way, did ac- 
quire a very considerable fortune for those times while here. 
His reply, however, was, "you have no regard for decency, " 
and he reported to the Duke of Newcastle that he could not 
meet the Assembly without exposing the King's authority 
and himself to contempt. Again and again we find him com- 
plaining to the Duke of the backwardness of the Assembly 
in its deliberations, of the difficulty of bringing them to any 
tolerable resolution for the service of the public, and that the 
dispatch of business was greatly neglected. "They are 
selfish," he said, "and jealous of the power of the Crown; 
and of such levelling principles that they are constantly 
attacking its prerogative." Governor Clinton was discern- 



What Was WKat I55 

ing. There was a cloud arising out of the sea "as small as a 
man's hand. " Or, using the figure of the Supreme Teacher, — 
in 1746 we may see the "blade," prophetic of 1776 with its 
"full corn in the ear." The great Indian conference at 
Albany was a notable portent of coming colonial and federal 
union. 

While the inhabitants of Kinderhook had no such experi- 
ences as those of Schenectady, Hoosic, and Palatine villages, 
there were occasional acts of violence as narrated in former 
sketches of our history. The "devastation" of the region at 
the time of the burning of Major Staats's house was doubtless 
much exaggerated. There was not much to devastate then 
in the interior. The few deeds of violence during the times 
of the French and Indian wars of which we have record are 
these : 

April 10, 1748. "The same party [French and their 
Indian allies] next appeared at Kinderhook where they sur- 
prised eleven men at work, killed two of them and made the 
other nine captives. Then they burned the house and barn 
of Mr. John Van Alstyne. " It was because of this, it may be, 
that Captain James Church and his Company are reported as 
having been posted here from August 17 to September 30, 
1748 ; for which service 179 pounds were appropriated by the 
Assembly in 1750. 

In the New York Mercury of July 14, 1755, this item 
appeared : 

We hear from Kinderhook that on Wednesday the 2d, inst. 
as four men, two boys and a negro were hoeing corn in a field near 
that place, they were surprised and fired upon by six Indians 
and a Frenchman, which wounded one of the men and a negro 
fellow, when they with two others took to their heels. The 
seventh, John Gardinier, ran for his arms that were nigh at hand 
and having dispatched two of the Indians, a third closed in upon 
him, and, in the scuffle, the Frenchman came up, and seeing 
Gardinier get the better of the Indians, he knocked him down 
with his piece and afterwards scalped him, when the Indians 



156 Old RinderKooK 

made off and carried their dead with them. A short time after 
Gardinier came to himself, and with some difficulty reached the 
fort. He was so stunned by the blow he received from the 
Frenchman, that he was insensible of his being scalped until 
he was informed by the people who discovered the blood, but he 
remembered the whole of their proceedings before, and said he 
could have killed three of the Indians had not the second gun 
he took up missed fire. 

On the receipt of the above news the sum of twelve pounds 
was immediately raised by a few gentlemen in this city, and sent 
to John Gardinier for his gallant behavior, to support his wife 
and family during his illness, and it is to be hoped that those 
gentlemen who would willingly infuse a martial spirit in the 
armies now going against our enemies, will follow an example 
so truly worthy of their imitation. 

Two weeks later the same paper contained this notice 
of a second foray : 

We hear that on Monday last another party of French and 
Indians, consisting of between thirty and forty, appeared at 
Kinderhook and carried off a young boy and wounded a negro, 
and that Robert Livingston Jr., Esq., with about forty men, 
were gone in pursuit. 

We read again, date not given but doubtless about the 
same: 

Three members of the family of Joachim Van Valkenburgh 
were captured by the French Indians and two of them murdered. 
His wife also fell into their hands, but while they were conducting 
her away. Van Valkenburgh shot the Indian in the back and 
recovered his wife. 

The late Mr. Henry C. Van Schaack, in his Memoirs of 
his uncle Henry, narrates the following : 

There was a small stockade, dignified with name of Fort, at 
Kinderhook, to which the neighboring inhabitants were accus- 
tomed to resort for refuge in case of approaching danger. [The 



"WKat Was What 157 

present Schnapper house, at one time the parsonage of the Dutch 
church, was within the stockade.] On one occasion of alarm 
given in consequence of the approach of a party of Indians, 
mothers with their children and all the females in the neighbor- 
hood, repaired to the fort for safety. It so happened that all the 
men in the vicinity were absent at the time. To disguise their 
weakness, under the lead of Mrs. Hoes, a brave Dutch vrouw 
who volunteered to command on the occasion, the women, 
occupying a position where only the covering of their heads 
could be seen by their invaders, put on men's hats and made 
great noises. The Indians, deceived by these indications of 
strength, did not venture to attack the feminine garrison. 

Military service was evidently rendered by residents of 
Kinderhook during the French and Indian wars, but the 
records of it are few and fragmentary. There was an Order 
of Council in May, 1746, that the company of Kinderhook 
Rangers, "as soon as raised," should be sent to Saratoga 
because of the disaffection and desertion of its garrison. 
But we are not informed whether they actually went, nor 
indeed whether the company was raised. We may presume, 
however, that it was. 

As revealing one source of considerable loss and some 
peril to the early settlers for a hundred years, the many 
enactments of the Colonial Assembly to secure the destruc- 
tion of wolves and panthers are not without interest. 

The wolves infesting the forests were so numerous and 
became so bold in their slaughter of sheep and cattle that in 
1726 a bounty was offered here, as had long been done in 
other parts of the Colony, for their destruction. The bounty 
for the killing of a full-grown wolf was in the first instance 
six shillings, and less for one under one year of age. Within 
a few years this was increased to ten and then to twelve 
shillings. For some unknown reason unless it was the su- 
perior adeptness of the Indians their bounty was but half 
that allowed a white man. The head of the wolf and the 
entire skin were to be taken before a Justice and the ears cut 



158 Old K-inderKooK 

off in his presence, as a protection against fraud. In later 
years the bounty was increased until in 1775 it amounted to 
three pounds. 

In the American Historical Magazine (1870) we find 
Abraham Lott's journal of his voyage up the Hudson and of 
his visit to Kinderhook in 1774. He was one of the patentees 
of a tract of more than 10,000 acres between Claverack and 
Livingston Manor ; a grant which occasioned the very notable 
suit of John Van Rensselaer which he ultimately won. 
Portions of the journal are not without present interest. 
We quote in part : 

1774, June 22. Went on board Joachim Staats' sloop . . . 
Friday, June 24. Beat up against the tide to a little above the 
Kinderhook creek, where the tide came against us and obliged 
us to come too. Here the captain went ashore to the house of 
Joh^ Staats within the bounds of Kinderhook and brought on 
Board some Bread Eggs and Milk. 

Two or three days later the sloop reached Albany. After a 
visit of about two weeks Mr. Lott drove down to "Cox- 
hackie" where he paid 3/- to be ferried over to Nutten 
Hook. Thence he came to the house of Isaac (later Major) 
Goes, now Mrs. F. Risedorph's, opposite the then existing 
church. After resting he called on Mr. Fryenmoet (the 
Dominie) and supped and spent the evening, being made 
exceeding welcome. In the morning he talked with Mr. 
Goes about the recent division of the Kinderhook Patent 
and learned "that it was totally disregarded, everybody 
taking in lands where they can find them whether they have 
a right to them or not. " 

We think, however, that we can read between the lines 
of Abraham's narrative that Isaac was considerably dis- 
gruntled over something and that his statements are to 
be taken with several grains of salt. Evidently no love was 
lost on his part toward a family whose prosperity he deemed 
a menace to the welfare of the commimity. 



"WKat AA^as "What 159 

Mr. Lott records that "Mr. David Van Schaack has 
built him a house Uke a Castle near the town. It is built of 
brick, two stories high, four rooms on a floor, and a large 
hall through the middle of it, and is built in a very elegant 
Taste." Mr. Lott was very apprehensive as regards the 
future of Kinderhook because of such expensive tastes. 
After breakfasting with Mr. Goes and paying 5/6 for his 
entertainment he called again on Mr. Fryenmoet who gave 
him some "Green Pease for Messrs White and McDougall. " 
Thence he went by way of Mr. Van Alstyne's (Chatham 
Center) and Captain Van Der Poel's to the house of one Mr. 
Demming, at a place in the Westinghook Patent called New 
Canaan. "Here I overtook one Vosburgh from Kinderhook 
with whom I dined," paying 3/- for dinner and feed of the 
horses. Proceeding thence he came to " the Bath " (Lebanon 
Springs), where he remained a few days, taking the baths for 
his health. He was evidently pleased, for he gave 8/- for 
repairing leaks and 8/- more toward a new bath house. 
While he was there a party of five rheumatics came from 
Kinderhook "to be cured," and another party came from 
Albany. 

More than one hundred years before the Revolution 
military companies were organized here. We are without 
definite information of service rendered, but have here and 
there a glimpse, as hitherto noted, of the participation of our 
brave soldiers in successive French and Indian wars and of 
the recognition and reward of that service by the Colonial 
authorities. We know also of one or more of these companies 
being called to "range the woods," as the expression was, to 
discover and beat back the irresponsible bands of Canadian 
Indians so frequently threatening all frontier settlements and 
even the city of Albany. 

From Albany Coimty Military Records, State Historian 
Hastings's Annual Report, vol. i., and other sources, we 
compile the following record concerning Kinderhook men : 

In 1673, ^ what was called the third platoon, Abraham 



i6o Old RinderHooK 

Janse (Van Alstyne) was Sergeant and Arent Leendertse 
(Conine) Ensign. 

In 1689, our Abraham Janse was ordered to convey 
three men and thirty horses to Woodbury, Conn., and all 
persons were directed to furnish him and his horses with 
such necessities as might be required. 

In 1700, a militia regiment for the city and County of 
Albany was organized, with Peter Schuyler as Colonel. 
Jochem Lamerse (Van Valkenburgh), Lieutenant, and Volkert 
Van Hoesen and Abraham Janse, Ensigns. 

For the year 17 14 we read: 

One Comp'ye at Kinderhook. 
Abraham Jansen (Van Alstyne), Cap'n, Pieter Van Buren, 
Lieut., Stephanus Van Ale, Ensigne. 

A year later in the list of about seventy privates we note 
these names: Van Schaack (i); Borghart (3); Huyck (3); 
Van Slyck (2); Van Alstine (3); Van Alen (3); Vosburgh 
(5) ; Van Valkenburgh (3) ; Goes (6) ; Sluyter (2) ; Gardinier 
(5) ; Wheeler (3) ; Van Buren (2) ; Van Deusen (i) ; Dingman 
(2); Scherp (2); Becker (4); Van Hoesen (i); Salsberge (i); 
Hooteling (i); Moore (i); Hardick (i); Cornelius (i); Haes 
(i); Rous (i); Jange (i); and Turk, one. 

In 1733 there were two Kinderhook companies of which 
we read: 

Capt. Lindert Conyn. Livt. Sander Van Alstyn, in ye 
room of Burger Huyck. Livt. Tobias Van Buren. Ensign 
Johannis Van Der Pool. 

Capt. Johs. Van Dussen. Livt. Gerrit Van Schack. 

Livt. Comelis Van Schack. Ensign, Lowerens Van AUe, Jun'r. 

In 1755 there was a company of which Philip Schuyler 
was Captain and Sir William Johnson Commander-in-Chief. 
It was encamped for a time at German Flats and was later a 



What Was What i6i 

part of the expedition against Crown Point. In this Company 
Henry Van Schaack was a Lieutenant and was reported as 
distinguishing himself in the skirmishes near Lake George. 
He also served at Niagara. Among the enlisted men we 
notice Isaac Van Alstyne, Isaac B. Van Alstyne, Lambert 
H. Van Valkenburgh, Edward Wheeler, Dirck Woodcock, 
and Frans P. and Johannis Klaw. There were possibly other 
enlisted men from Kinderhook whose names we fail to 
recognize. 

The same year we have these Kinderhook companies 
reported : 

Capt. Jacobus Van Alen Capt. Frans Klauw 

1 Lieut. Anderies And'rse Wit- 
beck I Lieut. Johannis Staats 

2 Do. Pieter B. Vosburgh 2 Lieut. Antoney Quackenbus 
Ensign Abraham Van Alen Ensign Pieter Ab. Vosburgh 

In 1767 (with commissions dated 1757) there was a 
company of which Jacobus Van Alen was Captain. Andries 
Witbeck,Jun., and Anthony Quackenboss, Lieutenants ; Myn- 
dert Goes, Folkert Witbeck, John Van Hoesen, and Abraham 
Staats, Sergeants; Johannis Bakhis and Andries Scherp, 
Corporals; and Johannie E. Van Alen, Clerk. In the roll of 
enlisted men we find the names : Van Dyke (3) ; Van 
Valkenburgh (24); Van Alstyne (11); Goes (7); Van Buren 
(2) ; Pruyn (3) ; Van Schaack (2) ; Van Howsen (3) ; Staats 
(4) ; Vanderpoel (5) ; Scherp (7) ; Woodcock (4), and Claw (9). 
These with a few omitted names make a total rank and file 
of 151 men. 

In the same year (1767) we find "Eenn Leyst van het 
Bovenste Compeney, " (The Uppermost Company). The 
roster is of interest for its ingenious spelling as well as the 
information it gives. It is in part: 

Cepten — Fraens Claevw; Leuy tenant — Deyrck Goes; 
Ynsen — Comely s Van Scaeck Jun. ; Seryaents — Pieter Vose- 



i62 Old K-inderKooK 

beurgh, Saemmel Wyeler, Pieterys Gaerdenyer, and Stepanys 
Van Aelen; Corpereals — Pieterys Yalarman, Isaeck Van 
Sleyck and Pieter Vosebeurgh; Pieter Van Beuren, Clerk. 
The rank and file numbered 131 and among them we find: 
Vosburgh (14) ; Van Vleck (2) ; Van Buren (5) ; Van Ness (i) ; 
Van Alstyne (3) ; Van Alen (3) ; Huyck (8) ; Goes (6) ; Van 
Deusen (2) ; Gardenier (7) ; Claw (5) ; Van Slyck (5) ; Sharp 
(6) and Wheeler (7). A few of these names are apparently 
the same as those before given and were probably transferred 
from the lower to the "bovenste" company. 

In 1770 a long list of men recommended for commissions 
in the militia was sent from here to Sir William Johnson, the 
Commander-in-Chief. In his voluminous MSS. in the State 
Library may be found (if not now perished) many letters and 
petitions, some of the latter numerously signed, relating to 
appointments of commissioned officers; protesting against 
certain appointments sought by the ambitious who were 
deemed unqualified or undesirable, and suggesting sub- 
stitutes for those who had declined proffered commissions. 
Inasmuch as the many names of those recommended for 
commissions appear on the roster of the Seventh Regiment, 
Kinderhook District, as organized October 20, 1775, and 
reorganized in 1778, we omit them here. More than a year, 
however, before the commissions of the Seventh Regiment 
were issued there was a militia regiment "comprehending 
the inhabitants of Kinderhook and the King's District." 
We find no roster of the regiment, but from an admirably 
written letter of condolence to the son of Sir William after 
the latter's death (1774), we quote the names of "field 
officers, captains and subalterns," as they style themselves. 
A few were residents of King's District, east of this District, 
but the majority by far were of Kinderhook. The super- 
scription and names are as follows: 

Kinderhook July 23d, 1774. Cornelius Van Schaack, H. V. 
Schaack, Andrus Witbeck, Mathews Harlow, Herbert Baldwin, 



What Was What 163 

Daniel Breck, Aaron Kellogg, Asa Douglass, David Wright, 
Abraham Vanderpoel, Melgert Vanderpoel, Elisha Pratt Jr., 
John Beebe Jr., Philip Loisler, John Davis, Martin Beebe, 
Samuel Waterman, Lambert Bungat, John D. Goes, Peter 
Vosburgh, Johannis L. Van Alen, Abr'm J. Van Vleck, Ephraim 
Van Buren, Dirck Gardinier, Peter Van Slyck Jun., John D. 
Vosburgh, John T. Vosburgh, Stephen Van Alen, WilHam 
Powers, James Skinner, Lucas T. Goes, Myndert Vosburgh, 
Cruger Huyk Jun., Isaac Vanderpoel, Peter Van Alstyne, John 
W. Van Alstyne, John Pruyne, Elijah Skinner, Lucas Van Alen 
Jr., Lawrence Goes, Barent Vanderpoel. 

Evidently Kinderhook was well represented by the 
militia on the frontier, and doubtless rendered much service 
of which there is now no record. We have some evidence 
thereof that in December, 171 7, an Act was passed for pay- 
ing and discharging several debts due from the Colony to 
persons therein named (many in number) for services, 
supplies, wagons broken, horses injured or killed, etc., in 
expeditions against the French in 1692 and later. Bills of 
credit were issued representing different amoimts of " Plate, " 
i. e., "Spanish Coynes of Sevil, Mexico or Pillar Plate. ^^ De- 
preciation of face value was prohibited. It was true "fiat 
money." »- Abraham Staats, Coenradt Borgaert, Matthew, 
Jan., and Jan. Tysse Goes, and several others from Kinder- 
hook, were named as entitled to this or that number of 
ounces and pennyweights of Plate for services or supplies in 
1692 and 1709. 

That they were to a degree equipped and trained for 
service, which was possibly rendered though unrecorded, we 
may be assured. The laws of the Duke of York (1664) had 
these enactments concerning Military Affairs, which seem 
interesting enough to quote in part. 

First, that every Male Person above the age of sixteen years. 
Except . . . shall duely attend all Military Exercises and 
Services as Trayning watching and warding, . . . under the 
penalty of five shillings for every Dayes default. Every Male 



164 Old K.inderKooK 

within this Government from Sixteen to Sixty years of age . . . 
shall be furnished from time to time and so Continue well fur- 
nished with Armes and other Suitable provition hereafter men- 
tioned; under the penalty of five shillings for the least default 
therein Namely a good Serviceable Gun ... to be kept in 
Constant fitness for present Service, with a good sword bande- 
leers or horn a worm a Scowerer a priming wire Shott Badge and 
Charger one pound of good powder, four pounds of Pistol bullets 
or twenty four bullets fitted to the gunne, four fathom of 
Serviceable Match for match lock gunne four good flints fitted 
for a fire lock gunn. . . . 

Every town within this Government shall have every year 
four days of Trayning amongst themselves and there shall be 
also in each Ryding once in the yeare a General Trayning of all 
the Townes within that Jurisdiction. . . . 

There shall be likewise once in two years a General Trayning 
for all souldiers within this Government. ... 

In the Severall Traynings All Males above sixteen Years of 
age who are not freed from that Service, are to be taught and 
Instructed in the Comely handling and ready use of their Arms 
in all postures of Warre to understand and attend all words 
of Command, And further To fitt all Such as are or shall be in 
Some measure instructed for all Military Service, against there 
be occation under the penalty of forty Shillings. 

This law, as regards the "Trayning Dayes" at least, was 
faithfully observed until comparatively recent times. An 
account of these famous Training Days in their prime may 
be found in our chapter on Celebrations. 



CHAPTER VI 

WAR TIMES 

The Revolution and the Loyalists— The War of 1812— The Civil War— The 

War with Spain. 

IN preceding chapters we have noted the occasional Indian 
forays and the perils and service of our people in the 
more serious French and Indian wars. The Revolution and 
the Loyalists of Kinderhook may therefore be our first 
sub-topic. 

The voluminous Documents Relating to the Colonial 
History of the State of New York abound with complaints of 
many successive English governors concerning the disloyal 
spirit of the Legislative Assemblies. They were charged with 
assuming to regard themselves as on a level with the House 
of Commons and claiming an equal authority. Their utter- 
ances, acts, and failures to act as the governors desired, and 
their ever increasing jealousy for the rights of the people, 
were regarded as encroaching upon the prerogatives of the 
Crown and as not far from treasonable. 

The unyielding spirit of his Majesty's advisors and their 
unwise insistence upon, and attempted enforcement of, ex- 
aggerated royal pretensions could have but one result. 
Peter Van Schaack was one of many not in favor of Colonial 
independence and during the struggle was an expatriated 
Loyalist, but he had the discernment to foresee that result. 
As early as 1769 he wrote to the Rev. John Vardill: 

165 



1 66 Old RinderHooK 

"The benefits arising from our commerce is all that Great 
Britain ought to expect. By grasping at more they will lose 
all." There was almost entire unanimity as regards the 
principles involved and the rights of the colonies. It was 
the method of asserting and maintaining those rights on 
which men differed. 

From the original manuscript displayed in a glass case 
in a room of the New York Historical Society we copied this 
record : 

At a Meeting at the Exchange, i6th May, 1774, Isaac Low 
chosen chairman, ist Question put, Whether it is necessary 
for the present, to appoint a Committee to correspond with the 
Colonies, on the present important crisis? Carried in the 
AFFIRMATIVE by a great majority. 

2d. Whether a Committee be nominated this Evening for the 
Approbation of the Public? Carried in the affirmative by a 
great majority. 

3d. Whether a Committee of 50 be appointed or 25? Carried 
for 50 by a great majority. 

Peter Van Schaack of Kinderhook, then twenty-four 
years old, was one of that important Committee, and sub- 
sequently of the committee of 100, known as the Committee 
of Resistance or Provisional War Committee. 

Later in the same month the New York Committee of 
Safety : 

Ordered — That Messrs. Peter Van Schaack, Francis Lewis, 
John Jay (and others) be a committee to write a circular letter 
to the Supervisors of the different Counties acquainting them of 
the appointment of a Committee of Safety and submitting to the 
consideration of the Inhabitants of the Counties, whether it 
would not be expedient for them to appoint persons to correspond 
with this Committee upon matters relative to the purposes for 
which they are appointed. 

Mr. Van Schaack accepted the appointment and rendered 
the service; for we have in the late Mr. Henry C. Van 



"War Times 167 

Schaack's collection this autograph letter of Mr. Walter 
Butler of Kinderhook in reply: 

... I am of opinion our Country never will agree to any 
measures except declaring their dissatisfaction to the Late 
Several Laws passed by the British Parliament against the 
Colonies, until the people of Boston have made full Satisfaction 
for the Teas they have destroyed, the property of private persons 
— and whenever that is done will be very desirous of any measures 
being adopted tending to obtain the Rights due the americans 
as British Subjects. 

The writer was not an enthusiast, it would seem, for the 
American cause. 

When the "alarming news from England" of the passage 
of the Boston Port Bill reached New York, the Committee 
of Correspondence there issued a circular letter of informa- 
tion and counsel to all the towns of the Colony. In accord- 
ance therewith, on the 21st of June, 1774, the freeholders 
and inhabitants of Kinderhook District gathered in council, 
and after due deliberation adopted the following resolutions, 
written by no '"prentice hand," which we recognize, we 
think. 

Resolved — That in the present critical situation of the colonies 
in relation to the mother country, the appointment of commit- 
tees of correspondence in the different colonies appears to us to 
be a measure highly expedient, as best adapted mutually to com- 
municate to each other the earliest intelligence of such matters 
as may affect their common interest; to concert such a plan of 
conduct as — being the result of the united wisdom of all the 
colonies — will best promote their common benefit, most effectu- 
ally secure their constitutional rights and liberties, and prevent 
rash, crude, and inconsiderate measures. 

Resolved — That as we have the fullest confidence in the 
wisdom, prudence, and moderation of the committee of corre- 
spondence appointed for the city of New York, it is our opinion 



i68 Old RinderHooK 

that the inhabitants of the whole Province may, with great 
safety, rely on their adopting only such measures as shall have 
our common welfare for their object; but, although we think, for 
these reasons, that the appointment of district committees for 
the counties may at present be dispensed with, yet, if the sense of 
the other districts of this county should be in favor of a com- 
mittee, we shall readily acquiesce in that measure. 

Resolved — That Henry Van Schaack and Matthew Goes 
(Hoes) junior, be appointed by this district to consult with the 
representatives of the other districts upon the expediency of 
appointing a committee for this county, and to nominate on our 
behalf the persons of whom such committee shall consist. 

On the 13th of August, 1774, a county committee met in 
Albany and nominated as county delegates to the Continen- 
tal Congress, Robert Yates, Henry Van Schaack, and Peter 
Silvester, subject to approval of the districts. These sub- 
sequently indicated their preference for but one delegate, 
and chose Colonel Philip Schuyler. The people of the city 
and County of New York having passed certain resolves, it 
was directed that they should be read to the people in the 
several districts by their committee-men, who were to take 
the sense of their districts regarding them. A meeting for 
that purpose was held here August 29th. In the meantime, 
Colonel Schuyler had expressed his disapproval of some of the 
resolves of the New York meeting, taking especial exception 
to these words, "That it is our greatest happiness and glory 
to have been born British subjects." The meeting here, in 
view of Colonel Schuyler's attitude, took the following 
action : 

Resolved — That as we acknowledge ourselves British subjects, 
it would be altogether improper to instruct Col. Schuyler with 
resolves which hold up principles that tend (as he thinks) to 
enslave us. 

Resolved — That if instructions for a delegate or delegates, or 
another set of resolves, are offered to the consideration of the 
committee of correspondence at their next meeting, such instruc- 



"War Times 169 

tions or resolves ought to be laid before the several districts 
within this county before any delegate or delegates attend the 
Congress from the body of the city and county of Albany. 

Resolved — That Matthew Goes, junior, and Henry Van 
Schaack have acted right in giving their votes against paying 
delegates to go from the body of the county of Albany, as this 
district could with great safety have confided its trust in the 
delegates that are appointed for the city of New York. 

The decidedly conservative sentiment which was then 
evidently dominant here, as well as among the Loyalists of 
New York, was rudely shocked by the outcome of the first 
meeting of the Congress. One of its first acts was the 
approval of the Massachusetts "Suffolk Resolves." Those 
historic resolves in their preamble refer to "the power but 
not the justice, the vengeance but not the wisdom of Great 
Britain, which of old persecuted, scourged and exiled our 
fugitive parents from their native shores, and now pursues 
us, their guiltless children, with unrelenting severity." 

The hopes of the conservatives here were obviously 
doomed to disappointment. For about a year there was no 
important action on the part of our people. But, when " the 
melancholy news" arrived announcing the shedding of blood 
at Lexington, they were again roused to action by an urgent 
invitation from the county committee, and they again 
assembled and chose delegates to represent them in the dis- 
trict and county committees. That these delegates were not 
extravagant in their enthusiasm for the cause of American 
liberty may be inferred from the fact, that in 1778 three of 
them at least received the not always gentle or even just 
attentions of the Commissioners for Detecting and Defeating 
Conspiracies. 

The Rev. Thomas Allen, the first minister of the Pitts- 
field church, was an ardent patriot, exerting his utmost 
influence in advocacy of the American cause, not only at 
home but throughout western Massachusetts and beyond the 



170 Old K-inderHooK 

border. He was the chairman of their local committee. 
There was a call for missionary work, he thought, in this 
vicinity, from which he had heard unpleasant reports. 
Smith, in his History of Pittsfield, in writing of the dis- 
affected there and of their flight from the wrath of their 
townsmen after the battle of Lexington, says of Woodbridge 
Little, Esq., one of the most prominent of their loyalists — 
"he fled to Kinderhook, the place of Tories." In March, 
1775, Mr. Allen came and spoke in Kinderhook, as he also 
did in Claverack and Canaan, "to the delight of the patriots 
and the vehement displeasure of their opponents." In a 
letter to General Seth Pomeroy, dated March 9th, Mr. 
Allen wrote: 

Our militia this way are vigorously preparing for actual 
readiness. Adjacent towns and this town are buying arms and 
ammunition. . . . The spirit of Liberty runs high in Albany. 
... I have exerted myself to spread the same spirit . . . which 
has of late taken surprising effect. The poor Tories at Kinder- 
hook are mortified and grieved and are wheeling about and 
beginning to take the quickstep. 

This ardent patriot of the Church Militant was at Benning- 
ton where he prayed the God of Battles to teach their 
"hands to war and their fingers to fight. " It is related that 
some time after the battle, being asked if he actually killed 
any man, his reply was that he did not know, but that ob- 
serving a flash repeated from a certain bush and that it was 
generally followed by the fall of one of Stark's men, he fired 
that way and put the flash out. 

Within a month after the battle of Lexington there was a 
meeting of the several Committees of Correspondence and 
Safety in Albany at which the following manifesto was 
agreed to and subscribed : 

Persuaded that the Salvation of the rights of America de- 
pends, under God, on the firm Union of its Inhabitants in a 
vigorous prosecution of the Measures necessary for its Safety; 



"War Times 171 

and convinced of the necessity of preventing Anarchy and 
Confusion which attends a dissolution of the Powers of Govern- 
ment — We, the Freemen and Freeholders and Inhabitants of the 
City and County of Albany being greatly alarmed at the avowed 
design of the Ministry to raise a Revenue in America, and 
shocked by the bloody scene now acting in Massachusetts Bay, 
Do in the most Solemn Manner resolve never to become slaves; 
and do associate under all the ties of Religion, Honor and Love 
to our Country, to adopt and endeavor to carry into Execution, 
whatever Measures may be recommended by our Provincial 
Congress or resolved upon by our Provincial Convention for the 
purpose of preserving our Constitution, and opposing the Execu- 
tion of the several Arbitrary and oppressive Acts of the British 
Parliament until a reconciliation between Great Britain and 
America on Constitutional Principles (which we most ardently 
desire) can be obtained : And that we will in all things follow the 
Advice of our General Committee respecting the purposes afore- 
said, the preservation of Peace and good Order and the safety 
of individuals and private Property. 

This was subscribed by Barent Vanderpoel and Andries 
Witbeck of Kinderhook. Other signatures were doubtless 
of delegates residing here, but uncertain orthography leads 
us to omit them. 

Evidently, reconciliation, with the conservation of Ameri- 
can rights, not independence, was the prevailing idea. Con- 
scientious adherence to this view compelled many of sincere 
conviction and eminent character to become Loyalists. That 
there were others devoid of both character and principle, 
none will deny. 

Throughout Albany County, as well as in New York, 
on Long Island, and in the very considerable region along the 
Mohawk dominated by the Johnson influence, there were 
many Loyalists. In 1777, justly or otherwise, it was reported 
to the authorities in Albany that "most of the inhabitants 
of Kinderhook and of districts adjacent are disaffected." 
Certain officers even of the regiment here were charged with 
disaffection and petitions signed by many asked for their 



172 Old HinderHooK 

removal and the appointment in their place of others of 
known attachment to the liberties of the country. Two 
at least were thus removed. In Livingston Manor more 
than three fourths of the inhabitants were reported to be 
Loyalists. A nightly patrol was established and long main- 
tained there for the protection of those who espoused the 
American cause. Even the officers of the first local regiment 
were reported to the Provincial Congress as riding about from 
place to place huzzaing for the King. We have before us as 
we write the original manuscript letter of Dirck Jansen, 
Chairman of the Committee of the Manor of Livingston, to 
John Barclay, Chairman of the Committee of Albany, dated 
May 5, i ']']']. After stating that the district had been thrown 
into the utmost confusion by the scenes of disorder and 
violence which he narrates, he says: "We are, Gentlemen, 
in a most deplorable condition, not having in our whole 
regiment fifty men to depend on, and our friends way-laid 
every night and their houses burned repeatedly." 

Nor were conditions at Claverack much if any better. 
In the published volume of the Correspondence of the 
Provincial Congress we find a petition, signed by a Claverack 
committee and the Field officers of the Kinderhook regiment 
(May, 1777), asking for the raising of a company of thirty 
rangers for the protection of the lives and property of the 
well-affected residents of Claverack, "in hourly eminent 
peril," it was said, from the violence of the disaffected. 
Stephen Hogeboom of Claverack, in transmitting the petition 
with his endorsement, suggested that sixty men were needed, 
and with the petition he forwarded papers that had been 
intercepted, disclosing the efforts of the Loyalists to secure 
recruits for the British army. He also stated that the 
committee of Claverack had arrested eleven men who were 
being sent in chains to Albany to be tried, and, he added — 
"some of whom will be executed if they receive their due 
reward." 

That there were base, evil-minded men among the 



"War Times 173 

Loyalists, and on the other side as well, was inevitable. The 
time was opportune for all the jealous, malicious, and lawless 
to vent their spite and venom in dastardly ways. These 
were guilty of every manner of cruel outrage and violence, 
not excepting robbery, arson, and assassination. On the 
other hand some of the "Sons of Liberty, " so called, resorted 
to retaliatory violence not only, but were chargeable with 
unprovoked outrages upon the unoffending and defenseless. 
After an exciting and protested election in our village in 
October, 1777, complaint was made that bodies of armed 
men from Claverack, Kings District, and Massachusetts Bay 
had invaded Kinderhook and without authority had dis- 
armed, dragooned, and maltreated the inhabitants. We do 
not know, but suspect that the armed men "from Massa- 
chussetts Bay" may have been Captain James Strong and 
Lieutenant Hubbard with thirty privates who in May, as we 
learn from Smith's History, were sent hither from Pittsfield 
* ^ after inimical persons.'' ' We have no account of their service 
here, but have, we think, the Loyalists' view of it. That 
some Loyalists, because of ^Hhe prejudice of their neighbors,*^ 
were compelled to flee to the woods and hide in hollow trees 
and caves we know from their own appeals to the British 
Claim Commissioners in Montreal years later. The hollow 
trees are gone, but there is still pointed out the cave where 
Peter S. Van Alstine, Gysbert Sharpe, and others hid at 
times from their wrathful neighbors. 

There are those who think that some of the men who 
made the unhappy choice were influenced thereto by their 
wives. On the other hand, it is certain that the wives of the 
Loyalists were not in all instances in sympathy with their 
disaffected husbands. Andries Kittle, living near Little 
Nutten Hook, had such a wife. We have on record the 
petition of Catharine to the Council of Safety for the release of 
her husband and his estate. He had been taken and his estate 
confiscated on account of alleged disloyalty to the American 
cause. Accompanying her petition were these affidavits: 



174 Old K-inderKooK 

Jacobus McNeal of the District of Kinderhook, and County 
of Albany, weaver, being duly sworn deposeth and saith : in the 
two years last past he has often worked in the house of Andries 
Kittle, whom this Deponent understands has lately gone over 
to the enemy. That he has frequently heard the said Andries 
Kittle in discourse with Catharine, his wife, upon public matters 
and found that said Kittle was unfriendly to the Americans in 
defense of their liberties, but that the said Catharine on the 
contrary always has evinced the most steady attachment to this 
country. That their difference in sentiments upon this head was 
often the occasion of dispute between them and further saith not. 
(Signed) Jacobus McNeal. 
Sworn this 4th day of December, 1777, 

Before me John Van Deusen, Chairman, P. T. 

Jacob Van Hoesen ("Taylor") also made affidavit as 
follows : 

That the latter End of last summer or the beginning of the 
fall, he has worked at his Trade near his House at a Time when 
the said Andries Kittle had absconded from home and secreted 
himself in the woods. That the said Catharine informed this 
deponent that she was much against her Husband's conduct and 
had repeatedly asked him to return and surrender himself, but 
that he would not. She at the same time expressed great re- 
sentment against the behaviour of her Husband. That She 
appeared to this deponent well attached to the liberties of 
America. 

Catharine deserved that capital " S. " That such was the 
opinion of the Legislature of 1789 appears from the following 
enactment : 

. . . All the estate, right, title, interest, claim and demand 
of the people of this State in and to the real estate of the said 
Andries Kittle, which became forfeited to the State ... be and 
are hereby vested in the said Catharine Kittle, except such 
parts thereof as may have been sold by the Commissioners of 
Forfeitures. 



"War Times 175 

As one illustration of many records we note that in '88 
these Commissioners sold to John I. Van Alstyne, 665 acres 
formerly belonging to Peter S. Van Alstine and declared 
forfeited. John was a brother of Colonel Abraham I., and a 
son of Isaac, as the middle initial indicates. 

The traditions of the deeds of violence by the Tories here 
and elsewhere throughout the country are many. The most 
distressing of these within the bounds of Old Kinderhook 
was the murder of Abraham Van Ness, then living between 
the present villages of Maiden and Chatham Center. From 
the accoimt written by Mr. Jesse Van Ness of Wisconsin, 
nephew of the murdered man, for Major Ellis's History of 
Columbia County, we condense the following narrative: 
Abraham, son of John Van Ness and Jane Van Alen of Kinder- 
hook, was a commissioned officer in the Militia. In August, 
1777, after an absence on duty he returned home on a fur- 
lough. As the Tories which infested the region had not been 
seen for several days, it was supposed that they had gone to 
join Burgoyne's army. But the day after Abraham's return 
they suddenly appeared, attacked the house, and broke down 
the doors, which the family barely had time to close against 
them. The house was robbed and Abraham made a prisoner. 
After consultation as to the best disposition to be made of 
him he was deliberately shot. William I. Van Ness of 
Virginia, a brother of Jesse, gives a somewhat variant 
narrative of the occurrence and adds traditional accounts of 
the swift vengeance meted out to the murderers. It further- 
more states that two brothers of Abraham, David and John, 
were also commissioned officers in the same company and were 
present at the surrender of Burgoyne in October of that year. 

In the military Journal of Dr. James Thacher, a surgeon 
of the Revolutionary Army, and then connected with the 
hospital at Albany, we find this entry: 

May 1 6th. 1778. — In various parts of this state the inhabitants 
are constantly infested with a banditti of tories and other villains. 



176 Old RinderKooK 

following the practice of robbing and plundering, stealing horses 
and cattle, and often committing murder on those who oppose 
them, and even on innocent persons. A number of these vile 
wretches have been apprehended and condemned; two of them 
were executed yesterday. They had been convicted of robbing 
the house of Mr. Van Ness, whose son, being a captain in our 
militia, was taken by them and cruelly murdered. The criminals 
were conducted to the gallows by a guard of soldiers, and were 
attended by a prodigious number of spectators. They manifested 
at the gallows the most agonizing horrors. One of them held in 
his hand a Bible till the halter deprived him of the power of 
holding it. Had this sacred volume been his companion in early 
life it might have been the means of averting this awful and 
untimely death. 

In our own village, the house of John C. Wynkoop, an 
ardent patriot, which stood about 150 feet northwest of 
what we first knew as the Guion place, on Albany avenue, 
was confidently believed to have been set on fire in the night 
by certain bitter Tories living near who were seen prowling 
around the premises in the evening. The house with nearly 
all it contained was destroyed. Mrs. Wynkoop (Lydia 
Silvester), sitting on a chest of valuables which had with 
difficulty been saved, beheld without hysterics or loud weep- 
ing her loved home and many treasures therein melting 
away, and calmly repeated Thomas Greene's well-known 
hymn: "It is the Lord, enthroned in light!" 

Hardly need it be said that none of the educated, high- 
minded men among the Loyalists, of whom there were many, 
were capable of sympathizing with or giving the least en- 
couragement to wrongdoing of any sort. They conscien- 
tiously believed there were wiser and better ways of securing 
what all desired than by separation from the Mother Country. 
They felt assured also that the struggle for independence 
was a hopeless one. Events proved that they were mistaken. 
Then, even expatriated Loyalists said they were glad at the 
issue, and thenceforth rendered loyal and notable service 



"War Times 177 

to the independent state and nation. We are not to be 
severe in our judgment of men who were conscientiously 
faithful to their convictions of right and obHgation. We 
hold no brief for the Loyalists of Kinderhook, but suggest 
that before we judge them harshly we should be sure that as 
regards intelligence, character, and distinguished service to 
the community, state, and nation, we have as valid a claim 
as theirs to the respect and gratitude of posterity. Most of 
the Loyalists here declared their willingness to take, and did 
take, an oath that neither directly nor indirectly would they 
do or say anything inimical to the American cause ; but the 
oath of allegiance to the Free and Independent State of New 
York they would not take. They were therefore classed 
among the neutrals and disaffected whose influence was 
inimical to the public welfare. The list of Kinderhook 
"suspects" was a long one and contained many honored 
names. These were subject to the unjust accusations of the 
envious and malicious, as well as to the distrust of those 
favoring the cause of American independence, among whom 
were many of their own kindred and most valued friends. 
That they and the families from which many of them were 
separated suffered greatly is well known. 

Before the appointment of the state "Commissioners for 
Detecting and Defeating Conspiracies," John L. Van Alen 
and John S. Van Alstyne were sent to the Fleet prison at 
Kingston for the sole offense of refusing to give evidence 
against their fellow- townsmen. In July, 1777, the Albany 
Council of Safety wrote to the Kingston Council, expressing 
their consent and desire for the liberation of these men upon 
their entering into a bond to appear within six days before 
the Council, to give evidence "touching and concerning such 
persons at or about Kinderhook suspected to be guilty of 
inimical practices against the State." 

Matthew Vosburgh, Jr., was among those sent to Goshen. 
Subsequently, an exchange having been effected, he went 
within the British lines at New York, utterly broken in 



178 Old K-inderKooK. 

health, and died there attended only by his daughter Bata. 
Very pathetic was the appeal of the widow here to Governor 
Clinton to permit the return of Bata to her mother. Per- 
mission was given, it need hardly be said. Thus it was also 
in December, 1779, as regards the petition of Alida Van 
Alstine to Governor Clinton for permission to join her 
husband Peter (of whom more anon) in New York. She 
represented that before he left the state he had been com- 
pelled, for personal safety for a considerable time, to seek 
concealment in the woods ; that seeing no prospect of recon- 
ciliation with his prejudiced neighbors he was constrained 
to proceed to Canada and thence to New York: and that by 
reason of the sequestration of her husband's estate she was 
unable to support herself. Permission was given her to go, 
taking with her her three children, a negro boy, and also 
Annatie, wife of Marte Van Buren. 

The state "Commissioners for Detecting and Defeating 
Conspiracies" (i 778-1 781) were given almost absolute power. 
Conditions considered, it may have been necessary that their 
proceedings should have had something of a star-chamber 
character and be at times arbitrary and tyrannical. It was 
not long after their appointment that information was 
lodged against the Loyalists here. Seventeen of them were 
arrested, imprisoned seventeen days, and then discharged 
for lack of evidence against them. The privilege was given 
them of paying the expenses of the major and his fifty men 
sent to arrest those ready to obey any summons. Loyalists 
of eminence were called before the Commissioners and tend- 
ered the oath of allegiance, which they refused. Some of 
these were imprisoned at Albany, Hartford, Goshen, and in 
the Kingston Fleet prison. That prison was a sloop (some- 
times more than one) anchored in Esopus creek for the 
detention of the disaffected whose liberty was deemed a 
menace. Others were ordered to be deported within the 
British lines. The haste of the Albany Commissioners in 
sending a company of these from Kinderhook to Fishkill, 



^A^ar Times 179 

without waiting for the Governor's reply to their letter of 
information, was rebuked by him, to whom they afterward 
apologized. Through his intervention other neutral Kinder- 
hook Loyalists who had been ordered deported were reserved 
for exchange. While awaiting exchange they were paroled 
to remain within the limits appointed them in Schodack. 
Some of the paroled men were kept there thirteen months. 
However urgently needed at home, because of illness or for 
any other reason, none might leave the limits without the 
permission of the Commissioners. Peter Van Schaack, who 
subsequently expatriated himself, was not permitted to take 
his dying wife to New York nor have a physician whom she 
wanted to come from there. Governor Clinton, disposed to 
be lenient and kindly to all of known integrity of character, 
regretted that he felt compelled to deny these requests for 
reasons of State which he regarded as imperative. In these 
and in many other ways the Loyalists suffered for their 
fidelity to their convictions. Mistaken though they were, 
we can respect their fidelity to the right as they saw it. 

Professor A. C. Flick, in his monograph, Loyalism in New 
York, thus writes: 

As the war drew to a close and it became apparent that the 
colonies would gain their independence, many a loyalist, whose 
natural conservatism, principles of loyalism, religion, material 
interests or hope of reward had led to champion the royal side, 
was converted to the American cause. No doubt many of these 
were sincere, but others were prompted solely by base and selfish 
motives. 

Later, he says concerning the returning exiles: 

Peter Van Schaack and loyalists of his integrity and character, 
who both denounced the arbitrary program of Great Britain and 
feared the results of independence ; who wished to remain neutral, 
and who, when forced to decide between two evils, went to 
England under the stress of double allegiance to await the end 



i8o Old K-inderHooK 

of the war, these persons were welcomed back by all but the 
extremists. 

That there were extremists, incapable of magnanimity, 
appears from the account in the Royal Gazette, New York, 
June 1 8, 1783, reprinted from Loudon's Packet, of what is 
termed, "a meeting of a number of respectable inhabitants 
of the district of Kinderhook, in Albany County, on Tuesday, 
May the 27th, 1783, Captain Isaac Van Valkenburgh in the 
Chair." The long preamble and six resolutions of bitter 
denunciation of all who had been sent or voluntarily gone 
within the lines of the enemy, while pardonable under the then 
existing conditions, were not so creditable or important as 
to be worthy of full reproduction here. They were in 
substance: that "the wretched men, the miscreants, the 
atrocious villains," were not to return to the District, and 
all who had returned were to leave by the loth of June, or 
"be dealt with in the severest manner." None were to 
"harbour them, and no man was to be admitted into the 
district to carry on any trade or traffic, or sell any mer- 
chandise of any kind whatever, or gain any settlement, 
without proving he had taken an active part in the cause of 
America since the commencement of the war. " 

The spirit of this action, excusable possibly as regards 
those who had joined the British army, did not long prevail 
against neutral inoffensive Loyalists for whose character and 
conscientious convictions of duty such exalted patriots as 
Jay and Benson had only the utmost respect. Peter Van 
Schaack, second to none in the respect of such men, returned 
in 1784 and, by legislative Act of May 12th, was restored to 
full citizenship. By the supplemental Act of 1786 he and 
thirty-one inoffensive Loyalists were 

restored to all their rights, privileges and immunities as citizens 
of this State, from and after such time as the said persons re- 
spectively shall in any court of record in this State, take the oath 
of abjuration and allegiance prescribed by law. 



"War Times i8i 

The list of names included those of Henry Van Dyck, John 
Van Alen, Henry Van Schaack, David Van Schaack, and 
Harman Pruyn. 

There were many thousands of Loyalists, including some 
from Kinderhook, who joined the British army and were the 
most bitter of all enemies of the American cause. As was 
to be expected, their property was confiscated by the state. 
At the conclusion of the war they found themselves homeless 
and impoverished. Some went to England, but more, with 
their families, estimated at from 28,000 to 40,000 in number, 
fled to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Upper Canada 
which owe much to these settlers, quite superior to ordinary 
immigrants. 

That conditions in their new home were not altogether 
what had been expected appears in this extract from a letter 
written by one of the exiles: 

all our golden promises are vanished in smoke. We were taught 
to believe this place was not barren and foggy as had been 
represented, but we find it ten times worse. We have nothing 
but His Majesty's rotten pork and unbaked flour to subsist on. 
... It is the most inhospitable clime that ever mortal set foot 
on. 

Quite in contrast that with Hudson's record after his visit 
to Old Kinderhook, latitude 42°i8': "The land is the finest 
for cultivation that I ever in my life set foot upon. " 

The League of the United-Empire Loyalists exists in 
Canada to this day ; and if we would learn how mistaken and 
wrong the fathers of the Revolution were, and, in some cases 
at least, how base and despicable their character, we have but 
to read the amazing addresses at the three-fold "Centennial 
Celebration of the Settlement of Upper Canada in 1884" 
(Toronto, 1885). 

The Report of the Bureau of Archives of the Province of 
Ontario, 1901, adds somewhat to our information concerning 



i82 Old HinderKooK 

the Loyalists of Kinderhook who joined the British army. 
John W. Claw, Abraham Loucks, Peter Van Alstine, Gysbert 
Sharpe, and William Crowder were among those who applied 
to the Claim Commissioners at Montreal for reimbursement 
of their losses because of service to the Crown. In 1776 
Peter Van Alstine (son of Alexander, brother of John) was a 
Justice of the Peace here and complained in that year to the 
Provincial Congress that the people were unwilling to have 
any Process issued in the name of the King. The other 
Justices, Peter Vosburgh, Henry Van Schaack, and Andries 
Witbeck concurred in the complaint, although without any 
grievance of their own to recite. Peter Van Alstine's narra- 
tive to the Canadian Commissioners states that he had from 
the earliest period (through his wife's influence, some allege) 
determined to support the British Government; had been 
imprisoned seventeen days; had been compelled to leave 
his home and hide from his neighbors ; had lost everything, 
including a farm of six hundred acres and his brick house and 
had joined Burgoyne's army, taking thirty men with him. 
Claw had lost about 220 acres with a good house and black- 
smith shop and had also joined Burgoyne. Sharpe, living 
near Van Alstyne, had also been obliged to hide; had lost 
two hundred acres and his weaving loom and was also with 
Burgoyne. Loucks was in the British army two years; was 
with Burgoyne and lost everything. Crowder had essentially 
the same story to tell. Van Alstine and Sharpe had certifi- 
cates from Mr. Peter Van Schaack as to their early and 
uniform loyalty to the King. It was only a fraction of their 
losses that was ever made good to these and others who had 
staked their all and lost. 

The Loyalists of Kinderhook who actively aided the 
British, were, however, few compared with the inhabitants 
who entirely sympathized with the American cause. Gaines's 
Mercury of October 2, 1775, narrates how the patriotic girls 
of Kinderhook at a quilting bee, having no tar and feathers, 
poured molasses and scattered the down of weeds over an 



War Times 



183 



intrusive young loyalist who exasperated them beyond 
endurance by his sneers at Congress. 

Among the " Resolves " of the Continental Congress, May 
25, 1775, was this : "That the Militia of New York be armed 
and trained and in Constant readiness to act at a moment's 
warning. " Five days later the Provincial Congress of New 
York, of which our Peter Silvester was a member, considered 
the action of the Continental Congress, 

And thereupon resolved, that it be recommended to the In- 
habitants of this Colony in general, immediately to furnish 
themselves with necessary Arms and Ammunition, to use all 
Diligence to perfect themselves in the Military Art, and if 
necessary to form themselves into Companies for that purpose, 
until the further Order of this Congress. 

The recommendations of the Continental and the Pro- 
vincial Congress had been anticipated by the Albany County 
Committee. On the 3d of May, 1775, they resolved to raise 
troops for the defense of the Colony. Those raised in the 
Kinderhook District constituted the Seventh Regiment. The 
original commissioned officers were these : 



Col., And lies Witbeck 

Lt. Col., Barent Vanderpoel 

1st Major, Lawrence Goes 

1st Company 

Capt., Lambert Borghardt 
1st Lt., Isaac P. Van Valkenburgh 
2d Lt., John J. Van Alstyne 
Ens., Nicholas Kittle, Jun. 

3d Company 

Capt., Philipp Van Alstyne 
1st Lt., John J. Goes 
2d Lt., Peter Hugunine 
Ens., Andries Vanderpoel 



2d Major, Cornelius Van Schaack 
Adjt., Isaac Vanderpoel 
Q. Master, John D. Goes 

2d Company 

Capt., Gysbert L. Sherpe 

1st Lt., John Philipp 

2d Lt., Peter J. Van Valkenburgh 

Ens., Gose Quackenboss 

4th Company 

Capt., Dirck Gardinier 
1st Lt., Evert Vosburgh 
2d Lt., John Klaws 
Ens., Jacobus McNiel 



i84 Old R-inderKooK 

5th Company 6th Company 

Capt., Abraham I. Van Alstyne Capt., Joshua Hall 

1st Lt., Burger Klaws 1st Lt., Samuel Rowland 

2d Lt., David Van Ness 2d Lt., Henry Bush 

Ens., John Van Ness Ens., Thomas Beebe 

The Provincial Convention appointed Harman Van 
Buren, Major of this regiment, September 5, 1776, and he 
was again commissioned Major, October 30, 1778. Peter J. 
Vosburgh also was one of our Revolutionary patriots who 
has not received hitherto the recognition due his memory. 
He entered the regular army in 1776, was made Lieutenant of 
the 1st New York Regiment, and continued in service until 
he retired as a supernumerary. Thereafter, as the records of 
the Council of Appointment reveal, he was in 1786, a Captain 
in the company of Light Infantry in the militia of Columbia 
County, and was steadily promoted until 18 19 when he was 
commissioned as Major-General of the Eighth Division of 
Infantry. He died January 29, 1830, in the seventy-eighth 
year of his age. The corps in which he served under Wash- 
ington was armed and equipped by Lafayette, and the sword 
and uniform which General Vosburgh thus received were 
sacredly cherished treasures. His certificate of membership 
in the Society of the Cincinnati was signed by George 
Washington. In the war of 18 12 he served on the northern 
frontier. 

The changes among commissioned officers, made necessary 
by disaffection, resignation, and other causes, were numerous. 
The final revised Roster, the Awards of Bounty Rights, and 
a note on the subsequent history of the Seventh Regiment 
may be found in the Appendix. 

That some of the people here as elsewhere were willing 
to earn a presumably honest penny in and through those 
troublous times was to be expected. Freight rates seem to 
have been high. We have before us a specimen certificate 
of accounts due individuals here for public service. Moses 
Hopkins, for example, in October, 1777, and February, 1778, 



War Times 185 

was credited with forty pounds, ten shillings for transporting 
twenty-three barrels of flour from Kinderhook to Great 
Barrington, thirty miles, at the lawful rate of one shilling 
per mile for each barrel. At about the same time Lambert 
Borghardt, Albert Witbeck, Andries Witbeck, John C. 
Holland, John Van Buren, Comelis Vosburgh, and Francis 
Claw were credited with 120 pounds for transporting "each 
a slea load of Cloathing from Springfield to Albany, 100 
miles. " All these amounts were increased one third because 
of the depreciation of New York currency. As illustrative 
of the military supplies furnished, and also of the thrift of our 
people, we have this letter of Colonel Morgan Lewis to 
Major Isaac Goes of our Seventh Regiment, dated Albany, 
January 15, 1779: 

I am now able to give you a determinate answer respecting 
the oars, poles, paddles &c. The prices the people ask are very 
extravagant. I would have you try and get them made for less. 
But if you cannot you must give it. You may therefore contract 
for twelve thousand oars, as many setting poles and two thousand 
paddles. ... I must request you will use your utmost exertion 
in getting ready at least one-half by the first of April. You will 
deliver over all the flower and wheat in your possession to Mr. 
Van Ness, taking his receipt therefor. This must be done 
immediately as tis wanted for this Department. The snow we 
may hourly expect I hope will be a means of furnishing us with 
the grain you have bought. Send up Vosburgh the carpenter. 

The records of service rendered by the state militia, as 
distinguished from the regular army, are few and frag- 
mentary. Our Seventh Regiment, like others of its kind, was 
largely, we suppose, a home guard, called upon in times of 
need to render important but temporary service wherever 
sent, but not permanently a part of the regular army. 
Descendants of the officers and enlisted men may have 
documentary evidence and more that is traditional and not 
wholly reliable of important service rendered, but the public 
records are few. 



l86 Old ninderhooK 

In the papers of George Clinton, the first Governor of 
New York, we find scattered items of information which are 
suggestive of much unwritten history. We glean from them 
and from other records a few only of the more interesting 
and important details. 

From July 1-23, and from September 20-October 6, 
1777, Major Van Buren was in command of a detachment 
in active service, and Major Goes in command of another 
detachment from July 10-20. September 18, 1777, before 
the battle of Saratoga, Colonels Van Ness and Van Alstyne 
were ordered to join General Gates at once. 

Through the kindness of Mrs. Aaron J. Vanderpoel, we 
have been favored in having before us the late Henry C. Van 
Schaack's unpublished "Revolutionary Autographs" con- 
taining many letters, the originals. Not without interest 
is this letter from Jacob Cuyler, of the Commissary De- 
partment, U. S. Army, to Major Isaac Goes of the Kinder- 
hook regiment. The prisoners referred to were of Burgoyne's 
army. 

Albany, 18 Oct., 1777. 
Dear Sir. 

This moment I have received direction from Genl. Gates to 
supply the prisoners and those who will guard them, to the 
amount of six thousand. They will be at Kinderhook by Monday 
night. You will immediately order a man to remain on the road 
and order fifty head of cattle to come to you out of the first 
drove he meets to supply them, Capt. Spenir will bring fifty 
more by Monday night. They will want about 400 barrels of 
flour to be issued and to support them on the road. What quan- 
tity have you got at the Landing and at the Mills? Let me know 
before I go to bed so as that I may regulate myself accordingly. 
I will this evening send a man to assist you and will apply to the 
Q. M. G. to send some person to procure carriages. This is a 
matter of the greatest consequence, therefore please exert 
yourself. 

Yours in haste, 

Jacob Cuyler. 




Dishes Used when Burgoyne was Entertained at Kinderhook 

From a photograph by William Wait 



"War Times 187 

Mr. Albert Decker, of Stuyvesant Falls, now (1912) in 
his 94th year, informs us that his grandfather, Nicholas 
Robinson, a major in a Dutchess and Columbia County 
militia regiment, pointed out to him the camping-ground of 
Burgoyne's captured army here. It was in the fields, then 
woods, to the north of the David Van Schaack (the late Mrs, 
A. J. Vanderpoel's) house. A mysterious cannon ball, 
brought to light many years later by a plow, was thought 
to be a memorial of that encampment. Two soldiers of the 
American guard, Mr. Decker was told, dying here, were 
buried in the Van Schaack burial plot, now the site of the 
Dutch Reformed church. 

Kinderhook was never quite so populous as on the night 
of Wednesday, October 22, 1777, when a portion of Bur- 
goyne's captive army was encamped in the woods then 
covering the fields in the vicinity of our present new ceme- 
tery. 

Burgoyne himself and his American escort. General 
Phillips, were entertained at the elegant home of Mr. David 
Van Schaack. In the family was an adopted daughter, 
Lydia Van Vleck Van Schaack, a charming young girl, who 
became the wife of Francis Silvester whose daughter, 
Margaret, told us the following incident : After the dinner 
given Generals Phillips and Burgoyne, several toasts to 
hosts, guests, and others were offered in kindly spirit, with 
careful avoidance of names and subjects forbidden by 
courtesy. At last, however, one turned laughing to Lydia 
and asked her for a toast, whereupon she replied, "To the 
King and Queen and all the Royal family. " That there was 
a moment of embarrassment if not of consternation we may 
well believe, but General Phillips was so charmed by the 
grace and artlessness of the girl that he smiled and laughed 
the embarrassment away. 

The next day, tradition alleges, the two Generals mounted 
their horses and rode over the Kleine Kill road, at one point 
of which an interested woman called out to them, "Which 



l88 Old RinderKooK 

of you gentlemen is Mr. General Burgoyne?" Whereupon 
Burgoyne gallantly raised his hat and bowed. That this 
woman was a certain Mrs. Gardenier of Kleine Kill, whose 
prowess has been reported to us by an aged friend and 
neighbor, we cannot affirm. The husband of this Mrs. 
Gardenier was the champion wrestler and boxer of this 
whole region. A passing British soldier hearing of him, and 
having a good opinion of his own accomplishments, was eager 
to try conclusions with him. With blood and fire in his eye 
he sought his antagonist. He was not at home, but his wife 
was very much at home. Hearing what the man wanted, 
she gently or otherwise took him up and threw him over a 
fence into the hog pen. A sadder but a wiser man, with 
regimentals even less cleanly and more odoriferous than they 
were before, he rose up and walked off and is reported as 
saying that — if that is Gardenier's wife, he was not as anxious 
as he had been to meet Gardenier himself. 

Several of Burgoyne 's German soldiers, we read, won 
by the attractiveness of Children's Corner, deserted and 
made their homes here. The worthy descendants of some 
of them are among us still. 

Among the Letters of Brunswick and Hessian Soldiers, 
translated by W. L. Stone, is one, dated December 15, 1777, 
from which we make the following extract, of some interest 
if not altogether flattering : 

On the 22d, (Oct.) our march was almost entirely through 
woods in which we came across every little while miserable 
dwellings. Finally after going twelve miles we came to a plain 
lying between several hills where the borough of Kinderhook 
(consisting of about seventy straggling houses) is situated. The 
most prominent house in the village belonged to a man named 
Van Schaaken [the old Wynkoop house]. It was built of stone 
and three stories high. This man showed us many little atten- 
tions and was a kind friend to us. The rest of the people, who 
were also Dutch by birth, were also kind. They had but one 
fault — that is they were selfish, and were as fond of money as a 



"War Times 189 

Jew. Every article they sold us was terribly dear. Most of the 
houses were very well built and nicely furnished inside. The 
inhabitants in general lived well. Their breakfast consisted of 
milk, tea, roast meat, baked apples and all kinds of rich butter 
cakes. We could have made ourselves comfortable enough with 
tea if we had only had enough of it. Those people who were in 
comparatively easy circumstances had gilt frames around their 
mirrors and very good pendulum clocks. Similar household 
furniture can be found only along the road to Boston. As all 
the barns of the farmers were full of grain we had to camp out 
in a neighboring wood. 

It is a local tradition that some at least of these "selfish" 
purveyors of supplies were paid with counterfeit money. 

In another of these "Letters" (p. 129), the writer reveals 
his excellent judgment and fine discrimination when after 
writing of the stature and beauty of American men, he adds, 
"I will give you some details of the women also when I 
arrive at Kinderhook. " After his arrival he wrote: 

I am at last in Kinderhook whence I promised to write you a 
chapter about pretty girls. Before however reading my narrative 
to a lady, examine it carefully so as to see if there is any danger 
of its causing future trouble between me and my dear country- 
women. Should you decide against it have mercy on me and 
upset the inkstand on the entire chapter. The ladies in this 
vicinity . . . are slender, of erect carriage, and, without being 
very strong, are plump. They have small and pretty feet, good 
hands and arms, a very white skin and a healthy color in the 
face which requires no other embellishment. . . . They have 
also exceedingly white teeth, pretty lips, and laughing sparkling 
eyes. They are great admirers of cleanliness and keep them- 
selves well shod. ... At all the places through which we passed, 
dozens of girls were met with on the road, who either laughed at 
us mockingly, or now and then roguishly offered us an apple, 
accompanied by a little curtesy. . . . The fair sex were the cause 
of our losing some of our comrades on the morning of the 23d, 
of October. 



190 Old K-inderKooK 

That was the morning they left Kinderhook and pro- 
ceeded to Claverack, Nobletown, Great Barrington, etc., 
on the way to Boston, and one of those Kinderhook de- 
serters was Andrew Mayfield Cashore who opened a school 
here, subsequently removing to Claverack. Another was 
Christian Bork, who opened a school on the Post Road, north 
of the village, and later became the first pastor of the 
Schodack church. 

In August, 1778, Colonel Van Alstyne was at Cherry 
Valley with fifty-one men, Lieutenant-Colonel Barent Staats 
having chief command. In September, Lieutenant-Colonel 
Philip Van Alstine was at Schoharie in command of 225 men 
drawn from eight regiments. This was the time of Sir 
John Johnson's raids with Indian allies at German Flats 
and Canajoharie, and that fact may explain to a degree the 
somewhat humiliating letter of Colonel Van Alstyne to the 
Governor, in which he narrates that he had been ordered 
to send a fourth part of his regiment to Fort Arnold in the 
Highlands, but had been "unable to persuade more than 
six or seven men to go. These he was sending under the 
command of Capt. Truesdel. " To this the Governor 
replied three days later that he had "ordered the return of 
Capt. Truesdel; that the delinquents were to be arrested 
and court martialed, and that, unless ordered to the frontier, 
he was to bring his quota to Fort Arnold if it took the whole 
regiment to compel them to go." That many were appre- 
hensive as regards their own homes and families seems quite 
possible. 

In March, 1779, the "Return" of Colonel Van Alstyne's 
regiment was 293 men. In 1780 the Colonel reported the 
sending of thirty-one men from his Classes to reinforce the 
Continental Army. All did not go when sent, for in July of 
that year there were ten delinquents reported, and Lieuten- 
ant Ten Broeck was ordered to collect these and other 
delinquents and march them to Fishkill. From August 15th 
to September 7, 1779, a small detachment from here was at 



"War Times 191 

Fort Herkimer. Mr. Philip Van Alstine is our authority for 
the statement that Colonel Abraham's regiment was in 
active service in 1780, October 15-26, and November 12-22; 
also October 13-23 and October 27-November 24, 1781. 

Here as elsewhere it was difficult at times for the Classes 
to furnish the men required for enlistment in the regular 
army, nor was it always easy to collect the fines of the de- 
linquent Classes. In December, 1781, Captain Andrew 
Moodie, then at West Point, wrote to Governor Clinton as 
follows : 

. . . Lt. Coll. Vanalstain from Kinderhook was here a few 
days ago & informs me that the Rigement where he resides have 
all their Classes Delinquent & he believes if that your Excllancy 
was to writt to the Colin, on the subject, that the Rigement 
would hire all the above men, (nine men enlisted by Capt 
Moodie and whose term of service would soon expire). He said 
that thier is a great many disaffected amongst every Class & 
that the Colin, can do nothing with them, without your Ex- 
cllancys Emediate directions. 

On receipt of this, Robert Benson at Poughkeepsie wrote 
in behalf of the Governor this letter, dated December 15th: 

Sir, His Excellency the Gov'r is informed that there are great 
Delinquencies in your Regt. in raising the proportion of Men 
for compleating the Cont'l. Battalions of this State, that they 
have neither furnished the men nor the money. Capt. Moody 
has lately enlisted in his Company of Artillery, a number of very 
good soldiers on Condition that he pay them the Bounty before 
the first of Jany. and as the public Service absolutely requires 
that money should be immediately procured for this Purpose, 
His Excellency directs me to write to you on the subject & to 
require that you will forthwith on rec't of this proceed to the 
Business & cause the money from all the Delinquent Classes 
in yr. Regt. to be collected & paid according to the directions 
of the Law in that case made and provided. Capt Moody is 
willing to assign to each of the Classes of your Regt. who shall 



192 Old RinderKooK 

furnish him with money to pay the Bounty of one of the above 
men by him enhsted. I am, &c. &c., 

RoBT. Benson. 
Colo. Van Alstyne, Kinderhook. 

On the 2 1st of December, 1781, we find Colonel Van 
Alstyne at a meeting in Albany which Generals Rensselaer 
and Gansevoort had asked to have called and at which the 
following action was taken : 

The question whether it was necessary to raise any Number 
of Men for the Defence of the Western Frontier of this County 
before the opening of the Spring was put and passed in the 
Affirmative by a great Majority. It was moved that it is the 
opinion of this meeting that 200 Men are necessary for immediate 
Defence ... & upon the Question being put it passed in the 
Affirmative by a great Majority. 

Five days later Colonel Van Alstyne addressed this 
explanatory letter to the Governor: 

Kinderhook, 26 Deer., 1781. 
Sir, Yesterday I received your Excellencys two letters of the 
15th & 19th Instant, with Capt. Moodies inclosed, by the Men 
therein mentioned. Immediately on the Receipt of them I went 
with the Men to the Heads of the Classes, who warned the rest 
to meet this day for the Purpose of agreeing with the Men, and 
from the encouragement given in Capt. Moodie's Letter of their 
being willing to take part of the Pay in Produce &c I had great 
hopes they would have been hired; but when the Classes met 
they (the men) would not agree to serve for less than Forty- 
five Pounds hard money, to be paid to them in hand; this the 
People declared themselves unable to do and I readily believe it, 
for I do not think there is one-fourth part of the money it would 
require in the District; so that all hopes of agreeing with them 
was at an end and the Men resolved to Return. 

I am sorry they would not agree to take Part in Produce 
Security &c. for I believe some of the Classes would otherwise 
have hired. Early last summer I furnished the Assessors of this 
District with the Names of the People who compose the De- 



"War Times 193 

linquent Classes, and directed them to proceed to assess them 
according to Law, but nothing has been done therein to my 
knowledge. 

Pursuant to your Excellency's Command I will again direct 
them immediately to proceed against the Delinquent Classes, 
and probably the new Emission may be procured, which is the 
best I have reason to expect the People will do. 

In explanation of all this it may be well to say that one 
important service of the state militia was to furnish short- 
term men to the Continental Army for special emergencies. 
For this purpose our Seventh Regiment was divided into 
thirty-one Classes of about fifteen men each, and these 
Classes were required, when called upon, to furnish each one 
able-bodied, trained, and well-equipped soldier for three 
months' service in the Regular Army or pay a considerable 
fine. 

In Governor Clinton's papers, and other records of the 
time, may be found many items essentially the same as those 
we have quoted. They report the strength of the regiments 
at different times. They record their occasional summons 
here and there, in whole or in part, for temporary active 
service. They note their supply from time to time of their 
quota of men for the Continental Army for three and some- 
times nine months' service, and the occasional payment of 
fines for delinquent Classes. For example: In 1781 the 7th 
Regiment, then in the 2d battalion of Brigadier-General 
Robert Rensselaer's brigade, is returned as having a total of 
317 men, and that same year Colonel Abraham Van Alstyne 
is credited with the payment of 210 pounds on account of his 
delinquent Classes. 

Omitting nothing we think, of any present interest or 
importance, we have given the substance of the whole story 
of Revolutionary service as revealed in existing known 
records. They show that in the Seventh and in other 
regiments in the vicinity, many sons of Kinderhook rendered 
honorable service to their state and country in their times 



194 Old liinderKooK 

of dire extremity. At Fort Rensselaer (Canajoharie), No- 
vember 2, 1781, Colonel Willett, in complimenting the troops 
under his command, stated that "the patience and fortitude 
of the LEVIES throughout the whole of this fatigue did them 
great honor." In this connection it is worthy of note that 
Martin Van Alstine, who removed from Kinderhook to that 
vicinity in 17 13, built a fine stone house there in 1730 which 
during the Revolution was barricaded and called Fort 
Rensselaer. 

As in the exigencies of the war the need of men increased, 
larger and yet larger bounties for enlistment were offered 
by the Continental Congress and supplemented by the 
State. Among these were what came to be known as Land 
Bounty Rights. These Rights varied at different times, but 
in 1 78 1 a Colonel, Lieutenant-Colonel, and Major were 
entitled to four Rights each ; a Captain and Surgeon to three ; 
a Lieutenant, Ensign, and Surgeon's Mate to two, and 
privates to one. At that time five hundred acres constituted 
a Right. The ultimate allotments of land may be found in 
the Balloting Book, as it is called, in our State Library. The 
lands allotted were chiefly in Montgomery (much larger than 
now), Onondaga, and Tioga counties. About two hundred 
of our Seventh Regiment are recorded as entitled to Bounty 
Rights {see Appendix) which they could transfer to a 
purchaser, if they did not wish to retain the allotted lands 
themselves. 

With the exception of those who had fought against the 
independence of the colonies, all our people were gladdened 
indeed by the tidings of triumph and peace in the autumn 
of 1782. For years weary-hearted and sorrowing women of 
Kinderhook had been writing to their beloved from whom 
they were separated — "When will this dreadful war have an 
end?" — "May the Lord soon restore peace to our land, and 
may the present distress be the means of humbling us all." 
" I am tired out of living in this cruel suspense and separated 
from the only object that can make me happy. " But at last 



War Times 195 

their sorrow was turned to joy and with no irreverent spirit 
they sang, we may think, "How beautiful on the mountains 
are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth 
peace." 

From the original manuscript of a letter of Peter Van 
Schaack to his brothers Henry and David, dated London, 
February 19, 1783, we make the following extract: 

An American Ambassador is soon to make his Entry (it is 
said a public one) into London. Believe me that however un- 
palatable this may be to many, yet the great Bulk of the Nation 
will hail the Event with real Joy. The people at large love the 
Americans tho the tender ties are dissolved. One or two ves- 
sels with the 13 stripes flying are now in the River Thames and 
the crews are caressed. 

Those who had cast their lot against their country, of 
necessity lost their all. Neutral exiles, recognizing frankly 
their error of judgment, conscientious but fallible, rejoiced 
in the issue and said ''esto perpetua''; and thereto gave their 
hearts and service most loyally. Returning with measureless 
joy to home, kindred, and friends, they were received with 
glad welcome by all save a few extremists who had not the 
grace of magnanimity. 

THE WAR OF l8l2 

The service of our people in the War of 18 12 is for the 
most part not to be distinguished from that of the several 
military organizations of the county. Years ago, it is stated, 
many of the State Records of the war were sent to Washing- 
ton and are practically inaccessible. From Governor Tomp- 
kins's published "Military Papers," the "Proceedings of the 
Council of Appointment," and the "Index of Awards" to 
sundry claimants for services and supplies, we glean a few 
details. 

In those days, on the farm now belonging to Mr. John 
Bray, on the Eikebush road, lived John Bidwell and his son 



196 Old H-inderHooK 

David, both of whom are buried in our cemetery. Mr. 
Frederick David Bidwell, of the State Tax Commission, 
Albany, gives these details of David's military service: 
1805, appointed Ensign in the 56th Regiment, infantry, 
commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel P. J. Vosburgh; 1809, 
Lieutenant; 1815, Captain; 1818, Major; 1819, Lieutenant- 
Colonel; 1822, resigned, and was succeeded by Charles 
Whiting. 

In December, 1807, evidently with some expectation of 
the coming war, the Governor issued an order for the 
organization of the Columbia County Cavalry, Reuben 
Ranney being Captain, and Robert H. Van Rensselaer and 
John P. Mesick, Lieutenants. Subsequently this was made 
the first squad of the 3d Regiment, Columbia and Rensselaer 
Cavalry. 

In 1808, we read of the formation of General S. Ten 
Broeck's Brigade of Infantry to which Columbia County 
contributed 419 men. His brigade is frequently spoken of 
in connection with the movements for the defense of the 
State. In 1809 a Battalion of Artillery was organized in the 
County, with William Wigton as Captain and David West, 
Lieutenant. In June, 18 12, Peter I. Vosburgh of Kinderhook 
was assigned to the command of the 9th Regiment of the 
3d brigade. A month later he appears as commander of the 
56th Regiment of the 12th brigade. He reports a vacancy 
in the company commanded by Andries Whitbeck occasioned 
by the death of Ensign Thomas Eddy. Lucas Goes was made 
Ensign. David Van Schaack, also, had Governor Tompkins's 
commission as Ensign, which we have seen. In August of 
the same year Colonel Vosburgh's regiment was ordered into 
the service of the United States and was to rendezvous 
September 8th, every man completely armed and equipped, 
evidently at his own expense. By a second order of the 
Governor "all companies of Light Infantry, Grenadiers, 
Infantry and Riflemen in the County were to assemble at 
Kinderhook Sept. 9th., at 10 o'clock, and thence proceed 



War Times 197 

to Waterford without a moment's delay." Then, a week 
later, the alarm becoming acute, "all the militia in the State 
were ordered to be prepared for instant service and ready to 
march at a moment's notice to any part of the State that 
might be attacked." 

September 15, 1812, the following order was issued to 
Colonel Vosburgh by Governor Tompkins: 

You are strictly charged to proceed immediately to Whitehall 
on Lake Champlain; your Quarter Master or his agent will pro- 
cure a conveyance for your regiment by Water from thence 
to Plattsburgh. On your arrival at Plattsburgh you will re- 
port yourself and the Corps under your command to Brig. 
Gen. Bloomfield, whose orders and directions are to be 
implicitly obeyed. It will be well for your Quarter Master or his 
agent to arrive at Whitehall before the Detachment, and prepare 
the Steamboat or other Vessel or Vessels for your transportation 
through the Lake. 

That there may not be an undue proportion of officers for the 
number of men under your Command, you are hereby authorized 
to give furloughs to or to discharge all or any of the supernumer- 
ary officers. You are also required to be particularly attentive 
to the accommodation and health of your Regiment, and to their 
improvement in discipline, for which purpose, you will enjoin 
upon your Staff Officers a strict attention to all the duties which 
appertain to their respective stations. 

The Governor's earlier and somewhat severe criticism 
of the discipline of this regiment may have been due to its 
apparent excess of disciplinarians. There were privates, 
however, and we have no doubt that our soldiers acquitted 
themselves well at Niagara, Plattsburgh, New York, and 
wherever else they were sent. We regret that the story of 
their valor and exploits is as yet unknown. That there is a 
doubtless thrilling narrative yet to be told we were convinced 
when we read the following names of residents of Kinder- 
hook in the "Index of Awards" authorized by the Legis- 
lature's Acts of 1818-19 in "payment of claims for services 



198 Old RinderHooK 

rendered and supplies furnished by the militia and volun- 
teers of this State called into service during the late war," 
William Angus, $80 ; Henry Van Valkenburgh, |8o ; Andrew 
Wells, $56; Lawrence Van Allen, $56; Derrick Race, $85; 
Jeremiah Mead, $13.50; Jacob A. Hawver, $55; John J. 
Clow, I38; Abraham Brouwer, $55; David Van Schaack, 
$60; James Van Valkenburgh, $61.50; Jonathan N. White, 
$57; John I. Stevens, $55; WilHam Pulver, $55; Charles M. 
Kemper, $57; Asahel Fuller, $61; Eleazer Castle, $115; 
Jabez Pierce, $55. What the services were is hidden in the 
archives at Washington, but we will assume that they were 
valuable and valorous. We have known some now passed 
away who were quite proud of their commission papers and 
experiences. 

THE CIVIL WAR 

The political campaign of i860 was characterized by 
great excitement here as elsewhere. Party demonstrations 
were numerous, oratory perfervid, and feeling intense. Both 
here and in Valatie there were large "Wide Awake," and 
"Little Giant" clubs, as there were everywhere throughout 
the Northern States. These clubs had their frequent rival 
meetings and torch-light parades, in which at times visiting 
clubs from near and far would take part, greatly increasing 
the spectacular display as well as the excitement already at 
fever heat. The most notable of these as regards numbers 
and enthusiasm was that which followed the "Great Re- 
publican Mass Meeting" on the afternoon and evening of 
October 26th. For two hours about a thousand people 
listened to the address of Senator Wade who was introduced 
by Mr. Tobey, president of the meeting, who also made a 
short but stirring speech. In the evening 2500 people took 
part in or witnessed the parade. Thirteen visiting clubs 
were present, making 843 men in line, with flaming torches 
and gleaming transparencies and martial music and shout- 



"War Times 199 

ings no pen may describe. Never before, unless at the great 
Van Buren barbecue, had Kinderhook beheld its equal. 
Along the line of march many houses were illuminated. 
P. E. Van Alstyne was the Marshal with B. Pruyn and E. 
Salisbury assisting. A New York Glee Club helped to 
enliven the afternoon meeting. 

Per contra. One week later the "Union Mass Meeting" 
was held. It was addressed by Fernando Wood of New 
York and L. D. Tremain of Albany. Mayor Wood it was 
who, six months later, seriously proposed that New York 
City should secede from the Union and become an inde- 
pendent free city. Only 436 men were in this procession, but 
more of the houses were illuminated. The birthplace of 
Van Buren must hold fast, it was supposed, to its ancient 
traditions. 

Ten days after the surrender of Fort Sumter — 

Pursuant to public notice . . . the citizens of Kinderhook 
met in Bray and Herrick's Hall at 7.30 o'clock, on Tuesday, 
April 24th, 1 861. . . . 

Mr. Thomas M. Burt having stated that the meeting was 
called to take some patriotic action in view of the recent attack 
upon the Government at Charleston, S. C, named David Van 
Schaack Esq. as President of the meeting, which motion was 
unanimously carried. Mr. Van Schaack took the chair and Mr. 
Burt moved that Mr. James Laing and Mr. Ephraim Best be the 
Vice Presidents of the meeting, which was unanimously carried. 

Mr. John Wilcoxson and Mr. Silas W. Burt were appointed 
Secretaries. The following letter from the Honorable John P. 
Beekman was then read and its sentiments warmly applauded: 

"Fellow Citizens, and I wish I could say Fellow Soldiers: 

" I have been requested to preside at your meeting to be held 
in this village this evening, but my health is too feeble to permit 
it. The fatigue and the excitement would injure me. In better 
health I would be with you. My whole heart is bound up in the 
movement which, I am told, you arc about to make to volunteer 
in the service of our country. From what I have heard from 



200 Old K-inderKooK 

different sources, there is now no alternative left us, but steadily, 
firmly and unitedly to support the government of our Country. 
Let no man who is able falter in the discharge of this great duty, 
for if he does, he will be disgraced in the eyes of the American 
people. 

"Were I a young man I should be proud to have the honor 
promptly to enlist as a volunteer, as one blow struck now may 
save ten blows at some future time. I counsel then — To arms! 
To arms! and suffer not your Country to be disgraced and her 
flag insulted by not striking a vigorous blow in defence of our 
rights and our honor." 

After the band had played the air of Hail Columbia, Mr. 
William H. Tobey made an eloquent address and appealed 
to the patriotism of those present that Kinderhook should not 
be laggard in this moment of the Nation's peril. He was fre- 
quently interrupted by applause, and at the close of his remarks 
the band played Yankee Doodle, and after vociferous cheers 
twice repeated that air. 

The following Preamble and Resolutions were then unani- 
mously adopted: 

" Whereas, an unprovoked war has been commenced by rebels 
and traitors with the avowed purpose of subverting the govern- 
ment and substituting anarchy and terrorism in place of the 
benign and just principles bequeathed us by Washington and 
his fellow patriots ; and 

" Whereas, active hostilities have begun and the emergency 
requires decided and prompt action ; 

'^Resolved: That forgetful of all past political differences, we 
pledge ourselves heartily to the support of the Government and 
the Constitution, and will devote ourselves with unanimity and 
patriotic zeal to the suppression of rebellion and treason, the 
maintenance of the laws, and the supremacy of the Union at all 
hazards. 

*' Resolved: That while deploring the advent of civil war which 
the madness of secession has precipitated upon us, we believe 
that policy and humanity alike demand the most vigorous and 
energetic measures to crush out treason now and forever, and 



"War Times 201 

that we will sustain the Government in such policy and action. 

"Resolved: That immediate measures be taken to enroll and 
drill a military company in this place and all patriotic persons 
are earnestly requested to offer their services. 

"Resolved: That a committee be appointed to raise and hold in 
trust subscriptions for the benefit of the families of volunteers 
from this place entering upon active service, and to disburse the 
same as required in an economical manner and as in their judg- 
ment may best subserve the spirit of this resolution." 

Upon motion the President was authorized to appoint a 
committee of five to enroll volunteers and a committee of three 
on finance. The President then appointed as a committee on en- 
rollment, Messrs Silas W. Burt, John Wilcoxson, Peter S. Hoes, 
James Lathrop, and Henry M. Graves; and as a committee on 
finance, Messrs William H. Rainey, Lawrence Van Buren and 
Frank G. Guion. 

Mr. Peter E. Van Alstyne moved that the committee on 
finance do begin this evening to receive subscriptions, which 
being seconded was debated on the affirmative by Messrs. Van 
Alstyne, Wilcoxson and Graves, and negatively by Messrs. 
Tobey, Thomas M. Burt and P. S. Hoes. The president also in a 
few words expressed his opinion that it would be safer to defer 
subscriptions. The motion of Mr. Van Alstyne being put was 
declared carried. 

After votes of thanks to the President and the band for their 
services, and to Messrs. Bray and Herrick for the use of the 
hall, and after an announcement by the committee on finance 
that one thousand dollars had been subscribed, the meeting 
adjourned, 

Silas W. Burt, Secretary. 

The whole account of this meeting we have quoted from 
the original Minutes now in the possession of Mr. James A. 
Reynolds. 

Enlistments began immediately and proceeded rapidly. 
Captain (later Colonel) Charles A. Burt was the recruiting 
officer of Kinderhook for General Cowles's regiment. His 
company, mustered in the 91st at Albany, left there Decem- 



202 Old RinderKooK 

ber 20th, and was mustered into the United States service 
ten days later at Governor's Island. It was sent to Key West, 
Pensacola, Baton Rouge, Port Hudson, and, later in the war, 
to Petersburgh, and was at Appomattox. Other Kinderhook 
men were in the 44th, 48th, 93d, 128th, and 150th of in- 
fantry, and in the ist, 2d, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 12th, of 
cavalry. The city of Hudson excepted, the town of Kinder- 
hook far exceeded every other town in the county in the 
number of men furnished and in the total of bounties and 
expenses paid. The official records show 407 enlisted men, 
32 substitutes, and $123,161 expended. In Major Elhs's 
History of the County there is a partial list of enlistments 
here, with a minimum perhaps of errors, but many omissions, 
for the total there given is but 333. Stones in our village 
cemetery give these additions: Robert Rosboro, Quarter- 
Sergeant, 6th N. Y. Cavalry; John S. Caulfield, Zouave 
Greys, 7th Illinois; Rufus Wagoner, 9th N. Y., and our 
everywhere faithful and beloved personal friend, Andrew 
Hagadorn, 5th N. Y., Duryea's Zouaves. 

As elsewhere stated Thomas M. Burt (senior) was 
Governor Morgan's trusted Paymaster; Silas W. Burt, 
Assistant Inspector-General with the rank of Colonel, a rank 
won by Charles A. Burt on the field of battle. General 
Morgan H. Chrysler and his son, Gifford W., residents here 
after the close of the war, rendered very notable service in 
the Union army. 

The following Rosters of two companies, copied from the 
Rough Notes of July 25, 1861, reveal our earliest volunteers 
only. 

The Roster of Company K, 30th, N. Y. V., in the Rough 
Notes of July 25, 1861, is as follows, 16 out-of-town names 
omitted : 

B. Pnijm, Capt, — G. W. Becker, ist Lieut. — Adam Lamp- 
man, 2d Lieut. — R. V. D. Salmon, Ord. Sergt. — Jas. Makcly, 2d 
Sergt. — Abram Palmatier, 3d Sergt. — Charles Nichols, Musician. 



"War Times 203 

— Andrew Abrams, ist Corp.— B. D. Butler, 2d Corp. — James 
Tanner, 3d Corp. — John H. Abrams, 4th Corp. — Privates: 
John Adams, Theo. Buckman, Wm. Binns, F. G. Bulkley, Free- 
man Clapper, John Cooney, Thomas Coupee, Daniel Connor, 
James H. Davis, Charles Fairchild, Wm. Fairchild, Samuel 
Fosmire, Thomas Grainey, Allen Hinchliffe, Henry Hodson, 
John Hart, James Johnson, Harvey L. Jones, Henry Lowe, 
Charles Moore, John McAlHster, James Smith, Joseph Schofield, 
Henry J. Stickles, Dennis SuUivan, Martin Skinkle, E. H. 
Stevens, H. Schermerhorn, Ira Shattuck, George Tanner, George 
Trainor, John Tynan, Aug. Van Der Bogart, Hiram G. Whitney, 
Wm. Weisemer, John L. White, John Jerolewine, George Coons. 

In the 4th Company, 128th Regiment (Colonel David S. 
Cowles) were the following from the town of Kinderhook: 

Capt. Geo. W. Van Slyck.— ist Lieut. J. W. Van Volkenburgh. 
— 2d Lieut. Peter Lathrop. — Ord. Sergt. Chas. L. Van Slyck. — 
Privates: W. H. Hunt, Austin Fairchild, E. R. Hinman, 
Jacob S. Trimper, James Clark, Wm. H. Sharp, David R. Dennis, 
Ralph Denn, Wm. Lafferty, Martin T. Filkins, Chas. E. Rey- 
nolds, John S. Hardick, Elijah Kinnicut, Elijah Kinnicut, Jr., 
James Cooper, G. A. Tipple, George Marquart, Wm. Sitzer, 
Jonas Miller, John Decker, Philo Smith, Isaac Van Dyck, 
Barent Bennett, E. G. Garner, Theo. Nevens, P. H. Mclntyre, 
Wm. H. Chase, Robert S. Horross, Cornelius Garvey, Na- 
poleon Marborn, Wm. N. Thompson, George H. Woodin, David 
A. Skinkle, Chas. E. Becker, Wm. H. Pulver, James Kelly, 
Leonard Kline, James Murphy, Chas. Dearborn, John Laferty, 
Wm. Smith, Thomas Mixted. 

THE WAR WITH SPAIN 

The services of sons of Kinderhook in that war were, 
notably and brilliantly, those of Captain (later Rear Ad- 
miral) John W. Philip, of the Texas; and of at least two 
volunteers of whom we know. Ernest Keeler, lately de- 
ceased, served in the 31st U. S. Infantry, in Porto Rico, 
attaining the rank of 1st Sergeant. His father, Charles 



204 Old RinderKooK 

Keeler, sought to enlist for the Civil War, but was rejected 
on account of his youth. A grandfather was a soldier in the 
War of 1 8 12, and a great-grandfather was with Washington 
when he crossed the Delaware. Herbert, son of Adam 
Miller, served in the Engineer Corps in Cuba. Then in 
Colonel Burt's personal reminiscences we will read of one 
of our old Academy boys, Francisco De Quirones, who used 
his eminent position and judicial influence in favor of our 
acquisition of Porto Rico. 



CHAPTER VII 
GLEANINGS 

The Gazetteers: American, 1804 — SpaflFord's, 18 13, 1824 — Gordon's, 1836 — 
New York, 1842 — French's, i860. Town and Village Records — The 
Newspapers: Hudson Gazette — Kinderhook Herald, Sentinel, and Rough 
Notes. Miscellanea — The Park — In Lighter Vein — Our Poets — Sundry 
Communications. 

THE compilers of the Gazetteers, which appeared at 
irregular intervals, depended on local correspondents 
for their information. That the statements of different 
writers years apart now and then appear discrepant is not 
surprising. The records are undoubtedly nearly accurate 
and are of sufficient interest and value to justify their 
reproduction in substance. 

In the American Gazetteer of 1804 (Morse, Boston) we 
read that Kinderhook village has 50 dwelling houses and a 
Dutch church and that the town contains 4248 inhabitants 
of whom 438 are slaves. Of Kinderhook Landing it says 
that it has 15 or 20 houses and nearly as many stores and 
other buildings, "surrounded with an uncleared and barren 
country." We have some doubt as to the accuracy of the 
last statement, but joyfully accept this: that Albany has 
'*. . . 6021 inhabitants. Many of them are in the Gothic 
style with the gable end to the street." 

Spafford (1813) gives the town a population of 3709. 
The Kinderhook creek, including that of Stockport, is spoken 
of as one of the best in the United States for the abundance 

205 



2o6 Old RinderKooK 

of fine sites for mills, ^'another Brandywine.'' The cotton 
factory at Columbiaville is noted as employing 1500 spindles 
and as having manufactured 55,000 pounds of cotton wool 
in 1 8 12. Along the creek were two paper-mills which made 
3583 reams of paper and 127 gross of press-paper. There 
were also two fulling-mills and four carding machines, ten 
gristmills besides sawmills and a plaster-mill. There were 
twelve schools, one at Kinderhook and another at the Land- 
ing, both very large. Of the village of Kinderhook it says: 
"Here are twenty or thirty dwellings, several of which, in 
the style of country seats are very elegant, several stores, 
shops &c., a church and an academy." 

Spafford's Gazetteer of 1824 adds substantially nothing 
to the foregoing account of Kinderhook village, but gives the 
population of the town as 3963 of whom 911 were engaged in 
agriculture and 342 in manufacture and trade. It records 
the presence of 282 free blacks and 178 slaves. The taxable 
property is said to amount to $798,304. In the town there 
were 21,965 acres of improved land on which were 3490 
cattle, 997 horses, and 5741 sheep. There were six grist- and 
saw-mills, two fulling, and one carding machine, three cotton 
and woolen factories and one distillery. 

Gordon's Gazetteer of 1836 reports the existence of a 
Baptist as well as the old Dutch church; characterizes the 
Academy as of much repute; tells of the presence of four 
lawyers and four physicians, three dry-goods stores, two 
groceries, and one stove and hardware store. There are also 
a wool warehouse, a hat factory and store, a furnace for 
castings (Mr. Keegan's present barn), a millwright shop, 
two carriage makers, three smiths, two tailors, three shoe- 
makers, one saddle and harness shop, a plough maker, a 
painter and glazier, a watch and jewelry store, a printing- 
office and bookstore, three public houses, and eighty-six 
dwellings distributed on seven streets; "some of the houses 
are large and remarkably neat, and surrounded with pleasant 
lawns adorned with shrubs." The Academy is reported as 



Gleanings 207 

having seventy-five students. Evidently the village had 
made rapid strides since the Gazetteer of 1 824. 

Valatie, unnoticed hitherto, now looms up largely, and 
as regards its industries has far outstripped its aristocratic 
neighbor. It had a Presbyterian and a Lutheran church, 
one select and two district schools, three taverns and four 
stores, three groceries, many mechanic shops, and about 
125 dwellings with a population of 1200. On the Kinderhook 
creek was the Beaver cotton factory with 5600 spindles and 
100 power looms, making a million yards of sheeting per 
annum; the cotton mill of Mr. Baldwin with 2500 spindles 
and forty looms making 180,000 yards of sheeting per 
annum. On the Valatie kill the cotton mill of Mr. Nathan 
Wild with 2688 spindles and fifty-eight looms was making 
7500 yards of printing cloth weekly. There were two grist- 
mills, also saw, carding and cloth-dressing mills, and an 
extensive machine shop. Land in the vicinity was valued at 
from $45-$75 per acre. Stockport is reported as having two 
churches, two stores, two taverns, and about forty dwellings. 
The two cotton mills of Mr. Wild had 5208 spindles and 180 
power looms, producing more than 600,000 yards of cloth 
per annum and paying about $500 wages weekly. Favor- 
ably located near the river stood the new Hudson River 
Seminary with accommodations for three hundred students 
of agriculture and literary culture combined. The classical 
tuition was not to exceed $75 and much if not all of this might 
be earned by labor on the farm. The raising of sugar-beets 
was a prospective industry from which large returns were ex- 
pected. This enterprise began well with about two hundred 
students, but the financial stress of 1837 cut off expected 
funds and compelled the abandonment of the scheme after 
a year. The building was subsequently demolished. 

In the same Gazetteer (Gordon's, 1836) we first meet the 
pleasing name Glencadia, now Stuyvesant Falls. There 
were two cotton mills there, that of Butler & Van Alen 
having 1500 spindles and forty looms, and that of J. & J. W, 



2o8 Old IlinderHooK 

Wardle with 2000 spindles and fifty looms. Glencadia had 
also two sawmills, one satinette factory with five looms, one 
paper, plaster, and grist mill and forty-nine dwellings. 

Stuyvesant had one church (the Dutch Reformed), fifty 
dwellings, three lumberyards, five stores, two taverns, three 
warehouses, with one steamboat and two barges making 
weekly trips to New York. 

The New York Gazetteer of 1842 represents Kinderhook 
village as having 1400 inhabitants, two hundred dwelling 
houses, a Dutch and a Baptist church, an academy, two 
public houses, fourteen stores, two extensive coach manu- 
factories, two hat factories, one morocco factory, one print- 
ing-office, and a number of other mechanic shops. The 
Kinderhook Academy has 115 students, that of Hudson 
sixty-four, and Claverack fifty-one. Of our village it is said : 
"No place in the vicinity of the Hudson exceeds this 
for the beauty of its situation and the salubrity of its 
climate." 

Stuyvesant Falls is reported as having two cotton mills 
and one woolen factory, two sawmills, one grist and one 
paper mill, two taverns, three stores, and about forty dwell- 
ings. Niverville is credited with one cotton mill, one saw- 
mill, one store, and twelve or fifteen dwellings. Columbiaville 
is reported as having sixty dwellings and six hundred inhabit- 
ants, also two taverns, two stores, and two large cotton fac- 
tories with about 5000 spindles and giving employment to 
about one hundred hands. The town of Stuyvesant is 
credited with 1779 inhabitants in 1840 and the village with 
fifty dwellings. One church, one tavern, ten or twelve 
stores and storehouses; a steamboat and several freight 
barges and sloops owned there and doing an extensive 
freighting business are also reported. Valatie, facile princeps 
as regards business, is represented as having two hundred 
dwellings, 1600 inhabitants, three churches, three taverns, 
twelve stores, several mechanic workshops of different 
kinds, four extensive cotton factories employing about four 



Gleanings 209 

hundred hands, two iron foundries, one machine shop, and 
grist, saw, fulling, and plaster mills. 

The Gazetteer of J. H. French (i860) adds but little to 
the foregoing. It indicates rather the industrial decline of 
Kinderhook village in having only a steam cotton factory 
(standing it will be remembered about on the site of the. 
present railway station), one sawmill, two hat factories, and 
a candle factory (near the bridge). Valatie is credited with 
five cotton factories with four hundred looms, employing 
between four hundred and five hundred hands ; also a paper 
mill, furnace, machine shop, plaster mill, and sawmill. The 
estimated population was 1500. Niverville is spoken of as 
having a wadding factory, batting factory, gristmill, and 
twenty-one houses. Stuyvesant Landing has one church, 
a flour mill, a foundry, two coalyards, a lumberyard, and 
thirty-four houses. Two propellers were owned by parties 
there. Stuyvesant Falls is represented as having one church, 
three cotton factories, gristmill, sawmill, machine shop, an 
agricultural implement factory, and thirty-five houses. Chit- 
tenden Falls has one church, two paper mills, and fourteen 
dwellings. Columbiaville, of considerable manufacturing 
importance in 1813, has apparently lost all its industries. 

On the whole it appears that the steady decline of Old 
Kinderhook in industries and in population had already 
begun and made considerable progress. Regrettable as it is, 
yet under the changed conditions this decline was unavoid- 
able, and was only partially and temporarily checked by 
sporadic and brief seasons of prosperity. 

TOWN AND VILLAGE RECORDS 

The official records of both town and village are far from 
complete. Many have been lost or burned, notably in the 
fire of 1880. Fortunately, however, we have the Town 
Records from 1788 to 1845 in a volume of about six hundred 
pages in reasonably good condition, as is also the volume of 



2IO Old RinderKooK 

the village Trustees' Records from their first meeting, May 
4, 1838, to April I, 1862. 

The Town Records are generally well written. The pen- 
manship of Abraham Van Buren, the first clerk, is especially 
neat and legible, and that of Augustus Whiting, 1 835-1 837, 
quite artistic. Much the greater part of the book is filled 
with the reports of numerous Commissioners of Highways 
concerning the laying out and altering of roads. The first 
Commissioners were, Evert Vosburgh, Lucas I. Goes, Dirck 
Gardenier, Noadiah Moore, and Isaac P. Van Valkenburgh. 
There are over forty such reports, many of them relating to 
more than one road. Without a map of the time, showing the 
location of houses named and their owners, it is now impos- 
sible to locate all of these roads with precision except in a 
general way. Many of them, however, are easily recognized 
as will be noted hereafter in selected instances. The whole 
story would be almost interminable. In 1787 we find the 
names of these Commissioners: Harmon Van Buren, Low- 
rens L. Van Alen, Frans Van Buren, Lambert Burgart, 
Abraham I. Van Vleck, Philip Van Alstyne, Isaac Goes, 
John Goes, Jr., Abraham Hogeboom, John Van Alstine, and 
Abraham Van Alstine. In later years the number was 
largely increased and the Town divided into twenty-eight 
Districts or Beats. 

Beginning with 1793 there are numerous records of the 
manumission of slaves in accordance with the Act of the 
Legislature for the gradual abohtion of slavery. Jeremiah 
Siemon (Simmons?), John Pruyn, Bartholomew J. Van 
Valkenburgh, and John L. Goes were the first to go on record 
as "manumitting, giving freedom to and setting at liberty" 
some of their slaves. Later, the birth of a child of a slave 
mother was required to be recorded. And still later a faith- 
less, incorrigible slave, instead of being punished, was re- 
ported to the Justices and by them set at liberty and 
the former owner relieved of responsibility. We note 
the Rev. Dr. Sickles as among those who thus threw 



Oleanin^s 211 

off their own yoke as well as that of the unprofitable 
servant. 

In 1797, sixty- two pounds, five shillings were ordered to 
be "raised for the encouragement of schools." In 1798 the 
amount was $309,50 for the same purpose. 

In 1798 there begin many records of stray animals com- 
ing into the inclosures of those reporting them. As illus- 
trative, not necessarily of illiteracy, but of the difficulties of 
the Dutch Fathers in their attempts to write in English, we 
copy these curiosities from the early records of a certain town 
(not our own) in 1782 : 

Resolved Unanimous that no Hogs being or zoked If to be 
found in Mischife without being Zokt or Ringe be forfitted to 
Parson in whose Incloser they are fond. 

Resolved that all fanses be four feet and ten Inses to be 
reconed lawful. 

Resolved that the District hev agred to Rese the some of 
Twenty pounds for the Relefe of the Pore for the ensuing zare 
and when nocessety Require to be collacted by orde Pore Masters 
of said Destrict the above resolves is Recorded by me. 

Tacon up by a large Brown hors marked on his 

left Botick with a X Cores Sad hos was tacon up the 16 of 
August. Recorded by Tone Clrk. 

In 1798 appears the first record of the election of Town 
Officers as returned to the Clerk, James I. Van Alen, by the 
presiding Justices, Isaac P. Van Valkenburgh and Nicholas 
Kittle. The list is as follows: Supervisor: Dirck Gardenier ; 
Town Clerk : James I. Van Alen ; Assessors : John A Vosburgh, 
Moses Brick, John L. Goes, Jacobus I. Vosburgh, John 
Kittle, Samuel Van Slyck, and Abraham I. Staats; Com- 
missioners of Highways; Elihu Gridley, Barent Vanderpoel, 
and John Philip ; Overseers of the Poor : Daniel Tobias and 
Daniel Ludlow; Commissioners of Schools: Peter Van 
Schaack, Myndert P. Vosburgh, and Benjamin Wells; Col- 
lector : Stephen Van Dyck ; Constables : Dennis Davis, Hassel 



212 Old K-inderHooK 

Brewer, John Vosmer, Jr., and Amos Castle; Poundmasters : 
Samuel Taft and Zaccheus Cook. There were, in addition, 
eight Fence Viewers and sixteen Overseers of Highways, 
officials of considerable responsibility and power. The 
voluminous records of their proceedings give ample proof 
that their office was by no means a sinecure. Their names 
are not without interest. Fence Viewers: John I. Van Alen, 
Jacobus L. Van Alen, Aaron Vosburgh, Cornelius Schermer- 
horn, Isaac P. Van Valkenburgh, Joghem Van Valkenburgh, 
Burger Huyck, and James Van Deusen. Overseers of High- 
ways: Isaac P. Van Valkenburgh, Isaac I. Van Vleck, 
Dirck I. Goes, John B. Goes, Alexander McMechan, David 
Van Alen, Isaac Averill, Edmund Baker, Andrew Abrahams, 
Henry Van Alen, Nathan Deyo, David Hugenar, Abraham 
Salisbury, Godfrey Kerner, Jacob Van Bramer, and Martin 
Kooper. The Fence Viewers and Overseers of Highways 
were much increased in number in later years. Town 
elections lasted two and State elections three days. 

In 1799 the Overseers of the Poor and the Justices were 
authorized to join with one or more towns of the County in 
caring for the poor, and the Poundmaster was authorized 
to build a good and sufficient Pound in the village of Kinder- 
hook. It was in William Street nearly opposite the present 
residence of G. H. Reynolds. In it the "Lock-up" was sub- 
sequently built. At the same Town Meeting the following 
resolutions were adopted with this impressive caption — 
"Prudential Rules and Regulations." 

Resolved that no Hog above the age of Two months shall 
have a Right to run at large unless Ringed and properly Yoked, 
between the Tenth day of April and the Tenth day of November 
in every year, that the owner of such Hog or Hogs shall forfeit 
fifty cents for each hog so running at large. 

Resolved that every Ram found running at large between the 
Tenth day of September and the first day of November such 
owner (sic) shall forfeit Two dollars for every such Ram so 
running at large. 



Gleanings 213 

These "Prudential Rules and Regulations" were re-adopted 
year after year with great solemnity. 

While James I. Van Alen was Town Clerk we have the 
first registrations of ownership marks of cattle, sheep, and 
hogs. Later, these registrations became very numerous. 
Joseph Dewell's mark was "a crop of the left ear and half 
crop of the under side of the right ear." Dr. Isaac 
Averill's more artistic mark was "a swallow fork in each 
ear. " To the late Mr. William Max Reid we are indebted 
for the privilege of beholding how the Town Clerk of Amster- 
dam illuminated his records with wonderful pen-pictures of 
cows' heads with prodigious ears extended horizontally and 
notched in manifold picturesque ways. The pages were a 
joy to behold. Doubtless our James could have given us 
much finer illustrations, but he modestly hid his artistic 
genius. 

In January, 1825, thirty-one subscribers agreed to pay 
James Clark, Arent Van Vleck, and John S. Vosburgh, $100, 
"for the purpose of defraying all the expenses of building 
a public well in the centre of this village, the spot to be 
located by a committee to be appointed from and by the 
Subscribers." Charles Whiting & Co., Peter Van Buren, I. 
Vanderpoel, and Henry Van Vleck & Co. subscribed $10 
each. The other subscriptions ranged from five dollars to 
one, a few of the latter payable in work. This well is that of 
our famous town pump. 

In December, 1825, the highway commissioners, Arent 
Van Vleck and Charles H. Coleman, gave permission to 
Jonathan N. White "to dig a well ... at the place called 
MillVilleor Vallitje." 

In 1826 the former method of supporting the town poor 
by contract was abandoned. The old poorhouse, within the 
limits of the new town of Stuyvesant, had evidently been sold 
and the joint-occupancy thereof ceased, for the Overseers 
were now authorized to provide a suitable tenement and 
engage a proper family to occupy the same who would, for a 



214 Old K-inderHooK 

certain stipulated sum weekly or otherwise, engage to support jii 
all permanent or temporary poor in the discretion of the iu 
Overseers and under their immediate inspection and direc- 
tion. Bids for this service were to be received at the house 
of Mr. John Lewis, and at the same time any physician in or 
out of the town might submit proposals for all surgical and 
medical aid and attendance. 

In the same year our Justices, Lucas Hoes, John I. Van 
Buren, and John L. Van Alen, Jr., certified to the adoption 
of the following impressive preamble and resolution: 

Whereas the inhabitants of this town are greatly injured in 
their property while attending church and also while attending 
the market for their produce by having the provender for their 
teams eat up and their bags of grain torn open and wasted and 
in some cases their wagons by cows and other neat cattle which 
are permitted to run at large in the highways of the town and 
especially in the village of Kinderhook. Now therefore to remedy 
these evils, Resolved — that no cow or any other neat cattle shall 
be permitted to run at large in the highways or the town between 
the I St. day of December and the ist. day of April in each year. 

The penalty for each offense was fifty cents. Eight months 
a year, it doth appear, although it seem amazing, the cows 
might meet with cattle-neat and roam our streets a-grazing. 
We have given the first record of the election (1798) of 
town officials, and now subjoin the last, in 1844. Supervisor, 
Lucas Hoes; Justice for four years, John Trimper; Town 
Clerk, Peter Huyck; Superintendent of Schools, Amos 
Ackley ; Collector, Edward Dennis; Assessors, John L Pruyn, 
Hugh Bain, and John L Shoemaker; Commissioners of High- 
ways, Henry Snyder, Michael I. Niver, and Aaron Huyck; 
Overseers of the Poor, Daniel Reynolds and Benjamin Hil- 
ton; Inspectors of Election, Laurence Van Buren, Jesse 
Merwin, George W. Bulkley, and Daniel E. Merwin; Con- 
stables, Peter Sickles, Hiram Reynolds, and William H. 
Thompson; Sealer of Weights and Measures, Henry S. 



Gleanings 215 

King; Poundmasters, Leander P. Rivenburgh and John H. 
Groat. For the twenty-eight road districts the following 
Overseers were chosen: Henry Snyder, John Van Beuren, 
Seth Turpin, John A. Spickerman, William Champlain, 
Frederick Shoefelt, Cornelius P. Van Alen, Peter Harder, 
Isaac P. Van Alen, Michael I. Pultz, John Dedrick, Isaac 
Van Dyck, Andrew I. Van Valkenburgh, Isaac M. Smith, 
Hugh Bain, Jacob I. Simmons, John Vosburgh, John Rora- 
back, Delaware Fowler, Robert Patterson, Samuel Hanna, 
George Snoock, Henry M. Niver, Reuben Miller, William 
Kingman, John Van Slyck, William H. Link, and James 
Britton. It need not be said that all these officials long since 
passed away, but many of them are well remembered by 
some and all of them by a few. The penmanship of the 
Town Clerk, Peter Huyck, is beautiful. He merited re- 
election. 

NEWSPAPERS 

April 7, 1785, Webster and Stoddard issued the first 
number of the first newspaper of the County, The Hudson 
Weekly Gazette. It was of four pages; subscription price, 
$1.50. Among its laudable intents we note that it was to be 
a "Centinel of its (Hudson's) Liberties" and to "bring 
Chaps to the Merchant." 

In marked contrast with the County weeklies of to-day 
its items of local and vicinity news were very few, and there 
was apparently no care for any historical reminiscences. 
Nor was there space for such trifles after the weekly epitome 
of the news of the whole country and world had been given. 
None the less, however, its files for many years have been 
studiously scrutinized for what little we might glean relat- 
ing to Kinderhook. Much that has been found has been or 
will be noted topically. In this place a glimpse at the delight- 
ful amenities of political campaigns may be of interest. It 
will reveal that in lurid rhetoric and in the richness of their 



2i6 Old K.inderHooK 

vocabulary of objurgatory adjectives scarcely have our 
modern hurlers of epithets surpassed them. As a sample of 
many others take the County campaign of 1788. We quote 
from the Gazette, omitting portions of the record : 

At a meeting of a number of very respectable citizens and 
some of the first character in the County ... at Claverack, 
Peter Van Schaack of Kinderhook was nominated Delegate to 
the Convention, Peter Silvester of Kinderhook for State Senator 
and Wm. H. Ludlow for the Assembly. It is Recommended — To 
the Laborer if he wishes to be employed and to receive pay for 
his labor — To the Tradesman if he desires to be supported in his 
industrious calling — To the Farmer, if he is willing to receive a 
good price for his produce — To the Merchant if he is willing to 
have a sure commercial treaty — and to every honest man who 
has a regard for good government and bears a true respect and 
love for his country to support these men with their votes and 
interests. 

So much for the Federalists. But now for the Anti-Federal- 
ists, a week later: 

At a meeting of very respectable citizens . . . though per- 
haps not the first characters in point of property, yet as such in 
point of attachment to the liberties, independence and happiness 
of America, Peter Van Ness of Kinderhook was nominated as 
both Delegate and Senator. 

He was elected, and that notwithstanding this fearsome 
blast : 

To the Anti-Federalists of Columbia County : When we con- 
sider the alarming strides you are daily making to establish a 
system of despotism, we cannot but feel for the depravity of 
mankind, and urge every honest man to join and repel you, lest 
your schemes should succeed, and with their concomitant train of 
vices, poured in like a torrent, deluge and destroy the common- 
wealth. 



Gleanings 217 

Our still living and cherished friends, "Verity," "Veri- 
tas," "Old Subscriber," "Junius," "Cato," "Fabius," and 
a host besides, filled column after column with their stirring 
appeals. "A Citizen of Kinderhook" had a letter three 
columns long, from which we take this choice characteriza- 
tion of a certain candidate: "A disposition envious and 
malicious, puddling in dirtiness, exerting itself at the insti- 
gation of evil; and a hellish ambition scarcely equalled by 
that of Cataline . . . a composition of blackest infamy. " 

In 1789 David Van Schaack heads a list of twenty-eight 
"prominent citizens of Kinderhook" who solicit Israel Spen- 
cer to accept the office of Justice of the Peace. But soon 
thereafter Abram Van Alstyne heads a list of fifty-five who 
write thus graciously: "With our most ardent wishes for 
your immediately declining the ensigns of office and for all 
the felicity which private life can afford you, we are, with due 
regard, etc." They neglect to state how much regard was 
due. In 1792, anent nominations for Assemblyman, we have 
this from "a farmer and elector of Kinderhook:" 

If you like to have your pockets picked of the little pittance 
you can earn from the sweat of your brow by ploughing and 
tilling, vote for a lawyer. 

If you want laws made that are full of intricacy, perplexity, 
uncertainty and a multiplicity of cost, vote for a lawj^er. . . . 

If you want wholesome laws that have the interest and good 
of your country as their basis, then vote for a farmer. 

"Mechanic" responded for the lawyer and another "Me- 
chanick and Plain Man" wrote for the farmer, Peter Van 
Ness; but the lawyer won. We wonder how seriously those 
men and the political writers and orators of Van Buren's 
time took themselves. 

One more glimpse of those "halcyon and vociferous" 
days may suffice. At that same election George Clinton and 
John Jay were candidates for governor. For alleged or real 
irregularites the votes of Clinton, Otsego, and Tioga counties 



2i8 Old RinderHooK 

were rejected, thereby giving the election to CUnton, which 
made the friends of Jay very wrathy. Hence this record: 

The inhabitants of this town on receiving notice of the 
approach of the honorable John Jay, Chief Justice of the U.S., 
proceeded this day to meet him on the road to Albany as far as 
the county line. A numerous and respectable escort of dragoons 
in uniform with citizens from Albany and the adjacent towns 
consigned their charge to the cavalcade from Kinderhook, to 
which place they accompanied him, and at the home of Capt. 
John Shethar participated in an elegant repast. After dinner, 
with the true spirit of freemen, they drank sixteen toasts. The 
eighth was: "Confusion to the cause of Despots, who, in defiance 
of the first principles of Political Liberty tender to Freemen the 
envenomed cup of usurpation." 

The last toast was : "John Jay, by the voice of the people 
our Supreme Magistrate and rightful Governor." Mr. 
Jay's only response was : ' * The free and independent electors 
of Kinderhook." 

February 26, 1795, Kinderhook and Catskill were made 
Ports of Entry. The distinction ceased May 2'], 1796. 

KINDERHOOK "HERALD," "SENTINEL," AND "ROUGH NOTES " 

In 1825 Peter Van Schaack (son of Peter the Jurist) 
commenced the publication of The Kinderhook Herald, the 
third of still existing County papers. The proprietor and 
editor was a well-educated scholarly man of excellent 
literary ability and refinement. Through the courtesy of his 
son, Manton, we have had the files of the Herald for ex- 
amination and have found them replete with matters of 
much interest. But, as was the case with all such weeklies 
then, as already said, after the affairs of the state, nation, 
and world had been presented there was little room in a four- 
page paper for local matters, much less for any reminiscences 
by " veteran readers " and their ilk. 

In 1832 the paper was sold to Elias Pitts who changed its 



Gleanings 219 

name to The Columbia Sentinel. In 1834 he sold the Sentinel 
to John V. A. Hoes who two years later resold it to Peter 
Van Schaack. He continued its publication until 1854 when 
Peter H. Van Vleck became proprietor and began the bril- 
liant career of the old Kinderhook Rough Notes. Mr. Van 
Vleck learned the printing business with Mr. Lawrence Van 
Dyck in 1834, in the office of the Greene Co., Advertiser, 
Coxsackie. Four years later Mr. Van Dyck purchased the 
Columbia Republican, Hudson, and had Mr. Van Vleck as 
his assistant for a short time, until the latter came to Kinder- 
hook in the employ of Mr. Van Schaack, publisher of the 
Sentinel. In '48 or '49 he went to California and was absent 
gold hunting about two years. Returning, without becom- 
ing a multi-millionaire, he accepted a position in the Atlas 
office, Albany, and remained about eighteen months, when 
he bought the Kinderhook Sentinel and changed its name to 
Rough Notes. Through the kindness of his daughter Kathar- 
ine (Mrs. John K. Pierce) the files of the Rough Notes until 
the year 1864 have been studiously read by us with much 
appreciation of the scintillating genius of the editor. After 
his death his then famous Rough Notes had a checkered 
career. Mr. James R. Arrowsmith, its publisher until 1867, 
then sold it to Mr. Willard Pond who named it the Columbia 
County Advertiser. He was succeeded by James H. Wool- 
hiser, and he in 1871 by Mr. WilHam B. Howland, later of 
The Outlook and now of The Independent. He called his paper 
The Advertiser. His editorial sanctum, composing-room and 
printing office all in one, in the little Van Schaack building, 
now occupied by G. H. Brown & Bro., was a frequent 
lounging place for us ; and we well remember that Mr. How- 
land, Mr. M. Van Schaack, and ourselves were interested 
spectators when the new quarto form first came from the 
press. In May, 1875 Mr. Howland sold the plant to Mr. 
Charles W. Davis of Valatie. He restored the original folio 
form, and, better still, resumed the former title, the Kinder- 
hook Rough Notes. When a few years later the printing- 



220 Old HinderKooK 

office was removed to Valatie the word Kinderhook was 
dropped. He conducted the paper with signal ability 
notwithstanding its strongly partisan character. Later, it 
became the property of the Hon. Charles D. Haines, and 
was returned to Kinderhook; the present Grange build- 
ing being expensively equipped with all manner of modern 
appliances for the issue of a weekly which, with varying 
local headings, was to supply the needs of all adjoining towns 
in Columbia and Rensselaer counties. The scheme soon 
came to grief, however, and our tempest-tossed Rough Notes 
returned to Valatie where it still abides. The present 
proprietors are: The Rough Notes Co., Thomas Garrigan, 
President, Fred Barford, Secretary and Treasurer, with Mr. 
Frank Purcell as editor. 

In 1853 The Valatie Weekly Times was started by Mr. 
Henry N. Hopkins, but two years later was merged in the 
Hudson Gazette. 

The first number of The Kinderhook Herald, our pioneer 
village paper, appeared June 3, 1825. It was a non-partisan 
journal of four pages. The subscription price was two dollars. 
It may be of interest to note that the initial number gives 
three columns to a report of a meeting in New York to con- 
sider the remedy for Delays of Justice ; copies from the New 
York Evening Post an article on a ship-canal through Central 
America and tells of the recent discovery of the most feasible 
route, essentially that now adopted; reports the nation's 
imports as amounting to $75,986,557, and its exports to 
$80,549,007. It speaks of the recently acquired independence 
of Mexico and South America; tells of the wreck of the 
Mechanic, on which General Lafayette was journeying from 
Nashville to Louisville, and regretfully records the death in 
New York of Ann Maria, wife of Augustus Wynkoop and 
daughter of the late Peter Silvester, Esq., of this village. 

Beginning with June, 1825, we have these miscellanea: 
Bain & Birge, at the corner store (now Mr. Avery's) have 
a new assortment of Dry Goods, Hardware, Crockery, 



Gleanings 221 

"Liquors and other Groceries." They are agents also, and 
continue to be for years, for the Lottery of the New York 
State Literature Fund. WiUiam Kip is the Watch Maker, 
Silversmith and Jeweller. Charles Whiting & Co. in addition 
to their Hardware Store have erected a new Hay Press. Mr. 
Whiting is Colonel of the 56th Regiment and through his 
Adjutant, John L Van Buren, gives notice that Major 
Barent Van Alen, Capt. Abram Burgart and Ensign David 
Van Schaack are constituted a court-martial to meet at 
Isaac Frink's hotel. We note in passing that Mrs. Kip, Mrs. 
Hobart, Mrs. Winston, and Mrs. Elisha Dodge were daugh- 
ters of Isaac Frink and notably worthy women of their time. 
The Kinderhook Union Library Society is to meet at the 
hotel of John Lewis (which stood on the site of the present 
Kinderhook Hotel), to elect five trustees. Abel S. Peters 
gives notice that the sloop "Chatham, with fine accommoda- 
tions for passengers and freight, C. Crooke, Master, sails 
from the Landing every alternate Thursday; and the Troy 
steamboats touch at his wharf." John Claw, Edward W. 
Bayley & J. P. Beekman, executors of the late Jacob Claw, 
offer for sale a grist-mill, saw-mill and 27 acres of land. 
Henry Van Vleck & Co., in their new store on the corner of 
Grand (Broad) street and Albany avenue, deal in groceries, 
dry-goods, hardware, stone-ware, etc. They also offer for 
sale a saw-mill, grist-mill, and several pieces of property, 
including the store, dock, dwelling, etc., at the Landing, 
known as the middle dock and formerly owned by Arent 
Pruyn. Drs. H. L. and A. Van Dyck have a general assort- 
ment of drugs and medicines. A. Sandford is the village 
tailor with his shop adjoining the store of Bain & Birge. 
H. W. Peckham sells boots and shoes two doors east of 
Lewis's hotel. Next door to the Mansion House is the law 
office of J. & A. Vanderpoel. Wilcoxson and Van Schaack 
are also attorneys in partnership, with their office in the 
building now owned by C. M. Bray. The first-named is 
Master in Chancery; the latter attends to fire insurance as 



222 Old H.inclerHooK 

well as law. Willard Bradley, third door north of Peter Van 
Buren's store, sells paints and does painting. Van Dyck & 
Hawley keep a general store; Mrs. Bill (Deming) has a mil- 
linery and dressmaking shop three doors from the Printing 
office, and E. H. Burchardt is the Cabinet and Chair Maker, 
to be found two doors south of H. Van Vleck & Co. Peter 
Van Schaack, Jr., has a Book & Stationery store in connection 
with his Printing office. Milton Gardner, and soon there- 
after R. Graves & Co., are dealers in hats, and the latter 
manufacturer as well. Lawrence Van Dyck, Jr. , was the post- 
master for many years. His letter-boxes long adorned the 
store of the late John C. Sweet. In addition to the good 
sloop Chatham noted above we have a little later, as an- 
nounced by Bidwell & Vosburgh, the Sultan, Alexander 
Bidwell, Master, sailing alternate Fridays from the dock and 
storehouse of H. Van Vleck & Co., next above the store of S. 
Wendover & Son. At Millville (Valatie) , not yet the place it 
afterward became, E. Hull keeps a General Store opposite 
Coleman's grist mill and James & Micajah Hawkins are 
Wagon Makers and Blacksmiths. Kinderhook was not 
without at least one inventor, for John G. Philip (grand- 
father of Admiral Philip) advertises his famous "Rocking 
Machine " which will wash ten shirts in five minutes. The 
purchasing value of one dollar in 1825 may be seen from these 
extracts from N. Y. Prices Current on May 29th. Flour, bl., 
$5-37; Wheat, bushel, $1.13; Corn, .50; Oats, .27; Oak boards 
per M. feet, .20; Pine, .15; Prime Beef, $6.00 bl.; Hams, lb., 
.07 ; Butter, .07 ; Cheese, .05. Scholars in the Academy could 
have "good board" for $1.50 per week. 

In 1826, March 6th, we have the first reported annual 
meeting of our famous Conscript Society, the story of which 
we tell in another chapter. 

The same month we read of a "numerous and respecta- 
ble" meeting of citizens at Frink's Mansion House to con- 
sider the multiplication of Groceries, in other words saloons. 
Strong resolutions were adopted with reference to the in- 



Gleanings 223 

temperance thereby encouraged and a committee appointed 
to secure enforcement of the excise laws. Like meetings 
were held in subsequent years and several temperance 
organizations effected, whose frequent meetings are reported. 
One organization of men had eighty members; another of 
young men and women had seventy, and a large society was 
formed among the Academy students which the New York 
Chronicle hailed as "the pioneer organization of its kind 
and a model for other institutions of learning." 

In 1828 R. Graves & Co. open their Hat store; Chas. 
Whiting, Lucas Hoes, and Samuel Hanna establish the 
Kinderhook Furnace and Iron Works; and in 1829 Cham- 
bers & Albertson have a Silk, Cotton & Woolen Dyeing 
establishment. 

April, 1830, P. I. Lewis of Kinderhook and E. G. Wright 
commence running a line of stages to connect with the river 
boats. 

In the issue of May 19, 1831, appears this charming 
notice: 

Slices of wedding cake have so often accompanied marriage 
notices of late, that we shall for the future omit to notice the 
receipt of these delicious morceaux. Candidates for matrimony 
will please to take notice that the following distinction will be 
made between those who remember the printer, and those who 
remember to forget him on these delightful occasions. The 
names of the former will be recorded in CAPITALS, while the 
latter must be contented with Small Caps. 

In 1897 Mr. Henry C. Van Schaack, of Manlius, con- 
tributed to the Rough Notes an article entitled — "An Old 
Newspaper File. Kinderhook in 1832." The paper re- 
ferred to was the Columbia Sentinel, the forerunner of the 
Rough Notes. The editor was Elias Pitts, an enterprising 
news-gatherer and a fearless censor. Overwhelrned by un- 
desirable contributions, Mr. Pitts informs contributors that 
he considered "the scissors mightier than the pen"; and that 



224 Old RinderhooK 

unsolicited contributions will be consigned to the waste- 
basket. He makes an exception, however, as regards one 
contributor who writes thusly : 

I am one among a number of inhabitants of this goodly 
village who are annoyed by a nuisance which is suffered to exist 
from year to year without any serious effort to abate it. I allude 
to the running at large of hogs through the streets. The Spring 
having opened, and it being a season when these grunting 
squadrons are most troublesome, I at this time broach the sub- 
ject in the hope that something effectual will be done to remedy 
this serious evil. . . . Should it continue to progress in the same 
ratio for a few years to come, we may expect hogs to enter our 
houses as unceremoniously as they enter our door yards. 

On the 1 2th of March, a great freshet over the ice raised 
the river above the mole, four feet high, which surrounded 
the upper Light House at the Landing, and then suddenly 
lifting the ice swept it with irresistible force against the stone 
building. Of ten occupants four were buried in the ruins. 

The New York Evening Post having reprinted one of 
Pitts's fiery articles, and credited it to the hated rival, the 
Troy Budget, is thus gently reproved : 

The New York Evening Post of Monday last contains one of 
our editorials of last week, accredited to that fudge pudge grab 
bag of news the Troy Budget. We are always glad to enliven the 
columns of our pilfering and moribund contemporaries. 

Editor Pitts was a strong political writer. He tells us 
that: "Martin Van Buren, having been rejected by the 
United States Senate, as unfit to represent our Country at the 
Court of St. James, the citizens of Kinderhook and adja- 
cent towns, met at the Mansion House, on the village square 
(February ii, 1832), to express their disapprobation of the 
action of the upper House. The meeting was addressed by 
Judge Aaron Vanderpoel and Julius Wilcoxson who com- 
pletely vindicated Mr. Van Buren from the * foul aspersions 



Gleanings 225 

with which his political opponents had attempted to sully 
his fair fame.' " The sentiments of the speakers were re- 
sponded to with tumultuous applause. Van Buren having 
been turned down by the casting vote of Vice-President 
Calhoun, through the machinations of Clay and Webster — 
a most unholy alliance — Mr. Pitts consigned this trium- 
virate to perpetual infamy. 

The editor of the Sentinel was evidently a discriminating 
critic of unsolicited poetry, for, in declining the "gush" 
entitled A71 Exile's Dying Prayer, he says: 

We doubt not that you will improve by a proper cultivation 
of your talents, and eventually become a writer of no incon- 
siderable merit. But your ''Dying Prayer^' makes one long to 
live over a misspent life; Your ''Ode to Spring'' is out of sea- 
son; and while your description of "An Old Maid" is tolerable, 
we dare not for the life that is within us publish it, for fear of 
losing a considerable number of our subscribers. 

About this time the Kinderhook Literary Association 
was organized. The Sentinel had this account of its purpose 
and organization: 

At a meeting of many citizens of this village . . . Dr. J. M. 
Pruyn was called to the chair and Mr. Theodore B. Myers 
appointed Secretary. Mr. Lucian I. Bisbee, Recording Secretary 
of the National Society of Literature and Science being present, 
was requested to explain the design of the same, which he did. 
Thereupon the following Constitution was adopted : — 

"Art. L The undersigned, inhabitants of Kinderhook and 
vicinity, in view of the great advantages to be derived from a 
village Literary Society founded on a Library of Periodicals, do 
hereby associate ourselves together for this purpose and obligate 
ourselves, respectively, to pay two dollars for one year, provided 
as many as ten or more members can be obtained. 

"Art. IL This Society shall be known as the Kinderhook 
Literary Association. Its supervision shall be under a President, 

IS 



226 Old RinderKooK 

one or more Vice-Presidents, a Secretary, Treasurer and Li- 
brarian, who shall be chosen annually. 

"Art. III. The Magazines and Books are to be selected and 
deposited at such a place as a majority of the Society shall 
designate, and its members shall be allowed to draw on Number 
or Volume and to retain it one week if it be a monthly or two 
weeks if it be a quarterly, 

"Art. IV. At the close of each year periodicals to be sold at 
auction, etc. 

"Art. V. Members and their families to have free admission 
to Lectures. 

"Art. VI. This Society to be auxiliary to the National 
Society of Literature and Science and its President to be ex- 
officio member thereof. 

Messrs. Laing, Van Dyck and Myers, a committee to select 
officers reported the following, who were elected: Dr. John M. 
Pruyn, President; W. V. S. Woodworth, Vice-President; John H. 
Reynolds, Secretary; A. P. Van Deusen, Librarian. 

It was unanimously resolved That a Course of Lectures 
be delivered before the Association by suitable persons during 
the winter, and the President, at the earnest solicitation of the 
association consented to deliver the Introductory Lecture. 

It was further Resolved That a Debating Club in connection 
with the association be speedily formed. 

In 1839 the Kinderhook Lyceum, as it came to be called, 
was evidently at the height of its glory. 

From Whims, Scraps and Oddities, compiled by the late 
Honorable John H. Reynolds, we copy the scheme of a public 
debate, E. F. Carter, President, March 29, 1839. 

Question ist. "Would the present generation under 
similar circumstances, act with as much patriotism and 
virtue as did out Ancestors of the Revolution? " Affirmative 
— W. Herrick, E. Peck. Negative— P. I. Philip, H. T. 
Woodworth. 

Question 2d. " Ought the American Government to have 
assisted Greece in her late struggle for Liberty?" Affirma- 



Gleanings 227 

tive— J. H. Reynolds, C. P. Collier. Negative— W. Smith, 
Theodore B. Myers. 

Address by George Van Santvoord. A reasonably full 
evening. 

The report of a "Disinterested Spectator" was as 
follows : 

We had the pleasure of listening to the eloquent debate upon 
the two questions selected for public discussion by the talented 
members of this Association ; and we must express not only our 
gratification, but our admiration of the manner in which the 
respective subjects were handled. As friends to merit and to 
honorable aspirants for literary fame, we consider it a duty to 
eulogize where eulogy is deserved, and to foster rising genius 
rather than attack it with the poisoned weapon of malicious and 
illiberal criticism. To those who deem it proper to criticize the 
productions of young men severely, we must be permitted to say, 
that in a majority of instances jealousy and envy prompt the 
critic to be unjust and censorious; and as, according to the im- 
mortal Peter McGrawler, "there are three departments in criti- 
cism, slashing, plastering and tickling," it requires the genius of 
a Jeffries to unite the whole in the unexceptional composition: 
and therefore modern critics tread on dangerous ground. 

The virtue of our revolutionary ancestors was portrayed in 
glowing colors by Mr. Philip, while the enterprise and patriotism 
of the present generation was ably shown by Messrs. Peck and 
Herrick. The Grecian question was most hotly contested. 
Messrs. Reynolds and Collier almost made us see the victims 
of despotic oppression fall before the sabre of the turbanned Turk 
battening with their blood the ancient monuments of their 
ancient glory and skill. Messrs. Myers and Smith made happy 
allusions to the Quixotic spirit abroad in the land which im- 
pelled every adventurer to raise some tattered ensign and march 
to the field of glory. The unconstitutionality and inexpediency 
of interfering with foreign nations, were also shown in a clear 
Hght. 

As to the address of Mr. Van Santvoord, we speak the senti- 
ments of all present, when we say it was "sans peur, et sans re- 
proche" — worthy the reputation of the orator, and that it did 



228 Old RinderKooK 

honor both to his head and to his heart. To the members of the 
Association we cordially extend the right hand of amity, and 
pledge ourselves to break a lance in their behalf, whenever ma- 
licious criticism shall throw down the gauntlet of defiance. 

Many items gleaned from the files of the Rough Notes are 
elsewhere given, but a few miscellaneous notes concerning 
men, things, and events will not come amiss to our older 
readers. 

Mr. Van Vleck prefaces his Salutatory with a paragraph 
of "last Words of the Sentinel" (Mr. P. Van Schaack), 
graciously commending the Rough Notes to the generous and 
liberal support of the whole community. Mr. Van Vleck 
announces his intention to make the paper "worthy of 
circulation in every family and an agreeable companion at 
every fireside," an intention which he notably fulfilled with 
much originality and occasional brilliancy. Looking over 
the advertising columns C54-'56) we notice that John C. 
Sweet's Book Store is near the bank, and that of Peter 
Van Schaack (now used as a show-room by Brown Brothers) 
opposite the bank. Not only books, papers, stationery, 
wall-paper and seeds, but cure-alls, pain-killers, pills, plasters, 
liniments, ointments, hair-dyes and the like in profusion and 
of wonderful efficiency were to be had at one or the other of 
these well-remembered emporiums. The Duke of Marl- 
borough, passing through our village on a coaching trip, 
confessed there was nothing on his side of the water to match 
one of our famous News Rooms, which many remember well. 

Mr. C. Whiting, Jr., invites public attention to his stock 
of Hardware, and Mr. Peter Van Schaack to his Insurance 
Agency and also to Mustang Liniment. John Wilcoxson, 
in the store formerly occupied by George Wells and before 
him by Blanchard & Whitbeck, had a very handsome assort- 
ment of Spring and Summer Dry Goods, also Groceries and 
Crockery. His store stood on the site of the Kinderhook 
Bank's brick building, now owned by Augustus Bauer. 



Gleanings 229 

C. M. Van Valkenburgh, Saddle and Harness Maker, late 
from Troy, has taken the shop formerly occupied by Daniel 
Crowley, a few doors west of Wilder 's hotel. Sylvester 
Becker is his competitor at Valatie. Mr. Lillibridge has 
moved his Boot and Shoe store to the Peckham building 
nearly opposite the Union bank, and John Bray, Jr. has also 
removed his Shoe Store and Shop to the new and commodious 
building recently erected on the site of his former place of 
business. John J. Van Volkenburgh, Referee, announces a 
Partition sale of land belonging to the estate of Doctor John 
Vanderpoel, deceased ; and Dr. A. P. Cook of Hudson wants 
to sell his farm of 212 acres near Kinderhook. Marcus Reid 
is ready to do all kinds of House, Carriage and Sign painting, 
but has a rival; for John Van Buren and William Caulfield 
announce the dissolution of their partnership and that the 
latter will continue the business of House, Sign and Carriage 
painting. George Ray has sold his Grocery and Provision 
business to George W. Hoxsie. Peter B. Van Slyck and 
John McAleese, blacksmiths, have dissolved partnership, 
but the latter will continue business at the old stand. Later, 
he adds thereto the Carriage and Sleigh making business 
purchased of John H. Melius. H. M. Graves, successor to 
John R. Beale, has received all the latest styles of Hats, Caps, 
Ladies Furs, etc. Richard Graves has a similar stock with 
Robes and Ready Made Clothing added, and his niece, Miss 
Pamelia, is prepared to teach Music, both vocal and instru- 
mental. A. Sandford, the village tailor, is ready to do all 
needed Cutting and Repairing, and Charles Palmer, Copper 
and Tin-Smith, has his stand one door from the Union Bank. 
At Stuyvesant, Philip L. Schermerhorn & Co. have lately 
opened a new and extensive Lumber Yard. There, also, A. 
Davis & Co. announce that the New Barge, Meteor, Captain 
V. B. Budd, fitted up with Saloons, State-Rooms and every 
convenience for passengers, affording a pleasant, cheap and 
safe conveyance, will be towed weekly betw^een Stuyvesant 
and New York by the steamer Washington. Later, the same 



230 Old K-irxderKooK 

year, they announce the new Propeller Davis as making 
the trip weekly in eleven hours. Wm. Niver, proprietor of 
the Niverville stage, advertises that passengers can go to 
New York by the Harlem R. R. in six hours. J. J. Mande- 
ville, successor to Barent Van Slyck, makes four regular 
trips to meet trains and the boat P. G. Coffin at Stuyvesant. 
Through tickets to New York, $2.62 >^; to Albany, 60 cents; 
saving 25 cents. Lawrence Van Buren, Postmaster, an- 
nounces the southern mail as arriving at 9 A.M. and leaving 
at 12 M. Other mails arrive at 8 a.m. and leave at 3 P.M. 
New York daily papers are due at Sweet's at i p.m. W. F. 
Van Volkenburgh, Coach, Carriage and Sleigh Painter has 
his Shop opposite the Grove. James E. Nearing opens his 
law-office one door south of Witbeck's hotel. The Dentists, 
Van Vleck and Reynolds, have each a '' Chamber of Horrors " 
(not so designated however) at Valatie, where Robert 
Martsh offers for sale his block of dwellings and stores which 
should yield the purchaser fourteen per cent. The quarterly 
statement of the Kinderhook bank, sworn to by cashier 
Franklin G. Guion (May, 1854) before Justice Sweet, shows 
— Capital, $125,000: Profits, $5,150: Notes in Circulation — 
$75,363: Due Depositors — $66,641. This bank also adver- 
tises 10,000 pennies on sale at a discount of 4 per cent. 
The quarterly statement of the Union bank, sworn to by 
William H. Tobey, President, and William H. Rainey, 
Cashier, before Justice F. W. Bradley, is — Capital $150,000: 
Profits, $7,368: Notes in Circulation — $111,741: Due de- 
positors, $47,055. 

At our Village Charter election (1854) the following were 
chosen without opposition : President, David Van Schaack: 
Trustees — ^Amos Ackley, Lucas Pruyn, Calvin L. Herrick, 
John Mickel, Lawrence Van Buren, and James P. Chrysler. 
Clerk and Collector, G. W. Hoxsie : Treasurer, John Wilcox- 
son. These "City Fathers" having voted to enclose our 
Park with an iron fence, Editor Van Vleck suggests a circular 
railing fifteen or twenty feet in diameter around the famous 



Gleanings 231 

Elm tree, which will be remembered as destroyed in 1880 by- 
fire. He recommends an improvement on the present "octa- 
gon, quadrangular, horizontal-parallel, ill-shaped apology 
whereat strangers irreverently laughed." "Now," he adds, 
"while opportunity offers, get the thing up in ship-shape and 
Bristol fashion, and the question will not again be asked us 
if we take our Park in at night for fear of it being stolen. " 
The "Fathers," however, disregarding this counsel, pro- 
ceeded to appoint Trustees Ackley, Herrick, and Pruyn a 
committee to contract for the building of the fence for $500 
or less, the space to be enclosed being left to their discretion. 
Although over-ruled, our editor assented and graciously said: 
"We congratulate our citizens upon the prospect of having 
a neat little park to which they can point with Pride. " The 
"prospect" however, was very slow in materializing, and the 
pointing with pride considerably delayed. It was only after 
several months of controversy, many changes of plans, and 
considerable difficulty with the contractors that the work 
was finally completed for about $415. Only to strangers need 
we say that that was the park which the late Mrs. Peter 
Bain, in 1882 so notably and generously improved and 
beautified, with its granite coping, its substantial and elegant 
light standards, and its massive stone watering-trough, with 
its memorial inscription. 

Mr. Charles Whiting, August 3, 1854, advertises thus 
inf ormingly : 

For Sale: The Corner Lot fronting the Park, in the most 
central part of the village, on which stands the Hardware Store 
now in possession of C. Whiting, Jr., (part of which is also 
occupied as a Banking House by the Union Bank) a Tin Shop and 
Meat Market. The Hardware Store is the oldest and best stand 
for business in the country. 

Also the Corner Lot near the Brick Church, on which stands 
a large Steam Flouring Mill, with three run of stone, together 
with a Saw Mill which saws annually from 1000 to 1500 lo<;s, a 
Store House for grain and a Brick Blacksmith and Cooper's Shop. 



232 Old RinderHooK 

The flour manufactured at this Steam Mill bears the reputation 
of being equal in quality to that produced by the most celebrated 
Western Mills, and sells at the highest price in the New York 
market. 

At the same time Charles Whiting, Jr., offers his stock of 
Hardware and Iron for sale. 

In 1855, John H. Melius is the village Carriage and 
Sleigh maker. He later sells his business to Mr. McAleese. 
R. Graves has Clothing, Hats, Caps, Furs and Robes to sell. 
The Kinderhook and Stuyvesant Farmers' Mutual Insurance 
Co. is formed. Henry Snyder, President, and P. E. Van 
Alstyne, Secretary. A portion of the present W. B. Van 
Alstyne farm is said to be peculiarly rich in arrowheads and 
other Indian relics. Homer Blanchard and T. M. Burt, in 
the Wool business, dissolve partnership and Mr, Blanchard 
removes the business to Hartford. The building, which 
stood about where the church sheds now are, is a part of the 
large barn near the bridges. It was purchased and moved 
by Henry Snyder, and was first a broom factory, and later a 
steam paper mill. Five hundred dollars is appropriated for a 
new fire engine, the old one being unfit for use when the 
Academy boarding-house was burned in 1854. Justice Hin- 
man, a leading supporter of the Baptist church, dies. In 
September, Washington Irving visits ex-President Van Buren 
at Lindenwald, where more than fifty years before he had 
been a tutor in the family of Judge William P. Van Ness 
and commenced his literary career. The census of 1855 
reveals the village as containing 173 dwellings, 212 families, 
and a population of 1060; Town, 3550. 

In February, 1856, G. W. Hoxie advertises "Peaches and 
Melons fresh every Wednesday morning. " He also presents 
a 12 lb. bell to Engine Co. No. 2. James Lathrop takes the 
store long occupied by Charles Whiting, Jr., and Lawrence 
Van Dyck opens a new Book and Stationery Store in the 
building adjoining John Wilcoxson's store, on the old bank 
corner. Early in 1856 Valatie votes for Incorporation by a 



Gleanings 233 

majority of 56. At an indignation meeting, held in the 
Baptist church, after the attack on Charles Sumner, Charles 
L. Beale delivered a stirring address and strong denunciatory- 
resolutions were adopted. 

In addition to those already noted, we observe these as 
among the active business men of the time: Edward Rise- 
dorph, Carriages and Blacksmithing; Van Bramer and De 
Myer, Groceries, etc., in the store formerly kept by S. A. 
Fowler (now D. C. Hull); William Kip, Watches, Clocks, 
etc., in the building that lately went voyaging through our 
streets and was twice sold while on its way ; John Wilcoxson, 
Dry Goods, etc. ; Marcus Reid, Paints, in the shop recently 
purchased of F. W. Bradley, Esq.; Bray and Griffen, Shoes; 
C. Palmer, Stoves; J. C. Sweet, Books and Stationery; 
Peter Van Schaack, Garden Seeds, and a pleasing variety of 
Cure-alls for man and beast. B. Van Slyck, Jr., was running 
stages to the Landing to meet trains and boats, and William 
Niver was rendering like service to Niverville. Personal 
memories afford ground for the belief that the very same 
vehicles, horses, and harness were in use twenty years later. 

In the Rough Notes of August 23, i860, we find "Reminis- 
cences of Kinderhook" of much interest, of which we give 
the substance: 

Last week while workmen were digging a trench from the 
Union Bank to the store belonging to the estate of the late John 
Bain, when in about the center of the street, four feet below 
the surface, they struck a coffin which contained the remains of a 
human being. The spot where these remains were found is in 
the center of the village and near the southern end of the public 
burial ground, laid out at the settlement of the village, long 
before the Revolutionary war. 

At that time the village proper was located on Hudson 
Street, and what is now known as William Street was the 
principal road leading into it from Valatie, which place then 
contained only a gristmill or two, and as many dwellings. 



234 Old RinderKooK 

During the year 1814, the population of our village hav- 
ing increased, the congregation of the Reformed Dutch 
church (then the only religious denomination in this section) 
concluded to tear down their old church under the hill, and 
commenced the erection of the Brick Church where it now 
stands. The business of the place soon followed, and stores 
and dwellings clustered around it and formed what now is the 
central part of the village. Mr. Abraham I. Van Vleck 
(father of H. and A. Van Vleck) moved up street and built 
what has been known as the "old yellow store," where he 
carried on the mercantile business till about the year 18 16, 
when he retired and established his sons. 

In the Rough Notes of November 28, 1861, under the 
caption "An Old Landmark Removed," we have this 
illuminating record: 

The old building, owned by Gen, Charles Whiting, standing 
on the corner opposite the Brick Church is now being torn down 
and removed. ... It was built in 181 7 by the late Dr. H. L. 
Van Dyck and rented to Ebenezer Crocker and Lawrence Van 
Dyck who occupied it for two years as a Dry Goods and Grocery 
store. When the firm dissolved Mr. Van Dyck continued the 
business there until he removed to the building now occupied by 
B. De Myer as a hotel, but then called "the Old Academy" and 
purchased by Mr. V. D. of the trustees by building for them the 
building now owned by B. Van Slyke. The post office was at one 
time here, Mr. Van Dyck being the postmaster. . , . After the 
removal of Mr. Van Dyck the old store remained vacant for a 
number of years when it was again occupied as a store and dwell- 
ing by Isaac McCagg, and a Mr. Ainsworth. It has passed 
through many vicissitudes. It has been store, dwelling, wagon- 
maker's shop, wool house and a grain store, and now it is to be 
converted into a hay-press and barn. Great reason have we to 
cherish its memory. It stood directly in our route to school, and 
in fair weather the boys used to play ball against its side and 
chase each other around it in foul. In the spring of the year, 
when the cellar was flooded with water, many is the sail we have 
enjoyed in an old cask, which sometimes did overturn and wet 



Gleanings 235 

our pantaloons; and when we entered school, upon the benches 
our mark we made long before we had learned to write. Good 
by, old fellow. Though like an old tooth thou hast long exhibited 
a decayed appearance, yet like it when removed, you leave a 
large vacuum in the aspect of things. 

The bam and hay-press referred to by our vivacious editor 
were built by General Whiting on his own premises, now- 
belonging to Mrs. James A. Reynolds. 

On Church Street, near the present residence of Mr. John 
Hagadorn, was the Wool Warehouse already noted as being 
now the barn on the Davie place. The large workshop of 
G. H. Brown and Bro. was built by General Whiting for 
Carriage and Wagon making and was long thus used, es- 
pecially to supply a Southern market. Thereafter it was at 
different times a Steam Saw Mill, Flour Mill, and within our 
recollection a Hoop Skirt Factory. In this building the 
ladies of the Dutch church held their notable Fair on 
the Fourth of July after the burning of the Church. In the 
older building on the corner the organizers of the Methodist 
church held Sunday services for a time before their church 
edifice was built. 

In December, 1861, Kinderhook and Valatie were first 
connected by telegraph. On the 14th, Sylvester Becker, 
President of Valatie village, sent this first message, addressed 
to President W. H. Tobey : " Our two villages are connected 
together by telegraph wires. May we ever live in friendship 
and brotherly love, ever assisting each other as opportunity 
offers." To which Mr. Tobey replied: "Kinderhook re- 
ciprocates the greeting of Valatie, and while she follows in 
the track of her improvement acknowledges with motherly 
pride the daughter's progress and prosperity." 

IN LIGHTER VEIN 

In our researches we have found many a poetic " gem of 
purest ray serene" in "the hidden depths" of the Kinder- 



236 Old RinderKooK 

hook Sentinel. Regretting that we have not space for these 
classics entire, we refer the reader to the issues of July 29th, 
August 5th and 19th, 1852, for the omitted stanzas. Of the 
first, of six stanzas, we quote the first and the fifth : 

To A Lady's Hand at Kinderhook 

Lady, though sculpture has the power 

To charm me with its mimic art, 
There is a hand, of Nature's mould. 

Can thrill the pulses of the heart. 

So lily-white ; and is the heart 

That feeds with life each purple vein, 
As pure as that white palm appears. 

As free as that white hand from stain? 

Melvill. Willow Grove. 

Of the second, of eight stanzas, the first and the last must 
suffice : 

To THE Thumb of a Lady's White Hand at Kinderhook | 

Lady! thy Thumb's bewitching charms 

Which Melvill passed neglected by, 
Inspire my muse to take up arms 

For beauties scorned, for chivalry. 

Pure thumb ! thy beauties I adore. 

Thou art a proud, high, noble thing. 
Never like Saxon slave hast worn 

Man's feudal, soul-oppressing Ring. 
Swamp Robin. Birch Swamp. (Charles L. Beale?) 

The third lyric is of four double-stanzas of which we give the 

first and the last : j 

To the Foot of a Lady at Kinderhook 

While Melvill sings in praises warm I 

The beauties of a lady's palm, 



Gleanings 237 

And Swamp, from out a grove of birch, 

Seated upon his lofty perch, 
Pipes forth, till all the birds are dumb, 

The praises of a lady's thumb — 
With my hot brain all in a whirl, 

Thy foot I worship, lovely girl. 

• • • • • . • • 

Oh ! lady, I a boon would crave — 

'Tis all I ask this side the grave — 
Have pity on your lover true ; 

Make me a present of a shoe 
That once has pressed that snowy foot. 

Or e'en a worn-out gaiter boot. 
I'll then from earth in peace withdraw, 

And sing thy praise with my last Caw. 
Jim Crow. Written from the top of an old pine tree. 

For the poet laureate, however, some may think we must 
look to Schodack, as thus evidenced in the Kinderhook 
Herald of July 19, 1827: 

"These loins were composed while sitting on the banks 
of the River at Schodack, by a pias Lady." 

As I sat on the banks of the Schodackin Isle 

My thoughts ran how Mosis was hid on the nile 

And while I am calling on the musis to help my mind sore 

The Steamboats and vessails are passing close by this shore. 

There are five more stanzas equally fine. 

And yet our pardonable partiality prefers to place the 
poetic crown on this one of Kinderhook' s brilliant galaxy 
who then wrote : 

Maria this i truly know 
Thyne eyes are fond cupid bo 
At every glanc they send a dart 
Which pearces threw my aking hart 



238 Old mnderHooK 

Maria lend those eyes to me 
That i may have a chance to sea 
And i may hit that hart of thine 
And make it once to throb like mine. 

Commending this to the thoughtful study of our Shake- 
speare Club, we leave them to decide whether the laurel is 
to be awarded, to the Pias Lady of Schodackin Isle or our 
anonymous Kinderhook bard. 

In the Sentinel of August 12th, a week before Jim Crow's 
"Sapphic Ode" appeared, this letter to a lady in Rochester 
was published: 

My dear Kate : 

''Do give me a description of that wonderful village of yours.'" 
This you will recognize as a sentence from your last highly valued 
epistle, and you will doubtless agree with me that the request has 
an irresistible air of command about it, to which I yield. . . . 
The village is now the resort of many strangers, who find its 
retirement preferable to the noise and bustle of the fashionable 
watering places : but it is a quer^'' whether their presence 'is a 
benefit to us, as one young lady (the beauty par excellence) has 
already driven some poor youth to maniacal rhymes by merely 
raising a lily white hand which he apostrophizes with a despera- 
tion "devoutly to be" shunned. No doubt that hand has done 
more mischief still; for I hear it whispered that more than one 
desponding swain has cooled his fevered brain by plunging at the 
midnight hour into the tumultuous waves of our village stream ; 
but who these unfortunates are I cannot say, as their bodies have 
not yet been recovered. 

The poetical taste of our village is certainly becoming per- 
fectly dazzling. As displayed in the Sentinel for the past several 
weeks Mr. V. has in connection with his office of publication an 
Aviary containing some of the rarest birds. . . . Who cares a 
straw for your Rochester Knockings with their Quaker "yes" 
and "no," when we have birds right from heaven's own blue to 
translate for us the mysteries of creation? But the greatest 
wonder of the Aviary is the "Swamp Robin," who sings of 
Venus, Diana and Pallas as though these goddesses had held him 



Gleanings 239 

to their breast and smoothed his rumpled feathers with their 
magic hand. Preposterous assumption for a Robin, and that 
a grovelHng swamp-bird too ! Some say that have had a peep at 
him that he is a perfect Adonis in his way. Altogether it seems 
as if Pegasus roamed at large here: the only fear is that he will 
be metamorphosed into a hobby horse. 

Kinderhook, like every village of its pretensions, has its lions. 
Of course you will guess that Lindenwald is one, as being the 
residence of an ex-President. Then too, we have hereabouts the 
veritable "Ichabod Crane" of whom Washington Irving, very 
innocently no doubt, has made a great man. Another lion is 
"Lovers' Leap" which is beyond the fine gardens of Mr. S. at a 
convenient distance from the village, and a favorite ramble. It 
is resorted to almost daily by the lads and lassies, and who can 
tell how many mutual vows have been uttered there during the 
long summer! Taking into consideration the beauty of the 
scenery, the charm of the season and the proprieties of the time 
and place, it must be exceedingly difficult for any sensitive maiden 
to say "no." . . . Then there is "Lovers' Grove" too, equally 
fascinating. But do not think that all parties to these hallowed 
spots are or must necessarily become sentimental. No indeed! 
I have heard, and that recently, of their sanctity being profaned 
by a regular pitched-battle, wherein apples served for cannon 
balls and merry laughter, loud and musical, in lieu of trumpets. 
Yet after all, as Mischief and Love go hand in hand, there is no 
telling how many of these apples enclose the darts of Cupid. 
Among the pretty places is the "Avalanche," a land-slide, 
" Prospect Hill, " etc., around each of which "hangs a tale " which 
would certainly rival Old Mortality. But as good Dominie 

says invariably at the end of a sixty minutes' sermon, just 

before he dashes into the conclusion which occupies ten minutes 
more — I forbear. So, an revoir. 

Very sincerely, 

Marie. 

In Van Vleck's initital number we note the following 
gems, not wholly original it may be, but put in his own 
charming way: 

"A woman is a good deal like a piece of ivy. The more 



240 Old RinderHooK 

you are ruined the closer she clings to you. A wife's love 
don't begin to show itself until the sheriff is after you." 

The poultry mania is defined as *a morbid tendency to 
brood over chickens. 

In a later issue, referring to the State Fair, our kindly 
editor gives this appreciative and doubtless gratuitous notice 
of a new Yankee notion — 

which when wound up and set in motion will chase a hog over a 
ten-acre lot, catch him, yoke and ring him; or by a slight change 
of gearing chop him into sausages, work his bristles into shoe- 
brushes and manufacture his tail into cork-screws, all in the 
twinkling of a bed-post. 

This also we must add : 

An old acquaintance of ours whom we had not seen for some 
time, called upon us one day last week, and after the usual 
salutations were over remarked — that we were the homeliest man 
he had ever seen. The richness of the compliment consists in the 
fact that the person who gave it is so ill-looking that he himself 
acknowledged that his food wouldn't digest well, and he was 
restless nights. 

Most pathetic, as we recall the sequel, was the editor's offer 
to "exchange a two years cough for a seven years itch, with 
a pain in the side thrown in. " 

In the Rough Notes of August 30, i860, a correspondent, 
after writing humorously, thus closes an interesting letter 
and becomes a little mixed in his Scripture quotation: 

But all joking aside, friend Notes, it rejoiced my heart once 
more to gaze on Kinderhook and its surroundings. The mansions 
with their shady courtyards become every year more baronial; 
the cottages, with comfort accessible to the many, are brighter 
than ever; even the majestic Catskills seem more blue and tower 
higher than ever before ; the drives over the gravelled roads in the 
vicinity never approached nearer perfection, and the dust never 
was more nearly washed off from house and tree, and agglutinated 



Oleanin^s 241 

to its proper place beneath the feet than it is at the present time. 

Whoever can sustain himself in the vicinity of Kinderhook, 

and by an honorable and upright course of conduct secure the 

favorable opinion of the inhabitants has every reason to exclaim 

with the Psalmist — "The lines are fallen to me in pleasant places, 

beside still waters." 
16 



CHAPTER VIII 

CELEBRATIONS AND SUNDRY NOTABLE PUBLIC 
MEETINGS 

Fourth of July, 1825, '27, '28 — Memorial of Adams and Jeflferson — The 
Greeks — Van Buren's Inauguration — Fourth of July Barbecue, 1840 — 
The Whigs' Great Rally — Reception of the Ex-President — Democratic 
Successes and Van Buren's Letter, 1842 — Training Days as Remembered 
by Colonel Silas W. Burt— A July Festival. 

IN these days of agitation for a sane celebration of the 
Fourth of July it may be interesting, and will awaken 
pleasant memories in the minds of the honored remnant of an 
almost vanished generation, to recall the old-time observances 
of the day. For a series of years there was a union celebra- 
tion by the three villages of Kinderhook, Stuyvesant, and 
Valatie. From the files of our village paper we select and 
present the substance of the narrative of three, typical of all : 
the first at Stuyvesant in 1825, the second at Valatie in 1827, 
and a third at Kinderhook in 1828. 

June 23, 1825, our village paper thus heralded the notable 
event: 

The ensuing anniversary of American Independence will be 
celebrated at the house of Walter Butler on the banks of the 
Hudson in the town of Stuyvesant. Gentlemen from other 
towns in the vicinity are respectfully invited to attend. 

In the issue of July 7th this narrative appeared: 

Forty ninth Anniversary. A large number of citizens assem- 
bled at the house of Mr. Walter Butler and formed a procession 

242 



FourtH of July 243 

at II o'clock under the direction of Julius Wilcoxson, assisted 
by the Committee of Arrangements. The procession paraded 
with martial music into the spacious Summer house situated on 
the hill. Here the Declaration was read by Horatio Gates, 
after which an oration was delivered by Nicholas Sickles, Esq., 
couched in chaste and elegant language and breathing the most 
ardent patriotism. The exercises being closed the procession 
was again formed and reconducted to the house of Mr. Butler. 
About 130 gentlemen sat down to an excellent dinner pre- 
pared by him under an extensive awning erected at the water- 
side. Gen. P. I. Vosburgh officiated as President of the Day. 
Toasts were offered by David Van Schaack, N. Wild, P. Vos- 
burgh Jr. Lucas Hoes and others. Judge Medad Butler offered 
this: " The Citizens of the United States ! Should there be any 
who from apathy or prejudice object to the annual observance 
of this jubilee, let them remove to some other clime and try 
despotism until their polluted heresy is corrected. " 

Judge Butler was the father of Benjamin Franklin 
Butler, the eminent jurist, whom Jackson made the Attor- 
ney-General of his cabinet. He was the grandfather of 
William Allen Butler. Dates considered, none will confound 
the Kinderhook B. F. B. with another B. F. B. whom we 
joyfully place to the credit of Deerfield, N. H. 

The 4th of July, 1827, was especially notable as the day 
of freedom to all slaves in the State. At the banquet after 
the celebration at Millville (Valatie), James Vanderpoel 
offered this toast : ' ' Valatie ! In 1 8 1 5 a bleak uncultivated 
barren; in 1827 an extensive Manufacturing village, con- 
taining wealth and intelligence, industry and virtue; a 
practical comment on the American system." 

In Kinderhook, in 1828, Judge Medad Butler was made 
chairman of the celebration and Peter I. Hoes, of Kinder- 
hook, vice-chairman. The procession formed at Lewis's 
hotel at II A.M. in the following order: 

Marshal with two Assistants 
Music with Standards 



244 Old K-inderHooK 

Citizens, two abreast 

Judicial and Executive Officers 

Soldiers of the Revolution 

Principal of Kinderhook Academy, Teachers and Students 

Clergymen 

Orator and Reader 

President and V. President of the Village 

Committee of Arrangements 

The procession moved around the square to the church, 
where it opened and entered in reverse order. In the church 
the exercises were: 

Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Burger 

Reading of the Declaration by James Johnson 

Oration by Peter H. Silvester 

Benediction 

The procession then re-formed and moved to Lewis's hotel 
where dinner was served. Early in the evening the village 
was thronged by visitors who had come to witness the fire- 
works. These did not rival Pain's, it may be, but were none 
the less impressive to those who beheld them. At the firing 
of a signal gun at nine o'clock a rocket took its flight toward 
the heavens and was followed by one at Millville. Alternate 
discharge of rockets during the evening closed the festivities 
of the day. ''We were pleased," says the narrator, "with 
these exhibitions, evincing as they did the cordiality and 
good feeling which exists between the two villages, united 
by the ties of interest and moving with rapid pace in the 
road to prosperity. " 

On Saturday, July 15, 1826, in accordance with arrange- 
ments made by a committee appointed at a meeting called 
to adopt measures to evince in a public manner their respect 
for John Adams and Thomas Jefferson who had died on the 
4th of July, there were the following ceremonies in honor of 



FovirtK of Jvily 245 

these Fathers of our Independence. We quote from the 
Kinderhook Herald. 

At 3 o'clock, P.M., a procession was formed and proceeded 
round the square to the church in the following order: 

Brigadier-General Charles Whiting; 

Regimental colors in mourning, carried by an ensign ; 

Musicians playing an appropriate dirge. 

Officers of the 56th regiment wearing crape on the left arm; 

Orator and Clergy; 

Ladies ; 

Teachers of the Academy and Common School with their 

scholars ; 
Citizens. 

The procession having entered the church, the following cere- 
monies were there observed : 

A fervent and appropriate prayer by Rev. Mr. Sickles; 
Anthem, sung by the choir; 
Eulogy, by N. Sickles, Esq.; 
Anthem and Benediction. 

The interior of the church exhibited the emblems of mourning, 
and the proceedings were of a nature to infuse into the minds of 
all a sense of awe and veneration. The eulogy did equal credit 
to the head and heart of the speaker. . . . The procession was 
the largest that has even been witnessed on any occasion in this 
village, and moved with slow and solemn step to the beat of the 
muffled drum. Business was suspended and every store and shop 
closed on the occasion. 

With the achievement of their own independence but 
forty-four years away, the people of the United States, in- 
cluding many in our town, were keen in their sympathy for 
the Greeks in their struggle for freedom. After the over- 
whelming victory of the allied maritime forces of England, 
France, and Russia over the Turko-Egyptian fleet in the bay 
of Navarino, a notable celebration was held at Lewis's hotel 



246 Old K-inderKooK 

in our village on the evening of December 20, 1827. The 
Honorable J. Vanderpoel presided with Lucas Hoes as vice- 
president and Aaron Vanderpoel as the speaker. Among 
those present from this and adjoining towns we find the 
names: John Jenkins of Columbiaville, J. P. Beekman, B. 
Baldwin, D. Van Schaack, Dr. J. Vanderpoel, C. Birge, A. 
Vanderpoel, B. Hilton, N. Wild, General Whiting, Major 
Wilcoxson, Captain Snyder, S. Metcalf, J, Clark, A. A. 
Hoysradt, P. H. Silvester, Dr. Skinner of Ghent, Captain 
Bain, J. Wild of Columbiaville, B. Kingman, and N. Sickles. 
One of the toasts after the banquet was this: 

The Ionian Sea — A splendid mirror, reflecting to the eye of 
enraptured Greece and to that of every friend of humanity, the 
happy and glorious co-operation of Russian, French and English 
valor and magnanimity. 

That sympathy for the Greeks was not limited to resolu- 
tions, speech-making, and banqueting appears in the account 
about two months later of the " Ladies Greek Meeting at the 
Brick Church." Colonel Henry Van Vleck was made 
Chairman and David Van Schaack, Secretary. Julius 
Wilcoxson presented two resolutions. The first was for the 
appointment of a committee of seven to purchase materials, 
distribute work, collect clothing, etc., and have general 
supervision. This committee consisted of Mrs. Jacob 
Sickles, Miss Maria Van Vleck, Francis Silvester, William 
Barthrop, James Vanderpoel, John P. Beekman, and Henry 
Van Vleck. The second resolution called for the appoint- 
ment of a committee of twenty-five to solicit money, goods, 
and articles of wearing apparel. This committee consisted 
of: Mrs. H. L. Van Dyck, Mrs. John Vanderpoel, Mrs. G. 
Gardenier, Mrs. Peter T. Van Slyck, Mrs. David Best, Mrs. 
Ephraim Best, Miss Margaret Van Alen, Miss Catharine 
Ray, Aaron Vanderpoel, Isaac Van Alstyne, L. Van Dyck, 
Jr., Julius Wilcoxson, Henry Winans, John Manton, Benja- 
min Baldwin, Nathan Wild, John Van Slyck, Peter H. Bain, 



"Van B\iren*s Inavi^taration 247 

Aaron Gardenier, Lucas I. Van Alen, Isaac Van Dyck, Tunis 
Harder, John Penoyer, Henry Shoemaker, and A. Spicker- 
man. The report of the Executive Committee less than two 
months later was that $1 10 in cash and two boxes of wearing 
apparel in variety valued at over $395 had been contributed. 
An "oratorio," yielding $99, had previously been given. In 
April, 1828, the philanthropist Dr. Howe, accompanied by W. 
L. Stone of New York, and a number of Greek boys, visited 
Kinderhook and held a meeting in the church which was 
again thronged with an enthusiastic multitude who were 
addressed by both visitors. 

VAN BUREN's inauguration 

That the people of Kinderhook would celebrate the in- 
auguration, March 4, 1837, of their fellow townsman, Martin 
Van Buren, as President of the United States, was to be 
expected. The wonder is that it was only two days before 
the event that the following public notice appeared in the 
Sentinel. 

Inauguration — The citizens of Kinderhook are requested 
to meet at Stranahan's hotel this evening at half past six to adopt 
measures for the celebration of the 4th of March, on which day 
Kinderhook gives a President to the United States. 

In the issue of the 9th, we have an account of the public 
meeting and also of the Inaugural Festival two days later. 

At a highly respectable meeting of the citizens of Kinderhook, 
held at Mr. Stranahan's Hotel on the 2nd. inst, to make arrange- 
ments for the appropriate celebration of the Inauguration of 
Martin Van Buren, Dr. John P. Beekman was called to the 
Chair and William B. Shaw appointed Secretary. The object of 
the meeting having been stated by Major M. Myers in a short 
address, it was resolved; that Lucas Hoes, Charles Whiting and 
Daniel E. Dunscomb be a committee to draft resolutions. That 
Charles Whiting, James Shaw and William Bradley be a com- 



248 Old RinderKooK 

mittee of Arrangements and that M. Myers, J. Wilcoxson, J. P. 
Beekman, J. Vanderpoel, E. A. Dunscomb and W. B. Shaw be a 
committee of Publication. 

Inauguration Festival 

The election of Mr. Van Buren to the Presidency was cele- 
brated in Kinderhook by his townsmen on Saturday the 4th. of 
March with great eclat. At sunrise the National Standard, that 
flag under whose ample folds our countrymen have so often been 
victorious, was raised aloft and floated proudly in the breeze. 
At 12 M. a salute of 26 guns (one for each State) was fired, accom- 
panied with the ringing of all bells in the village. At sunset a 
salute of 13 guns was fired, the bells ringing a merry peal. Early 
in the evening a large number of friends of Mr. Van Buren 
pressed into the village, anxious to testify to his eminent public 
services, his exalted character and great worth. The principal 
hotel in the village, as well as the humble cottage in which Mr. 
Van Buren was born, and several private dwellings were bril- 
liantly illuminated. A transparency of Mr. Van Buren was dis- 
played from the piazza of the hotel and many hundred lights 
threw a vivid blaze upon the surrounding country. At precisely 
eight o'clock the numerous company assembled sat down to a 
supper prepared in Mr. Stranahan's best style. Major M. Myers 
presided at the table, assisted by Dr. J. Vanderpoel of Valatie 
and Capt. Alexander Bidwell of Stuyvesant as Vice-presidents. 
After the cloth was removed, the following resolutions, prepared 
for the occasion and presented by the chairman appointed for the 
purpose were adopted: Resolved — That the election of Martin 
Van Buren, our fellow townsman, to the first office in the gift 
of the people is an additional evidence that the principles of 
Democracy are proof against the powerof aristocracy and intrigue. 
He is emphatically the founder of his own pre-eminence. We see 
much in him to admire and nothing to condemn. In his hands 
the country is safe. Resolved — That Jackson, our late venerable 
President, in his retirement from the arduous duties which for 
eight years he has discharged to the entire satisfaction of those 
who elected him, carries with him to the shades of the Hermitage 
our best wishes and heart-felt gratification for having with 



"Van Bviren's Inaugviration 249 

firmness and dignity maintained the high character of the Nation 
at home and abroad. May the remainder of his valuable life be 
passed in ease and quiet. 

Resolved — That we highly approve the action by a majority 
of the Senate in electing Richard M. Johnson Vice-President, 
thereby carrying into effect the will of a majority of the people. 
Resolved — That Governor Marcy has fully expressed our senti- 
ments on the Abolition question; and that taking the Constitu- 
tion for our guide, we are opposed to all interference on that 
subject, leaving our fellow citizens of the South to manage their 
inherited estate in their own way as fully and freely as we claim 
the right of managing our own. Resolved — That our late 
representative in Congress, the Hon. Aaron Vanderpoel, has 
expressed our opinions on the many important questions in the 
discussion of which he has taken part during the past session, 
and that we highly approve of his whole legislative course. 

Regular Toasts 

1st. Andrew Jackson. 2d. Martin Van Buren — President of 
the United States, our townsman and friend. We know his in- 
tegrity and talents. Born and nurtured among us, we have care- 
fully scanned his conduct through every change from boyhood 
to manhood; from the humble walks of a private citizen to the 
proudest and most exalted station in the world. With Jefferson 
and Jackson as his models the Republic is safe. 3d. Richard 
M. Johnson. 4th. Our Country. 5th. Thomas Jefferson. 6th. 
The Signers of the Declaration of Independence. 7th. Nullifica- 
tion and Abolition — Twin brothers ! may they both be frowned 
out of existence. 8th. Our Governor and Lieut. -Governor. 
9th. Our townsman, Hon. Aaron Vanderpoel, an able and 
talented Representative in Congress, worthy to be elected to a 
higher and more conspicuous station. loth. The Democratic 
Party, nth. The Empire State. 12th. Our Army and Navy. 
13th. The Union, may it never be dissolved. 

Before the volunteer toasts were given a number of songs 
were sung and loudly encored. From the more than thirty 
volunteer toasts we select these: 



250 Old IlinderhooK 

By General Charles Whiting — The small cottage of our 
President's nativity — illuminated this night — a fit emblem that 
it only requires honesty, patriotism and talents in any citizen 
to rise to the most exalted station that freemen can bestow. 
By Barent Hoes — The former and present Representatives in 
Congress from the town of Kinderhook, Peter Silvester, John P. 
Van Ness, James I. Van Alen, Barent Gardenier, Thomas Beek- 
man, Aaron Vanderpoel, Nicholas Sickles. Peace to the dead 
and may a virtuous ambition guide the living. By Honorable 
Julius Wilcoxson — Kinderhook, most favored of all her sister 
towns, having given the first President of the United States from 
the State of New York. By Peter Van Schaack — Benjamin F. 
Butler, the profound jurist, the indefatigable Secretary, the 
champion of Temperance, the humble Christian. By Dr. John 
M. Pruyn — Peter Van Schaack, Peter Silvester, Cornelius P. 
Van Ness, William P. Van Ness, James Vanderpoel, Myndert 
Vosburgh, Abraham Van Dyck, Francis Silvester, ornaments to 
the Bar and the Bench who have reflected honor on their birth- 
place — Kinderhook. By Isaac Pruyn — Michigan, a new star in 
our firmament, may she add new lustre to Mr. Van Buren's 
administration. 

Edward A. Dunscomb, after an extended panegyric, and with 
allusion to the Senate's refusal to confirm the nomination of 
Mr. Van Buren as minister to England, offered this: " Mar- 
tin Van Buren, the President of the Republic; although cast 
from the court of St. James by the unhallowed influence of 
an unhallowed triumvirate (Calhoun, Clay, Webster), the 
people have given their casting vote in his favor." 

We had expected to dismiss the subject of Kinderhook 
Fourth of July celebrations with the foregoing narratives, 
when we found that of 1840 with its great Barbecue which 
must on no account be omitted. That celebration was of 
such dazzling splendor that it seems desirable to approach 
it gradually, letting certain preliminary notices so quicken 
our imagination and exalt our anticipations as to prepare us 
measurably for the magnificent reality. 

In May, 1840, Martin Van Buren was nominated for a 



FourtH of J\ily Barbecxie 251 

second term. His native village and County could not do 
less than make the national holiday the occasion of a mighty 
demonstration in honor of their son whose brow had been 
crowned with so many laurels. Thus evidently the editor of 
(or contributor to) the Sentinel thought, for we read: 

The Anniversary of our National Independence is rapidly 
approaching, and let us forewarn our friends to be prepared to 
meet with each other in the birth-place of the President, upon its 
return. The Whigs were never more persevering in their efforts, 
or more confident of success than now. The hosts of Federalism 
are marshalled and in the field, prepared for a vigorous and final 
struggle. The friends of aristocratic principles and strong gov- 
ernments are aroused and have put their shoulders to the wheel, 
bared and earnest for the contest. Shall the Democrats be un- 
prepared to meet them? Shall the principles of Jefferson be 
overcome, by a senseless hurra, and none stand forward to guard 
the legacy he has left us from ruin, and his memory from re- 
proach? Rather let every Democrat be nerved for prompt and 
persevering action, and vow to meet the foe in a fair field. Let 
him remember that "thrice armed is he that hath his quarrel 
just," and rest his cause upon the intelligence of the people. 
With this issue Democracy has nothing to fear, though menaced 
by all the parades, and jubilees and schemes yet to be produced 
by the fertile genius of Whigism. Let our friends be vigilant 
and active in making preparations for the ever glorious Fourth. 
Each town should organize and be certain of being represented by 
a full delegation. Every Democrat must be made to feel that on 
him alone depends much, and that no trifling circumstance should 
deter him from meeting with his political friends. Great masses 
are composed of minute particles, and one vote often decides 
great questions. We feel confident that the right spirit is abroad, 
and that the call upon the Democracy of the County will not be 
dishonored. The brainless shouts of the "Ciderists" will avail 
nothing with the freemen of Martin Van Buren's County, who, 
we are assured, will rally to the support of New York's favorite 
Son. Democracy must either stand or fall in the approaching 
conflict, and if the gallant bark is to be foundered let her go down 



252 Old K.inderHooK 

with her colors flying and every rag of canvas floating in the 
breeze. 

A Whig paper was so audacious as to protest against 
making the observance of the Fourth a partisan affair, but 
was silenced by this crushing rejoinder: 

Consistency! — The Editor of the Columbia Republican 
last week groaned "more in sorrow than in anger," that the 
shameless Democrats had appointed a Convention to be held 
at Kinderhook on the Fourth of July, and was aghast with holy 
horror that such a day should be celebrated by any Party. This 
week he sees things in a different light, and publishes a call to the 
Whigs and Conservatives of the county to unite in a Whig cele- 
bration at Hudson ; at the same time ascribing to the unholy pro- 
ject of a Loco Foco Convention at Kinderhook the necessity for 
this movement. The Whigs are never inconsistent, oh no — 
certainly not — by no means — not at all. 

The clarion call to the Convention was thus re-echoed a week 
later : 

The call of the Young Men's Central Corresponding Com- 
mittee of the County, for a Convention to be held at Kinderhook 
on the Fourth of July next we doubt not will be received with 
cordial approbation and generous enthusiasm. The day and 
the place for the meeting of the Convention could not have been 
more happily chosen, and we confidently expect that there will 
be such an assemblage of the Junior Democracy of the County 
in the Birth-Place of Martin Van Buren on the coming Anni- 
versary of our National Independence as has never been witnessed 
on any former occasion. 

It behooves every man who loves his Country and her 
institutions to prepare himself for a violent struggle with an old 
desperate enemy who, muffled in a thousand varied garbs, has 
been stabbing at the vitals of a simple Republican Government 
since its first establishment by our patriot fathers, and, maddened 
by continual defeat, is resorting to the basest and most wily 
stratagems to obtain political power. It belongs to the sturdy 
and intelligent Democracy of our country to say, whether the 



FoxirtK of July Barbecvie 253 

self-styled Whig party, who, without daring to avow their 
principles, are continually insulting the people with parades and 
jubilees and shouts of "hard cider" shall be permitted to seat 
in the Presidential chair a man so notoriously imbecile that he has 
to be guarded by a whig triumvirate! Every means that an 
unprincipled party can command are being brought into action 
to secure the election of Gen. Harrison, and it is time that the 
Democracy of this and every other county in the Empire State 
should gird on their political armor and stand ready to defend 
the liberties of the people from the furious assaults of ancient 
Federalism. On the return of the birth-day of American Liberty, 
and in the birth-place of New York's Favorite Son, let every 
Young Democrat renew his oath of fidelity to the principles 
of Jefferson, and while he remembers that these principles are 
menaced by an ever vigilant and uncompromising foe, let him 
unite with all his political associates in concerting measures not 
only to avert defeat, but to ensure a glorious triumph. 

After all that, we are surely ready for the sequel. A few 
graceless unconscionable Whigs may have sulked in their 
tents, but for the nonce about all the people seem to have 
been Democrats, for 5000 at least, it was said, were in joyful 
attendance at the Convention although Van Buren's vote 
in the entire County was only 4478. 

The Sentinel of July 9th gave a charming, adjective- 
exhausting account of the wonderful day. After alluding to 
the ringing of the bells which greeted the early dawn, the 
splendor of the day, the profuse and beautiful decorations 
with flags and banners suitably inscribed, the martial music 
of twenty-six democratic guns, the passing through the 
village of the amazing number of thirty-five sorry looking 
Whigs with a rustic pigpen for their Log Cabin, exciting the 
pity and moving the risibles of every beholder, the veracious 
chronicler proceeds to tell of the arrival amid resounding 
cheers and the thunder of cannon of delegations from every 
town in the County, until the crowd was so dense that it was 
difficult to move. "A more inspiring scene had never been 
witnessed." 



254 Old RinderKooK 

Omitting parts of a narrative too long to be given in full 
we quote: 

At eleven o'clock the convention was temporarily organized 
in the public square by the appointment of Silas Camp, Esq. of 
Claverack, as President, and P. Dean Carrique, Esq. of Hudson, 
as Secretary. 

On motion a committee of one from each town was appointed 
to report officers for the Convention, and while they were absent 
the Declaration of Independence was read by Dr. J. Vanderpoel 
of Valatie. 

The convention then adjourned for dinner, excellent prepara- 
tions for which were made by Mr. Stranahan of the Kinderhook 
Hotel, and Mr. Van Slyck of the Farmer's Hotel. The tables set 
by Mr. Stranahan were capable of accommodating six hundred 
at a time, and were placed in an open field, shaded by immense 
sheets of canvas. Here the Democracy to the number of one 
thousand were feasted upon good substantial fare, prepared to 
suit the most fastidious palate. There was no parade of "hard 
cider" or "cider barrels" made, but it was a Democratic Re- 
publican feast, and the partakers thereof arose refreshed, not 
stupefied with the effects of any Whig liquids. About three 
hundred dined at the Farmer's Hotel and about as many more 
were furnished with dinner by Messrs. Wilder and Ackley. 
Dinner being concluded, the procession was formed under the 
conduct of Col. Groat and . . . moved through Bridge, Silvester, 
Church and Broad Streets to Albany Avenue, and thence to the 
Grove. . . . When the head of the procession reached the Grove, 
the whole line halted, and having opened to the right and left, 
entered that charming retreat in reversed order. . . . There the 
immense multitude seated themselves on the green velvet carpet, 
surrounding the stage . . . and occupying the gently rising 
acclivity in front. 

The Convention being called to order, Charles B. Dutcher 
Esq., of Austerlitz, announced the selection of the following 
officers: President, Edward A. Dunscomb, of Kinderhook; Vice- 
Presidents — Andrew Pierce, Clermont; Jonas R. Delamater, 
Greenport; Clermont Livingston, Clermont; Fred I. Curtis, 
Ancram; John Rogers, Chatham; John I. Waldorph, Taghkanic; 



KovirtH of July Barbecue 255 

Fyler D. Sweet, Copake; Moses Y. Tilden, New Lebanon; Peter 
S. Burger, Hudson, and John C. Warner, Canaan. Secretaries: 
George Decker, Hudson, Daniel Bidwell, Stuyvesant; George 
M. Soule, Austerlitz; Wilson Torrey, Ghent; Peter I. Bachman, 
Livingston; Henry L. Miller, Germantown; Peter P. Rossman, 
Gallatin; H. W. Reynolds, Stockport; Herod Palmer, Hillsdale; 
Henry Snyder, Kinderhook. . . , The president having been 
conducted to the chair, acknowledged the honor conferred upon 
him in an appropriate and eloquent address which drew forth a 
burst of applause that resounded through the vast amphi- 
theater. The President then announced the following com- 
mittees: — On Addresses: — Theodore Miller, of Hudson; Silas 
Camp, of Claverack; Fred J. Curtis, of Ancram; John Waldorph, 
of Taghkanic ; Abram P. Van Alstyne, of Kinderhook. On Reso- 
lutions: — Robert McClellan, of Hudson; John E. Warner, of 
Canaan; Wm. H. DeWitt, of Germantown; Moses Y. Tilden, of 
New Lebanon; Walter Butler, of Stuyvesant. 

Henry W. Strong, Esq. of Troy and John W. Emmons of New 
York, being severally invited, addressed the Convention. The 
speeches of these talented men were replete with eloquence, 
argument and patriotism, and it is unnecessary to say that they 
were frequently interrupted by long cheers. The whole vast 
multitude seemed imbued with the same patriotic spirit which 
animated the speakers, and they were all held enraptured for two 
hours by their manly eloquence. . . . Robert McClellan, Esq., 
from the committee on resolutions, reported a number of spirited 
and pointed Resolutions which were unanimously and enthu- 
siastically adopted. Theodore Miller gave an able and patriotic 
address which was received with the same enthusiasm. 

At intervals during the proceedings salutes were fired in the 
Grove by the Democratic Young Artillery Company of Hudson, 
the effect of which was rendered grand beyond description by the 
reverberation produced by the surrounding hills, the giant oaks 
seeming to applaud to the very echo. 

The business of the convention having been concluded, a 
simultaneous movement was made toward the Democratic Ox, 
which, well roasted and basted, and decorated with roses and 
emblematic devices, quietly awaited the keen encounter. Two 
barrels of bread and crackers, and a cool spring of pure water 



256 Old RinderKooK 

were near, and ample justice was speedily done to the well fatted 
and well cooked Democratic Beef. . . . We congratulate the 
Democracy of Columbia County, upon the result of this glorious 
day; a day replete with the most cheering assurances of the 
firmness and stability of the great mass of the people, and of their 
competency for self government. A meeting so enthusiastic and 
spirited, cannot fail to have a gratifying influence upon the 
disciples of Democratic liberty everywhere, and those who have 
asserted that the friends and supporters of Mr. Van Buren are 
deserting him, will find their falsehoods contradicted by the 
enthusiastic rally in his native village on the ever memorable 
Fourth. The friends of equal rights will never desert Martin 
Van Buren, the man who has ever stood by and defended the 
interests of the people from the base attacks of their inveterate 
enemies. We repeat, that this tremendous meeting at the birth- 
place of New York's favorite son, will confirm the wavering and 
incite the firm to vigorous and united action. The lion-hearted 
Democracy have taken the field, and have enlisted under the 
banner of Van Buren, to serve during the war, resolved to conquer 
gloriously or to fall with every flag hoisted, their backs to the 
field and their feet to the foe. With such determination the 
result is not doubtful, and the scattering of the enemy when they 
are met will show that the campaign opened in Kinderhook on 
the Fourth has been productive of most glorious results to the 
freemen of the United States and to the friends of true liberty 
throughout the world. 

The evening of the Fourth passed off with unusual 
brilliancy. 

. . . For two hours the heavens were illuminated with all 
manner of lights shooting athwart the sky, and it almost seemed 
as if the spheres themselves had come down to frolic for the 
amusement and delight of our citizens. The whole concluded 
with the discharge of a huge Palm Leaf, equalling in magnificence 
anything we have ever seen. Upon the whole our Nation's 
Birth-day was celebrated in a manner never to be forgotten. 
The Convention was the largest ever held in this State and as 
enthusiastic as can possibly be conceived. It was a feast of 



FoxirtK of Jvily Barbecue 257 

reason and patriotism — an overflow of spirit and good feeling. 
The fire-works were unequalled, and the Day was pregnant with 
a fore-taste of the most glorious results to the Democracy of the 
Empire State. 

How could it have been, after all that, that Van Buren 
ran behind the State ticket in his own County, lost the State, 
and had but sixty electoral votes out of two hundred and 
ninety-four? It was his misfortune to be President during 
the disastrous panics of 1837 and 1839. As was to be ex- 
pected, the hard times were charged up against the Ad- 
ministration. And we who thus explain its defeats are 
among the few, not five years old then, who have never 
forgotten the campaign songs we were taught to sing: 
"Tippecanoe and Tyler too," and, "Van, Van, is a used up 
man " ; as turned out to be the case. To the music of Yankee 
Doodle, others sang this from the Jackson Almanac: 

Our ^Lection is a coming on — 
Our Van is in the field, sir, 
And Johnson he's a Yankee son, 
That ne'er was known to yield, sir. 

Then rally-rally round the polls, 
(Delay) there's no endurin' — 
The tarnal tribe, odd rot their souls, 
Must knuckle to Van Buren. 

Curfew did not ring from the Dutch church belfry that 
night. It had been discontinued a few years before, owing, 
some alleged, to Jackson's withdrawal of the United States' 
deposits from the banks. 

The "democratic ox" for the barbecue, we are informed, 
was a choice, selected steer from Kleine Kill. Decorated 
with flowers and with ribbons hanging nearly to the ground, 
it was led through the village, tradition alleges, by the late 
Charles W. Trimper, and elicited much applause and merri- 
ment. 

The Whigs of Kinderhook and vicinity had their "last 
17 



258 Old RinderKooK 

GREAT rally" that notable year in Hudson. A correspond- 
ent of the Sentinel wrote this soul-stirring account of it: 

The morning of the ever memorable 23d. of October, 1840, 
was ushered in by the rising of the sun, and the dispersion of 
darkness, and although there was nothing in the circumstance 
calculated to impress an ordinary mortal with any peculiar or 
novel sensations, yet to Federal vision the whole canopy of 
heaven was pregnant with political meteors, and big with mighty 
matters, whose development was about to entrance the universe. 
It is handed down by tradition, that at a certain hour in the 
morning, very many gentlemanly-ladies and some lady-like 
gentleman were blocking every avenue in the several counties of 
Columbia, Greene and Schoharie, in their tumultuous efforts to 
arrive at the city at an early hour. Eye hath seldom seen such a 
vast assemblage as arrived there in safety (?) and mortal pen is 
impotent to depict in sufficiently vivid colors the august, the 
tremendous, the terrible appearance of no less than five hundred 
souls, one half of whom were women and children, drawn up in 
martial array to do honor to music, to cider barrels, to coon skins, 
and to other things in general. 

It would be a pleasure to give the truthful, vivacious narra- 
tive in its entirety, but this glimpse of the spirit of those 
days must suffice. We were permitted to cull the two fore- 
going narratives from the gathered Whims, Scraps and 
Oddities of the late Honorable John H. Reynolds, and are 
pleased to note his appreciation of the world's best literature. 
On the 8th of May, 1841, there was yet another notable 
celebration in Kinderhook. The occasion of it was the 
return of the ex-President to his native village. At this 
remove from those days of intense political feeling it seems 
that it would have been a gracious thing on such an occasion 
to have kept the dead fly of partisanship out of the pot of 
otherwise sweet ointment; but the thought did not occur 
to the stalwarts of the time, and, under then existing con- 
ditions, we may well excuse perfervid oratory. Again we 
are indebted to the Kinderhook Sentinel and doubtless to the 



FourtH of July Darbecxjie 259 

facile pen of the accomplished editor, Peter Van Schaack, 
for the narrative which we slightly abbreviate: 

Reception of Ex-President Van Buren, on his Arrival at 

KiNDERHOOK 

Ex- President Van Buren returned to the place of his nativity 
on Saturday last. It was due to the brilliant talents of this dis- 
tinguished Statesman, as well as to the high office which he has 
so honorably filled, that he should be cordially greeted on his 
return to his native Village. Years had gone by since he left 
his birthplace to strive for that high honor, that chaplet of fame, 
which can only be obtained by those whose virtues and principles 
commend them to the confidence of the American People. By 
untiring energy, and devotion to the public welfare, he obtained 
the glittering prize, and amid the shouts of a free people rode in 
the triumphal car of public applause, and reached the most 
exalted station in the world. His highest aspirations gratified, 
and the object of his ambition attained — after the lapse of a long 
series of years spent in the service of his country, he has returned 
to the home of his youth, probably to spend the evening of his 
days among those who have long appreciated the splendor of his 
genius and admired his virtues. 

Early in the afternoon, a numerous and respectable portion 
of the citizens of Kinderhook, Stuyvesant and the adjoining 
towns assembled on the steam-boat wharf, to await the arrival of 
the Ex-President. When the Albany, in which boat he had taken 
passage, came in sight, she was saluted by a heavy piece of 
artillery which continued firing until the boat reached the wharf. 
Several popular airs were also played by the Spencertown Brass 
Band the members of which, without distinction of party, 
volunteered for the occasion. 

Mr. Van Buren was accompanied by the Hon. B. F. Butler, 
and as these two distinguished sons of Columbia pressed the soil 
of their native county they were loudly cheered. After exchang- 
ing salutations with his friends and fellow citizens, who had 
assembled to greet him, Mr. Van Buren entered his private 
carriage, seated by the side of Mr. Butler, and the procession 
commenced its line of march for Kinderhook. The procession was 
composed of a long line of citizens in carriages and on horse-back 



26o Old RinderHooK 

and its approach to our village was announced by the firing of 
cannon and the ringing of bells. Thus did Martin Van Buren, 
late the Chief Magistrate of this glorious Confederacy, enter his 
native village, surrounded, not by the trappings of power, or the 
pomp of royalty, but welcomed in a plain Republican style by 
honest hearts and sincere friends. 

The procession having arrived in front of Stranahan's hotel, 
Mr. Van Buren was conducted by the Committee of Arrange- 
ments to the piazza of the spacious building, which was already 
graced by a goodly number of ladies. Here in full view and in 
distinct hearing of the large assemblage of citizens in the public 
square. Major Mordecai Myers, on behalf of his townsmen gave 
a fitting address of welcome, the closing paragraph of which we 
quote: 

" It is a source of great satisfaction to your fellow citizens of the 
County of Columbia to find, that the pleasures and allurements 
of city life and associations with the most refined society, have 
failed to alienate you from the society of old and tried friends, on 
whose affections you have a strong hold, — from the scenes of 
your youth or the tombs of your ancestors — but that you retire 
to spend your late days in your native Town. Here, surrounded 
by friends and connections, may you, under the protection of 
Divine Providence, pass many and happy years under the shade 
of "your own vine and fig tree, " unless again called by the voice 
of the people into public life, a mandate which you ever have 
and doubtless will obey. 

"Permit me, sir, in behalf of your fellow citizens here assem- 
bled, to bid you thrice welcome home." 

To which Mr. Van Buren replied : 

"I need not say, sir, how highly I appreciate this cordial, I 
may add this affectionate welcome which you have tendered to 
me in behalf of so respectable a portion of the Democracy of my 
native county. 

"The unwavering support which I have received at their 
hands for so many of the highest offices of Government, including 

those of STATE SENATOR, GOVERNOR, VICE-PRESIDENT and PRESI- 
DENT of the UNITED STATES, and the constancy with which they 
have sustained me in the performance of the difficult duties of 



FoxirtK of Jvily Barbecxie 261 

other intermediate and highly responsible public stations, con- 
stitute claims upon my gratitude, the remembrance and recog- 
nition of which will be as abiding as life itself. 

"The frequent and full expositions which I have from time 
to time laid before the people, of the principles by which I have 
been guided in my administration of the Federal Government, 
and the obliging manner in which you have been pleased to speak 
of my official acts and motives, make it unnecessary that I should 
enter into any thing like an elaborate explanation in regard to 
them. It is also to me a most gratifying circumstance that a 
large and highly important portion of my official duties — that 
too for which, more than for any other, the Federal Executive 
is held to be peculiarly responsible — has received the sanction, 
and in its most important particulars, the support of all parties 
in the Republic. The management of our Foreign affairs, always 
heretofore the most fruitful source of political contention, has 
for the last four years, and those two years of serious embarrass- 
ment in the condition of our exterior relations, ceased to be known 
as an element of party discord — an occurrence without a parallel 
in the history of the country. 

" The financial policy of the administration to which you have 
particularly adverted, and which, passing over matters of mere 
party vituperation, has constituted the chief subject of assault, 
was entered upon after the fullest consideration of the matter in 
all its bearings. Neither its liability to excite unfounded appre- 
hensions on the part of particular, partial and powerful interests, 
nor the inveterate opposition it might have to encounter, nor 
the certain consequences to myself of the possible success of that 
opposition, were overlooked. Regarding the measures I recom- 
mended as of vital necessity to the public welfare — as those by 
which alone, in the then condition of the country, security and 
efficiency could be given to the public service — I could not 
hesitate as to the course I ought to pursue. My convictions 
of duty in this respect, were greatly strengthened by the confident 
persuasion, that they were also eminently calculated to arrest 
the progress of that unsound and destructive system of credits, 
and that spirit of reckless adventure then so unhappily prevalent, 
and which were every where unsettling the value of propert}^ — 
subverting those principles of honesty and justice upon which 



262 Old HinderKooK 

contracts should ever be founded, and by which their execution 
should always be regulated — and rapidly paving the way for 
oppressive taxation on the labor and future earnings of the 
country. In deciding between the policy which was adopted, 
and the encouragement of a different course of measures, which, 
however satisfactory for the moment to the trading community, 
would, as I firmly believe, end in aggravating the evils under 
which the Government and people were then laboring, I did not 
feel myself at liberty, nor was I disposed to calculate conse- 
quences personal to myself. I therefore persevered in the 
recommendation and support of the important fiscal measures 
which ultimately received the sanction of the Representatives 
of the people. Upon a calm review of all the circumstances, with 
their consequences, I do not now, nor have I for a single moment 
since the result of the election was known, regretted that I did 
so ; and all I desire is, that my future political standing with the 
people of the United States shall be graduated by the opinion 
which they may ultimately form of the soundness of the principles 
and measures referred to. 

"I would, indeed, prove myself to have been unworthy of 
such generous and long continued confidence and attachment, as 
that which has been shown in my case by yourselves, and by the 
Democracy of the Union, if I were to suffer a single defeat to 
weaken in the slightest degree, my thankfulness for a succession 
of political triumphs so numerous and important as those which 
it has been my good fortune to enjoy. I beg you, sir, to believe me 
incapable of so much weakness and ingratitude. My personal 
feeHngs are, on the contrary, wholly unscathed by the result of 
the election. The demonstrations of respect and affection with 
which I have been every where greeted, by the honest yeomanry 
of the country, since my retirement from office, have afforded me 
more real satisfaction, than its continued possession could 
possibly confer; and I come to take up my final residence with 
you, not, I assure you, in the character of a repining, but in that 
of a satisfied and contented man. Of this even my oppo- 
nents, if they are not already, will soon, I trust, be entirely 
satisfied. 

"You have, sir, done but justice to the motives which have 
induced me to return to my native County and Town, and I 



FoxirtH of Jvily Darbecxie 263 

promise myself much of enjoyment and advantage from renewing 
the ancient ties by which I am connected with them. 

"Accept, sir, my sincere thanks for the friendly spirit in which 
you have discharged the duty assigned to you, and be assured of 
my high respect and warm personal regard." 

At the conclusion of Mr. Van Buren's reply Mr. B. F. Butler, 
was called upon by the people to address them, which he did with 
his usual ability. In the course of his remarks, he gave a rapid 
but graphic and truly eloquent sketch of the circumstances under 
which Mr. Van Buren entered pubHc hfe, the early difficulties he 
had to overcome, and the unceasing opposition with which he had 
to contend during his whole career; the inflexibility and un- 
changeableness with which he had, in prosperity and adversity, 
adhered to the principles upon which he had first started; the 
embarrassments under which he took the helm of government, 
and the manner in which they were increased soon after his 
coming into ofhce; the firmness with which he adhered to meas- 
ures he believed to be right, while so many quailed before the 
assaults of the enemy and fled from their posts; the extent of 
popularity and elevation of position which he had periled upon 
the issue; the calmness and serenity with which he sustained 
himself in the hour of trial, and the equanimity with which he had 
borne defeat — were all portrayed in lively and impressive colors, 
and were received by the audience with marked attention and 
deep feeling. His remarks in conclusion, upon the nature of 
our institutions, their superiority over all others, as illustrated 
by the scene before them, were very striking, and were cordially 
responded to. 

The day was fine, the order of arrangements excellent, and 
all things conspired to add interest to the scene. It was a spectacle 
which made the hearts of all present, of every party, throb with 
proud exultation. One who had held the office of President of the 
greatest Republic on earth, was returning quietly as a private 
citizen to his native place — surrounded not by the minions of 
despotism, but by a simple procession of American citizens, who 
thus gave a token of their admiration of his many virtues. 

We are among those who sincerely believe, that when the 
"Second sober thought of the People" shall have calmed the 



264 Old JlinderKooK 

angry waves of political warfare, ample justice will be ac- 
corded to Martin Van Buren. The sunlight of truth will ere 
long dispel the mists of prejudice — the fiat of the American 
People will bind around his brow, honored by long service in 
the councils of the nation, a civic wreath, brilliant and imper- 
ishable; and linked with the invincible Hero of New Orleans, his 
glorious and honorable career will be inscribed on the tablet of 
immortality. 

"A Card" 

"The Committee of the Reception beg leave to tender to the 
gentlemen of the 'Spencertown Brass Band' their cordial thanks 
for their kindness in furnishing them with music on the reception 
of Mr. Van Buren at this place 8th inst., and by so doing greatly 
adding to the interest of the proceedings. Their enterprising and 
patriotic conduct in turning out in a body, without distinction 
of party, and travelling a distance of thirty-four miles, for the 
purpose of greeting their fellow citizen returning from faithful 
performance of the duties of the highest office in the people's 
gift is beyond all praise; and the committee have only to desire 
that the Band may meet with that success in all its undertakings 
which the spirit and enterprise of its members so richly deserve. 

Kinderhook, May 12, 1841. 

"By order of the Committee, 

"John Vanderpoel, CWn. 
"T. B. Myers, Sec'yr 

Democratic successes in 1842 were duly celebrated in our 
village by the customary eating, drinking, and speech-making, 
in which Mr. Van Buren was invited to participate. 
Through the courtesy of Mr. James A. Reynolds, son of the 
Hon. John H. Reynolds, chairman of the committee of invi- 
tation, we copy this autograph letter of reply : 

LiNDENWALD, 

Nov. 15, 1842. 

My dear Sir: 

The signal triumphs we have obtained richly deserve the 
notice which our friends propose to take of it, & I regret exceed- 



Training Days 265 

ingly that a severe cold renders me wholly unfit for the festivities 
of the Evening. Have the goodness to make my sincere acknow- 
ledgments to the Committee for their kind invitation & to assure 
the company that though unavoidably absent, my feehngs will 
be cordially with them. I shall always be unfeignedly grateful 
for the honor and confidence which have been so often & so 
zealously bestowed upon me by the patriotic Democracy of 
Kinderhook. 

Accept my thanks, Sir, for the obhging terms in which you 
have communicated the wishes of the Committee & believe me 
to be 

Very sincerely 

Your friend 

M. Van Buren. 

Mr. Jno. H. REYNOLDSr 

TRAINING DAYS 

In Chapter V. we have noted the law of 1664 concerning 
the appointment of these notable days. That law, modified 
from time to time, was continued in force for- about one 
hundred and seventy-five years and was held in reverence 
here. There are those still living who remember well those 
notable days; the majestic mien of our mighty men of war; 
the wonderful evolutions of the Blues and the Grays; the 
pride of fond mothers, wives, and sweethearts as they gazed 
upon the pomp and circumstance of war; the staring, open- 
mouthed admiration of all the boys and girls for miles 
around ; and the multitudinous vendors of zoetekoek, pastey, 
kandy-suiker and other toothsome delicacies. 

The following announcements in the Kinderhook Sentinel 
of September 15, 1836, written presumably by the editor, 
Peter Van Schaack, may be regarded as virtually a descrip- 
tion also by an eye-witness of the spectacular display. 

"Arma Virumque Cano" 

Lest our readers might be obHvious of the fact, we will 
remind them that tomorrow there will be one of those grand 



266 Old K-inderKooK 

Military displays which occur only once in the course of the long 
year. To be more explicit, it will be general Training Day. Let 
those who delight in the pomp and circumstance of war, the 
clangor of trumpets and the din of arms prepare to feast their 
eyes on the gorgeous spectacle. The glorious 56th will honor us 
with a display of solid columns, hollow squares, escutcheons and 
maneuvers innumerable. The battalion will appear armed cap- 
a-pie as the law directs and we doubt not will more than sustain 
its high character for Military discipline and (should it become 
necessary to screw their courage up to the sticking point) valor 
also. We would especially enjoin upon the fair (none but the 
brave deserve the fair) to gather fresh flowers wherewith to strew 
the paths of the conquering heroes, and to have in readiness the 
white kerchiefs with which to salute them from the windows and 
balconies, as with stately steppings and measured tread they 
pass along our crowded streets. There will be the doubly 
epauletted officers with nodding plumes and in shining regimen- 
tals, booted and spurred, 

" Mounted upon hot and fiery steeds, 
Which their aspiring riders seem to know;" 

together with others of inferior grade, down to those whose post 
of honor is a private station. Each in his separate sphere will 
have his duties to perform. Streaming banners, rolling drums 
and piercing fifes will add not a little to the zest of the scene ; and 
should perchance an enemy appear "rattling muskets will crash 
along the line." We would fain devote a whole column to a 
description in anticipation of the displays which will be made by 
the long columns of citizen soldiers, but the cry for "Copy, 
Copy" from our hungry printers constrains us to desist. 

Through the kindness of the late Colonel Silas W. Burt, 
an Academy boy at the time of which he writes, we have 
in his manuscript ^^ Personal Reminiscences^^ this vivid word- 
picture of what he himself beheld. Regretting the necessary 
omission of much that is interesting and most entertaining, 
we quote: 



Training Days 267 

Every autumn we had the excitement of the "General 
Training" of the militia. At first there were the days given to 
company drill, both infantry and cavalry; but these were unim- 
portant preliminaries to the day when the whole brigade was to 
be inspected. This generally came on one of those clear, de- 
lightful days in October, when the driving farm work was all 
accomplished and the military sacrifice was least onerous to 
patriotic citizens. . . . The early hours found peddlers and 
venders securing favorable stands for trade along the margin of 
the streets, until, as the day advanced, they lined the side-walks 
throughout the village center. Cheap wares of all kinds were on 
sale; new cider and ginger-bread in great cards were the regular 
menu, but the variety of eatables was large. The peddlers 
mounted their wagons and pushed their wares with a "patter" 
peculiar, and probably now obsolete. The rustics were convulsed 
by the wit of these loud-voiced salesmen, and preposterous pur- 
chases were made under the excitement of the extravagant laud- 
ation of the wares. A continuous stream of wagons brought in 
the prospective warriors and the crowds of sight-seers. The mili- 
tary evolutions were performed in a large field south of the vil- 
lage, and thither some repaired to take part in or observe the 
first and preparatory movements, while others awaited about the 
hotel to see the reviewing officers arrive. Two or three knaves 
usually had about the little triangle in the village center their 
gambling apparatus in the form of a "sweat-board." . . . Cider 
foamed at every corner and gingerbread was consumed by the 
square rod. ... At length the general and staff arrived and 
after refreshments at the tavern repaired to the field. How 
gorgeous they looked in their uniforms, with bright insignia and 
resplendent equipments! As we followed them we noted the 
caracoling of the steeds as if they smelt the battle afar off, and 
the clashing of scabbards, and the agitation of the fur-covered 
holsters containing mysterious pistols — and as we gazed upon all 
this glittering paraphernalia, suggestive of military glory, we were 
ourselves puffed up with warlike conceits and imitated the cur- 
vetting of the chargers. I have not the comic power to portray 
that review. Our militia laws ... set forth that every sound 
male between the ages of 18 and 45 should appear for inspection 
each year, "armed and equipped as the law provides." This 



268 Old RinderHooK 

appearance had in most instances become perfunctory, in order 
to escape court-martial and fine. [We interpolate — that we have 
read with becoming awe of the court-martialling of our late 
beloved and most genial friend, Jacob Cook. He was found 
guilty and fined the cost of refreshments for all concerned.] As 
a consequence the great mass of those liable did appear, most of 
them without uniform and in motley attire ; or when in a military 
garb, it was not uniform but representing every fashion since 
1 8 12: and they were "armed and equipped" in the most hetero- 
genous manner, with muskets (some of Revolutionary date), 
rifles, shot-guns and often with broom-sticks and other make- 
shifts. This Falstaffian army, without any previous drill of 
moment went through certain evolutions in the presence of the 
inspecting officers, which were as ludicrous as possible. . . . 
Even now I can call up ridiculous pictures of that grotesque 
brigade headed by a pompous drum-major with his band of 
sonorous drums and ear-piercing fifes as they marched about the 
field. There was relief in the contingent of companies that were 
regularly uniformed, equipped and armed. These were from 
the villages and were fairly drilled. When the military array 
was dismissed the crowd of soi-disant soldiers and spectators 
returned to the village center, where the peddlers, venders and 
gamblers renewed their vociferous solicitations. The consump- 
tion of gingerbread and cider increased, and the general hubbub 
and uproar became indescribable. ... As night approached 
the results of the deep potations were evinced by fights in which 
both whites and blacks indiscriminately indulged. These con- 
tests were often brutally severe, while there was no police force 
to quell disturbances or arrest offenders. It was a great relief 
to tired villagers when the last wagon-load of roisterers departed 
and the accustomed quiet and repose returned to our streets. 

It is not surprising that "General Training" fell into dis- 
repute and "innocuous desuetude." 

A JULY FESTIVAL 

We conclude our already over-long chapter with "Ethel- 
wolf's" pleasing narrative in the Rough Notes of July 6, 
1854: 



A. Jvily Festival 269 

The July Festival. — I had the pleasure of witnessing on 
Saturday afternoon of last week, as gay and happy a scene as 
ever passed before me : therefore I deem it my duty to tender for 
myself and others, to Miss Bruce, the intelligent and beautiful 
authoress, the graceful Queen and "Lady Bountiful" of the 
occasion, most heartfelt thanks. 

"The Festival," for such in truth it was, was held in the 
Grove, — that beautiful spot which adorns and adds romantic 
charm to our village. The pleasures of the day commenced with 
dancing on the soft green carpet of the woods; after which, the 
clear melodious voice of Miss Siehof drew around her all the 
lovers of pure, rolling, echo-answering songs. The bright-eyed 
singer "touched her guitar" with all the graceful ease and bold 
truthfulness of Spain's famed lover knights. Immediately upon 
the conclusion of the singing, Francis Silvester, a young gentle- 
man of high poetic temperament, a student of law, and I believe 
a native of our village, delivered an exquisite address to the 
ladies and gentlemen assembled. He spoke of the sun and the 
flowers, the moon and the stars — the nymphs in white robes and 
blue muslin aprons — the graces, the fauns, the zephyrs, and all 
other sylvan deities of whatever age, name or progression 
mythology has placed them; — he also talked right eloquent of 
a certain nosegay of white flowers to which ever and anon he gave 
his nose, pronouncing it to be an emblem of the purity which 
surrounded him. The speech was well adapted to the occasion, 
well committed to memory; and the sentences falling trippingly 
from his tongue in Horatian measure, gave a heartiness to 
the sentiments, reflecting great credit upon the talented 
author. 

Soon after the ending of the Esquire's "eflfort" and while 
the effect of it yet lingered in the breasts of the fauns &c., bird- 
like calls announced that the feast was ready — it was a feast 
indeed; one so tastefully spread and bountifully served I never 
saw excelled — there was almost everything to regale the senses 
and mind. Music and dancing concluded the "feast of Flora" 
and I returned home happy in the thought that I had for a few 
hours been forgetful of the world and its crude edges. 



CHAPTER IX 
CHURCHES AND SCHOOLS 

Churches: Reformed Protestant Dutch — St. Luke's Lutheran — Presbyter- 
ian — Baptist — M. E. Church, Valatie — M. E. Church, Kinderhook — St. 
Paul's Protestant Episcopal — Bethel, A. M. E. — St. John the Baptist, R. 
C. — Niverville M. E. Schools: Earliest Schools and Teachers — 
Columbia Academy — The 2d Building — The Crandell Incident — The 
3d Building — Boarding House — Decline and Extinction — An Apprecia- 
tion — Colonel Burt's Recollections — District Schools — Union Free School 
— Valatie High School. 

THE REFORMED PROTESTANT DUTCH CHURCH, 1 677 {circo) 

THIS church, which from about 1677 had been a mission 
of the mother church at Albany, became an independent 
organization in 1712, and for more than a century was the 
only church in Old Kinderhook. The only older churches 
between Albany and New York are, in chronological order, 
Kingston, New Paltz, Tappan, Tarrytown, and Rochester, 
Ulster county. 

Petrus Van Driessen, who made the first entries in the 
church records here, styled himself "regular minister at 
Albany, occasional at Kinderhook. " Theretofore communi- 
cants living here were enrolled at Albany and were wont to 
attend service there occasionally. Until the ringing of the 
second bell Albany barbers were permitted to shave non- 
residents who had come to attend church services. In 
Albany were recorded all baptisms and marriages here until 

1 716, when the local records begin. The records of 1716 

270 



CHvarches and ScKools 271 

speak of the existing church edifice as "very old and much 
too small," In 1704 the Albany records tell of the sending 
of wine here for sacramental use. In 1702 we have the 
precentor Van Vleck episode already narrated ; and he was 
the third who had thus served the church; the first-named 
being Hendrick Abelsen, one of the patentees of the Powell 
grant in 1664. In Miller's New York Considered and Im- 
proved the Kinderhook church is spoken of as having in 
1695 sent (doubtless to Holland) for a minister, evidently 
without avail. In 1686 the Albany records reveal the pur- 
chase of nails for the repair of the Kinderhook church; and 
in 1684 Jochem Lammerse (Van Valkenburgh) is credited 
with 114 guilders collected here for the mother church. The 
Church and the School were deemed by the Holland fathers 
essential adjuncts, or rather prime necessities of their smallest 
settlements. Comforters of the sick, voorleezers (readers), 
and "tuners of Psalms," who should also be school- 
masters, were indispensable everywhere. The Fort Orange 
Court Records reveal the appointment (January 2, 1677) of 
Dominie Schaats, Cornelis Van Dyck, and Jan Jansen 
Bleycker as a committee to choose a voorleezer for Kinder- 
hook. Evidently the beginnings of the church here are to be 
placed much nearer 1670 than 1712. 

The history of this venerable church and mother of 
churches is worthy of and should have a volume of its own. 
The two volumes of Dutch records (171 6-1800) should be 
translated and printed before the fading ink and the some- 
times hen-track chirography become totally illegible. An 
historical discourse by the late Benjamin Van Zandt, D.D., 
and three by the present pastor-emeritus tell the story with 
some degree of fullness but are of necessity inadequate. A 
brief abstract of these with a few added items of interest 
is all we can properly give. The few minor details of this 
record which may differ from any hitherto printed narrative 
are due to fuller and more accurate information. 

The first small plain wooden edifice, of 1677 or earlier, 



272 Old RinderKooK 

stood nearly opposite the present Methodist church. A 
presumably fairly accurate representation of it, copied from 
a sampler in the possession of Mrs. John K. Pierce, we have 
reproduced, with lines straightened and perspective some- 
what improved. 

The second building (after 171 7) was erected not far 
from the southeast corner of Mrs. J. A. Reynolds's present 
lawn. It has often been described to us by aged persons now 
gone, and we judge that it was modeled after the old Albany 
church. The familiar cut of the latter, reduced in size, 
would suffice for the former as well. It is said to have been 
of brick which was used in the building of the third edifice 
on the present site in 18 14. It was square in shape, with a 
peaked roof and belfry in the center. The stove, when 
introduced after much opposition, was on an elevated plat- 
form in the center, reached by a ladder. On one side of the 
high, wine-glass shaped pulpit were seats for the Consistory, 
and on the other for "magistrates, captains and colonels." 
There were at first two and finally four galleries, making a 
total seating capacity of three hundred. At a desk in front 
of the pulpit sat the voorleezer, an ofhce long filled by Arent 
and Henry Van Dyck. Parts of the service fell to him; but 
to the small boys, his most impressive function was to adjust 
notices in the split end of a slender rod and hand them to the 
dominie to read. Offerings were received in bags at the end 
of poles long enough to reach the end of the pew and excel- 
lent for prodding those wont to be absent-minded at such 
times. In some instances little bells covered by a tassel 
were attached to these bags. Their sweet tinkling was better, 
we think, than the floods of noise from organs (supposed to 
be music), which we have sometimes heard; and the som- 
nolent may well have preferred the chiming of the bell to the 
prodding of a stick. Dr. Sickles was wont to preface this 
part of worship with the words: "Let us now consider the 
wants of the poor and the exigencies of this Society." 

The third edifice, begun in 18 13, was completed and 



CKvircKes and ScHools 273 

dedicated the next year. Its cost was nearly $12,000, and 
that of the imposing fence surrounding it more than $800. 
The site was given by the Van Schaack, Silvester, and Wyn- 
koop families whose burial plot in part it was, and which 
was enclosed by the foundation walls nearest Broad Street. 
Available material from the second building was used; and 
during the summer of 18 14 Sunday services were held in the 
then new barn of John I. Pruyn, which was burned a few 
years since while owned by the late Edward Van Buren. 

During the pastorate of the Reverend B. Van Zandt 
the building was lengthened about one third in the rear, 
and the main edifice made substantially the same size as the 
present one. The large box pew in the southeast corner 
was that habitually and reverently occupied by the ex- 
President. We well remember the grease spot on the wall 
against which he was wont to lean his head, sometimes with 
a glove on the top of it as a protection against drafts. Re- 
ceipted bills and the cash book of expenditures in the erec- 
tion of this church are before us, and we note, as illustrating 
old-time habits, that from beginning to end every page has 
numerous charges for rum. 

This ''holy and beautiful house" (renovated and re- 
decorated many times) was burned December 14, 1867. 
For more than a year the long-abandoned Baptist church 
(now the Guion tenement) was used for worship. 

The fourth and present edifice in which portions of the 
old walls were used was dedicated May 19, 1869. July 14, 
1870, a narrowly sweeping tornado prostrated the spire, 
much higher and more graceful than the present one. There 
were those who said pride did it. We said the debt of 
|io,ooo did it. At all events the debt and $6000 more for 
repairs to the almost wrecked chapel and injured church 
were speedily raised, and "no debt" has been a sacred 
watchword ever since. 

The first known parsonage was possibly the present 

Scully-Clapp house. The third pastor, Johannes Ritzema, 
18 



274 Old RinderHooK 

certainly lived and was first buried there; but it may have 
been and in fact at one time was his private property. The 
very old Heermance-Farrar-Schnapper house was certainly 
the parsonage for very many years; and the church owned 
all the land from Maiden Lane up to and including the 
present Bank corner and the old cemetery in the present 
road way beyond. The present parsonage was built in 1 836 
on land bought of Captain John I. Pruyn. 

There were much earlier church officials, but the first of 
record (1716-1718) were these: 

Onderlingen Diakonen 

Burger Huyck Abram Jansen (Van Alstyne) 

Ghert (Melgert) Vanderpoel Bart. Van Valkenburgh 

Dirk Goes Stephanus Van Alen 

Pieter Van Alen Pieter Van Buren 

The earliest records are dated May 27, 1716, and are 
in the handwriting of Rev. Dr. Petrus Van Driessen of 
Albany. Many resident communicants were still enrolled 
in Albany, for he records only these twelve church members : 
Leender Connyn, Andries Prosie, Thenis Van Slyck, Thomas 
Wiler, Catrina Verrin, Elsie Valkenburgh, Ariaentie Mulder, 
Ariaentie Vanderpoel, Breghie Wieler, Eva Valkenburgh, 
Maria Wieler, Catrena Van Slyck. Later are added, the 
familiar names, Van Dyck, Huyck, Dingman, Van Alstyne, 
Vandecar, Vosburgh, Van Alen, and Gardenier. Quite 
possibly, however, these were but his additions to a pre- 
viously existing roll long since lost. 

The first marriage he records, reciting the previous 
publication of the banns three times, is that of Jochem 
Van Valkenburgh, Jr., and Elsie Klauw, June 6, 17 17. 

The first two recorded baptisms, without date but 
doubtless not later than 171 8, we reproduce as nearly as 
may be: 



CHxircHes and ScHools 



275 



Parents 

evert wielaer 
jessyna wielaer 

jan tysse goes 
eytie goes 



jackemyntie 



pieter 



Sponsors 

pieter van bueren 
ariaentie van bueren 

pieter vosburgh 
bregie goes 



We cannot identify the recorder. The name "Evert" is our 
conjecture verified by later records. 

Although organized in 17 12 the Church continued to be 
dependent largely upon the ministrations of the Albany 
pastors for about fifteen years. During a portion of this 
interval the Reverend John J. Oehl (Ehle) rendered con- 
siderable service here. 



Pastors 



I. 


Johannes Van Driessen 


1727- 


1735 


2. 


Johannes Casparus 








Fryenmoet 


1756- 


1777 


3- 


Johannes Ritzema 


1779- 


-1789 


4- 


Isaac Labagh 


1789- 


■1801 


5- 


Jacob Sickles 


1801- 


■1835 


6. 


Enoch Van Aken 


1834- 


■1835 


7. 


Henry Heermance 


1835- 


■1836 



8. John C. Vandervoort 1 837-1 842 

9. Benjamin Van Zandt 1 842-1 852 

10. Ohver Bronson 1 854-1 857 

11. J. Romeyn Berry 1 857-1 863 

1 2 . Edward A. CoUier 1 864- 1 907 

and since '07 Pastor-emeritus 

13. Charles W. Burrowes 1908-19 14 



Christmas day, 1788 (Columbia County Records, Book A, 
p. 49) the Consistory became an incorporated body in accord- 
ance with a previous Act of the Legislature. The title, the 
legal one to-day, is — ' ' The Ministers, Elders and Deacons of 
the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Kinderhook, in 
the County of Columbia." The incorporators were — Johan- 
nis Ritzema, Minister pro tem; Martin Van Alstyne, Laurens 
Van Dyck, Herman Pruyn, and Peter Van Buren, elders ; John 
Pruyn, John E. Van Alen, Hendrick Duyker, and Hendrick H. 
Claw, deacons. The certificate of incorporation, prepared by 
Peter Silvester, and recorded January 2, 1789, is still in the 
possession of the Consistory as is also the Church Seal (a 
mother surrounded by children) adopted at the same time. 



276 Old IlinderKooK 

Considering the thousands of infants brought to her baptismal 
font (in the year 1782, selected at random, iii) and re- 
membering the churches — Schodack, Stuyvesant, Marshall- 
town (extinct), Valatie (Presbyterian), Ghent, 2d. Ghent, 
Chatham, and Stuyvesant Falls, organized wholly or in part 
from her membership, the appropriateness of her representa- 
tion as a mother of children in Children's Comer is obvious. 

ST. Luke's evangelical Lutheran church, valatie, 

1826 

This church was organized October 7, 1826, by the 
Rev. Jacob Burger. The edifice, the comer stone of 
which was laid May 6, 1828, was dedicated on the i6th 
of the following November. Previously thereto the congre- 
gation had worshiped in what was termed "the Church 
room." The same building, several times renovated, is in 
present use. The first Trustees were: Peter T. Van Slyck, 
John I. Van Buren, Esq., and John M. Pultz. The first 
Elders were: Jacob Goodemoet, Adam Trimper, Tunis 
Sour. The first Deacons were: George Tator, John P. 
Marquot, and George M. Pultz. The first public celebration 
of the Lord's Supper by the Church was November 5, 1826, 
at which time the following charter members received the 
Holy Communion: Adam Trimper and w4fe, John M. 
Pultz and wife, George M. Pultz and wife, George Tator 
and wife, Jacob P. Miller and wife, Peter Van Slyck and wife, 
Tunis Sour, Anna Wetherwax, Margaret Pultz, Sallyetta 
Pultz, Jacob Goodemoet, John Gushing, and Thomas Watson. 
The first infant baptized was Mary Eleanor, daughter of 
John and Maria Marquot. The first confirmed were Peter 
T. Van Slyck and Christina his wife. The first marriage was 
October i, 1827; the contracting parties being John Groat 
and Anna Mickel. The first death was Melissa, wife of 
Peter J. Pultz, October 30, 1826. 

The following pastors have served St. Luke's: 




St. Luke's Lutheran Church, Valatie 

From a photograph 



CHvircHes and ScHools 277 

1826- '38, Jacob Berger 1872- '76 J. S. Harkey 

1839- '42, Reuben Dederick 1876- '78, Jeremiah Zimmerman, D.D. 

1843- '44, J. Fiero Smith 1878- '81, P. F. Sutphen 

1844- '51, W. D. Strobel 1881- '86, Laurent D. Wells 
1851- '52, C. Remensnyder 1886- '87, E. M. Hubler 
1853- '57, M. Sheeleigh, D.D. 1887- '91, John Kling 
1857- '59, W. W. Gulick 1 89 1- '94, C. L. Barringer 
i860- '65, Irving Magee, D.D. 1 895-1903, W. H. Graves 
1866- '68, F. M. Bird, D.D. 1903- 'ii, George G. Whitbeck 
1869- '72, J. S. C. Weills 1911- , G. D. Strail 

Reverend Mr. Whitbeck, who kindly furnished these details, 
justly adds: "St. Luke's Lutheran Church is one of the 
oldest and most progressive in this vicinity. Her members 
have been from the beginning an intelligent people of 
aggressive Christian spirit." 

PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, VALATIE. 1 833 

This was organized, September 6, 1833, by the Classis 
of Rensselaer as the Second Reformed Dutch Church of 
Kinderhook, the mother Church of Kinderhook contributing 
fifty-two charter members. The first officials were — Pastor, 
Reverend David Cushing, Elders — George Brown, George 
P. Horton, and John G. Shoemaker. Deacons — Jacob D. 
Hoffman, Anthony J. Pulver, and Henry G. Seism. About a 
year later the congregation voted to become Presbyterian 
and was transferred from the Classis of Rensselaer to the 
Presbytery of Columbia. 

The first church edifice was a frame structure (now the 
Opera House) built in 1834 ^^^ costing $3216. The second 
and present beautiful building of brick with blue-limestone 
trimmings, and costing about $13,000, was dedicated June 
II, 1878. Charles H. Houseman, David Strain, and H. S. 
Miller were the efficient building committee. 

The pastors or Stated Supplies have been: i833-'35, 
David Cushing. '35-'37, Washington Roosevelt. *4i-'47, 
J. E. Rockwell. '47-'48, J. Slocum. '48-'55, H. E. Niles. 
'56-'59, S. R. Dimmock. '6o-'63, WilHam Whittaker. 



278 Old RinderHook 

'64-'69, C. T. Berry. '69-';!, G. 0. Phelps. '74-'77, J- C. 
Boyd. '78-'82, S. Carlisle. '85-'87, H. K. Walker. '88- 
'90, T. E. Davis. '90-92, H. P. Bake (S. S.). '92-1900, 
Edward Stratton. i900-'o6, A. C. Wyckoff. '07-'! i, J. H. 
Hollister. '11- T. J. Kirkwood. 

The present (191 3) officials are: Pastor, Reverend 
Thomas J. Kirkwood. Elders: Charles Wild, John Busby, 
R. R. Richmond, J. C. Kittell, Frank Eighmey, George S. 
Gardenier. 

BAPTIST CHURCH OF KINDERHOOK. 1 834 

This Church was incorporated in 1834, with Horace 
Bidwell, Z. E. Reynolds, and F. D. Tucker as Trustees. H. 
W. Peckham, A. I. Loomis, and T. M. Burt were also among 
its more notable supporters. It flourished for a few years, 
using the Creek near the bridges for its Baptistry, but its 
life was short. Losses by removal and otherwise made the 
burden of maintenance too great for the few faithful who 
remained, and the organization was soon disbanded. The 
church edifice, built in 1827, was thereafter devoted to 
secular uses and ultimately became the property of the 
Guion family. 

METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, VALATIE. 1 835 

This was organized in 1835. The first Trustees were 
John Penoyer, Stephen Moorehouse, David Lant, Francis 
Schermerhorn, John B. Steeves, Joseph Lawrence, and 
William M. Wilcox. The church edifice built in 1844, 
remodeled and many times improved, together with the 
adjoining parsonage are valued at $6000. 

Of the service of the first eight pastors we have been 
unable to obtain any details beyond their names. They 
were: Elijah Crawford, J. N. Schaffer, P. R. Stover, R. T. 
Wade, C. C. Bedell, A. A. Farr, J. W. Belknap, and WilHam 
Clark. The present pastor, the Reverend W. C. Heisler, 




H 




CKxircHes and ScHools 279 

kindly furnished the following names and dates: M. D. 
Jump, 1871. J. C. Fenton, '74. C. A. S. Heath, '76. Joseph 
Zweifel, '79. S. W. Clemens, '82. J. H. Robinson, '83. 
W. L. Smith, '86. George C. Morehouse, '91. J. W. 
Quinlan, '92. W. T. Lewis, '97. W. H. Flouton, '99. F. 
O. Winans, 1901. C. E. Green, '03. J. H. Robinson, '05. 
G. H. Dow, '08. J. A. Thomas, '11. Walter C. Heisler, 
1912. 

The present officials (1913) are: Thomas Mesick, J. W. 
Mesick, M. H. Gregg, J. D. Tompkins, J. I. Miller, H. C. 
North, J. E. Snyder and James Lawrence. 

THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN KINDERHOOK 

1843 

This was organized in 1843. Previous to that time, 
however, a Class had been formed and services held under 
Methodist pastors both from the New York and Troy Con- 
ferences. As the records of the different charges in the 
several circuits were not carefully inscribed nor faithfully 
preserved, the early history of the Society is somewhat 
obscure. From i836-'38 the Kinderhook Society was in- 
cluded in the circuit under the name of the Kinderhook and 
Schodack Mission, of which the Rev. Joshua Poor was 
the pastor. In 1838 it was probably part of the Chatham 
Circuit, under the pastorate of the Rev. Cicero Barber. 
Both of these circuits were in the Troy Conference. In 
1839, Kinderhook was transferred to the New York Con- 
ference under the jurisdiction of which it remained until 
1848, when it was re-transferred to Troy where it has since 
continued. 

An interesting sidelight upon the work of Methodism in 
the early part of the last century is given by the fact that 
during the summer season services were frequently held in 
the covered bridges south of the village. 

The regular meeting of the organization and the election 



28o Old RinderKooK 

of Trustees was held July 24, 1843. The Rev. Elijah 
Crawford, of New York Conference, pastor in charge, was 
Chairman, and Joseph B. Jenkins, Secretary. Joseph B. 
Jenkins, John W. Stickles, Jesse Merwin, Francis W. 
Bradley, Henry Snyder, Andrew H. Kittle, and William 
Thomas were elected Trustees. A building committee was 
appointed consisting of F. W. Bradley, J. W. Stickles, and 
J. B. Jenkins. The first church building was erected later 
the same year by Chrysler & Hoes; the specifications call- 
ing for a frame building thirty-five by fifty feet. In 1871, 
under the pastorate of the Rev. J. W. Quinlan, a new 
church was built upon the same site. In 1906, the Rev. 
G. W. Sisum being pastor, the basement was fitted up as a 
prayer-room, parlor, etc. In '94 the house south of the 
church was purchased of S. N. Brown as a parsonage. 

Since 1848, when the church was transferred to the Troy 
Conference, the pastors have been as follows : 

1848- , Hiram Chase 1871- , J. W. Quinlan 

1849- , S. Gardiner 1872- , William Ryan 

1850- , J. Leonard 1873- '75, Elam Marsh 

1851- '52, P. R. Stover 1876- '78, J. P. Haller 
1853- '54, Oren Gregg and Thomas A. Griffin 1879- '80, Webster Ingersoll 

1855- , Seymour Coleman 1881- '83, U. D. Hitchcock 

1856- , Gilbert Ward 1884- '85, J. B. Sylvester 

1857- '58, Richard T. Wade 1886- '89, Jacob M. Appleman 
1859- , J. G. Phillips 1890- , Nelson C. Parker 
i860- '61, A. C. Rose 1893- '95, J. H. C. Cooper 
1862- '63, Hiram Chase 1 896-1 900, Eugene S. Morey 

1864- , J. W. Belknap 1901- '06, G. W. Sisum 

1865- '67, W. Clark 1907- '11, Arthur H. Robinson 

1868- , J. W. Quinlan 1911- , William E. Slocum 

1869- '70, S. S. Ford 

ST. Paul's p. e. church, kinderhook. 1850 

Among those most prominently identified with the 
organization of this church were — Mr. and Mrs. Covington 
Guion, Mr. and Mrs. Franklin Guion, Mr. David Van 
Schaack, General Charles Whiting, Major Lawrence Van 





a, 
W 






KikiAi 



CHvircHes and ScKools 281 

Buren, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Snyder, Mr. and Mrs. Augustus 
Wynkoop. Services were first held in the unused Baptist 
church, now the Guion tenement house. 

The church edifice originally stood opposite the present 
schoolhouse, on ground given by Mr. David Van Schaack, 
being part of the lot on which now stands the residence of the 
late Mrs. John Jay Van Schaack. In 1868 the building was 
removed piece by piece to its present site, bought of Mr. 
Thomas Beekman. 

The consecration service was held June 22, 1852. Bishop 
Carleton Chase, of New Hampshire, presiding, entered the 
church accompanied by Frederick T. Tiffany, the Rector, 
followed by the Wardens and Vestrymen and these visiting 
clergymen: Revs. Drs. Kip of Albany and Van Kleek of 
Troy; Revs. Waters of Kingston, Adams of Rhinebeck, and 
Hollingsworth of Stockport. 

The Instrument of Donation was read by the Rector. 
Drs. Kip and Van Kleek conducted the services. Rev. 
Mr. Hollingsworth reading the Lessons, and the Bishop 
preaching the sermon from Genesis 28:17. 

The first officials were: Wardens — Franklin G. Guion 
and William Tetherly; Vestrymen — Augustus Wynkoop, 
Henry Snyder, Lawrence Van Buren, David Van Schaack, 
Smith T. Van Buren, Charles L. Beale, Samuel P. Lee, and 
Sanford Salpaugh. 

The beautiful marble altar was subsequently given by 
the late Mrs. Peter Bain in memory of her sister, Mrs. 
Mary Esther Bain; the altar-cross is a memorial of Mrs. 
Covington Guion; the font was purchased with money left 
the church by Miss Katherine Johnson ; the spire-cross was 
erected in memory of Rev. Edward Hale, by his widow; 
and the exquisite chancel window is a memorial to the late 
Mrs. Aaron J. Vanderpoel, of precious memory. 



282 Old ninderhooK 

Rectors and Officiating Ministers 

1850- '56, Frederick T. Tiffany 1875- '75, George Waters, D.D., O.M. 

1856- '58, Rolla O. Page 1875- '76, Robert B. Van Kleeck, Jr. 

1859- '62, Porter Thomas 1876- '78, Newton Dexter, O.M. 

1862- '65, George Z. Gray 1878- '88, S. Hanson Coxe, D.D. 

1865- '66, Foster Ely, O.M. 1888- '92, Isaac Peck 

1866- '67, John R. Matthews 1893-1903, James W. Smith 

1870- '71, Edward Hale, O.M. 1903- '09, Philip G. Snow 

187 1- '72, William H. Capers 1910- '12, John A. Bevington 

1912- , John C. Jagger 

We are indebted for most of the foregoing details to those 
devoted friends of their church, Miss Elizabeth and Mr. 
Henry S. Wynkoop. 

The present officials are: Wardens: Edward P. Van 
Alstyne and Frederick W. Howard. 

Vestrymen: Franklin B. Van Alstyne, William B. Van 
Alstyne, William Heeney, Richard M. Nelson, and Adrian 
Wheeler. 

BETHEL A. M. E. CHURCH. 1 85 1 

This church, organized in '51, was without a house of 
worship until '58, when its site (100 x 200) costing $125 was 
purchased. In the first instance the church was served 
occasionally by itinerants, and at intervals by our highly 
esteemed personal friend and most devoted lay preacher 
Peter Burgett. We have vainly sought a complete consecu- 
tive list of the ministers but the following is nearly correct: 
Revs. Henry Parker, Doremus, Thomas, John Peter- 
son, William Jenkins, Charles Mowbray, W. H. Ross, 
Charles Gibbons, James Moore, J. E. Shepherd, J. O. Vick, 
J. Cuff, and T. H. Schermerhorn who now serves the church 
in connection with one in Chatham. Mr. Ross was the first 
located here. 

ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 
VALATIE. 1 87 1 

This originated in the Mission work of Fathers Roach 
and Finnegan of the Coxsackie Parish. Through the 




Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church 




St. John the Baptist, Roman Catholic Church, Valatie 



CHxircHes and ScHools 283 

energetic labors of the latter the first Sanctuary was erected 
near Prospect Hill cemetery with a Parish House adjoining. 
In 1 87 1 or about that time the Mission became a Parish 
under the care of the Rev. John J. Brennan. He was 
succeeded in 1874 by the Rev. M. J. Griffith who ren- 
dered notable service until 1895. The Rev. M. J. Ko- 
ran followed him and remained pastor until May, 1904, 
when he was succeeded by the present pastor, the Rev. M. 
A. Sheridan. Under him the present beautiful Sanctuary 
of blue stone was built in 1906, at a cost of about $20,000. 
The Parish is a very large one and draws many of its mem- 
bers from Kinderhook village and all the surrounding 
country. 

THE NIVERVILLE M. E. CHURCH 

This is an outgrowth of schoolhouse services under the 
care of the North Chatham and Valatie Methodist churches. 
The church edifice, costing about $2250, was dedicated 
November 29, 1877. The church has been served by 
successive North Chatham pastors. 

The Schools 

Next to the Church in the esteem of our early settlers 
was the School. In the first instance and for many years the 
secular as well as religious instruction of the youth was a 
part of the work of the Church. The voorleezers, comforters 
of the sick, and precentors were also schoolmasters. The first 
of whom we have any knowledge was Hendrick Abelsen, 
one of the Powell patentees of 1664. He was succeeded by 
Jochem Lammerse (Van Valkenburgh) and he by the famous 
Paulus Van Vleg, the occasion of much inconvenience to the 
church officials, as noted hitherto. One of the deserters 
from Burgoyne's army, when passing through Kinderhook 
as prisoners of war, was Andrew Mayfield Carshore, an im- 
pressed soldier, who established here an English school, 



284 Old K-inderHooK 

removing in 1780 to Claverack and attaining distinction as 
a teacher. 

The deed of the Schermerhorn-Pruyn estate, 1736, de- 
scribes the southerly boundary of the tract as running 
^'through the skool house,'' the site of which we conjecture 
to have been on the old road which ran near the creek, not 
far from the home of the late Mrs, Beekman. In Martin 
Van Buren's early boyhood, as his brother Lawrence well 
remembered, the village schoolhouse (District No. 8 then, 
now No. I.) stood near the present home of Mr. E. L. Hover. 
It burrowed in the hill, graded since then, and was so dark 
winter mornings that candles were often used. 

The Church Records reveal that in 1792 the present site of 
the Central House was sold by the Consistory to the District 
as a site for a new schoolhouse. The building erected was 
much more pretentious than any before possessed. The 
higher department of the school there established was called 
"the Academy"; but the formal organization and official 
recognition of it as such did not occur until 1824. It was, 
however, the incipient Academy which soon became one of 
the most notable institutions of its kind in the State. Within 
the memory of some still living, the wheel of that old 
Academy bell was in the garret of the Central House, which 
is in part the old building itself. 

But little is known concerning the early teachers of what 
was called for a time the Columbia Academy. In the 
Albany '' CentineV (1800) was a notice of a quarterly exhi- 
bition of the Academy, revealing that its curriculum included 
the Classics; that there were more than sixty students, and 
that the Principal was the Rev. D. B. Warden. Subse- 
quently he moved to Kingston and in 1804 became private 
secretary to General John Armstrong, U. S. Minister to 
France. In March, 1805, the Trustees announced the em- 
ployment of Mr. Jared Curtis as Principal, and that he had 
been recommended by President Fitch of Williams College. 
Elijah Garfield and Joseph Montague are other traditional 



CKxxrcKes and ScKools 285 

names of early principals of our so-called Academy, the 
latter in 18 13. 

In 1822 the school Trustees were authorized to sell this 
schoolhouse and build another on a different site. They sold 
the property for $900 to Laurence Van Dyck, Jr., and bought 
the lot on which Mr. George H. Brown's dwelling now stands. 
His house, in fact, is the very building which they erected. 
From the original documents, which have been before us, we 
learn that the lot, fifty feet wide and extending back to the 
land of Peter Van Schaack, was purchased of Judge Francis 
Silvester for $175. The deed, dated August 6, 1822, re- 
veals that the corner lot belonged at that time to Henry L. 
Van Dyck, and that John Manton, Lucas Goes, and William 
Barthrop were trustees of District No. 8 to whom the lot was 
deeded. While work on the new building was in progress 
(1823) certain public spirited inhabitants of the village 
formed "The Kinderhook Association for the Promotion of 
Literature. ' ' It was composed of the subscribers to two 
funds; the first of $430 (subsequently increased) for the 
enlargement of the building; and the second of $1050 for the 
salary of Levi Glezen, then a noted teacher at Lenox, Mass., 
as the Principal of both School and Academy ; he to pay his 
assistant, who was to be a college graduate. Llenry L. Van 
Dyck was President of this Association; Peter I. Hoes, Vice- 
President, and Peter Van Schaack, Jr., Secretary and 
Treasurer. There were twenty-four other members of the 
Association. Their project was carried to a speedy and 
successful issue, and June 19, 1823, the new Academy was 
opened with considerable ceremony. A procession was 
formed in front of the old Academy and proceeded to the 
new building which was fitly dedicated. The procession then 
re-formed, and after a march around the square entered the 
church, where appropriate additional exercises were held, in- 
cluding an address by Francis Silvester, Esq. The Academy 
was incorporated April 3, 1824. Its success from the start 
was remarkable. Its list of enrolled students for the year 



286 Old RinderHooK 

182^-24., is of peculiar, and in many cases of very tender 
interest. Many whom, when aged men and women, we 
knew and revered, were rollicking boys and girls then. That 
first year there were students from every adjacent town, not 
only including many from Hudson, Claverack, and Chatham, 
but from New York, Albany, Troy, Waterford, Schoharie, 
Middleburgh, Palatine, Utica, Lockport, and Coxsackie; and 
also from Massachusetts, Ohio, New Jersey, Maryland, 
South Carolina, and Georgia. For some years this Academy 
was one of the three or four only in the State that could 
prepare boys for college. As to the relative importance of 
the educational institutions of the County we find in the 
record of the distribution of the Literature Fund of the 
State by the Regents, that in 1841 the Hudson Academy 
received $93; Claverack, $170, and Kinderhook $318. In 
1 85 1 the sums appropriated were respectively — $13, $40, 
and $303. 

In the first instance students from abroad were provided 
with board in private families at $1.50 per week, washing 
included. Later, principals received a few students into 
their own homes, and boarding-houses for students became 
numerous. What we now know as the Chrysler house was 
at one time a notable boarding-house. Much of the wood- 
work of the upper part was scribbled over with names of 
students, and also with the names of other lodgers; for it 
was at one time an inn. We deplore the taste which ob- 
literated them with sandpaper and paint. 

The Act of Incorporation (1824) requiring the election of 
twelve Trustees by ballot (subscribers of $5.00 or more being 
the electors) the following first Board of Trustees was duly 
elected: Henry L. Van Dyck, Francis Silvester, James 
Vanderpoel, James Clark, Samuel Hawley, John G. Philip, 
John P. Beekman, John I. Pruyn, Peter I. Hoes, Julius 
Wilcoxson, Arent Van Vleck, and Peter Van Schaack, Jr., 
Mr. Silvester declining to serve, John Manton was chosen 
to fill the vacancy. 



CHurcKes and ScHools 287 

October 19, 1825, our villagers were horrified to hear 
that an Academy student, Eber L. Crandell, in an alterca- 
tion with another student, Charles Taylor, had been killed. 
The latter was at once arrested and soon thereafter indicted 
for murder in the first degree. The trial was in April, 1826, 
before Judges Duer, J. Miller, Burton, and Butler. District- 
attorney Wilcoxson was assisted by Mr. Jordan, while 
Messrs. Williams, Oakley, Vanderpoel, and Butler appeared 
for the prisoner. The trial lasted from Friday morning until 
early Sunday morning when the jury brought in their verdict 
of guilty, but with a recommendation to mercy because of 
the previous good character of the prisoner as sworn to by 
Mr. and Mrs. Barent Hoes ("aunt Dericke") with whom he 
boarded. The recommendation was heeded, but the young 
man was required to leave the State. 

Mr. Glezen's assistant was Mr. Silas Metcalf . After two 
years of service Mr. Metcalf resigned ; not wholly, apparently, 
because of ^^ impaired health," for, on Mr. Glezen's resigna- 
tion in 1827, Mr. Metcalf accepted appointment as Principal. 
In the meantime Mr. Henry Winans had been appointed 
to Mr. Metcalf's former position. It was a son of Mr. 
Winans who wrote sundry reminiscenses for our village 
paper from which we elsewhere quote. In 1828 the Academy 
was placed "under the visitation and control of the Regents 
of the State" and received that year an appropriation from 
the Literature Fund of $411. In 1835 it was selected by the 
Regents to have a department for the instruction of com- 
mon school teachers. Deeming that this would require an 
enlargement of the Academy building, the question of a new 
building was debated and finally decided in the affirmative. 
The present site of Dr. Kellogg's house was purchased from 
Dr. Beekman, but the sale by mutual consent was set aside. 
John I. Pruyn offered the lot on which Mr. F. Bion Van 
Alstyne's house now stands; but the final decision was to 
buy of John L. Van Alen the familiar site on Albany Avenue 
for $360; the lot having a frontage of 120 feet, and an average 



288 Old ninderKooK 

depth of 210, to the land of Mr. Myers, later Mr. Thomas 
M. Burt's. The building was erected by Henry Harrington 
and cost $3700. Having acquired full title to the old 
Academy lot and building by paying $227 to the Trustees 
of District No. i, the Academy Trustees sold the property 
for |8oo to James Shaw who transferred it to Andrew K. 
Morehouse. 

The money needed for the erection of the new building 
was subscribed by thirty-eight persons ; fourteen subscribing 
$100 each, and others lesser amounts down to five dollars. 
This was to be repaid to subscribers as the excess of income 
over expenses might permit. For a few years seven per cent, 
was paid; one year, twelve per cent. But these ^^ bloated 
bondholders^^ soon came to grief. When we first knew the 
Academy, in 1864, the bonds, if bonds there were, were 
worth something less than their value at the paper mill. 

November 10, 1836, the new Academy was formally 
opened with elaborate ceremonial, the long procession 
passing ^^ through the principal streets of the village^ ^ from the 
old Academy to the new, where appropriate exercises were 
held. General John A. Dix, then Secretary of State, had 
been invited to deliver an address; but he and two others 
(Rev. Drs. Kirk and Waterbury) failed to appear, and it fell 
to Judge Wilcoxson to give a historical sketch of this then 
famous institution. 

In the Pittsfield Library we found a catalogue of the 
Academy for the year 1843. It gives the names of sixteen 
Trustees, all of whom were men of note. Dr. Beekman of 
course was the President and David Van Schaack Secretary 
and Treasurer. The others v/ere: W. H. Tobey, General 
Charles Whiting, Lawrence Van Buren, Teunis Harder, 
Hon. Julius Wilcoxson, Lucas Hoes, Peter Van Schaack, 
John Bain, Peter I. Hoes, John I. Pruyn, James Shaw, 
Homer Blanchard, and Dr. J. M. Pruyn. The teachers were: 
Silas Metcalf, George Van Santvoord, E. P. Carter, Louisa 
M. G. Weld, CaroUne M. Vandervoort, and Edward Miller. 




The Academy and Boarding Home, 1855 

From an engraving by Howland 




High School, Valatie 



CKxircKes and ScKools 289 

In the four departments 257 pupils were enrolled. Among 
them we recognize many known to us as aged men and 
women years ago. A few, then in the elementary department, 
are still living. Mr. Metcalf rendered excellent and highly 
appreciated service until 1847 when he resigned and was 
succeeded by Alexander Watson, a graduate of St. Andrews' 
University, and a very brilliant scholar and teacher. He had 
been a teacher in the Albany Female Academy. In that 
year the boarding-house, built by a number of public spirited 
gentlemen on the lot adjoining the Academy, was ready for 
the new Principal. That building was burned a few years 
later, but a new one was immediately erected on the old 
foundations. This in 1867 or a little later became the 
property of Mr. P. S. Hoes. He divided it and trans- 
formed the parts into the three dwellings now standing 
south of the present Grange Hall. The first and second 
were the front of the boarding-house, and the third, now 
owned by Mrs. P. V. B. Hoes, was the rear extension. 

Both Mr. Metcalf and Mr. Watson on their resignation 
(the latter in 1853) received glowing resolutions of apprecia- 
tion from the Trustees. These resolutions were more than a 
customary kindly formality, for, as other entries reveal, the 
Trustees could, on occasion, maintain a severe but eloquent 
silence. Mr. Watson was evidently the most scholarly and 
brilliant of all the many principals ; but for exalted character, 
executive ability, and manifold usefulness, Mr. Metcalf was 
excelled by none, and his fragrant memory abides to this 
day. Anticipating somewhat of our story, we here note — 
that George H. Taylor, son of Samuel H., the distinguished 
principal of Phillips Andover Academy, was an accomplished 
educator: and Manton, grandson of the eminent Peter Van 
Schaack, although leading a forlorn hope, rendered very 
notable service. The boys he prepared for college were 
always exceptionally well prepared. Although honored here, 
yet in some other than "his own country" this prophet 
would have received more honor. 
19 



290 Old RinderKooK 

Throughout Mr. Metcalf's time and for a considerable 
part of Mr. Watson's, the Academy grew apace. From the 
annual reports to the Regents we gather that in 1851 there 
were 216 students enrolled, with a regular attendance of 172. 
This included, however, the primary department, organized 
in 1847, of which Miss Harriet Still well and the Misses 
Magdalena and Judith A. Groat were teachers of longest 
service. We find seven teachers reported one year ; a library 
that steadily grew to number 720 volumes ; and philosophical 
apparatus costing more than $600. We note the Revs. 
Drs. Sprague, Kennedy, and Bullions of Albany and Troy as 
the examining committee for one of the semiannual ex- 
aminations. The students from near and far who became 
men and women of distinction were numerous. During Mr. 
Watson's term of service, however, the tide of success 
reached its flood and began a slow but steady recession, with 
only occasional and diminishing refluent waves of prosperity. 
Conditions were rapidly changing. The common schools 
were becoming better equipped and their curriculum con- 
stantly improving, thus making the old Academies less and 
less necessary. 

In i860 we have the following Board of Trustees: 

William H. Tobey Charles Whiting John M. Pruyn 

John Bain Teunis Harder Peter Van Schaack 

Augustus Wynkoop Lawrence Van Buren John P. Beekman 

Henry Snyder John Frisbee David Van Schaack 

This remarkably able Board and their successors were 
intensely loyal to the Academy and its traditions. They 
labored long and zealously for its preservation and the re- 
turn of its old-time prosperity and dignity. Their efforts, 
however, were but partially and temporarily successful, and 
the story of decline and extinction may be briefly told. 

In 1853, Mr. Watson having resigned, he was succeeded by 
Henry H. Pouch er, then Principal of the Hudson Academy, 
and he by Mr. Watson again in 1855. His successors were: 



CKvircKes and ScKools 291 

Rev. Edgar H. Perkins, '57; Alfred C. Post, '62; J. S. 
Fancher, '63; D. H. Calkins, '65; W. Scott, '66; J. B. Steele, 
Jr., '67; M. Van Schaack, '70; G. F. and R. H. Cole, '75; 
George H. Taylor, '77; William A. Reed, '80; J. B. Alexander 

and C. F. Stephenson, '81; Hoysradt, '82; M. Van 

Schaack, '83 ; Mrs. Sarah A. Geer, '90; and Frank Bond, 1894. 

In 1872 the Trustees were: William H. Tobey, David 
Van Schaack, Christopher H. Wendover, Thomas M. Burt, 
Francis W. Bradley, William H. Rainey, John Bray, William 
R. Mesick, Hiram P. Hoysradt, Francis Silvester, Charles 
Palmer, and Eugene L. Hover. 

The last Board, 1896, consisted of W. H. Rainey, G. S. 
ColHer, J. S. Hosford, F. B. Van Alstyne, J. Bray, L. L. 
Morrell, Frank Palmer, Harold Van Santvoord, and James 
A. Reynolds. In 1886, Mr. Reynolds (who came into the 
Board in '79), by means of a circular letter to former students, 
succeeded in raising $400 for the benefit of the Academy. It 
is gratifying to read such a response to the appeal as that 
of the late Edward Bain, of Kenosha, who wrote of his vast 
indebtedness to ^^ Glorious old Kinderhook and its Academy, " 
and sent a much larger gift than had been asked. In 1896 
the Trustees adopted a new official seal. Its chief use seems 
to have been to seal the death warrant of the Academy once 
so famous but now so fallen. In that year a suit for damages 
for injuries through the falling of the front stoop was success- 
ful, and the property passed into the hands of Mrs. Geer. 
It was subsequently owned by Hon. Charles D. Haines, and 
used for a time as a finely equipped printing-house for the 
Rough Notes and several alleged local editions thereof which 
he also owned. The enterprise was short-lived and the 
building next became a knitting mill, owned by Imond 
Vener & Co. A few years later, happily, the property was 
bought by the Lindenwald Grange. It was greatly improved 
and is now their commodious and useful Hall ; of undoubted 
and great advantage to our community, agriculturally, 
socially, and, to a mild degree, literary. Esto perpetual 



292 Old RinderKooK 

The presidents of the Board of Trustees — Dr. Henry L. 
Van Dyck, Dr. John P. Beekman, Hon. WilHam H. Tobey, 
Dr. Peter V. S. Pruyn, and Mr. W. H. Rainey were 
all notable men, and served with unwearying fidelity and 
energy. Mr. David Van Schaack was for many years the 
Secretary and Treasurer of the Board. No one could have 
been more faithful and painstaking. He was succeeded 
by his son, John J. Van Schaack, Augustus W. Wynkoop, 
and James A. Reynolds. Mr. W. H. Rainey also was Treas- 
urer for a few years. 

In the Kinderhook Sentinel of October lo, 1844, appeared 
this entirely just appreciation of one of the best educational 
institutions of its time : 

The friends and patrons of our justly celebrated and much 
cherished Academy have reason to exult in the high standing 
which it maintains among the numerous literary institutions of 
our State. The sphere of its usefulness is rapidly enlarging and a 
goodly number of- well educated youth annually pass from its 
walls, fitted to engage in the business pursuits of life, to enter 
upon the study of the learned professions or to commence a 
Collegiate course. During the past year nearly a dozen young 
gentlemen have been prepared at our Academy for admission 
into the first colleges of the land; several of whom have entered 
at an advanced stage; a certain indication that the course of 
instruction is thorough, systematic and complete. Of the large 
number of those who in the years that are passed have stored 
their minds with useful knowledge at this seat of learning some 
are now filling prominent stations in society, proving themselves 
worthy sons of their Alma Mater. Generations of these we trust 
are destined to rise up and call her blessed. 

Of the October examinations and Young Ladies' Ex- 
hibition, Colonel Silas W. Burt gives us the following pleas- 
ing personal reminiscences: 

It was certainly an evidence of the light resources of diversion 
in our village that so many people found interest in listening 



CKvarcKes and ScHools 293 

to our "cut and dried" answers, or in beholding us accomplish 
on the black-board such feats of mathematical complexity. 
Some admiring mother would complacently see her son cover the 
board with algebraic signs as incomprehensible to her as a tablet 
of Egyptian hieroglyphics ; or a sturdy farmer would hear his boy 
thunder forth the Attic rhythm of the Iliad or the grand eloquent 
phrases of Cicero. These examinations continued a day and a 
half and in the "Ladies' Department " were varied by the display 
on the walls of pencil and crayon drawings and flower-pieces in 
water-colors — the presumptively unaided work of the pupils. 
On Tuesday afternoon there was held in the "Chapel" the 
Ladies' Exhibition, consisting of original compositions read by 
the young authors and interspersed with piano-playing and 
singing. The audience was always large and of course included 
all the boys, each of whom was naturally interested in some fair 
exhibitor. How charming those damsels were, as arrayed in 
spotless white, they blushingly faced the audience and in low 
inaudible tones read their little essays — now and then one of 
them with more aplomb gave loud utterance to her views of 
mundane affairs — but usually we heard only a timid murmur 
mingled with the rustle of the paper, bound with white satin 
ribbon, in the nervous hands of the "sweet girl graduate." And 
those songs and music are echoed from the far past. ... At 
length the program is concluded and congratulatory and com- 
plimentary expressions are received by our fair companions with 
complacency and relief, now that their long dreaded tasks are 
accomplished. Wednesday forenoon brings its trials for us boys, 
and the villagers and visitors repair to the Academy chapel, 
where on the platform the trustees are gravely seated and in the 
back ground the four musicians (whose services are requited by 
subscriptions by the young orators) . The grandees on the stage 
whisper in a dignified way with each other; the musicians tune 
their instruments and the younger boys distribute the "Schemes " 
or programs, while the older ones cluster about the doors; those 
whose names appear first nervously repeating in a low tone their 
respective speeches, while the others whose turns come later have 
an air of repressed eloquence that will soon dissipate. . . . The 
room has filled and the murmuring conversation ceases as our 
"dominie" rises to "invoke the Divine blessing"; and then the 



294 Old K-inderKooK 

Latin Salutatory is delivered. This was my task in October 1845 
and I addressed in sonorous classic phrases in turn the trustees, 
the audience and my associates, not a soul of whom probably 
knew whether I were complimentary or objurgatory in my 
expression. Then followed two or three declamations, music, an 
original oration and so a dozen times repeated until the audience 
greeted the final orator, the valedictorian, and hung admiringly 
upon his sentences because they were the last. And how well 
satisfied were we — the heroes or martyrs of the occasion as each 
temperament wrought — when the "dominie's benediction closed 
the exercises. ... In April 1847 I delivered the valedictory 
address and with it finished my school career." 

KINDERHOOK VILLAGE DISTRICT SCHOOL 

This school (District No. i, formerly No. 8) had its 
beginnings as already narrated in our story of the Academy. 
Avoiding repetitions we go on to say : 

On the removal of the Academy to its last site, the fifth 
District schoolhouse was erected on land leased from and 
in rear of the church, and to revert to the church when 
abandoned for school purposes. In 1851 this building was 
enlarged, as became especially necessary when the separate 
school for colored children (established in 1843 in the Ack- 
ley tenement house) was given up. We have rejoiced to be 
"abel" to glean from the "minits" of the School clerk that 
^^ mutch' ^ interest was "tacon'' in the education of the "col- 
lard children' ' : in spelling, let us hope. This fifth school- 
house was abandoned and moved away, when, in 1877, the 
front part of the present brick building was erected by 
George W. Wilkins, at a cost of about $6000. To this, in 
1903, the considerable rear extension was added, costing 
about $2700. 

Through the courtesy of Lawyer Hyman we have before 
us the (6 X 4) receipt book of the School Commissioners who 
distributed the school money from i8i4-'29. The first was 
E. Garfield, who was succeeded by John Manton in '15; he 




The Village Hall 




The Union Free School 



CKxircKes and ScKools 295 

by Henry Van Vleck in '16; and he in '21 by Lawrence Van 
Dyck, Jr., who served until '29 at least when the book ends. 
The receipts have the signatures of the trustees of the several 
Districts. In 18 14, $624.97 was apportioned. The District, 
name of Trustee, and amounts apportioned were as follows : 

1. John P. Van Alstine $ 23.14 8. H. L. Van Dyck & H. Van Vleck, $103.89 

2. David Best (1815) 26.95 9- Martin Garner 25.43 

3. Jacob Miller 27.49 10. Daniel Pultz 20.56 

4. Medad Butler 93.07 11. M.Cooper & L.Gilbert 30.30 

5. Richard I. Goes 106.60 12. Palmer Holmes 25.90 

6. John Niver 29.76 13. Abram Vosburgh 28.14 

7. Benjamin Baldwin 44-37 I4- J- H. Kittle 30.00 

15. Thos. Van Alstyne $16.23 

Other receipting Trustees and their Districts in two succeed- 
ing years were: Tunis G. Snyder, 9; George Chittenden, 5; 
John Van Hovenberg, 3; George Sheldon, 12; Samuel 
Townsend, 7; Alexander McMechan, 4; L. M. Goes, 13; 
Ab. P. Van Alstine, i; Jonathan Traver, 10; Zach. Haus, 
11; Andrew Kittle, 14; Russell Potter, 16; John Shoe- 
maker, 17; Lucas I. Van Alen, i ; John M. Pultz, 3; John L 
Shaver, 10; Henry Herrick, 2; Barent Van Slyck, 7; Rufus 
Clark, 5; David Bidwell, 12; Peter Haws, 11; Stephen I. 
Miller, 16; James J. Morrison, 13; Barent Van Buren, 18; 
J. Goodemoet, 6. 

The formation of the Town of Stuyvesant in 1823 made 
necessary among other things a division of the Common 
School money. In accordance therewith we have a tabular 
statement concerning ten districts and five "parts of dis- 
tricts" which is of interest. The total amount divided 
was $462.32. We give the number of the district and of 
scholars and the name of Trustee. 

1. 104. Lucas I. Van Alen 6. 49. Peter Niver 

2. 60. John Melius & Wm. Kingman 7. 145. Nathan Wild 

3. 67. John Van Dyck & Isaac McCagg 8. 250. Lucas Hoes & John Manton 

4. 132. Peter L Vosburgh 10. 74. B. Hilton & J. P. Marquot 

5. 63. William Sturges 16. 123. James Wild 



296 Old RinderHooK 

Parts of Districts 

I. 22. Jesse Van Ness 7. 6. Peter Harder 

II. 36. Simeon P. Hawes 12. 52, Luther Crocker 

13. 53. Martin Van Alstyne 

The total of children is 1236. 

Our older residents can readily locate most of the schools 
both in this and the previous table through the name and 
known residence of the Trustee. Thus, No. i was the present 
Ridge school; No. 4 was at the Landing; No. 7, in Valatie, 
and No. 8, in Kinderhook village. 

This table of the division of school money is dated June, 
1823. In September of the same year our Commissioners of 
Schools, Lucas Hoes and Lawrence Van Dyck, Jr., reported 
to the State Superintendent, — "That the number of entire 
School Districts in our town, organized according to law is 
eight, and that the number of parts of School Districts is 
one." They report the number of children taught as 535; 
and that there were 722 children in the town between the age 
of five and fifteen. 

The earliest existing records of the Trustees begin with 
the year 1841. They are reasonably complete to the present 
time, although very chary of information as regards teachers. 
The Trustees of 1841 were — Homer Blanchard, Ephraim 
Best, and Abraham Van Alstyne. They record the names of 
the parents of 269 children of school age (5-16) in the District. 
The number of Trustees was frequently changed; now six 
and now one. Their qualifications too have been singularly 
and sometimes ludicrously variable. 

As regards teachers, we have no record prior to 1841. 
Some at least of those named in connection with the early 
history of the Academy were teachers of the District school. 
Certainly before 1841, David G. Woodin was for many years 
the District school-teacher; and he had been preceded by a 
Mr. Searles. Later in life, as we well remember, Mr. Woodin 
rendered long-continued service as one of our most faithful 



CH\ircKes and ScHools 297 

and respected School Commissioners. After 1840, as the 
Treasurer's accounts reveal, the successive Principals were: 
N. B. Basset, '41; James Carver, '43; Andrew I. Kittell, '49; 
L. W. Reid, '59; W. S. Hallenbeck, '67; Hugh Kelso, '83; 
Oscar E. Coburn, '93 ; Reuben A. Mabie, '95 ; Scott Youmans, 
1 901; Earl B. Slack, '03; Clayton F. Sherman, '07; John B. 
Bronson, '08; Orville C. Cone, '09; Earl D. Hewes, 1911; 
A. C. Hamilton, 1912; Giles D. Clark, 1913. 

In Mr. Mabie's time, and largely through his effort, the 
Common School became the Union Free School. 

The present Trustees on the Board of Education, are: 
W. J. Magee, Nathan D. Garnsey, and A. T. Ogden. The 
teachers are (1913) Giles D. Clark, Principal; Anna M. 
Thebo, assistant; Gertrude Connor; Mrs. George H. Brown; 
Jane McHenry. One hundred and five pupils are enrolled. 
The school has a good library of over five hundred volumes, 
and a laboratory well-equipped for all the scientific work 
usual in a High School. For years William A. Roraback has 
been the efficient clerk of the school board. 

In February, 191 1, Misses Mabel Duff and Laura Hos- 
ford organized among the pupils — "The Penny Provident 
Society." It has been a great success. This year (19 13) 
they report eighty-two depositors of more than $345 
most of which is on deposit in Savings banks. It is justly 
claimed that the value of this encouragement of habits of 
thrift and economy, and of a feeling of self-respect as well, is 
incalculable. 

For three years, Mrs. Duff, with some help from young 
ladies of the village, has held a sewing class Friday after- 
noons, at the close of the school. This class has been well- 
attended, and is proving highly profitable to the pupils who 
have availed themselves of the privilege of the instruction. 

The Kindergarten is a private institution, supported in 
part by fees from the parents of the little children in attend- 
ance, but largely by the generosity of a few who are deeply 
interested in it. The teachers this year (191 3), are, Miss 



298 Old RinderHooK 

Partridge and Miss Helen Pitcher. The Kindergarten is 
proving attractive to the little pupils and its work is appre- 
ciated by their parents. 

THE VALATIE HIGH SCHOOL 

In the Kinderhook Rough Notes of March 6, 1902, 
Principal Winthrop L. Millais published a historic and 
descriptive article on this school, which he has kindly 
furnished us, and from which we condense the following 
narrative. 

Prior to 1866 there were two District schools in Valatie; 
one near the Opera House, and the other a little west of the 
Lutheran church. 

That year, by order of School Commissioner D. W. 
Woodin, Districts Nos. 9 and 2 were consohdated and 
thenceforth known as District No. 2, 

The successive Principals have been: G. U. Norton, 
1867; Peter Stickles, '68; Samuel Greenwood, '69; Hattie L. 
Hughston, '71; Peter Silvernail, '73; Enos S. Wood, '82; 
Walter H. Phyfe, '84; Charles A. Coons, '88; Olin B. Syl- 
vester, '91; Winthrop L. Millais, '96; 0. P. Collins, 1906; 
F. E. Sleight, '08. 

The new schoolhouse was built in 1876. It is situated 
on Church Street, one of the finest of the village, and with its 
trees and well-kept lawn is not unworthy its location. 

In 1889 the District was organized into a Union Free 
School District, and, after securing suitable apparatus and a 
library, was accepted by the Regents and admitted into the 
University of the State of New York. In 1899 the Regents 
suggested that such changes be made in the curriculum as 
would entitle it to full rank as a High School. These sug- 
gestions were complied with and in 1900 four students earned 
Regents' and High School diplomas. The library contains 
more than 1500 volumes thoroughly readable and up-to-date. 

In 1904 the building was remodeled, increased in size by 
one half, refurnished, and otherwise greatly improved. 



CKvircKes and ScKools 299 

The story of the other District schools is much the same 
as that of ten thousand throughout the State. There were 
eight of them within the present township. In the Hemlock 
schoolhouse, and others as well, Dr. Sickles and other pastors 
of the Kinderhook church were wont to hold frequent 
services. That on the road to Lindenwald is on the same site 
as that where Jesse Merwin, the prototype of Ichabod 
Crane, taught. With the organization of Union Free schools 
many of the old District schoolhouses have one by one been 
closed ; and now but a few remain. 



CHAPTER X 
FINANCIAL, FRATERNAL, AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS 

Banks — Conscript Society — Masonic and Other Fraternal Organizations — • 
G. A. R. — Lindenwald Grange — Fire Companies — Notable Fires — The 
Blizzard. 

Banks 
the kinderhook national 

AS early as 1826, and several times thereafter, attempts 
were made to establish a bank at Kinderhook, but 
without success until October 9, 1838, when subscribers to a 
capital of $113,525 met at Stranahan's hotel, adopted 
articles of association, and elected the first Board of Directors 
of the Kinderhook bank. They were: John P. Beekman, 
John Bain, Uriah Edwards, Teunis Harder, Adam H. 
Hoysradt, Peter I. Hoes, Lucas Hoes, Mordecai Myers, 
Edward B. Pugsley, John I. Pruyn, Adam Van Alstyne, 
Lawrence Van Buren, David Van Schaack, V/illiam H. 
Tobey, John J. Van Volkenburgh, Charles Whiting, and 
Julius Wilcoxson. 

In those days only Dr. Beekman was thought of as 
president for any organization or public meeting. Mordecai 
Myers was elected Vice-President, Lucas Hoes, Cashier, and 
Covington Guion, Teller. The bank began business January 
6, 1839. The building used was one owned by Dr. Beekman 
and which stood near the easterly corner of his lawn. It was 

300 



Org'anizations 301 

subsequently moved to the westerly comer, and later by Mr. 
Vanderpoel to its present position. In 1862 the brick build- 
ing now owned by Augustus Bauer was erected. The famous 
corner store which had stood for many years on the site was 
moved up Albany Avenue and is what we have known as the 
Ritz house, south of the new cemetery. In '63 the bank 
became the National Bank of Kinderhook. The original 
capital was increased from time to time until '57, when it 
was $250,000 and continued at that figure until '79 when 
it was reduced one half. For many years the bank did a 
large and profitable business, but steadily changing condi- 
tions and heavy losses led to an almost unanimous vote of 
the stockholders, September 25, '89, to go into voluntary 
liquidation, and the bank was finally closed January i, 1897. 

The successive presidents have been: John P. Beekman, 
'38-61; C. H. Wendover to '62; William R. Mesick to '80; 
Hugh Van Alstyne to '84; Francis Van Ness and J. Spencer 
Hosford. The Vice-Presidents were: Mordecai Myers, 
David Van Schaack, Lawrence Van Buren, John J. Van 
Volkenburgh, Plugh Van Alstyne, A. H. Farrar. The 
Cashiers were : Lucas Hoes to '42 ; Covington Guion to '49 ; 
F. G. Guion to '69; John J. Van Schaack to '']']\ A. W. 
Wynkoop to '85 ; and Calvin Ackley. The Tellers and Clerks 
were: Covington Guion, F. G. Guion, Lawrence Van Dyck, 
George Wilcoxson, Myndert Van Buren, A. W. Wynkoop, 
Pruyn Wilcoxson, G. H. Howard, Harold Van Santvoord, 
Andrew Harder, and S. L. Chamberlain. 

In addition to those named as the first Board of Directors 
we find that the following were subsequently elected: 
William R. Mesick, Abraham Van Buren, Hugh Van Alstyne, 
Martin Van Buren, Jr., John M. Best, Barent Vosburgh, 
Peter F. Mesick, John T. Wendover, Jacob Miller, Thomas 
Beekman, Ephraim P. Best, Solomon Crandell, John Myn- 
derse, Lucas Pruyn, Abraham I. Van Alstyne, Smith T. 
Van Buren, Samuel Wilbor, Peter S. Hoes, Joseph T. Hamm, 
James Kingman, John D. Shufelt, C. H. Wendover, John 



302 Old RinderKooK 

P. Acker, Barent I. Van Hoesen, John Frisbee, Alexander 
Davis, A. B. Pugsley, Orson W. Smith, A. V. D. Witbeck, 
C. L. Herrick, A. De Myer, Henry Dennis, W. J. Penoyer, 
H. P. Van Hoesen, Abram Harder, James G. Van Valken- 
burgh, Abram H. Van Alstyne, A. H. Farrar, J. Spencer 
Hosford, William H. Goold, Francis Van Ness, John J. 
Wilbor, F. B. Van Alstyne, Edward P. Van Alstyne, Peter 
H. Bain, George Tobias, Lafayette Winn, and P. V. B. Hoes. 
The last Directors were: James Kingman, Abraham Van 
Alstyne, J. Spencer Hosford, W. H. Goold, Edward P. Van 
Alstyne, F. B. Van Alstyne, P. H. Bain, John J. Wilbor, 
George Tobias, Lafayette Winn, and Pierre V. B. Hoes. 

NATIONAL UNION BANK 

From a sketch of this bank, prepared for the fiftieth 
anniversary of its organization, we condense the following 
narrative: This bank, with a capital of $125,000, com- 
menced business October i, 1853, in a small building leased 
of General Whiting, which stood on the southwest corner 
of Broad and Hudson streets. The capital was that day 
raised to $150,000. The nearest banks outside of the village 
were those of Albany, Coxsackie, Hudson, and Pittsfield. 
This wide extent of country furnished a sufScient demand 
for all existing banking facilities. 

The first Directors were: John Rogers, Nathan Wild, 
Orrin Carpenter, David Van Schaack, Hugh Bain, William 
H. Tobey, John Bain, Charles Whiting, John L Kittle, 
James B. Laing, Daniel S. Curtis, Adam H. Hoysradt, John 
T. Wendover, Isaac Esselstyn, Daniel D. Warner, Charles 
L. Beale, Richard Graves, Francis W. Bradley, Peter A. 
Gardenier, Henry J. Whiting, and Henry Snyder. The 
capital was twice increased, until in '57 it amounted to 
$200,000. 

The first President of the bank was William H. Tobey, 
the first Vice-President John Bain, and the Cashier William 
H. Rainey. 



Organizations 303 

In the fall of '58 the unguarded building was entered at 
night, the safe forced open, and about $9500 in cash and some 
unavailable checks stolen. Immediately thereafter the brick 
building now occupied was purchased and fitted up for the 
bank's use with all the best safeguards of the time for the 
security of its treasures ; and^also as a dwelling for the Cashier, 
which Mr. Rainey occupied until his lamented death. The 
rear extension was subsequently added, providing a pleasant 
Directors' room below and needed chambers above. The 
bank moved thereto in the spring of '59. In '65 the bank 
became National, under the United States law. The number 
of stockholders in October, '53, was fifty-three. They now 
(191 2) number about one hundred and ten. With one 
exception, after the panic of '57, semiannual dividends 
have been paid, averaging more than 8>^ per cent, per 
annum. 

The presidents have been — William H. Tobey, i853-'78, 
of whom we write elsewhere. In '62 the Directors presented 
him with an elegant silver service in recognition of his 
fidelity and devotion, which were continued until his death. 
Stephen H. Wendover, elected in '79, continued in office 
until his decease, in '89. He was a man of extensive ex- 
perience in business affairs, of wide acquaintance, clear- 
headed and sagacious. He was a member both of the 
Assembly and Senate. James Bain, elected in '89, con- 
tinued in office until his decease in '92. He was a farmer, 
universally respected for his high character and standing. 
Gerrit S. Collier was elected in February, '92, and has been 
continued in office to the present time. The Vice-Presidents 
have been: John Bain, the first Vice-President, was con- 
tinued in office until failing health constrained him to 
decline a re-election in '59. He served as a Director until 
his decease, in June, '60. David Van Schaack, elected in 
*59, continued in office until his decease, in '72. Barent 
Van Alstyne, elected in '73, served in that office, with the 
exception of one year, until his decease, in '86. Gerrit S. 



304 Old RinderHooK 

Collier was elected in May, '86, and continued in that office 
until he was chosen President, in February, '92. Peter V. S. 
Pruyn was elected second Vice-President in March, '88, 
and served as such until January, '90, when that office was 
discontinued. David Strain, elected Vice-President in '92, 
continued in that office until his decease in 1903. Henry 
Strain was elected Vice-President in 1904. The Cashiers 
have been: WiUiam H. Rainey, 1 853-1 906; James A. Rey- 
nolds, 1906- The Tellers and Bookkeepers have 

been: Jacob Williams, Hiram P. Hoysradt, John J. Van 
Schaack, Frank Van Santvoord, James A. Reynolds, Harold 
Birckmayer, Bertram A. Hull. 

On the first of October, 1903, there was a notable cele- 
bration of the fiftieth anniversary of the organization of the 
Bank and of Mr. Rainey's half-century of service as Cashier. 
In the evening the Directors gave a reception in the vil- 
lage hall which was attended by a large number of invited 
guests — stockholders, depositors, and friends, both ladies 
and gentlemen — including Mr. McGarrah, President of the 
Leather Manufacturers' National Bank, New York; Mr. 
Nash, Cashier of New York State National Bank, Mr. 
Tremper, Cashier of First National Bank, Albany ; Mr. Havi- 
land and Mr. Hallenbeck, Cashier and Teller of the Farmers' 
National Bank, and Mr. Macy and Mr. Benson, President 
and Cashier of First National Bank, Hudson; Mr. Humphrey, 
Cashier, and Dr. Wheeler, Mr. Boright, Mr. Pierson, and 
Mr. Thomas, Directors of the State Bank, Chatham. The 
New York State National Bank of Albany and the National 
Hudson River Bank of Hudson each contributed beautiful 
floral pieces for the occasion. The hall was profusely 
decorated with palms, flowers, and autumn leaves, and the 
evening's entertainment was enlivened with music by Dor- 
ing's orchestra and singing by the Empire Quartette of Troy. 
Ample refreshments were provided by Mc Elveney of Albany, 
and the evening was enjoyed by all who were present. 

The Directors of the Bank considered the occasion a 



Or^ani^zations 305 

fitting one to show their appreciation and make some sub- 
stantial recognition of the services of those actively engaged 
in the management and business of the Bank, and in the 
course of the evening presented Mr. Rainey with a beautiful 
service of silver and Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Van Santvoord 
each with a purse of gold. Mr. Reynolds had served as 
Teller for more than thirty-five, and Mr. Van Santvoord, as 
General Bookkeeper, more than sixteen years. Appropriate 
and excellent presentation addresses were made by the 
President of the Bank, Mr. Gerrit S. Collier, Esq. The 
responses by the recipients were of great interest and not 
without touches of pathos. The largest piece of the silver 
service bears the following inscription: "i 853-1 903. Pre- 
sented October i, 1903. By the Board of Directors of The 
National Union Bank of Kinderhook, N. Y. To William H. 
Rainey, the cashier of said institution from the date of its 
organization Oct. i, 1853, to the present time, in com- 
memoration of an official service and relation notable, if not 
unique, and in recognition of his ability and fidelity as such 
officer and in appreciation of his exalted character as a citizen 
and worth as a friend. " 

The present Board of Directors consists of the following 
gentlemen: Gerrit S. Collier, Isaac E. Bain, William J. 
Gardenier, Robert P. Richmond, Henry Strain, Charles 
Frisbee, and James A. Reynolds. 

KINDERHOOK CONSCRIPT SOCIETY 

This is the oldest of existing town organizations other 
than religious. It was organized October i, 1808. From a 
historical sketch prepared by the late Mr. P. Edward Van 
Alstyne we draw the following details : At the organization 
in 1808, Abram I. Van Vleck was elected Treasurer, and 
John Manton, Isaac A. Van Vleck, and Andries Whitbeck 
were appointed "a committee to liquidate the accounts of 
the riders." Later, this committee came to be known as 
Auditors. 'Ihe Constitution adopted in '63 provides for 



3o6 Old R-inderHooK 

the election of twelve riders. An amendment in ^^6 gave the 
appointment of riders to the Treasurer and authorized 
the use of the telegraph and mails. 

The riders of 1808 were: William Potter, Albert Whit- 
beck, Teunis G. Snyder, Peter Bain, Peter T. Van Slyck, 
George Van Hoesen, Daniel Jones, Jr., Martin Harder, 
Samuel I. Vosburgh, Isaac Van Dyck, Lemuel Morton, and 
Arent Van Dyck. We confess to a shock to our spirit of 
reverence when we think of Teunis G. Snyder, whom forty 
years ago we knew as a patriarch of ninety or more, cavort- 
ing about the country in pursuit of horse-thieves. 

The minutes of the Society from 1808 to 1863 have 
disappeared. Beginning with 1863 the Treasurers of the 
Society have been as follows : P. Edward Van Alstyne, from 
1863 until his death in '76; Augustus W. Wynkoop, '']'] to 
'86; John Wilcoxson, '86-'89; George W. Wilkins, from '89 
until his death in 1913. The Vice-Presidents have been: 
Benajah Conant, '63 to '65; James Patton, '65 to '']2\ Henry 
A. Hoysradt, '72 to '86; J. Spencer Hosford, '86 to 1913. 
The Auditors have been : William R. Mesick, '63 to '85 ; 
Hugh Bain, '63-'66; Peter S. Hoes, '63-65; E. G. How- 
ard, '65 to '67; Francis W. Bradley, '66 to '72; Henry Her, 
'67 to '73; John Rogers, '68 to '90; Lewis E. Fellows,' 72 to 
'88; William H. Rainey, '66; Calvin Ackley, 1888, and Lewis 
L. Morrell, '90 ; the two latter to the present time. William 
R. Mesick and John Rogers served faithfully for twenty- 
three years. 

The records show that every horse, save one, stolen from 
a member of the Society has been recovered, and that at the 
annual meeting in 1875 a dividend of four dollars was ordered 
to be paid out of the funds on hand, to each member of the 
Society in good standing. The report of the Treasurer for 
that year shows a balance of $934.96 in his hands. The 
reports of the Treasurer and the Auditors made in 1876 show 
that the dividends were paid to 146 members. Afterwards 
three more members were paid. 



Or^aniizations 307 

October i, 1908, the centennial of the Society was duly- 
celebrated. There was a banquet at Kinderhook Lake 
Point, at which, after due and very satisfactory enjoyment of 
the good things provided by sixty-three of the ninety -nine 
members enrolled, there were appropriate addresses by 
George W. Wilkins and Edward Van Alstyne. The meeting 
was then adjourned to October i, 2008. 

There are now over one hundred enrolled members, 
with a fund of $1200 on hand from which a dividend has 
recently been distributed. 

The present (1914) officials are: Frank Bion Van 
Alstyne, Treasurer; E. P. Van Alstyne, Vice-Treasurer; 
Eugene Merwin, Secretary; Calvin Ackley, L. L. Morrell, and 
Charles M. Palmer, Auditors. 

ROYAL ARCH MASONS, KINDERHOOK CHAPTER, NO. 264 

Through the courtesy of the late Mr. George W. Wilkins 
we are able to give the following details. The Chapter was 
organized March 7, 1872, with these members: 

William S. Hallenbeck George L. Van Hoesen Lewis G. Lant 

John A. Van Bramer William G. Mandeville Augustus W. Wynkoop 

Charles Palmer George Reynolds Edward Sulley 

James Green Bartholomew C. Vosburgh 

Not one of these is known to be living now. Dispensation 
was granted by Rees G. Williams, Grand High Priest, at 
Utica, February 22, A. L. 5872 or A. I. 2402. The first 
council was chosen at that time: W. S. Hallenbeck, High 
Priest; James Green, King; Charles Palmer, Scribe. The 
Chapter continued working under Dispensation until Febru- 
ary 7, 1873, when Most Excellent Grand High Priest Thomas 
C. Cassidy with his stafif, constituted it a Royal Arch 
Chapter and installed the above named officers. The follow- 
ing year A. W. Wynkoop was H. P. ; Calvin Ackley, K., and 
Jacob Cook, Scribe. 

A Chapter of Royal Arch Masons is composed of at least 



3o8 Old RinderKooK 

nine regular Royal Arch Masons whose titles are : Excellent 
High Priest (the presiding officer) ; Companions, King and 
Scribe; Captain of the Host; Principal Sojourner; Royal 
Arch Captain and three Masters of the Veils, The successive 
High Priests and their years of service have been: W. S. 
Hallenbeck, three years; A. W. Wynkoop, ten; Jacob Cook, 
three; George W. Wilkins, ten; F. B. Van Alstyne, eight; 
T. F. Woodworth, one ; Edward Risedorph, five. Subordinate 
officials with varying and sometimes separated terms of 
service have been: Kings: James Green, A. W. V/ynkoop, 
J. A. Van Bramer, C. Ackley, J. Cook, S. H. Talmadge, F. 
B. Van Alstyne, T. Devoe, Arthur T. Bennet, J. A. Trimper, 
George B. Wilkins, and E. Risedorph. Scribes: C. Palmer, 
J. Cook, W. S. Hallenbeck, J. Green, R. E. Lasher, E. 
Risedorph, W. Heeney, T. F. Woodworth, and Edwin 
Langford. George B. Wilkins is the present (1912) High 
Priest. 

ORDER OF THE EASTERN STAR 

Eda Chapter, No. 459, was organized at Grange Hall, 
August 17, 1909. The semi-monthly meetings are held in 
the Kinderhook Masonic rooms. The Chapter has a mem- 
bership of sixty -seven and is in a flourishing condition. 

Of the Valatie organizations we give the somewhat 
abbreviated account by Mr. Albert E. Davis: 

The Valatie Lodge No. 115, L O. O. F., was instituted 
in 1847, with 20 charter members. It now has 80, officered 
by Fred Gudt, N. G.; Richard Hughes, V. G.; B. Rowe, 
Secretary. 

The Valatie Lodge No. 362, F. and A. M., received its 
charter June 22, 1855, and elected for its first officers, Jesse 
O. Vanderpoel, W. M.; Jacob M. Whitbeck, S. W.; Jacob L. 
IMiller, J. W. The lodge at present has 80 members who are 
all Master Masons, and its officers are Herman L. Alter, W. 
M.; Harold Birckmayer, S. W.; J. W. Merwin, J. W.; and 
George G. Scott, Secretary. 



Organizations 309 

The Valatie Camp No. 13,328, Modem Woodmen of 
America, was organized by State Deputy William Sher- 
wood, October, 1908, with 60 members. It is to-day one of 
the largest organizations in Columbia County, having nearly 
1000 members. In May, 1909, the Camp purchased from 
Messrs. Purcell, Barford, and Garrigan their property on the 
corner of Main and New streets, for $2800, and had the 
rooms made into a lodge room. The Camp is officered by 
Albert S. Callan, Consul; Herbert Fern, Worthy Advisor; 
William Avery, Clerk, and Fred Berlin, Banker. 

The T. M. Burt Post, No. 171, G. A. R., was organized 
and named after the late Thomas M. Burt of Kinderhook, a 
deceased comrade in arms, by the late General Morgan H. 
Chrysler of Kinderhook, on July 19, 1880. The charter 
members were: Morgan H, Chrysler, William Atwood, 
Dominick Richelieu, Gifford Chrysler, John Seccombe, 
Charles Sitcer, Thomas Seery, John Dahm, A. J. Wilcox, 
Joseph Healey, Dr. James H. Green, and Joseph Dahm. 
The last-named is the sole surviving charter member. The 
charter was signed by Department Commander L. Coe 
Young and Assistant Adjutant-General William Blaisle. 
The post has now 13 members, most of whom attended the 
recent re-union at Gettysburg. 

LINDENWALD GRANGE, NO. 985 

Through the courtesy of the late Mr. George W. Wilkins 
we have before us his historical paper read before the Grange, 
January 24, 1913. From it we compile the following details: 
The Grange was organized in Village Hall, June 29, 1903. 
Until October 9th, its meetings were held in the parlors of the 
M. E. church. Then the rooms over the corner store (now 
Mr. Avery's) were occupied; the building having been 
previously purchased by the Grange for $2500, wholly on 
credit. The dedication of the Hall took place December 4, 
1903; the services being conducted by Mr. E. B. Norris, 
Worthy Master of the State Grange. Notable and well- 



3IO Old RinderKooK 

remembered Anniversary banquets were held in Village 
Hall June 24, 1904, and June 23, 1906. At the latter the 
second mortgage on their property of $900 was burned with 
joyful ceremonial. Two years later Mr. Wilkins reported 
that $1550 more of the debt had been paid, leaving only 
$950 outstanding. January 24, 1909, the Hall with all its 
furniture and equipments went up in flames. For a second 
time and until June 15, 1909, the Grange meetings were held 
in the parlors of the M. E. church. On that date the present 
Hall, the historic Academy building, was dedicated by the 
Worthy Master of the State Grange. The cost, furniture, 
and equipment included, was about $3000. It is now free 
from debt. The horse sheds cost about $800. The Grange, 
starting with 105 members, now numbers 260. From the 
beginning it has been very successful in promoting good 
fellowship, providing pleasing social entertainments, and pre- 
sumably successful as regards the more serious intents of its 
organization. It has a fine property and when certain 
desired improvements are made it will "have a first class 
building in every respect." We cannot forbear giving this 
quotation from the Address: "As a matrimonial center our 
Grange has been a great success, for no less than forty-two 
of its members have embarked upon its sea ; and it has been 
reported that others are to follow in the near future. Of 
this number nineteen were ladies of the Grange and twenty- 
three were gentlemen. " We congratulate the twenty-three; 
but as for the nineteen, well, time will tell. 

Fire Companies 

In 1825 the citizens of Kinderhook, Millville, and vicinity 
were called to meet at Frink's Hotel for the purpose of 
choosing the "most eligible means of organizing against the 
calamities of Fire." Apparently a bucket-brigade was 
chosen, for the following year it was that alone which saved 
the house of Barent Hoes (now Dr. Garnsey's) from destruc- 



Organizations 311 

tlon. Not much more was available in '33 when Flagler's 
Dry Goods Store and a Millinery shop (standing on Mrs. 
Traphagen's present property) were burned. During that 
fire women assisted in removing goods from Graves & 
Blanchard's corner store. The excitement was intense and 
there was to be "no more delay in securing better protec- 
tion." Nothing, however, of consequence was done. Four 
years passed and then came the burning of Birge & Smith's 
Harness shop, endangering Mordecai Myers's barn, and 
W. Bradley & Sons Paint and Oil shop, and "roasting the 
apples on John Bain's trees opposite." This was the last 
straw. The following year, when Kinderhook Village was 
incorporated, a fire company was formed and an appropria- 
tion voted for the purchase of a fire engine. In November, 
'38, we have the report to the Trustees that a fire engine 
and hose had been purchased at a cost of $230. At the same 
meeting former action of the Trustees as regards a Fire 
company was rescinded, and Engine Co. No. i thus con- 
stituted: Homer Blanchard, P. P. Van Alstyne, Andrew 
Van Dyck, B. L. P. Lillibridge, George Doak, W. B. Shaw, 
G. W. Beale, William Kip, S. W. Van Valkenburgh, J. L. 
Whiting, W. G. Heermance, W. W. Curtis, E. Dodge, E. A. 
Dunscombe, J. V. Salmon, and C. V. A. Van Dyck. It is a 
joy to think of these dignitaries, especially the last-named 
(the great missionary and Arabic scholar) as running with 
old No. I to fires. Homer Blanchard was Foreman and P. 
P. Van Alstyne second Foreman. 

The burning of the Academy Boarding-house in '54 called 
attention to the fact that Fire Engine No, i was "unfit 
for service. " In '55 a tax of $500 was voted for a new one, 
and in '56 it appeared and was placed in the care of CM. 
Van Valkenburgh, Foreman; Charles Palmer, Assistant; 
G. H. Hoxsie, Secretary; George Ray, Treasurer, and these 
other officials, each with his special function — M. H. Purcell, 
Martin C. Dederick, John Bray, Ira Mickel, and W. H. 
Bull. The company, organized January 14, '56, had about 



312 Old K.inderKooK 

forty members. The engine house was, first, in a small 
building on Albany Avenue belonging to Chester Birge; 
then on Church Street, later in the building now occupied by 
Becker & Hyman, and finally in the present quarters in 
Village Hall. The old engine rendered excellent service in 
many small fires; and even now at the beginning of a fire its 
"perspiration power" is sometimes of great value before its 
proud successor is ready for action. 

After the destructive conflagration of 1880, elsewhere 
noted, the Legislature was asked to empower the Corporation 
to raise money for a steam fire engine. Authority was 
granted and in December, '81, the present engine was 
purchased. It is what was then called a fifth grade engine 
and cost $2250. Its first trial at the burning of Handy 's 
Cotton mill in 1882 was not a conspicuous success; probably 
because of inexperience. Since then it has on many occasions 
justified its purchase. 

THE KINDERHOOK HOOK AND LADDER COMPANY 

August 13, 1864, the Trustees of the Village in response 
to a petition, organized this Company and issued certificates 
of membership to : Barent Van Alstyne, Isaac V. A. Snyder, 
Eugene L. Hover, George C. Patterson, Samuel C. Hulburt, 
Lorenzo Humphrey, Thomas J. Wiley, William H. Rainey, 
Peter V. S. Pruyn, James V. A. Hover, John A. Van Bramer, 
Franklin Risedorph, E. Ten Broeck, and Calvin Ackley. 
At the first meeting of the Company, September 9th, Mr. 
Rainey was elected Foreman; Messrs. Snyder and Hulburt, 
Assistant Foremen; J. A. Van Bramer, Treasurer and C. 
Ackley, Secretary. In addition to the charter members 
named we find the following signers of the Constitution 
adopted in December, '64: John Van Alen, David H. 
Oakes, George Reynolds, W. B. Howland, James H. Hover, 
Lewis Ritz, Augustus Wynkoop, P. S. Hoes, J. A. Reynolds, 
W. G. Hallenbeck, G. Murrell, Theodore Stickles, W. B. 



Organizations 313 

Mix, and Frank Bray. These were subsequent additions to 
the first fourteen names. A Httle later we note the names : 
Frank Van Santvoord, Edward A. Thomas, Loren H. Gould, 
Edward M. Knapp, Manton Van Schaack, A. H. Farrar, 
F. L. Mix, D. C. Covert, W. B. Mix, Tunis Devoe, Charles 
W. Rainey, F. Decker, C. F. Cook, G. Mandeville, Pruyn 
Wilcoxson. Company meetings were regularly held once a 
month and their Minutes down to 1882, with those of occa- 
sional meetings thereafter are before us. A system of fines, 
ranging from ten cents for absence from a meeting to one 
dollar for failure to be present at a fire, proved very success- 
ful. The fines were numerous and by slow accumulation, 
wise administration, and added interest have amounted to a 
considerable fund. We note the statement January i, 19 10, 
that $948.45 were on deposit in a Savings Bank. It need not 
be said that the Hook and Ladder Company was always 
prompt in responding to occasional calls for service and has 
rendered much effective aid. We have been especially 
pleased to note this record under date of July 5, 1874, 
written by the "Colonel" himself, that at the burning of C. 
L. Herrick's barn on the Valatie road, between one and two 
A.M., "the H. & L. Co. repaired to the scene and by their 
aid the hog pen was saved while all the other buildings 
burned entirely down." Death and removal have now 
reduced the Company to but four honored veterans. Re- 
cently these survivors presented the village with a chemical 
engine. 

THE PALMER ENGINE AND HOSE COMPANY 

This was organized February 9, 1883, and named in 
honor of Charles Palmer, for many years the efficient head 
of our Fire Department. The charter members and first 
officials were: Richard Hallenbeck, Foreman; Edward 
Thomas, ist Assistant; Robert Connor, 2d Assistant; 
Charles F. Richelieu, Secretary; George H. Brown, Treasurer. 



314 Old K.inderHooK 

August W. Bauer, Ellsworth S. Brown, William Birckmayer, 
George Trimper, Thomas L. Griffin, Wintworth Ball, 
Frank S. Hoag, Edward Sharp, Henry Beer, John Reed, 
Frank Ball, and Charles F. Richelieu. During the thirty 
years since its organization its service to the community has 
been exceptionally valuable on many occasions. The present 
officers are (March, 1913): President, Robert F. Avery; 
Vice-President, Clarence Coons; Secretary, William A. Rora- 
back; Treasurer, Bertram A. Hull. The Trustees are: 
Harold Birckmayer, Charles A. Sickles, James E. Van 
Alstyne, Edward Risedorph, and Robert F. Avery. Fore- 
man, Frank Heeney; ist Assistant, John T. Hickey; 2d 
Assistant, Clarence Sharp; Engineer, George B. Wilkins; 
Fireman, Clinton Fowler, Jr.; Fire Chief, William C. Hover; 
1st Assistant, James E. Van Alstyne; 2d Assistant, Clarence 
Coons. The parlors of this Company, fitted up in excellent 
style in Village Hall, and provided with current literature, 
a billiard table, a pianola piano (since exchanged for a 
grafonola), and other means of diversion, are much fre- 
quented, and are measurably, at least, a counter attraction 
to that of perilous resorts. 

VALATIE FIRE COMPANIES 

In 1837 the legislature passed an Act incorporating the 
Valatie Fire Company. The village not being incorporated 
as yet, funds for the purchase of engine, engine-house, and 
equipments were raised by voluntary subscription. Seven 
years later the Trustees of the Company divided their prop- 
erty, valued at $1400, into 280 shares of $5.00 each. The 
subscribers were: George W. Bulkley, Edwin O. Carpenter, 
W. Van Buren, John Van Slyck, J. P. Van Alen, James 
Henderson, John Trimper, John Rogers, Peter Pulver, 
George W. Benson, Richard W. Kirke, Barent Mesick, 
Charles Osborn, H. M. Penoyer, Henry Van Buren, William 
A. Thomas, James Williams, George F. Wood, Henry 



Organizations 315 

Diamond, George Pease, James Patton, D. E. Van Valken- 
burgh, 0. Carpenter, James Van Slyck, M. Callahan, 
Rensselaer Reynolds, Philip Traver, James Traver, J. P. 
Miller, Peter S. Prussen, Jonathan Clow, John C. Ostrander, 
A. Abbott, and Mrs. Shipman each gave $5; Alfred Wild, J. 
Carpenter, Samuel Hanna, each $25; William P. Rathbone, 
William Bain, each $20; Robert Marsh and R. S. Penoyer, 
$10. Eight years after the incorporation of the Village, 
March, 1856, this property was transferred to the Village 
Trustees and the Company disbanded. 

The James Purcell Hose Company was organized with 
twenty members and incorporated under the laws of the 
State, January 15, 1895. The building on Main Street, be- 
longing to the Company was built by contractor G. W. 
Wilkins & Son of Kinderhook, the previous year, costing 
nearly $3000. James Purcell of Valatie was the largest 
contributor and the company was named after him. It has 
a membership of about thirty and is a member of the Hudson 
Valley Volunteer Firemen's Association of the State. It is 
now officered by President P. J. Cunningham; Secretary, 
Albert E. Davis; Trustees, Jasper T. Dennis, Remus E. 
Lasher, and W. B. Rowe. 

NOTABLE FIRES 

Of the notable fires the first was that of December 14, 
1867, when the Reformed Dutch church built in 18 14 was 
burned. The day (Saturday) was bitterly cold. At eleven 
o'clock there was a funeral service in the church for Silas 
Metcalfe, for many years an honored Principal of the 
Academy and prominent in the social and church life of the 
village. Through over-heating possibly, or because of an 
unknown defective flue, fire started beneath the floor and 
was well under way before noticed at about one o'clock. 
Within two hours little was left except the bare walls. The 
pulpit Bible, communion table, sofa, chairs, strips of car- 
pet, and a few hymn books were saved, but beyond these 



3i6 Old K-inderKooK 

nothing. An oaken chest behind the organ, filled with old 
letters and other valuable papers, might have been carried 
out, but in the excitement was forgotten, for which we have 
not ceased to reproach ourselves. The bell was largely- 
melted before its remnants fell. What of the molten metal 
could be gathered up was recast into small table bells which 
were sold for one dollar each at the remarkably successful 
fair, July 4, 1868. 

The much greater fire of May 9, 1880, originated in a 
saloon kept by John Tracey, where, for some never ex- 
plained reason , a light was left burning after the closing of the 
saloon near midnight. Soon thereafter two men who were 
passing, noticing indications of fire, burst in the door and 
found the interior all ablaze and the flames uncontrollable 
by any available means. The fire spread both ways and the 
entire block, from Bradley's Hotel to and including the late 
David Van Schaack's law office, then occupied by Mr. W. H. 
Atwood, was soon a mass of smoldering ruins. It was with 
difficulty that the building east of the hotel and now owned 
by Mr. Charles M. Bray, and the home of Mrs. Van Schaack 
on Broad Street were saved. The roof of Mr. C. Herrick's 
building (now Lindenwald Hotel) was several times ablaze. 
As noted in the record of the Trustees of the village the 
buildings destroyed were: The Hotel of William Bradley; 
Store of Jacob Cook, used as a Hat Store and Post Office; 
Saloon of J. Tracey; Barber Shop of G. Post; Saloon of Hugh 
Gardner, building owned by Daniel Herrick ; Harness Shop 
of C. E. Covey; Tin Shop of C. Palmer; Barber Shop of A. 
Bauer; Law Ofiice of Y\f. H. Atwood; Barns, etc. As all 
know, nearly the whole of the burned district has been rebuilt 
with a much better class of brick buildings now occupied by 
the Kinderhook Knitting Co., John Trimper, and the Gage 
Brothers. The Van Schaack Law Office which adjoined A. 
Bauer's Barber Shop, after which came Palmer's Tin Shop, 
was not rebuilt. The corner lot awaits the Library to be 
given by ? 







flK ■ ill' 




„.rriiiii|^ 



jUigiS;^ 





Before the Fire 

From a photograph by McDonald & Sterry 




Before the Fire 

From a photograph by McDonald & Sterry 



Organizations 317 

Through the courtesy of Mr. James A. Reynolds we are 
able to present pictures of most of the buildings burned, as 
they were before the fire. They are copies of two views taken 
several years before by a peripatetic photographer. The 
second picture completes the first to the corner and gives a 
glimpse of the burned buildings on Broad Street. It should 
be noted, however, that the scale of the two pictures is not the 
same, and that the buildings of the second picture as com- 
pared with those of the first were larger relatively than they 
appear. The last building on the right of the first picture 
is the same as the first building on the second view. Some 
at least will be interested in the following explanatory notes : 
On the hotel veranda may be seen Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Shaw 
and their son Robert; Mrs. Mary E. Bain and her daughter 
Mary L., now Mrs. J. A. Reynolds, in white; and Adger, son 
of Robert Clark, of Charleston, and a nephew of Mrs, Shaw 
and Mrs. Bain. Among those standing below are William 
Bradley; James Van Loan, leaning against the post; Martin 
De Myer, son of Benjamin who kept the hotel opposite, and 
Perry Bradley. Jacob Cook may be seen in his doorway 
and C. M. Van Valkenburgh on the stoop of the Harness 
Shop. In the second view Peter H. Bain is inspecting a 
cultivator in front of Lathrop and Reynolds's Hardware 
store. On the stoop are Calvin Ackley and his dog, Harold 
Van Santvoord, George Reynolds, and Charles Sitcer. The 
"Old Man," Frank Schermerhorn, is also in evidence. 
Franklin Risedorph and George Patterson are on the next 
stoop, Holcomb in the wagon, and the boys Isaac Bradley 
and Ed. Conner awaiting developments other than those of 
the photographer. 

The next serious fire was the burning of the cotton mill, 
May 5, '82. It was then owned by Russell Handy and 
stood about on the site of the present Albany Southern 
station house. Its destruction was a great loss to our village 
and especially to the many who had been employed therein. 

Our most spectacular fire as regards scenic effects was 



3i8 Old RinderKooK 

the burning of the Canoe (Beaver) mill, Valatie. It was 
during the memorable blizzard, March ii, 12, 1888, and 
when that storm was at its height at night. The sky was 
filled with snowflakes as thickly, and driving as fast and 
furiously as could be. Only near the doomed building could 
the fire be definitely located through the blinding snow which 
so diffused the light of the flames that (with apologies to 
Shakespeare) it did, 

The multitudinous flakes incarnadine, 
Making the heavens one red. 

The separate flakes were of a glowing pink as they fell about 
our homes two miles away. So vivid was the fiery glow that 
some, fearing the roofs of their own homes were aflame, 
rushed out into the storm to see. And there were those who 
thought that the end of the world was at hand. The burning 
of that large mill was a greater loss to Valatie than was the 
burning of our own to us. 

Of the blizzard we need say but briefly, that while much 
less severe here than to the south of us, none then living had 
ever seen its like before. We remember seeing the snowdrifts 
concealing the top of the doorframe of the house opposite. 
We recall crawling as best we could along the top of the 
fence east of us, and wading far afield when obliged to ven- 
ture out. We recollect the tunnel over the sidewalk near 
Jacob Cook's house, through which men passed for several 
days. How all travel was suspended and we without mails 
and every other communication with the outside world for 
three or four days ; how the supplies of milk and food began 
to grow scanty and would have failed except for the resource 
of canned goods, none who passed through those scenes will 
ever forget. We do not recall, however, that there was much 
if any actual suffering here. In due time the storm abated 
and by slow degrees paths and roads were opened up and 
mails and travel facilities restored. And when, Thursday 



Organizations 319 

afternoon, we had papers to read we found that, compared 
with many other places, Kinderhook had fared very well 
through an experience not wholly unwelcome once in a life- 
time for its impressiveness not without high moral teaching. 



CHAPTER XI 

HIGHWAYS, PUBLIC UTILITIES, INDUSTRIES, 
CEMETERIES 

Indian Trails — Beginnings of Roads — The Post Road — Village Streets — 
Bridges — Sloops — Steamboats — Stage Coaches — Ferries — Steam and 
Electric Railways — Water Works — Kinderhook and Valatie Industries 
— Private Burial Plots — The Old Burying Ground — Chancellor Kent's 
Decree — Present Cemeteries. 

IN 1609, with the exception of small clearings crudely cul- 
tivated by the aborigines, there was an unbroken wilder- 
ness from Manhattan to the St. Lawrence. Through it, 
however, here and there were numerous trails, discernible by 
the Indians, which were their highways of travel. In primi- 
tive Kinderhook there was, as heretofore noted, one such 
trail near the river leading to their "castle" at "Schotack" 
behind the present Castleton. There was another which 
followed in a general way what is now the road-bed of the 
Boston and Albany Railway, and which came to be known 
a century later as the " Great New England Path. " This led 
to another Indian "castle," near Chatham Center or Chat- 
ham, and of which we have a mere glimpse now and then 
in the earliest land-papers. It was the Indian travel-route 
to the East. Evidently also there were trails near the 
principal streams. The abundance in former years of Indian 
relics on the present William B. Van Alstyne farm seems 
to indicate that locality as a place of frequent meeting if 
not of an Indian village. 

.320 



Hi^H-ways 321 

For many years the means of communication with Fort 
Orange, and much more with New Amsterdam, were few 
and primitive; the river, and mere bridle paths through the 
forest being the only highways. The voyage between New 
Amsterdam and Kinderhook by sloop took from three days 
when winds were favorable to a week or more when condi- 
tions were adverse. Arnout C. Viele, the Indian interpreter, 
writing in 1699 of his journey from New York to Albany, 
speaks of it as taking a week and says — '^we came to Kinder - 
hook by boat and there took a canoa/' As early doubtless as 
the very first settlements on the river-front and along the 
Kinderhook and Claverack creeks there were roads of some 
sort for land inter-communication. They were in the first 
instance mere bridle paths or cow lanes, as our present Wil- 
liam Street was originally called, and were but slight im- 
provements upon the Indian trails. One such led up from 
Nuttenhook (oh the pity of the recent unmeaning name 
^^ Newton Hook!'') and another near the mouth of the 
Stockport Creek to and beyond the site of our present village. 
And still earlier, along the river, was the rude beginning of 
what was later known as the Farmer's Turnpike, essentially 
our present river-road to Albany. 

The Fort Orange Minutes, April 25, 1671, give the first 
definite information concerning our highways. Therein we 
read: "At the request of inhabitants and property owners 
behind the Kinderhoeck, Pieter Van Alen, and Adam Dingh- 
mans are elected road-masters, and Jacob Martense messen- 
ger to deliver summons, etc." They probably began the 
Post Road from our village north; for in 1676 the Court 
directed "Dirk, the Swede, and Adam Dingman, road 
masters, to have the road from Kinderhook to Greenbush 
finished." Six years later the same Court directed the 
inhabitants of Kinderhook to "repair the road leading past 
Greenbush, and to fence their burial places," that is, the 
private burial plots hereinafter noted. 

As early as 1684 there must have been a bridle path at 



322 Old K-inderKooK 

least between Albany and New York, on each side of the 
river, for we read of the semi- weekly post-rider as then 
going one way and returning the other. In that year it was 
officially decreed "that the rate for riding post be 3d. for 
every single letter not above 100 miles; if more, proportion- 
ately." In 1685 Samuel Bensingh and Cornelis Stevensen 
were appointed to care for the road from Claverack to 
Kinderhook, while Jacob Vosburgh and Jochim Lambertsen 
(Van Valkenburgh) had charge of that from Kinderhook to 
Albany. This was substantially the present and old-time 
Post Road, our most famous highway. 

Not earlier than 1690 were there much more than Indian 
trails and bridle paths eastward, for in that year it required 
Governor Fitz-John Winthrop's troops from July 14th to 
September 2 1st to reach Kinderhook from Hartford, passing, 
he said, "through the wilderness." In 1723 Captain Abra- 
ham Halstyn (Van Alstyne), Coenraat Borghart, and Leen- 
dert Conyn were appointed commissioners to lay out — "a 
road through the woods to Greenbush." This was sub- 
stantially the present river-road. Six years later Stephanus 
Van Alen, Burger Huyck, and Leendert Conyn were ap- 
pointed road-masters, and by the same Act the inhabitants 
were explicitly required to "clear and maintain (the road) by 
cutting and stubing up the brush and loping of the limbs of 
trees that hang over the said Road the breadth of two Rods 
and pulling up the stones that can be moved and to carry 
them out of the Road at least the breadth of one Rod." 
In 1729 we find the appointment of Road Commissioners 
for the care of the Post Road. They were Stephanus Van 
Alen, Burger Huyck, and Leendert Conyn. The road was 
designated as "For Kinderhook in said County (Albany) 
from the bounds thereof through the woods to Greenbush." 
For the road "along the river side" the appointees were — 
Johannes Beekman, Maes Van Beuren, and Johannes Van 
Beuren. The former Commissioners doubtless did what 
they could, as did also their successors, too numerous to be 



HigK-ways 323 

named, but it was not before 1760, when Cornelius Van 
Schaack, Tobias and Barent Van Beuren, and Isaac Mueller 
were the Commissioners that the present Post road was fully- 
completed; running, as already stated, through William 
Street and over the Bain-Snyder property to the vicinity of 
the present Albany Southern station, and thence as now to 
Greenbush. 

That some of the road-masters were not unduly zealous 
in the performance of their duties may be inferred from the 
reprimand and order issued by Justice Henry Van Schaack 
concerning delayed and indifferent work. With his stern 
sense of duty he felt compelled to call attention also to what 
he terms "scandalous abuses of the Sabbath which have 
been and are too prevalent among us." Henceforth, he 
orders, "offenders (are) to be fined six shillings, or set pub- 
licly in the stocks for three hours; but if an Indian, slave, or 
servant, to have thirteen lashes on the bared back for each 
offence." 

Far into the eighteenth century the few letters written 
were entrusted to Indian carriers. As late as 1770 we find 
Mr. Henry Van Schaack writing to Sir William Johnson 
that he sends his letter by "Indian post." Not until 1772 
was there a regular weekly mail established between New 
York and Albany, coming up on one side of the river and 
returning on the other. Nor for many years was there any 
regular postal service west of Schenectady or south of 
Philadelphia. 

The Commissioners of Highways (i774-'75) were Peter 
Vosburgh, Peter Van Alstyne, Cornelius Van Schaack, Jr., 
Barent Vanderpoel, and Lucas I. Goes. From their reports, 
on file in the County Clerk's office, Albany, we quote these 
items which reveal the beginnings of streets and roads 
familiar to residents : 

Sept. 17, 1774. At the request of Mr. Nicholas Shaver, we 
have this day laid out a road from said Shaver's till it comes to 



324 Old RinderKooK 

the road from Capt. Myndert Vosburgh's to the Kinderhook 
church; on the south corner of Mr. Barent Van Buren's fence. 
Oct. 14, '74- At t^^ request of Mr. Johannes Moet we have 
laid out a road from his house till it comes to the road that leads 
from Capt. Myndert Vosburgh's to the Kinderhook church; it 
comes on the said road where the old road struck off to Cornelius 
Sharp's. Oct. 24, '74. We have this day viewed a road and 
found it of public service from the house of Johannis Moet as the 
road now goes and such alterations as are marked until it comes 
to the dwelling house of Martin Van Alstyne and from thence to 
the Landing road. Feb. ist., '75. We have laid out a public 
highway (Hudson Street) from the church to the burial ground, 
thence to the dwelling house of Dr. John Quilhot (Broad Street), 
keeping the breadth to the fences as they now are, and from 
thence to the dwelling of Herman Pruyn as the road now is 
except where the road interferes with inclosed and improved lands, 
keeping the breadth of two rods, and thence (the Landing road) 
to the southward of said dwelling house to low water mark as 
this road is laid out by John Bleeker Esq. to Thomas Powell. 
Feb. I, '75. We have laid out a public highway from the District 
of Claverack, beginning near the widow Van Alcn's, from thence 
to Kinderhook and from thence to the line of the Manor proper, 
keeping the breadth of two rods except where it interferes with 
closed lands. 

The "burial ground" referred to above was in the center 
of the present village, as will be hereafter described. 

THE POST ROAD 

Among the treasures of our State Library is, or was, a copy 
of the Auckland MSS. (1777), the originals of which are in 
the library of Kings College, Cambridge. They are de- 
scriptive letters written to further the speedy subjection of 
the colonies. In the first volume, we found our Post Road 
described as a part of "The great Western and Wagon Road 
from Boston to Albany." After leaving Springfield and West- 
field that road ran through Colebrooke, Sheffield, RoelofT, 
Jansen's Ferry, Claverack, Kinderhook, and Greenbush. 



HigK-ways 325 

We have before us as we write one of the very few docu- 
ments belonging to the late Mr. David Van Schaack which 
escaped the fire of 1880 whereby his office, filled with records 
which would have been a mine of information, was destroyed. 
It is Lucas Goes's original chart of his survey (1808) of about 
twenty-three and a quarter miles of the old post road, from 
near the house of John I. Miller on the Columbia and 
Rensselaer turnpike. In Kinderhook village only thirty 
buildings are indicated, all without names. The Dutch 
church (second edifice) stands as hitherto stated on what is 
now the lawn of Mrs. James A. Reynolds. South of it we 
note the birthplace of Martin Van Buren. Between the 
church and Broad Street, on the west side only two houses 
are indicated, one of them the principal hotel of the time. 
On the east side seven buildings are represented. One large 
one, marked by a cross, is the first Academy building, now 
part of the Central House. Leaving the village and going 
north we come first to the residence of R. Webber on land 
now owned by Mr. L. L. Morrell. Then follow at varying 
distances the homes in order of T. McNeil; S. Vosburgh; G. 

Gillett; I. Pultz; H. Caldren; Carr; Deyo; B. Wildey; 

Jacob Smith; Van Hoevenburgh; William Teal; Peter 

Runalds (opposite a bog); Jesse Halt; schoolhouse; 

Noney; Gilbert Mead; Thomas Crandle; Snider; J. 

Smith; J. and C. Schermerhorn (southwest of a second 

bog) ; Van Volkenburgh ; Peter Van Volkenburgh ; 

schoolhouse; Henry Shaver; Ch. Hearmans; D. Smith; Jolm 
Smith, and others doubtless in Schodack. 

Returning to the village and crossing the bridge we 
observe these places noted: A. Van Alen (near the recent 
Whiting- Howard place) ; Deming, (now owned by Datus C. 
Smith); E. Van Alen; Widow Van Alen; schoolhouse; C. 
Ham ; G. Dingman ; William P. Van Ness (Lindenwald) ; A. 

Hait; J. H. Shaver; E. (?) Shaver; G. Shaver; Jones; 

schoolhouse; H. Van Hoesen; Widow Van Bramer; N. 
Briggs; D. Dingman; J. Van Volkenburgh; T. Van Alstyne; 



326 Old K-inderKooK 

C. Cain ; Van Hagen ; Van Volkenburgh ; D. Dobbs ; 

Tipple; Jacob Philip; C. M. Donald; H. Skinkle; J. 

Leggett ; schoolhouse ; Jer. Pulver ; V. Volenmier ; Wit- 
beck and Philip. A few of these places may have 

been within the town of Claverack, now Ghent, and a few 
at the north within Schodack. 

Concerning the old Turnpike road, of which our present 
and prospective State roads are supposed to be the last 
consummate flower, we note: The Rensselaer and Colum- 
bia, chartered in 1799 "to run from the State of Massa- 
chusetts, where the road from Pittsfield and Hancock leads 
by the springs in Canaan, by the house of Elisha Gilbert and 
others, to the ferry near the house, of John I. Van Rensse- 
laer." Next in our town, in 1804, the Chatham Turnpike 
(Stuyvesant to Chatham) was incorporated, with these 
Kinderhook men among the incorporators: Peter I. Vos- 
burgh, Bartholomew J. Van Valkenburgh, John Goes, Jr., 
Medad Butler, John Rogers, Abraham I. Van Vleck, and 
John A. Van Buren. The Farmers' Turnpike (the present 
River Road) , concerning which we find the Van Alstines of 
Poelsburg making stipulations as to its course, was chartered 
in 1813. 

VILLAGE STREETS 

Soon after the abandonment of the old burial ground in 
18 1 7, Chatham Street was laid out as now, although there 
had long been a narrow lane along the southerly side. 

In 1 82 1 Broad Street received substantially its present 
form, for in that year six women of the Holland family 
consented to the appropriation of a strip of their land for the 
straightening of the street, making the north line coincide 
with the front of the corner stores of John Bain and Peter 
Van Buren. The accommodating women also agreed to 
move back to that line their own "red store," which stood in 
front of the present Linden wald Hotel. The Holland family 





ii 







The Village Bridges 

From a photograph 




The Creek near the Bridge 

From a photograph 



HigKways 327 

were owners of the whole corner and of a considerable tract 
on the west side of Albany Avenue. In December, '37, 
Maiden Lane was made a village street, running from "the 
old road to Cow street," now William. In 1839, Congress 
Street, Valatie, was laid out over the land of Nathan Wild, 
and in 1840 it was ordered that "the street or highway from 
the bridge near the cotton factory of Nathan Wild, running 
easterly, ... is hereby designated and shall hereafter be 
known by the name of Main street." The reports of the 
laying out and altering of many minor roads are much too 
numerous to be given in detail. 

OLD BRIDGES 

In 1 719 (Colonial Laws, i., p. 1030) the Justices of the 
Peace and inhabitants of Kinderhook, Claverack, and the 
"Mannor of Livingston" were authorized to expend not to 
exceed eighty ounces' of plate for a bridge over Kinderhook 
Creek. This Act was passed in answer to a petition which 
represented that the fording of the stream was at times 
dangerous. Those who have seen our creek on a rampage 
can easily believe it. The choice of the present site involved 
a change in the road; and accordingly we read: "The 
King's highway or Road shall go by the house of Cornelius 
Martense and so straight through the Woods along by 
Derick Meese and so along to the bridge aforesaid . . . and 
from the Bridge to the King's old road which goes from 
Kinderhook to the green Bush over against Albany." Costs 
were to be assessed on the three sections named. By the 
same Act all vehicles were required to have axles of such a 
length that the wheels would make a track of four feet ten 
inches wide, outside measurement. In October, 1792, a 
bridge 252 feet long over "Major Abram's creek" was 
completed. The mayor and councilmen of Hudson and 
other distinguished visitors from there and from Kinder- 

' One ounce was about $1.66. 



328 Old RinderKooK 

hook attended the opening ceremonies. It was declared to 
be "superior to any other bridge in this part of the State, 
and to save three or four miles between New York and 
Albany." It was named the Staats bridge. In 1816 Hugh 
Bain contracted to build a bridge over both branches of the 
Kinderhook Creek at the island below Van Alen's mills for 
$1000. Two years later Phineas Prentice and Charles 
Whiting contracted to build a bridge over the Valatie Kill, 
near the mills of Charles H. Coleman, for $500. 

Concerning our oldest bridge, we regret to be com- 
pelled to report the reprehensible action of the town of Stuy- 
vesant. In December, 1827, it appealed to the legislature 
for the passage of a law to equalize the public bridges in the 
towns of Stuyvesant and Kinderhook, or to exonerate the 
town of Stuyvesant from the expenses of repairs on the long 
bridge (our village bridge) in the town of Kinderhook. 
With a view to the defeat of this nefarious scheme a special 
town meeting was called at which it was resolved : 

First. That a committee of four persons be appointed to 
resist the application intended to be made in behalf of the town 
of Stuyvesant respecting the long bridge in Kinderhook. 

Second. That Julius Wilcoxson, John P. Beekman, Peter I. 
Hoes and Peter Van Vleck be said committee and that they 
are hereby authorized to take such measures as they may deem 
proper to defeat said application by attending the Legislature, 
or otherwise. 

Other resolutions provided for the payment of expenses and 
for such remuneration as the annual town meeting might 
allow. The April record shows that no less than five dollars 
were paid to the chairman of the committee. What uses he 
made of this lavish sum it is not for us to hint. The town 
put no restriction on the methods to be employed. They 
were all in vain, however, and ungrateful Stuyvesant was 
relieved of all tax for our village bridge. 



Pviblic Utilities 329 

PUBLIC UTILITIES 

It was in 1785 that a marked advance was made in 
facilities of travel. Theretofore, the only methods of com- 
munication with New York were by private conveyance, by 
saddle-horse, or walking in winter, and by sloop when the 
river was open. As already stated, the journey by sloop 
required from two to seven days or more according to circum- 
stances. The passengers were required to furnish their own 
provisions and in part their own bedding. The lowest fare 
for passage of which we have found record, was two dollars. 
The trip was at times most uncomfortable and even perilous. 
Many were the thrilling narratives of the safely returned 
voyagers about their fearful experiences on the broad ex- 
panse of the Tappan Zee and while beating around Anthony's 
Nose and the Dunderberg. As population increased the 
number of these passenger sloops and freighters steadily 
multipHed. An observer reports forty as passing Kinder- 
hook in one direction in one day. 

The docks were, first, the old Conine dock, the "Upper 
Landing," north of Stuyvesant and now the site of an ice- 
house; second, the "Lower Landing," and then the present 
central docks. 

The freighting business began at an early period. Very 
many were the sloops that called in passing at one or another 
of the several docks, and they soon came to be owned in 
increasing numbers by residents. Traffic rapidly increased 
and in later years became enormous and lucrative. Not only 
from this entire region to the Massachusetts line, but from 
as far east as Pittsfield came freight and passengers for the 
earlier sloops and the later steamboats. Smith's History of 
Pittsfield informs us that, forsaking Hartford and the 
Connecticut, "the tide of traffic flowed through the West 
Stockbridge gates to Hudson, Kinderhook and Albany." 
Material for the building of the new Congregational church 
in Pittsfield in 1790 came by sloop to Kinderhook. It is of 



330 Old K.inderKooK 

record that in February, 1831, during a drive of five miles 
from the Landing to the Village eighty-two sleighs loaded 
with produce were passed. The receipt of 4000 bushels of 
wheat in one day and an accumulation in storage of 200,000 
bushels were not uncommon occurrences. 

The first printed notice of the freighting business we have 
seen is this from the Hudson Northern Whig of May 23, 
1820: 

For New York. 
Sloop Alexander. 
T. Griffing, Jun- Master. 
The above substantial and fast sailing Sloop is employed as 
a regular packet to ply between Kinderhook and New York. 
Her days of sailing from either place will be Friday, and in the 
following order. [It left Kinderhook every twelve or fourteen 
days]. THE FREIGHTING BUSINESS will be conducted by the sub- 
scribers at their Store at the Upper Dock; and every exertion 
will be made to facilitate business, as well as to accommodate 
passengers. They beg leave to take this opportunity to acknow- 
ledge the favours they have received from their friends, and hope 
by attention to business, to continue to receive a share of their 
custom. McMechan & Wynkoop. 

In 1848 the firm of John P. Beekman and Alexander 
Davis ran a sloop and a barge to New York alternate weeks. 
The same year Wendover & Sargent advertised the pro- 
pellor Wyoming (Captain Sargent) to leave every Tuesday, 
and the steamboat Buffalo (Captain Bidwell) every Thurs- 
day. Fare fifty cents, berths free. 

For a time the steamboats plying between Albany and 
New York were available for Kinderhook passengers who 
were taken aboard and landed by row boats. Probably the 
pioneer boat, the Clermont, was thus available in the autumn 
of 1807. The New York Evening Post of October 2, that 
year, told of the Clermont as "carrying ninety passengers 
and making six miles an hour against head winds." In 



Public Utilities 331 

rapid succession appeared the Car of Neptune, the Paragon, 
and (omitting others), in 1820, and built under Fulton's 
supervision, the Chancellor Livingston (175x50), "with beds 
for 150 and settees for forty more. Fare $8.00." In 
1828 appeared the North River, which Dr. Charles Stuart 
described as being "the most beautiful and swift of the 
floating palaces on the Hudson, or, as I believe I may say in 
truth, in the world." In '35 appeared the Champion, 
followed by the Diamond, the Swallow (a portion of the 
wreckage of which was used in building a house still stand- 
ing near the Valatie cemetery), the Reindeer, the Henry 
Clay, and others. After '50 came the Alida, the New World, 
the Francis Skiddy, etc.; not forgetting the Armenia with 
its famous steam calliope, to the music of which distance 
lent enchantment. On the boat itself the musical rests were 
especially sweet. The later, ever increasing marvels of steam 
navigation need not be detailed. Some of these passing 
boats were available for our local travel in the manner 
stated, but all of them and their sometimes fierce rivalries 
interested our people. 

As an interesting memorial of travel in 1808 we copy 
in part an advertisement in the Hudson Bee of June 
7th: 

The Steamboat will leave New York every Saturday after- 
noon exactly at 6 o'clock and will pass . . . Poughkeepsie at 
II, Sunday morning . . . Hudson at 9, Sunday evening. She 
will leave Albany Wednesday morning at 8 ; pass Hudson about 
3, . . . Poughkeepsie at 12 at night. As the time at which the 
boat may arrive at the places named 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 landing 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 from any part of the river will be allowed one shilling 



332 Old RinderHooK 

for each person. Fares — N. Y. to Hudson $5.00, Albany $7.00. 
Way passengers 5 cents a mile. Meals 50 cents each. 



THE STAGECOACHES 

In 1785 the first stage company in this vicinity was 
chartered to run a line of weekly coaches over the Post Road, 
passing through Kinderhook, from Albany to New York. 
The charter was for ten years and all opposition was pro- 
hibited under a penalty of two hundred pounds. It was 
stipulated that the coaches must be comfortable, enclosed 
vehicles, drawn by four horses, and making a trip to New 
York in two days in summer and three in winter, with a 
maximum fare of eight cents a mile. April 20, 1786, Isaac 
Van Wyck & Co., announced that "the stages are to 
commence running, leaving New York Monday, Wednes- 
day and Friday morning at five o'clock, and running through 
to Albany in two days." The fare was not to exceed 3d. 
per mile, and the regular passenger rate was charged for 
150 pounds of baggage. The proprietors say: 

They have supplied the roads with fresh relieves of horses, 
placed a number of new wagons at proper distances to prevent 
accidents and also regulated the stage houses on the roads so as 
to prevent unusual and unnecessary expense. They flatter them- 
selves that the easy, cheap and expeditious method of travelling 
will undoubtedly engage the attention and approbation of the 
public. 

The through fare was ten dollars, subsequently reduced to 
eight: local fares were six cents a mile in summer and eight 
in winter. The company limited the number of passengers 
in one coach to ten unless the passengers themselves con- 
sented to more. Inns for rest and refreshment for man and 
beast and for changing horses were numerous. 

The arrival and departure of these coaches amid the 



Public Utilities 333 

resounding of horns, the swish and snap of the long and 
dexterously wielded whiplash, and the prancing of steeds, 
conscious of their dignity and superiority to common horses, 
were very notable occasions. To the small boy, at least, 
the man who held the reins and wielded the lash with such 
wonderful skill was a personage far superior to any dignitary 
of the land who was nothing but a passenger. Nor was he a 
man of small consequence to older folk, because of the news 
he brought and the oracular wisdom with which he dispensed 
the gossip he had gathered up at the inns along the way. 
In those days the village blacksmith shop was almost as 
important a factor in stagecoach travel as the wayside inn. 
Until within a few years there stood on Albany Avenue, with 
its gable end to the street and nearer thereto than the present 
one, a typical shop, remembered by many, which often served 
the passing stagecoaches. It was one of many picturesque 
memorials of the days of old which the flames have swept 
away. But some of the old milestones, and a few of the 
once famous inns still abide, although the latter have been 
mostly transformed into private dwellings. Withered be 
the hand that would remove or mar the milestones. There 
are sermons in these stones, and poems. 

The first stage company was not long without competi- 
tion, notwithstanding its apparent monopoly and the penalty 
against rivals; for, only seven months later Kinderhook 
parties (names not given) advertised the starting of the 
Northerly line of Stages from Albany to Poughkeepsie, con- 
necting there with the Southerly line to New York, and 
making the through trip in two and a quarter days. Fare, 
3d. per mile; 14 pounds, baggage free; 150 pounds, one pas- 
senger fare. Their technical avoidance of the penalty of 
competition was doubtless that their stages ran only to 
Poughkeepsie. Such fearsome speed of travel seems to 
have been unendurable by the effeminate children of the 
sturdy fathers, for it was soon abandoned for a slower, more 
majestic rate. 



334 Old RinderKooK 

The Hudson Gazette of October 25, 1793, contained this 
notice : 

The public are informed that a line of stages will commence 
running from New York to Albany and from Albany to New 
York on Monday the 4th of November. The carriages will leave 
the aforesaid cities every Monday and Thursday morning and 
deliver the passengers every Monday and Saturday evening. 
The line will be well supplied with horses, harness and carriages. 
Only ten persons can be admitted unless with the consent of the 
other passengers. The proprietors do not hold themselves re- 
sponsible for the loss of baggage. Each passenger will be allowed 
to carry fourteen pounds gratis. Any weight between 14 and 50 
pounds to be paid for at the rate of 150 pounds as a passenger. 
Any weight above 50 lbs. the proprietors do not hold themselves 
bound to carry, but if carried must be paid for in proportion to 
size and convenience. Extra conveyances may be had on 
application to Mr. Shay, Cortlandt St., New York or to Mr. 
Ashbel Ely, Albany or Kinderhook. 

In 1794 a similar line of weekly stages was established 
from Albany to Kinderhook and thence over the Kleine Kill 
road to Stockbridge and Springfield. In the Commercial 
Advertiser (New York) of May i, 1799, we found this notice: 

The Albany stage will leave New York every day at 10 o'clock 
in the morning and run the first day to Tarrytown, the second 
to Poughkeepsie, the third to Kinderhook and into Albany early 
the fourth morning. Fare of each passenger thro {sic) $10; way 
passengers 5d. per mile. J. Douglass, Wm. Vandervoort & Co. 

In June, '26, Lewis and Peters established a tri-weekly 
line of stagecoaches leaving the Landing and passing through 
Kinderhook, Millville, Chatham, and Canaan, to Lebanon 
Springs. Then also the new steamboat Richmond began, 
touching at Stuyvesant. The fare to New York was $2.75. 
Reporting a new railroad opened in England, the Herald 
tells its perhaps incredulous readers of an "immense train 



Pxiblic Utilities 335 

(90 tons) which travelled at the rate of eight miles an 
hour." 

In the Kinderhook Sentinel of August 10, 1826, this notice 
appeared : 

A new Post Office has been recently established at Stuyvesant 
Landing, of which Abel S. Peters is appointed Postmaster, for 
the reception of a daily steamboat mail from New York and 
Albany. To the citizens of this place and vicinity this intelli- 
gence will be highly gratifying, as by this arrangement they will 
be enabled to receive their letters and newspapers at least twenty 
four hours in advance of the laced mail which arrives only three 
times a week. The old post-office at the Landing of which Medad 
Butler is post master is not affected by this new order, but will 
continue as heretofore for the reception of the mail which is 
conveyed by land along the river. Capt. Sherman of the Steam- 
boat Chief Justice Marshall and Commodore Wiswall of the 
Richmond have generously undertaken to transport the mail 
bag and deposit it in the new office. This is one among repeated 
evidences of their willingness and desire to accommodate the 
public and increase their claim to a liberal patronage from the 
community. 

Abiding recollections of a stagecoach journey in very- 
early childhood from Troy to Middlebury, Vermont, with an 
all-night ride and the diversion of an upset, make us think we 
can remember the passing of the stagecoaches through 
Kinderhook in the days of old. We do recollect right well 
the wonderful vehicles and the very meek steeds of Van 
Slyck, Devoe, Membert, and Michael, and how, in '64, it 
sometimes took two hours or more to go through five miles 
of hub-deep mud from Stuyvesant to Kinderhook. The 
wonderful Noah's ark too that plied between Kinderhook 
and Niverville, who that saw it and rode in it can ever forget 
it! And now we are anticipating the time when, instead 
of horses and carriages in the sheds, and automobiles on the 
side street, we shall see aeroplanes tethered to our church 
spire during the hours of Sunday services. 



336 Old K.inderKooK 

FERRIES 

In 1820 the legislature passed an Act granting to Andrew 
Witbeck and John L. Sharp of Kinderhook and William 
Judson of Coxsackie, the exclusive right to establish and 
maintain for twelve years a ferry from the south point of 
Nuttenhook to Coxsackie. They were to erect good and 
sufficient docks or wharves, keep a ferryboat or scow, pro- 
pelled by the power of horses or other team. The boat was 
to be capable of carrying two loaded wagons and six horses; 
was to cross at all reasonable times between sunrise and 
sunset, with an allowed wait of twenty minutes on either side 
and an hour for dinner. The charges were to be fixed by the 
Courts of Common Pleas of the two counties. In 1829 an 
additional twelve years' lease was granted. By the same 
Act Medad Butler of Kinderhook and Jabez Weaver of 
New Baltimore were authorized to maintain their ferry 
already in operation between the two places, with the same 
rights and privileges. 

STEAM AND ELECTRIC RAILWAYS 

In the Boston Courier of June 2^, 1827, the visionary 
people who were projecting the Boston and Albany railroad 
were told with authority that: 

the project of a railroad from Boston to Albany is impracticable, 
as every one knows who knows the simplest rule of arithmetic, 
and the expenses would be little less than the market value of 
the whole territory of Massachusetts: and which, if practicable, 
every one of common sense knows would be as useless as a 
railroad from Boston to the moon. 

Nevertheless, the route was surveyed, over which, we read. 
Captain Basil Hall rode in a stagecoach in 1829, and, 
having described the hills, rivers, and ravines, said: "Those 
Yankees talk of constructing a railroad over this route : as a 
practical engineer I pronounce it simply impossible." 



P\ablic Utilities 337 

"Uncle Barent, " whom many remember so pleasantly, was 
wont to regret that his foresight was not as good as his 
hind-sight. 

These opinions, however, are not quite as amusing as they 
appear when we bear in mind that in the first instance the 
use of locomotives was not contemplated, but only horse, 
oxen, or water-power. Prophets of failure to the contrary, 
notwithstanding, the Boston and Albany road was built, and 
the section between Albany and Chatham formally opened 
December 21, 1841. 

The Kinderhook Sentinel of September 13, 1827, is our 
authority for the statement that the preliminary survey 
crossed the flats between this village and Millville (Valatie), 
and ran thence northwesterly to Castleton. The strong 
opposition of a few influential citizens to that rude invasion 
of our classic shades and quietude secured a change of route 
which all now regret. What a different story we might have 
had to tell of our two villages, had that survey been adopted, 
we leave to the imagination of our readers. 

The story of the Hudson River railroad has often been 
told and needs no repetition here. The section from Albany 
to Hudson was opened on the i6th of June, 1851; and the 
whole line on the eighth of October of the same year. In a 
preceding chapter the late Colonel Silas W. Burt has told us 
of his service as civil engineer in the building of this road. 

We parted as composedly as we could with the old 
stages, when the Kinderhook and Hudson steam railway was 
opened, September 18, 1890, from Hudson to Niverville. 
Its construction was due to the enterprise and eloquence of 
the Hon. Charles D. Haines, who later had his home in 
our village for a few years. We well remember the meet- 
ing in the Village Hall at which he and an associate per- 
suasively set forth the need and advantages of the road 
which he proposed to build for us if suitably encouraged. 
We remember also seeing, a year or more later, the first 
locomotive of a construction train wrestle pantingly with the 



338 Old ninderKooh 

steep grade near the station. Heartened by our presence 
and encouragement it conquered at last and went on its 
triumphant way southward. We see now Robert Wild 
standing on a gravel car and waving his hand in gracious 
condescension to us, permitted to look wonderingly on one 
who seemed to own the whole concern. The first stock- 
holders, as often happens, did not grow rich on their divi- 
dends, nor did the bondholders become seriously "bloated"; 
but the dividends in facilities, comfort, and cheapness of 
travel have been great; especially to the many of us who 
invested nothing but time in superintending the work 
through the village. While it was a steam railroad we had 
but four trains a day each way. In 1900 the Albany and 
Hudson Railroad and Power Company, which then owned 
the property, electrified the road with the third-rail system 
and extended the road-bed through to Albany. From that 
time on we have usually had hourly cars each way. The 
old stages could not accommodate a tithe of the present 
travel. 

Of the Albany and Southern Railway Co., now owning 
and operating the road, we have the following account, 
kindly furnished us, by the late general passenger agent, 
Mr. Fred Burger: 

The Albany & Hudson Railway & Power Company was 
organized in Aug., 1899, the Company being a combination of 
the following: The Kinderhook & Hudson Ry. Co., The Hudson 
Street Railway, The Greenbush & Nassau Electric Ry., The 
Hudson Light and Power Co., The Citizens Lighting Co. of Hud- 
son, The Jansenkill Power Co., The Kinderhook Power & Light 
Co. In March, 1903, the Albany & Hudson Railway & Power 
Company was succeeded by the Albany & Hudson Railroad 
Company; and in September, 1909, the last named was succeeded 
by the Albany Southern Railroad Company. This Company 
furnishes gas and electricity in Rensselaer and Hudson, and elec- 
tricity in all the intermediate towns and villages. It also operates 
a local railway system in the City of Hudson and owns and oper- 



Industries 339 

ates a pleasure resort known as Electric Park, on Kinderhook 
Lake, about midway between Albany and Hudson. The power 
house, a combination hydraulic and steam plant, is one of the 
most elaborate of its kind and is located at Stuyvesant Falls. 
The Company has also recently acquired the toll bridge between 
Albany and Rensselaer which is the only vehicular bridge between 
New York and Troy. 

WATER WORKS 

The Valatie water system is one of the best in any 
village of its size. It was installed when William H. Wild 
was president of the village. Its cost was about $40,000; 
and the pumping station on Wild's Pond cost about $4000 
more. The water is introduced into many homes, and the 
protection against fire is of the best. Not a building has 
burned to the ground since the installation. The stand-pipe 
reservoir on Rathbone Hill is one hundred feet high. 

INDUSTRIES 

The industries of old Kinderhook District and Town 
have been revealed to a large degree in foregoing chapters. 
The story of their growth, number, and importance for many 
years, and then, owing to changing conditions, of their 
gradual decline need not be repeated. In her industries 
Valatie early took the lead of her more aristocratic neighbor, 
and maintains it to the present day. The many industries 
of that village led to the adoption of the prosaic name Mill- 
ville, which continued in use many years. But in 1832, 
when a post office was established there (Dr. John Vander- 
poel, postmaster), the older name, Valatie, was restored. 
Concerning the industries of Valatie, our own researches 
have been aided by those of Mr. Albert E. Davis, of the 
results of which, printed in the Kinderhook Courier re- 
cently, we have by permission largely availed ourselves, 
quoting substantially his narrative. 



340 Old RinderHooK 

In 1 7 12, it is stated, Johannes Van Deusen built a stone 
sawmill near the site of the present Harder mill. About 1846 it 
was torn down to make room for the Wild mills, built by Nathan, 
the father of the late Charles and Robert Wild. He was the 
pioneer of all the cotton industries here. He came to Valatie in 
about the year 1813. Later, with his partners, Benjamin Baldwin 
and James Wardle, he organized what was long known as the 
Kinderhook Manufacturing Company. He began the weaving 
of cotton shirting by hand-looms in the Centennial mills now 
owned by Robert P. Richmond. At present they are making 
wrapping paper. This mill brought most of the early settlers to 
the village. Adjoining the old mill, William P. Rathbone & Co. 
erected a brick mill, in which were placed 2200 spindles and 
57 looms, and which were successfully operated for many years. 
This became in time the property of A. Abbott and was de- 
stroyed by fire about 30 years ago. On the next rapids below, 
John Van Alen had a small frame cotton mill. Some years after, 
the Kinderhook Manufacturing Company erected its mill, which 
was also destroyed by fire. A brick building was erected in its 
place by Van Alen and Co. which was known as the "Beaver 
Mill," In 1 85 1 Jeremiah Carpenter became the proprietor of 
this property and by him it was enlarged. It was 290 feet long, 
44 feet wide, and four stories high. The motive power was fur- 
nished by a dam, yielding two hundred horse power. The estab- 
lishment was known for several years as the "Canoe Mill" and 
supplied with 6000 mules, 3500 Danforth's spindles and 24 looms. 
These were run on the famous "Canoe shirtings," with a total 
capacity of 10,000 yards, Jeremiah Carpenter suffered financial 
reverses and sold the mill to C. H. Wendover. It was continued 
under Mr. Carpenter's management as superintendent. In 1888, 
during the famous blizzard of that year, the Beaver mill burned 
down. The fire started in a hot box on the fourth floor. 

Opposite the Beaver mill are the R. and V. mills, now operated 
in conjunction with the mill on the Valatie Kill known as the 
Harder mill, in the production of knit goods. This mill was for- 
merly known as the Baldwin or Hanna mill. It was operated for 
a time by A, Abbott & Son in the manufacture of satinet 
warps. Sheetings were manufactured here at one time with a 
productive capacity of 10,000 yards per week. The mill, idle 



Indvistries 341 

from 1870 till 1898, reopened to manufacture knit goods. After 
a few years it again suspended operations. It is now running as a 
part of the R. & V. mills in the production of yarn. 

Adjoining the Hanna mills were extensive machine shops 
which have been abandoned for 40 years. The Crystal Spring 
Knitting mill lies to the east of the Hanna mills. This mill has 
had a checkered career since 1875 when it suspended operations. 
It has been run on knit goods intermittently for the past few 
years. At present it is running 60 hours per week, manufactur- 
ing sweaters, by the Standard Manufacturing Company. They 
employ about 75 hands. They are prosperous and add a fine new 
industry to the village. 

Near the mouth of the Valatie Kill, Rensselaer Reynolds 
operated a factory for the manufacture of weaving machinery. 
He discontinued operations in 1852 and moved to Stockport. 
On the hill west of the first Wild mill, William P. Rathbone built 
a wadding factory in 1 866. This mill was of stone. The produc- 
tion capacity was three thousand pounds of wadding per week. 
It stood on what we call Rathbone Street and was torn down a 
few years ago. 

The more important existing industries are : The Rensselaer 
and Valatie mills (i and 2) manufacturing yarn and fleece -lined 
knit underwear. The Centennial Paper mills making straw 
wrapping-paper. The Standard Manufacturing Co. making 
sweater coats, medium grade. The Adhesive Gimp Co., manu- 
facturing silk gimp and upholstery cord, and The Pachaquack 
Knitting Co., making high grade sweater coats. 

There are also about forty stores and shops in variety; and 
there the Kinderhook Rough Notes has its printing-office. 

The many varied industries of Kinderhook Village in the 
old stagecoach days have been noted hitherto with sufficient 
fullness; as also the story of their gradual decline. Among 
the more important manufacturing industries of the early 
quarter of the last century we note: The Furnace and 
Pattern shop with which Mr. Samuel Hanna, later of 
Valatie, was connected; the Carriage factory of Truxton 



342 Old RinderKooK 

Birge; the Currying establishment of Smith and Van 
Alstyne; the Stove and Tinware factory of General Whiting 
and the Cabinet-ware of Mr. Burchardt. There was also 
Mr. Ladue's Tannery, abandoned about 1824. Mr. Hanna 
and Robert Rosboro came together to Kinderhook as 
pattern makers. The former became a partner in the fur- 
nace works, the old barn near the station, lately removed by 
Mr. Keegan. Mr. Hanna subsequently started the cotton- 
factory, machine shop, furnace, etc., on the south side of the 
creek, opposite the old Beaver mill in Valatie, and Mr. 
Rosboro opened a hotel in the same village. 

As late as i860, the Rough Notes reports the hatting 
business as never greater; Graves and Son employing 
twenty-two men and turning out sixty dozen hats per week. 
We cannot forbear adding the statement of editor Van 
Vleck that on the fumes of the spirits used in the process of 
manufacture "a person of weak constitution and big ol- 
factories could get a little tight," and that he himself, 
reduced to emaciation and faintness by the delinquencies of 
subscribers, had been revived by a visit to the factory. 

The principal existing industries are three: The bottling 
works of the Risedorph Bottling Co. had their humble 
beginning in an outbuilding of George Lathrop's home 
where Mr. Milham now lives. Thence the growing plant 
was removed to the premises on Broad Street now belonging 
to Mr. Duck, and thence by Mr. Lathrop to the present site. 
After his death the constantly increasing business came into 
the hands of Richard Alexander, his long-time and valued 
assistant, whose mother, it was stated, was a pure-blooded 
Indian. When he died, the still enlarging enterprise was 
efficiently carried on by his widow until sold to Mr. Edward 
Risedorph, the head of the present firm, by whom the plant 
was greatly enlarged in many ways. He conducted the 
business alone for about fifteen years, when the company 
was formed. Ultimately, after several minor changes in the 
firm, Mr. C. Milner became associated with Mr. Risedorph, 



Cemeteries 343 

as at the present time. Their wagons, heavily laden \\ith all 
manner of mysterious but delectable concoctions, daily scour 
the country for many miles around and in hot weather can 
scarcely supply the demands of the thirsty. 

The Kinderhook Knitting Co. had its origin in one small 
machine in the parental home of Mr. Curtis F. Hoag on the 
Eykebush Road. Immediate success occasioned the gradual 
multiplication of machines demanding more and more room 
as the business increased, and resulting in the leasing and 
ultimate purchase of the brick row on Hudson Street. In 
1882 the business was taken over by the Kinderhook Knitting 
Co., consisting of C. F. Hoag, Frank S. Hoag, Franklin B. 
Van Alstyne, and James A. Reynolds. In '84 Mr. C. F. 
Hoag sold his interest to his partners who continued the busi- 
ness until 1912, when they sold out to H. J. Newman and 
Henry Schnapper. After a few months Mr. Schnapper with- 
drew, and, later established the Van Buren Knitting mill. 
After C. F. Hoag's withdrawal from the former firm he 
established a knitting mill on Silvester Street, but having 
an advantageous offer from Poughkeepsie, removed the mill 
thereto; a venture which has been highly successful. 

In addition to these industries there are fifteen or more 
stores or shops in variety which sufficiently meet the simpler 
needs of our people, while hourly cars make the stores of 
Albany and Hudson easily available for the more exacting 
shopper. In 1910 the Brown Brothers added their com- 
modious Garage to their Carriage and Sleigh shops and have 
been well patronized from the start. 

CEMETERIES 

Scoffers may scoff at the classification of cemeteries 
which gives them a place in this chapter on highways, public 
utilities, and industries. With stern rebuke of their unseemly 
mirth over a subject so grave, we remark, that we find no 
more convenient place for our record. Moreover, we must 



344 Old RinderKooK 

solemnly remind such scoffers that cemeteries are eminent 
public utilities, whither lead all highways, whereunto we 
will all have our final transportation, and where all industries 
cease. 

It may be that the Fathers would have had burial places 
without the mandate of colonial law, but there was no 
option after this Act of 1684 (Colonial Laws, i., p. 152): 

Within every Parish within this Government there shall be 
one or more places apoynted for the Burial of the dead, and 
before the Corps be Interred there shall be three or four Neigh- 
bors Called who may in case of Suspicion View the Corps and 
according to the desent custom of Christendom Accompany It 
to the Grave, and that noe person Shall be Buried in any other 
place than those so apoynted unless Such as by their own ap- 
oyntment in their Life time have Signified their desire of being 
Interred in the Burial Place of Some other Parish. 

In the first instance the principal landowners at least 
had family burial plots of their own. The neglected and dis- 
appearing remnants of these are still numerous throughout 
the town. The Pruyn plot is to be seen near the present 
home of the late Mrs. W. V. S. Beekman. The site of the 
Reformed church was the burial ground of the Van Schaacks 
and others. Many graves were brought to view when the 
church was burned in 1867. In the rear of what we have 
known as the Burt place may be seen the Pomeroy plot, that 
family owning the place and living there before James 
Vanderpoel built the once elegant and still stately brick 
mansion. 

The first public cemetery was in what is now the heart of 
the village. It was of very early but unknown origin, cer- 
tainly long antedating the Revolution. It was about one 
acre in extent and had a log fence. It was owned by the 
Consistory of the Dutch Church as was all the land on the 
east side of Hudson Street down to the corner of Maiden 
Lane where the first church edifice stood. The burying 



Cemeteries 345 

ground, beginning not far from the present village pump, 
occupied the whole of Chatham Street as far as the residence 
of Miss Dibble. With its narrow lane, on the southerly side, 
it must have extended over a part at least of the Union Bank 
lot and probably over a portion of Mr. Risedorph's property 
on the north. In later years we find H. and A. Van Vleck, 
who purchased the old burying ground, to be owners of both 
these properties and the builders and occupants of the two 
brick houses thereon. In i860, in digging a ditch between 
the two bank buildings a decayed coffin and human bones 
were found, and in 191 1 yet another bone was unearthed and 
occasioned much wondering interest. 

Miss Dibble's present home was built by Abraham I. 
Van Vleck in the early years of 1800, and was in part a store. 
Subsequently his sons, H. and A. Van Vleck, occupied the 
premises. Needing a horse-shed, they built it in the middle 
of the present street, on land claimed by the Consistory as 
belonging to the cemetery. The disputed title was happily 
settled by a peace-loving horse which, being tied in the shed, 
considerately broke through into a grave. Then and there 
the controversy ended. 

March 31, 181 7, a meeting was held at Lewis's Hotel of 
inhabitants of Kinderhook interested in the old burying 
ground. Lawrence M. Hoes was chairman and David Van 
Schaack, secretary. James I. Van Alen, James Vanderpoel, 
and Peter Van Schaack were appointed a committee to con- 
fer with the Consistory and agree, if possible, on conditions 
of sale of the ground, on conditions specified in the subsequent 
order of Chancellor Kent. Their petition, the original of 
which we found among the archives of the Court of Appeals, 
was presented to the Court of Chancery by Martin Van 
Buren, then State Senator. From the records of that Court, 
Vol. ii., p. 473, we quote: 

On reading and filing the petition of the Minister, Elders and 
Deacons of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Kinder- 



346 Old RinderHooK 

hook, in the County of Columbia, and the assent of a portion of 
the inhabitants of the said town, and on the motion of Mr. Van 
Buren in their behalf it is Ordered and Decreed, and his honor the 
Chancellor by the authority of this Court doth Order and Decree 
that the said Minister, Elders and Deacons shall have authority 
to sell and dispose of all and singular the premises situated, lying 
and being in the village of Kinderhook, near the store of Henry 
and Aaron Van Vleck and in the fork of the roads leading from 
the said village, the one Northerly to the City of Albany and the 
other Easterly to the town of Chatham, heretofore used by the 
congregation of the said Church and a portion of the inhabitants 
of the said town as a burial place and known and distinguished 
as the Old Burying Ground — that the said sale shall be at public 
auction to the highest bidder, and upon a credit of one or two 
years at the election of the said Minister, Elders and Deacons 
after Public Notice shall have been given of the said sale by 
affixing three advertisements thereof, one on the outer door of the 
Church in the said village and the others in two of the most 
public places therein, specifying the time, place and conditions 
of the sale at least four weeks before the same shall take place; 
and one condition of the said sale shall be that the purchaser or 
purchasers shall not take possession of or otherwise use the said 
premises, until the relics of those who have been interred therein 
shall have been removed to the place to be purchased for a bury- 
ing place as hereinafter directed; and it is further Ordered and 
Decreed that the said Minister, Elders and Deacons upon sale 
being made shall execute and deliver under their corporate seal a 
good and sufficient conveyance for the said burying ground, as 
the same has been used and enjoyed as such, to the purchaser or 
purchasers thereof upon the payment or security of the purchase 
money according to the conditions of the said sale. And it is 
further Ordered and Decreed that the said Minister, Elders and 
Deacons shall with the avails of the said sale purchase such other 
lot for a burying place of suitable extent and eligible situation as 
shall be designated by the Rev. Jacob Sickles, or, in case of his 
death or refusal, by Peter Van Schaack, James I. Van Alen and 
James Vanderpoel or any two of them and shall receive a con- 
veyance therefor in their corporate name but as Trustees for all 
and singular, the inhabitants of Kinderhook who are now inter- 



Cemeteries 347 

ested in the old burying ground and their descendants to be used 
forever hereafter as a burial place for the use and accommodation 
of the persons aforesaid according to their respective rights in 
the old burying ground hereby directed to be sold. And it is 
further Ordered and Decreed that it shall be the duty of the said 
Minister, Elders and Deacons with the avails of the said sale, if 
the same shall be adequate thereto, to cause the relics of those 
who have been interred in the old burying ground to be removed 
to the premises which they may purchase for the purpose afore- 
said, which said removal shall take place within forty days after 
the sale of the said burying ground, and if required, shall be made 
under the directions of the relatives of the deceased. And it is 
further Ordered and Decreed that the residue of the avails of the 
said sale, after paying for the fencing and improving of the new 
burying place and the purchase of a hearse shall be distributed 
among the poor of the said Church. 

At a Court of Chancery for the State of 

New York at the Chancellor's Dwelling 

House in the City of Albany the 25th day of April, 1817. 

Soon after the issue of this order it was carried into 
effect. Mr. Sickles declining to serve, James Vanderpoel 
was substituted and he with Peter Van Schaack and James 
I. Van Alen proceeded to act as directed by the Court. The 
plot was sold at auction to H. and A. Van Vleck for $1200.50, 
and a new cemetery of about two acres in extent purchased 
for $400 from Dr. Beekman. It is the northerly part of the 
present cemetery. In the removal of all remains so far as 
they could be found, the ground was ploughed over and then 
scraped to the depth of three feet, after which spades were 
used. If relatives of the dead objected to the scraper, spades 
only were employed. Not long after this the Highway 
Commissioners laid out a road four rods wide through the 
abandoned burial ground, thus obliterating all traces of its 
locality. 

In 1845 the middle section of the cemetery was pur- 
chased of the late Dr. Beekman for $330, and in 1858 the 
narrow southern part was bought of the same owner for $100. 



348 Old RinderKooK 

For several years after the last lot was sold, nothing was done 
towards enlargement, because of the mistaken judgment of 
some that there would be no sufficient demand for lots to 
justify the expenditure. In 1889, however, it was decided to 
make the venture, and, no contiguous land being available, 
the plot opposite, of ten acres or more, was purchased of the 
late Norton Pockman for $1025. That the purchase was 
justifiable is apparent. There is a slowly accumulating fund 
on hand for the care of the cemetery, to which are added 
occasional gifts or bequests for perpetual special care of 
separate lots. There is also a bequest of the late Peter C. 
Van Schaack of $5000, for special care of his own lot and 
the general care of the whole. Mr. James A. Reynolds and 
Mr. Manton Van Schaack are the present Trustees of the 
last-named fund. It may be proper to add that the Consis- 
tory of the Church, who are the owners of the whole, receive 
no direct financial benefit whatsoever. The only return for 
much care on their part is that the sexton of the church is 
the care-taker of the cemetery, which makes the former 
position desirable. 

As some writers have printed the error in their accounts 
of visits to Martin Van Buren's grave, and as we find even 
residents are occasionally misled, we add the almost super- 
fluous statement that the inscription on Mrs. Van Buren's 
stone — "The first person interred in this cemetery" — refers 
to the Albany cemetery from which her remains were 
removed, and not to this which dates back to 181 7. 

Of the three Valatie cemeteries, that north of the village 
on the Niverville Road, is the oldest. It is under the care of 
the Valatie Cemetery Association, formed in 1851. The 
first Trustees were: James Miller, P. Kingman, P. Hoes, S. 
J. Milham, M. J. Niver, and R. Dederick. 

The plot purchased (now substantially filled) was soon 
seen to be too small for the prospective needs of the village. 
Accordingly, in 1852, The Prospect Hill Cemetery Association 
was formed. W. P. Rathbone, O. Carpenter, P. W. Pulver, 



' 



Cemeteries 349 

J. Carpenter, S. Hanna, B. Conant, B. C. Osborne, and John 
Rogers were the first Trustees. Their cemetery, of about 
twenty-eight acres of undulating well- wooded land, has 
superior natural advantages which have been improved in 
part, but admit of fine development in years to come. 

The cemetery of the Catholic church adjoins the fore- 
going on the south. 

While the Vanderpoel place was owned by the somewhat 
erratic John Rogers, he set apart a portion of his land for the 
free burial of our colored people. It was thus used until 
every available inch was taken up; in some cases, it is stated, 
with coffin placed upon coffin. It was then, as it now long 
has been, closed against additional burials. 



CHAPTER XII 

THE OLDER HOMESTEADS, INNS, AND PEOPLE IN 

THEM 

First Homes — "Bricks from Holland" — Oldest Village Houses — Sunnyside 
and Orchard Home — Stephen Van Alen's and Bj-e-low — Adam Van Alen 
— Evert Van Alen — The Pruyns — The Van Schaacks — Benedict Arnold 
(?) Inn — "An Old Kinderhook Mansion" — P. Van Schaack and P. S. 
Hoes Houses — Lindenwald — James Vanderpoel (Burt) House — Elm- 
hurst — Crow Hill — Henry Sn3-der (Smith) House — Vosburgh Home- 
steads — Old Houses at Chatham Center — Taverns. 

FATHER JOGUES, the devoted French Jesuit missionary 
who visited Albany in 1646, after writing contemptu- 
ousl}^ of "the miserable little fort called Fort Orange," de- 
scribed the houses of the people as "merely plain boards and 
thatched roofs, with no mason work except chimneys. " 
Somewhat better probably though still plain were the first 
homes of the settlers here, some of whom at least were fairly 
well-to-do when they came, and brought with them all 
essential equipments of their dwellings and for the stocking 
and tillage of the land. The mill of Claver, and later those of 
Gerrit Van Schaack at Stu}'A'esant Falls and of Dirk Goes at 
Valatie, supplied what lumber was needed for building. 

After a few years the proverbial industr}^ and thrift of 
our settlers enabled them to replace these temporar}^ struc- 
tures with more substantial and, for their time, even elegant 
homesteads, always clinging closely to the river or to the 
Kinderhook and Claverack creeks. A few of these are stiU 

350 



Old Homesteads and XKeir People 351 

to be seen; three of them at least in our village, as noted later. 
Their massive walls, long steep roofs, immense oaken beams 
left unceiled but painted and varnished and now almost as 
impenetrable to a nail as iron, their spacious tiled fireplaces, 
and heavy outer doors divided horizontally in the middle 
and having imposing iron, brass, or silver knockers, have 
often been described and are familiar to every reader. Of 
those homesteads, elegant and even luxurious in their time, 
we have excellent types in that of the Van Alens on the 
Linden wald Road, and the still older W. B. Van Alstyne 
home. As to the impeccable neatness of these homesteads we 
have this tribute of Alexander Scammell (1776) to the Dutch 
vrouws — "one drop of ink will breed a Riot till it is eraz'd 
by soap and sand and Dishclouts. " 

The bricks of our first houses were possibly "brought 
from Holland. " There is a record of their importation as late 
as 1661 when they were sold for $4.18 per thousand, payable 
in beaver skins. The claim, however, for every old house 
that the bricks were imported, is not to be accepted too 
credulously. We are not ruthless iconoclasts. We love 
poetry and have a bit of imagination of our own, but as 
faithful chroniclers we are compelled to say that there was an 
ample supply of excellent material for bricks and tiles at our 
very door; that brickmakers came to Fort Orange before 
1630; and that there were at least two brickyards here in 
Kinderhook when most of our older homesteads were built. 
The Fort Orange records of 1630 report the sale of land for 
the manufacture of bricks and tiles. In the Bowier Van 
Rensselaer MSS. (1643) there is a letter from the patroon to 
Governor Kief t, which says : "I would like to contract for 
some hundreds of thousands (of bricks) as there is fine clay 
in the colony for that purpose." He had heard that the 
English were about to establish a brick-kiln on Fresh River 
(the Connecticut) and he sought to forestall them. Ob- 
viously, brickmakers from Holland would make bricks pre- 
cisely as they had been wont at home, and therefore neither 



352 Old K-inderHook 

size nor shape is any evidence of Holland origin. And, con- 
sidering how massive the walls uniformly were, it is doubtful 
if the whole Dutch marine could have brought over the 
millions of alleged "bricks from Holland." Still less are we 
to believe, as some allege, that the great unceiled beams, 
always a joy to behold, were imported. There was no better 
timber anywhere than was to be had here for the cutting. 
As early as 1626 considerable quantities of oak and hickory 
were being exported to Holland, and later even to Portugal. 
Of our oldest homesteads of the better class we have 
already noticed with sufficient fullness what was probably 
the first, the Staats house near Stockport station, and also the 
several dwellings of Conine and the Vanderpoels along the 
river bank near Poelsburg. The oldest of similar dwellings 
in Kinderhook Village are those now occupied by John 
Nink, W, H. Clapp, and the widow of Henry Schnapper. 
In repairing a chimney of the first-named house several 
years ago a brick bearing date 1623 was found. Mrs. Jarvis 
had it inserted in the side wall where it may now be seen. 
It cannot be, however, that the house was built at that time. 
Possibly the date indicates when the brick was made. In 
size and shape it differs from the other bricks of which the 
older part of the house was built. The southern wooden 
portion was added by Mrs. Jarvis. All we can say of the 
origin of this house is that it goes back to the time of the 
Indian wars. Some of the huge beams bear traditional 
traces of Indian warfare; and near the peak of the roof are 
the old-time portholes changed, with regrettable taste, from 
their original narrow oblong form to circles. Miss Jane Van 
Alstyne, who died in 1905 in her ninety-ninth year, was wont 
to say that in her childhood the house was much dilapidated 
and was occupied by colored people. Later, it was fully 
repaired and made a charming home. It was at one time the 
property of James I. Van Alen who married the widow of 
John C. Wynkoop (Lydia Silvester). Of later owners we 
note: 1837, Peter Niver; 1848, Benjamin Race; 1851, Eliza 




The Silvester House 

From a photograph 




The Jarvis-Nink Home 

From a photograph 




The Ritzema-Dennis-Oapp House 




The Old House on William Street 




Orchard Home 




Sunnyside 



Old Homesteads and TKeir People 353 

Bramhall; 1857, Ann B. Jarvis, and Eleanor R. Fuller; 1893, 
John Nink. 

The present W. H. Clapp house is another of unknown 
age and builder; but it, as well as the house opposite, 
which bears the date 1766, are known to be of pre-Revolu- 
tionary origin. It stands upon what we have found to be 
the Martin Cornelise (Van Buren) portion of the famous 
"Groote Stuk" of 1666, and we have traces of its ownership 
by the Van Burens for many years. During the Revolution 
it was owned by the Rev. Johannes Ritzema, pastor of the 
church. In this case, as in many others, records of deeds are 
lacking, but we have other evidence that the property was 
owned later by Dr. J. P. Beekman, after whom we note: 
1825, James Vanderpoel; 1834, Julius Wilcoxson and James 
Shaw; 1848, Nathaniel Burns; 1852, R, Tattershall and 
George Wyatt; 1853, Henry Dennis; 1894, J^^*- Scully; 
191 1, W. H. Clapp. The tenant house of 1766, doubtless the 
property of the original owners of the Clapp house, we find 
belonging, prior to 1835, to John I. Pruyn, then to Christina 
Van Buren, and in i860 to Henry Dennis. 

The late H. C. Van Schaack is our authority for the state- 
ment that in Indian war-times the present widow Schnapper 
place was a stockaded fort to which in times of alarm the 
women were wont to flee, the men being at work in the fields 
far away. Beyond this we know nothing of its early story. 
It was for many years the first known parsonage of the 
church. It was thus occupied by the Rev. Jacob Sickles 
when he retired in 1835. The principal subsequent owners 
have been: 1836, J. P. Beekman; 1840, Edgar Laing; and 
later, Catharine E. Heermance; Mrs. Dollie Farrar; Mrs. 
(Bohannan) Farrar; 191 1, H. Schnapper. 

VAN ALSTYNE HOMESTEADS. (ORCHARD HOME AND SUNNYSIDE) 

We recall no other homesteads and lands in old Kinder- 
hook which have been quite so long owned and occupied by 
descendants of the original settlers as these. 



354 Old K-inderKooK 

The following narrative is based on a paper prepared by 
Mr. Edward Van Alstyne, who represents the sixth genera- 
tion of the name. We omit therefrom, however, certain 
details already given and add a few comments of our 
own. 

Jan Martense (Van Alstyne) De Weever, the original 
settler here about 1670, acquired large portions of his estate 
by purchase from the owners of the Nuttenhook and Powell 
patents as hitherto noted. Other portions came to him 
through his wife, Dirckie Harmense, a daughter of an early 
patentee. The estate included lands now owned by Edward, 
son of Peter Edward; J. Spencer Hosford, son-in-law of 
James Van Alstyne; and Edward Payson, son of Hugh. 
Hugh, James, and Peter E. were sons of Adam Van Alstyne. 
Adjacent lands now owned by Messrs. Kilmer, and by the 
heirs of Silas Dick, also belonged to the estate. Jan Mar- 
tense's homestead stood on Mr. Hosford's lowlands, a little 
southwest of his large hay barn. Mr. E. Van Alstyne 
remembers the depression where its cellar was. 

The brick portion of the present quaint, much improved, 
and very attractive home of Mr. Hosford (Orchard Home) 
was built nearly two hundred years ago. Doubtless, its 
bricks were burned in the kiln known to have been on the 
farm. 

This farm descended to Adam's cousin Isaac (son of 
John, son of Isaac). At his death it became the property of 
his son whom so many were wont to call "Uncle Barent." 
His sister was the beloved "Aunt Jane," and another sister 
was the wife of Hugh, and of most gracious memory. In 
1864 Barent sold the place to his cousin James, then of 
Ghent, who added thereto sixty acres known as the "John 
Van Dyck Vly, " and also about 160 acres to the west of the 
road to Stuyvesant Falls, purchased of Abram A. Van Alen 
and called in old times "The Clay." Both these plots had 
formerly been a part of the Jan Martense estate. James 
kept many cattle which, when fatted for market, were re- 



Old Homesteads and THeir People 355 

nowned, in New York as well as in the vicinity for their 
superior excellence. The soil became exceedingly productive. 
His son, Isaac, one of our choicest young men, was drowned, 
July 4, 1 87 1. When James died, in '84, his only living 
child, Maria, was his heir. She became the wife of J. Spen- 
cer, son of F. J. Hosford of Brooklyn. Their daughter Ella is 
the wife of Dr. N. D. Gamsey of Kinderhook, and their 
second daughter, Laura, abides with her father in the 
ancestral homestead. Mr. Hosford, turning his attention 
chiefly to dairying, has built up a particularly fine herd of 
pure-blood Jerseys. His dairy and its products are of the 
best. 

In 1840 Adam Van Alstyne made over the northwest 
portion of his estate to his son, Hugh, and added thereto 
fifty acres purchased of Gilbert Clapp, making three hundred 
acres in all. In '41 Hugh built the substantial brick house 
now owned by his son Edward P. and greatly improved by 
him in '82. Hugh's first wife was his cousin Catharine, 
well remembered for her cheerful open-handed beneficences. 
Their sons were — Abraham who bought a farm near Old 
Chatham. He married Alice Philip, daughter of Peter 
Philip of Ghent and has two children — Hugh and Catharine. 
Hugh (senior) was the father also of Edward P. who married 
Catharine B. Fish of Scarsdale, N. Y. Their son William 
B. owns the old Van Alen place of which we elsewhere write. 
Hugh's daughter Jane married Mr. L, L. Morrell, our well- 
known expert orchardist. Their children were Anna, who 
passed away in childhood, and Alice who still graces the home 
of her father. Hugh's second wife was Miss Kate M. Pruyn, 
daughter of John I.; and his third was Miss Mary Hickox 
who survived him a few years. Both he and his sons were 
exceptionally good farmers; the father excelling in stalwart 
strength and executive ability. He was an influential 
citizen, holding several elective offices, and prominently 
identified with Kinderhook's first bank of which he was 
president at the time of his death. 



356 Old R-inderKooK 

In *54 Adams deeded the farm, now occupied by Edward, 
to the latter's father, Peter Edward. It consists of 220 
acres of very fertile land, practically every acre tillable. 
Peter Edward was a man of vision. Fully a generation ahead 
of his time agriculturally, he laid drains, and set orchards of 
the best varieties of apples and pears which in some cases he 
himself budded. Men told him he would never eat of the 
fruit, and that when his trees came into bearing there would 
be no market for their yield. He died at the age of forty-six, 
but he saw his trees yielding "fruit after their kind" in 
abundance. His pears sold for ten, and his apples for five 
dollars a barrel. He was one of the first along the Hudson 
to export apples to England. He kept pure-bred stock; 
Herford and short-horn cattle, with merino and Southdown 
sheep. Both he and his brothers Hugh and James practiced 
what is now called "scientific farming" in the treatment of 
their lands, and in the feeding and breeding of stock. He 
was a life member of the New York State Agricultural 
Society and an active participant in its work. He appreci- 
ated that there was more to be won from the soil than mere 
dollars. The well laid out grounds with shrubs and flowers, 
and the rows of stately elms and maples which line the 
drive from the highway to the door, are living monuments 
to his memory. He was also a popular leader in civic and 
social life. He was a member of the State Assembly in i860, 
and a U. S. Revenue Collector, and held other offices of trust 
and responsibility with credit. His first wife, Elizabeth 
Mesick, lived but a few years. He then married Harriet V. 
V. Mynderse, granddaughter of the Rev. Dr. Herman 
Vedder of notable service. Their surviving children are 
Edward and Mary. Later, he married Margaret V. S., 
youngest daughter of the late Dr. John M. Pruyn. Their 
daughter Harriet became the wife of Mr. Charles Frisbie of 
Stuyvesant Falls. 

When Peter Edward died in 1876 the farm came to his 
only son, Edward. He has extended the orchard plantings, 



Old Homesteads and XHeir People 357 

enlarged the flocks and herds, and has well exemplified Dean 
Bailey's definition of a good farmer: "One who demon- 
strates his ability to live from his land; who maintains 
and increases its fertility and productiveness; takes the 
burden of citizenship in all that pertains to the moral and 
civic welfare of the community and leaves behind him chil- 
dren to carry on his work." Edward has for years been 
one of the leading State lecturers on agriculture, visiting 
all parts of the State and often going far beyond it. He is 
now director of State institutes. Heard by multitudes, his 
voice has always rung true to the highest civic and moral 
ideals. He married Sarah Elizabeth, daughter of Captain 
Bartholomew V. V. Pruyn. Of their seven children, James 
E., Elizabeth Pruyn, and Annie Mynderse are now in homes 
of their own. James E. married Mary Darragh, only daugh- 
ter of the late John J. Van Schaack. Their children are, on 
both sides, of the eighth generation from the first Van 
Alstyne and Van Schaack settlers. Edward's daughter, 
Elizabeth, married Mr. Harold Wilson of Clermont, and 
Annie married Mr. Lawrence Howard the present owner of 
the Van Valkenburgh farm. The original homestead on the 
E. Van Alstyne farm was razed to the ground about ninety 
years ago. The present house was built by Adam early in 
the last century, and was then only about half its present 
size. About the year 1840 it was substantially enlarged by 
Adam to accommodate his son James, who for a time worked 
the farm. The bricks of the old house were burned on the 
place. The great-grandparents of the present owner had 
their burial here. No monument marks their graves, but the 
plot of ground is kept religiously sacred against the despoil- 
ing plow. 

Abundant and luscious have been the various fruits which 
have filled the orchards and graced the tables of many 
generations abiding in these old-time homesteads. As con- 
tributing to this result, and even to the taste and successes 
of the fruit culturists of the present generation, we ascribe 



358 



Old RinderHooK 



much influence to the fact that for so many years this old- 
time song ^ was sung to and by the children : 



Sint Nikolaus, goed helig man ! 
Doen gij beste tabbard an, 
Rijd er mee naar Amsterdam, 
Van Amsterdam naar Spanje, 
Van Spanje naar Oranje; 
En brengt die kindjes wat; 
Noten van Muskaat; 
Appeltjes Van Oranje; 
Pruimpjes Van Spanje; 
Peertjens van die hoogeboom — 
Sint Nikolaus zal kom. 



Santa Klaas, good holy man! 

Put your handsomest mantle on, 

Likewise ride to Amsterdam, 

From Amsterdam to Spain, 

From Spain to Orange; 

And bring the children something ; 

Nuts from Muscat; 

Apples from Orange; 

Plums from Spain; 

Pears from the high tree — 

Santa Klaas will come. 



THE STEPHEN VAN ALEN HOMESTEAD. 1 72 1 

The present home of W. B. Van Alstyne was the earliest 
Van Alen homestead of which we have definite information. 
There were many others. That of Lourens, the father of 
Stephen, was on the De Bruyn patent (Brown Right) which 
he owned, and was probably near, possibly in part identical 
with, the fine old mansion long occupied by his grandson 
Lucas I., and now owned by the heirs of the late William A. 
Wheeler. 

Concerning this notable homestead permit the digression : 
Lucas L Van Alen, of eminent character and service, b. 
Oct. I, 1776, d. Sept. 28, 1854, was a son of John L. Van 
Alen and Christina Van Dyck. John L., s. of Lucas; s. of 
Lourens, the purchaser of the De Bruyn patent. Lucas I. 
m. (i) Maria Pruyn, (2) Elisabeth Vanderpoel. The 
children of Maria were — Christina, b. '05, m. Isaac K. Oak- 
ley whose granddaughters, Christina and Mary Oakley, live 
at Newburgh. John, b. '12, d. '76, unmarried. The children 
of Elisabeth Vanderpoel were — Issac, b. '16, d. '39; Maria, 
b. '17, m. David Bigelow; Elisabeth, b. '2^, d. '76; Lydia A., 
b. '25, d. '76; Helen, b. '26, m. George Wells; and Aaron, 
who in '61 m. Ann Eliza, dau. of John A. Van Dyck. Aaron 

' For this and other Dutch nursery songs we are indebted to Mr. Brink's 
Olde Ulster. 




The Stephen Van Alen-W. B. Van Alstyne Homestead 

From a photograph 




Bye-low 

From a photograph 



Old Homesteads and THeir People 359 

owned and occupied for a time his ancestral estate. His 
dau. Maria lives in New York. 

Near the Post Road, and about two and a half miles north 
of the village, is a quaint old house which was another Van 
Alen homestead, built probably by Isaac P. or his father, 
Peter L. Van Alen. The last named was a s. of Lucas P. and 
Annatje Van Deusen; s. of Peter and Josina Dingman; s. 
of Lourens, the purchaser of the De Bruyn patent. Peter 
L., m. (i) Elizabeth Dixon, (2) Rose McKegg. Their s., 
Isaac P., m. Jabetha Van Valkenburgh, and Isaac P.'s dau. 
Caroline, m. William Wait, an eminent lawyer and the 
writer of well-known and important law books. To their s., 
William Wait, who m. Mary Rainey, are due the initia- 
tive of this volume and invaluble assistance in many 
ways. 

Another of the older Van Alen homesteads was where 
the late Peter Harder (senior) Hved and died in 1864. Still 
another, and in some respects the most interesting of them 
all, was the Adam Van Alen homestead as we call it, built 
in 1736. Fifteen years earlier Stephen, son of Lourens, 
built the present W. B. Van Alstyne house, which was 
owned by Stephen and his descendants for a century and a 
quarter. The land was the easterly section of the Powell 
patent and was sold by Powell's widow to Lourens. On 
the death of the latter in 17 14 it became a part of Stephen's 
share in his father's immense holdings. Not later than 1721 
Stephen built this fine old homestead, somewhat, and re- 
grettably, altered in later years, notably in the removal of the 
enormous fireplace, but still retaining many of the well- 
known characteristics of the early Dutch homesteads. 

After Stephanus, Cornelius, Stephen, and Cornelius S. 
Van Alen (1721-1848), the successive owners have been: 
1848, Thomas Beekman; '59, John Taylor; '66, Morgan H. 
Chrysler; '75, Catharine Cannady; '87, Thomas H. Brush; 
'93, George Cannady; 1900, Charles Frisbie; 1902, William 
B. Van Alstyne. 



360 Old K-inderKooK 

The first wedding in the house was that of Stephen's 
daughter Hilletjie to Arent Van Dyck in 1722. 

Not long after completing the house the builder became 
dissatisfied with its location. He wanted to live among the 
hills, and leaving this home to a son went over and built a 
new one in the hilly region toward Chatham Center. 

Stephen's original estate here was much larger than the 
present W. B. Van Alstyne farm. It included much land 
north of the present roadway. What we knew fifty years 
ago as the John A. Van Dyck place was a part of the original 
Van Alen farm. He and his wife were second cousins, and 
were great-great-grandchildren of the first Stephen. She 
was an inmate of this ancestral home for some years, and her 
daughter Kate tells with what terror as a little child she fled 
past the staring eyes of ancestral portraits on the walls. 

BYE-LOW. 1848 

The present charming home of Mrs. Harriet A. Dufif and 
her daughters, Edna and Mabel, which she has so greatly 
improved and beautified, was also a part of the first Stephen 
Van Alen estate. The house was built probably by Cornelius 
S. Van Alen prior to 1848; but how much earlier no records 
reveal. We note these successive transfers: Executors of 
Cornelius S. Van Alen to Thomas Beekman, 1848; to 
Leonard Gillet, 1854; to Freeman Wagoner, 1872; to Marga- 
ret A. Woodward, 1901; to E. K. Herrick, 1904; and to 
Harriet A. Duff, 1905. 

THE ADAM VAN ALEN HOMESTEAD. 1 736 

This is so designated because first identified with the 
Adam Van Alen (b. 1703, d. 1784) who in 1731 m. Catryna 
Van Alstyne. He or his father Johannes was the probable 
builder of this, one of the most interesting of our Colonial 
homesteads because retaining to an unusual degree the 
quaint characteristics of the old Dutch mansions of the better 



p 







The Van Alen Homestead, where Katrina Van Tassel Lived 

From a photograph 




The Merwin Farm House, where Ichabod Crane Lived 

From a photograph 



Old Homesteads and THeir People 361 

class. We say ''the Adam'' because there were many Adams 
in those days. The same surname was so frequently re- 
peated, and that in several branches of a family, and the 
maiden name of the mother of a baptized child was so com- 
monly omitted in the earlier church records, that it is next 
to impossible to be assured of absolute accuracy. This old 
relic stands back from the road to Lindenwald and about 
halfway thereto. It was built, according to the figures in 
the side wall, in 1736. Persistent tradition alleges that the 
bricks were brought from Holland. Far be it from us to 
deny it. We will only state that bricks had been made in or 
near Albany for a hundred years before its date, and that 
there were at least two brick kilns within a rifleshot of its 
site. Nearly opposite this, on the other side of the road, 
stood the much older house of one Lourens Van Alen, whom, 
among so many of the same name, it is now impossible to 
identify. But it is safe to say that he or his father was 
the Lourens near whose bam was the dilapidated fort of 
the times of the Indian incursions, of which we read in the 
Documentary History and Colonial Manuscripts. Old maps 
and church records are our authority for statements that 
seem to be correct. 

Concerning Sarah Dingman Van Alen, wife of Johannes, 
and living in one of these Van Alen homesteads, from Mrs. 
Clarence C. Dickinson, of New York, a descendant of the 
Dingmans, Van Alens, and Hogebooms, we have an item 
showing that there were militants, if not suffragettes, in old 
times. Sarah was renowned for her beauty, as of course were 
all Kinderhook women of those days. The overseer of roads 
was about to lay out a road through a piece of land the title 
to which was in dispute. Sarah was determined the road 
should not run as intended, and so, taking her spinning 
wheel, she sat herself down in the middle of the proposed 
roadway and began spinning, in defiance of the advancing 
workmen. The angry overseer shouted to his men to "run 
right over her," but they dared not disturb "so much of 



362 Old RinderHooK 

beauty as could live" — as Captain John Van Alen wrote of 
his first wife, and the road remained unchanged, veracious 
tradition alleges. 

Although questioned by some, it has been proved con- 
clusively, notably by the late Harold Van Santvoord by his 
production of Irving's autographic endorsement on a private 
letter, that the prototypes of several characters in The 
Legend of Sleepy Hollow were found by Irving in this locality. 
Ichabod Crane, Brom Bones, and Dirk Schuyler were well- 
known local celebrities. And in this Van Alen homestead, 
the prevailing tradition is, lived the charming Katrina Van 
Tassell. Confirmatory evidence seems unnecessary, but we 
will add that Dr. Bond, editor of the Christian Advocate and 
Journal, in the issue of December 19, 1844, in an accoimt of 
a visit to Kinderhook and Lindenwald and of his interview 
with the ex-President, says: 

But we have learned of him a still more important fact. In 
his neighborhood there is an ancient schoolhouse . . . built by 
the late Judge Van Ness . . . though it belongs to the town. 
The Judge had the felicity to entertain as his guest during a 
certain summer Mr. Washington Irving, and at that time the 
school was taught by Mr. Merwin. In the vicinity of his school- 
house Irving laid the scene of one of the most inimitable tales in 
his Sketch Book, and our friend Merwin sat for the picture of 
Ichabod Crane. 

The land has remained in the Van Alen family ever since 
its original purchase from Wattawit, the Indian owner. 
Descending from father to son through eight or more 
generations, it is now owned and occupied by Maria, daughter 
of John D. Van Alen, and wife of Mr. William Herrick. 
In 1864, when we first knew this homestead, it was occupied 
by six descendants of the original builder, children of David, 
all unmarried, and advanced in years: Jane, Maria, Eliza- 
beth, Celia, Helen, and Peter D. Van Alen. 




Jesse Merwin 
(Ichabod Crane) 

From an old photograph 



Jesse Merwin's Monument 

From a photograph 




The Site of Ichabod Crane's Schoolhouse 



Old Homesteads and TKeir People 363 

EVERT VAX ALEN HOMESTEAD 

This has been mistakenly identified by newspaper and 
other writers with the foregoing. The chart of the Post Road 
hitherto described reveals it on the same side of the road as 
the latter but nearer the village. Like that of Lourens it 
long since disappeared. Evert 's children were Abraham E., 
Lourens E., Jacobus, Dirck, and John E., of whom the last- 
named became much the most notable. Bom in 1749, he 
married in 1777 Anne Fr}^enmoet, a sister of his brother 
Abraham's wife, Alar}-, both daughters of Dominie Fr>-en- 
moet, pastor of the Kinderhook church. He became a very 
eminent sur\^eyor. Alany of his field notes and maps of 
singular excellence abide to this day in the Albany records. 
His signature has become as familiar to us as that of a 
personal friend. Shortly before his marriage he removed to 
Rensselaer County, and purchased a tract of four hundred 
acres in the vicinity of De Freestville where he erected the 
Van Alen homestead there. In 1791 he was an assistant 
justice of the new County of Rensselaer, the boundaries of 
which he had surveyed. Beginning with 1 792, he was elected 
to Congress thrice; the second time, defeating Henr}- Van 
Rensselaer, the patroon. From a paper by Mrs. J. H. Sutliff, 
read before the Gansevoort Chapter, D. A. R., and reported 
in the Albany Argus, February 22, 1903, we quote: 

E\'idence of his close and intimate friendship with President 
Washington is shown in in\-itations and gifts made by the 
President to both him and his wife. One of the gifts was a pair 
of sugar bowls, carv^ed from cocoanut shells silver mounted, 
which had been presented to Martha Washington by an Indian 
Sachem in 1774. Twenty years later Mrs. Washington presented 
it to Mrs. John E. Van Alen. She bequeathed it to Dericke, \^-ife 
of her nephew. Evert Van Alen, whose daughter, Anna Maria, 
shortly before her death presented it to her nephew Herman Van 
Alen, in whose possession it was when the paper was read. 



364 Old KinderKooK 

Lourens E. married Margaret, sister of the distinguished 
jurist, Peter Van Schaack, LL.D. Their children were : Cor- 
nelius, Margaret, Peter L., Alida, and Maria. Concerning 
Peter L., the late Henry C. Van Schaack wrote: 

Peter L. was a young man of great promise. In 1792 he went 
to Georgia as an officer in the regular army and won distinction. 
Abandoning the army he studied law and was admitted to the 
bar in 1795. He was appointed solicitor General for the northern 
district of Georgia and was holding that position when killed in 
a duel with William C. Crawford who subsequently became 
Secretary of the Treasury under President Monroe. 

THE PRUYN HOMESTEAD. 1 736 (or earlier) 

This, the late residence of Mrs. William V. S. Beekman, 
was built in part before 1736. In that year, Arent Pruyn, 
the youngest son of Frans Janse Pruyn, of Albany, and about 
forty-eight years of age, came hither and bought the property 
of Cornelius Schermerhom. It was a large tract, extending 
on both sides of the present Eykebush Road from a "brook 
crossed by a bridge" down to the Kinderhook Creek, north 
of the land of Stephen Van Alen referred to above. The 
lots on which now stand twelve or more of the nearest build- 
ings on Broad Street were within its bounds, as were also 
the lowlands down to and including the present residence of 
Mr. Davie. The Misses Catharine and Maria Pruyn, Miss 
Anna H. Wilcoxson, and the heirs of the late Captain Bar- 
tholomew Pruyn are owners to this day of portions of their 
great-great-grandfather's original estate. Cornelius Scher- 
merhom is spoken of as a blacksmith. As Arent Pruyn who 
succeeded him also had a blacksmith shop, it seems probable 
that both dwelling and shop had been built by Schermerhom 
before 1736. Arent Pruyn's wife, Catryna Gansevoort, was 
closely related to the Conyns, already residing in the vicinity, 
and that is supposed to have influenced the coming here of 
the first of the Pruyns. They were both communicant mem- 
bers of the Dutch church here in 1736, and later he was 




The Pruyn-Bray-Beekman Homestead 

From a photograph 




Major Goes's Inn 

From a photograph 



Old Homesteads and THeir People 365 

first a deacon and then an elder. The same is true of many 
of their descendants. Of their six children, Alida married 
Comelis Van Alen; Lydia married Peter Van Buren; Frans 
married Christina Goes, and Harman married Jannetje Goes. 
Frans succeeded to his father's estate and left one son, John, 
who in 1767 married Catharine Vanderpoel, daughter of 
John Vanderpoel and Annatjie Staats. Frans and his wife 
were buried in the family plot to the east of the house. John 
was a man of considerable wealth for the time and a very 
highly respected and valuable member of the community, 
as well as of the church, which he repeatedly served in places 
of trust and honor. He had nine children, all of whom mar- 
ried. Five of them married Van Vlecks, resulting in intricacies 
of relationship in these days most perplexing to strangers. 

Francis (son of John), who married Maria Van Vleck in 
1779, lived in and probably built the old brick house now 
owned by Mr. Davie. He was a lawyer of distinction and 
served in many positions of trust and honor. Of his five 
children the most distinguished was John M. Pruyn, ''the be- 
loved physician," and the father of P. V. S. Pruyn, M.D., 
of both of whom more anon. 

John I. Pruyn (son of John) married Jane Van Vleck in 
1805 and Elizabeth Van Valkenburgh in 1825. He lived on 
the old homestead. The children of the first marriage were 
John M., who married Maria Snyder; Abraham Van Vleck, 
married Clara L. M. Fairfield; Francis, who died unmarried 
in 1844; Lucas (another beloved physician), who married 
Cynthia Willsey; Jane, married John Chester Sweet; Isaac, 
married Mary Jane Wilcoxson and, later, Sarah Ann Wilcox- 
son, and was one of Catskill's most eminent citizens; Catha- 
rine Maria became the second wife of Hugh Van Alstyne, and 
Anna married John, a son of Judge Wilcoxson. The children 
of the second marriage were Bartholomew, a captain in the 
Civil War, who married Sarah Caroline Thomas and, later, 
Judith A. Groat; Catalina and Sarah Elizabeth, both of 
whom died unmarried in '56 and '67 respectively. 



366 Old K-inderKooK 

The blacksmith shop of Arent Pruyn stood a little below 
the brow of the hill to the south of and near the present 
dwelling. The road, it is to be remembered, was then 
considerably nearer the creek than it is now. The shop con- 
tinued its important and much more varied service than in 
our time for many years. Traces of its existence are still 
revealed by the plow, as also are traces of the brickyard. 

John Pruyn, and probably his father and grandfather, 
were slave-owners. We have the church record of the 
baptism of eight children of John's slave. Pomp; and from 
John's will we learn of Mink, who was to be permitted to 
choose his own master among John's children. With Mink 
went the tools of the blacksmith shop. He was evidently 
the smithy. 

After John I.'s death in 1856 his sons Lucas and Isaac 
had charge of the estate. Portions of it were sold to several 
purchasers, and a plot adjoining and in the rear of the 
parsonage site, now owned by Mr. John Bray, became the 
exclusive and cherished possession of "Dr. Luke." Mr. 
John Wilcoxson owned the remnant of the property for 
about a year and then sold it to Mr. John Bray in 1862, who 
in turn conveyed it in 1878 to Mr. William V. S. Beekman, 
whose daughters are now in possession. This is the only 
house here in which an old-time bed-zink may still be seen. 

It was said by Southey, we think, that no house is per- 
fectly furnished in which there is not "a child rising three 
years and a kitten rising three weeks. " As regards the first 
item, at least, the Pruyn homestead was so often perfectly 
furnished that we deem it not inappropriate to end our 
sketch of it with the charming jingle sung there to such a 
host of children, and which many still living remember. 

Trip a trop a troontjes, Trip a trop a troontjes, 

De varkens in de boontjes, The pigs are in the bean-vines, 

De koentjes in de klaver, The cows are in the clover blooms, 

De paarden in de haver, The horses in the oat fields, 

De eenjes in de water-plas, The ducks in the water-pond, 

De kalf in de lang gras; — The calf is in the long grass; — 

So groot mijn kleine poppetje was. So tall my little baby was. 




C. Van Schaack and Wynkoop House 

From a drawing 




The Heermance-Schnapper House 

From a photograph 



Old Homesteads and THeir People 367 

THE VAN SCHAACK HOMESTEAD 

To the north and east of the Pruyn estate was that of 
Cornelius Van Schaack, son of Emanuel, son of Claes. 
Cornelius was a merchant of much enterprise and thrift. 
He was a successful fur-trader, the owner of a sloop, a large 
land proprietor here and elsewhere, and a personage of much 
consequence and wealth for his time. 

The tract on which the homestead stood extended from 
the creek, on both sides of our present Church Street, to 
and inclusive of the land now belonging to the widow of 
Peter Best. It included the present Wynkoop property, 
the site of the Reformed Dutch church, and all the inter- 
vening land from the William A. Harder house on the east 
to and including that of Dr. Kellogg on the west. The 
original homestead stood a few rods to the east of the present 
Wynkoop villa ("The Chateau") and near the brow of the 
bluff and its descent to what was then the main channel of 
the creek. It was the "Van Shaaken" house of the Hessian 
soldier's letter elsewhere quoted. It was a large stone and 
brick house built at a very early period and fortified against 
marauding Canadian Indians. Early in 1700 the property 
was bought by Cornelius Van Schaack and much improved. 
His wife, Lydia, was a daughter of Hendrick Van Dyck, M. 
D., and a granddaughter of the Albany Schuylers. Here 
seven children were born, two of whom were among Kinder- 
hook's most eminent sons. The children were : Margaretha, 
bp. September 21, 1728; Maria, bp. May 2^, 1731; Henry, 
bp. February 18, 1 733 ; Cornells, bp. August 15, 1734; David, 
bp., 1736; Jannetje, bp., 1739, and Pieter, bp. 1747. Of 
Henry and Peter we shall have more to say. Comelis be- 
came the owner of the present P. H. Bain property, Kleine 
Kill. David built the "Old Kinderhook Mansion" noticed 
later; and Peter, after his return from England, built the 
adjoining WilHam A. Harder house. There his years of 
blindness were spent and there he died. 



368 Old RinderhooK 

Cornelius's daughter Margaret married Lourens L. Van 
Alen, son of Lourens (Lawrence) who bought the De Bruyn 
patent and several other tracts: Maria married Jacobus 
(James) I. Roosevelt, an ancestor of our ex-President. 
Lydia married Isaac Van Vleck. Jannetje became the wife 
of Peter Silvester, the distinguished jurist of Albany and 
Kinderhook. When Cornelius died his estate was divided; 
his son David receiving the former Beekman-Vanderpoel 
property, and Peter a portion adjoining; while Peter Sil- 
vester (or his wife) inherited the homestead, including what 
we have known as the Silvester place, where lived Francis 
Silvester (Peter's son), an eminent lawyer and the father of 
Peter H. and Margaret. Peter Silvester, Cornelius Van 
Schaack's son-in-law, lived and died in the latter's home- 
stead. There his daughter Anna Maria was married to 
Augustus Wynkoop, a successful merchant of New York, 
who later came into possession of the place. For several 
years he and his family were here during the summer only, 
boarding with Henry L. Van Dyck, M.D., and his wife 
Catharine Van Alen, to whom the place was rented. Here, 
to Dr. Van Dyck, several if not all of his children were bom. 
Maria, b. 1797, married John A. Van Dyck, her cousin. 
They moved to Canada but returned after Henry L.'s 
death and occupied what was recently known as the Popham 
house, which Henry had lately built. Stephen, born June 8, 
1799, died March 15, 1803. Andrew H., born January 27, 
1 801, married September, 1823, Catharine Staats of Valatie. 
He was an eminent physician, as noted elsewhere; Elizabeth, 
born May 14, '03, married '29, Rev. Peter Jackson, an 
Englishman. Stephen, bom February 7, '05; died '28. 
There also were bom Lawrence H. and Henry H. Van Dyck 
(see Biographical Sketches), Engeltie (Ann), born October 5, 
'12; married June 9, '36, Newton Reed, of South Amenia, 
a most estimable farmer of much culture and of great 
influence in the church and community. The most notable 
of all the children, Comelius V. A. Van Dyck, bom August 



Old Homesteads and TKeir People 369 

13, '18, did a work the story of which in part is told in a 
succeeding chapter. It was with moistened eyes that this 
son of Kinderhook, second to none in true greatness of 
character and achievement, when revisiting his native village, 
gazed upon the few vestiges of his birthplace, and of the 
happy home of his childhood. 

The main channel of the creek, originally ran near the 
foot of the bluff on which the old homestead stood. Not 
content with that, it more and more encroached upon the 
bluff itself, gradually undermining it, especially in the times 
of freshet, when, as often seen now, the lowlands become a 
great lake, dotted with many islands. This process contin- 
ued until one dark stormy night there was a crash which 
startled many from sleep, and in the morning it was found 
that a large section of the bluff, including several great 
linden trees had been swept away. The locality, an object 
of interest to many visitors, became known as the Avalanche. 
It was of serious interest to Augustus Wynkoop, the owner 
of the house, as a warning of peril to the foundations. The 
only resource was thought to be the removal of the house, 
and in 1850 or soon thereafter it was entirely taken down. 
Available portions of its material were used in the building 
of the present attractive villa which came to be known as the 
Chateau. There all the Wynkoop children were bom, of 
whom only Henry and Elizabeth survive. We have a 
pleasing account of the sad visit of several members and 
friends of the family to the homestead shortly before its 
destruction; a visit which inspired one of the number to 
write a pathetic poetic farewell to the old Van Schaack- 
Silvester-Van Dyck- Wynkoop home. 

The distinguished visitors to this homestead were nu- 
merous. Sir William Johnson was a frequent guest, and 
many were the discussions of Colonial affairs with Colonel 
Cornelius Van Schaack, senior, and with his eldest son, 
Henry, who served under Sir William in the French and 
Indian wars. The Johnson manuscripts (if now in existence) 
24 - - - ' 



370 Old ninderHooK 

in the State Library, reveal portions of the family's cor- 
respondence with him. Among other visitors to the "hos- 
pitable house on the hill, " as Jay termed it, we find such 
noted names as Colden, Robertson, Cruger, Delancey, 
Watts, Laight, Walton, Jay, Benson, Bard, Murray, Van 
Rensselaer, Yates, Livingston, Gansevoort, and Schuyler. 
During its occupancy by Judge Silvester (Mr. H. C. Van 
Schaack narrates) Aaron Burr, then in the height of his 
fame, was also one of its visitors; but after he had slain 
Hamilton he ceased to enter its doors, well knowing that his 
presence would be unwelcome to those who had always been 
ardent friends and admirers of Hamilton. In visiting Kin- 
derhook after the famous duel, Colonel Burr uniformly 
stopped at the village hotel, and was wont to send for Judge 
Silvester's son, Francis, who had studied law with him, to 
meet him at the public house. 

But none of these distinguished visitors made this home- 
stead so memorable as did the multitude of children bom 
there, several of whom became notable men and women. To 
them in their cradle or in their mother's arms was often sung 
this old-time lullaby : 

Slaap, kindje, slaap! Sleep, little one, sleep! 

Daar buiten loopt een schapt, Out of doors there runs a sheep! 

Een schapt met witte voetjes; A sheep with four white feet; 

Dat drinkt zijn melk zoo zoetjes; That drinks its milk so sweet; 
Slaap, kindje, slaap. Sleep, little one, sleep. 

Slaap, kindje, slaap! Sleep, little one, sleep! 

Daar buiten loopt een schaap; Out of doors there runs a sheep; 

Daar buiten loopt een bontekoe; Out of doors runs a spotted cow, 

Het kindje doet zijn oogjes toe; Its calf has shut its eyehds so. 
Slaap, kindje, slaap. Sleep, Httle one, sleep. 

THE BENEDICT ARNOLD (?) INN. I77O 

This, the original Dr. Quilhot homestead, later an inn, 
then a boarding-house, but now for many years past a pri- 
vate residence, is a very interesting relic of the days of old. 
Its massive walls, deep window-benches, and unceiled 




A pre-RevoIutionary (later Everts — Palmatier-Monthie) House 




i^^ 



The Benedict Arnold (?) Inn, now Chrysler House 



Old Homesteads and TKeir People 371 

beams are pleasing memorials of a century and a half ago. 

It is with an interrogation point of decided doubt that 
it is here named the Benedict Arnold Inn. The only justifi- 
cation is the tradition repeated to us by the late Thomas 
Beekman. It was to the effect that Arnold, some months 
after he was wounded in the battle of Bemis Heights which 
he did much to win, was borne through Kinderhook on a 
stretcher and passed a night at this inn; and that the door- 
way being too narrow to admit the stretcher, one of the 
jambs was temporarily cut away. 

The house was built, according to the date on the south 
end, in 1770, and the site was a part of the original Pruyn 
estate. By whom was it built? Tradition says by a French 
physician. From an old map, and from other sources as well, 
we know of the presence here at that time of a French phy- 
sician named John Quilhot. From the records of the laying 
out of roads and streets, we learn of the laying out of a road 
from the old burying ground (in the present center of the 
village) to the house of John Quilhot, and thence southerly 
until it met the road to the Landing which then ran to the 
east of the W. B. Van Alstyne house. This new road was 
our present Broad Street, and these scattered bits of our 
picture puzzle fit together so well that we say it was Dr. 
Quilhot who built this house. This had long been written 
when Mr. Adam Wagoner told us of meeting in the Albany 
hospital, a Mr. Quilhot of Chicago who inquired about the 
old brick house built by Dr. Quilhot. After a few years it 
was an inn, and eighty years later a much frequented 
boarding-house for Academy students. Numbers on the 
room doors could still be faintly traced as late as 1864 
beneath the paint that almost hid them, as it did, greatly 
to our regret, the scribbled names of guests and students 
which once adorned the woodwork of the upper story. 

In old times many deeds given were not recorded, and it 
is often impossible in such cases to trace successive owner- 
ship. We know, however, from advertisements in the Hud- 



372 Old RinderHooK 

son Gazette that after the Revolution this house was owned 
by James Brebner, one of our village merchants, who mar- 
ried Catharine, "the accomplished and charming daughter" 
of Judge William P. Van Ness. Ashbel Ely, our first post- 
master, lived in the house for a time. Of subsequent owners 
we find the names, Peter Van Vleck; Christina Van Vleck, 
wife of John O. Flaegler; John M. Pruyn; John Wilcoxson; 
John Van Alen, and his sisters Elizabeth and Lydia, the 
great-great-grandchildren of the original Lourens ; and finally 
General M. H. Chrysler and his daughter-in-law, Mrs. G. W. 
Chrysler, daughter of German Sutherland. Our personal 
memory of this house goes back to May, 1864, when and for 
six months thereafter, the hospitable home of the elect 
ladies, Elizabeth and Lydia and their older half-brother John, 
was our home. They were children of Lucas L Van Alen 
who lived in the fine old mansion now owned by the heirs of 
William A. Wheeler. The three died in 1876, all within 
about two weeks, from typhoid-pneumonia. Exalted char- 
acter, refined taste, gracious manners, intelligence and cul- 
ture of a high order, together with exceptionally energetic and 
manifold activities, made their loss an overwhelming one in 
social life and in the church of their affection and measure- 
less service. Recalling them and the happy hours we and 
ours knew as inmates of their beautiful home, the first to 
give us shelter in Kinderhook, we say of this memory-filled 
mansion of olden times — Peace be within thee. 

EVERTS-PALMATIER-MONTHIE HOUSE 

Of even earlier erection probably than the foregoing, was 
this interesting relic of pre-revolutionary times. Many hints 
here and there in the records of those days seem to indicate 
it as a notable resort of those who not only sympathized with 
the British cause but were active in rendering such aid in men 
and supplies as they could and dared. Here, it is supposed, 
were the headquarters of a "conspiracy to burn Albany," 
of which, in May, 1778, Col. Beekman was forewarned in an 
anonymous "Mysterious Document." Suffice it to say 



Old Homesteads and THeir People 373 

that more than thirty recruits were gathered and sent to Bur- 
goyne before the battle of Saratoga, and large supplies were ac- 
cumulated against the time of his expected capture of Albany. 
The owner of the house at that time need not be named. 

The customary neglect in those days as to the recording 
of deeds, prevents complete details of subsequent ownership, 
but it can be stated, in outline, that many years after the 
Revolution it was owned by Abraham I. Van Alstyne; and 
then in succession, possibly incomplete, by Jacob C. Everts, 
William Palmatier, and Herman Monthie the present owner. 

Mr. Everts, who died in 1869, aged sixty-eight, came 
hither from Claverack in 1846, and lived for a few years on 
what we have known as the Dunspaugh place, near Linden- 
wald. He served the Reformed Dutch Church well and 
often as an elder. Of his four daughters, Sarah Ann married 
Jacob W. Ten Broek, of Greenport, in 1847; Frances married 
Wm. H. Harder, in '49 ; Gertrude married Alexander M. Hoes 
of Stockport, in '66, and subsequently moved to Lansing, 
Mich., and Christina remained unmarried. His son Charles 
moved to Binghampton. 

Mr. William Palmatier became owner of the place about 
the year 1896, and remained a few years. With him were 
his wife and two of their children, Albert and Josephine. 
After a short tarry here they moved to Rochester, with the 
exception of Albert who resides near Boston. 

THE SICKLES-WITBECK-KELLOGG HOUSE 

This, not one of our older homesteads, is pleasantly 
remembered as being, for about ten years after his retirement 
from the pastorate of the Reformed Dutch Church, the 
home of the Rev. Jacob Sickles, D.D., and then later of his 
daughters, Mrs. A. V. D. Witbeck, and of the widow of the 
Rev. Daniel E. Manton. During his active pastorate of 
about thirty-five years, the longest save that of the present 
pastor emeritus in the history of this historic church, 
Dr. Sickles had lived in what we first knew as the Heer- 
mance house, of unknown age, but dating back to the times 



374 Old K-inderHooK 

of Indian forays, as elsewhere noted. Shortly before his 
retirement in 1835 he built this pleasant home; the site 
being a part of the original Cornelius Van Schaack-Silvester- 
Wynkoop estate. Here he lived until his death in 1845. -^^ 
was the fifth regular pastor of the Kinderhook Church; 
called hither from his pastorate of the united churches of 
Coxsackie and Coeymans, which had been preceded by a 
service of about three years as an assistant to the eminent 
Dirck Romeyn of Schenectady. He was to have a salary 
of 195 pounds, 80 loads of firewood, and the use of parsonage 
and land. One-half of the services were to be in English. 
Dr. Sickles's field of labor was extensive. There are now 
twelve or more Protestant churches within the territory 
within which this church stood alone during twenty-five 
years of his pastorate. At least six of these churches drew 
their original membership wholly, or in part, from this 
church. Dr. Sickles had the joy, at intervals, of receiving 
large accessions to the church membership. The years 1821 
and 1822 especially were times of remarkable spiritual 
awakening here, as they were elsewhere, nearly seven hund- 
red persons being received on confession within that short 
time. Although there are now no living communicants 
representing his pastorate. Dr. Sickles is well remembered 
by many who know his worthiness of the gracious tribute to 
his memory in Dr. Van Zandt's sermon at his funeral. Dur- 
ing the last two or three years of his pastorate, Dr. Sickles 
had first an assistant and then a colleague. The assistant 
was the Rev. David Cushing. Dr. Sickles's colleague for 
about one year was the Rev. Enoch Van Aken. In 1835 
Dr. Sickles's resignation as pastor was accepted. Honored 
and beloved by many, he continued his residence here until 
his sorely lamented death in 1845. His grave is in our ceme- 
tery and is marked by a monument erected by the Consistory 
of the Church he had served so long and so well. 

September 4, 1844, Dr. Sickles's daughter, Elisabeth S., 
married Mr. A. V. D. Witbeck, and lived in this home until 
her sudden death in March, 1874, aged sixty-one. He died 




The P. Van Schaack-Mix-Harder House 

From a photograph 




The P. S. Hoes— G. b. Collier House 

From a photograph 



Old Homesteads and TKeir People 375 

a year later, aged sixty-three. They were survived by one 
son, J. Sickles Witbeck, who. May 21, 1872, married Sarah 
F., daughter of Jacob F. Sudam. She died a few years 
later leaving one son, Barent V. A. Witbeck, bom in 1879. 
In '87, J. S. Witbeck married Ella, daughter of C. L. Herrick. 
Their son, George, died in early childhood. Dr. Sickles's 
elder daughter Elsie's married life was short. She died in 
'79, aged sixty-eight. Both she and her sister were bright, 
active, gracious women, interested and serviceable in all 
good ways, and their memory is treasured. 

The present owner of this house, wherein abide so many 
pleasant personal recollections. Dr. Kellogg and his family, 
receive notice in a later chapter. 

PETER VAN SCHAACK — AND PETER S. HOES HOUSES 

Concerning these two fine mansions on our beautiful 
Broad Street, let it suffice to say, that the first named was 
built by Mr. Van Schaack soon after his return from exile 
in 1785. It was here he had what has been called his "law 
school" of which some account is given in the following 
chapter. This site also was a part of his father's large 
estate. It was to this home he brought his second wife, 
Elizabeth Van Alen. Here many children were bom and 
here he died. It has subsequently been known, as the 
Frisbie-Mix-Haines, and now William A. Harder place. 
Mr. Frisbie's son, Samuel, became an eminent Jesuit priest. 
Mr. James Mix, Albany's most noted jeweler, gave the house 
its present mansard roof. Mr. Charles D. Haines was its 
occupant when elected to Congress. The night of his 
election, the crowd that gathered to congratulate him, the 
red fire that illuminated the grounds, the speech of Mr. 
Haines and its glowing promises as brilliant as his fire-works, 
are well remembered. Mr. Harder is the well-known manu- 
facturer and sometime Mayor of Hudson. 

Although not one of the older homesteads, the beautiful 
home of Mr. G. S. Collier should receive notice. The prop- 



376 Old RinderKooK 

erty on which stood originally Prink's Mansion House, of 
which we write elsewhere, was in the first instance a Vos- 
burgh homestead. In '38 it was sold to Samuel F. An- 
drews; in '42, under foreclosure, to Julius Wilcoxson, whose 
heirs, in '54 sold it to Peter S. Hoes who soon thereafter 
removed the famous inn and built the present house. In 
'60 the place was owned by Benjamin H. Streeter; in '62 
by James Mitchell; in '71 by Peter Bain who died there in 
'76; in ''']'] by Lydia M. Collier, daughter of Hugh Bain, 
and after her death in 1883 it became the property of G. S. 
Collier. 

LINDENWALD, 1 797 

The quaint knocker on the old front door of this famous 
mansion bears the date — 1797. This refers to the building 
of the small and much less imposing beginning of things by 
Peter Van Ness. There was a still earlier house on the place 
when he bought it in 1780, and the date 1797 indicates the 
second and better dwelling. The modest beginnings of that 
date were considerably improved by Judge Van Ness, a son 
of Peter, and, later, still more improved and enlarged by Mr. 
Van Buren who purchased the place after his return from 
Washington, named it Lindenwald, and gave it its chief 
distinction. 

The biographical sketches of the Van Nesses and of Mr. 
Van Buren give some details concerning this mansion which 
need not be repeated. Suffice it to say that many of the 
most distinguished men of their time were visitors here. 
As but a partial list we name : John L. Stephens, Thomas H. 
Benton, David Wilmot, Charles Sumner, Silas Wright, 
Commodore Nicholson, Frank Blair, W. L. Marcy, William 
Allen Butler, A. C. Flagg, General Winfield Scott, the Earl 
of Carlisle, Henry Clay, Washington Irving, Samuel J. 
Tilden, and John Bigelow. 

In the New York Sun, May 24, 1891, there appeared a 
pleasing account by Mr. George Alfred Townsend of his 







fM: 'W: ^L' 

P^ L^ ?.^l 



Martin Van Buren's Birth-Place 

From an old print 




Lindenwald 

From a photograph 




The Van Buren Monument 

From a photograph 



Old Homesteads and TKeir People 377 

visit to Lindenwald. We quote selected paragraphs, and 
presume to shorten a few sentences and change a word here 
and there. 

Lindenwald, about two miles south of Kinderhook, is on 
the old Post Road from New York to Albany. The house stands 
about four or five hundred feet back from the road, and on the 
lawn are many very old fir or pine trees, a nearly circular cluster 
of which masks the residence in part from passers-by. . . . 
Drives from the two widely separated gates meet at the house, 
which is of brick, painted yellow, and seven windows wide. The 
main building has two stories and a large garret. Three chimneys 
rise above this main or front part of the house — two to the north, 
a wide one to the south. The middle of the front is pedimented, 
and a dormer slides forward on each side of this gable, which in 
the bedroom story below has a large triple central window, with 
a curved pedimental top and two windows on each side. The two 
on the south show where Van Buren died. Before the center of 
the main story is a small covered portico, with an easy flight of 
steps and balusters. To the left was the ex-President's living 
room or double parlor; to the right the sitting room and dining 
room. The oblong house is four windows deep on the north side, 
and at a guess 70 x 45 feet ground plan. A colonnade or arched 
porch separates it from a domestic building, mainly kitchen and 
laundry, which further deepens the house across its whole back. 
This doubtless was Peter Van Ness's original home. The library 
Mr. Van Buren added in the rear of the south side and built next 
to it a tower, like a donjon keep, with an Italian summit, the 
openings few and slitted; the object, stateliness and the view. 

. . . On the little porch the door knocker affected me with 
its date — " 1797" — a small blue or black brass object in which is 
a head in relief. . . . Beyond the door appeared a fine straight 
hall which was paced as being about fifty-five by fifteen feet and 
appeared to be eleven or twelve feet high. Its four doors were in 
the early carpentry of this century with manipulation around 
their tops. At the rear, nearly concealed in the side of the hall, 
under a sort of alcove, was the stairway, pretty wide and low and 
long-stepped. The feature of this hall, I had almost said its 
beauty, is the foreign wall paper, in large landscapes, representing 



378 Old RiinclerHooK 

hunters on horseback, and with guns and dogs breaking into 
Rhenish vales, where milkmaids are surprised and invite flirta- 
tion. The human figures are nearly a foot high; the mountains 
and woods, rocks and streams, panoramic; the colors dark and 
loud. I liked it because it was Dutchy and took Van Buren, who 
put it here, into the atmosphere of Jordaens and Van Der Heist. 
About three panels were on each side of the landscape five or six 
feet high with sky above that to the ceiling. Here no doubt, sat 
old Martin many a warm afternoon, taking the breezes from the 
Berkshire hills to the Catskills. Here John Van Buren played the 
penitent. It was in the neighboring town of Hudson that he and 
Ambrose Jordan clinched and fought in the court room like a pair 
of newly introduced dogs, and the Judge fined and sent them to 
jail. Much did old Martin have to think about in the twenty-two 
years of retirement passed mainly here on his 200 acres; looking 
upon wayward, brilliant, or brain- wrought sons, hearing the wind 
moan and the locusts drone. 

"He thinks it is their mother's voice 
Singing in Paradise; 
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes 
A tear from out his eyes." 

Nothing of much interest remains to be said concerning 
Lindenwald's later history. After Mr. Van Buren's death 
it passed for a brief season into the hands of several successive 
owners, such as Lawrence Jerome, James Van Alstyne and 
John Van Buren conjointly, and George Wilder. It was on 
one occasion, it is stated, made the stake at a gaming table. 
Since 1874 it has been owned by one of our thrifty farmers, 
Adam E. Wagoner. 

Lindenwald is only an interesting relic now of glories 
long departed. 

THE BURT HOUSE 

What for many years was known as the Burt house was 
built by James Vanderpoel prior to 1825, and has undergone 
but little change from that day to this. The land had pre- 




The J. Vanderpoel-Myers-Burt House 

From a photograph 




The Village Square 

From a photograph 



Old Homesteads and XHeir People 379 

viously belonged to the Pomeroy family, of whose private 
burial plot thereon traces may still be seen. 

The people who lived in it give it its chief interest. 
James Vanderpoel, the builder, was the brother of Dr. John 
and Aaron Vanderpoel. The latter, twelve years his senior, 
was known as the ''Kinderhook Roarer," because of his 
stentorian voice. James studied law with Francis Silvester 
here, and subsequently in Kingston. In 1808 he was ad- 
mitted to the bar, and began practice in a building which 
stood near the southeast corner of his lawn, and which was 
used later by Tobey and Silvester. He served three terms 
as Assemblyman; succeeded Martin Van Buren as County 
Surrogate in 18 12, removing the office to this village; was 
Judge of the County Court of Common Pleas in '25, and 
was appointed Circuit Judge of the Supreme Court of the 
State in '31, by Governor Throop ; whereupon he removed 
to Albany. He was recognized as a lawyer and judge of 
marked ability. One of his daughters married John Van 
Buren, son of the President; and another was Mrs. Joseph 
Paige of Albany. In '21 there was a notable Fourth of July 
celebration in this then elegant home, at which Chancellor 
Kent and his intimate friend, Peter Van Schaack, were 
among the distinguished guests. 

About the year '36 the place was purchased by Major 
Mordecai Myers, for many years thereafter a prominent 
and highly honored citizen of our village. He had won his 
military title in the War of 18 12. On the conclusion of peace 
he entered business in New York City and accumulated 
what was for the time a large fortune. He was several times 
elected a member of the legislature from the city until he 
declined re-election. Retiring from public life and from 
business, he chose our village as the home of his declining, 
years and bought the then exceedingly attractive James' 
Vanderpoel place. In a large circle of middle-aged worthies 
he at once took an honored place which he filled with dig- 
nified grace. Soon after his coming he was chosen president 



380 Old K-inderKooK 

of the village, succeeding Dr. Beekman, and was the second 
to fill that office. On Mr. Van Buren's return to his native 
village, after his retirement from the presidency. Major 
Myers made the address of welcome. He was the first vice- 
president of the old Kinderhook bank and retained his 
position until declining re-election. 

Profoundly interested and zealously active in every 
movement for the welfare of the village, of blameless life, 
exalted character, and winsome ways, he was held in highest 
honor and esteem. All deplored the financial reverses 
through the signing of papers, the purport of which was not 
fully understood, which compelled him to sell his beautiful 
home and re-engage in business in New York. There, in five 
years' time he partially retrieved his fortune and once more 
retired ; this time to Schenectady. There also he became one 
of a brilliant social circle and won new public honors. He 
died there in 1871, being nearly ninety-five years of age. 
From an obituary notice in the Schenectady Times we quote : 

His physical appearance was striking. No stranger ever met 
or passed him without noticing his appearance. He was of very 
large proportions and had a clear keen black eye, giving strong 
evidence of his intellectual power. As mayor of the city he added 
dignity to the office and brought all the power of his common 
sense and an indomitable will to war against wrong and in favor 
of right and justice. 

Our friend, the first Socialist mayor of Schenectady, seems 
to have had at least one worthy predecessor. 

In his Kinderhook home, Major Myers's eldest daughter, 
Henrietta, was married to Peter S. Hoes, a descendant of 
one of the first settlers here, John Tysse Goes (Hoes). The 
father of Peter S. was a brother of Martin Van Buren's wife. 
Mr. Peter S. Hoes was for many years one of our most active 
and respected citizens. He seems to have had a remarkable 
penchant for moving houses, as elsewhere noted. His sons 




Crow Hill 
Whiting-Howard House 

From a photograph 




Elmhurst 
From a photograph 



Old Homesteads and THeir People 381 

were the late lamented Pierre Van Buren Hoes and Mr. 
William M. Hoes of New York City, of whom we write 
later. 

ELMHURST 

The original dwelling on this rarely beautiful place was 
a portion only of the present rear part. Its massive walls, 
heavy unceiled beams, and steep roof are evidences of its 
antiquity. The first owner and occupant of whom we have 
definite information was Judge Julius Wilcoxson. It had 
formerly belonged to one of the multitudinous Van Alens 
whom we are unable to identify, owing to the neglect, 
characteristic of those times, as to the recording of deeds. 
Judge Wilcoxson sold the property to Mr. James Adger, and 
he to General Charles Whiting who added the wings of the 
original homestead. Subsequently, the General conveyed 
the property to his daughter, Margaret A., the wife of John 
H. Reynolds, the eminent jurist, who built the imposing 
front part of the present mansion. For many years this was 
the summer home of Judge Reynolds and his notable 
family, of whom we write in another chapter. The next 
owner of the place was Mrs. Sarah J., the widow of Peter 
Bain. By her also the dwelling, especially its interior, was 
much improved and beautified. Her charities were count- 
less and bountiful; and the beauty of our little park is an 
abiding memorial of her beneficence. Her niece, Mrs. Mary 
Bain Reynolds (daughter of Augustus Bain, and formerly 
Mrs. George D. Earll) the present owner, has still more 
adorned her home and lawns and made the place one of the 
most attractive in our whole village. May we add that her 
recent marriage to Mr. James Adger Reynolds seems to a 
multitude of friends a most fit and beautiful consummation 
of life-long friendship. It brought him back to the home 
of his childhood and the scene of innumerable hallowed and 
precious associations. 



382 Old K-inderHooK 

SNYDER-SMITH HOMESTEAD. 1 835 

The present Datus C. Smith house, greatly improved by 
him, was built by the late Henry Snyder. His wife was 
Elizabeth Van Alstyne, a daughter of Isaac. The original 
tract was one of 176 acres purchased in 1855 of Benjamin 
Hilton. It had formerly belonged to the Webber family. 
Mr. Snyder occupied the place for about thirty years and 
had a large nursery, of which some noble trees in great 
variety are still existing memorials. " Lovers' Leap" on this 
place was formerly much more attractive and frequented 
than now. The scheme of ownership is as follows: i835-'65, 
Henry Snyder; '65-' 74, widow and Theodore Snyder; '74-' 88, 
Barent Van Alstyne; '88-'98, Henry Snyder; '98-1902, 
Isaac V. A. Snyder; 1902-19 10, Kate and Anna H. Snyder; 
1910- , Datus C. Smith. 

CROW HILL. 1839 

This attractive mansion, with its long, sloping terraced 
lawn, many flower-beds, shrubs, and magnificent trees, was 
first known to us as the Howard place. It was named Crow 
Hill because of the flocks of crows wont to make its stately 
pines their evening trysting-place. The house was built in 
1839 by General Charles Whiting on land purchased that 
year from Teunis Harder. Earlier owners of the land were 
Merrit H. Leach and James Vanderpoel, with Wattawit as 
the original Indian proprietor. Subsequent owners have 
been: Welcome R. Beebe, '52; James Mitchell, '53; Wil- 
liam H. Wall, '58; the Howard family, '62, and Datus C. 
Smith, 191 1. 

General Whiting, son of Ebenezer, bom in Norwich, 
Conn., March 23, 1786, came to Kinderhook in 1800, and, 
August II, 181 1 , married Margaret, daughter of John Rogers. 
The General's father served in the French and Indian war, 
at Crown Point, and also in the Revolution. General Whit- 




The H. Snyder— D. C. Smith House 

From a photograph 




m:m' -. ■ t-Wi 



The Francis Pruyn-Davie Homestead 

From a photograph 



Old Homesteads and TKeir People 383 

ing won his military honors in local service in the militia. 
His children were: Charles, who died unmarried, and 
Margaret Anna, who, May 31, 1843, married the subse- 
quently distinguished John H. Reynolds. 

The General was of imposing personal appearance and 
notably active in the whole Ufe of Kinderhook for many 
years, as elsewhere narrated. Near the easterly corner of 
his lawn he had a small but cherished fish pond until one 
summer afternoon when, tradition alleges, a bolt of light- 
ning killed all his trout : whereupon the pond was abandoned, 
filled up and made a part of the lawn. In '52, he sold this 
place and bought what is now known as Elmhurst. Of Mr. 
Wall we know but little. The Howard family was longest 
in possession of this attractive home. From data furnished 
by Mr. Fred W. Howard we learn that his father Elbridge 
Gerry, son of Benjamin A. Howard and Deliverance Caswell, 
of Tolland, Connecticut, was bom March 28, 18 13; married 
September 18, '37, Abigail Householder of Hartford, Con- 
necticut ; was for several years publisher of the Sunday Times, 
New York; retired and came to Kinderhook in '62 and 
purchased Crow Hill of William Wall and lived there until 
his death, March 16, 1904. His widow also died there 
March 29, '10, aged ninety-one. Their still surviving chil- 
dren are — Jarvis C. of New Rochelle, married Brenda 
Reeve of Brooklyn; Frederick W. of Kinderhook, married 
Anna Guion of New Rochelle ; Emma F. Howard of Kinder- 
hook, and George F. of Valparaiso, Chile, who married Anna 
Horsfeldt of Meiningen, Germany. 

VOSBURGH HOMESTEADS 

The name Vosburgh, once representing many prominent 
families here, has now, like many of the old names, almost 
vanished. Three of their original homesteads can be identi- 
fied. That of Myndert P., prior to 1825, was what later be- 
came Frink's Mansion House then standing in front of Mr. 



384 Old RinderHooK 

G. S. Collier's present residence. He married Lucretia Van- 
derpoel. Of their daughters, Maria married Teunis Harder; 
Harriet married Lawrence Van Buren, and Catharine 
married Theodore Spencer. Myndert P. was a son of Peter 
Vosburgh and Maria Van Dyck. 

The Lambert Vosburgh homestead, long since gone, was 
on the farm now belonging to Mrs. John MacPherson. He 
married Cynthia Van Slyck. Their daughter, Sarah Jane, 
married James P. Van Alstyne, son of Philip Van A. and Alida 
Vanderpoel; and Margaret Ann married Joseph P., brother 
of James. Their daughters Christina and Rachel remained 
unmarried. 

A third Vosburgh homestead was the in-every-way- 
transformed relic on the comer of Chatham and William 
streets. It subsequently became the property of Captain 
John Schuyler Van Alen whose aged daughter Jane was the 
owner and sole occupant when the quaint old place was 
first known to us in '64. The triangular lot, which then 
included a considerable section of the present highway, was 
closely fenced in. The gate was at the easterly end, the apex 
of the triangle. Trees and shrubs were in profusion, and on 
both sides of the long walk to the house were all manner of 
old-fashioned flowers dear to our grandmothers. We confess 
to our own secret liking for them. Marigolds and bachelor's- 
buttons are a joy to us still. It is to this or a similar old- 
time garden that an accomplished daughter of Kinderhook, 
Miss Alice M. Rathbone, alludes in her book — How to Make 
a Flower Garden (Doubleday, Page & Co., 1903). Writing 
charmingly of chrysanthemums she says: 

There is one seemingly more precious, perhaps because elu- 
sive, that used to grow along a fence on an old village street, and 
was the object of a yearly autumn drive. The lovely flower was 
a loose white ball just tinged with purplish pink. It vanished 
several years ago from that Kinderhook garden. Doubtless 
it flourished elsewhere. May its shadow never grow less until it 
reveals itself again to us in its beautiful old-time splendor. 




Old Fort, Chatham Center 

From a photograph 




The Old Bridge and the Colonel P. Van Alstyne House, Chatham Center 

From a photograph 



Old Homesteads and TKeir People 



OOD 



That particular splendor has indeed vanished from that 
locality, with its odors far other than those of flowers, but a 
thousand other splendors abide in our gardens, set the trees 
along the streets aflame with gorgeous autumnal tints, and 
emblazon the common roadside. 

CHATHAM CENTER HOMESTEADS 

Concerning the older homesteads in the vicinity of Chat- 
ham Center, Dr. William B. Van Alst\Tie, of Xew York, 
kindh' furnished notes from which the following narrative is 
compiled. 

The foundation of the James G. Van Volkenburgh house 
contains a stone bearing the date of 1761, but the present 
superstructure was built in 1843. The original old stone 
house was the home of Gilbert Van Allen and his wife Annie 
Moore. Later it was ©"^Tied b}' Isaac L. Van Alst}Tie, and 
later still by James G. Van Volkenburgh. Peter Van Alst\Tie 
and his brother William (father of Dr. William B.) were 
bom there. 

Colonel Abraham I. Van Alstyne's substantial brick 
house is of unknown date, but prior to 1767. He was bom 
in 1738, rendered notable ser\'ice during the Revolution as 
already told, and died in 1808. He was the father of Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Philip Van Alst}Tie and the great-grand- 
father of Philip ^'an Alstine of Xew York. Abraham I. 
and his wife ]Maria Van Alen were buried in the Chatham 
Center cemetery. Their daughter Annatje married Colonel 
PhiHp Staats. 

The homestead of John J. Van Volkenburgh (father of 
James G.) was built in 181 6, and is now owned by his grand- 
son, John J. Wilbur. ]Mr. Van Volkenburgh was bom in 
1783, and is well remembered by many for his remarkable 
activity to the end of his days. 

It is a tradition that the ver>- old stone house near the 
station was in 18 12 a roofless fort. A stone near the peak 



386 Old HinderKooK 

bears the date 1801, apparently, but the figures are some- 
what obscure. At one time this house was the home of 
Abram Van Alstyne who married Catahna Van Ness. Near 
it in old times was a cemetery now obliterated. On the hill 
back of the cemetery is yet another old stone house where 
lived Dr. Russell Dorr (bom I77i,died 1824) and, later, the 
Rev. N. G. Spaulding who married Dr. Dorr's daughter 
Harriet. This also is reported to have been a fort. Above 
the bridge there was once a sawmill and milldam. 

INNS 

Of the taverns of Kinderhook Village, the most interest- 
ing historically, was the unpretentious inn kept by Abraham 
Van Buren, the father of Martin, and where the latter was 
bom. It stood nearly opposite the blind alley now leading 
to the house of Mr. John Nink. It was a one and a hah story 
building with a steep roof and a front considerably more 
extended than the familiar picture of it suggests, and having 
two front doors. The little house to the right of the inn was 
that of John A. Groat, on the site of the house built by 
George Reynolds and now belonging to the Misses Milham. 
The inn itself was long since destroyed and it is by a pleasing 
fiction that the present building is now regarded by strangers 
as the birthplace of Martin Van Buren. This inn received 
no little patronage from the stagecoach travelers. The 
English engineer, James Montressor, writes in his Journal 
of leaving New York May 2, 1759, and of breakfasting at 
Kinderhook May 5th. He also records that in December, 
1759, he left Albany at noon with four sleighs, and stopped 
at Van Buren's at Kinderhook. Mr. Van Buren was not 
dependent solely upon his inn for a livelihood, for he had in 
connection therewith a small farm. 

Of somewhat later origin, probably, was the tavern on the 
southerly comer of Hudson and William streets and kept in 
Revolutionary days and earlier by Major Isaac Goes. The 
Major was very active as one of the Commissioners of Se- 




The Kinderhook Hotel 

From a photograph 




The Old Farmers' Hotel (Central House) 

From a photograph 



Old Homesteads and THeir People 387 

questration and confiscated much family plate of Loyalists. 

On Broad Street, the present dwelling of Mrs. Gifford 
W. Chrysler, built in 1 770, was at one time a tavern. Later, 
in front of Mr. G. S. Collier's residence, was Frink's famous 
Mansion House, which Mr. P. S. Hoes removed, and trans- 
formed it into the pleasant home of Mr. F. Bion Van Alstyne, 
and built the fine mansion now owned by Mr. G. S. Collier. 
The old buildings which have sailed up and down our streets 
would make a charming moving picture show. 

A few miles north of the village was the noted Quacken- 
boss (originally "bosch'') Tavern where for more than two 
months sat the Commissioners of 1753, making their di- 
vision of the great Kinderhook Patent of 1686. It is now 
the dwelling of Theo. Dunspaugh. A little north of that 
point began the "Kinderhook Plains" which we note in the 
schedules of the stagecoaches of the time. Quackenboss's 
Inn was later known as Deyo's, where Alexander Hamilton 
was wont occasionally to tarry for a night. Later still it was 
known as Miller's Tavern, where Van Buren, the young 
attorney, made one of his first legal arguments in opposition 
to Elisha Williams. Being short of stature he stood on a 
table. Very many other inns there were along the Post Road 
through our Town and Village, which we cannot now locate 
with precision, but the present Sharp house was one of them. 

Especially do we regret our inability to locate the inn of 
Elijah Hudson, concerning whom we are indebted to the 
fine discernment of Chaplain R. R. Hoes, U. S. N., for this 
delightful morceau — that while a Tarrytown innkeeper in 
1798, advertised in the Albany Register "lodging and clean 
sheets 3 shillings, dirty sheets, one shilling," our noble 
Elijah offered "lodging and clean sheets for one shilling." 
This was not the "Ebenezer Hudson" of Kinderhook, 
against whom, as "abusive and extortionate," an irate 
newspaper correspondent of the time cautioned fellow- 
travelers. Perish the thought ! 

In the village the Kinderhook Inn is the most important 



388 Old liinderKooK 

survivor of those of historic interest. Among the eariier 
landlords we read of Peter I. Lewis, David Skinner, Robert 
Rosboro, Daniel B. Stranahan, Tryon & Granger, and 
Asaph Wilder. Many were the notables, especially in Van 
Buren's time, who frequented it. From the piazza of the 
hotel, as it was before the fire, Henry Clay, on his visit to Van 
Buren in 1844, addressed a crowd of assembled villagers; 
and here it was, at a reception which followed, that the 
master of ceremonies forgetting for the moment the name of 
the beautiful young woman he was about to introduce, Mr. 
Clay hastened to relieve his embarrassment by saying: "No 
matter what her name now is, she will soon change it. " 

The landlords following Mr. Wilder (omitting a few 
transient bonifaces) were Isaac Hoes, William Bradley, 
William Childs, J. A. Freeland, William Hickey, Isaac 
Bradley whose widow fully maintained the reputation of this 
old-time inn for several years; in 191 2 Dr. Dominick, and 
now Mr. Frank A. Myers. 

The Central House (formerly the Farmers' Hotel) had 
the beginning of its much enlarged building in the first 
somewhat pretentious schoolhouse and Academy erected in 
1792. Among the landlords have been — Andrew Van Slyck, 
Benjamin De Myer, Henry Holcomb, Gideon Mandeville, 
and Daniel Herrick. The tree near the northwest comer of 
the present building is said to have been planted for Dr. 
Lucas Pruyn by Cornelius McCagg, who also set out many 
of the elms and maples that now adorn our streets. Shaded 
by the Central House elm stood the office where for many 
years Dr. Lucas Pruyn prescribed his patients' pills, potions, 
powders, poultices, and plasters. 

Lindenwald Hotel was originally Bray & Herrick's shoe 
store, dwelling, and Hall where the Masons now have their 
Lodge room. Many a public meeting has been held there in 
years long gone. There, after the church was burned, in 
'67, the congregation assembled in large numbers and re- 
solved to arise and build. There, arrayed in impressive 



Old Homesteads and TKeir People 389 

toggery, we helped the Sons of Temperance to solemnly- 
initiate several saintly young women whom the Order had 
rescued from — we know not what. Gideon Mandeville for 
many years kept this house which became renowned for its 
excellent table and for his gracious household. He was 
succeeded by Mr. J. H. Staatt for a short time; and he by 
William Hickey, who has long and politely welcomed the 
coming and speeded the parting guest. Other alleged hotels 
there have been in plenty, that, for example, in the old Vos- 
burgh-Van Alen home for which this notice will suffice. 



CHAPTER XIII 

LAWYERS, PHYSICIANS, THE MINISTRY, 
MISCELLANEOUS 

Lawyers efaL — Tabular List — The Van Nesses — The Silvesters — The Van 
Schaacks — J. C. Wynkoop — Martin Van Buren — Lawrence Van Buren — 
The Butlers— W. H. Tobey— The Van Santvoords— J. H. Reynolds— A. 
J. Vanderpoel— C. L. Beale— L. Van Men— P. Van Alstine— M. H. 
Glynn— G. S. Collier— C. M. Bray— F. S. Becker— M. S. Hyman— E. D. 
Howe— C. S. Beckwith— W. M. Hoes— E. P. Hoes— J. B. Pruyn. 

Physicians et al. — A. Van Dyck — J. Quilhot — Dr. Averill — J. Pomeroy — J. 
A. Van Alen— J. H. Philip— O. H. Smith— D. Sargent— U. G. Hitchcock 
— J, L Beekman — W. Barthrop — J. P. Beekman — J. Vanderpoel — S. O. 
Vanderpoel — A. V. V. Pruyn — County Medical Society — G. E. Benson— 
H. L. Van Dyck— A. H. Van Dyck— L. Van Schaack— J. M. Pruyn— L. 
Pruyn— S. G. Talmage— P. V. S. Pruyn— M. M. Kittell— N. D. Garnsey 
— R. J. Waterbury — H. J. Noerling — A. V. Dimock — W. W. Wendover — 
E. J. CoUier. 

The Ministry — Fifteen Contributions to the Ministry — L. H. Van Dyck — 
C. V. A. Van Dyck — E. L. Heermance. 

Miscellaneous— Foster Rhodes— T. M. Burt— S. W. Burt — H, Van Dyck 
— Major-General M. H, Chrysler — Colonel W. L. Heermance — Rear- 
Admiral J. W. Philip. 

MANY brief biographical notes may be found in other 
chapters. Generally the following sketches are classi- 
fied as stated, but not strictly. In the first and second 
sections members of the same family are grouped in chrono- 
logical order and others than professional men are included. 
Peter Van Ness, for example, although Kinderhook's first 
Judge, was not a lawyer but the father of a remarkable 
family of lawyers. 

390 



La-wyers 39 1 

TABULAR LIST 

Of native and resident lawyers, we give the following 
list beginning with 1765. Doubtless a few omissions and 
inaccuracies will be discerned, but the list is approximately 
complete and correct. The most recent County History is 
in part our authority, together with Mr. G. S. Collier's 
notes on the last forty years. The prefixed date denotes the 
year of admission to the Bar or of the beginning of practice 
in the town. 1765, Peter Silvester; 1786, John C. Wynkoop, 
Myndert P. Vosburgh, Peter Van Schaack (re-admitted) ; 
1788, Isaac Goes; 1789, Francis Silvester; 1790, Peter L. Van 
Alen; 1791, H. C. Van Schaack, J. P. Van Ness; 1792, 
Barent Goes, Barent Van Buren; 1794, James I. Van Alen; 
1798, Francis Silvester, Jr.; 1799, W. P. Van Ness; 1803, 
Francis Pruyn, C. P. Van Ness, Martin Van Buren; 1808, 
James Vanderpoel; 181 1, Abraham A. Van Buren; 18 13, 
Thomas Beekman, B. F. Butler; 1816, David Van Schaack; 
181 7, JuHus Wilcoxson; 1820, W. H. Tobey, Aaron Vander- 
poel; 1830, P. H. Silvester, John Snyder, Peter Van Schaack, 
Jr.; 1 83 1, James Burt; 1833, George W. Bulkley; 1840, 
Gershom Bulkley; 1842, John H. Reynolds, E. A. Duns- 
combe; 1845, E. R. Peck; 1846, George Van Santvoord; 
1847, Aaron J. Vanderpoel; 1850, W. C. Benton; 1851, C. L. 
Beale; 1852, James Sutherland, Jr. ; 1854, James E. Nearing; 
1856, F. Silvester; 1858, Theodore Snyder, Lucas L. Van 
Alen; 1864, Jacob P. Miller; 1866, W. H. Atwood; 1868, 
George K. Daley; 1872, Alonzo H. Farrar, W. H. Silvemail. 
Gerrit S. Collier; 1873, A. B. Gardinier; 1877, George D. 
Earll; 1883, Chas. M. Bray; 1885, Edson R. Harder; 1889, 
Sanford W. Smith, Edwin D. Howe; 1890, Frank S. Becker; 
1910, Claude S. Beckwith; 1912, Max S. Hyman. 

Peter Van Ness. 1734-1804 

"Erected by their oldest son, John, in behalf of himself 
and other children and grand children," there stands amid 



392 Old R.inderHooK 

a clump of trees within a small enclosure behind Lindenwald 
mansion, a pleasing marble monument to Peter Van Ness 
and his wife, Elbertie. The inscription, as legible as though 
recently graven, is as follows: 

Here lie the remains of The Honorable Peter Van Ness, who 
died December 21, 1804, aged 70 years and 21 days. He was a 
high minded, honorable, sensible man, fearing none but God, and 
a distinguished and influential patriot in the most trying times: 
having served his country with great credit in numerous public 
stations, both civil and military : among which were the command 
of a company at the age of nineteen years by the unanimous 
choice of his men in the invasion and conquest of Canada by the 
British; the command of a regiment at the capture of Burgoyne 
in 1777 ; that of a member of the State Convention which adopted 
the Federal Constitution; and service as a State Senator, Member 
of the Council of Appointment, and chief judge of this county. 

Peter Van Ness was bom in that part of old Claverack 
which is now in the to-^n of Ghent. He was the third son of 
William and Gertrude (Hogeboom) Van Ness, and an uncle 
of the distinguished jurist William W, Van Ness. Peter's 
younger brother, John, was the proprietor of a large tract of 
land in the northeastern part of old Kinderhook, as noted 
elsewhere. According to tradition, which we can neither 
prove nor disprove, Peter Van Ness moved to Kinderhook 
in 1780, and purchased the estate to which Martin Van 
Buren gave the name — Lindenwald. At a banquet in 
Kinderhook sixty years later, Dr. John M. Pruyn, in a toast, 
alluded to William as well as Cornelius, as bom here. Un- 
less he was in error Peter's coming must be placed two or 
more years earlier. In 1797, as the still existing iron door- 
knocker reveals, he built the doubtless modest beginnings 
of the present stately mansion. 

Worthily held in honored remembrance for his varied 
and manifold services, Peter Van Ness had the rare distinc- 
tion of being the father of three sons each of whom achieved 



La-wyers 393 

high renown. If he came to Kinderhook in 1780 as generally 
supposed, he brought with him two boys, John P., about ten 
years old and WilHam P., about two. Two years later 
Cornelius P. was bom. There were also two daughters. 
Catharine married James Brebner, a Kinderhook merchant 
and of some distinction in public life, who lived for a time 
in the present Chrysler house. After his death his widow 
married Abram Van Alen. Gertrude P. Van Ness married 
Martin Hoffman. 

We are indebted to Mr. E. C. Getty, of Hudson, for the 
original of this pleasing letter written one himdred and 
twenty years ago at the first Van Ness homestead by Gertrude 
P. to her friend Cornelia T., daughter of Governor George 
Clinton. "Johnny and Billy" were the writer's brothers 
of whose brilliant future she little dreamed. 

Kinderhook, May nth., '93. 
My dear friend: 

I have long impatiently waited for an opportunity to write a 
line to my friend. I received a few lines last winter by brother 
Johnny. Although the letter was very short yet the idea of 
being remembered by you imparted satisfaction to my heart. 
How have you spent your winter, very lively I suppose. Is New 
York very gay? The country is now beautiful. I wish you were 
here to view with me the delightful fields and meadows with 
which we are surrounded, fruit trees all decorated with blossoms 
of variegated colors. My lilacs look elegant. Let me know 
whether your family intends spending the simimer in the country. 
I wish you could make it convenient to pay me a visit this sum- 
mer. We could make a very agreeable party to the Springs. 
Bring your sweetheart with you if you cannot separate yourself 
from him for a few weeks. I shall be exceeding happy to see j^ou. 

I suppose my friend you attended the ball which was given 
by the gentlemen of the Belvidere club last winter. Was it a 
very elegant one? What were you dressed in, and how did the 
ladies all look? What hats do the ladies wear now? You must, 
I believe, give a description of the fashions of the gentlemen, you 
can do it so well. I read part of your letter last fall to Johnny and 



394 Old tlinderKooK 

Billy. They laughed very hearty indeed. If you can spare so 
much time, Cornelia, write a line and send it to our friend Nancy. 
. . . My love to your Papa & Mama, sister Caty & the family. 
I shall write again very soon. Gertrude P. Van Ness. 

John P. Van Ness. 1^/0-1846 

Was bom in the town of Ghent ; was graduated at Colum- 
bia College ; studied law in the office of Brockholst Living- 
ston in New York ; began the practice of law in Claverack in 
1799, but soon retired on account of ill health. In 1801 he 
was elected a member of Congress. About a year later he 
married Marcia Bum, a very wealthy v/oman and of ex- 
ceptional charm of person and character. Washington was 
thenceforth his home. President Jefferson appointed him 
Brigadier-General of the District Militia, and Madison made 
him Major- General. He was many times elected mayor of 
the city, until he declined re-election. Largely through his 
efforts the Bank of the Metropolis was established, in the 
presidency of which he continued until his death. His wife, 
by her manifold charms, charities, and devotion, won the 
highest respect of all who knew her. She established the 
Protestant Orphan Asylum, gave the land for two churches, 
and was abundant in her beneficences. Years ago when the 
interior of St. John's Episcopal church was re-modeled all 
pews were re-arranged except that wont to be occupied by 
General and Mrs. Van Ness. That was left unchanged. On 
her death both Houses of Congress adjourned out of respect 
to her memory; an honor given to no other woman. The 
mausoleum in which repose the remains of both was modeled 
after the temple of Vesta at Rome, and cost $34,000. 

William P. Van Ness. 1788-1826 

The second son of Peter Van Ness, William P., was bom 
in Ghent (Dr. Pruyn said Kinderhook) in 1778. He was a 
graduate of Columbia College, 1797; studied law in the office 



La"wyers 395 

of Edward Livingston, New York, and began practice there 
in 1800. In his office in 1802 Martin Van Buren completed 
his preparatory legal studies. In the Jefferson and Burr 
presidential campaign (1800) Mr. Van Ness labored with 
enthusiasm for the election of the latter (his intimate friend) 
as President. In one of the Hudson papers of the time ap- 
peared a series of articles bitterly attacking the Livingstons 
and Clintons, and signed "Aristides. " Their vigor and 
brilliancy were widely recognized, and when Mr. Van Ness 
came to be known as the writer he was hailed and honored 
as a second but discovered Junius. His intimacy with Burr 
led him to consent to act as Burr's second in his fateful duel 
with Alexander Hamilton, July 11, 1804. In 1812 President 
Madison appointed Mr. Van Ness Judge of the United States 
District Court for the Southern District of New York; a 
position which he continued to hold with much honor until 
his sudden death in 1826. While Judge he resumed his 
residence at Linden wald, much enlarging and otherwise im- 
proving the house. Washington Irving was a frequent 
visitor there, and acted for a time as private tutor of the 
children. Portions of his immortal works were written there. 
The published writings of Mr. Van Ness were (jointly with 
John Wood worth) : Laws of New York, with Notes, 2 vols., 
Albany, 1813 ; Reports of Two Cases in the Prize Court of New 
York District, 18 14; and Concise Narrative of General Jack- 
son^s First Invasion of Florida, 1826. 

Cornelius P. Van Ness. 1 782-1 852 

Cornelius P., the third son of Peter Van Ness, was born 
in Kinderhook, January 26, 1782. Although prepared for 
college, he decided in the first instance not to study for a 
profession, but when about eighteen he changed his mind and 
entered his brother William's law office in New York City. 
He was admitted to the bar in 1804 and two years later 
moved to St. Albans, Vt., and began practice, but three years 



396 Old HinderHooK 

thereafter moved to Burlington and was made postmaster 
there. In 1809, President Madison appointed him U. S. 
District-Attorney for Vermont. In 1813 he was collector of 
the port of Burlington; in 18 16 one of the Commissioners to 
settle the northeastern boundary; in i8i8-'2i a member 
of the Vermont General Assembly; in 1821, Chief Justice of 
the Supreme Court; i823-'29, three times re-elected Gov- 
ernor of Vermont; i829-'37, U. S. Minister to Spain, and 
in 1844 Collector of the port of New York. In 1823 the 
University of Vermont awarded him the degree of LL.D. 
In 1848 (Washington, D. C), he published a "Letter to the 
Public on Political Parties, Caucuses, and Conventions." 
One of the daughters married Judge James Roosevelt, of the 
New York Supreme Court, a granduncle of ex-President 
Roosevelt. 

Not easily, we think, can we find a parallel to the record 
of a father and three sons. 

Peter Silvester. 1734-1808 

We can neither verify nor disprove the tradition that 
Peter Silvester was born in Shelter Island and was a member 
of the family of Nathaniel Sylvester, who was, as indicated 
on his tombstone, "First Resident Proprietor of the Manor 
of Shelter Island, under Grant from Charles II., 1666." 
That in that Shelter Island family we have found the names 
— Peter, Francis, and Margaret Sylvester, names familiar in 
our Kinderhook family, seems to us more than a remarkable 
coincidence, and to give strong verisimilitude to the tradi- 
tion. The more common statement is that he was born on 
Long Island. 

In 1763 Mr. Silvester appears in Albany as a lawyer of 
sufficient eminence to be employed as Sir William Johnson's 
attorney. In the Johnson MSS. in the State Library are 
(or were) many professional letters of the former. In 
one he writes Sir William that Witham Marsh has had a 



La-wyers 397 

conference with him concerning the wrongs of Indians, whose 
notable friend Sir WilHam was. In 1764 he writes that Mr. 
Marsh, one of the executors of whose will Mr. Silvester sub- 
sequently became, had appointed him deputy town clerk 
and "clerk of the peace. " He asks Sir William's favor in his 
present incumbency and expresses his hope of appointment 
as principal, should there be a vacancy. In 1771 he advises 
that certain matters be intrusted to Peter Van Schaack of 
New York. 

Dr. O'Callaghan's New York Marriages, p. 381, has the 
record of Peter Silvester's marriage, August 16, 1764, to Jane 
Van Schaick. This was Jannetje, a daughter of Cornelius 
Van Schaack of Kinderhook, and an elder sister of Peter 
Van Schaack, then a student in Kings (Columbia) college. 
Two years later Mr. Silvester is a lawyer of repute in Albany. 
In his office his brother-in-law, Peter Van Schaack, becomes 
a student in 1766 and remains eighteen months. The follow- 
ing year the Rev. William Hanna, who had been pastor of 
the First Presbyterian church of Albany for five years, also 
became a student in Mr. Silvester's office. At about this 
time he moved to Kinderhook, and lived thenceforth in the 
Van Schaack homestead where his wife was born and of 
which he through her came into possession. There in 1767 
his son Francis was born; and there in 1808, aged about 
seventy-four, Peter Silvester died. Presumably both he and 
his wife were buried in the old Van Schaack cemetery, 
around and over which the Reformed Dutch church was 
built in 1 8 14. 

Although residing here, he retained his church affiliations 
with Albany. In the Charter of Incorporation of St. Peter's 
church there, granted by George III. in 1769, Mr. Silvester's 
name appears as vestryman, and four years later he was one 
of the wardens. 

After his removal to Kinderhook he evidently had some 
commercial as well as professional interests, for in Munsell's 
Annals (vol. i., p. 258) we read of his shipment from New 



398 Old RinderKooK 

York to the West Indies, by the sloop Olive Branch, in 1770, 
of a ton of flour, for which he received somewhat over $32,00. 

Mr. Silvester was appointed and elected to many posi- 
tions of trust and honor. He was one of the eleven (later 
twelve) Deputies from old Albany County to the first and 
second Provincial (State) Congress, 1 775-1 776. The Jour- 
nal, however, reveals that he personally attended only the 
short summer session of the first. The Act of appointment 
gave to any four or more of the County Deputies who might 
be present the full powers of the whole delegation. That 
Mr, Silvester felt he was needed at home in those very 
troublous times in Kinderhook, and had confidence in the 
wisdom and patriotism of his colleagues, is the presumable 
explanation of his non-attendance. In '86 he was the Judge 
of the Court of Common Pleas for Columbia County. In 
'87 he was appointed a Regent of the University of the 
State. He was a member of the first and second United 
States Congress, 1789-91; State Senator, 1788, 1803, '04, 
and '06. 

From what we have been able to read of this (chronologi- 
cally) "first lawyer of Kinderhook," and what we have 
heard from his honored granddaughter Margaret and 
others, he seems to have been an eminent jurist, a devoted 
patriot, and a pure-hearted and high-minded citizen and 
gentleman, worthy the tribute to Nathaniel of Shelter 
Island: "Loyal to duty. Faithful to friendship. The soul 
of integrity and honor. Hospitable to Worth and Culture, " 
and, we add, a sincere Christian. 

Francis Silvester, son of Peter, was born in Kinder- 
hook, July 22, 1767, and died here, January 31, 1845. On 
his graduation from Columbia College he becamic a student 
in his father's office in this village and in due time began 
practice here where he continued his office and residence 
until his death. His wife was his cousin, Lydia Van Vleck 
Van Schaack, foster daughter of David Van Schaack. 

Very often in years gone has her daughter Margaret 



La-wyers 399 

spoken of her mother in the most exalted terms. But Marga- 
ret herself, with her cultivated mind, refined tastes, charm- 
ing grace, of manner, and all lovable womanly excellences, 
including a most sunny saintliness, was her mother's most 
noble monument. It is not strange that ex-President Van 
Buren was a frequent though finally disappointed visitor 
at her beautiful home. She died January 21, 1903, aged 
ninety-one. Her father, Francis Silvester, built what was 
long known as the Silvester house, later owned and occupied 
by Mr. Sheldon Norton, now occupied by Mrs. Heath. Mr. 
Silvester had a very extensive law practice and was the 
law preceptor of Martin Van Buren; but his only pubHc 
position was as member of the State Constitutional Conven- 
tion of I 82 I. 

Peter Henry Silvester, only son of Francis, was born 
in 1807, graduated at Union College in 1827, and became a 
lawyer of distinction in Coxsackie. He was a member of the 
30th and 31st Congress. His two sons were Francis and 
John L. B. Silvester. 

Francis Silvester, 2d, 1 833-1 903. He was born in 
Coxsackie, November 15, 1833. His father was the Hon. 
Peter H. Silvester (son of Francis, of Kinderhook) and his 
mother, Catharine S. Bronk, of Coxsackie. Francis, after 
graduation from the Kinderhook Academy, studied law and 
in 1856 was admitted to the Columbia County Bar. He 
began practice in the office of W. H. Tobey, Kinderhook, 
while the latter was State Senator. Soon thereafter Mr. 
Tobey received him into partnership and the firm continued 
to be Tobey and Silvester for many years. In 1858 Mr. 
Silvester was elected District Attorney and served three 
years, and was also a member of the State Constitutional 
Convention of 1867. He was an able lawyer, a pleasing 
speaker and a graceful writer, as witnessed by orations and 
addresses which appeared in the local press, and by many 
obituary notices that came from his facile pen. He died 
suddenly in New York City, December 6, 1903, survived by 



400 Old R-inderhooK 

his brother, John L. B. Silvester, now of Albany. Diiring 
the latter part of his life he withdrew from the general 
practice of his profession and devoted himself to the manage- 
ment of some large estates. His trusts were judiciously and 
faithfully fulfilled. 

Peter Van ScJumck. 1747-1832 

Peter Van Schaack was the fourth son and the youngest 
of the seven children of ComeHus \'an Schaack and Lydia 
Van Dyck. Bom Alarch, 1747, he was baptized on the 24th 
of the following April in the old Dutch church, John Living- 
ston and Catrina Van Dyck appearing as sponsors. In- 
tended by his father from the first for one o£ the liberal 
professions, though he himself inclined to the army, he was 
sent at an early age to the village school, where, notwith- 
standing certain alleged infeHcities of temper and method on 
the part of his teacher, "I persevered, " he wrote, "and soon 
found myself advanced in my learning beyond my o"^-n most 
flattering expectations." The two years preceding his col- 
lege course were spent under the instruction of the Rev. 
Richard Charlton of Staten Island, a graduate of Trinity 
College, Dublin, and an accomplished scholar and successful 
teacher. In 1762 he entered the freshman class of Kings 
(Columbia) College. He was the first of our Kinderhook 
young men to have a collegiate education. John Jay, Egbert 
Benson, Richard Harrison, Gouvemeur Morris, and others of 
subsequently illustrious name, were among his classmates 
or associates; and between himself and the four named a 
special friendship was formed which continued through life, 
notwithstanding radical differences of opinion and action in 
the coming "times that tried men's souls." In 1765, while 
still an undergraduate, he privately married Elizabeth, 
daughter of Henr\' Cruger, a prominent merchant of the 
city. Her father's displeasure on hearing of the marriage 
was intense. We read that he not only made the usual vow 



La^vvryers 401 

that she should never again darken his door, but also that he 
took off his wig and threw it into the fire. Reconciliation, 
however, came at last and the young couple received the 
parental and family blessing in full measure. Ultimately 
Mr. Van Schaack was one of Mr. Cruger's executors. In 
college he won several prizes for scholarship and was gradu- 
ated with the highest honors. Beginning with the spring of 
1766 he spent eighteen months in the Albany law office of 
Peter Silvester, who had married his sister Jane. Leaving 
Albany he entered the office of William Smith, the historian 
and jurist, in New York. In 1769, he and his friends Benson 
and Harrison were licensed as attorneys of the Supreme 
Court. It was considered quite remarkable that three 3'oung 
men should be admitted to the Bar at one time. Opening an 
office in Cedar Street, Mr. Van Schaack's ability, character, 
and advantageous family connections enabled him to win a 
rapidly increasing clientage. In 1773 to him alone was given 
the responsible work of collating and revising the Colonial 
Statute Laws, from 1691-1773. His work, published in 1774, 
was most creditable to his judgment and industry, and was 
for many years regarded as an essential volume in every 
lawyer's library. To the intense application given to this 
work he attributed the beginning of the trouble which finally 
made him totally blind. 

But troublous times were now at hand. We need not 
repeat what we have written relative to the loyaHsts of 
whom Mr. Van Schaack was one of the most eminent. He 
was mistaken in his judgment, but he was utterly honest and 
conscientious. None the less his mistake was of lasting 
injury to himself. Had he been able to act and think 
differently there was almost no position of judicial eminence 
in the State or Nation which he might not have attained. 
He was mistaken and suffered in consequence thereof; but 
the most ardent patriots, like Jay and Benson, while entirely 
out of sympathy with his views, and grieved by them, 
nevertheless respected and loved him. 
26 



402 Old RinderHooK 

The account of his treatment by the irresponsible and 
sometimes arbitrary and unjust Commissioners for Detect- 
ing and Defeating Conspiracies may be found in Mr. H. C. 
Van Schaack's Life of his father, and also in Mr. Paltsits' 
recently published Minutes oj the Commissioners. More- 
over, before his departure for England, his wife had died. 
He had also buried six of her nine young children. It is no 
wonder that the broken-hearted man wrote of the final 
decree of banishment, regretfully signed by John Jay, as his 
'^ death warrant.'" But such was not the fact. Apart from 
the pity and pain of it, his exile, partly voluntary, partly 
enforced, inured greatly to his benefit in manifold ways; 
broadening his mind, enlarging his experience, and bringing 
him into close association with the best scholarship and 
finest culture of England. His brother-in-law, Mr. Cruger, 
was a member of Parliament. Through him Mr. Van 
Schaack was enabled to hear all the great orators of the time 
and to know many of England's most notable men and 
women. Nor was he professionally idle. "While in Eng- 
land, " Benjamin F. Butler wrote, "he was consulted in many 
cases involving intricate and important legal questions, and 
on one occasion in particular he was associated with Lord 
Chancellor Eldon, whose reputation, it is believed, was much 
enhanced by pursuing the advice and adopting the views of 
Mr. Van Schaack." 

As the struggle went on and he came to have a clearer 
insight into the spirit and intents of the dominant party in 
Parliament, he had less and less respect for the British view 
of the controversy and more and more sympathy with the 
American. He hailed the triumph of the colonies with 
unmingled delight. In October, 1783, he received this 
welcome note from John Jay in London: " I am this moment 
arrived and shall not probably be called upon this evening. 
If you are as much at leisure it will give me pleasure to see 
you." We have no copy of his note in reply, but we have 
this entry in Mr. Jay's diary: "We met with all the cordial- 



La-wyers 403 

ity of old friends who had long been absent, without the 
least retrospect to the cause of that absence. " Subsequently 
Jay wrote to Benson: "Having been very well assured that 
the conduct of Peter Van Schaack (and others) had been 
perfectly unexceptional and that they had not associated 
with the abominable Tory club of London, I received and 
returned their visits." 

It was with great joy that in 1785 he returned to his 
native land and village. Of his reception in New York he 
wrote: "Mr. Jay has behaved like a true friend. He came 
on board the ship immediately, brought me on shore, took 
me to the Governor's, Chief Justice's, etc., and seems de- 
termined to do everything for me he can. All descriptions of 
people show me every attention and kindness." It is not 
surprising that John Jay has been a favorite name in our 
Van Schaack family. A grandson, John Jay Van Schaack, 
was a soldier in our Civil War, a cashier of the old Kinder- 
hook Bank, and a highly respected citizen. There is another 
of the same name, living in Hartford, Conn., and a John Jay 
Van Alstyne in our village; both of them great-great-grand- 
sons of the subject of our sketch. 

By special Acts of legislature applicable to his and 
similar cases Mr. Van Schaack was restored to all rights and 
privileges of citizenship and also re-admitted to the Bar. 
He resumed the practice of law and was very active in pri- 
vate but influential ways in promoting the welfare of the 
State, in furthering the adoption of the Federal Constitution 
and in upbuilding the new Republic. His home for a time 
was with his brother David in the former Vanderpoel 
mansion, but he soon built the house to the east of it, known 
to us as the Mix-Haines-Harder dwelling. 

April 27, 1789, he married EHzabeth, daughter of John 
L., and sister of Lucas I. Van Alen, of another notable 
family. She also became the mother of nine children, the 
first two of whom were named John, as two of Elizabeth 
Cruger's had been. The other children were: David, b. 



404 Old RinderKooK 

Dec. 9, 1793, tn. Catharine Sickles; Peter, b. Oct. 19, 1795, 
m. Dorcas Manton; Lydia, b. July 4, 1798, m. Thomas 
Beekman; Christina, b. July 2, 1800, unmarried and re- 
membered as a sweet gentle presence in her brother David's 
home; Henry Cruger, b. April 3, 1802, — later of Manlius, m. 
Adaline Ives; Lucas, b. Nov. 7, 1804 — in 1827 a physician 
in Oswego, m. Sarah Hawley; Margaret, b. June 9, 1807, m. 
John M. Pruyn, M.D. 

July 14, 1804, we find him chairman of the meeting of the 
Columbia County Bar called at Claverack to take action 
concerning the death of Hamilton, Among the resolutions 
was one to wear crape on the arm for one month. That same 
year Kinderhook had given Burr for Governor a majority 
of ninety-four. 

As the dimness of vision of his one remaining eye in- 
creased, he was obliged more and more to relinquish the 
practice of the law and devote himself to teaching the 
students whom in small groups he received for personal 
instruction, ±0 the number, it is said, of nearly one hundred 
in all. Among them was Henry I, Frey, only son of Major 
John Frey of Palatine. Henry married his preceptor's 
daughter Elizabeth. Other students were the sons of Chan- 
cellor Kent, Theodore Sedgwick, Rufus King, William Van 
Ness, and Ambrose Spencer. Cornelius, the father of Judge 
Theodore Miller, was also his pupil, as were many others who 
subsequently became distinguished. Teaching was contin- 
ued even when total blindness made him dependent on 
readers for the news of the day and the contents of new 
books. 

In his retirement he was much and frequently cheered by 
the visits of his old-time friend Judge Egbert Benson. A 
room in the house was known as Judge Benson's room. In 
the spring of 18 18, his son tells us, his father and Judge 
Benson drove from Kinderhook to Bedford in the latter's 
one-horse wagon (the Judge being driver) to visit their 
mutual friend, John Jay. In 1826, his alma mater, Columbia 



La-wyers 405 

College, gave him the degree of Doctor of Laws. For the 
Alumni dinner at the time he had prepared by request the 
five regular toasts with appropriate Latin quotations. A 
sixth, written by Colonel Troup, was this: "Peter Van 
Schaack — Admired for his knowledge of the law and classical 
attainments, and beloved for the virtues which adorn our 
nature. Quis jure peritior quis virtute praestantiorT' 

Beneath a somewhat awesome exterior there was a kind, 
sympathetic heart. Writing from London concerning his 
anxiety as regards his children's education, he is even more 
anxious he tells them, that they should "keep their hearts 
soft.'^ Of this as a characteristic of himself we have a 
pleasing trace in this extract from a letter of Gouverneur 
Morris : 

You say that it gives you pleasure to remember early friend- 
ships. This I am not surprised at, for in truth we meet with little 
else of friendships to remember. The after connections of life 
generally have some other basis. My own heart, worn by the 
succession of objects which have invaded it, looks back with more 
than female fondness toward the connections of earlier days. 

Writing to Mr. Silvester, shortly before returning home, 
concerning one who had been especially active and bitter 
against the Loyalists here he said : 

As to what you say of Major . . . , let me beg you will 
present my compliments to him. I bear enmity to no man exist- 
ing ; and however it may sound in the ears of some of my friends, 
yet to you, who know me to be incapable of /ime-serving conduct, 
I will say, that all he has done against me, is far overbalanced 
by what he might have done, but did 7tot; and that I am ready to 
shake him by the hand with cordiality and perfect oblivion of the 
past. No part of my conduct shall have retrospect to the trans- 
actions of the war. What is there in this Hfe of consequence 
enough to call forth the malignant passions of envy, hatred, 
revenge and malice ! 



4o6 Old K-inderHooK 

In the earlier part of the letter he wrote concerning some 
misunderstanding as regards the financial obligation of a 
kinswoman of this same Major: 

As to Mrs. . . . , she is too good a woman to speak an un- 
truth. Relinquish the interest; and give up the principal too, if 
you think her an object ... I would never receive a shilling 
that shotild be bathed with tears, or draw forth a sigh. 

Mr. Van Schaack died September 17, 1832. His grave 
and very modest stone are in our cemetery. In the Kinder- 
hook Sentinel of September 20th, there was an excellent 
obituary notice, written by the Hon. B. F. Butler. 

To his address before the N. Y. Historical Society in 1828, 
Chancellor Kent appended this note : 

It is worthy ot notice that the only two regiments of infantry 
from this State in the line of the army of the United States at the 
close of the war were commanded by Dutchmen. . . . And I 
hope I may be permitted to add, without meaning any invidious 
comparison, that we have now living in this State, in advanced 
years, three lawyers of Dutch descent, who are not surpassed 
anywhere in acuteness of mind, in sound law-learning and in 
moral worth. The reader will readily perceive that I have in my 
eye Egbert Benson, Peter Van Schaack and Abraham Van 
Vechten. 

Henry Van Schaack. 1233-1823 

The substance of this sketch is drawn from "Memoirs" 
of his uncle written by the late Henry C. Van Schaack, of 
Manlius, N. Y., and published in 1892, A. C. McClurg & Co., 
Chicago. 

Henry Van Schaack was the oldest son of Cornelius, and 
and was bom in Kinderhook, in February, 1733. His early 
opportunities of acquiring an education were limited and he 
was largely self-taught; but having a love for reading and 
study and a keen strong mind he became before middle life a 



La-wyers 407 

man of superior attainments and culture. At the age of 
fourteen he was employed in a merchant's counting house in 
New York city. In 1755, he was a lieutenant in a company, 
of which Philip Schuyler was Captain, in the expedition 
against Crown Point. The MSS. of Major-General (later 
Sir) William Johnson, in the State Library (if not de- 
stroyed by the late fire) reveal Mr. Van Schaack's frequent 
correspondence and consultation with his quondam com- 
manding officer concerning various colonial affairs. He was 
especially active in resisting the attempted encroachments 
upon the lands of Kinderhook's freeholders. From 1756- 
'69 Mr. Van Schaack's residence was in Albany. For 
several years he was paymaster of the New York regiment 
and "Commissary of the Musters, " a position requiring the 
visitation of frontier posts. He was also engaged in mer- 
cantile pursuits, especially the fur trade, in the interest of 
which he established trading posts at Niagara and later 
at Detroit and beyond. On one of his visits to Detroit he 
gave the Indians a silver tankard for the liberation of a white 
boy whom he educated and established in business and who 
went by the name of Tankard. In 1760 Mr. Van Schaack 
married Jane, daughter of Hitchen Holland, Captain of one 
of his majesty's independent companies at Oswego, then 
Fort Ontario. As Major he served in the movement against 
the Indians of the North- West in 1764, and formed inti- 
macies with Richard Montgomery and Thomas Morris (both 
Captains then) which continued through life. The former 
was a not infrequent visitor at Kinderhook. During much 
of this period, in addition to all other activities, Mr. Van 
Schaack was an alderman and the postmaster of Albany. 
After the passage of the odious Stamp Act, on the mere 
suspicion that he would be appointed stamp distributor, he 
was subjected to many threatening manifestations of popu- 
lar ill will. His brother-in-law, Peter Silvester, was an inter- 
mediary and the tumult was finally allayed. In 1769 he 
changed his residence to his native village. He was for 



4o8 Old IlinderKooK 

several successive terms chosen Justice of the Peace, was a 
member of the "Quorum" and was elected Supervisor six 
times. 

Mr. Van Schaack's part in events preceding the Revolu- 
tion has been noted hitherto. He was a Loyalist, conscien- 
tious in his convictions of right and duty, and seeking to 
maintain a neutral position. He, especially, was unable to 
see how he could violate his several times repeated official 
oath of loyalty to the king. He suffered much for his con- 
victions. The details, heretofore narrated in part, may be 
found in the "Memoirs" of his life. Many additional par- 
ticulars are in the lately published Minutes of the Commission 
for Detecting and Defeating Conspiracies. Twice arrested and 
confined he was finally sent to Hartford and later permitted 
to go to Massachusetts. At the conclusion of peace he 
moved to Berkshire, then to Richmond, and later to Pitts- 
field where he remained nearly twenty-three years. His 
home was what is now the very attractive Country Club 
House, and was frequently visited by the notables of his 
time. Admitted to citizenship at Berkshire he at once was 
actively interested in all public affairs. He was an ardent 
advocate of the adoption of the Federal Constitution and 
later a Federalist in politics; was energetic in opposition to 
Shay's rebellion ; was chosen a representative in the General 
Court (the legislature) ; was appointed Magistrate by Gov- 
ernor Hancock and reappointed by Governor Strong, and 
was one of the first Trustees of Williams College. With the 
exception of one child who died in infancy he had no off- 
spring, but adopted a sister's daughter, and when she married 
adopted another. In 1807 he returned to Kinderhook and 
built a delightful home overlooking the Hudson and adjoin- 
ing that of his married adopted daughter. There he lived in 
dignified and honored retirement, but not without interest 
in all public affairs. As late as 181 1 when he was seventy- 
nine years of age he made the wearisome journey to Williams- 
town to fulfill his duties as a Trustee of the College. Without 



La^wyers 409 

the early advantages of his younger brother Peter, he was not 
as scholarly nor as great; but he was a remarkable man in 
many respects. His acquaintance and association with the 
notable men of his time was very extensive ; his abilities of a 
high order; his character unimpeachable, and his whole bear- 
ing that of one of the most courtly gentlemen of the old 
school. He died July 18, 1823, and was buried in the Kinder- 
hook cemetery beside his wife who had passed away eight 
years before him. 

David Van Schaack. i'^Q3-i8y2 

David, the third son of Peter Van Schaack and Elizabeth 
Van Alen, was bom in Kinderhook, December 9, 1793. He 
was educated in his native village. His accomplished father 
was qualified to be both College and Law School. He was 
the junior partner for some years of Judge Julius Wilcoxson. 
Later in life he took Charles L. Beale into partnership. 
This brilliant, silver-tongued orator was well equipped for 
court trials and forensic service from which Mr. Van Schaack's 
very retiring disposition caused him to shrink. 

October 5, 1830, he married Catharine daughter of the 
Rev. Dr. Jacob Sickles. Their children were: Elsie E., 
who died April 6, 1846; Anna, who still lives in the house 
her father built in 1857, and John Jay. The last-named, born 
June 12, 1840, was Paymaster in the army during the Civil 
War; served as teller in the National Union Bank of Kinder- 
hook and also the First National, of Hudson, and at the 
time of his death was cashier of the "old bank" of Kinder- 
hook. He married Emma Darragh, of Wheeling, W. Va. 
Their children were David Van Schaack now of Hartford, 
Conn., and Mary Darragh, wife of James E. Van Alstyne of 
Kinderhook. John J. Van Schaack died, greatly lamented, 
September 8, 1877. 

David Van Schaack, Sr., was an enlisted soldier of the war 
of 1 8 12, but was not called upon to render active service. 



4IO Old HinderKooK 

He, none the less, however, took pleasure in his old age in 
speaking of that warlike episode in a most peaceful life. 
For many years he was the painstaking secretary of the 
Academy Trustees, and was from the organization of the 
Union Bank a Director and for the last years of his life 
the Vice-President. In 1868 he was honored by having his 
name placed on the Seymour electoral ticket. He shrank 
from, rather than sought publicity of any kind. His work 
was largely that of his office. Like Arent Van Dyck of a 
much earlier generation, he was the writer of almost in- 
numerable deeds, mortgages, and wills and often an executor 
of the latter. He managed many estates and was trustee for 
a host of widows and orphans ; always fulfilling his trust with 
the utmost fidelity and integrity not unmingled with kind- 
ness. For years after we first knew him, the first of April 
each year was wont to see his office thronged from early 
morning to late evening. Personal observation of his life 
and character enables us to attest the eminent appropriate- 
ness of the action of the Circuit Court of the County from 
which we quote: 

Resolved, That as members of the Bar of the County of 
Columbia, we, in common with his relatives and friends, would 
express our personal sorrow for his death and bear our united 
testimony to his talents, attainments and worth. Descended 
from an honored and distinguished ancestry he has adorned the 
profession of which he was an honored member by his unassum- 
ing and unobtrusive deportment, by his sound judgment and 
spotless integrity, by the industry and unswerving fidelity with 
which he ever discharged the duties devolving upon him, and by 
the genial friendship which he ever inspired and maintained with 
all with whom he was brought in contact in the course of his 
professional practice. 

Resolved, That in the delicate and responsible positions in 
which he was from time to time placed in the management of 
estates and in the performance of various trusts, public and 
private, he has always commended himself to the personal 



I 



La-wyers 411 

regard and confidence of those who were to be affected by his 
position and judgment, and he will be missed by the widow, the 
orphan, and all others who looked to him as their counsellor and 
friend, and the safe depository of their inheritance. 

He died March 23, 1872. 

Henry Cruger Van Schaack 

Henry C, the fourth son of Peter Van Schaack and 
Elizabeth Van Alen, was born in Kinderhook, April 2, 1802. 
After his academic and legal education at home he began 
practice at Black Rock, N. Y. In 1827 he married Miss 
Adaline Ives, of Lansingburgh, and soon thereafter moved to 
Manlius, N. Y., where he continued to reside until his death 
in 1887. He was a gentleman of the old school of the best 
type, most excellently equipped for his profession, and 
respected and beloved by his associates and all who knew him 
for his exalted character and his singular purity of life. 
Example and precept were always on the side of right. While 
of general literary culture in an eminent degree, he was a 
recognized authority in early American history. His pub- 
lished articles and public addresses on historical subjects 
were received with much favor. His more notable publica- 
tions were: The Life of Peter Van Schaack, Appleton, 1842; 
Henry Cruger — the colleague of Edmund Burke and the 
first American in the British Parliament; Captain Morris, 
of the IlUnois Country; A History of Manlius, and, printed 
after his death, Memoirs of Henry Van Schaack, an uncle. 
Exceedingly interesting and valuable also is his unpublished 
Autographic History of the Revolution. It is in three large 
volumes, made up, not of mere signatures but of original 
letters, nearly all of which relate to Revolutionary incidents. 
Some of them inherited, some purchased, and others ob- 
tained by exchange are now among the precious heirlooms of 
his children. As an honorary member of the New York, 



412 Old RinderKooK 

Illinois, Canadian, and other Historical Societies, he enriched 
their libraries by abundant contributions. Having no desire 
for public life he declined all opportunities therefor and 
would accept no favor from his intimate friend. President 
Fillmore, except the appointment of a son to West Point, 
Mr. Van Schaack was the father of fourteen children of whom 
eight were living at the time of his death. Some have since 
passed away, but they were at that time : H. C. Van Schaack 
of Manlius; Mrs. A. J. Vanderpoel of New York and Kinder- 
hook; Peter Van Schaack, Mrs. W. G. Hibbard, and Mrs. O. V. 
S. Ward of Chicago; C. P. Van Schaack of Tulare, Cal.; 
Mrs. W. F. Hubbard of Fort B., Dakota, and Mrs. F. P. 
Langtry of Manlius. Twenty-five years ago there were 
forty surviving descendants. There are now many more. 

John C. Wy?ikoop. i'j6i-i'/g6 

John C. Wynkoop, admitted to the Bar in 1786, was a son 
of Cornelius C. Wynkoop and Maria C. Roel. In Revolu- 
tionary times he was ardently devoted to the American cause, 
and as ardently hated by Tories of the baser sort because 
active in discovering and thwarting their secret plans to 
aid the British. His house which stood opposite the old 
furnace on Albany Avenue, and near the present home of 
Henry Krelberg, was burned with nearly all its contents, as 
hitherto narrated. Mr. Wynkoop had six children, viz., the 
Rev. P. S. Wynkoop, Adrian who became a lawyer, Henry 
V. S., Mrs. Hanley, Mrs. Van Dyck, and Mrs. Winans. 

In the N. Y. Historical Society library may be seen Mr. 
Wynkoop's cash book. It contains many items of interest 
concerning the numerous lawsuits in which he was engaged ; 
the pay he received, often in produce of the farms, hencoops, 
and dairy ; his charges for the board and schooling of a niece, 
including her slate pencils; and the payment for "a pound of 
snuff lost by him in bets with Abraham Van Vleck during 
his life time. " 



La-wyers 413 

Mr. Wynkoop died comparatively young. His widow- 
subsequently became the wife of Jacobus (James) Van Alen 
and lived in what is now the Nink house. She lived to an 
advanced age and was long known and loved as "Aunt 
Lydia." Mr. Wynkoop v/as an uncle of Mr. Augustus 
Wynkoop. In the latter part of his life he lived at Kingston, 
continuing his practice of law and also serving for a time 
as postmaster, as witnessed by an advertisement of letters 
a month before his death, shortly before which he had 
become blind. 

Martin Van Bur en. 1^82-1862 

In Archivist Van Laer's translation of the Van Rensselaer 
(Bowier) MSS, (p. 190), is a letter of the first patroon, 
Killian Van Rensselaer, dated 1634, which states that in 
163 1 Lourens Lourense and Cornells Maessen Van Buermal- 
sen sailed in the ship d'Eendracht {The Unity) from Amster- 
dam to the New Netherland. This Comelis was the pioneer 
Van Buren, at least in this vicinity. On the completion of 
his stipulated three years' residence as a lessee of the patroon, 
in 1634, ^^ went back to Holland, but two years later re- 
turned hither with his wife, Catalyntje Martensen (daughter 
of Marten). Their second son was named Marten. Thus 
early then in Rensselaerswyck, or Fort Orange, there was a 
Marten Van Buren, in the fifth generation from whom was 
bom that Martin whose name vv-ith that of C. V. A. Van 
Dyck has made our village most widely known. We note in 
passing that Cornells Maessen's third son, Maes Comelise, 
for some unknown reason, assumed the surname Bloeming- 
dael and was the ancestor of the Bloomingdale families of 
later times. 

It is stated that more biographies and sketches of Martin 
Van Buren have been published than of any other President 
with the exception of Washington and Lincoln. A former 
State Historian is our authority for the statement that no 
man in the history of our country held so many public offices 



414 Old ninderHooK 

as he. We are excusable if we limit our sketch of his public 
life to a mere outline and dwell more at length upon his 
associations with Kinderhook. 

He was bom in our village December 5, 1782. Ten days 
later, according to the custom of the time, he was baptized 
by the Rev. Johannes Ritzema. The sponsors were his 
uncle and aunt, Peter Van Buren and Catarina Quac- 
kenbos. His birthplace was a humble dwelling and inn 
long since removed. It stood in front of the house 
owned by the heirs of the late Henry Smith of Chatham, 
the second house south of Mrs. James A. Reynolds's 
present lawn. In tearing it down the initials M. V. B. 
were observed cut into one of the cellar beams, doubtless 
by his "own youthful hand. The house, small though it 
was, was for many years one of the numerous wayside inns. 
Martin (6) was the son of Abraham (5) ; son of Marten 
Piertse (4) and Dirckje Van Alstyne, who were married 
November 7, 1729; son of Pieter Martense (3) and Ariaantje 
Barentse who in 1695 were recorded as members of the 
Albany church ^^ living in Kinderhook''; son of Marten 
Comelise (2) 1686; son of Cornelis Maesse (i). Martin Van 
Buren's mother was Maria Goes (Hoes). At the time of her 
marriage to his father she was the widow of Johannes Van 
Alen and the mother of three children. She was the grand- 
daughter of Jan Tysse Goes, one of the freeholders of the 
Kinderhook Patent of 1686, the owner of a fourth part of the 
"Groote Stuk" and of other tracts as well. One of her 
sons was James I. Van Alen. He became distinguished as a 
lawyer; was a member of the State Constitutional Conven- 
tion ; Surrogate of Columbia County for two terms ; Judge of 
the County Court, and in 1808 a member of Congress. He 
had both the ability and the disposition to assist his half- 
brother Martin in obtaining his education, and did so credita- 
bly. He was a Federalist in politics and therefore in later 
years opposed to Martin, who by birth and presumably by 
intelligent choice was a Democrat. 



La-wyers 415 

Attached to the inn in which Martin was bom was a 
small farm on which were raised supplies for the family and 
public table and somewhat more for the market. An editor- 
ial in the New York Herald of May 3, 1837 (which we will 
explain later), referred to Martin Van Buren as "a common 
country lawyer who begaii life trundling cabbages to market 
in Kinderhook. " There was at least a modicum of truth 
in the latter part of the statement. We' have before us 
a personal letter from Hubert P. Main, the music writer and 
publisher, which tells us how pleasantly his aged mother 
recalled the time when she as seamstress often helped Mar- 
tin's careful mother in making and repairing his clothes. 
Needed at home to help his father during much of the year, 
Martin's schooling was largely confined to the winter 
months. Like Lincoln, however, he had a thirst for learning 
and a resoluteness of purpose which led him to make the best 
use of such advantages as he had, and to devote many of his 
summer as well as winter evenings to reading and study. 
His education, beginning in the miserable half -lighted school- 
house burrowing in the hill on Chatham Street, was com- 
pleted in the Kinderhook Academy, then of high standing 
and wide renown. When fourteen years old he entered the 
office of Judge Francis Silvester of our village and began the 
seven years' course of study and office-training then required 
for admission to the Bar. During that novitiate he was given 
frequent opportunities for service in the petty cases coming 
before Justices of the Peace, which afforded him much practi- 
cal training and won for him considerable local renown. His 
last year of study was spent in New York, in the office of the 
distinguished William P. Van Ness. After his admission to 
the Bar he returned to Kinderhook and entered into partner- 
ship with his half-brother James I. Van Alen. He was 
admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the State in 
1807, and soon thereafter married Hannah (Harriet) Hoes, 
a granddaughter of his mother's brother Derick. She died 
in 1 8 19, leaving four sons. Mr. Van Buren never married 



4i6 Old K-inderKooK 

again; and we have the affecting record of him that — "he 
remained loyal to the memory of his departed wife to the day 
of his death. " But some of us know of one of Kinderhook's 
estimable and cultivated women who declined to marry the 
ex-President. And there is an abiding tradition concerning 
the grave of yet another, in a private burial plot three miles 
from the village, which he was wont to visit occasionally 
and stand reverently beside it with hat in hand. 

From 1 808-1 8 13 he was the County Surrogate and made 
his home in Hudson, entering into partnership with Cornelius 
Miller, the father of the late Hon. and Judge Theodore 
Miller. Benjamin F. Butler, bom in Kinderhook, was a 
student in their office and was a member of Mr. Van Buren's 
household. The intimacy then begun continued through 
life. Mr. Van Buren's career was remarkably successful. He 
was usually one of the leading counsel in the many cases of 
land litigation of which we have sufficiently written. It is 
interesting to observe how skillfully in successive suits he 
could argue now one side and now the other of the same 
questions. Not infrequently his opponent was the gifted 
Elisha Williams, another very bright star in Columbia 
County's brilliant constellation of lawyers. Comparing the 
two, Benjamin F. Butler wrote: 

Never were two men more dissimilar. Both were eloquent; 
but the eloquence of Williams was declamatory and exciting; 
that of Van Buren insinuating and delightful. Williams had the 
livelier imagination. Van Buren the sounder judgment. The 
former presented the strong points of his case in bolder relief, 
invested them with a more brilliant coloring, indulged a more 
unlicensed and magnificent invective, and gave more life and 
variety to his arguments by his peculiar humor; but Van Buren 
was his superior in analyzing, arranging and combining the in- 
sulated materials, in comparing and weighing testimony, in 
unravelling the web of intricate affairs . . . and in working 
into the judgment of his hearers the conclusions of his own 
perspicuous and persuasive reasoning. 



^t : 









C^^JcL^^^ v^^^J^-^^ 



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^ »^>^<C— ^ x't 



dwi^d-^Z-^xAt O^i^ /^" Z^/'. 



e<^ <^<su. J^- 



^■/^iif/ ( 



The Van Buren Certificate 



if^a. '^."^V. 







Indian Village 



La-wyers 4^7 

Of his subsequent public career let it suffice to say: 
Elected State Senator in 1812, he speedily attained a position 
of commanding influence both in the Senate and Assembly, 
and in all the councils of his party; a position which he con- 
tinued to hold for more than thirty years. Beginning with 
18 15 he was the Attorney-General of the State for about five 
years, and from 18 16 until his removal to Washington his 
home was in Albany. He was State Senator again for four 
years ; also a Regent of the University. On the death of his 
law partner, Cornelius Miller, he took his friend Benjamin 
F. Butler into a partnership which continued until 1828. In 
1 82 1 Mr. Van Buren was a member of the State Constitu- 
tional Convention. In February of that year he was elected 
to the United States Senate and re-elected in 1827. His 
astuteness, and more creditable ability as well, received early 
recognition at Washington as at Albany, where he was one 
of the founders and one of the most influential members of 
the Albany Regency; perhaps the most powerful political 
machine in the history of our State. 

On the death of Governor De Witt Clinton, in 1828, Mr. 
Van Buren was elected his successor, but served as such less 
than three months, resigning his governorship that he might 
accept President Jackson's invitation to a place in his Cabi- 
net as Secretary of State. Creditably fulfilling the duties of 
his office from March, 1829, to June, 1 831, he then resigned, 
owing to some Cabinet dissensions, but was urged by the 
President to accept the mission to the Court of St. James, 
and finally did so, going to London in September. There he 
was received with much favor in social and diplomatic 
circles. Washington Irving was then our Consul at London 
and was the companion of Van Buren in many drives through 
those interesting portions of England which the former has 
so charmingly described. 

In January, 1832, the Senate refused to confirm Van 
Buren's appointment; Vice-President Calhoun of his own 
party giving the decisive casting vote against him. That 
27 



4i8 Old RinderhooK 

vote, which aroused the indignation of Van Buren's many 
friends, gave him, rather than Calhoun, the nomination as 
Vice-President when Jackson was nominated for his second 
term. It was while he was Vice-President that the editorial 
to which we have referred appeared in the New York Herald. 
Perhaps we can account for it. It was a virulent attack on 
Van Buren and "his atrocious associates" as "the original 
causes of the terrible moral, political and commercial desola- 
tion which had spread over the country. " From Mackenzie's 
screed on the ^^ Lives and Opinions of Benjamin F. Butler and 
Jesse Hoyt, " with its many not gentle allusions to Van 
Buren, worthy of Crockett's alleged Life of the latter, we 
have gleaned the following facts. In 1833 James Gordon 
Bennett was the proprietor of The Pennsylvanian, published 
in Philadelphia. In August of that year he wrote to Jesse 
Hoyt concerning his need of the financial aid of the Vice- 
President for the support of his paper. He had indeed 
received $200, which '^he would put into his big gun {The 
Pennsylvanian) and give the U. S. Bank a broadside.'' Now, 
however, he needs $2500; but "after working day and night 
for nearly ten years in Mr. Van Buren's behalf, the treat- 
ment received from him and his friends is superlatively 
heartless. " Mr. Van Buren read this letter or learned of its 
purport, as was evidently intended, and thereupon wrote to 
Mr. Hoyt thus: 

I would always have been happy to have done him (Mr. 
Bennett) good, but I cannot directly or indirectly afford pe- 
cuniary aid to his press, more particularly so as I am situated 
at the present moment. If he cannot continue friendly to me 
on public grounds and with perfect independence, I can only 
regret it but I desire no other support. Whatever course he may 
pursue, as long as it is an honest one, I shall wish him well. 

Well written, Mr. Van Buren! The vitriolic editorial in the 
New York Herald of May 3, 1837, is not as inexplicable as it 
was. But a few days before his death Jackson gave to a 



Lawyers 419 

visitor an appreciation of the "trundler of cabbages and the 
common country lawyer" from which we quote: 

I have enjoyed a long and happy acquaintance with Mr. Van 
Buren and have ever found him perfectly honest; as a statesman, 
quick and penetrating, possessing a powerful mind governed by 
strict integrity; ever ready to sacrifice personal feelings for the 
good of his country and totally regardless of individual popular- 
ity when his duty called him to defend the rights of the people. 
. . . There is no man in the country that has ever been in public 
life, to my knowledge, who has passed a life with more purity in 
all his public and private duties. 

In 1836 Mr. Van Buren was elected President. In 1840 
he was renominated, but defeated by General Harrison. 
Concerning that time we have had before us the original 
letter of Mr. William Allen Butler to the late Mr. Pierre V. 
B. Hoes, a grandnephew of Mr. Van Buren. We quote: 

He was with us when General Harrison died and John Tyler 
succeeded to the Presidency. During his stay my father gave 
a large reception for him and included in the guests, not only the 
Democrats in the city who were socially prominent but also a 
considerable number of the rank and file of the members of the 
party. It was rather a departure from the conventional gather- 
ings of the kind, but I recollect that at the close it was pro- 
nounced by Charles Eames, a sententious lecturer of the time, 
to have been "an originality, a success and a benefaction." 
Mr. Van Buren was greatly pleased with the entertainment. I 
remember well that he was as serene and good humored during 
his visit to us as if he had not been defeated in his second contest 
for the Presidency. 

In 1844 he received a majority but not a two thirds vote 
in the Democratic convention and was finally defeated for 
the nomination by Polk, because, it was alleged, of Van 
Buren's opposition to the annexation of Texas and the 
extension of slavery. In fact, a privately issued circular 



420 Old RinderHooK 

letter, signed by Theodore Sedgwick, W. C. Bryant, 
David Dudley Field, and others expressly states that the 
Convention "rejected Van Buren and nominated Polk 
for reasons connected with the immediate annexation of 
Texas." 

In 1848, Van Buren, refused a nomination by the conven- 
tion which nominated Cass, after declining in advance he 
ultimately accepted the nomination of the Bam Burner fac- 
tion in convention at Utica, and also that of the Free Soilers 
at Buffalo. The Kinderhook Sentinel in the support of the 
regular ticket printed some regrettable denunciations of Van 
Buren's alleged "duplicity." The divided Democracy was 
defeated by General Taylor. This was the end of Mr. Van 
Buren's aspirations for civic honors. He had reason to be 
satisfied with the remarkable record. 

In 1 84 1, soon after his first defeat, he bought the fine old 
mansion built by Peter Van Ness, of which we have written, 
and much enlarged and improved it. With the exception of 
two years spent in foreign travel he here lived in peace and 
contentment until his death in 1862. It was while abroad 
that he wrote the following presumably hitherto unpublished 
letter. We write with the original before us. It is dated 
Rome, February 2, 1854, and addressed to Augustus Wyn- 
koop of Kinderhook. 

Written with pale ink on paper now yellow with age it is 
somewhat difficult to read. Omitting a few personal items, 
and the usual formalities of polite correspondence, we 
quote: 

. . . Between parties and religious ceremonies and sight 
seeing we are constantly on the wing. There is scarcely a day on 
which some proceedings or ceremonies are not enacted calculated 
to interest those who have not witnessed them before. We 
attended a few days since the annual exhibition of the Propa- 
ganda, and heard forty four speeches from the students in forty 
four different languages. . . . They (the speakers) were of 
every color, from pure white to pitch black, and at least three 



La-wyers 4^1 

from the United States. I was strongly impressed by the scene. 
... If a letter from here which I saw in a Dublin paper, ex- 
pressing hopes of my conversion, founded on my social inter- 
course with some of the High Church Dignitaries, should find its 
way into the American papers, I must beg you to say to my friend, 
Mrs. Silvester, that there is no danger of any such thing. Thank 
her and Miss Silvester at the same time for their kind messages 
which I appreciate very highly. I could not forget them here 
if I would, for the name is as familiar here as in Kinderhook. 
About forty (25) miles from Rome stands Soracte, so beautifully 
described by Byron, Horace and almost every other author of 
celebrity on the history of Italy. Like the dome of St. Peter's, 
it is seen from everywhere and stands in that regard as its rival. 
On the highest point is the convent of St. Silvestro, built by the 
Uncle of Charlemagne, on the site of a church built by St. 
Silvester before he became pope. His garden where he planted 
turnips in the afternoon for his next day dinner is still shown by 
the monks. Although I can hardly believe the turnip story, I 
have no doubt he was a good man. His name has without doubt 
been used for many centuries as a cover for a great fraud, con- 
sisting of a statement that he had obtained a conveyance from 
Constantine for the Estates of the Church in consideration of 
curing him of some disease by the Healing Waters of a spring 
which he possessed; which conveyance it is now universally 
admitted never existed. But if any doubt could ever have ob- 
tained in regard to his innocence it should have been removed 
by the recorded fact that upon opening his coffin in the i6th. 
century, at the St. John Lateran where he was buried in the loth. 
century, the good man's body was still entire . . . and was 
changed into dust on the admission of the air. By the bye do 
we not find in the turnip story the secret of the old Lady's heal- 
ing of us all in gardening? . . . I must plead guilty to going into 
the ball of St. Peter's last week. The ball is large enough to con- 
tain sixteen people and is sometimes filled with people as foolish 
as I am. In squeezing through the opening I had not half an 
inch to spare. . . . 

With kind regards . . . 

Very truly yours 

M. Van Buren. 



422 Old RinderKooK 

In his native village Mr. Van Buren was respected, admired, 
and loved by all for his exceptional abilities and brilliant 
career in part; but more for his incorruptible integrity, his 
unimpeachable purity of life, and his unfailing courtesy and 
kindness to all, however humble their station. He seemed 
never to forget a name or a face, and whatever the occasion, 
whether a casual meeting by the roadside, or a visit to the 
homes of the poor, or a legislative or social or even courtly 
assemblage, he uniformly spoke just the right word at the 
right time and in the right way. Mounted on his valued 
Duroc, a gift of John Randolph of Roanoke, his was a fre- 
quent and familiar presence along our country roads and in 
our village streets, with a bow and a smile and a word of 
kindly greeting for all whom he met. Political foes were 
usually personal friends. The great elm, about a half-mile 
beyond the bridges, within whose ample shade he was wont 
to pause for a brief rest, still stands. Lindenwald, to which 
he gave name and fame, has lost many of its trees; especially 
the lindens, and the thick cluster designed as a screen from 
the road, are gone ; but some that he planted still remain and 
are giants now. 

Mr. John Bigelow, in his Retrospections of an Active Life, 
gives us a pleasing glimpse of Mr. Van Buren at home. The 
context indicates that the date of Mr. Bigelow's call was 
January, 1844, He writes: 

A day or two after this visit to Governor Wright, Mr. Tilden 
invited me to accompany him to a visit to Kinderhook to see Ex- 
President Van Buren for whose election to the Presidency I had 
cast my first vote. William Allen Butler and Theodore Bailey 
Myers composed the rest of the party. We dined with Mr. Van 
Buren. After our repast, which was not elaborate, the rest of my 
companions went off to see the farm and its stock. I remained 
with the President alone during the remainder of our stay. He 
was a very engaging and prepossessing man. He talked mostly 
of public men and affairs and he teemed with anecdotes which it 
shames me to have forgotten. I only remember in the course of 



La"wyers 423 

some talk about the Speaker, Seymour, he said Seymour's 
father became insane the latter part of his life ; and intimated that 
some peculiarities of the Speaker might be the least desirable part 
of his heritage. I observed that Mr. Van Buren drank only one 
small glass of Madeira at dinner and took no dessert but an apple. 
In reply to some remark of mine he said that he never took any 
dessert but a little fruit ; neither puddings nor pastry. 

Mr. Van Buren died July 24, 1862, aged a little more than 
seventy-nine and a half years. The funeral services, attended 
by a great concourse of people, were held first at Lindenwald, 
where the Rev. J. Romeyn Berry offered prayer, and then 
in the village church of his ancestors and kindred and of his 
own habitual and reverent attendance. The church (said 
the Rough Notes in substance) was filled to overflowing, while 
thousands {sic) unable to enter stood without. The edifice 
and especially the unoccupied Van Buren pew, the large box- 
pew in the southeast comer, were heavily draped with black. 
The pallbearers were his townsmen — Nathan Wild, Henry 
Snyder, William H. Tobey, David Van Schaack, Cornelius 
Wiltsie, Hugh Van Alstyne, A. A. Van Alen, Albert Hoes, 
Ephraim Best, C. H. Wendover, John Frisbee, Chester 
Jarvis, William R. Mesick, and Charles Whiting. Mr. 
Berry's discourse, nearly an hour long, was an appro- 
priate tribute and an urgent appeal to patriotism as well. 
Bishop Potter of Pennsylvania, and the Rev. Benjamin 
Van Zandt, a former pastor, were in the pulpit, and the latter 
offered the closing prayer. After a thronging multitude had 
passed the casket of the peaceful sleeper it was reverently 
borne away. Engine Co. No. 2 led the procession, followed 
by the hearse and eighty-one carriages and a very long line 
of citizens and visitors on foot. Governor Morgan and many 
other distinguished men were present from Albany, New 
York, and more distant parts of the country, as well as from 
every section of the County. Among those from New York 
was a deputation from Tammany Hall. In the cemetery the 
Episcopal Burial Office was read by Bishop Potter. 



424 Old K-inderHooK 

A deep solemnity enshrouded the village and everything 
around betokened the heart felt grief that pervaded the com- 
munity at the loss of an old neighbor, a kind friend, and a highly 
honored and universally esteemed citizen. Though military 
display and music, the usual appendages attending State funerals, 
were absent, the silent tread of the procession to the solemn tones 
of the tolling bell appealed more forcibly to the feelings of the 
heart than all the paraphernalia of a gorgeous pageantry, and 
were more in unison with the last words of the deceased to his 
pastor — "There is but one reliance, and that is upon Christ, the 
free Mediator of us all. " 

His grave is marked by a plain granite shaft bearing this 
inscription : 

Martin Van Buren, 

VIII President 

of the United States. 

Born Dec. 5, 1782. 

Died July 24, 1862. 



Hannah Van Buren, 

His Wife, 

Born Aug. 8, 1783. 

Died at Albany, N. Y., 1819. 

On the other side of the shaft is the inscription : 

Martin, son of Martin 

And Hannah Van Buren. 

Bom Dec. 30, 1812. 

Died in Paris, France, 

Mar. 19, 1855. 

Near the shaft are the modest stones to the memory of 
Captain Abraham and Mary Van Buren, the parents of 
Martin, who died in 1817 and 1818, respectively. 

From the Resolutions of the Trustees of the village at the 
time of Mr. Van Buren's death, we quote: 



La-wyers 425 

. . . That in Mr. Van Buren we recognize the profound 
jurist and statesman, who without the aid of adventitious cir- 
cumstances, by the force of native talent, severe study and 
untiring industry attained successively and by quick gradation 
distinguished posts of honor and trust in the State and Nation. 

. . . That in common with our fellow citizens of the town of 
Kinderhook, the place of his birth, of his residence since his 
withdrawal from public life and of his death and sepulture, we 
will cherish the remembrance of his high qualities of mind and 
heart, his devotion to the National good, and his unabated loyalty 
to the Union. 

Two notable tributes to Mr. Van Buren may be added. 
The first is from Henry Clay, who in 1849 visited Linden- 
wald, and at our principal hotel met the thronging people 
of our village in his own charming w^ay. 

In an exciting debate in Congress Mr. Clay said: 

I have always found him (Mr. Van Buren) in his manners and 
deportment civil, courteous and gentlemanly, and he dispenses 
in the noble mansion which he now occupies, one worthy the 
residence of the chief magistrate of a great people, a generous and 
liberal hospitality. An acquaintance with him of more than 
twenty years has inspired me with respect for the man. 

The second tribute is that of William Allen Butler, son of 
Benjamin F. Butler, the almost lifelong friend of Van Buren. 
He wrote: 

In his personal traits he was marked by a rare individuality. 
He was a gentleman and he cultivated the society of gentlemen. 
He never had any associates who were either vulgar or vicious. 
... As you saw him once, you saw him always — always punctil- 
ious, always polite, always cheerful, always self possessed. It 
seemed to any one who studied this phase of his character as if in 
some early moment of his destiny, his whole nature had been 
bathed in a cool, clear and unruffled depth, from which it drew 
this life-long serenity and self control. If any vulnerable point 
was left I never discovered it. 



426 Old IlinderKooh 

Even more creditable, it seems to us, are these words from 
his will written two years before his death : 

I, Martin Van Buren, of the town of Kinderhook, County of 
Columbia and State of New York, heretofore Governor of the 
State, and more recently President of the United States, but for 
the last and happiest years of my life a Farmer in my native 
town, . . . 

Additional details of Mr. Van Buren's association with 
Kinderhook may be found in the preceding chapters, and 
also in Colonel Silas W. Burt's pleasing personal recollec- 
tions from which we have hitherto quoted. 

With the exception of official papers, the "sage of 
Kinderhook" wrote nothing of importance. His Inqiiiry 
mto the Origin and Course of Political Parties in the United 
States, published in New York in 1867, was incomplete. 

In 1904-5, Mrs. Smith T. Van Buren and Dr. Stuyvesant 
Fish Morris gave to the Library of Congress several thousand 
manuscripts left by the ex-President. Among them was an 
unfinished autobiography in six folio volumes, some 250 or 
300 letters of his correspondence with General Jackson; 
many semi-personal, semi-political papers including a few 
from eminent journalists and other men of letters such as 
Irving, Bryant, etc. There is also one note from Lord 
Palmerston. In 1910 the Government published a calendar 
of these papers, numbering over four thousand, in a volume 
of about 650 pages, prepared by Miss Eliza H. West. The 
earliest paper is a copy of Martin Comelisse's (Van Buren) 
will, dated 1703. The last is dated 1862. 

Every general Cyclopedia and Biographical Dictionary 
has its sketch of Mr. Van Buren; that in Appleton's Cyclo- 
pedia of American Biography is among the best. There was 
also a flood of pamphlets, both laudatory and abusive, many 
of which may be found in our public libraries. The more 
important biographies and alleged biographies are these; 



.*»; 













/•.•'^Oi 




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,/ /«? r" ■^'^ A'^^ ^^ ■^- yfiu^.^ 



Two Pages from Martin Van Buren's Office Docket 




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Part of a Letter from Irving to Merwin 



La-wyers 4^7 

William Emmons, Washington, 1835; F. T. Grund (in 
German), Boston, 1835; William M.Holland, Hartford, 1836; 
David Crockett, The Heir-apparent to the Government and 
the appointed Successor of General Andrew Jackson, Philadel- 
phia, 1836; Mackenzie, Boston, 1846; A. H. Joline, 1850; 
Thomas M 'Elhiny, Pittsburg, 1853; William Allen Butler, 
New York, 1862; Samuel P. Orth, 1873; E. M. Shepherd, 
Boston, 1889, ^^*^ George Bancroft, New York, 1889. 

From Frank J. Conkling's "Sketch of the Van Buren 
Family" {N. Y. Gen. and Biog. Record, 1897) we glean the 
following details. 

The President's children were: 

I. Abraham, born in Kinderhook, November 27, 1807; died 
in New York City, March 15, 1873. He was graduated at West 
Point; rose to the position of captain in the First Dragoons; in 
1837 resigned to become his father's private secretary; was major 
and paymaster in the war with Mexico ; was with General Taylor 
and later General Scott and was brevetted Lieutenant-Colonel 
for bravery in battle. In November 1838, he married AngeHca, 
daughter of Richard Singleton, a wealthy planter of South 
Carolina. After her marriage she was mistress of the White 
House during the remainder of Van Buren's term and died in 
New York City, December 29, 1878. 

H. John, born at Hudson, February 10, 1810. Died at sea, 
October 13, 1866. He was familiarly called "Prince John." He 
was graduated at Yale in 1828: became a lawyer of considerable 
note: and was elected Attorney-General of the State in 1845. In 
1841 he married Elizabeth, daughter of Judge James Vanderpoel 
of Kinderhook. She died November 19, 1844, leaving one 
daughter. Other sons were Smith Thompson, and Martin. 

Lawrence Van Buren, brother of Martin, was bom in 
Kinderhook, in 1785. As an enlisted soldier in the War of 
18 1 2 he won the rank of Major. He was for several years 
the village postmaster; was Town Supervisor '37-'40, 
*45-'46, '50-'5i, and in '53; President of the village, 



428 Old RinderHooK 

'44-'49; Presidential Elector in '52, and a Director of the 
first bank. He was for many years a prominent figure 
on our streets and was considered finer looking than his dis- 
tinguished brother. Indeed, at a Bohemian glass exhibition 
in '61, a committee of ladies awarded him as the hand- 
somest man present a Bird of Paradise in a glass globe. Many 
will remember that he retained his fine appearance to a 
remarkable degree until he died in '68. He married Harriet 
Vosburgh and was survived by four children — Mary, Lu- 
cretia, Myndert who married Elsie De Myer, and Lawrence, 
Jr. 

Benjamin F. Butler. 1295-1858 

Benjamin F., son of Colonel Medad Butler, was bom at 
Kinderhook Landing, December 14, 1795. His father, a 
soldier of the Revolution, had come to the Landing from 
Connecticut in 1787, and was long prominent in the business 
and social life of the town. His wife was a lineal descendant 
of Oliver Cromwell. Colonel Butler was active also in pro- 
moting educational interests of the town, himself securing and 
for a time paying an eminent teacher from Massachusetts. 
Both father and son were strong advocates of temperance. 
Fourth of July celebrations at the one-time beautiful Butler 
home have been noted in an earlier chapter. 

Benjamin, after receiving his early education at home, 
entered the law office of Van Buren and Miller at Hudson 
and made his home with the former, thus beginning an in- 
timacy which lasted through life. Accompanying Mr. Van 
Buren on his removal to Albany, Mr. Butler, soon after his 
admission to the Bar in 181 7, became a partner of his pre- 
ceptor; a relation which continued until 1828. In 1818 he 
married Miss Harriet Allen of Hudson, a member of a dis- 
tinguished family after whom Allen Street was named. His 
life in Albany was a busy one; his practice large, lucrative, 
and in many cases involving much responsibility. He was 



J 



La-wyers 429 

appointed District-Attorney in '21 and served six years. 
In '28 he was chosen member of the Assembly. But what 
he regarded as his principal honor was his appointment by 
the legislature in 1825 as one of three Revisors of the 
statutes. He was evidently the one upon whom the chief 
burden of the exceedingly difficult work rested. Kinder- 
hook seems to have had an especial lien upon this office, held 
by Peter Van Schaack in 1773, by W. P. Van Ness in 18 13, 
and in 1824 by B. F. Butler. By his own direction his 
monument in Woodlawn cemetery, after mentioning his 
service in the Cabinets of Presidents Jackson and Van Buren, 
bears this inscription: "A Commissioner to Revise the 
Statute Laws of the State of New York." He was a 
Regent of the University, i829-'33, when he resigned. — He 
was also one of the Commissioners to determine the bound- 
ary between the States of New York and New Jersey. On 
his removal to New York city in '33, eighty-nine of the 
leading citizens of Albany signed a letter expressive of their 
high esteem and their regret at his departure. He was 
solicited to accept a seat in the Senate at Washington and 
later an appointment as Judge of the Supreme Court, but 
felt compelled to decline both honors. On the urgent 
solicitation of Mr. Van Buren, however, he finally accepted 
the appointment of Attorney-General in Jackson's Cabinet 
where he served with great ability from 1833 to '37. The 
last year, in addition to his other duties, he took the position 
of Secretary of War, General Cass having resigned. In 1838 
he was appointed U. S. District Attorney for the Southern 
District of New York and served until March 4, 1841. He 
was reappointed by President Polk, having declined to be his 
Secretary of War, and served until 1848, when he resumed his 
law practice in New York city. He was the principal founder 
of the New York University Law School in 1835, ^^^ was for 
years its head and its chief lecturer. He was the father 
of the eminent lawyer and author, William Allen Butler. He 
died in Paris, November 8, 1858. 



430 Old RinderKooK 

Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography says of him : 

During the greater part of his life he was an influential mem- 
ber of the Democratic party, but on passage of the Kansas- 
Nebraska bill he joined the Repubhcans and voted in 1856 for 
Fremont. Mr. Butler was a thorough scholar and a great admirer 
of the Greek and Latin writers. William Cullen Bryant, in 1825, 
wrote of "his purity of character and singleness; how much he 
was admired on his first visit to New York, then a young man 
of finely chiselled features made a little pale by study and 
animated by an expression both of the greatest intelligence and 
ingenuousness." 

Charles Butler. 1802 

Charles, a son of Medad Butler and Hannah Tyler, and 
a brother of Benjamin F., was bom at Kinderhook Landing, 
February 15, 1802. After studying law in the office of his 
brother Benjamin, then in partnership with Martin Van 
Buren, he was admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court of 
New York State and soon thereafter moved to Geneva, 
N. Y. There he became interested in securing loans from 
Eastern capitalists (Geneva' was then considered in the West) 
for the development of that whole region. He is reported as 
saying that it was the first time in this, or any other country, 
that loans were made to any considerable extent on farm 
mortgages. John Jacob Astor and Isaac Bronson were 
among his clients, and many thousands of dollars passed 
through his hands, never soiled by any wrongdoing. In 
1834 he removed to New York city, where his reputation for 
ability and probity caused so many important trusts to be 
given him that he gradually withdrew from general law 
practice. He speedily won a fortune as well as the respect 
and confidence of a large and influential clientage. He was 
eminently active in the religious and philanthropic as well 
as social life of the city. He was one of the founders of the 
Union Theological Seminary and for many years President 
of its Corporation. 



I 



La-wyers 431 

William H. Tobcy. lygg-iSyS 

This sketch is drawn in part from an obituary written by 
the late Francis Silvester, and which appeared in our village 
paper. 

Mr. Tobey was bom in Hudson, January i, 1799. After 
receiving a liberal general education he studied law, and 
being admitted to the Bar began practice in Rochester and 
New Lebanon, but soon came hither where he continued to 
practice, and rendered manifold and valuable service outside 
of his profession for nearly fifty years. During those years 
the Bar of Columbia County had many distinguished names 
enrolled, but it is not extravagant to say that Mr. Tobey 
was surpassed by none and equaled by few in all the various 
qualifications and essentials of a trust worth}'-, honored coun- 
sellor. He was first associated with Aaron Vanderpoel whose 
home he subsequently purchased. From '43-'5i he was 
in partnership with John H. Reynolds; and from '56 until 
his death, June 16, '78, the firm was Tobey and Silvester. 

Simple and unpretending in manner and retiring in dis- 
position he was yet exceedingly dignified, of highly cultivated 
mind, refined literary taste, and of unfaltering integrity. He 
was in every way a man of uncommon strength and nobility 
of character. In 1841 Governor Seward appointed him 
County Surrogate, and he filled the office with great accept- 
ance for four years. In '37 he was elected a member of the 
State Assembly; and in '61, after an exciting contest, 
was chosen State Senator from the Columbia-Dutchess dis- 
trict by a majority of nine hundred votes. That he was able, 
faithful, and upright in public as well as in private life none 
who knew him need be told. As the President of the National 
Union Bank from its organization until his death, he ren- 
dered conspicuous service which was fittingly recognized in 
1862 by the stockholders, in their gift of an elegant silver 
service, as elsewhere narrated. He was profoundly interested 
in the educational advancement of the community. At the 



432 Old H-inderHooK 

time of his death, as for many years previous thereto, he was 
President of the Academy Board of Trustees. The records 
give ample evidence of his devotion to its welfare, and of his 
unceasing labors and frequent benefactions. July 23, 1 831, 
Mr. Tobey married Miss Louisa Piatt, of New Lebanon. 
About seventeen months later she died, leaving a daughter, 
Anna, who became the wife of William Heyward of Charles- 
ton, S. C. Their daughter Mary married the late Rev. 
Isaac Peck. Mrs. Heyward subsequently married Mr. 
James Rogers of Kansas. December 16, 1847, Mr. Tobey 
married his second wife, a Miss Caroline Wild of Stockport. 
Their two children were William H., Jr., and Mary Barnard 
who became the wife of P. V. S. Pruyn, M.D., as noted 
elsewhere. 

George Van Santvoord. 181Q-1863 

The Memorial of George Van Santvoord (Albany; 
Munsell, 1863), kindly loaned us by his son, our accom- 
plished friend, the late Mr. Harold Van Santvoord, is our 
authority for facts stated, and that largely in the words of 
the Memorial itself. The appreciative Memoir by his friend, 
Alfred B. Street, is followed by a detailed account of the 
proceedings of the Bar of Rensselaer County; a loving 
tribute by the Rev. Cornelius Van Santvoord, D.D., a 
brother; the valedictory poem delivered upon his graduation 
at Union College (1841), and a brief account of his funeral 
and burial at Kinderhook. We quote freely from this 
Memorial which is yet not to be held responsible for omis- 
sions or precise verbiage. 

Mr. George Van Santvoord was born in Belleville, N. J., 
December 8, 1819. His father was the Rev. Staats Van Sant- 
voord, Pastor of the Reformed Dutch Church there, who in 
1829 removed to Schodack, Rensselaer Co. 

George was an apt and precocious student, with a mem- 
ory of uncommon retentiveness, a decided predilection for 



J 



Ua-wyers 433 

literary pursuits, and an especial fondness for historical 
studies, in which he became exceptionally proficient. He 
was regarded as a boy of unusual promise. His attainments 
were so superior that while still a youth of only twelve or 
thirteen years, he was urged to teach and did so for one 
winter, having a school of twenty pupils, some of whom were 
several years his senior. When about fifteen, he became a 
clerk in a dry-goods store in Albany, and later in New York. 
Uncongenial mercantile life was abandoned after two years. 
In '36 he entered Kinderhook Academy, then a notable 
institution, and applied himself so assiduously that a year 
later he was prepared to enter Union College. He was 
graduated with high honor in '41. Entering at once the 
law office of Vanderpoel & Tobey, Kinderhook, he re- 
mained three years, during most of this time having charge 
of the English department of the Academy as well. After 
being admitted to the Bar in 1844, he married Elizabeth, 
second daughter of Peter Van Schaack. He then removed to 
Lafayette, Indiana, where his ability received immediate 
recognition. Positions of highest eminence undoubtedly 
awaited him had he remained. The ill health of his family 
compelling his removal, in the autumn of '46 he returned 
to Kinderhook, where he practiced law for five years. 
Thence he removed to New York City, remaining but one 
year when he accepted an invitation to become a law 
partner of the Hon. David L. Seymour of Troy. Seven 
years later (1859) he entered into co-partnership with 
Benjamin H. Hall, also of Troy, in which connection he 
remained until his death. 

March 6, '63, while on his way from his home in 
Schodack to Albany, he left the car at East Albany and was 
crushed by an unexpectedly backing train. Cruelly mangled 
though he was, he lived about an hour and was conscious 
enough to send a loving message to his wife. 

Mr. Van Santvoord was twice a member of the State 
Assembly; in '52 from Columbia County and in '56 from 

28 



434 Old K-inderKooK 

Rensselaer. As a legislator he took a high rank. He was 
assiduous and reliable in the discharge of duty ; an impressive 
speaker, emphatic and dignified in manner, apt and fluent 
in language, and clear and logical in thought. His speeches 
received high commendation. 

As a lawyer, he achieved conspicuous honor. Cases of 
great importance in the highest courts of the State and in 
the Supreme Court of the United States were entrusted to 
his care. In '60 he was elected District Attorney for Rens- 
selaer County. He, as a writer also in his profession, fully 
redeemed the "debt*' which Bacon remarked every man 
owed to it. His principal publications were these: The 
Indiana Justice, 1845; Principles of Pleading in Civil 
Actions under the New York Code, 1852, 1855; Precedents of 
Pleading, 1858; Treatise on Practice in the Supreme Court of 
the State of New York (2 vols.), i860, 1862. 

In the field of general literature also, his writings were 
many and well received. In addition to monographs on the 
leaders of the French Revolution, and on John C. Calhoun 
and Sir Henry Vane, published in the Democratic Review, 
i849-'52, in '51 his Life of Algernon Sydney appeared, 
and in 1854 his Lives of the Chief Justices of the Supreme 
Court of the United States. 

In addition to the foregoing Mr. Van Santvoord's lec- 
tures, addresses, orations, reviews were exceedingly numer- 
ous. With his more serious work they manifest a quite 
remarkable versatility of mind and fertility of resources. Of 
his address on Historic Truth before the Senate of Union 
College in '56, the eminent professor, Tayler Lewis, wrote : 

The discourse of Mr. Van Santvoord on this occasion was of a 
very high order. In truth, among the many addresses to which 
I have listened on our literary anniversaries, I hardly know any 
one that I could regard as surpassing it. 

His disposition was genial and kindly. He loved his 



LaAvyers 435 

friends and they loved him. He was the idol of his family 
every member of which he cherished with the tenderest 
solicitude. 

He had a strong love for the country, for natural scenery, 
for rural pastimes and exercises. His farm at Schodack was his 
loved retreat from the cares and calls of business; and every 
object on his farm, whether tree or shrub, or vine, or domestic 
animal had its distinct interest in his eyes. 

He saw God in all the beautiful and interesting things His 
hand had scattered around him. In these objects, too, he found 
ground for gratitude and love to Him and paid Him the homage 
of a true and upright heart. 

His widow and daughter Margaret were for several years 
residents of Italy, where the former recently died. His 
eldest son, Frank, died in the prime of his youth. After 
serving for several years as teller of the Union Bank, Kinder- 
hook, he entered the wholesale hardware house of Hibbard 
and Spencer, Chicago, and was fatally stricken with typhoid 
fever about a year later. Few young men have left a more 
precious memory. The second son was the distinguished 
and versatile litterateur, poet, and artist as well, Harold Van 
Santvoord, of Kinderhook; of whom more anon. The third 
son, Bancroft, is a musical virtuoso of Boston and New York; 
and the fourth son is the eminent and honored lawyer, Sey- 
mour Van Santvoord, of Troy, N. Y. 

Harold Van Santvoord. The substance of this sketch 
is quoted from an appreciative notice by a personal friend 
of its subject, whose name escapes us. 

Harold, second son of George Van Santvoord and 
Elizabeth Van Schaack, was bom in Troy, N. Y., March 
24, 1854. 

When only fifteen years old, he began to write for a New York 
comic weekly and continued his literary labors until his death. 



436 Old RinderHooK 

His published contributions to many periodicals would make 
several large volumes and include much excellent verse. When 
Life was founded in 1883 he became a frequent and valued con- 
tributor to its columns. In '88 he published a volume of essays 
entitled Half-Holidays: Elysian Dreams and Sober Realities, 
which was well received. A large proportion of his writings, 
however, have been anonjntnous; including editorials (especially 
for the Times-Union, Albany), pithy paragraphs, humorous 
sketches, character-studies, pictures of foreign travel and book 
reviews. ... A man of fastidious tastes, his natural resources 
were supplemented by hard study and with classic models ever 
in view. His productive capacity was stimulated by a sympa- 
thetic insight into human nature, a love of books, a passion for 
music in its higher forms and a keen appreciation of the beauties 
of art. 

He himself was an artist, facile in the use of his pencil. In 
the morning of January 8, 1913, he w^as found dead, sitting 
in his chair and with paper and pipe in hand. 

Seymour Van Santvoord, much of whose childhood and 
youth were spent in Kinderhook, the fourth son of George 
Van Santvoord, was bom in Troy, December 17, 1858. He 
was of the class of '78, Union College, and '80 of the 
Albany Law School. As lawyer, manufacturer, banker, and 
author he has been alike successful. From 1 896-1 907 he was 
President and Treasurer of the Walter A. Wood Mowing and 
Reaping Machine Co., he was an organizer and the President 
of three Trust and Deposit Companies; a Director of the 
Troy Library, Orphan Asylum, and Samaritan Hospital; a 
Trustee of the Emma Willard Seminary and of Union 
College, and Vice-President of the Albany Law School. He 
was the law adviser of Governor Dix and is now a member 
and chairman of the Public Service Commission. He is the 
author of the House of Caesar and the Imperial Disease, The 
Excavation of Herculaneum, and several pamphlets on archaeo- 
logical subjects. He is a member of the Holland, and St. 



j^ 



La"wyers 437 

Nicholas Societies and of the University Club. In '88 he 
married Caroline Hart Seely of Virginia, daughter of Captain 
Hamilton Leroy Seely, U. S. A. Many remember well the 
brightness and sprightliness of all the Van Santvoord boys 
and how they could people the old Whiting Steam Mill with 

Many ghosts and forms of fright. 

John H. Reynolds. i8iQ-i8y5 

Through the courtesy of Mr. James Adger Reynolds 
we have before us a printed Memorial of John H. Reynolds. 
(Albany: Joel Munsell, 1876) from which, quoted freely at 
times, we cull the following narrative. 

The Memorial contains a Memoir, written presumably 
by the Hon. Hamilton Harris, of Albany; Extracts from 
the Press, after Mr. Reynolds's death; The Funeral Pro- 
ceedings, includng the address of Dr. McC. Blayney; The 
Proceedings of the Albany Bar and of the Court of Appeals; 
and also of the Commerce Insurance Company and the 
National Savings Bank. Among the contributors to the 
Press we recognize the facile pens of the Hons. Charles L. 
Beale and Francis Silvester. 

John H. Reynolds was bom at Moreau, N. Y., June 21, 
1 8 19. He was the fourth child of George Reynolds, a farmer 
and lumberman ; a man of great force of character, of much 
influence in the affairs of the County, and a member of the 
State Assembly in 1833. His ancestral home was in Rhode 
Island. The subject of this sketch first attended school in 
Sandy Hill (now Hudson Falls) and later at Bennington, Vt. 
Leaving school for a time, he served as civil engineer in 
running the original line of the Saratoga and Whitehall rail- 
road and was subsequently employed in the same capacity 
on the Boston and Albany road. He then entered the 
Kinderhook Academy, and, after finishing its course, became 
(1840) a law student in the office of the Hon. W. H. 



438 Old RinderKooK 

Tobey of Kinderhook. As a student, he was even then dis- 
tinguished for his close and persistent appHcation, abstaining 
during the whole three years of his student life from meat, 
thinking its use clouded his mind. In 1843 he was admitted 
to the Bar. Entering immediately into partnership with Mr. 
Tobey, he continued the practice of his profession for eight 
years in Kinderhook. He "showed himself an untiring 
student, and industrious practitioner; possessed of legal 
tact and acumen, great clearness of professional vision, and 
subtlety of investigation. " 

May 31, 1843, Mr. Reynolds was united in marriage to 
Margaret Ann Whiting, daughter of General Chas. Whiting, 
one of the most distinguished citizens of the former genera- 
tion. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. John C. 
Vandervoort at the family residence, more recently known 
as the Howard mansion. 

In 1 85 1 Mr. Reynolds removed to Albany and became 
a partner of the Hon. John V. L. Pruyn. In '54 he 
formed a co-partnership with the Hons. Clark B. Coch- 
rane and Hamilton Harris. This partnership continued 
until the death of Mr. Cochrane in '67, after which the 
surviving partners continued together until the demise of 
Mr. Reynolds in '75. 

In this broader field, his fame soon extended to the 
utmost limits of the State, and subsequently far bej^ond it; 
as shown by his frequent practice in the United States 
Courts. "This fame, kindled so early, was never darkened 
throughout his career, but continued to shine steady as a 
star, until that career, in the fulness of its lustre, was over- 
taken by the 'shadow of death. ' " 

In '53 President Pierce appointed him postmaster of 
Albany; but, in a little more than a year, he was removed, — 
his opinions not being in accord with the policy of the 
Administration respecting the repeal of the Missouri Com- 
promise. In '58, after an exciting canvass, he was elected, 
as an independent anti-Lecompton Democrat, a Representa- 




o 




w 



La-wyers 439 

tive in the thirty-sixth Congress by twelve hundred majority 
over so formidable and worthy a competitor as Erastus 
Corning. Placed upon the Judiciary committee, one of the 
most important and honorable in the House, he brought all 
the energy of his powerful and pure mind upon honest and 
constitutional legislation. Although he did not often trouble 
the House in debate, yet he impressed his compeers with a 
sense of his abilities as a statesman and his sterling qualities 
as a man. 

At the end of his Congressional term he voluntarily and 
permanently withdrew from political life. Thenceforth he 
was devoted to the career which he best loved and to the 
profession of which he was so brilliant an ornament; and 
from that time the splendor of his success was such as to more 
than meet the highest hopes of his many friends and ad- 
mirers. Untiring in the investigation of his cases, inde- 
fatigable and eloquent in their advocacy, never at fault in 
legal warfare, thorough in his briefs and explorations of 
authorities, his mind glancing like sunshine through his 
subject, his opponents, no matter how learned or skilled, 
found him always "worthy of their steel, " the Bar a member 
compelling their highest admiration, and the Bench an 
advocate whose opinions won their respect and compelled 
their attention. 

He was a marked man also in his literary tastes; marked 
in his wit and humor. He rejoiced in poetry and found 
recreation and delight in reading favorite poems and repeat- 
ing verse after verse which had charm of sentiment or 
felicity of description. Rare indeed was his nature, tender 
and true, soft to all emotion, and moved by all good impulses. 

In 1873 Governor Dix appointed Mr. Reynolds one of 
the Commissioners of the Court of Appeals. The appoint- 
ment was regarded by all as of eminent fitness. From the 
first he took honorable rank among his learned compeers of 
the Bench, they listening to his opinions with respect and 
often deferring to them because of their weight. He sat in 



440 Old K-inderKooK 

the Commission for two years and a half, and the Reports of 
the cases decided during that period bear ample testimony 
to the great learning, sagacity, and fidelity which he brought 
to the discharge of his duties as Judge. 

He left the Bench July i, 1875. On the last day of the 
same month he left the city never to return. Attacked by a 
fever which he was unable to withstand, while still in the 
prime of life and plenitude of his powers, September 24th he 
died. The funeral services were held on the 28th of Septem- 
ber. Seldom in our village has a more distinguished assem- 
blage been seen than that which gathered in and around the 
house of mourning that day. To a multitude of resident 
friends were added large numbers, representing the Albany 
Bar and Bench not only, but remote parts of the State as well. 
The Rev. J. McC. Blayney of Albany officiated, assisted by 
the Rev. Dr. Halley, also of Albany. The four sons were the 
pallbearers who tenderly bore their father's form from his 
dearly loved and beautiful home, and in the midst of an 
immense, silent, grieving throng, lowered it to its rest "till 
the day break and the shadows flee away. " 

He left a widow, the daughter of General Charles Whit- 
ing, as already stated. She died in 1886. Besides his widow 
there were four sons: William H. T., George, John H., and 
James Adger Reynolds. Charles W. had died in 1874. There 
was also one daughter, Margaret W., who in 1877 became the 
wife of the distinguished and lamented Franklin Townsend, 
M.D., of Albany. 

Children of John H. and Margaret Whiting Reynolds: 

Charles Whiting — born February 21, 1844, died Sep- 
tember 13, 1874. Attended Kinderhook and U. S. Naval 
Academies, Williams College, Albany Law School. Lawyer 
in Albany. 

W. H. ToBEY — ^born April 26, 1846, died December 9, 
1893. Attended Kinderhook Academy, Union College, 
College of Physicians and Surgeons, N. Y. Was a physician 
in Albany. 



La"wyers 441 

George — born November 5, 1847, died September 23, 
1886. Attended the Albany Academy and was in business 
in Kinderhook. He married Pauline A. Sudam. 

John H., Jr. — born June 19, 1850. Attended the Albany 
and Kinderhook Academies. Was in business in Albany 
and is now Deputy Clerk, Court of Appeals. 

James Adger — born February 4,1852. Attended Albany 
and Kinderhook Academies; in 1868 entered the National 
Union Bank, Kinderhook, of which he is now Cashier. He 
married Kate Bradley and (2d) Mary Bain Earll. 

Margaret Whiting — born March 22, 1854, married 
Franklin Townsend, M.D., of Albany. 

Hon. Charles L. Beale. 18 24-18 gg 

Charles Lewis, son of Chester and Clarissa (Wainwright) 
Beale — bom in Canaan, N. Y., March 5, '24; graduate 
Union College, '44; studied law in ofhce of Tobey and 
Reynolds, Kinderhook; admitted to the Bar in '49, and 
began practice in Canaan, but in '52 removed to Kinder- 
hook and became associated with David Van Schaack, re- 
maining here until '66, when he moved to Hudson where 
he was in partnership successively with W. C. Benton, M. 
Duntz, and his own son. He was one of the first directors 
of the Union Bank in '53; in '58 was elected Representa- 
tive in the 36th Congress and served until '61 ; a Presiden- 
tial Elector in '64 and a delegate to the National Union 
Convention in '66; was commissioned Colonel of the 93d 
regiment but resigned on account of ill health ; was appointed 
Register in Bankruptcy in '67. August 16, '55 he mar- 
ried Mrs. Catharine (Sanborn) Baldwin, a daughter of 
Asaph Wilder. Mr. Beale was of fine personal appearance, 
of courtly bearing, an able lawyer, and a brilliant orator much 
in demand for public addresses. In the Ruloff murder case 
at Binghamton in '71, he was the senior counsel for the 
defense. Of his final appeal for his client a writer of the time 
said: 



442 Old K-inderKooK 

"Long will every soul in that court-room, crowded almost to 
suffocation, remember the closing appeal of Mr. Beale, when for 
four mortal hours he stood up there and held the court, jury, and 
the vast audience spell-bound by his magnetic eloquence. It 
was only equalled, never excelled, by Sergeant S. Prentiss." 

Mr. Beale died in Hudson in 1899, and was buried in Kinder- 
hook beside his departed wife. He left a son, Charles F. T. 
Beale, and two daughters: Eloise, now residing in Canaan, 
and Jessie, who married Hugh L. Bond of Baltimore. 

Charles F. T. Beale — born in Kinderhook, became one 
of Hudson's well-known lawyers. He married Margaret 
Dubois, and died in 1901. Their only child, DuBois Beale, 
is now a lawyer in New York City. 

Aaron J. Vanderpoel, LL.D. 1830-1887 

Aaron, a son of Dr. John Vanderpoel of Valatie, was born 
October, 1830. He was prepared for college at the Kinder- 
hook Academy and was graduated from the University of 
New York. He studied law with his uncle Aaron in Kinder- 
hook. On his admission to the Bar he began practice here 
but after about one year removed to New York, where he 
continued in active practice until his death. He was first 
associated with J. Bryce Smith, under the firm name Smith 
and Vanderpoel. In '53 his firm was Brown, Hall (Oakey) 
and Vanderpoel, and continued to be for about twenty years, 
when it became Vanderpoel, Green, Cuming and Goodwin. 
From a clipping from a New York newspaper announcing 
his death, at Paris, France, August 22, 1887, we quote: 

During his long career, in which he displayed ability which 
stamped him as one of the strongest "all round" lawyers in the 
city, Mr. Vanderpoel was engaged, generally as leading counsel, 
in many of the most important cases which have been before the 
local courts. He was counsel for the Sheriffs for twenty years, 
for the Metropolitan Police Board during their long legal wrangle 



La^ryers 443 

and for many large Corporations. . . . He was remarkable as a 
lawyer for the prodigious amount of work which he put into his 
cases, making it a point to be master of all necessary facts before 
he entered the court room; for his wonderful memory and apt 
application of previous legal decisions; for brilliancy as a cross 
examiner, and for the convincing power of his arguments, in 
which facts and common sense were relied upon to win Judge 
or jury over to his view of the case. . . . He was a conceded 
authority on Corporation law and on the rights and duties of 
public officials. He was a member of the Manhattan and Century 
Clubs, and of the Harlem, St. Nicholas, Knickerbocker and 
Holland Societies. . . . He was President of the Law Depart- 
ment of the New York University from which in 1880 he received 
the degree of LL.D., and was also a member of the University 
Council. 

In 1855 he married Adaline Van Schaack, daughter of the 
late Henry C. Van Shaack of Manlius, N. Y. 

His beautiful Colonial mansion here and his farm of four 
hundred acres, two or three miles northwest of the village, 
were a joy to him. Their children were: Augustus H., a 
lawyer in his father's firm, who died a few years ago; Mary, 
married B. W. Franklin, a New York lawyer; Lydia, mar- 
ried the Rev. Dr. Sartelle Prentice, Jr., now of Nyack, N. Y. ; 
and Margaret, married Mr. Waldo Newcomer of Baltimore, 
Maryland; A. Melgert, of the class of '90, Trinity College, 
died suddenly as the result of an accident, May 4, '94; and 
three other children died in infancy. 

Lucas L. Van Alen. 1842-IQ02 

Lucas L., son of Lawrence Van Alen and Rebecca Van 
Buren, was born in 1842 at the Van Alen homestead in the 
northeast part of the Town of Stuyvesant. He began the 
study of law with Warren C. Benton, Esq., at Valatie, finished 
it with Tobey and Silvester at Kinderhook, and was ad- 
mitted to the Bar at a General Term of the Supreme Court 



444 Old HiiriderKooK 

held at the City of Albany. Shortly thereafter, he removed 
to New York City and became identified with the law firm of 
Hatch and Hinsdale. He was a Republican in politics and 
had a prominent part in the activities of that party. In '82 
he was elected to the Assembly from the 7th District of the 
County of New York and served as a member of the Assem- 
bly for seven terms. In '96 he was appointed assistant 
District Attorney in New York County. He was one of the 
originators of the Holland Society, March 14, 1885, and 
continued to be an active member of the society up to the 
time of his decease. Shortly before his death he married 
Miss Emma Foster. He died November 26, 1902, his wife 
surviving him. His remains were interred in the Kinderhook 
cemetery. 



Philip Van Alstyne. 184$ 

Philip, son of Abraham P. Van Alstyne and Anna Maria 
Beneway, was born April 12, 1845, at Poelsburg in the Town 
of Stuyvesant in the Johannes Vanderpoel house erected in 
1 7 19. He was educated at the Schodack Academy, Volkert 
Whitbeck's Classical school, and Bryant and Stratton's 
Commercial College at Albany, N. Y. In '66 he began the 
study of law at Hudson, N. Y., with Beale and Benton; was 
admitted to the Bar in New York County in May, '68, and 
in 1869 began the practice of his profession in New York 
City, and is still in active practice there. He is also admitted 
to practice in the United States Circuit and District Courts. 

In 1874 he married Miss Amelia A. Haskell of Austerlitz, 
Columbia County, N. Y., daughter of Roger Haskell and 
Silence (Crowter) Haskell. He has been a member of the 
Holland Society since 1897. From '69 to '87 he was a re- 
sident of Jersey City, N. J.; thence he removed to Rockland 
County, N. Y., where he still resides. 

In politics he has been identified with the Democratic 
party and has always occupied a prominent place in its 



La"wyers 445 

councils. He was twice its candidate for member of Assem- 
bly in New Jersey. He was one of the organizers of the 
"Anti-Snap" movement, and the delegate representing 
Rockland, Orange, and Sullivan counties at the National 
Democratic Convention held at Chicago in 1892, when 
Grover Cleveland was nominated. For several years he was 
counsel for the Town of Ramapo, Rockland County, N. Y., 
and was Corporation Counsel of Spring Valley, for the first 
three years of its incorporation. 

Martin H. Glynn. 187 1 

Martin H. Glynn was born in Kinderhook, September 
17, 1 87 1, on what is known as the Pruyn farm in Brown 
(De Bruyn) Right. After his preliminary education in our 
public schools he entered Fordham University whence he 
was graduated as the honor man of the class of 1894. After 
studying law and being admitted to the Bar, he turned his 
attention to journalism and in due time became editor and 
ultimately publisher and proprietor of the Times-Union, 
Albany. Becoming actively and honorably interested in 
politics, in 1898 he won the nomination and election to the 
55th Congress and was its youngest member. His course at 
Washington received the official commendation of the 
National Association of Letter Carriers, of the National 
Encampment of the G. A. R., of the N. Y. State Patrons of 
Husbandry, and of sundry Labor organizations. In 1901 
President McKinley appointed him one of the National 
Commissioners of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, of 
which body he received the honor of election to the vice- 
presidency. In 1906 he was elected Comptroller of the State 
of New York and served so well that in 1912 he was nomi- 
nated and triumphantly elected Lieutenant-Governor. In 
1913, through the removal of Governor Sulzer, Mr. Glynn 
became Kinderhook's second Governor of the State. His 
career thus far has been peculiarly brilhant and honorable. 



446 Old K.inderHooK 

January 2, 1900, he married Miss Mary C. E. Magrane of 
Lynn, Mass. 

Of the lawyers now practicing in the town, we note: 
Gerrit Sager Collier, son of Jonas and Hannah Sager 
CoHier; born Coxsackie, July 15, 1843; prepared for College 
at Hudson River InvStitute; graduated Union College 1868; 
studied law with C. P. and I. N. Collier, Hudson; admitted 
to the Bar, 1870; began practice in Kinderhook in 1872. He 
was elected Director of the Union National Bank in 1883, 
Vice-President in 1886, President in 1892, in which office he 
has been continued until the present time. October 4, 1876, 
married Lydia M., daughter of Hugh Bain. Their children 
are: Guy Bain Collier, graduate Harvard, 1901, and now a 
private tutor there, and Maude W., graduate Wellesley, 
1903. Mrs. Collier died August 31, 1883. October 14, 1886, 
Mr. Collier married Ella G., daughter of John C. Sweet. 
Their children are Chester W. and Charles, graduates Har- 
vard University, 191 1, the latter with signal honor. 

Charles M. Bray, son of John and Helen Bortle Bray; 
born in Kinderhook, 1867; received his preliminary education 
here and in Hudson; studied law with Mr. G. S. Collier; 
admitted to the Bar 1883, and has continued in practice 
here until the present time; adding to his law business that 
of the local agency of many Insurance Companies. 

Frank S. Becker, son of Christopher H. Becker and 
Mahalia M. Cook, bom Kinderhook, N. Y., November 10, 
1865. Graduated from Kinderhook Academy, 1883, Lafa- 
yette College, Easton, Pa., 1887, degree of B.A., and 1890 
received degree of A.M. Was admitted to the Bar, Novem- 
ber, 1889. Was married October, 1895 to Margaret R. 
Galbraith. Is the author of Civil and Crhni7ial Practice 
before Justices of the Peace, Village Laws, Digest of Fees of 
Public Officers, and other legal publications. Has served as 
Transfer Tax Attorney for Columbia County since 1910. 



La^ryers 447 

Max S. Hyman, son of Samuel N. Hyman and Rose 
Schreck, born in New York City, March 5, 1884. Admitted 
to the Bar, 1906. In 1907, married Anna Mae Liepshutz. 
They had one son. 

Edwin Dewey Howe, born in Albany, July 11, 1865; 
son of John Alonso Howe of East Poultney, Vt. ; graduated 
Middlebury College, 1887, Albany Law School, 1889; studied 
law with the Hon. Chester Alden of Albany and was ad- 
mitted to the Bar in 1889; came to Valatie that year and 
has continued in practice there. June 5, 1904, married 
Mary Helen, daughter of S. and Sarah J. Benson. Their 
children are: Joseph Warren, born July 9, 1896; Benson Rice, 
born March 25, 1901, and John Hanna, bom October 15, 1902. 
He served for a time as village clerk and also as President 
of the village of Valatie. In collaboration with Frank S. 
Becker he wrote Becker and Howe's Justice Court Practice, 
and was the author of sundry other publications. From 
1 883-19 1 3 he owned a coal and lumber business in Valatie. 

Claude S. Beckwith, born in Paterson, N. J., son of 
Charles D. and Frances Jaqua Beckwith; graduated Colum- 
bia University and New York Law School; admitted to the 
Bar of New Jersey, 1898, and the New York Bar, 1901; 
practiced with the late E. g.. Harder, Valatie, 1901-1905; 
connected with the law department of Title, Guarantee 
and Trust Company, Brooklyn, N. Y., 1905-1909; since, in 
practice in Valatie. He was candidate for Surrogate on the 
Progressive ticket in 19 13. 

Of the sons of Kinderhook now practicing in New York 
we note, in addition to Philip Van Alstine, before named: 
William Myers Hoes, son of Peter Swart Hoes and 
Henrietta Myers; born Kinderhook, June 19, 1840; educated 
Kinderhook Academy; graduated Williams College, with 
honors, 1861 ; admitted to Bar, N. Y. City, from Columbia 
Law School, 1865; married Annie Nicoll, June, 1875; PubHc 
Administrator, N. Y. City and County since 1892; member 



448 Old RinderKooK 

of Manhattan and University Clubs, Bar Association, 
Kappa Alpha Society, a Founder of the Holland Society, 
Senior Past Master of Kane Lodge, No. 454, F., and A. M., 
Member of Grand Lodge of Masons, 19 14, representing 
Grand Lodge of Ohio. 

Peter Ernest Hoes, son of Pierre Van Buren Hoes and 
Anna Miller; born November 26, 1876; Kinderhook and 
Albany Academy, 1894: New York Law School, 1900; now in 
general practice in New York City. October 22, 1907, he 
married Louise Nisbet. Their son, P. V. B. Hoes, was born 
December 6, 19 12. 

John Bayard Pruyn, son of P. V. S. Pruyn, M.D., and 
Mary Barnard Tobey; born at Kinderhook, October 14, 
1882; educated Kinderhook Academy and Hoosac School; 
graduated Williams College, 1905; admitted to Bar from N. 
Y. University Law vSchool, October, 1907; now of the law 
firm of Pruyn and Whittlesey, New York City. Member 
of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and of the Columbia 
County Society. 

Physicians 

Who was Kinderhook's first physician is now unknown. 
The sturdy first settlers seldom needed one. "Dr. Brown of 
Spotless Town" would have thriven no better here. The 
first physician of whom we have definite information was 
Arent Van Dyck who in his will styles himself "Doctor." 
He was born in 1700, and was a son of Hendrick. In 1722 
he married Heyltje, daughter of Stephanus Van Alen and 
lived on a portion of his wife's ancestral estate now owned by 
Lewis F. Van Alstyne. He was a tiller of the soil and also, 
by reason of his superior education and ability, a general 
scribe for the whole region. We know nothing of his prob- 
ably not extensive service as a physician. 

Another, of whom we have only a glimpse now and then. 



PKysicians 449 

was Dr. John Quilhot. We meet his name occasionally in 
early records; notably in the report of road commissioners 
concerning the laying out of what is now Broad Street. The 
tradition that the present Chrysler house was built by a 
French physician, taken in connection with that report, leads 
us to conjecture as elsewhere stated that Dr. Quilhot was the 
builder. Beyond his appearance as a surgeon of one of the 
Kinderhook militia companies in Revolutionary times and 
earlier we have no trace of him. 

Dr. Averill (Everil). The name appears on surveyor 
Dirk Gardinier's map of 1798. He lived on the Kleine Kill 
Road. Opposite the house in a meadow was his private burial 
plot, some of the stones, until recently if not now, still stand- 
ing. We have been able to ascertain nothing concerning the 
life and service of this doubtless repi:itable physician. 

Another Kinderhook physician who gives us but a 
glimpse of himself was Dr. Josiah Pomeroy. In the State 
Library, before the fire, we found a collection of miscellanies 
entitled Newspapers and Broadsides. Therein was an af- 
fidavit of Dr. Pomeroy "of Kinderhook," in which he 
affirms that when a resident of Montreal in 1789 he learned 
of "an association formed by inhabitants of Canada and 
citizens of the State of New York (among whom was 
Governor George Clinton), to purchase and connect to the 
British territory unappropriated land of the State from 
80 or 90 miles above Montreal westward to Lake Ontario." 
The affidavit was dated April 20, 1792, and sworn to before 
Israel Spencer, Justice of the Peace. He stated that the 
plan he revealed was "encouraged and set on foot by Lord 
Dorchester, Gov. of the Province of Quebec." We leave 
to others the explanation of the Doctor's story if there be one. 
We have quoted the original affidavit now gone. Possibly 
a monument should be erected by the State to our Dr. 
Pomeroy for valuable public service. The family was a 
notable one here years ago. They owned what we first knew 
as the Burt place, and remnants of their private burial plot 



450 Old RindreKooK 

may still be seen. They intermarried with the Webbers, 
then living on the Datus C. Smith place and, later, on the 
site of L. L. Morrell's present home. Dr. Pomeroy was a 
grandfather of Mrs. FrankHn B. Van Alstyne. The Pome- 
roys also intermarried with the Van De Bogarts of Kinder- 
hook. Mrs. Anna L. Shay of Dalton, Mass., informs us that 
her great-grandfather, John Van De Bogart, was color- 
bearer to Washington, and that her grandfather, John, was 
a soldier in the War of 1812. 

Other physicians there were of whom we know but little. 
A Dr. John A. Van Alen was practicing here in 1844 and lived 
in the house now owned by Miss Mary Best. The father of 
the late Rear-Admiral Philip was in practice here several 
years. Dr. O. H. Smith from New York, owned for a short 
time the Vanderpoel mansion. Dr. Daniel Sargent, son-in- 
law of Tunis Harder, served the community professionally 
for a few years. Dr. U. G. Hitchcock, who came to the help 
of Dr. P. V. S. Pruyn in his disability, won many friends. 
Still other physicians of whom we can give no account there 
probably were. Concerning some perhaps noticeable omis- 
sions in the biographical sketches we will say that Dr. John 
I. Beekman, 1761-1791, died young. Dr. William Barthrop, 
1 765-1 838, from England, married Dr. Beekman's widow 
and succeeded to his practice. He was an odd genius of 
whom many stories abide; such as his doctoring certain 
choice apples much in vogue with the Academy boys so that 
they repented with many inward qualms and let the tree 
alone; his deathly fear of contagious cases, when he was wont 
to put his head only through the door of the sick-room, tell 
the patient to stick out his tongue, and then withdraw say- 
ing — "I see, I see," to prepare his delectable concoctions in 
safety. Patients using remedies of their own were some- 
times told with Delphic double entente — "Nothing better," 
so that whether they killed or cured he could triumphantly 
say, "I told you so." 

Dr. Barthrop left what was for his time a large estate. 



PKysicians 451 

His will, after providing liberally for his widow and a sister 
in England, bequeathed $19,000 in trust for aiding five 
different women's benevolent societies if deemed worthy by 
his executors. The residue of his estate, still quite large, was 
to be applied in such sums and at such times as the executors 
might deem proper to any one or more societies for the 
support of indigent, respectable persons, especially females 
and orphans, as might be deemed worthy. The executors 
declining to serve, administrators were appointed, one of 
whom was Dr. John P. Beekman, a stepson of the testator. 
The execution of the trusts was wholly discretionary. We 
have record of small allowances being made now and then, 
here and there ; but after considerable litigation .the will was 
set aside, because of indefiniteness and the unlimited dis- 
cretion given the executors. Inasmuch as the original estate 
was largely that of Dr. Beekman's mother, no wrong seems 
to have been done by his ultimate ownership of a considerable 
portion of it. 

Concerning the administration of Dr. Barthrop's peculiar 
will we have only this item of definite information copied 
from a New York paper of the time : 

The Female Assistance Society gratefully acknowledge the 
receipt of five hundred dollars from J. P. Beekman, Esq. of 
Kinderhook, administrator of the estate of William Barthrop, 
deceased, accompanied with the following letter to one of the 
directresses : 

"Kinderhook, Feb. 14th, 1840. 
" Madam, — The late William Barthrop, of this place, left 
bequests to certain charitable societies in New York, of which 
the Female Assistance Society is one, upon condition that if 
his executors, after due inquiry, examination and deliberation, 
were of opinion that they were well managed, and merited 
the bequest, they were instructed to carry out his intentions; 
but if, on the contrary, they discovered mismanagement or 
negligence in conducting their affairs, or any other cause which 
they conceived would justify them to withhold the entire be- 



452 Old K-inderHooK 

quest, or any subsequent portion of it, they had the power to do 
so. To carry into effect the intentions of the testator, and after 
spending some time in New York in making the necessary ex- 
amination into the claims of the Female Assistance Society to 
the bequest mentioned in the will, I am happy to inform you that 
after looking into your annual reports from the organization of 
your society until this time, a period of about twenty-six years, 
and examining your book of minutes, as well as after due 'in- 
quiry and deliberation, ' I have come to the conclusion that the 
Female Assistance Society, of which you act as President, is 
entitled to the first instalment of five hundred dollars, for which 
I enclose my check to your treasurer. Believe me, madam, I 
shall be most happy hereafter to pay the successive yearly 
instalments as they become due, if I see the officers of the society 
continue to conduct its affairs with the same industry, in- 
tegrity and prudence of purpose which I think I have heretofore 
observed, and that the citizens of New York continue to con- 
tribute liberally of their funds to aid so excellent a charity. On 
the contrary, if they withdraw their aid, and thus remove their 
countenance, it will be a proof that the society is deemed worth- 
less by those whose population will be most benefitted by it, and 
are best enabled to judge of its merits. I am, most respectfully, 

"Yours, &c. J. P. Beekman." 

Dr. John P. Beekman (i 788-1861) was the son of John 
I. He practiced medicine for about twenty years only. 
His manifold other activities and long-continued public 
service have been amply narrated. 

Dr. John Vanderpoel (i 796-1 851) was one of our most 
eminent physicians and citizens. He lived in Valatie, in the 
house later occupied by Dr. Benson and now by Adrian 
Wheeler. In 1832 he was Valatie's first postmaster. He was 
held in high honor for his personal character and service and 
also as the father of sons even more eminent than himself. 

His son, Samuel Oakley Vanderpoel, was the very success- 
ful physician and surgeon of Albany, where he was for many 
years a Professor in the Medical College, and from 1869- 
1873 Surgeon-General of the State. Later he moved to New 



I 



PHysicians 453 

York where he was for eight years the efficient Health Officer. 
Of the other distinguished son, Aaron J. Vanderpoel, we have 
already written. 

Dr. Abraham Van Vleck Pru}^, son of John I., began 
practice here but soon moved to Pictou, Canada, where he 
was successful and honored, but died in his forty-eighth 
year. 

In 1806 our Dr. H. L. Van Dyck was one of the or- 
ganizers of the Columbia County Medical Society. Among 
subsequent additions to the roll we find the following 
residents of Kinderhook or Valatie: 1807, W. Barthrop; 
1810, J. P. Beekman; 1822, John Vanderpoel and Andrew 
Van Dyck; 1832, John M. Pruyn and John O. Flaegler; 1837, 
Daniel Sargent; 1838, Henry B. Salmon (Stuyvesant Falls); 
1842, Stephen G. Tallmadge; 1843, Lucas Pruyn and S. O. 
Vanderpoel; 1863, P. V. S. Pruyn; 1868, George E. Benson; 
1869, E. B. Boice and P. B. Collier; 1883, T. Floyd Wood- 
worth; 1890, Frank S. Snow and I. H. Lent; 1891, N. D. 
Garnsey and M. M. Kittell; 1898, J. E. Cochrane. Drs. 
Betts, Brewster, and Sheldon were in Valatie for a short 
time. 

Of homeopathic physicians we note: A. P. Cook, 1839- 
1841 ; James S. Philip, H. B. Horton, and James Greene. 

Yet another of Valatie's most eminent physicians and 
surgeons was George E. Benson. He was born (1829) in 
Greenwich, Washington County. His father served in the 
War of 1 8 12, and his grandfather and great-grandfather in 
the Revolution. After eighteen years' practice here he 
moved to Hudson where he served with signal success seven- 
teen years more. He was one of the first Trustees and the 
first President of the Hudson Hospital. In 1863 he married 
Sarah Elizabeth, daughter of Ephraim P. Best of Kinder- 
hook. Their children are Edward Ellsworth, born 1864, 
and Charles Best, born 1866. He died in 1906 and 
was buried in Hudson. His widow and two sons still 
survive. 



454 Old RinderKooK 

Henry L. Van Dyck, M.D. 1773-1840 

He was the fifth son of Lourens Van Dyck and Maria 
Vanderpoel and was born at the Van Dyck homestead 
November 11, 1773. He was held in high honor and esteem 
not only because of his ability and service as a physician, 
but also because of his exalted Christian character and most 
exemplary life. He was a valuable official of the Dutch 
church for many years, ever helpful to his pastor and fre- 
quently conducting evening services for him, as well as being 
active in all church work. 

January 22, 1795, he married his second cousin Catrina, 
a daughter of Stephanus Van Alen and Angeltie Witbeck. 
They were both great-grandchildren of Stephanus Van Alen 
(ist) and Maria Cornelise Mulder. They had nine children, 
several of whom achieved distinction, as we elsewhere note. 
They were: (i) Maria, born January 27, 1797; married 
John A. Van Dyck, her cousin, July 9, 1817; died January 
8, 1875. (2) Stephen, born 1799, died, 1803. (3) Andrew H. 
{see sketch). (4) Elizabeth, born May 14, 1803; married, 
1829, Rev. Peter Jackson; died 1834, leaving two children. 
The daughter, Sarah Catharine, was adopted by her Uncle 
Henry H. Van Dyck and subsequently married Dr. W. H. 
Thompson, son of the Syrian missionary and author, the 
Rev. Dr. W. M. Thompson. (5) Stephen, born 1805; died, 
1828. (6) Lawrence H. {see sketch). (7) Henry H. {see 
sketch). (8) Engeltie (Ann), born October 5, 1812; married 
June 9, 1836, Newton Reed of South Amenia, N. Y., of the 
highest type of Christian manhood. She was the mother of 
eight children. (9) Cornelius Van Alen Van Dyck {see 
sketch). 

Worthy to be held in abiding honor for his character, his 
service, and his notable children, this "beloved physician" 
passed away, December 7, 1840. 



PHysicians 455 

Andrew H. Van Dyck, M.D. 1801-1871 

He was born in Kinderhook, January 27, 1801, and be- 
came one of the distinguished sons of Dr. Henry L. Van 
Dyck. After being graduated at the College of Physicians 
and Surgeons in 1822 he began the practice of his profession 
here, but in 1827 removed to Bath, Canada, and continued 
in successful practice there until 1838, when the border 
troubles led him to return and resume practice here. In 
1843 at the urgent solicitation of Dr. Van Schaack, of Os- 
wego, he removed to that place and continued to live and 
practice there until his death, August 31, 1871. The Oswego 
Advertiser and Times had this to say of him : 

For nearly thirty years Dr. Van Dyck has been an active, 
prominent and at all times one of the most highly respected 
citizens of Oswego. ... As a physician, as a citizen, as a Chris- 
tian, no man in Oswego ever stood higher in public estimation 
than Dr. Van Dyck. 

In 1864 he was made Collector of Customs of the port of 
Oswego by President Lincoln, the duties of which responsible 
position he discharged with fidelity and acceptance to the 
Government for five years. September 15, 1823, he married 
Catharine Staats of Valatie, and had eleven children, four 
of whom died in infancy. 

Lucas Van Schaack, M.D. 1804-1844 

Lucas, the youngest son of Peter Van Schaack and Eliza- 
beth Van Alen, was born in this village, November 7, 1804, 
and died in Oswego, November 8, 1844. He removed 
thither in 1827, having completed his preparatory and pro- 
fessional studies here. The Oswego County Whig and the 
Oswego Palladium as well as the Kinderhook Sentinel had 
notices of him after his death from which we gather, as from 
other sources, that he was a most successful and beloved 
physician, noted for his kindness to the poor and held in the 
highest esteem by the entire community as well as by the 



456 Old RinderKooK 

Second Presbyterian Church, of which he was an eminent 
and active member. Hedied, said the Whig — "very much 
lamented by all who knew him. " 

His first wife was Miss Sarah Hawley, of Oswego. They 
had two sons, Thomas and William. Their mother died 
soon after the birth of the latter. William was born in Os- 
wego, N. Y., January i, 1841. About four years later his 
father died, and William's stepmother, Mary Hoes, returned 
with the orphan children to Kinderhook. When he was 
about eighteen he was adopted by his uncle, Thomas Beek- 
man, then living in what we have known as the Vanderpoel 
house, and received the added name Beekman. After com- 
pleting his course in the Academy here he studied mechani- 
cal engineering at Union College. He entered upon his 
work as a mechanical engineer and was also a student of 
architecture in the office of Thomas R. Jackson, and had 
apparently a brilliant career before him when, in 1861, his 
country's peril appealed to him so strongly that he enlisted. 
He became a Captain and rendered valiant service in the 
conflict for the possession of the lower Mississippi, and also 
at Fredericksburg under McClellan, whom he greatly ad- 
mired. There he was seriously wounded, and, being in- 
capacitated for continued service, received an honorable 
discharge. Purchasing a beautiful home near Saugerties he 
remained there about six years, having in the meantime 
married Miss Sarah Ten Eyck of that village. In 1877, after 
a short tarry in Cleveland, Ohio, he returned to Kinderhook, 
where he continued to live, held in the very highest respect 
and esteem until his death, June 7, 1902. To the church he 
loved and served with signal ability and fidelity and to the 
whole community which honored him, his departure seemed 
an irreparable loss. His widow and four daughters survived 
him. 

John Matthias Pruyn, M.D. 1806-1866 

He was born October 25, 1806, in what was then the 
beautiful homestead of his father, Francis Pruyn, the brick 



PKysicians 457 

house near the bridges and known to us as the Edward Van 
Buren place, now belonging to Mr. Davie. The will of John 
Pruyn, his grandfather, names him John Tise; and thus he 
was familiarly called by many. When he was about three 
years old his father died and about seven years later his 
mother. The orphan boy found home and care at his grand- 
father's, the Pruyn-Bray-Beekman place. His school days 
were spent partly here and partly in Lenox, Mass. His study 
of medicine began with Dr. Beekman, in Kinderhook, was 
continued in Newark, N. J., under Dr. Clark, Dr. Beekman's 
father-in-law, and completed at the College of Physicians 
and Surgeons, New York, 1829. He began practice at Salis- 
bury Mills, Orange County, but after two or three years 
returned to Kinderhook and was in partnership for a time 
with his preceptor. Dr. Beekman. He continued in practice 
here until 1863 when failing health compelled retirement, 
although not wholly withholding, almost to the day of his 
sudden death, his kindly presence and skilled service from the 
homes of intimate friends and neighbors. May 24, 1837, he 
married Margaret, daughter of Peter Van Schaack and 
Elizabeth Van Alen, Their children were: Catharine; 
Francis, who died young; Peter Van Schaack {see sketch); 
Maria; Margaret, who was the third wife of Peter Edward 
Van Alstyne. Margaret's daughter, Harriet, married Charles 
Frisbee of Stuyvesant Falls. 

Dr. Pruyn died February 12, 1866. As we wrote at the 
time, — He attained more than ordinary prominence in his 
profession. He was an honored member of both the County 
and State Medical societies. He followed his profession not 
for any gain it might bring him (for of that he was notori- 
ously careless) , but because he loved it and was glad to serve 
his fellow-men. He kept himself fully informed, not only 
upon the most recent results in the science and practice of 
medicine, but upon current topics of interest. His reading, 
which was continued until the very day of his death, was 
discriminating, extensive, and thorough. Diligent in study, 



458 Old RinderKooK 

faithful and skillful in practice, unostentatious in manner, 
pure in spirit and kind of heart, he won the respect of all 
and endeared himself to very many. " Children " was his last 
articulate word. We were a multitude of stricken children 
who tenderly bore his honored remains to their rest. 

Lucas Pruyn, M.D. 1812-1882 

"Dr. Luke," son of John I. and cousin of Dr. John M. 
Pruyn, born June 14, 1812, began practice here in 1834, and 
continued in service for about forty-eight years. His prac- 
tice became very extensive and his own patients at least 
thought that no other could ever quite equal "Luke, the 
beloved physician." He was of the old school of practitioners 
whose methods and remedies were often quite heroic; but 
in the sick-room and elsewhere, at times at least, he had a 
most winsome gentleness and tenderness of voice and man- 
ner due in part, we think, to the steady influence of the rarely 
sweet and gentle spirit of his wife, Cynthia, the daughter of 
Captain C. Wilsey of Schodack. His first office was on the 
lot adjoining the Central House, and the stately tree there 
standing was of his planting. Thence it was removed to the 
rear of the old Bank lot and later to his home now occupied 
by Dr. Waterbury. For many years he was identified with 
our first Bank, as elsewhere noted. The lot on which Mr. 
Bray's house now stands belonged then to Dr. Luke, and 
was a cherished part of his ancestral estate. He had a large 
fine orchard, free from modern pests, and a well-tended and 
productive garden in which he greatly delighted. We can see 
now his tall, gaimt, rugged form passing to and fro in loving 
watch-care over his heritage; and many were the fruits and 
vegetables which in their season were quietly and kindly 
placed on our side of the division fence. 

Only about a week before his death he was cautioned, 
because of his feebleness, against undue exposure and over- 
exertion, but, in the spirit repeatedly seen among the nobler 



PHysicians 459 

members of his noble profession, replied: "I know of no 
better way of closing life than in the performance of duty, 
and I desire so to be found when my time shall come." 

Late in life he became a communicant member of the 
Church of his fathers to whom he was gathered, April i8, 
1882. 

S. G. Talmadge, M.D. 1809-1868 

Dr. Talmadge was born in Oswego County in 1809. In 
his early childhood his parents moved to Claverack, where 
his boyhood was spent and where his preliminary education 
was acquired. He was for a time under the private tutelage 
of the eminent practitioners Drs. Woodward and Tully, and 
completed his studies at the Medical College of Castleton, 
Vt. He began practice immediately thereafter at Valatie, 
and there remained, becoming one of the most successful 
and beloved of the physicians of the town. Gracious per- 
sonal characteristics, as well as eminent medical skill, won 
the confidence, honor, and affection of a multitude who 
greatly deplored his sudden death, due to being violently 
thrown during his effort to hold his fractious horses alarmed 
by several passing trains near Chatham Center. He died 
in 1868, aged about fifty-nine. It was through his patriotic 
initiative and effort that at a public meeting in the Presby- 
terian church, Valatie, a beautiful sword and other fitting 
accoutrements were presented to the late Captain Bartholo- 
mew Pruyn, Co. K., 30th N. Y. S. V., prior to his departure 
for the seat of war. 

Peter Van Schaack Pruyn, M.D. 

Was born in Kinderhook, November 19, 184 1. His home 
was a portion of his ancestral estate which we are able to 
trace back to its Indian owner, Wattawit. He was the only 
son of Dr. John Matthias Pruyn and Margaret, a daughter 
of Peter Van Schaack. He was educated at the District 



460 Old RinderKooK 

School, the Kinderhook Academ}^ Union College (class of 
i860), and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York 
city, class of 1863. He was the salutatorian of his college 
class, an Alpha Delta Phi, and Phi Beta Kappa. He served 
for a time during the war in the Ira Harris government 
hospital. In 1871 he was a student of medicine in Vienna, 
Austria. His practice here began immediately after his 
graduation, he succeeding more and more to his father's 
widely extended service from which advancing years and 
impaired health demanded relief. His success was instant; 
personal characteristics, as well as medical skill, winning and 
retaining the confidence and affection of a multitude who 
rise up to call him blessed. He was a consistent member of 
the Dutch Church, that of his fathers for many generations, 
and served it for a time as a deacon. In 1878 he was chosen 
a Trustee of the Academy and served with singular ability 
and devotion as President of the Board for several years. 
In 1877 he became a Director of the National Union Bank. 
He was Vice-President, for the County, of the New York 
HoUand Society, and at one time its President. He was an 
honored member of the County and State Medical Societies. 
October 3, 1877, he married Mary Barnard, daughter of 
William H. Tobey of Kinderhook, and had two children — 
John Bayard Pruyn, a rising young lawyer of New York, 
and Julia Carville. 

Dr. Pruyn sacrificed himself for his patients' sake. His 
ceaseless service, often involving wearisome drives and some- 
times serious exposure, overtaxed his strength and doubtless 
hastened his death. For years he was aware of serious and 
progressive heart trouble, but bravely and unselfishly strug- 
gled on, until peril of speedy fatal result compelled him to 
heed the counsel of brother practitioners and relinquish his 
work. Seeking benefit from change of air and scene he spent 
the winter of 1890-91 at Lakewood, N. J., but in April, by 
the advice of Drs. Vanderpoel and Townsend, was painfully 
brought home and on Alay 2d he passed away. 



PHysicians 461 

Many just and beautiful tributes to his memory appeared 
in all our local and \'icinit3- papers, and among them the 
Minutes adopted by the Trustees of the Academy and the 
Directors of the National Union Bank. From the latter 

Minutes we quote : 

As a citizen, he was public spirited, progressive and actively 
interested in all measures for the highest welfare of the com- 
munity and the prosperit}- of the ^-illage. 

As a man, he was just in aU the relations of life, high minded, 
of incorruptible integrity and the soul of honor. His was a noble 
t\*pe of manhood; his a busy weU spent and useful life. 

To him, truth, duty and honor were no mere abstractions, 
but embodied in all his daily Ufe and intercourse with men. 

He was liberallj' educated and of finel\- cultivated literarj- 
taste. His mind was enriched and broadened by foreign travel 
and by an intimate and appreciative familiarity with the art and 
Hterature of ancient and modem times. He kept abreast with 
all that is best in modem thought, as well as with the latest dis- 
coveries in science, and especiall\- in his chosen profession. At 
every hour of the day or night he was ready to answer the call of 
sickness and to give his best service. We shall often recall his 
urbanity, amiability, and kindness of heart. 

Personal and close obser\-ation for more than twenty- 
fi\-e 3*ears enables us to give emphatic assent to every 
appreciative word of the late lamented Dr. J. T. Wheeler's 
paper read before the County Medical Societ}' in October, 
1893, and subsequently printed for p^i^■ate distribution. 
We give its final paragraph : 

No poor child suddenly sick in the night, no suffering man 
or woman who needed his care, through storm or distance, ever 
sent a call for him, but he was ready to go. He went forth with 
his life in his hand, and calmly, knowingly, designedly, each day 
offered it up to save the Hfe of others. At length he saw the end 
coming, but he did not falter. Some poor boy li\-ing at a distance 
had met ^\-ith an accident and lay long in a critical and painful 
condition. It fell to his lot to care for him. He went to the bov 



462 Old RinderKooK 

by night, and often several times a day for a long while. The boy 
got well but the doctor's labors had forever ended. And as truly 
as in his way the great Physician gave up his life, a willing sacrifice 
that all men might live forever, so truly did Peter Van Schaack 
Pruyn, in the same Christ-like way, give up his life that his 
fellow mortals might not suffer and might have life. 

Martin M. Kittell, M.D., born October 10, 1866, 
Ghent, N.Y. ; son of George H. Kittell and Mary Jane Mesick; 
educated in Common District School and at a private insti- 
tution in New Haven ; entered New York Medical College in 
1888; came to Kinderhook, May 1891; elected Coroner in 
1 89 1 and for three subsequent terms, resigning to go to the 
Assembly of 1900; member of the Board of Health; Treas- 
urer of village, and twice President of the County Medical 
Society. Moved to Jamaica in December, 1906. Married 
(ist) Eleanor Southard of Mellenville, October 31, 1894, who 
died in 1898; their two boys, George Southard and Harold, 
died young; married (2d) Carrie O. Davenport of Austerlitz, 
October 25, 1899. Their children are Donald D., George H., 
and Elizabeth Carolyn. 

In Jamaica he served a term in the deaconship of the Dutch 
Reformed Church. He belongs to the associated staff of the 
Jamaica Hospital, and is enjoying a good general practice. He 
is a member of the American Medical Association of Greater 
N. Y. ; also of the Long Island Association of Physicians 
and Surgeons, and of the Queens-Nassau Medical Society. 

The continuance of the old Kinderhook drug store, after 
Mr. Hawley, was an enterprise in which he took much pride 
and was successful. Although his interest in the business 
has ceased he still owns the old landmark. 

Concerning the present physicians of the town we sub- 
join the following biographical notes, the data furnished by 
themselves. 

Nathan D. Garnsey, M.D.; born in Saratoga County, 
February 23, 1864; son of Lewis R. Garnsey and Augusta C. 



PHysicians 463 

Groom; was a graduate of the University of Rochester, 1886, 
and of the Albany Medical College, 1891. In May of that 
year he came to Kinderhook, succeeding to a large degree 
to the practice of Dr. P. V. S. Pruyn. April 17, 1895, mar- 
ried Ella V. A., the elder daughter of J. Spencer Hosford and 
Maria, daughter of James Van Alstyne. Barent Hoes, 
whose wife, "Aunt Derike, " was a sister of Martin Van 
Buren, long lived in Dr. Garnsey's home. 

RoscoE C. Waterbury, M.D., born September 15, 1877; 
son of A. H. Waterbury and Josephine Richards; educated 
public schools and Mt. Hermon School for boys at North- 
field, Mass.; M.D., Albany Medical College, 1905; was in 
practice in Averill Park, N. Y., one and a half years; came 
to Kinderhook, succeeding Dr. Kittell, 1906; married Ada 
Wild, August, 1907. He belongs to all the branches of 
Masons, is an Odd Fellow and a Modern Woodman. 

Henry J. Noerling, M.D., born Brooklyn, N. Y., Oc- 
tober 5, 1888; son of George F. Noerling and Julia H. Brady; 
preliminary education. High School, Catsldll, N. Y. ; Albany 
Medical College, 191 1; interne, Albany Hospital, 1910-12; 
began practice at Valatie, February, 1912; married Sadie H., 
daughter of Wm. SHke and Jessie Shufelt, April 26, 1912; 
one son, Henry Joseph Noerling, Jr., born January 12, 1913; 
member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity, Modern Woodmen, 
and entered apprentice of the Valatie Lodge of F. & A. M. 
Health officer of village and town. 

A. Redmond Dimock, M.D., born Waymart, Pa., Novem- 
ber II, 1869; son of Asa W. Dimock and Sarah J. Kent; 
educated at Waymart Normal Institute; graduated with 
highest honors at Bellevue Hospital Medical College, N. Y. 
City, 1892; served in the surgical division of Bellevue; later, 
attended cHnics in Edinburgh, London, Paris, and Vienna; 
1 894-1 904 connected with contagious diseases department 
of the N. Y. City Health Department; served as chief 



464 Old HinderHooK 

ophthalmologist at the German Polyclinic, N. Y. City, and 
assistant at the Polhemus Clinic, Brooklyn; continued in 
practice in New York City until October, 1912, when he came 
to Valatie. 

Of living non-resident physicians born in Kinderhook we 
note: 

William Wirt Wendover, M.D., son of C. H. Wendover 
and Lucretia Harder; born January 28, 1851; educated 
private school; Rutgers College, 1871; graduated College of 
Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, 1874; Alum- 
nus Roosevelt Hospital, 1875; practiced two years in New 
York City, one in Kinderhook; since 1884 in Warwick, N. Y. ; 
President of Warwick Board of Education since 1910; mem- 
ber of County, State, and American Medical Associations. 
In 1893 married Pauline Sanford whose mother was a Burt, 
related to our Burts. They have two children, Sandford 
Hutton, a junior in Pulitzer's School of Journalism, and 
Anna Burt, a student. 

Edward J. Collier, M.D., born July 13, 1871 ; son of E. 
A. Collier and Isabella G. James; educated Kinderhook and 
Albany Academies; graduated Williams College, 1893; -Al- 
bany Medical, 1896; after service in Jersey City and New 
York hospitals settled in Amsterdam, N. Y., where he is now 
in active practice. January 10, 1906, married Helen Gallag- 
her, of Hammond, N. Y. 

The Ministry 

Kinderhook's contributions to the Ministry number at 
least fifteen, all born here unless otherwise noted, and, with 
the exception of Mr. Wynkoop whose parents moved to 
Kingston, all communicant members of the Reformed Dutch 
church here. We note: Andrew N. Kittle, born 1785, 
pastor Red Hook, Linlithgo, and Stuyvesant, died 1864. 
Jacob E. Vosburgh, born 1787, Princeton Theological Sem- 
inary, 1 8 14, but became a farmer in Illinois; died 1836. 



THe Ministry 465 

Peter S. Wynkoop, born 1787. Pastor Catskill, Hyde 
Park, Pleasant Plains, Ghent and Hillsdale, Ghent and 
Claverack, Ghent, Blooming Grove, died 1848. Henry G. 
Ludlow, born 1797, preached New York, New Haven, 
Poughkeepsie, Oswego, died 1867. 

Henry Mandeville, born 1804, pastor Shawangunk, 
Geneva, Utica, Professor of Moral Philosophy and Rhetoric, 
Hamilton College, pastor again at Mobile, Ala., where he 
died, 1858. 

Cornelius L. Van Dyck, born 1804, pastor Marbletown, 
Port Ewen, died 1866. 

John M. Van Buren, born 181 1, pastor Fultonville and 
New Lots, died 1892. His wife was a sister of John C. F. 
and Peter S. Hoes. His son Howard Van Buren is an 
honored citizen of Nyack. 

Lawrence H. Van Dyck, born 1807. See vSketch. 

John C. F. Hoes, born at Middleburg, 181 1, during the 
brief residence of his parents there, but early brought to his 
ancestral home and here receiving his early education; 
pastor Chittenango, Utica, and Kingston (22 years); died 
1883. His only son, Roswell Randall Hoes, is a chaplain 
U. S. N., now on the retired list. 

Daniel E. Manton, born 181 1, pastor Chittenango, Red- 
ding, and Hillsdale; died 1841. His wife, Elsie, was a daugh- 
ter of the Rev. Dr. Sickles. 

Cornelius Van Alen Van Dyck, born 18 18. See Sketch. 

Edgar Laing Heermance. See Sketch. 

John B. Church, in business here when he began study 
for the ministry; pastor Taghkanic, Rochester, and Paterson, 
N.J. 

Edward S. D. G. Tompkins entered Episcopal ministry. 
Assistant minister in Troy, Rector at Coxsackie, now retired. 

REV. LAWRENCE H. VAN DYCK. 1807-I893 

He was the fourth son of Dr. Henry L. Van Dyck and an 
older brother of Henry H. and C. V. A. Van Dyck. He was 
30 



466 Old RinderHooK 

born at Kinderhook, October 5, 1807, educated at the 
Academy; graduated at Amherst College, 1830; Auburn 
Seminary, 1833; licensed and ordained, Presbytery of 
Cayuga, 1833; agent in Kentucky for American Tract 
vSociety, 1833-1835; pastor, Cairo, N. Y., 1835-1839; Spen- 
certown, 1839-1844; Gilboa, 1844-1852; Helderbergh, 1852- 
1856; Blooming Grove, 1856-1861 ; Stone Arabia, 1861-1867; 
teaching, 1 869-1 870; Unionville, 1 870-1 876; Rector of 
Hertzog Hall, New Brunswick, N. J., 1876-1881. He then 
retired from public service and died in Brooklyn, January 
24, 1893. He was twice married, his first wife being Chris- 
tina Hoes of Kinderhook, and his second, Mary D. Hold- 
ridge. Of the three children of the first wife, but one reached 
mature life, Jane Elizabeth, the wife of the Rev. Dr. Theo. 
W. Welles of the Reformed Church in America. The second 
wife had four children, two of whom reached maturity. 

Mr. Van Dyck is characterized in Corwin's Manual as 
being a faithful conscientious minister, a modest unassuming 
man, lacking perhaps in self-assertion, but pure in heart, 
true and steadfast to duty and principle ; and devoted to the 
work of the Master. 

CORNELIUS VAN ALEN VAN DYCK, M.D., D.D., L.H.D., LL.D. 

1818-1895 

Much of this sketch is drawn from our own contribution 
to Dr. E. T. Corwin's Manual of the Reformed Church. 

Cornelius Van Alen Van Dyck, sixth son of Dr. Henry L. 
Van Dyck and Catharine Van Alen, was born at Kinder- 
hook, August 13, 1818. He was educated at the Academy 
here and was graduated from the Jefferson Medical College, 
Philadelphia, in 1839; appointed by the A. B. C. F. M. 
medical missionary to Syria the same year ; reached his field in 
April, 1840; founded Boys' Seminary at Abieh, Mt. Lebanon, 
1843; in charge thereof until 1851; ordained by the Mission, 
January 14, 1846; Principal of Mission Seminary, 1848-1852; 



XHe Ministry 467 

in Sidon field, 1852-1857; (in U. S., 1853-1854); appointed 
to complete Dr. Eli Smith's Arabic translation of the Bible, 
and transferred to Beyrout, 1857; manager of Mission 
Press at Beyrout, 1857-1880; elected member of the ^^ Deut- 
sche Morganlandsche Gesellschaft," 1858; visited Europe in 
behalf of the Arabic translation of the Bible, i860; trans- 
lation completed, August 22, 1864; in New York, supervising 
the making of electrotype plates of the translation, 1865- 
1867; teacher of Hebrew in Union Theological Seminary, 
1 866-1 867; Hebrew professorship offered but declined, 1867; 
returned to vSyria, 1867; director of the Mission Press; editor 
of the first religious newspaper in Arabic; Professor of Chem- 
istry and Pathology in Medical Department of Syrian 
Protestant College, and after about five years. Professor of 
Astronomy and Director of the Observatory. Much of this 
service was gratuitous, and a large part of the apparatus was 
purchased at his own expense and subsequently tran.sf erred 
to the College at about half-price. 

About the year 1871 he became physician to the Hospital 
founded and maintained by the Knights of St. John of 
Prussia. In 1879 he received from Emperor William I., the 
gold decoration and "Order of the Royal Crown." In the 
summer of 1882 he visited Vienna for six weeks and in 
December of that year resigned his connection with the 
College. From 1883- 1894 he was physician to St. George's 
Hospital of the Orthodox Greeks. April 2, 1890, there was 
an extraordinary jubilee in celebration of his landing in 
Syria, and November 13, 1895, he died. 

His degree of D.D. was bestowed by Rutgers College in 
1865; that of L.H.D., by the same institution in 1890, and 
that of LL.D. was conferred "in absentia," a very unusual 
honor, by the University of Edinburgh in 1892. 

His miscellaneous publications in Arabic were volumin- 
ous. For a presumably complete list we refer the reader to 
that furnished us by his son, William Thompson Van Dyck, 
M.D., and printed in Corwin's Manual. 



468 Old RinderHooK 

December 2;^, 1842, he married Julia Abbott, daughter 
of the British Consul, of whom two sons and two daughters 
were born. 

A detailed account of the character, life, and manifold 
labors and achievements of this most remarkable man would 
fill many pages. His great work was that of translating the 
Bible into Arabic. With the exception of the Pentateuch 
(which he revised) it was essentially all his own work, done 
with a precision and elegance which have elicited the high- 
est praise of the best Arabic scholars of the world. This 
alone considered, we may be permitted to wonder, without 
irreverence, we hope, if among them born of Kinderhook 
women there hath arisen a greater than Cornelius Van Alen 
Van Dyck. The late Dr. Jessup thought not. 

Interested readers will find many additional details in the 
Manual of Dr. Corwin; in Rev. Dr. T. W. Welles's Ancestral 
Tablets, p. 238; in Anderson's History of the Missions to 
Oriental Churches, and in many obituary notices in the press 
immediately after his death. The two absorbingly interest- 
ing volumes of the late Dr. Jessup abound in references to the 
subject of this inadequate sketch. We are sorry, however, 
to be obliged to put an interrogation point after one story 
well fitted to " point a moral or adorn a tale." It is concern- 
ing the good woman of Kinderhook who deplored that, when 
Cornelius V. A. Van Dyck united with the church (a boy of 
thirteen he was), there was only one other, a negro woman. 
Dr. Jessup was misinformed. There were forty-one who 
united the same day. Somehow, in view of the many simi- 
lar records of those days, it seems that the old doctrines were 
quite as effective as the new in developing pure, strong, and 
lovable Christian characters and in inspiring to noble, heroic 
living. 

REV. EDGAR L. HEERMANCE. 1833-I888 

Edgar Laing, a son of Rev. Henry Heermance and 
Catharine E. Laing, while not born in Kinderhook, as com- 



Miscellaneovis 4^9 

monly stated, but in New York City, April 30, 1833, was so 
soon brought here (1835) and was so long identified with our 
village that he has been accounted a native. He was pre- 
pared for college at the Academy and was graduated from 
Yale in 1858, and from the Theological Seminary three years 
later. Before his collegiate course he was for a short time in 
mercantile life in New York City. Licensed by the Century 
Association, New Haven, in 1 861, he was pastor of the Castle- 
ton, N. Y., Reformed church from 1 861-1869. After foreign 
travel and miscellaneous service here and there as opportun- 
ity offered, in 1872 he became pastor of the Presbyterian 
church of White Plains, which position he continued to hold 
until April 29, 1888, when, but a few moments before the 
afternoon Sunday service, he was found dying in the pulpit 
where he had stood so long. While at Castleton he married 
Agnes, a daughter of President Woolsey of Yale. He was 
survived by his widow and three children. Theodore Wool- 
sey Heermance was graduated at Yale in 1893; studied two 
years in Athens as the recipient of the Soldiers' Memorial 
FelloWvShip; became a tutor at Yale, in the meanwhile taking 
the degree of Ph.D. ; became Director of the American School 
of Classical Studies in Athens in 1903, and died there in 
September, 1905. Laura Woolsey lives with her mother in 
New Haven. Edgar Laing Heermance was graduated at 
Yale, 1901 ; studied theology one year in Edinburgh and two 
at New Haven, and for more than ten years has been the 
pastor of the Congregational church of Mankato, 111. In 
1907 he married Miss Nora Livingston and has two children, 
Edith and Theodore. Edgar L., Jr., is the author of the 
published volume Democracy in the Church. 

Miscellaneous 

FOSTER RHODES {The Sire of the Turkish Navy), 1794 

From an article in the N. Y. Sun, in the autumn of 191 1, 
we condense the following sketch of the career, hitherto 
unknown to most, of a Kinderhook boy. 



470 Old RinderKooK 

Foster Rhodes, son of Captain Henry R. Rhodes and 
Hannah Cooper, was born in Kinderhook, July 17, 1794. 
The name Cooper appears in many of our records of that 
period and earHer. The family claimed ownership of the 
Baker and Plodder patent. After completing his studies 
in our schools, Foster was apprenticed to a silversmith in 
New York City, but becoming dissatisfied therewith soon 
decided to learn shipbuilding with the firm of Adam and 
Noah Brown. He was an apt scholar and, though yet a 
youth, was soon deemed by his employers as quite the equal 
of any of their men. Adam Brown took him to Erie, Pa., 
where they built a brig which helped Commodore Perry 
to win his victory on Lake Erie. Leaving the Brown firm 
he went to Nova Scotia and built the first steam passenger 
boat plying between Halifax and Dartmouth. Later, he 
returned to Brooklyn, and in association with Henry Eck- 
ford, built a ship which they named the United States; on 
which they both went on a trading voyage, with the intent 
of selling their ship. The end of the voyage was at Con- 
stantinople. There Henry Eckford died. The Sultan, know- 
ing somehow of Rhodes's abilities, sought to employ him, but 
he and his ship were one, he said, and so the Sultan bought 
the ship and secured Mr. Rhodes's service. He built a yacht 
for the Sultan and ten ships for his navy. After launching a 
ship in a way that astounded the Sultan, with only seven or 
eight men instead of the two hundred which the Sultan 
deemed necessary and had offered him, he was summoned 
to an audience with the Sultan. He went in his shirt-sleeves, 
but was nevertheless told that if he would become a Mo- 
hammedan he might name his own title in the Turkish Navy. 
His answer was: "No, thanks. I prefer to remain an 
American citizen. It's good enough for me. " He remained 
nine years and acquired considerable wealth. Before leav- 
ing he was decorated by the Sultan, the decoration confer- 
ring privileges seldom accorded to foreigners. It was a ship 
of gold with a circle of diamonds around an emblem, and a 



Miscellaneo\is 471 

diamond cluster pin with a chain of gold attached. With 
it went this certificate: 

The American Citizen, Mr. Foster Rhodes, having been 
employed for many years in the Ottoman Arsenal as Naval 
Constructor, during which period, being found to be a person 
possessing perfect knowledge, abilities, activities and science in 
his department and did good service to the Turkish Empire by 
constructing and building several ships of the line and other 
vessels of war: having now expressed a desire to return to his 
native Country, we, to show our approval of the service which 
he has rendered, and our entire satisfaction, have given this 
certificate, sealed by our own seal, and delivered into his own 
hands. 

Constantinople, January i, 1840. 

On his return his abilities received recognition here also, 
President Polk making him Chief Constructor in the U. S. 
Navy. 

It was thus a Kinderhook boy who rehabilitated the 
Turkish Nav}^ after its virtual destruction in the Battle of 
Navarino: a victor}'' celebrated here with great rejoicings. 

THOMAS MONTANYE BURT. 180O-1873 

From a sketch written for us by the late Colonel Silas 
W. Burt we cull the following: 

Thomas M. Burt was of Puritan and Huguenot ancestry. 
The pioneer, Henry Burt, came from Devonshire, England, 
in 1638, and settled at Roxbury, Mass., but in 1640 joined 
William Pynchon in the settlement of Springfield, Henry's 
second son, David, was one of the original settlers of North- 
ampton, and his marriage with Mary Holden was the first 
in that town. David's son, Benjamin, born November 17, 
1680, married Sarah Belden and settled in Deerfield. They 
were among the captives taken to Canada by the Indians 
after their attack upon the settlement, February 29, 1704. 



472 Old IlinderHooK 

On the return voyage from Quebec, Mrs. Burt gave birth to 
her second son who was named Seaborn. After a stay of 
about two years in Norwalk, Conn., Benjamin became, in 
1708, one of the seventeen first settlers of Ridgefield, Conn. 
Thence in 1760 his oldest son, Daniel, moved to Warwick, 
N. Y., where, October 25, 1760, James, the father of Thomas 
Montanye, was born. James married Abigail, daughter of 
Benjamin Coe, of distinguished military and other high 
official service, civil and judicial. James Burt took an 
active part in the Revolutionary War; was a member of the 
Assembly nine years; of the Senate eleven years; a Presiden- 
tial Elector in 1800 when the twelve ballots were cast for 
Thomas Jefferson; and President of the Electoral College 
in 1840 when its forty-two ballots were given to General 
Harrison. He died at Warwick, March 17, 1852, in the 
ninety-second year of his age, one of the few survivors who 
actually served in the Revolutionary army. 

James Burt's youngest son, Thomas Montanye, was 
born in Warwick, January 8, 1800. He was educated in the 
Warwick Common School and the Academy of the near 
town of Florida, an institution established by Judge Seward, 
the father of the Hon. William H. Seward. After di- 
verse employments he became deputy clerk of the State 
Senate. May 22, 1829, he married Lydia, daughter of 
Sherebiah Butts of South Hadley, Mass. From 1831-1840 
he was one of the proprietors of the Albany Argus. This 
was the organ of the "Albany Regency," one of the most 
influential political agencies in the State. Among the mem- 
bers were Martin Van Buren, Silas Wright, Judge Marcy, 
John A. Dix and other leaders of the Democratic party. We 
interject the bare outline of the story given us by Colonel 
Burt, how, in the rivalry as to the publication of the Presi- 
dent's message, he outwitted and out-distanced Thurlow 
Weed by hiding beneath a buffalo robe, after leaving Sauger- 
ties, until his driver's apparently runaway horse was per- 



Miscellaneovjs 473 

mitted to pass Thurlow, who on his arrival at Albany found 
the people already reading the message as printed in the 
triumphant Argus. In 1839 Mr. Burt sold his interest in the 
Argus and established the Rough Hewer, a nine months' cam- 
paign paper advocating Mr. Van Buren's re-election. He 
was thus opposing his father who headed the Whig electoral 
ticket. 

Desirous now of rest, and particularly of finding a country 
home where there were good facilities for the education of his 
children, after visiting many places he chose Kinderhook 
and the fine James Vanderpoel homestead. It was his 
thought to devote himself to the care of his beautiful place, 
but at the solicitation of Comptroller Flagg, his close friend, 
he accepted an appointment to take charge of the adminis- 
tration of the recently passed "Free Banking Law." Dur- 
ing the five years of this task all the old "Safety Fund" 
banks were re-organized. This new law furnished the frame- 
work of the present banking system of the United States. 
During these five years he went to Albany on Monday 
mornings, returning on Saturdays. When Comptroller 
Fillmore was elected Vice-President, Mr. Burt resigned his 
position in Albany. Though a Democrat he had always 
been opposed to the extension of slavery and was a member of 
the Free Soil party that nominated Martin Van Buren in 
1848, and was one of the founders of the Republican party 
in 1854. I^ ^8^1 the New York Legislature appropriated 
$50,000 in aid of the Kansas settlers. At the request of 
Governor Morgan, Mr. Burt took charge of the disburse- 
ment of this fund. Returning from this task he was engaged 
by Governor Morgan as auditor of expenditures in raising 
and equipping volunteers. Three million dollars were 
appropriated for that purpose. In 1861 President Lincoln 
appointed him Paymaster in the volunteer armies, with the 
rank of Major. He served in Washington the armies of the 
Potomac and of the Atlantic coast, returning at the end of 
the war to Kinderhook. 



474 Old K-inderHooK 

There having been some serious scandals in the assess- 
ment and collection of Internal Revenue taxes on whiskey 
and other alcoholic derivatives, the Treasury Department 
in 1867 appointed him a special agent empowered to accept 
or reject bonds given by distillers and dealers in alcoholic 
spirits of all kinds. This ended his public services and he 
returned to his home in Kinderhook where he remained 
until his death, May 14, 1873. 

Colonel Burt adds this note : Among the descendants of 
Henry Burt, the first settler, were Silas Wright, the states- 
man; Ethan Allen, the hero of Ticonderoga; President 
Grover Cleveland and many other eminent men. 

His children were: Silas W., married Antoinette Parrel; 
James, married Euretta Guion; Thomas M., married Harriet 
S. Howell; Charles A., married Harriet E. Coventry; and 
Abbie T., died 1857. 

COLONEL SILAS WRIGHT BURT 

{Civil Service Reformer) 

Colonel Burt, our long-time personal friend, the eldest 
son of the subject of the foregoing sketch, was born in 
Albany, April 25, 1830. When about twelve years old he 
came with his parents to Kinderhook which continued to be 
his home until after his graduation from college. After that 
time his visits to the home of his boyhood were frequent and 
sometimes long continued. His manuscript story of his life, 
from which we were permitted to draw freely, is of great 
interest and no little value. He received his early education 
in Albany and later at the Kinderhook Academy. He was 
graduated at Union College with the degree, A.B., and C.E., 
in 1849. For a short time only he practiced his chosen 
profession as civil engineer and did much preliminary work 
on the Hudson River R. R., then in process of construction. 
In i860 he was at work in Colorado. 



Miscellaneovis 475 

We have from his own pen this record of his mihtary and 
civil career. From May, 1861, to January, 1869, Assistant- 
Inspector-General of the State with the rank of Colonel. 
Naval Officer of the Port of New York, 1 878-1 883, appointed 
by President Hayes, and again from 1885-1889, appointed 
by President Cleveland. He conducted the first competitive 
examination for places in the U. S. Civil Service in 1871 ; was 
one of the founders of the New York Civil Service Reform 
Association in 1883, and of the National Civil Service Re- 
form League in 1884; was Chief Examiner of the New York 
Civil Service Commission, 1883-1885, and in 1900, after Mr. 
Schurz's death, was President of the N. Y. Civil Service 
Association, until his death in 19 12. In 1855 he married 
Antoinette Farrell of Logansport, Indiana. Their son Mar- 
vin resides in New York, Their daughter Lilian recently 
married George N. Baylis of New York. Colonel Burt was 
the author of several pamphlets relating to the Civil Service 
and also the Civil War record of the State. 

To inherited integrity and forcefulness of character were 
added a liberal education and a devotion to high ideals of 
public service much in advance of his time. In every official 
position he acquitted himself with such conspicuous ability 
and fidelity as to receive wide recognition and honor. In 
private life, his broad intelligence, refined tastes, courtly 
bearing, and most kindly spirit made him a friend whose 
departure was greatly mourned. 

HENRY HERBERT VAN DYCK. 1809-1888 

He was the fifth son of Dr. Henry L. ; born September 3, 
1809; married (i) EHza A. Clark, (2) Frances A. Kelly; died 
January 22, 1888. Educated at the Academy here. After 
learning the trade of a printer in his native village he became 
editor of the Goshen Independent Republican, 1830; in 
1834 was city editor of the Albany Atlas, and so continued 
for nearly twenty years, when that journal was consolidated 



476 Old K-inderKook 

with the Argus; in 1850 was elected State Senator for the 
Albany district; appointed Superintendent of Public In- 
struction, 1853; and of Banking in i860; Assif^tant U. S. 
Treasurer at the Sub-Treasury, New York City, 1865; from 
1 869-1 883, President of the New York and Boston R. R. 
and of the Erie Transportation Co.; and from 1883 until his 
death. President of the Safe Deposit Co. of New York City. 
This brief outline of his honorable and brilliant career 
tells its own story of exalted character and signal ability. 
In Albany he identified himself with Dr. Pohlman's Lutheran 
church, and in Brooklyn with the Clinton Avenue Congrega- 
tional church; in both attaining prominence as an official as 
well as a communicant member held in high esteem and honor. 

BREVET MAJOR-GENERAL MORGAN H. CHRYSLER, U. S. 
VOLUNTEERS. 1822-189O 

Although not a native of Kinderhook, General Chrysler 
is well remembered as spending the latter years of his life 
here, and should surely be noted as one of our distinguished 
residents. From an obituary notice in our village paper we 
cull much of our narrative. 

He was born in Ghent, September 30, 1822; lived for a 
time in Hudson ; while there married Miss Amelia Groat, of 
Ghent; removed to New Haven; later, returned to Hudson 
and finally went to live on the Groat farm. A few years sub- 
sequently he removed to South Corinth, Saratoga County. 
On the breaking out of the Civil War he enlisted as a private, 
April 7, 1 86 1. His military record was exceptionally bril- 
liant; only three others who enlisted as privates having 
attained the rank of Major-General. That record is as 
follows : 

By a vote of the men he was elected Captain of Company 
G., 30th N. Y. Regiment, and was commissioned as such by 
Governor Morgan, July 4, 1861, March 24, 1862, he was 
made Major. On the 20th of September following, he was 
commissioned as Lieutenant-Colonel. He remained with 



Miscellaneous 477 

this regiment until it was mustered out, and then re-enlisted 
in the 2d N. Y. Veteran Cavalry. He was commissioned as 
its Lieutenant-Colonel by Governor Seymour, December 14, 
1863, and on the same day was made Colonel. March 22, 
1865, President Lincoln bre vetted him Brigadier-General 
with rank from January 23d. On the nth of November, 
President Johnson commissioned him as Brigadier-General, 
and on the 25th of May made him Brevet Major-General. 
All these promotions were for meritorious service on the 
field of battle. He was in several of the great battles of the 
war and was wounded seven times. At the end of the war 
he was made military Governor and Commander of the 
Department of Northern Alabama. He held that position 
until November 8, 1865, and on the 15th of January, 1866, 
was mustered out of service. Returning to Saratoga County, 
he remained there about four months and then came to 
Kinderhook and bought a place belonging to the late Thomas 
Beekman, and now owned by Mr. Wm. B. Van Alstyne. We 
remember well his small but beautiful trout pond, and what 
a commotion there was in the water when he came striking 
the well-filled pan he carried to call the eager trout to supper. 
Well do we remember also the courtly mulatto, Alonzo, 
freed from slavery and brought North as the General's 
valet. In politeness, fidelity, and all-round serviceableness, 
as well as goodness of heart, he seemed to be a model. 

In 1876 General Chrysler sold this old Colonial homestead 
to George Canaday and bought the Van Alen place, as it was 
then called, on Broad street. There, August 24, 1890, he 
died, leaving his widow and his son, Captain Gifford W. 
Chrysler, who also rendered notable service in the Civil 
War, to mourn his departure. He was buried in Prospect 
Hill Cemetery, Valatie. It may be added that after his 
retirement from the army he was for a time in the New York 
Custom House ; and that during President Hayes's Adminis- 
tration he was a special examiner in the Pension Department, 
and held that position until his death. 



478 Old RinderKooK 

COLONEL WILLIAM LAING HEERMANCE. 1837-I903 

Colonel Heermance, a son of the Rev. Henry Heermance 
and Catharine Laing, was born at Kinderhook, February 23, 
1837, and educated at the Academy. 

At the outbreak of the Civil War he went to the front as 
a volunteer, joining the 9th Infantry. He formed a company 
in this regiment which, it was reported, was the first com- 
pany to enlist for the entire war. Later, he joined the 6th 
New York Cavalry and at different times during the last 
two years of the war, was the commanding officer. It was 
only shortly before his death that he received a medal of 
honor for gallantry in action before Chancellorsville, where 
he was severely wounded and taken prisoner. He was a 
member of the Lafayette Post, G. A. R., of New York, of the 
Loyal Legion, the Holland, and St. Nicholas Societies, as well 
as of several historical and genealogical associations. In the 
latter part of his life he was in business in New York city, 
having his home in Yonkers where he died, February 25, 
1903. Among those attending the imposing funeral was 
Captain Benjamin F. Modina of the Confederate army and 
opposed to Colonel Heermance at Chancellorsville, where 
both were wounded. Colonel Heermance married Susan E. 
Leeds, New York, May 15, 1855. Their children are: 
Susie L. ; Georgiana, married Julius L. Adams, Brooklyn; 
Catharine L. ; Jessie, married Ralph E. Prime, Jr., Yonkers; 
two died in infancy; Helen, married Chas. G. Rowe, Yonkers; 
William L., died 1910; Pauline and Edgar. 

JOHN WOODWARD PHILIP 

Rear-Admiral U. S. Navy. 1 840-1 900 

He was born August 26, 1840, in the house on the Eyke- 
bush Road known to us in later years as the McPherson- 
Fowler place. His father was John Henry Philip, M.D., son 
of John G., son of George Philip, a Captain in the army of 



Miscellaneoxjs 479 

the Revolution. Father, mother, grandfather, and uncle, 
Peter I. PhiHp, are all buried in our cemetery. The Ad- 
miral's mother was Lucena, daughter of Theodore Wood- 
ward, Professor of Surgery in the Vermont Medical College, 
where John H. studied, after attending the Kinderhook 
Academy and the Troy Polytechnic. His professional life 
began and continued here until his removal to Stockport 
in 1843; whence he returned to Kinderhook in 1851, living 
in the old Van Vleck (now Hotaling) homestead, where he 
died in 1859. His son, John Woodward, after his course in 
our then famous Academy, received through his uncle, 
Peter I., an appointment to the Naval Academy which he 
entered in 1856. He soon won the favor of all, instructors, 
classmates, and the young men of other classes. The Civil 
War clouds were gathering rapidly when he left Annapolis. 
His first active service was on the grand old Constitution 
until it was towed to New York. In the scarcity of trained 
men Philip's promotion was rapid and his changes many. 
From the Constitution he was transferred to the Santee; 
then, with the rank of acting- Master, to the Marion in the 
Gulf Squadron; then to the Sonoma of the James River 
Fleet; and then, as Executive Officer, to the Chippewa, 
Pawnee, and the Monitor Monfauk in succession, engaged in 
the siege of Charleston. On the Pawnee he was painfully but 
not seriously wounded. At the end of the war he went as 
Executive Officer on a three years' cruise of the Wachusett 
around the Cape of Good Hope to the China seas to protect 
imperiled American citizens and punish sundry troublers 
of their peace. Returning in 1868, he was made Executive 
Officer of the Richmond of the European Squadron. From 
1874 to '76, officers being more numerous than ships, he 
received leave of absence and served as Commander of a 
Pacific Mail Steamer. In 1876 we find him Commander of 
the Adams, then of the Tuscarora on a thirty months' sur- 
veying cruise along the west coast of Mexico and Central 
America; in 1886 on the Ranger; '87-90 on the receiving 



48o Old HiinclerKooK 

ship IndependeMce at Mare's Island, Cal. ; then inspecting 
the building of the New York, and her Commander after 
completion in a cruise in South American waters; and, 1894- 
97, in charge of the Boston Navy Yard until he was ordered 
to the Texas. On the breaking out of the war with Spain, 
after securing needed repairs to his ship, he joined Admiral 
Schley's Flying Squadron. His magnificent services, nar- 
rated a thousand times, are familiar to every reader. At 
his solicitation Admiral Sampson deferred his attack on 
Santiago from Sunday to Monday. Returning to New 
York he was overwhelmed with honors, as all remember. In 

1898 he was promoted to the rank of Commander and in 

1899 inade Rear-Admiral. In charge of the Brooklyn Navy 
Yard, he was interested and active in securing the building 
for the Naval branch of the Y. M. C. A., through the 
generosity of Miss Helen Gould. June 30, 1900, he died, after 
a brief illness, of heart trouble, and amid tributes of highest 
honor from a grieving Nation, was borne to his final rest at 
Annapolis. The details of the foregoing sketch, as regards 
the Rear- Admiral's public career, have been gathered from 
the Life and Adventures of Jack Philip, by Mr. Edgar Stanton 
Maclay, A.M., American Tract Societ}'-, 1904. The author 
was a child of four years in a Mission family at Foo Chow 
when he first saw the future great Admiral. We quote the 
first paragraph of his "Explanatory Note": 

There have been few officers in the United States navy whose 
careers have been so nearly ideal as that of John Woodward 
Philip. His life-long devotion to duty, his conscientious carry- 
ing on of routine in the many dreary years of peace, his entire 
innocence of newspaper press bureaus or politico-social influence, 
his superb conduct in battle, his modest, sailor-like acknowledg- 
ments of the plaudits of his countrymen, and, more than all, his 
beautiful Christian character have peculiarly endeared him to the 
American people. As a standard of naval excellence for the 
emulation of younger officers, the career of Philip is unsurpassed 
and cannot fail of beneficial results. 



CHAPTER XIV 
REMINISCENCES 

W. H. Winans, 1822— T. B. Myers, 1842— E. S. Porter, D.D.— Colonel Silas 
W. Burt— Matilda C. Metcalf— The late Chief Justice Edgar M. Cullen, 
1851 — Personal, 1864. 

IN 1886 there appeared in the Rough Notes a series of ten 
articles entitled "Kinderhook of The Long Ago," 
written by Mr. W. H. Winans, of Newark, whose father was 
a teacher in the Academy. His mother was a daughter of 
John C. Wynkoop and Lydia Silvester. We quote the 
letters in part, venturing to correct an occasional error and 
adding a few explanatory notes. Referring to one's interest 
in the home of his childhood, no matter how long or how far 
he may wander, he tells of the visit of Mr. Nathan Wild and 
his brother James to their old homestead in England. 

We asked the lady occupying the house [said Mr. Wild with 
tears as he told the story] to remove the carpet, to see if the hole 
which we made to roll marbles in was still there. She complied, 
and we saw it just as we had scooped it out, and James and I both 
wept. We could not help it. 

Mr. Winans's first experiences in Kinderhook were in what 
was termed "The Castle" — a very old building long since 
demolished, standing on the northerly corner of Hudson and 
William streets. It had been the home if not the birth- 
place of Henry, John, and Aaron Van Vleck and their sisters. 

481 



482 Old RinderHooK 

The mild suggestion by Mr. Winans (senior) that the house 
needed some repairs, was met by the unanswerable rejoinder 
"that a house good enough for the Van Vleck family ought 
to be good enough for a Yankee schoolmaster." On the 
opposite side of the street, at the brow of the hill toward the 
creek was a story-and-a-half dwelling which was the birth- 
place of Martin Van Buren. It stood opposite the lane lead- 
ing to the home of Mrs. Lydia Van Alen. Opposite the 
north Hne of the "Castle" property there was then (1822) a 
partially filled cellar; all that remained of the inn kept by 
Mr. Van Buren's father. It had been burned several years 
before. Contrary to prevailing tradition Mr. Winans thus 
makes the Van Buren inn a building apart from and some 
two hundred feet north of the family dwelling where Martin 
Van Buren was born. Is he correct? The birthplace was 
certainly small for an inn. But probably it was the cellar 
of the old church, not of the inn. 

In 1825 the leading general stores were those of the Messrs. 
Van Vleck (now Miss Dibble's house); Bain and Birge (Mr. 
Avery's) ; Peter Van Buren (on the old Bank corner) ; Whiting and 
Clark (where the knitting mill office now is) and Van Dyck and 
Hawley (opposite the Dutch church) and two or three groceries. 
Widow Van Alen ("Aunt Liddy") the widow of John C. Wyn- 
koop and sister of Judge Francis Silvester, was living in the 
present Nink house; the Van Vlecks in the "Castle" on the cor- 
ner where Mr. Hotaling now lives; Mr. Hoes in the old rear part 
of Mrs. J. A. Reynolds' mansion; Capt. John Van Alen in the 
house now owned by Mr. Pratt; Schuyler John Van Alen in the 
old house on the corner of William and Chatham Street; Peter 
Van Vleck in the present Bank building; the Van Schaacks and 
Wynkoops in their well known residences; and, omitting many 
known residences of the time, Cornelius Van Alen in the old 
house now belonging to Mrs. Duff, or possibly that of Mr. W. B. 
Van Alstyne. The name belongs to both. 

After speaking of the church, the only one then between 
Schodack and Claverack, and the old foot stoves which gave such 
joy to the little fellows sometimes permitted to sit on them on a 



Reminiscences 483 

cold Sunday morning, Mr. Winans goes on to say, in substance : 
" I fancy I can see good Dominie Sickles in his pulpit, high up, and 
on a range with the galleries, and the sturdy old burghers and 
town's people in their pews. And there was good old Toby Van 
Dyck, colored, who sat back of the choir, in quarters assigned 
to those of his color, as a sort of deacon; and woe to the young 
darkey who behaved unseemly if Toby espied him. Disciplinary 
powers were accorded to Toby, and he did not neglect the oppor- 
tunity, if the situation of affairs under his immediate jurisdiction 
seemed in his opinion, to require it. " 

Mr, Winans recalls the prevailing perversion of names, 
" Dutchized," is his word: e. g., "Stuffle Pollock," for Christopher 
Van Volkenburgh; "Cobus" and "Aurnt" Pool for James and 
Aaron Vanderpoel; "Drees," for Andrew; "Honce" for Henry; 
" Lowis," for Lawrence, and " Tice " for Matthias. Then, among 
the women, "Aitchee" was Margaret; "Steinchy, " Christina; 
"Helletchy," Helen; "Anne-Yan," Aunt Jane, etc. 

General Training day was a great day, hardly second to the 
"Glorious Pourth. " It was a day for which great preparations 
were made by the small boy of the period. It was in anticipation 
of this day that economy in expenditure was rigidly practised. 
A boy without money on that day was about as miserable as the 
law would allow. It was that day when he calculated upon filling 
his jacket, or that important part of his body which it partly 
covered, with at least a card of gingerbread and cider ad libitum. 
And then it was a sight to see the gay militia officers, proud as 
peacocks, shouting their orders to men as undisciplined as them- 
selves, but who were summoned to appear for general review and 
parade as the law directed, and who were there to make a day of 
it. In 1825, Lawrence Van Dyck, who had learned something 
of military tactics while living in New York, organized a company 
in Kinderhook called "The Greys." The uniform was similar 
to that of the West Point cadets, a grey coat with white trousers. 
Besides Captain Van Dyck, the writer remembered but two, 
Josiah Webber and John, son of Peter Van Vleck and brother 
of Peter Henry, the publisher of the Rough Notes. The company 
had about fifty members and must have been dissolved prior to 1 830. 

We confess that it shocks us to think of our dear, old, saintly 



484 Old RinderHooK 

"uncle Lawrence" leading the "Greys" in their wild charges 
against imaginary foes, almost as much as it does to think 
of the great missionary and Arabic scholar, Cornelius V. A. 
Van Dyck, running with our first fire engine. 

In 1825 there were three hotels in the village; one was 
kept by Peter I. Lewis (on the site of the present Kinder- 
hook Hotel) ; Frink's, which stood in front of Mr. G. S. Col- 
lier's present residence and which was moved and trans- 
formed into the Hoes-F. B. Van Alstyne house; and Mr. 
McAlpine's, now the home of Mrs. F. Risedorph. 

Two lines of Albany- New York stages had daily trips 
each way through the village. Thorpe and Sprague's line 
stopped at Lewis's Hotel while that of Baker and Company 
patronized Frink's. At both, passengers could obtain meals 
and possibly other supposed refreshments for the three days' 
journey from Albany to New York. The passing of four 
stages relieved in a great degree the monotony of the village 
life, while the crack of the coachman's whip and the compara- 
tive merits of the steeds of the two lines afforded prolific 
themes for discussion by the juveniles. Each line had its 
particular friends who welcomed the coming and speeded 
the departing stage with loud cheers. The drivers were 
regarded by the small boys as truly wonderful and highly 
favored individuals, enjoying opportunities for seeing the 
world accorded to but few; and many a boy looked forward 
with delightful anticipation to the time when he perchance 
should come into the village with a "four-in-hand," the 
envy of all his fellows. 

Great was the excitement among the boys when it was 
announced that Dr. Van Dyck's son, Henry H., was going to 
sea. Nearly all of them were at once filled with a desire to 
become sailors, although Captain John Van Alen, a retired 
sea-captain, advised them to wait until they heard how 
Henry liked it. Henry shipped on the packet Charlemagne, 
bound from New York to Havre, but was satisfied with 
one trip, and the story of his experience was not calculated 



Reminiscences 485 

to wean the boys from their ambition to become stage 
drivers. The writer well remembers How strong was the 
lure of the sea among the boys of a school at Fairhaven, 
Mass., opposite the then great whaling-port of New Bedford. 
Though but a mite of a fellow there was a strong determina- 
tion to be a sailor. 

The principal industries of the village in 1820, noted by 
Mr. Winans were — the furnace and pattern shop with which 
Mr. Hanna, later of Valatie, was connected; the carriage 
factory of Truxton Birge; the currying establishment of 
Smith and Van Alstyne; the stove and tinware factory of 
General Whiting; the considerable cabinet manufactory 
of Mr. Burchardt, in which the late Major Peter D. Van 
Alen was employed, and a tannery conducted by a Mr. 
Ladue, which was abandoned a few years later. 

In the Kinderhook Rough Notes of February 17, 1882, 
there appeared a communication from "Viator" (Theodore 
Bailey Myers, son of Major Mordecai Myers), giving these 
interesting reminiscences of Kinderhook as it was in the 
early forties, or late thirties. 

To one who was familiar with Kinderhook forty years ago, 
[it must have been earlier] the impressions of a visit recall a 
state of society which is typical of the change of old civilizations 
to newer ones in a country of progress. Old towns like Kinder- 
hook are the mills in which that progress has been ground out 
by destiny, and there is no portion of the continent in which 
men, often of distinguished position in life, may not be found who 
recognize Kinderhook as their alma mater, either of education in 
its old Academy, or in its law offices, or other channels of adapta- 
tion to the usefulness of life. While many have thus gone from 
Kinderhook to be of service elsewhere, as many have passed away, 
leaving no posterity in their old homes to fill their places. 

At the period alluded to, such men as Rev. Dr. Sickles; Dr. 
Van Dyke; Dr. Barthrop, an eccentric Englishman; Dr. Abraham 
Clark, son of the signer of the Declaration of Independence, from 
New Jersey; Dr. John P. Beekman (Dr. Clark's son-in-law), the 



486 ^Old RinderhooK 

first president of the corporation of the village, a Senator and 
President of the State Agricultural Society; General Charles 
Whiting, with his fine martial appearance; the genial Major 
Lawrence Van Buren, the brother of the President, and often 
that courtly gentleman himself; Aaron Vanderpoel, then promi- 
nent in Congress and in social life; William H. Tobey, distin- 
guished in his profession and as a Senator and Surrogate; Major 
Myers, a veteran soldier of varied experience and social accom- 
plishments, ever liberal and active in public affairs and second 
President of the corporation; Dr. John M. Pruyn and Dr. Lucas 
Pruyn; John Bain, the principal merchant; Lucas Hoes; Teunis 
Harder; Francis Silvester, representative and descendant of a 
well-known family; Augustus Wynkoop, prominent in mercantile 
enterprise; Peter L Hoes; Julius Wilcoxson, an able lawyer and 
Judge of the County Court; Capt. John Van Alen; James B. 
Laing; James Shaw, ex-Sheriff of New York; David Van Schaack 
the careful lawyer, and Peter Van Schaack, the editor of the old 
Kinderhook Sentinel, sons of the great Peter Van Schaack, to 
whom the Bar of the State resorted to sit, as at the feet of Gamal- 
iel, when through loss of sight, his voice and not his pen conveyed 
the results of his wide professional information ; the Van Valken- 
burghs, Van Alstynes, Van Alens, Van Vlecks, Bests; Dr. John 
Vanderpoel and Nathan Wild of Valatie ; James Wild of Stuy ves- 
ant Falls; Walter Butler and John S. Vosburgh of Stuyvesant 
Landing; Tobias Hogeboom and John J. Van Volkinburgh of 
Chatham Center; all men of note; these and many others were 
the residents or frequent visitors at Kinderhook. 

The names of many other men equally well known at the 
time, and occupying prominent positions in the affairs of the 
Kinderhook of those days, could be added if space allowed. 

Then there was the old sexton and teamster, Lathrop, who 
cracked his whip over his feeble but effective four-horse team, 
and died in harness from an accident ; Benjamin Lillibridge, the 
disciple of Crispin, whose genial welcome made his shop the 
schoolboys' resort; Deputy-Sheriff Asaph Wilder, the terror of 
evil doers; Robert Rosboro and Mr. Hobart, the genial hosts of 
the inns; and "Old Coley" making the streets resound with his 
melody of "Indian flea, lit on my knee, up and down, up and 
down," followed at a respectful distance by his spouse; and 



Reminiscences 487 

"Woodchuck Pete," the wonder of the junior population, as the 
successful representative of the chase; these three descendants 
of the old institution of slavery which had not then long ceased to 
exist. 

These all are names associated in their various spheres 
with the early histor}^ of Kinderhook, and whose feet once passed 
over its thoroughfares, and have now passed away. Some of 
them have furnished material to Washington Irving when as a 
young man he selected his "Ichabod Crane" in the neighbor- 
hood, while writing at Lindenwald the works which have made 
his name and those of his subjects immortal. 

The ex-President himself can be recalled in his early ride, 
mounted on a thorough-bred, the gift of John Randolph of 
Roanoke, with his accomplished horsemanship, his dignified 
sitting, and his single spur; stopping to salute each passer by, 
however humble, and to recall some pleasant recollection of 
himself or of his antecedents which his wonderful memory 
retained. 

These men assembled on the Sabbath under the roof of the 
old Dutch Reformed church, with its red brick wall and white 
steeple, a landmark to the surrounding country, where elders 
and deacons sat in chairs in the front of the pulpit, with square 
pews on each side as spacious as a modern bedroom, and 
a reverent assemblage in other ample sittings, in which they 
met to return thanks for the bounties of Providence displayed 
in the rich harvest fields of this productive region, then with 
little competition for its fruits from the now bountiful 
West. 

Near by, during the week days a large assemblage of youths, 
many from the Southern States, were instructed by the peda- 
gogue, Gleason, who had come from an equally celebrated school 
still to be seen at Lenox, Alass., and by his successor Silas Met- 
calf, whose bones were afterwards brought and laid near the 
scenes of his former usefulness. The minds he and his predeces- 
sors formed are still active in many distinguished associations of 
life and testify to their labors. 

The visitor to Kinderhook today finds man}' of these names 
almost forgotten and comparatively few of their places filled by 
their descendants. 



488 Old K-inderKooK 

We cannot better supplement the view of Kinderhook as 
it was remembered by " Viator" than by giving the pleas- 
ing "Recollections" of the late Elbert S. Porter, D.D., the 
first pastor (1843- 1849) of the Chatham Reformed Church. 
They were published in the Christian Intelligencer, of which 
Dr. Porter was the editor for several years, and refer to a 
period a little subsequent to that of the preceding reminis- 
cences. 

' There groups of merry children played, 
There youths and maidens dreaming strayed; 
O precious hours! O golden prime 
And affluence of love and time. " 

"Children's Corner," once wild with the unstudied music of 
bairns and birds and bears, while yet engirt with great solemn 
trees, broadened and widened with the "processes of the suns" 
into the beautiful, stately and aristocratic village of Kinder- 
hook. When my acquaintance with it began, it had more wealth 
and worth, inherited and cultivated, than any other place in 
Columbia County. The best blood of the best people of the best 
race, had made its deposit there; families who could trace their 
pedigree back to the Belgi, the Fresii and the Batavi, whom 
Caesar tried in vain to conquer. There were homesteads which 
had been handed down from one generation to another and 
venerable dwellings, the parlors whereof were decorated with 
plates of porcelain covered with historic figures; while the cup- 
boards thereof were in possession of that delftware, which held in 
symbolic purple the triumphs of Dutch art, and the closest 
association with the name of William the Silent. There were — 
many (we will say, omitting here a long list of notable names 
which we will not repeat lest we omit some of equal claim to 
honorable mention, as Dr. Porter did) who imparted to the social 
life of Kinderhook its unique, quiet and well-guarded excellence. 
What Washington Irvington did for Tarrytown in his day 
and way, and what Mrs. Vanderbilt has lately done for Flatbush 
with her graceful pen, might be done worthily for Kinderhook. 
Its history, actual and traditional, would have the charm of 



Reminiscences 489 

romance. There are stories, incidents, and anecdotes concerning 
persons of note still in circulation there which form indeed a part 
of the history of the State and the Nation. At one time I know- 
that very much of this sort of material was in manuscripts stored 
up in chests and drawers. There were men of Dutch blood reared 
in Kinderhook, whose names shine brightly on their Country's 
page. 

The village in one sense was like the New Jerusalem. It lay 
four square. The Post Road crossed the road leading from the 
Landing to Valatie, making four corners of as many blocks. The 
streets were well shaded, the court-yards ample, the sidewalks 
wide and smooth. It was the very perfection of a village in its 
realistic beauty and adornments. The plain on which it rested 
or spread was rich as a garden, and abounded in agricultural 
wealth, so that a IGnderhooker very properly felt some of the 
benefits of an environment in all respects admirable. In those 
days the place was a favorite resort in summer time for many who 
had the proper credentials admitting to its sacred and shady 
seclusions. Its Academy, with Silas Metcalf for its principal, 
stood well. Indeed it had no rival in the county. Many of its 
pupils, among whom was Parke Godwin, have made their mark 
in professional circles. It was the pet of social patronage and 
literary liberality for all the country round. 

But the era of railroads came, and the roads left Kinderhook 
undisturbed — because untouched. And thus it was brought to 
pass that it had to hand over much of its business to villages just 
then lifting their heads into juvenile growth. I know however, 
that all old villages are averse to growth. The land in them is 
precious as an heirloom. Its owners don't like to part with it 
because it came by inheritance. A proposition to cut a new street 
seems well nigh like sacrilege. For this and other reasons nearly 
all the earlier formed villages along the line of the Post Road, 
from Fishkill up to Greenbush, have fallen backwards or re- 
mained stationary relics of the enterprise of their founders. 
Their young men are driven off to find fields of exertion or paths 
of usefulness open to them elsewhere, and so there is much 
lamentation over the very lamentable fact that rural regions most 
inviting are depopulated, and the large cities over crowded. 

There is, however, a returning wave. A love of agriculture 



490 Old K-inderHooK 

or a preference for rural over urban homes, is inciting many to 
flee the vain pomps of the fashion-ruled cities for the more 
rational simplicities of the country towns. 

I have devoted the larger portion of this sketch to Kinder- 
hook, because my memories of it and of some of its good people 
have never faded. There I found pleasant friends, and that 
warm-hearted hospitality which imparts special flavor to a well- 
conditioned order of society. There, too, I received much 
sympathetic encouragement in my work as a pastor, and not a 
little of the feeling that true piety may be allied with the best 
style of culture. While the currents of recent years have drawn 
trade and enterprise into many new channels, still it is for the 
credit of the older inland towns on the Hudson River, that they 
have preserved for themselves, despite all change, that sturdy 
reputation for old-fashioned honesty and substantial, personal 
and social dignity which has come down to them through and 
from an honorable ancestry. 

We are indebted to the late Colonel Silas W. Burt, eldest 
son of Thomas M. Burt and of whom we have elsewhere 
written, for his pleasing personal reminiscences of Kinder- 
hook from 1842 when he came here, to 1849 when he was 
graduated at Union College. We give selections from his 
most interesting manuscript volume. 

Kinderhook village was and is a beautiful place. When we 
moved there, no manufactures were carried on except that of felt 
and silk hats, in retired localities, and now for many years dis- 
continued. A large share of the residents lived upon moderate 
incomes and there was a general aspect of thrift and comfort 
everywhere. The four general country stores did a good business 
with the farming people in the vicinity. These latter were 
generally "fore-handed"; the excellent soil, frugal Dutch habits 
and accessibility to the New York markets were all in their favor. 
For years sloops had plied between Stuyvesant and New York 
and about the time of our removal there was a weekly propeller 
put on the route. All kinds of farm products could thus be 
cheaply placed in the great mart and no competition could greatly 
affect the traffic. . . . 



I 



Reminiscences 491 

The village stands mostly on a gravelly plateau extending 
level a mile or so north and west until breaking into the valley of 
the Hudson; this plateau also breaking eastward within the 
village itself, into the valley of the Kinderhook Creek, beyond 
which the country becomes more and more rugged. 

In my early days there the village was nearly as quiet as the 
surrounding country, except when the vociferous Academy boys 
congregated on the streets. The City of Albany was accounted 
a sleepy old burgh, but it was a scene of frantic uproar compared 
with our village. Soon this peaceful calm became accustomed 
and then pleasing. ... As the term of the Academy had already 
begun I was sent to the English Department. . . . My teacher 
was Mr. George Van Santvoord, a recent graduate of Union 
College and engaged in the study of law. . . . The Academy in 
those days was quite a noted school and many students from 
abroad attended it, some of them boarding with the principal 
Silas Metcalf, and the rest at other houses in the village. There 
were scholars from the Southern States, the West Indies and 
New York city, as also from our neighboring counties, and the 
school was the leading feature of the place. . . . The Academy 
stood in a grove of maple trees with ample play-grounds back, 
and was a building well suited for its purpose. There was a 
primary department where both boys and girls attended; an 
English department separately for each and a Classical depart- 
ment for both ; there was also a teacher of the piano and one of 
French and Drawing. ... 

Not far from the Academy was the "Vley," a Dutch name 
for swamp, pronounced "Fly. " This swamp was half surrounded 
by an amphitheatric slope covered with heavy timber and shrubs 
to which the name "Fly" was also extended. It was indeed a 
beautiful place, now partly included in the Cemetery and partly 
cut away and destroyed to make room for the cotton factory, 
which was burned in 1882. In a lofty oak tree the boys had built 
among the branches, forty feet from the ground, a platform of 
boards six feet square, completely embowered in foliage so as not 
to be visible from below. And what was peculiarly and ro- 
mantically delightful, access to this bower could only be had by 
climbing another tree, a large hemlock that loosened at its roots 
leaned against the great oak. Here we lived like a Swiss Family 



492 Old HinderKooK 

Robinson, or invented other romances; while as a diversion or 
additional hiding place, a cave was dug in a bank near by, the 
mouth of which was concealed by spice-bushes and we gathered 
in this bandit-like retreat when our arboreal rest became tiresome. 

Mr. Burt's continued narrative of winter sports, the 
sled-riding, the skating, the Eskimo snow houses with con- 
necting galleries, the snow forts, the evening gatherings in 
the students' rooms, and the surreptitious suppers, most 
toothsome if not luxurious, is all delightful reading but must 
be omitted. Turning several pages of the manuscript we 
read: 

In my first year I spent a part of my leisure time with one 
Henry Peckham, a boy of about my own age, whose uncle had a 
shoe store near us. This store was then the rendezvous of a 
coterie of venerable gentlemen, remarkable as the survivors of an 
early epoch — Hon. Francis Silvester, son of Peter, who repre- 
sented the district in the first Congress, (1789-91) was one of 
these ancients, and was a fine specimen of the gentlemen of the 
old school — Dr. Clarke, father-in-law of Dr. Beekman, our 
village capitalist — Mr. Edgar Laing, a retired New York mer- 
chant — Mr. James Shaw once Sheriff of New York and Dr. John 
M. Pruyn, our family physician and the youngest of the group. 
Every afternoon these gentlemen met for gossip. They were all 
whigs in politics and their stately greeting as they rose from their 
chairs, doffed their hats and courteously bowed when the ex- 
President rode by, as he often did, was a fine exhibition of 
respect for an ex-official and a protest against his Democratic 
creed. 

Mr. Van Buren, we will add, was not then nor at any other 
time outdone in courtesy. 

As my acquaintance increased I shifted my lounging place 
to the shop of Benny Lillibridge, cordwainer and also nephew of 
the above named Peckham. Benny had an extraordinary tact in 
encouraging the confidence and attachment of boys, and we used 



Reminiscences 493 

to make ourselves perfectly at home amid the leather and other 
paraphernalia of the cordwainer's benches. Very short in stature, 
with a swarthy complexion, a large good-natured mouth and long 
curly hair, Benny would mingle his chuckles over our boyish wit 
with rapid taps on his lap-stone. For our convenience as a 
store-house for apples and other refreshments we dug a cellar 
in the middle of his shop with a trap-door, and found it a conven- 
ient retreat whenever "Old Met." (as our good preceptor, Mr. 
Metcalf was familiarly dubbed) was searching for us. 

In 1847, about the time Mr. Watson succeeded Mr. Metcalf 
as principal, there came to Kinderhook two young men from 
Porto Rico. They had received their general education in Paris 
and Bremen, but came to our Academy to obtain a more practical 
knowledge of the English language. Their mother was the owner 
of large sugar plantations and through her factor in New York, 
an acquaintance of Major M. Myers, her boys were sent here. 
The eldest, Juan Mariona De Quirones, was a remarkably 
handsome man of the Spanish type but haughty and so reserved 
that he sought no acquaintances. The younger, Francisco, was 
a sturdy fellow and much more sociable, but very passionate. 
In fact at one time, for some fancied insult, he suddenly assaulted 
his brother with a dagger, but fortunately had only slightly 
wounded him before they were separated. Francisco being about 
my age we contracted a very strong friendship. Juan remained 
in Kinderhook only about six months, but Francisco eighteen, 
and then both returned to Porto Rico. The latter visited us in 
1853 but remained only two days, since which time I have not 
seen him, although we corresponded a few years. One of the 
first Porto Ricans who accepted without demur our annexation 
of Porto Rico was Francisco. He was a high judicial officer and 
was also active in such legislation as tended to the acceptance of 
his native island as an integral part of the United States. He 
died about two years ago and the Porto Rican papers and also 
those of our great cities published mortuary articles expressing 
the great loss of his agency in promoting the best interest of his 
country. 

In 1842 there was in Kinderhook a seamstress, a Mrs. Hozier, 
who attended the Baptist Church of which my father was the 
chief supporter. She had a daughter Clarissa of about sixteen 



494 Old RinderKooK 

and a son William about twelve. She was the wife of the only 
son of vSir William Hozier, an Irish Baronet, who had disowned 
him because he married the daughter of one of his tenants. This 
son eventually emigrated to America and after many vicissitudes 
became a seaman on a whaling vessel, sending his earnings to his 
wife, who at the time we first knew her had not heard from him 
for more than a year. A little later the English Consul at New 
York traced Mrs. Hozier to Kinderhook and informed her of the 
death of her father-in-law and that the estates which were all 
entailed had descended to her husband. After much searching 
by letters and in person my father went to New Bedford, Mass., 
where her husband had been last heard from, and there gathered 
evidence of his death at sea on a whaling vessel. Then the 
widow, her daughter and the youthful Baronet, about fourteen 
years old, sailed for Ireland. In due time a letter was received 
from Lady Hozier describing in glowing terms their reception. 
A crowd of tenants with their families lined both sides of the 
roadway leading to the mansion, the roadway being over-arched 
with evergreens and flowers and the tenants detaching the four 
horses from the carriage drew it up to the portal of the mansion. 
In later years the name of Sir William Hozier often appeared in 
connection with political and social matters, indicating the high 
place he filled. 

In addition to the notables mentioned wont to meet at 
Peckham's store, among early recollections are those of ' ' Squire 
Lucas Hoes" our justice of the peace, a staid upright descendant 
of the original Hollanders; Flagler, the Druggist, our sole repre- 
sentative of the heroic and much abused Abolitionists, who was 
sorely persecuted by the Academy boys from Southern States; 
Peter Van Schaack, bookseller, editor and publisher of our village 
paper the Sentinel, who was lean and gaunt in person but fat with 
classical allusion in speech and paper; Old General Whiting, of 
militia renown, bluff and stately; Judge Wilcoxson, a noted 
lawyer; Captain Vosburgh, of pure Dutch extraction, noted for 
his Scriptural quotations mingled with some words not so scrip- 
tural ; Amos Ackley ; old Captain Pruyn ; Mr. Manton ; Dr. Luke 
Pruyn; David Van Schaack, of brisk movement and universal 
executor of the wills of all good Dutchmen; Dr. Beekman, our 
banker and capitalist, the president of all public meetings and of 



Reminiscences 495 

our Academy trustees; Lawrence Van Buren, brother of the ex- 
President, and usually known as "the Major"; and an irrepressi- 
ble dweller in the purely Dutch neighborhood of Kallakona 
Barragh (Kalkoen Berg, Turkey Hill), who after imbibing a few 
fiery potations became fiercely bellicose and so gesticulating with 
arms and legs as to be known solely as Kangaroo, while howling 
promiscuous challenges and threats breathing blood-shed and 
death until met by one who evidently meant business, when he 
became as mild as a lamb; Hoysradt, who drove the stage to and 
from the Station at Niverville, until at length his much-encrusted 
chariot with ragged drapery and torn cushions from which the 
frowsy stuffing extruded, and the lank lame horses with harness 
tied together with ropes and cords became a pitiable spectacle, 
and the stranger who found this disreputable equipage the only 
means of conveyance to our pretty village was warranted in 
drawing auguries unfavorable to our thrift and love of neatness; 
Wilder, in his little grocery where stewed oysters and nameless 
other things not so harmless were to be obtained; Hiram Fair- 
child, and Loomis, and a score more of original characters there 
were, who have now "gone over to the majority." 

Yet another letter from the Christian Intelligencer (1854) 
is both interesting and informing. The initials of the author, 
M. C. M., are those of one of our own time whom all that 
know delight to honor, but the writer was doubtless Matilda 
C, daughter of Silas Metcalf w^ho for many years was one 
of the most eminent and successful of the principals of our 
then famous Academy. She was born here in 1827. 

"I saw each old familiar face, each old familiar thing; 
I felt once more upon my cheek, my native breeze of spring; 
And gladsome murmurs reached mine ears of many an ancient 

strain ; 
And kindred voices welcomed me unto my home again." 

Dear L — , Can you willingly follow me, as I leave the more 
famous routes of travel, and gladly seek a quiet sequestered 
village "loveliest of the plain," which, although retired, is not 
altogether unknown to story ? 



496 Old K.inderKooK 

The ride from the river to the village of Kinderhook may be 
monotonous for a stranger. To the "child of the soil" however, 
there is a dear familiar look about every object, which well 
supplies any lack of beauty. After an absence of years, I was 
once again retracing the well known road. The Catskills rose 
grandly in the distance, dim with the shadows of evening; the 
murmur of the Hudson gradually grew fainter ; the long lines of 
poplars stretched here and there, like faithful sentinels now, as 
they stood years ago; over everything was the weird charm of 
by-gone days. 

The village spire as is very proper, was the first object to 
mark our near approach to the town. The church had not grown 
grey and moss-covered, as romancers tell us old churches do ; for 
the time honored edifice had recently been enlarged, painted, and 
otherwise improved. As we passed through the deep shadow of 
the steeple, the town clock rang forth the hour upon the Sabbath 
stillness of the evening air. I was startled ! The village never 
boasted a town clock in my day. One of the magnates of the 
place, Dr. Beekman, had given a new impulse to his popularity by 
bestowing this munificent present upon the village. Not that 
any such selfish motive prompted him ; but generosity ever brings 
its own reward. 

I looked at the spire to see if that had also undergone a change. 
I would not for the world have found that queer old vane dis- 
placed by any modern invention. There it still swung in the 
air as of yore and was still the object of our speculations as to 
what it could have been intended to represent. Some witty 
visitor has left the saying in the village that it would be no sin to 
worship the old vane, for it is the likeness of nothing "in the 
heavens above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters under 
the earth." Another spire greeted my homeward gaze, rising 
modestly among its neighbors and like them pointing to the 
Christian's heaven. It belongs to the Episcopal Church, a neat, 
tasteful edifice, which is weekly filled by a respectful, devout con- 
gregation. In these two churches, the Reformed Dutch and 
the Episcopal, we heard singing that would shame half our city 
choirs. The voices were clear, melodious and harmonious, while 
the words, mirabile dictu, were so clearly enunciated that we 
could understand each sweetly breathed sentence. . . . 



Reminiscences 497 

Kinderhook is a gem of a village, and has long been styled 
the "Athens of Columbia County," as Peter Van Schaack, 
seventy years before had termed it the "Athens of Albany 
County." It is called an aristocratic place and the people are 
said to be very Dutch in their prejudices. Perhaps this is true, 
yet, take it all in all, one seldom finds a village, which is so like 
what a village should be. There is every variety of comfortable 
residence, from the grand, antiquated mansion of the lord of 
millions ( ?) to the white cottage half hid in the clambering rose- 
vine. Poverty is a thing unknown in the village, unless it be in 
solitary instances, where wilful idleness and alcohol are its 
immediate causes; even the colored population is neat and well 
cared for. This, however, cannot perhaps be said of Guinea Hill, 
a settlement of negroes at a little distance from the village. The 
huts are of very rude construction, some of them partly under 
ground; and here have lived men of considerable fame in town. 
"Old Mink" died some time since, but "Dandy Pete" and 
"Woodchuck Pete" still flourish, gaining their scanty sub- 
sistence from the forests' game and the finny inhabitants of the 
creek. . . . 

The village is principally situated on table land, and from a 
little distance seems to be built in a natural forest. It extends 
however, down to the creek in one direction, and towards the 
manufacturing village on the opposite ridge in another, thus 
spreading itself into the valley. The neighboring hills are 
crowned by tasteful mansions: the blue Catskills on one side, 
and the village of Valatie on the other, and make a picturesque 
boundary to the horizon. 

The house in which Martin Van Buren was bom, a plain one 
story wooden structure, has recently been removed or torn down, 
and the village has thus lost one of its "lions. " What is known 
as the "Avalanche" is among the curiosities of the place. This 
is the land-slide on the south side of the village, which has given 
much cause of uneasiness to the dwellers upon the street which 
borders it. We well remember one night our dreams being dis- 
turbed by a crashing sound; the windows rattled, the house 
shook, and the morning discovered to us the fall of some ancient 
giant sycamores, which, though they had braved successfully 
the tornado and the lightnings could not withstand the gradual 



498 Old RinderKooK 

undermining of the treacherous earth beneath them. There 
stood here years ago, a "venerable pile," type of the old Father- 
land, whose bricks were brought from Holland. (?) It too has 
passed away. . . . 

Not long since there stood upon this cherished spot one whose 
eyes filled with moisture as he gazed upon the ruin Time has 
wrought. Here was passed his gleesome boyhood, here was his 
spirit touched by that torch divine which has illumined all his 
after life. (The Syrian missionary, Cornelius V. A. Van Dyke.) 
Here died his "venerated sire. ..." But he lingered not long. 
Again the voice of duty called him from his native shores to "heal 
the maladies of Esau's darkened race." Near the old house 
rises now a graceful villa like a rose upon the borders of the tomb. 

Lindenwald, the mansion of Ex- President Van Buren, is sit- 
uated at a distance of two and a-half miles from the village. 
The house is substantial and commodious, and its appearance 
has been much improved within a few years by the erection of 
a tower. As you are aware it is quite deserted this summer, its 
honorable master being abroad, residing in the "imperial city" 
accompanied by his son Martin. The trees are many of them 
of magnificent growth, the shrubbery luxuriant, the avenues 
well kept, and the cabbages really superior. 

I love this ancient village. The old house on the corner [now 
Mr. Scully's] has passed into strangers' hands; still it is my 
native village, the spot around which cluster earliest, fondest 
recollections; the place which my heart, weary of roaming, ever 
calls home. . . . Dear to us is the grove with its well remembered 
path, its sparkling spring, its chestnut-trees, and vines bearing 
bright red berries; the creek, with its shaded shores, the drooping 
willows, the charming coves, the moss-covered rock and the hills, 
whose summit we used to climb to watch the golden sunsets. . . . 

... I must pause here. As the poet falters when Niagara is 
his theme; as the painter drops his pencil when he vainly seeks to 
portray a scene beyond the skill of man to imitate, so my pen 
hesitates as my heart reminds me how feeble it is to sketch 
faithfully one half the charm of dear, old Kinderhook. 

Among the students of the Academy in 185 1 and later we 
observe the name of the recent Chief Judge of the Court of 



Reminiscences 499 

Appeals, Edgar M. Cullen. A program of an Academy 
exhibition, in the Dutch church, October i, 1856, reveals 
him as one of the forty orators of the evening, after whom 
came an address. These discoveries emboldened us to write 
to him, not presuming to ask from so busy a Judge reminis- 
cences of Academy days, but gently suggesting how accept- 
able they would be to many. The courteous and unexpectedly 
kind reply was as follows, a few irrelevant personal sentences 
omitted : 



State of New York, 
Court of Appeals, 

Judges Chambers. 

Albany, March nth, 1912. 
Rev. Edward A. Collier, 

KiNDERHOOK, N. Y. 

My DEAR Sir: 

Yours of the 24th. ult. has been received. The delay in 
answering it has occurred by reason of my ofRcial engagements 
and by the requirement of time to recall the memories of my 
boyhood. . . . My remembrances of the Academy and my life at 
Kinderhook as a student are very pleasant, though some of them 
are rather dimmed by the lapse of time. I commenced my studies 
at the Academy in the Spring of '51. At that time the Hudson 
River Railroad was not completed, so my route from my home 
in Brooklyn was by the night boat to Albany and the next 
morning by the Boston & Albany Railroad to Kinderhook 
station. At the conclusion of the half year's term in October of 
that year we boys from New York and Brooklyn, there were 
several of us, returned home by the Hudson River Railroad, 
taking the train at Stuyvesant. Even then the road was not 
completed and we left the cars at Tivoli, if I remember correctly, 
and went by boat from there to Poughkeepsie, where we took 
another train to New York. If I recall aright the road had been 
completed by the time our vacation had expired and we took a 
through train from New York to Stuyvesant. I was at school 
in Kinderhook from the Spring of '51 to the Fall of '53 and again 
from the Spring of '56 to the Fall of '57, when I entered Columbia 



500 Old RinderKooK 

College. During all the time that I was there at school Mr. 
Alexander Watson, a Scotchman, was the Principal. He was a 
man of great learning, of marked ability and an instructor of the 
first order, . . . William H. Tobey of your village, a distin- 
guished lawyer and a member of the State Senate, was the 
President of the Board of Trustees, and David Van Schaack, 
also a lawyer, the Secretary of the Board. Mr. Tobey was an 
intimate friend of my parents, and I am proud to claim him as 
my own friend. To him I am indebted for many kindnesses. 
These gentlemen passed away many years ago, but it may possi- 
bly be that you knew them both. My fellow students at school, 
so far as they came from Kinderhook or its neighborhood, that I 
now recall were, the late Dr. Peter V. S. Pruyn, the Burts, 
Charles and Thomas, and I think another brother, James (Colonel 
Silas Burt, had left the Academy before I went there); Samuel 
and Frank Frisbie, the former a distinguished Jesuit priest; John 
J. Van Schaack, afterwards cashier of the Kinderhook bank, and 
his cousin, William Van Schaack Beekman, and Augustus W. 
Wynkoop. Over half a century has elapsed since that time and 
whether any of my fellow students whom I have mentioned are 
now living I do not know; most of them I know to have passed 
away. 

I think this is all I shall write to you, for if I were to enter 
into all the details of my student life in Kinderhook I certainly 
should tax your patience and my prolixity, I fear, would not 
entertain your readers. 

Very truly yours, 

Edgar M. Cullen. 



Personal Reminiscences 
1864 

With great trepidation I first set foot in Kinderhook, 
April 9, 1864, having come from Amenia to Niverville and 
thence by "Noah's Ark" on wheels to the hospitable home 
of John, Elizabeth, and Lydia Van Alen, of precious memory. 
There was no expectation of ever seeing the place again. 
Much less was it dreamed that it would be home for more 
than fifty years, the birthplace of five children, the resting- 
place of the departed, and the one spot in all the world 
endeared by life's most sacred and tender associations. 

Perhaps, dear reader, you will be interested in taking a 
reminiscent stroll with me through the principal streets of the 
village and out upon the country roads to some extent, 
observing things and people as they were fifty years ago. 
Your company is especially desired that we may talk to- 
gether and that the use of the over-obtrusive "I" may be 
avoided. 

BROAD STREET 

Beginning at the corner where the old Bank was then 
flourishing, we note in Mr. Nink's present shop the mar- 
velous Stationery store and omnium gatherum of John C. 
Sweet. In its deep recesses reached by tortuous ways we 
were wont to be refreshed by ice-cream as pure and good as 
could be made. Next came the Drug, Paint and Grocery 

501 



502 Old RinderKooK 

store of F. W. Bradley, now that of Kittell & Co., and 
next the Bray and Herrick building, now the Lindenwald 
Hotel. The present office of the hotel was then the Boot and 
Shoe store of Michael Feigh which Lorenzo Griffin had but 
lately vacated for his own new shop on Chatham Street. 
In the dwelling part lived C. L. Herrick with his wife, his 
sons Silas and Daniel (the latter of whom mamed Margaret, 
daughter of P. H. Van Vleck), and the daughter Ella, who 
married J. S. Witbeck. Her retentive memory has been 
repeatedly taxed. In the upper story of this building was 
the long famous Bray and Herrick's Hall where all kinds of 
public meetings were held until the goat of the Masons 
excluded the uninitiated. Adjoining this building was the 
fire-engine house bought in '55 and now the law office of 
Becker and Hyman. Next was the " Peckham " house where 
lived "Benny" Lillibridge whose sunny face and kindly 
spirit won universal favor, and whose little shop, first on 
Hudson Street and then here, was the happy gathering place 
for the old Academy boys. In answer to questions as to his 
age "Benny" always replied — "over seventeen." In mys- 
terious regions above lived Miss Ann E. Peckham (later 
Mrs. James Traphagen) , also Charlotte Webber who became 
the second wife of Andrew Michael, and the venerable Austin 
Sandford about