THE TOWN OF GHENT.
The town of Ghent is centrally situated in Columbia county, with Chatham and Kinderhook on the north, Austerlitz
on the east, Claverack on the south, and Stockport on the west. The town was set off from Kinderhook, Chatham and
Claverack on April 3, 1818, previous to which time some part of the territory within the town boundaries bore the
Indian name of Squampamock (French's Gazetteer gives it as Scompamuck) signifying "meeting of the waters,"
as seen in the confluence of two small streams that flow into Claverack Creek. The town is irregular in shape,
with original boundaries as defined in the act of the Legislature as follows:
"Beginning at the northwest corner of the town of Hillsdale, and running from thence southerly along the division
line between Claverack and Hillsdale to the road opposite the cooper shop of Solomon Strong; thence westerly, in
a straight line, to Claverack Creek, at a place 11 chains and 50 links to the south of the bridge over said creek,
near where the house of the late Peter Van Rensselaer stood; thence down the creek to where the same intersects
the Kinderhook creek; thence up said creek 28 chains, above the great falls, commonly called Major Abram's falls;
thence easterly to the Kline Kill creek, near the house of William Waggoner; thence along the north end of the
house of the said Waggoner, south 75 degrees and 21 minutes east until it intersects a line running from the northwest
corner of Hillsdale, north 14 1.4 degrees east, to the place of beginning, shall be and remain a separate town
by the name of Ghent; and the first town meeting in said town of Ghent shall be held at the dwelling house of Seth
Mins, at the usual time of holding annual meetings in said county; and all the remaining parts of the said towns
of Chatham, Claverack and Kinderhook shall be and remain separate towns."
The surface of Ghent is somewhat hilly in the eastern part, becoming undulating towards the west, with broad belts
of nearly level land, which is remarkably fertile. The soil is gravelly loam, excepting in the western part where
there is considerable clay. The principal stream is the Kline Kill, which comes into the town from the northeast,
makes a long bend southwesterly, turns northwest and leaves the town on the line between Kinderhook and Chatham.
Claverack Creek passes along the southeastern part of the town in a southwesterly direction, receiving many small
tributaries. In the western part is a brook of considerable volume which empties into the Claverack at Stockport.
Only limited water power is supplied on any of these streams. The town was reduced to its present area of about
27,000 acres in 1833, when a small section, now included in Stockport, was set off. The western part of the town
constituted a part of the Kinderhook patent and other patents of that old town; to the east of these lay lands
of the proprietors of Claverack, from whom early settlers obtained lands on leases at nominal charges.
Johannes Hogeboom secured a large tract in this manner, on one part of which a family named Sharp, in which were
four brothers, had settled previously to the date of the Hogeboom lease, which was made before 1750. It is a tradition
that some parts of the level land along Claverack Creek had been cultivated in a rude way by the Indians, and that
the first white settlers found growing orchards of fruit. Mr. Hogeboom purchased the few improvements made by the
Sharp family and built a store house on the farm, occupied in late years by his great grandson, John T. Hogeboom,
in which he kept an inn, which became one of the many popular public houses on the way from Albany to Boston. As
mentioned on an earlier page, the pioneer Hogeboom had first settled in Claverack, where several of his sons were
left when he moved into Ghent. Most of these followed him to his new home and settled around him on his great landed
property. Laurence Hogeboom resided in Claverack until 1767 when he removed to his father's homestead and there
resided. In 1775 he was living on the farm that was afterwards occupied by his grandson, before mentioned, John
T. Hogeboom. Another son of the pioneer was Johannes Hogeboom, jr., who was then living on the farm occupied in
recent years by the late Philip Mesick. Still another son was Bartholomew, who lived about half a mile farther
east on the farm now owned by Henry Schultz. Cornelius Hogeboom, another son, father of John and grandfather of
Judge Henry Hogeboom, resided on the farm now occupied by Henry R. Coburn, while Andrew Hogeboom, another son,
lived on the site of the present alms house. This family was a large and highly respectable one, some of its later
members occupying distinguished public positions. Tobias L. Hogeboom was born in Ghent in 1816, in the fourth generation
from the pioneer; he was father of Judge John Tobias Hogeboom, whose name is honored in Columbia county history.
Henry Groat settled about 1750 farther north than the Hogebooms, and had sons William and Peter. The former remained
on the homestead, Peter removing to Chatham, settling on the site of the village. William's sons were John, William
P., Peter, Jacob, Jeremiah, and Henry. William P. resided on the homestead, and was succeeded by his son Cyrus,
now deceased; the farm is occupied by a tenant,
Not long after the Revolution Johannes Mogul, with his sons, Jacob and John, and a daughter, came from Germantown
and settled west of the Groat home, Jacob and John served in the war. Christopher Moul succeeded on the John Moul
homestead. Here settled, also, the ancestors of the numerous Harder family, members of which in more recent years
have shared prominently in the development of the county. A son of Peter Harder is now resident in the town. In
the eastern part of the town the Jacobie family were among the early settlers, and intermarried with the Snyder
family, who also were among the pioneers. In the same section settled early Aaron Ostrander, who had sons John,
Philip, Jacobus, William, Henry, and Aaron. James H. Ostrander, now a resident of the town, is a son of William.
Martin, Valentine, Jacob, and Peter Stupplebeen, whose numerous descendants are found in various parts of the county,
settled in this section. John Holsapple, also, was an early settler here.
About 1785 Jacob and Michael Walterniire, who had lived in Dutchess county, settled on what has been known as the
Fowler place. Jacob had seven sons, of whom Jacob and Michael I. lived in that locality to old age. Michael built
a tavern on the turnpike which is still standing and occupied as a tenement. He had sons who are still resident
in the town. Henry Shufelt, also from Dutchess county, came a few years later and settled in the south part of
the town. His son Cornelius was a captain in the war of 1812, and lived many years in town. Other sons were George
A. and Henry. Another branch of the Shufelt family was that of Philip, who had sons John, Philip, Peter, and George,
some of whom settled in Ghent.
About the first year of the century George T. Snyder settled on a farm west of the site of Ghent village, on what
became known as the Henry T. Snyder place; he had a son, Tunis G., who died in 1878, aged ninety seven years, after
a long and useful life. The farm is still owned by the family. To the same section came Johannes Fredenburgh in
1766 and settled on land that is now owned in part by his great grandson, Abram Vosburgh; the Vosburghs settled
early in Stuyvesant, and Peter I. Vosburgh served as captain in Col. John Livingston's regiment in the Revolutionary
war, for which he was presented a sword by General La Fayette.
In the western part of the town the Philip family, including four sons, Peter, John, Jacob, and Wilhelmus, were
pioneers. Peter had a son who was given his own name, and he had a son named Delaway F. Philip, who succeeded to
the homestead. The land has since been divided, but is still owned in the family. This family has been very numerous
in the town and its members have in many ways contributed to the development of the locality. In this section of
the town John Kittle was an early settler and had four sons, Henry, John, Andrew, and Nicholas, all of whom remained
in the town and reared families. Jeremiah Kittle, the Ghent merchant, is a son of John, son of the first John.
Other prominent early settlers of western Ghent were William, Thomas, John and Laurence Van Alstyne, most of whose
descendants have removed from the town; Adam Tipple, Wilhelmus, Philip, Nicholas, and Daniel Link, whose descendants
are still residents in the town; Henry, John, William H., and Zachariah H. Link, another branch of this name. Also,
the families of Leggett, Hardick, Van Slyck, Van Bramer, Van Buren, Van Valkenburgh, and others, most of whom left
descendants to improve the homes of their forefathers.
Among the pioneers of the northern part of the town was Godfrey Garner, where his grandson, Aaron C., lived in
late years; he had sons named Godfrey, Martin, and Christopher, all of whom were prominent in the community. Anthony,
John, Henry and Adam Melius, ancestors of many descendants, also pioneers, and others were David Crapser, Philip
Diedrich, Lucas and Jacob Shaver, the Mills family, and William Holmes,
Among the pioneers of the eastern part of the town was Philip Dunspaugh and the Wager family; farther north settled
James and Samuel Candell and the Colemans. South of these were located the Macy families, who were prominent members
of the society of Friends. Abram Macy settled here in 1782, with a family of ten children, all living in a log
house with two rooms; two years later he built a house by his own labor, in which the late George G. Macy lived;
the latter was son of Abram, jr. Another son of Abram, jr., was Aaron C., who settled in Hudson and there died.
The Powell family came into the same section at a later date and gave to the community members of prominence. Among
these were Townsend Powell, father of George T. Powell, the successful and well known agriculturist.
To these many early settlers of Ghent may be added something from the early town records and the records of the
first churches organized in the town. The First Reformed Church was projected before the close of the Revolution,
as described farther on, and among the names signed to the articles that were drawn up to govern the relationship
of the Claverack and Ghent (Squampamock) churches are found those of Johannes Holsapple, Wilhelm Holsteen, Johan
Adam Schmit, and Richard Ysselsteen, elders, and Matthew Hollenbeck, Jonas Schenkel, and Jeremias Johannes Muller,
deacons in the Claverack church. Just how many of these may have lived within Ghent territory cannot be told. The
spelling of the names is as they appear in the records. The new congregation was represented by Zacharias Kernreich,
Laurence Hogeboom, Johannes Hogeboom, Jr., and Johannes Moldt. In the board of trustees of this old church in 1818
were Jacob Harder, John C. Hogeboom, Edward Holmes, Philip Dunspaugh, Tennis Snyder, and John Holsapple, a list
which adds somewhat to our knowledge of the prominent residents of the town in the first quarter of the present
century. Besides these, the certificate of the "Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Ghent," which is
filed in the county clerk's office, and certifies to the change of title in 1824, bears the names of P. S. Wynkoop,
minister; Conrad Gaul, Jacob C. Miller, and Barent Van Buren, elders; Wilh's Ostrander, William Kisselburgh, Teunis
Isbester, and John Harder, deacons.
The numerous members of the society of Friends who settled in Ghent in early years, built a meeting house in
1795, and among those who attended the early meetings were the Macys - Abram, John and Robert - John White, Israel
Tripp, Francis Bunker, Richard North, David Ring, John Burtiss, James Golding, Stephen Earle, Samuel Mandell, Dr.
Amos Carpenter, and Samuel Coleman. Probably some of these settled outside of the subsequent Ghent boundaries.
One of the first assessors of the town was George Risedorph (according to the town records), and Joseph M. Krum
and Gilbert L. Vincent were constables; John Fowler was one of the school inspectors; Henry Poucher was a justice
of the peace in 1822, and Philip Wager was town clerk in 1827. To these many families and their numerous descendants,
with others who came into the town in later years, is due the development and agricultural prosperity of Ghent.
Farming has, of course, been the lifelong occupation of most of the inhabitants, and the numerous beautiful country
homes testify to the industry and intelligence of the people. Mixed farming has always been followed for the most
part in this town. Fruit growing has been taken up to a considerable extent in recent years. George T. Powell is
one of the foremost in this direction. Grapes have been shipped to a limited extent. There is one milk station
in the town, for shipment to New York.
Among the leading farmers of this town, past and present, may be mentioned Theodore Isbester, John I. Leggett,
Alvin Moore, George H. Kittle, Andrew Kittle, John George, Abram Kittle, William Harder, Frederick Snyder, David
Capser, George Link, Nicholas Kittle, Martin Vredenburgh, Sylvester Melius, George A. Kisselburg, Henry Coburn,
Jacob W. Harder, Michael Waltermire, George L. Miller, David Melius, Henry Rifenberg, David Vosburg, George T.
Powell, Townsend Powell, William Angell, Samuel Russell, Augustus Angell, Ezra Lasher, Joseph Lane. The assessment
list for 1820, a little further on, adds materially to the names of those who in past years contributed to the
development of the town.
The organization of the town of Ghent took place on April 7, 1818, in pursuance of the act of the Legislature erecting
the town, at which time the following officers were elected: Supervisor, Tobias L. Hogeboom; town clerk, Henry
Van Slyck; assessors, Peter Ostrander, George Risedorf, Cornelius Van Alstyne, Edward Holmes, George T. Snyder;
collector, David Weager; constables, Jacob Hogeboom, Joseph M. Krum, Gilbert L. Vincent; commissioners of highways,
Teunis G. Snyder, Nathan Collins, Jacob Moul; poormasters, Barnet Van Buren, Martin H. Hoffman; commissioners of
common schools, John Kittle, Abraham Staats, Samuel Candell; inspectors of schools, Martin H. Hoffman, Tobias L.
Hogeboom, John Fowler, Jehoiakim Schinkle, Peter P. Phillips.
From the town records it is learned that there was appropriated, the first year of the town's existence, "$600
for the support of the poor and larger amounts thereafter."
In 1820 and a few years thereafter frequent instances of the manumission of slaves are recorded. William Link gave
to his slave woman Diannah her freedom in 1820, and the next year Barent Van Buren did likewise with his man Cato.
Nearly all the freed slaves remained in the town and some of their descendants are still residing there.
The assessment roll of 1820 shows the names of several hundred taxpayers. The following list of those assessed
for $2,000 or more probably covers the substantial farmers and business men of the town, and is also a record of
early residents worth preserving: Peter Andrews, Nathan Collins, Samuel Coleman, Philip Denspaugh, Richard Deyse,
Philip Diedrich, Martin Garner, William Groat, Cornelius Goes, Henry Groat, Palmer Holmes, widow Henry Holsapple,
John J. Holsapple, Martin H. Hoffman, John E. Hogeboom, Tobias L. Hogeboom, Stephen J. Hogeboom, Bartholomew Hogeboom,
widow Jacob Harder, the Emerick heirs, Adam J. Herriatt, Harder & Duel, Nicholas, William, and Michael Harder,
Edward Hunting, John Jacobi, John I. Kittle, John Henry Kittle, William Link, Wilhelmus Link, Legget & Staats,
John Lane, William Link, Br., John Leggett, Jacob Moul, John Moul, John Macy, Anthony Melius & Son, Thomas
H. Mesick, Jacob J. Miller, Jacob New, Wilhelmus Ostrander, Jeremiah Pulver, Philip W. Pulver, Dr. Edward B. Pugsley,
Daniel Pultz, Peter Philip, Henry Poucher, George Risdorph, Peter Rody, Henry Schinkle, Philip P. Shufelt, widow
Martin Stupplebeen, David Southard, Jacob H. Snyder, Henry Snyder, John H. Snyder, William H. Snyder, Henry Shufelt,
Jonah Sehinkle & Son, Wm. P. Smith, Jacob Stupplebeen, Leonard Smith, George T. Snyder, Jacob and John Simmons,
Sagendorph, on the Heermance place, George Tator, John G. Tator, Jonathan Traver, Jacob Tipple, Oliver Teal, James
Utter, Thomas Van Alstyne, John L. Vosburgh, M. L. Vosburgh, Benjamin Vredenburgh, Barent Van Buren, Sally Watermeyer,
David Wager, Jacob Wager, William Waggoner, John Whitbeck, Jacob Waltermire, and W. Yager.
The public highways of Ghent have always received the attention of its inhabitants, and are kept in an excellent
condition. Several important thoroughfares pass through the town, chief among them being the old "Post road."
Soon after the organization of the town it was divided into road districts and the following thirty two overseers
or path masters appointed: Martin Harder, Jonathan Head, Benjamin Vredenburgh, William Winn, Matthew Waltermire,
George Rollout, Thomas Van Alstyne, Jehoiakim Van Hagen, Jeremiah Mandeville, Jacob Loop, Henry J. Mesick, Matthias
Emerick, Henry Link, J. J. Mesick, William P. Smith, Henry Combs, William Day, Wilhelmus Link, Johannes Moul, Jehoiakim
Schinkle, James May, James Candell, Samuel Coleman, John Frost, James Bullis, John Son, John L. Holsapple, John
Shufelt, Henry R. Van Rensselaer, Ezekiel Thomas and Edward B. Pugsley.
The County Poor Farm is situated a short distance to the northeast of Ghent village, and contains about two hundred
acres, under good cultivation and productive of considerable revenue. The poor house proper is a fine brick building,
erected in 1857 at a cost of $22,000, and the asylum for the insane (now no longer occupied for that purpose) was
built in 1877.
Manufacturing has never been one of the industries of Ghent to lend importance to the town. In days gone by
there were a few manufactories, but almost all of them have passed away. In 1820, before the western portion was
set off to the town of Stockport, there were reported to be in the town six grist mills, four saw mills, four fulling
mills, five carding machines and three cotton and woolen factories; but the division made in 1833 shut Ghent off
from the Kinderhook and Claverack Ceeks, and with the territory thus taken off its area, went nearly all of these
mills. Near the village of Ghent on the Kline Kill are what has long been known as the Garner grist mills; they
occupy the site of a saw and grist mill built by Samuel Coleman soon after settlement began, and are now running
in a small way. Above these were the old Arnold mills, at one time operated by F. Stupplebeen and others, now abandoned.
Near these were Niles's paper mill, built in 1872, and the Mickle paper mill, both of which have been discontinued.
Eighty years ago there was a woolen factory near Niles's mill, in a brick building, which was abandoned and a new
one built farther up the stream; this too has been discontinued. Peter Philip, John Tipple and John Van Hagan had
saw mills in the western part of the town, and there is one there now, built by George Snyder and operated at present,
in connection with a cider mill, by Peter Engle. In the same locality Thomas Van Alstyne had a small woolen factory
in 1824. At the present time Edward Eyle owns a grist mill, known as the old Leggett mill. About two miles from
Ghent village Otto Stevens operated a steam saw mill for a few years.
The village of Ghent is situated in the midst of a thriving agricultural population and is the center of considerable
trade and the outlet of a large amount of produce. It was but a small settlement until the advent of the railroads,
which gave it an impetus which rapidly made it what it is today. Former merchants here were J. B. Jones, John Stickles;
William T. Palmer, Jacob Stupplebeen, W. G. Harris, E. B. Underhill, George O. Stickles, Charles Mason, Sherman
Graff, C. H. Porter, Abram Pugsley, and Jacob D. Waltermire. Macy & Wilts formed a partnership in 1886 and
bought out W. T. Palmer and built the building they now occupy. The firm of Downing & Kittle (the senior member
of whom is deceased) began business in 1897, succeeding Melius & Downing, who were the successors of Schutt
& Melius, and they of Downing & Clark.
Charles Tracy has conducted for many years an extensive purchasing and shipping business, and has at various periods
filled important town offices, and has been chairman of the Republican County Committee.
James Hardigan is the proprietor of the Ghent Hotel, which he erected. The Bartlett House, built by Ebenezer Bartlett,
is leased and conducted by Cornelius Deyo.
The village has a good union school and a neat brick school house, erected in 1878, and employs two teachers.
After the formation of the town in 1818 the school districts were rearranged, and schools established therein as
needed. In 1860 there were ten districts, which number is the same in 1900, employing twenty three teachers. At
that time 700 children were taught in these schools, which in 1898 had increased to 763. The value of the school
buildings in the latter yearwas $48,555 and the assessed valuation of the districts was $2,738,080. The public
money appropriated to the town in 1898 was $2,754.40 and there was raised by tax $9,298.19. These figures, taken
from the report of the superintendent of public instruction for 1899, places Ghent at the head of the towns in
the county in school facilities, and in money expended therefor.
The first public house in the town was probably that of Johannes Hogeboom; as early as 1760 it was given in the
guide books as the principal stopping place between Kinderhook and Nobletown (Hillsdale) on the north from Albany
to Boston. Jacob Moul kept a tavern on the main road before 1800 on the site of the commodious house afterwards
erected and occupied by his son William. Near the county poor buildings Abram Hogeboom had a store and tavern,
and later William M. Bunker had a store in a building which was burned a few years ago. Near the railroad station
Martin H. Hoffman had the first store, and a tavern was kept by Hoffman Van Ness.
There are only three post offices in the town of Ghent, namely, Ghent, Pulvers and Omi. Ghent post office was
established at the lower village, or "Old Ghent," and removed to its present location after the advent
of the railroad. The present postmaster is M. E. Teator, who succeeded James H. Greene and he Charles Tracy. The
post office of Omi was established in the western part of the town about two years ago, with James Van Valkenburgh
The First Reformed Church of Ghent has had an eventful history, which has been preserved in excellent form. The
larger number of those who were factors in the establishment of this church had been members of the Reformed Dutch
church of Kinderhook and Claverack. Having sought new homes in the then wilderness of Ghent, the distance from
the old church prevented many from enjoying its privileges, and they were led to desire the establishment of a
place for religious worship in their own locality. Previous to the Revolution active measures were taken to accomplish
this object, but at once a difficulty arose over the location of the building. Unable to unite upon a common site,
two houses were begun, one in the neighborhood of the Kitties and Philips on the road leading west to Ghent, and
the other in the Hogeboom section at Squampamock fiats at the present Union cemetery. The latter was rapidly pushed
to completion, causing work on the former to be suspended, and it was never finished. The year in which these houses
was begun, as near as can be ascertained, was 1774. It is known that on March 28, 1775, a meeting was held to organize
a society to occupy the Squampamock structure, then just completed. From 1770 to that time the church at Claverack
had been without a pastor, their pulpit being supplied occasionally by Rev. Gerhard Daniel Cock, pastor of the
Germantown and Rhinebeck churches, and he, on the foregoing date, dedicated the new church building and installed
the consistory of the new body. Regulations concerning the connection of the Squaxnpamock church with that of Claverack
were drawn up and signed by Johannes Holsapple, Wilhelm V. Holsteen, John Adam Schmidt and Richard Ysseisteen,
elders, and Matthew Hollenbeck, Jonas Schenkel and Jeremias Johannes Muller, deacons, on the part of the Claverack
church, and Zecharias Kernreich, Lawrence Hogeboom, Johannes Hogeboom, jr., and Johannes Moedt, representing the
Squampamock organization. At the same time the consistory of the new organization was chosen, which was composed
of Zecharias and Lawrence Hogeboom, elders; and Omphrij Moor, Johannes Hogeboom, jr., deacons. The following were
the members of the church at the time of its formation: Lawrence Hogeboom and his wife Hester Leggett, Johannes
Hogeboom, jr., Omphrij Moor, Zecharias Kernreich and his wife Cornelia Schutt. The first services were held on
March 29 by Dominie Cock.
The church building is described as being a small, unpainted wooden structure; the pews were the high, box like
affairs to be found in all churches of that day, and the gallery extended on three sides of the building; the slender,
wine glass pulpit," reached by a winding stair, stood beneath a broad sounding board, suspended from the roof
by ropes attached to each corner. The church record book, still in existence, is a stout volume, bound in vellum,
and made of paper bearing the waterline "G. R." with a crown and seal, indicating that is manufacture
antedated the Revolution. Its title page, written in Dutch, like its entire contents, reads as follows: "Aligemeen
Kerkenbock, Der Nederdruitschen, Gereformeerden Gemeente Jesu Christi op Squampamuck, begonnen Anno 1775, von 28
Maerch. 'Laet alle Dingen Eerlyck Ende met Orden Geschieden.' 1 Cor. 14:40. Von 29th dito is de Eerste Kerkenraedt
bevestigt Doer. Dom. Gerhard Daniel Cock en de Eerste predicatie in de Nieuwe Kerk Gedaen aber de woorden Apoc.
3: 18." The first entry in the book is the proceedings attendant upon the organization of the church, and
the record of baptism of three children, which ceremony occurred at the first service. The children were Mary Horton,
daughter of Meikel Horton and Elizabeth Ysselsteen, with Albert Pawling and Maria Ysselsteen, sponsors; Maria Keller,
daughter of Adam Keller and Maria Muller, with Conrad Reh and Maria Schmit, sponsors; and Abraham Shutt, son of
Abraham Shutt and Lena Rossman, with Jacobus Hogeboom and Catherine Hogeboom, sponsors. The next entry records
the call made to Rev. Dom. Johannes Gabriel Gebhard, on October 17, 1782, in which it is stipulated that he shall
preach once every two months and administer the sacrament, in return for which the consistory promises to pay him
£20 New York money. Between the time of organization and the call just given the church was not prosperous,
occasional preaching being had when ministers could be secured. The trying period of the Revolution was a severe
test upon its cohesion, but it managed to maintain an existence. Even after the Revolution there was a lack of
encouragement to the weak and struggling congregation from the churches of Claverack and Kin derhook, and but little
support from the members who lived in the western part of the town. However, during the incumbency of Dorninie
Gebhard the membership of the society was augmented by forty admissions. There is no record as to when his services
ceased, but it is believed to have been about 1790 The old book of records shows that baptisms of children occurred
in 1777, 1779 and in 1791, in connection with which are found the names of Adam and Heinrich Raed, Birtholornew,
John and Abraham Hogeboom, Geisbert and J hn Sharp, Wendell Ham, David Sager, Paulus Moon, Anthony Melius, Michael
and Cornelius Muller, William Holsapple, Barent and Jacob Wager, Latham Lamphear, with family names of Wood, Cerder,
Jackson, Conner, McKarty, Herder, Maul, Sheffer, Virizon, Eggleston, Stahl, Dittmore, and Scott. Among the names
yet represented in the church were Hogebooms, Miller, Herder, Kun, Gerner, Zufeld, Schermerhorn, Van Deusen, Diedrick,
Sharp, Sheffer and Lant.
Subsequent to 1790 services were irregularly continued with no stated supply down to 1816. Among the many names
in the old register the following may he quoted as having representatives yet in the town or in adjoining towns:
Stopelbeen, Jones, Grod, Hoffman, Rifenberger, Rossman, Moet, Gaul, Martin, Decker, Van Valkenburgh, Ostrander,
Mesick, De Graff, Pulver, Deo, Hess, Bauman, Van Tassel, Gardinier, Hoes, Van Ness, Leggett, and Traver. In 1801,
when the church was a little more than a preaching station of Claverack, and the congregation was small and weak,
it became necessary to repair the meetinghouse, which was approaching decay. Either inability or disinclination
prevented any movement to effect the necessary repairs, until the Hogeboom, on behalf of the society, took the
matter in hand and made an arrangement with the Lutherans, who had just begun organizing a society, to the effect
that they should make the necessary repairs to the old building and in consideration therefor should become half
owners of the property. The repairs were duly made under this agreement, which was perpetuated when the new edifice
was erected in 1816, and consecrated in 1817. In 1819 a petition to the classis of Rensselaer, asking for the formation
of a new church, was granted, and a meeting held to perfect the organization. The first consistory under this reformation
was composed of William P. Link and Teunis G. Snyder, elders; and John Jacobie, jr., and George Shufelt, deacons;
and the next year (1820) the following were ordained: Jacob Stupplebeen and John H. Ryfenbergli, elders, and Adam
Gaul and Zechariah Link, deacons. On June 10 of that year these eight persons formed themselves into a body corporate,
adopting the title "Consistory of Christ's Church in the town of Ghent," which on April 24, 1824, was
changed to "The Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Ghent." Difficulty arose with the Kinderhook and
Claverack churches, who declined to dismiss those members who had signed the petition for the new church, in order
that they might assume the duties and responsibilities of membership therein. Finally, in 1822, the hounds of the
new church were defined, which settled the trouble, and a call was extended to Rev. Peter S. Wynkoop to become
pastor of the congregation. He was installed January 9, 1823, and did faithful service for twenty years. In 1840
missions were established at different points, and several families were dismissed to form the church at Mellenville.
A year or two later the membership residing in the western part of the town withdrew from the old church and in
1843 organized the Second Reformed Church of Ghent, which greatly weakened the mother church. In 1845 Rev. John
De Witt was called to the pastorate, and during his incumbency the church purchased the half interest owned by
the Lutherans in the house of worship. In September, 1848, Rev. Mr. De Witt's connection with the church was closed
by his resignation, and in less than a month he was succeeded by Rev. John Gray, who remained seven years. His
successor was Rev. W. W. Letson, who came in 1856, and resigned in 1864. He was followed by Rev. J. B. Drury on
August 9, 1864; his successor was Dewitt Wycoff, who was followed by Philip Phelps, the present pastor. On December
23, 1868, the church building was destroyed by fire. The present attractive edifice was erected on its new and
better site, at a cost of $15,000, and dedicated on June 28, 1870. The old parsonage was sold in 1872, and the
present spacious one adjoining the church was built at a cost of $4,500.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghent has documentary evidence to prove that an organization of that faith existed
before the Revolution. The church records proper prior to 1825 are in existence, but contain nothing of its history
beyond the baptism of infants. The society had no house of worship until 1801, when, in consideration of repairs
made by the Lutherans, a half interest was secured to them in the Dutch Reformed meeting house at Squampamock,
a relation that continued for more than forty years. The society was weak in numbers, and for many years was supplied
by ministers from Rhinebeck, Germantown and Churchtown, at varying intervals. In 1816, jointly with the Reformed
Dutch Church, they erected a new meeting house at the Union Cemetery, against much opposition in the western part
of the town. On the 7th of November, 1818, the church was incorporated with the following council: Henry Shufelt,
David Cookingham, and John Rossman, trustees; Jonathan Traver and John Y. Tator, elders; John M. Pultz, Frederick
Traver and Henry Tator, deacons. The congregation was supplied until October, 1826, when Rev. Jacob Berger was
installed as the first settled pastor. He was a man of great piety, eloquence and knowledge. He served this church
and those of Churchtown and Valatie for seventeen years, and died in the midst of his labors on March 11, 1842,
at forty five years of age. After a vacancy of ten months, the Rev. E. Deyoe became the pastor, and was with the
church three years, being succeeded in 1847 by Rev. George W. Lewis who was deposed for irregularity in 1850. Later
pastors were Rev. John Rugan, J. D. English, N. H. Cornell, Peter Felts, A. S. Hartman, J, A. Tomlinson, S. A.
Weikert, J. Frank Hartman (1880-88), J. N. Morris (1888-90), J. W. Lake (1891-91), J. E. Hoick (1891-97), and E.
A. Ottman, the present pastor. During the pastorate of Rev. E. Deyoe the Lutheran society disposed of its interest
in the church building to the Reformed Dutch, the joint owners, and in 1825 the present structure was completed.
Substantial improvements were made in 1866, by which it was enlarged to its present capacity, and again in 1878
it was repaired and put in good condition. The church is active and thrifty.
The Second Reformed Protestant (Dutch) Church of Ghent grew out of a desire of the people in the western part of
the town to have a church in that vicinity. On April 18, 1813, a petition was made to the classis of Rensselaer
embodying this wish, and the prayer was granted, and a committee appointed to organize, which was done on May 18,
when the following named persons were chosen to form the consistory: Conrad Smith, Peter Philip, jr., Wilhelmus
H. Link, Matthias A. Emerick, elders; and John T. Van Aistyne, James I. Leggett, William E. New, and Abraham Van
Alen, as deacons. On June 14 the cornerstone of the church edifice was laid, the building was pushed rapidly forward,
and on September 9, 1843, it was dedicated. Rev, Theodore F. Wyckoff was the first pastor, remaining only a year,
and was followed by Rev. George R. Williams, who came in October, 1844. His term of service ended in 1848, and
he was succeeded the same year by Rev. J. C. Van Dervoort; he remained only two years and his successor was Rev.
Jacob H. Van Woert, who came in 1852 and remained until 1865. The next pastor was Rev. Elbert N. Sebring, assuming
his duties in November, 1865, and continuing until 1872. On July 8, 1873, Rev. Jacob W. Schenck was installed,
followed by Isaac Schenck and he by C. V. W. Bedford, present pastor. In 1847-48 the society built the parsonage,
and established the cemetery adjacent to the church.
The Friends' Meeting in the town of Ghent had its inception in meetings held in the house of Abram Macy in 1793,
which were continued there until 1795, when a small meeting house was built on the site occupied by the present
one. Early members of this meeting were Abram, John and Robert Macy, Zephania Coffin, John White, Israel Tripp,
Francis Bunker, Richard Worth, David Ring, John Burtiss, James Golding, Stephen Earle, Samuel Crandell, Samuel
Coleman, and Dr. Amos Carpenter. The latter was for many years the only approved minister of the meeting; later
ones were Charles M. Robinson and Eliza A. Shepherd. The present meeting house is the third one erected on the
same site. Meetings are still held, but the number of members has much decreased in late years owing to deaths
St. John's German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghent was organized in 1850 by Rev. Mr. Pohle in the meeting house
of the English Lutheran Society. Rev. G. Borchest became the pastor the following year. A lot was purchased of
Henry Pulver in the south part of the town and a small meeting house built, which was dedicated in 1855. In 1869
the building was enlarged by an addition of eighteen feet in length, and was rededicated in June of that year.
In 1900 the church held a semi centennial celebration of its foundation.
The Ghent Union Cemetery in the eastern part of the town, below "Old Ghent," is the only burial place
owned by an incorporated association. It has five acres of land and is tastefully cared for. Another one is connected
with the West Ghent Reformed Church, has several acres and is kept in neat order; and all the churches have small
The population of the town of Ghent has been as follows, from 1825 to 1892, as shown in the census reports: 1825,
2,290; 1830, 2,790; 1835, 2,375; 1840, 2,558; 1845, 2,417; 1850, 2,293; 1855, 2,537; 1860, 2,803; 1865, 2,661;
1870, 2,886; 1875, 2,963; 1880, 2,953; 1890, 2,903; 1892, 2,654.
The following list give the names and date of election of the supervisors of Ghent from the organization of the
town to 1900:
1819-22. Edward B. Pugsley.
1823-24. Teunis G. Snyder.
1825-28. Barent Van Buren.
1829. John J. Kittle.
1830-31. Martin H. Hoffman.
1832. Jehoiakirn H. Plass.
1833-35. Jacob N. Harder.
1836. Barent Van Buren.
1837. William M. Bunker.
1838-39. Andrew Kittle.
1840. Peter Groat, jr.
1841-42. Christopher Garner.
1843-44. John T. Leggett.
1845-46. William Moul.
1847. Jacobus Harder.
1848. William P. Vosburgh.
1849. William P. Groat.
1850-51. James H. Barnes.
1852. James I. Leggett.
1853. John T. Legett,
1854-55. Cornelius Moul.
1856. M. A. Bmerick.
1857. Henry P. Pulver.
1858. John D. Shufelt.
1859. George A, Clum.
1860. N. Van Blamer.
1861. Curtis H. Porter.
1862. B. Van Valkenburgh.
1863-64. Abram Vosburgh.
1865-66. Curtis H. Porter.
1867-68. Andrew H, Kittle.
1869. Jeremiah Kittle.
1870-72. Solomon Sharp.
1873. John I. Leggett.
1874. Curtis H. Porter.
1875-76. Jacob Stupplebeen.
1877. William G. Kittle.
1878-79. George S. Fowler.
1880-82. M. V. Stuplebeen.
1883. Solomon Sharp.
1884. George T. Snyder.
1885. Jeremiah Kittle.
1886-90. Wright H. Barnes.
1891-95. George Tretnain.
1896-1900. Delmar Kisselburgh.
The town clerks have been as follows:
1819-20. Martin H. Hoffman.
1821-22. Martin Harder.
1823-26. John J. Kittle.
1827-28. Philip Wager.
1829. John S. Hogeboom.
1830-31. Martin Gilbert.
1832. John I. Miller, jr.
1833. Martin Gilbert.
1834. Peter Hogeboom.
1835. Tennis Isbister.
1836-37. William P. Vosburgh.
1838-39. Tennis Isbister.
1840. G. A. Stupplebeen.
1841-42. Martin Gilbert.
1843. Alfred Nash.
1844. G. A. Stupplebeen.
1845-46. Thomas Newell.
1847. Sylvester Melius.
1848. John J. Kittle, jr.
1849. Tobias Waltermire.
1850. J. M. Rivenhurgh.
1851. Philip M. Harder.
1852. Abram Vosburgh.
1853-54. Martin Gilbert.
1855, David M. Graff.
1856. R. E. Dunspaugh.
1857. Henry E. New.
1858. George S. Fowler.
1859. Sherman G. Graff.
1860. Franklin H. Traver.
1861. William Waltermire.
1862. Sherman G. Graff.
1863. J. H. Stupplebeen.
1864-65. T. Stupplebeen.
1866-67. Franklin H. Traver.
1868. D. E. Waltemire.
1869-70. Franklin H. Traver.
1871-72. E. B. Underhill.
1873-74. Charles Mesick.
1875-76. Walter A. Stickles.
1877. J. H. Rivenburgh.
1878-79. Webster R. Craw.
1880-81. J. H. Rivenburgh.
1882. Charles Tracy.
1883. John H. Waltermire.
1884-85. Frank R. Wiltsie.
1886. L. Purcell.
1887. W. P. Macy.
1888-90. J. Harvey Ostrander.
1891-92. Frank Whiteman.
1893-94. Ernest Stupplebeen.
1895. W. Southard.
1896-97. Frank S. McConnell.
1898-1900. G. W. Loomis.