The banks of Kinderhook have always been noted for their stability and popularity, and their long and untarnished
records may be pointed to with pardonable pride.
The National Bank of Kinderhook was established as a State bank on January 1, 1839. Its capital was $195,000, and
the first board of directors included the following substantial citizens: John Bain, Teunis Harder, Peter I. Hoes,
Mordecai Myers, Edward B. Pugsley, John P. Beekman, Charles Whiting, John I. Pruyn, Adam Van Aistyne, Julius Wilcoxson,
David Van Schaack, Lucas Hoes, Laurence Van Buren, William H. Tobey, John J. Van Valkenburgh, Uriah Edwards and
Adam A. Hoysradt. The first president was John P. Beekman, who was succeeded in 1862 by Christopher H. Wendover,
who held the office but one year and was followed by William R. Mesick, Hugh Van Alstyne, Francis Van Ness and
J. Spencer Hosford. The cashiers were Lucas Hoes, Covington Guion, John J. Van Schaack, Augustus W Wynkoop, and
Calvin Ackley. On the 17th of April, 1865, the bank reorganized under the national system and increased its capital
to $250,000. In September, 1889, the stockholders voted to go into liquidation, and the institution was finally
closed in 1897.
On the first of October, 1853, the National Union Bank of Kinderhook began business under a State charter, with
a capital of $150,000, which six years later was increased to $200,000. The bank opened its doors for business
in a building owned by Charles Whiting, and here in 1858, was robbed by burglars of nine thousand dollars; whereupon
the brick building now occupied by the bank was purchased and thoroughly altered and refitted for its use and occupied
on May 1, 1859. On March 29 1865, the institution was changed to a national bank and has continued as such to the
present day. The directors first elected were William H. Tobey, John I. Kittle, Adam A. Hoysradt, John Rogers,
John T. Wendover, Henry J. Whiting, Francis W. Bradley, David Van Schaack, Isaac Esseistyn, Charles Whiting, James
B. Laing, Daniel D. Warner, Daniel S. Curtis, Peter A. Gardenier, John Bain, Hugh Bain, Nathan Wild, Richard Graves,
Henry Snyder, Samuel Hanna, and Charles L. Beale,
The first president of the bank was William H. Tobey, who served until the time of his death, and was succeeded
by Stephen H. Wendover in January, 1879, who served until his death in 1889, when James Bain was elected to the
position; death closed his term of service in February, 1892, when Gerrit S. Collier succeeded and is still serving.
John Bain was the first vice president, David Van Schaack the second, and Barent Van Aistyne the third; he was
succeeded at his death in May, 1881, by Gerrit S. Collier, who held the office until the death of James Bain, when
he was made president. David Strain is the present vice president The present directors of the bank are, Gerrit
S. Collier, David Strain, William H. Rainey, Francis Silvester, Isaac E. Bain, Ransen Gardenier and Edward Murrell,
But few if any men connected with financial institutions can point to longer and more honorable careers than can
the cashier of this bank W. H. Rainey. Entering the bank as cashier upon its organization, for a period of almost
half a century, he has fulfilled his duties with precision and honor, and it is no flattery of Mr. Rainey or invidious
reflection upon the other officers of the bank, to say that to him is due in the main the high standing of the
institution, its prosperity and conservative management. The labor of his life has been devoted to the best interests
of this bank, and the confidence placed in him has never been shadowed by the least dereliction.
The bank's report of April 1, 1900, shows its paid up capital to be $200,000, with a surplus fund of $40,000 and
undivided profits of over $43,000. The individual deposit account amounts to nearly $180,000.
A beautiful park, on the west side of the village, is the generous gift of Mrs. Peter Bain. It is being improved
and beautified, and will prove an attractive spot.
The village of Valatie is another flourishing village of the town of Kinderhook, where for many years past large
business interests have been carried on. The word "Valatie," is said to signify "little falls,"
which was applied to the rapids at this point, to distinguish them from the greater falls in Stuyvesant. The village
is situated at the junction of Valatie Kill and Kinderhook Creek, in both of which streams there is sufficient
fall to supply excellent water power. It has already been stated on a preceding page that saw mills were established
here, as they naturally would be, at an early day, before 1700, and in 1763, or earlier, there were grist mills
which were then operated by Hans and Derick Hoes. Two or three other grist mills were built in later years and
operated for varying periods; but they finally gave place to more important manufactures.
An early organization formed for manufacturing purposes was the Kinderhook Manufacturing Company, which erected
a frame structure not far from 1820 and began the making of warps and other cotton goods; the building was on the
site of the later paper mill, and the industry increased in magnitude and employed many operatives who settled
in that part of the village and created a little hamlet along the stream in that vicinity. About 1855, after this
property had passed to William P. Rathbone and was being operated by him, he changed it into a paper mill, and
built a cotton factory adjoining; straw paper only was manufactured. At a later date Mr. Rathbone sold this property
to Dr. Alexander Abbott, who sold the paper mill part to C. F. Davis. Upon his death it passed to his wife and
daughter; the latter became the wife of Robert P. Richmond and the mill is now operated by the firm of Davis &
Richmond. In connection with the water power which runs this mill is the electric lighting plant for the village,
which was put in about 1895 by this firm, supplying ample illumination for the place. The cotton mill mentioned
above was burned many years ago.
On the next fall below the site of the Kinderhook property John J. Van Alen built a small frame cotton mill several
years after the organization of the Kinclerhook Manufacturing Company. This was subsequently burned and on the
site the firm of Van Alen & Co. erected a brick building which was long operated and known as the Beaver Cotton
factory. In 1851 it passed to Jeremiah Carpenter, who largely increased the size and capacity of the factory in
1858, making the building two hundred and ninety by forty four feet, and four stories in height; the dam had a
height of twenty three feet and a steam engine of one hundred and fifty horse power was also used. E. J. Wendover
was proprietor of this mill after Mr. Carpenter, and subsequently it passed to George Copeland & Co., of New
York, who owned it in 1888, when it was burned.
On the south side of the stream and nearly opposite the mills just described was what was long known as the Baldwin
mill, and later the Hanna mill, which after various changes was operated about 1880 by A. Abbott & Son in the
manufacture of satinet warps; it was operated by both water power and steam. In earlier years sheetings were made
here to the amount of 10,000 yards per week. The mill is now in use by William A. Harder, of Hudson, for making
yarns, employing about sixty operatives. Adjoining this property were extensive machine shops, the business of
which was long ago abandoned. Farther south was built what was known as the Crystal Spring Knitting Mill, a four
story structure, which was enlarged to that height and its present size in 1872. Henderson & Hoff man were
proprietors during one period, and work was suspended in 1875. After a period of idleness the property was bought
by W. F. Harvey & Co., and later Mr. Harvey operated it alone. Again business was suspended and so remained
until 1893, when the Valatie Knitting Company was organized with a capital stock of $40,000, and W. A. Harder,
president; he still holds that office. The product of the mill is knit underwear, upon which about eighty five
hands are employed.
Near the mouth of Valatie Kill Rensselaer Reynolds formerly operated a manufactory for making weaving machinery;
he removed to Stockport in 1852; and on the hill to the west of the Wild mills William F. Rathbone established
a wadding factory in 1866 in a stone building which has since been demolished.
On the Valatie Kill are the celebrated Wild's Cotton Mills, which have had a long and successful business experience.
There are two dams here, fifteen and twenty feet in height respectively, and two large brick buildings, called
the upper and the lower mill. The upper mill was erected in 1828 by Nathan Wild, the pioneer cotton manufacturer;
the lower mill was added in 1846, the latter being fifty four by one hundred and forty four feet in size. In addition
to the water power of the lower dam this mill has steam power amounting now to two hundred and fifty horse power.
The two mills were operated until 1886, when the machinery was taken out of the upper mill and placed in the lower,
the upper one being transformed into a repair shop. Nathan Wild continued sole proprietor of these mills until
1850, when he associated his son, Charles Wild, in the business; the senior member of the firm died in 1858 and
the firm became Nathan Wild's Sons, continuing as such until 1871, when the property passed to Charles Wild alone.
In 1839 the Wild Manufacturing Company was organized, with a capital stock of $75,000, and Charles Wild, president
and treasurer; W. H. Wild, secretary. The mills now contain eighty looms and employ about fifty operatives.
The firm of Hall & Clark established a large wadding mill, for which a brick structure was erected near the
railroad station, in 1896; steam power only is employed. G. V. B. Clark, of Valatie, is a member of the firm.
Mercantile business in Valatie has always been abreast of the manufacturing interests, and stores of some kind
were maintained from a very early date. Among the early prominent merchants were the firm of Baldwin & Wild
(Nathan Wild), who conducted business in connection with the cotton mills. Orin Carpenter was a merchant afterwards
at the same place and other later merchants were Richard Kirk, A. H. Van Slyke, Samuel Hanna, Conant & Penoyer,
Edwin C. Carpenter, Solomon Strauss, Lewis and Martin Gerst, George W. Cornwell, J. B. Richmond, Isaac Van Alen,
Daniel Palmer, James Miller, T. Shaughness, John H. Corning, and Martin Lederer. Of these, J. B. Richmond is still
in trade and one of the oldest merchants in the place. Daniel Palmer is also in business, and Wilson Miller, son
of James, the former merchant. Other stores are kept by W. H. Reynolds, W. B. Rowe, Peter Hess, with the usual
small business interests and shops.
Jonathan N. Waite ministered to the wants of the public in this section in a tavern many years ago on the site
of the present United States hotel; the latter was built by Wiliam Trafford. Another early hotel was opened by
Oliver Squiers, on the site of the later Valatie House; other landlords in that house were William Bradley, Henry
Iler, and E. H. Plass.
The post office in Valatie was not established until May, 1832, when Dr. John Vanclerpoel was appointed postmaster.
Others who have held this office are I. Van Alen, John H. Corning, Charles B. Osborne, Elizabeth Osborne, S. G.
Tallmadge, E. H. Tallmadge, Thomas Shagginess, Charles W. Trimper, Henry Kirchner, B. B. Tallmadge, and Martin
Glynn, who took the office in 1896.
This village, as well as Kinderhook, has been numerously and ably represented in the learned professions. Dr. John
Vanderpoel practiced here about thirty years and died in 1851. Dr. S, G. Tailmadge had a long period of successful
practice; Dr. George E. Benson was in practice for a time and removed to Hudson, where he died; other physicians
were A. Abbott, P. B. Collier, J. H. Lent, T. Roberts, and Drs. J. Elwyn Cochran, and J. F. Rooney are now in practice.
The legal profession has been represented by George W. Bulkley (deceased), W. C. Benton, who removed to Hudson,
George K. Daley, who removed to Chatham, Edward R. Peck (deceased), Gershom Bulkley (deceased), A. B. Gardenier,
removed to Chatham, A. H. Farrar, George D. Earle (deceased), W. H. Silvernail. The attorneys at the present time
are Edson R. Harder and E. D. Howe.
The Kinderhook and Stuyvesant Mutual Insurance Company was organized January 11, 1883, and reorganized and incorporated
June 15, 1891. It has a membership of two hundred and thirty, with $600,000 insurance in operation. The directors
of the company are Warren G. Overacker (president), Wallace B. Rowe (treasurer), Jasper A. Smith (secretary), Abram
L. Schermerhorn, John S. Baker, James H. Kingman, Frank Rossman, Albert Van Schaack and Levi Dakin.
With the growth and business activity of Valatie about the middle of the century, the citizens felt the need of
incorporation, in order to establish better government and inaugurate needed improvements. The act of incorporation
is dated March 25, 1856, but the application was made to the Court of General Sessions in 1853, and set forth that
the village contained 1,557 inhabitants on the 640 acres which it was proposed should constitute the corporation
area. When the people voted upon the proposition to incorporate in 1856, the measure received 135 votes in favor
and 35 against it. The first election of village officers took place on April 23, 1856, and resulted as follows:
Trustees, William P. Rathbone, Sylvester Becker, John H. Corning, G. W. Bulkley, John Rogers; assessors, John M.
Mesick, Henry L. Miller, Barent Mesick; treasurer, Benajah Conant,; clerk, James Miller; collector, James Mesick,;
poundmaster, Abram Brewer. The trustees chose William P. Rathbone president of the board, and the usual village
ordinances were adopted, There was at the time of incorporation, an independent fire company which had been in
existence some years; in November, 1856, the trustees obtained its transfer to the authorities and gave it recognition
as Valatie Fire Company No. 1. The company had thirty five members, and William P. Rathbone was appointed chief
engineer. An engine house was built and proper apparatus provided. The present fire equipment consists of Lafayette
Engine Company, No. 1, and Lafayette and James Purcell Hose Companies. In 1878 the village was empowered by the
Legislature to borrow and expend $2,000 for the purchase of the old Presbyterian church building to be reconstructed
into a village hall. This was occupied for public purposes until the past year, when it was again reconstructed
on the inside to adapt it to the usual opera house entertainments.
The village of Valatie is supplied with good water, which is pumped from the kill by the power which operates Wild's
Mills. The plant was established in 1894 at a cost of $33,000, which sum was to be paid in annual installments
of $1,000. The water is pumped to a stand pipe on the hill. The streets are all piped and sixty hydrants are in
use, giving excellent pressure and abundant supply.
Since the incorporation of the village of Valatie, the presidents and clerks have been as follows:
Presidents. - 1856-57, William P. Rathbone; 1858, S. G. Tallmadge; 1859, William P. Rathbone; 1860-61, Sylvester
Becker; 1862, Allen Miller; 1863, S. G. Tailmadge; 1864, Sylvester Becker; 1865, Justus W. Bebee; 1866-71, Charles
W. Trimper; 1872, Allen Miller; 1873, Charles W. Trimper; 1874, William H. Silvernail; 1875-79, J. W. Merwin; 1879,
J. B. Richmond; 1880, James E. Snyder; 1881-82, J. W. Merwin; 1883, Samuel J. Thompson; 1884, Thomas Goldsmith;
1884-87, (new charter) Charles Wild; 1888, George V. B. Clark; 1889-90, Barent Mesick; 1891, J. B. Richmond; 1892,
John Busby; 1893, Jasper T. Dennis; 1894-98, William H. Wild; 1899-1900, Remus E. Lasher.
Clerks. - 1856, James Miller; 1857, D. E. Merwin; 1858-59, W. I. Merwin; 1860-64, George Ransford; 1865-66, W.
I. Merwin; 1867-70, W. H. Pulver; 1871, Charles E. Reynolds; 1872-73, W. H. Pulver; 1874, John Busby; 1875-77;
W. H. Pulver; 1878, Michael W. Lam; 1879-82, Benjamin B. Tallmadge; 1883-85, Robert P. Richmond; 1886, H. E. Bailey;
1887-91, W. H. Pulver; 1892-94, Frank C. Davis; 1895, L. F. Fowler, served two months and John G. Snyder appointed;
1896-98, John G. Snyder; 1898-1900, Edwin D. Howe.
Niverville derived its name from the Niver family, which has always been prominent there and in its vicinity, and
is a small hamlet in the northern part of the town, on Valatie Creek near the outlet of Kinderhook Lake. It is
a station on the Boston and Albany Railroad and the northern terminus of the Hudson and Albany Railroad. The first
improvements were made along the creek, where a saw mill was built in 1710, and since then the water power has
been employed for various purposes. No manufacturing is done there at present, apart from the grist mill owned
by David and Henry Strain. This mill occupies buildings which were at one time used for a cotton factory, and were
owned by Charles Wild; later they passed to John Raeder, and were long known as Raeder's Mills. An extensive wadding
mill was operated here down to about 1880 by C. W. Trimper. The building is now used by the Strains as a storehouse
for grain and flour. In 1875 works for the manufacture of the Victor mower were established here. The company failed
about fifteen years ago.
Former merchants here were Jacob Smith, Peter Springstein, A. D. Simpson and others. At present D. T. Van Hoesen
has a store, and A. H. Whitman another. The Van Hoesen House is kept by Henry Van Hoesen. The usual small groceries
and shops found in similar hamlets make up the business activities of the place.
It has been stated, with fair evidence of truth, that no village of its size in the Union has produced a greater
number of talented men in the learned professions than Kinderhook men whose reputations have become national, many
whose names are spread upon the records of the State and county, who were either born here or studied and practiced
their professions in this quiet village.
Peter Silvester was undoubtedly the first to practice law in Kinderhook, he being there in 1760; in 1766 he had
an office in Albany, but retained his residence in Kinderhook, where his son Francis was born in 1767, and who
until his death in 1845 was one of the leading lawyers of the town. His grandson, also Francis, was a prominent
lawyer in later years. It was in his office that Martin Van Buren began his study of the law. Peter Van Schaack,
a native of Kinderhook, born in 1747, pursued his law studies with Peter Silvester at Albany and became prominent
at the New York bar. In 1775 he took up his residence in Kinderhook, and went to England to perfect his legal education.
Upon his return he soon secured a large practice, which he was forced later on to relinquish because of failing
eyesight. By 1792 he depended upon the eyes of others, and devoted his time to the instruction of his numerous
students, who it is said numbered more than one hundred, among them some who became distinguished at the bar. He
was a man of comprehensive intellect and profound knowledge, and was, it is said, the first native of the county
to obtain a college education. He died at Kinderhook in 1832. David Van Schaack was also a noted lawyer of Kinderhook;
he died in 1872. The most noted of all the lawyers who began or pursued their careers in the village was Martin
Van Buren. Born and educated there, he began his legal studies in 1796 in the office of Francis Silvester and completed
them with William Van Ness in New York. In 1803 he opened an office for the practice of his profession in Kinderhook,
where he remained until 1808, when he removed to Hudson. (For further biography see Chapter XI.) Isaac Vanderpoel
had three sons, John, Aaron and James; the latter was born in Kinderhook in 1787 and began reading law with Francis
Silvester in 1804. He practiced in Kinderhook from 1808 until 1832, when he removed to Albany. Aaron Vanderpoel
studied for the bar with his brother James, and being admitted to the bar in 1820, practiced in Kinderhook until
1839. William H. Tobey, a lawyer of more than ordinary ability, practiced in Kinderhook for more than forty years,
dying there in May, 1878. Contemporary with him were Julius Wilcoxson and John H. Reynolds. Others who won high
standing at the bar and were in practice for various periods in Kinderhook were Barent Gardenier, Myndert Vosburgh,
Abraham A. Van Buren, John I. Van Alen, Francis Pruyn, George Van Santvoord, and Charles L. Beale. Of the many
who were born in the town and became eminent in the profession elsewhere, were Cornelius P. Van Ness, son of Peter,
who was born at Lindenwald in 1782; B. F. Butler, son of Col. Medad Butler, born in 1795 and read law in the office
of Martin Van Buren; and Peter Van Alen, an attorney of unusually brilliant attainments, who removed to Georgia
about 1800; and William H. Atwood was in practice in Kinderhook in later years. At the present time the legal profession
is represented here by Alonzo H. and Elbert O. Farrar, Charles M. Bray, Frank S. Becker, and Gerrit S. Collier.
Probably no other town in the county has produced more men who have been selected for high public positions
than Kinderhook. The civil list of the Federal government, the State and county is evidence of the truth of this
presumption. The list here briefly noticed is probably incomplete, yet it is sufficiently large to verify the claim
Martin Van Buren, whose record is too well known to need repetition, was born and began the practice of his profession
here. As members of congress, Peter Silvester, John P. Van Ness, Aaron Vanderpoel and Charles L. Beale, have honorably
sustained the reputation of the town as a nursery of genius. State senators from Kinderhook have been Peter Silvester,
Martin Van Buren, P. Beekman, William H. Tobey and others, and as assemblymen there have been Peter Silvester,
Dirck Gardener, James Brebner, Peter I. Vosburgh, James I. Van Alen, James Vanderpoel, John L. Van Alen, jr., Peter
Van Vleck, Barent Van Buren, Aaron Vanderpoel, Julius Wilcoxson, John S. Vosburgh, William H. Tobey, Lucas Hoes,
George Van Santvoord, Adam A. Hoysradt, Samuel W. Carpenter, Alonzo H. Farrar, and others. Peter Van Ness was a
delegate to the convention that adopted the United States Constitution, and was a member of the old Council of
Appointment. Among presidential electors were Lucas Hoes, Lau rence Van Buren, Charles L. Beale and David Van Schaack
from Kinderhook, and Peter Silvester was one of the earliest Regents of the University. Among those who have held
prominent official positions in the county were Peter Van Ness, and Julius Wilcoxson, first judges; Peter Silvester,
Peter Van Ness, David Ludlow, Lawrence It Goes, Richard I. Goes, James Vauderpoel and Julius Wilcoxson, judges;
William W. Van Ness, James I. Van Alen, James Vanderpoel and William H. Tobey, surrogates; Julius Wilcoxson, Francis
Silvester and Gershom Bulkley, district attorneys; Barent Vanderpoel, sheriff; Abraham B. Vanderpoel, county clerk;
Henry P. Mesick, William R. Mesick, Cyrus Groat, Sylvester Becker, Norman Van Bramer, Ephraim Kendall, superintendents
of the poor.
In the medical profession many men of eminence have been identified with Kinderhook. Dr. John I. Beekman, who was
one of the first physicians of the town, if not the first, was born in 1761 and died in 1791. But little is known
of him. His successor was Dr. Hendry Van Dyck. An English physician named William Barthrop began practice soon
after 1800, and continued until his death in 1838 at the age of seventy three. Dr. John P. Beekman, son of the
first Dr. Beekman, was born in Kinderhook in 1788 and died there in 1861; he was in practice about twenty years.
From 1822 to 1843 Dr. Andrew Van Dyck was in practice, and Dr. John It Pruyn practiced from 1835 to his death in
1856. Dr. Samuel Sargent was the contemporary of the latter. Dr. Lucas Pruyn was admitted to practice in 1834,
and from 1842 was engaged in the duties of his profession in Kinderhook. Dr. P. V. S. Pruyn began practice in 1863
and continued until his death about 1890. Dr. James Green practiced homeopathy from 1875 until his death. The present
physicians in the village are Drs. Martin M. Kittell, N. D. Garnsey and T. Floyd Woodworth, who is the health officer
of both the village and town.
In the promotion of education in the town of Kinderhook the citizens have from early times shown a deep interest.
Hendrick Abelson was teaching school here prior to 1700, combining with that occupation the duties of precentor
in the church. Paulus Van Vleck came next, but little is, of course, known of his career, or who were his immediate
successors. In 1778 Andrew Mayfield Carshore opened an English school in Kinderhook, which he taught with excellent
success ten or twelve years. At a little later period David S. Warren was the principal of the old Kinderhook Academy,
in which position he was employed in 1799; he was succeeded by Elijah Carfield, who was an excellent scholar and
linguist. He was followed in 1813 by Joseph Montague. This institution was conducted upon a high plane for that
time; but it seems to have not met the demands of the community in later years, for it gave place to the Kinderhook
Academy of a more recent period in 1823. On March 13 of that year a meeting was held in the village, which was
attended by many leading citizens, to take the initiatory steps for establishing the academy. A guaranty fund of
$1,050 was subscribed to secure the salary of a principal, and the institution was fully organized by the election
of the following trustees: Dr. Henry L. Van Dyck, president; Peter Van Schaack, jr., secretary and treasurer; Peter
I. Hoes, John I. Pruyn, James Clark, John L. Van Alen, John G. Philip, Francis Silvester, and John P. Beekman.
Prof. John Glezen was employed as principal, and remained four years, when he was succeeded by his assistant, Silas
Metcalf, who was a graduate of Williams College. He continued in the faithful discharge of his duties twenty years,
while the institution met with excellent success. During his administration a female department was added, and
a department for normal instruction. In 1836 the old building became inadequate and a new one was erected. Alexander
Watson, a graduate of Edinburgh University, followed Mr. Metcalf as principal in 1847. He was a ripe scholar and
at once brought the academy to its highest point of prosperity. From about that time, in common with academies
throughout the State, this one began to decline and about 1877 the property was sold and at the present time stands
vacant. In the long list of its alumni are found the names of many men who became prominent in national and State
history. The village of Kinderhook is now included in a district. This was organized into a Union Free School district
in 1899, in which are now employed four teachers.
The town of Kinderhook is now in the Second School Commissioner District of the county. The report of the school
commissioner for 1899 shows the number of districts in the town to be eight, and the whole number of children attending
school five hundred and twenty nine. The value of the school buildings and sites is given at $22,184, and the assessed
valuation of districts is $2,206,176. The public money appropriated to the town was $1,947.15 and the amount raised
by tax was $4,797.73, making the sum of 36,744.88 expended in the town for school purposes in 1898.
The second school district of the town includes most of the village of Valatie. It has a fine High School, established
in 1899, with six teachers, and W. L. Millias as principal; it occupies a wooden two story structure, erected about
twenty years ago. Before the inauguration of the High School the schools were conducted under the Union Free School
Kinderhook is known as one of the best agricultural districts of the county. The lands are fertile and easily cultivated.
Formerly the usual mixed farming was exclusively carried on, but during the last quarter of a century there has
been considerable change in the character of the agricultural industry. Stock raising and breeding has been taken
up by some farmers, proving a profitable undertaking. In some parts of the town considerable attention is paid
to fruit culture, particularly of apples and pears, while a few first class dairies are being conducted upon modern
Prominent among the many excellent and progressive agriculturists of the town may be mentioned Lewis L. Morrell
(stock), George Canady, Edward Van Buren (fruit), Jeremiah Sculley, William Kilmer, Norton Packman, Charles E.
Packman, Nicholas W. Harder, Frank Rossman, Albert E. Tracy, Peter H. Bain, Ransen Gardenier, Hon. A. H. Farrar,
Edward Milham, Isaac V. A. Wait, John Packman, Henry Strain, David Strain (also in trade at Niverville), Gideon
Packman, James Kingman, Adelbert Downing, Edward Packman, Charles Gildersleeve, George Smith and Joseph A. Smith.
The first settlers of Kinderhook were under the religious supervision, if not instruction, of the Dutch church
at Albany. As early as 1677 the Albany church applied to the Council to take measures for the punishment of offenders,
"and to prevent and punish severely the shameful violation of the Sabbath, especially committed by the inhabitants
of Kinderhook." In 1702 it was reported to the governor that the church, or members thereof, had employed
one Paulus Van Vieck as a preacher without authority from the proper source. Four members were ordered, in midwinter,
to proceed to New York to answer for that breach of rules. In defense, they denied that they had employed him as
a minister, his service being rendered only as a precentor and schoolmaster, which explanation tendered with ample
apologies, received only a severe reprimand, and they were " permitted to return to Kinderhook through the
snow and ice as best they might."
These facts are of sufficient weight to prove that before the organization of the town there was a "preaching
station" at Kinderhook under the supervision of the Albany church, which, in all probability, was the embryo
of the present Reformed Protestant Dutch Church. The following interesting account of this church is compiled from
a paper prepared by the Rev. E. A. Collier, some twenty years ago, and may be accepted as accurate. The church
was formally organized in 1712 by Dominie Petrus Van Driessen, who had before that time preached to the congregation
as the successor of Rev. Johannes Lydius. The first records of the church still preserved are dated May 27, 1716.
The first consistory of the church as therein given was composed of Stephanus Van Alen and Abram Van Alstyne, elders;
Burger Huyck and Dirck Goes, deacons. Other male members of this church at the time of organization were as follows,
although it is known that the list is not complete: J. L. Van Valkenburgh, Peter Vosburgh, Lawrence Van Schaack,
Peter Van Buren, Bartholomew Van Valkenburgh, Jan. Goes, Peter Van Alen, Johannes Van Dusen, Johannes Van Alen,
Joachim Lamberson, Thomas Van Alstyne, Isaac Vosburgh, Peter Van Slyck, Lambert Huyck, Barent Van Buren, Matthew
Goes, Cornelius Schermerhorn, John Van Alstyne, Lucas Van Alen, Tobias Van Buren, Jacob Van Alen, Hendrick Gardenier,
Abram V. Van Valkenburgh, Lendert Connyn, Jacobus Van Alen, Aendries Prosie, Thents Van Slyck, Thomas Wieler, Melcheit
Vanderpoel, and Abram Yansen.
The church was supplied with preachers until 1727, when the Rev. Johannes Van Driessen (a brother of the dominie
of the Albany church), who received his ordination at the hands of the faculty of Yale College, began a pastorate
which continued eight years, although one third of his time was devoted to the churches of Claverack and the Livingston
manor. It was during his term of service that the first house of worship was built, which stood near where George
D. Ear11 now lives. It was a plain wooden structure, with a " lofty wine glass shaped pulpit, and a little
stand where the chorister stood . . . and the bell rope coming down into the center of the middle aisle."
Rev. Van Driessen records one hundred heads of families as the membership, and forty nine members were added during
his pastorate. For twenty years following Rev. Van Driessen's removal to New Jersey, the church was supplied with
such intermittent preaching as could be obtained, probably with considerable regularity, as the membership increased
on an average of three a year for the whole time.
In 1756 Rev. Johannes Casparus Freyenmoet accepted the call of the united congregations of Kinderhook, Claverack
and the Livingston manor, He was educated in Holland. He served the church twenty one years and died while still
in service. The records show that he received into the church one hundred and fifty eight new members. His remains
were buried beneath the church.
Rev. Johannes Ritzema was the third pastor. Educated in Holland he came to New York as pastor of the Collegiate
church, and thence to Kinderhook, where he preached ten years. Forty two were added to the church roll during his
ministry. His remains were buried in the church cemetery.
Rev. Isaac Labagh, the fourth pastor, served from 1789 to 1801. It was during his ministry that the change was
made of having part of the services in English, and also the records written in the same language.
Under the pastorate of Rev. Jacob Sickles, D. D., who came in 1801 and continued until 1835, the church experienced
its greatest period of prosperity. Several notable revivals occurred during his thirty four years of service, and
he received into membership eight hundred and eight. This long pastorate was terminated by the resignation of Dr.
Sickles; he was assisted during his last year by a colleague, Rev. Enoch Van Alen, during whose ministry twenty
six were added to the church membership.
Rev. Henry Heermance was pastor from 1835 to 1837, when failing health compelled him to resign. He saw the church
roll increase forty seven during his term of service.
From 1837 to 1842 Rev. John C. Van Dervoort filled the pastorate, during which there was added to the membership
one hundred and twenty. He was followed by Rev. Benjamin Van Zandt who served the church until 1852, and receiving
into membership one hundred and twenty five. Rev. Oliver Bronson became the pastor in 1854 and remained three years;
he received sixty nine into church fellowship, and is remembered as a man of signal ability. In 1857 the Rev. James
Romeyn Berry assumed the pastorate and served until 1863; during his term one hundred and forty nine members were
added to the congregation. The pastorate of Rev. Edward A. Collier began in 1864, and was one of the longest in
the history of the church. Its membership was largely increased under his faithful ministrations.
After having been used as a house of worship for nearly ninety years, the first church building was demolished,
and a neat and substantial brick structure erected on the site in 1813-15; this building was enlarged by an addition
of about twenty five feet in 1851. In December, 1867, it was destroyed by fire, and the present structure was built
upon the same site, using a part of the walls of the burned structure. It was dedicated in 1869. It cost $42,000.
St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal Church of Kinderhook received its first impetus in services regularly held in the
fall of 1850. Formal organization was made on January 18, 1851, and in 1852 a neat house of worship was erected,
on Chatham, now on Silvester street, and consecrated on June 22 of that year. In 1872 the church building was thoroughly
remodeled and very much improved within and without. It has a seating capacity of one hundred and fifty, and with
the rectory adjoining is valued at $6,000. The first rector was the Rev. Fred T. Tiffany, who preached the first
sermon after the consecration on June 27, 1852, and remained with the church until July 2, 1856. He was succeeded
by Revs. Rolla O. Page, 1856-58; Porter Thomas, 1859-62; George Z. Gray, 1862-65; John Rutherford, 1866-67; Edward
Hale, 1870, died March 17, 1871; William Henry Capers, 1871-72; Newton Dexter, 1876-78; S. Hanson Coxe, 1878, resigned
July 27, 1888, to take effect November 11; Isaac Peck accepted call and entered upon his duties Christmas eve,
1888, and resigned May 28, 1892; he was followed by Rev. James W. Smith, the present rector. The present officers
are: Wardens, Henry S. Wynkoop, Edward P. Van Alstyne; vestrymen, William Henry, W. B. Van Alstyne, A. Wheeler,
Tunis De Voe, George Waterman, James W. Hawley, Francis Silvester, Dr. T. Floyd Woodworth, F. B. Van Alstyne. Dr.
Woodworth, clerk, George Waterman, treasurer.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Kinderhook had its inception in irregular services held in the village previous
to 1843, in which year, on July 24, a legal organization was effected, with the following trustees: J. B. Jenkins,
John N. Stickles, Jesse Merwin, Francis W. Bradley, Henry Snyder, Andrew H. Kittle and William Thomas. A building
committee was appointed which erected a small meeting house in the eastern part of the village in 1844. In 1871
the church structure was enlarged and again, about two years ago, it was thoroughly improved, a basement added,
and the whole building painted inside and out. The present membership is eighty, with a Sunday school under the
charge of J. H. Groat of one hundred scholars. The present value of the property is, church building $3,503 and
parsonage $1,600 The present pastor is Rev. Eugene S. Mowry, who has been with the church five years, and been
faithful and energetic in its welfare, extinguishing a debt of $800 and improving the property at a cost of $500.
The First Baptist Church of Kinderhook was incorporated January 28, 1834, with Zepheniah E. Reynolds, Horace Bidwell
and Fred D. Tucker trustees. The society occupied a meeting house, erected in the western part of the village in
1833, for a number of years, when, from loss of membership by removal and other causes, the society disbanded and
the meeting house was used for other and various purposes.
The African Bethel M. E. Church in Kinderhook village was formed in 1885 and legally organized in 1858. The society
has a good chapel with sittings for one hundred and fifty persons.
St. Luke's Lutheran Church of Kinderhook at Valatie was organized in 1826. Rev. Jacob Berger was the leading participant
in the organization. The first officers of the society were Peter T. Van Slyck, John I. Van Buren, and John M.
Pultz, trustees; Joseph Goodemort, Adam Trimper, and Tunis Sour, elders; and George Tator, John P. Marquart, and
George M. Pultz, deacons. A meeting house was erected soon after the formation of the society, which was remodeled
and improved in 1854. It is a well constructed edifice, surpassing those usually found in villages of the size
of Valatie. The church has been served by Revs. Jacob Berger, Reuben Diedrich, J. F. Smith, William D. Strobel,
M. Sheileich, W. W. Gulick, Irving Magee, T. W. Bird, John S. C. Wells, J. L. Harkey, J. Zimmerman, P. F. Sutphen,
1878-81; Laurent D. Wells, 1881-86; E. M. Hubler, 1886-87; John Kling, 1887- 91; C. L. Barringer, 1891-94; U. H.
On September 6, 1833, there was organized in Valatie the "Second Reformed Church of Kinderhook." The
first meeting house was erected the next year, and in 1835 the society adopted the Presbyterian creed and form
of government, choosing as elders George Brown, George P. Horton, John G. Shoemaker, and as deacons Jacob D. Hoffman,
Anthony J. Pulver and Henry G. Scism. In 1878 the society disposed of its church building to village authorities,
who converted it into a town hall, having begun the erection of the present edifice in the fall of 1877, which
was completed and consecrated on June 11, 1878. It is one of the finest church structures in the county, having
a seating capacity of seven hundred, and is in every detail convenient and attractive. Its cost was over $13,000,
and the property is at present valued at $20,000. The pastors who have served the society are as follows: Revs.
David Cushing, Washington Roosevelt, J. Slocum, J. E. Rockwell, S. R. Dimmock, William Whittaker, C. T. Berry,
George O. Phelps, J. C. Boyd, Hugh K. Walker, Titus C. Davis, Henry P. Bake, and since 1892, Rev. Edward Stratton.
The membership of the church is one hundred and ten.
The Methodist Episcopal Church at Valatie became an incorporated body on March 9, 1835, when the following were
elected the first trustees of the society: John Penoyer, Stephen Moorehouse, David Lant, Francis Schermerhorn,
John B. Steves, Joseph Lawrence and William M. Wilcox. A meeting house was erected in 1844, capable of seating
two hundred and fifty persons. It was remodeled in 1885, and extensively repaired and refitted in 1900. The value
of the church property, including the neat parsonage, is $5,000. The church has a membership of one hundred and
sixteen, and the Sunday school one hundred and twelve. The present pastor is Rev. William H. Flouton.
St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church at Valatie was organized in 1869, and the first resident pastor was
the Rev. John J. Brennan, who remained until 1874, when he was succeeded by Rev. M. J. Griffith, who did excellent
work in building up the parish and extending its influence. In 1895 he was succeeded by the Rev. Michael J. Horan,
the present incumbent, who is recognized as one of the most faithful and industrious of pastors. To this church
is due the organization of the out mission of St. Joseph at Malden Bridge, which is attended every first and third
Sunday by Rev. Father Horan. The parish of St. John has about one hundred families, and parochial property valued
at $10,000. The mission at Malden Bridge includes thirty five families, and the value of the church building is
estimated at $3,000.
The Niverville Methodist Episcopal Church was the outgrowth of preaching held in the school house under the direction
of the charges at Valatie and North Chatham. The society was organized in 1877, with Lucas Vandenburgh, John Raeder,
Bradley Nichols, J. D. Reynolds, and R. H. Reynolds as trustees. The chapel was built and dedicated the same year
at a cost of $2,500. There are about fifty members.
The beginning of the Kinderhook Cemetery was the purchase, in the summer of 1817, of two acres of well situated
land, which was placed in charge of the Consistory of the Reformed church. Additions to the ground have been made
at various times since then until at present it is ample for the needs of the community. It is finely improved
and contains many elaborate monuments and vaults, and on account of its being the burial place of many illustrious
people, it is often visited by strangers. Here lie the remains of Martin Van Buren, with other members of the family,
and those of Peter Van Schaack Francis Silvester, Dr. John Vanderpoel, the Rev. Peter S. Wynkoop and many others.
At Valatie the village cemetery is an attractive spot, containing several acres of ground well adapted to the purpose.
The Valatie Cemetery Association was formed September 3, 1851, and they and their successors have since controlled
the cemetery, improving it and keeping it in proper condition.
Prospect Hill Cemetery, within the corporate limits of the village, contains twenty eight acres of land, and is
naturally one of the finest locations for the purpose in the county. It has been tastefully laid out, and is kept
in excellent condition.
The population of Kinderhook, as given in the census reports, beginning with 1825 and extending to 1892, has been
1825, 2,471; 1830, 2,706; 1835, 2,831; 1840, 3,512; 1845, 3,679;
1850, 3,970; 1855, 3,864; 1860, 4,331; 1865, 4,008; 1870, 4,055;
1875, 4,060; 1880, 4,200; 1890, 3,709; 1892, 3,468.
Following is a list of the supervisors of Kinderhook from the date of town organization to the present time with
the years of service:
1787. Cornelius Van Schaack.
1788-95. Evert Vosburgh.
1796-98. Dick Gardenier.
1799-1801. A. I. Van Vieck.
1802-08. John Van Alen.
1809-13. Abm. Van Vleck.
1814-20. Henry L. Van Dyck.
1821 27. John P. Beekman.
1828-30. Peter H. Bain.
1831-36. Lucas Hoes.
1837-40. Laurence Van Buren.
1841-42. John Vanderpoel.
1843. Peter I. Hoes.
1844. Lucas Hoes.
1845-46. Laurence Van Buren.
1847. Henry M. Niver.
1848. Henry Hoysradt.
1849. Benajah Conant.
1850-51. Laurence Van Buren.
1852. Aaron Huyck.
1853. Laurence Van Buren.
1854-55. Benajah Conant.
1856. Henry M. Niver.
1857. Henry Snyder.
1858. Abram I. Van Alen.
1859-60. James C. Vosburgh.
1861-62. Henry Dennis.
1863. Allen Jacobia.
1864-65. James Miller.
1866. William J. Penoyer.
1867. John A. Van Bramer.
1868-72. Charles W. Trimper.
1873. Ransen Gardenier.
1874. John Snyder.
1875. Calvin Ackley.
1876-79. Charles W. Trimper.
1880-81. J. B. Richmond.
1882-84. John Snyder.
1885. Charles E. Gildersleeve.
1886. John H. Van Valkenburgh.
1887. W. A. Van Bramer.
1888-99. M. L. Haner.
1900. Geo. W. Wilkins.
The following have been town clerks:
1787-96. Abraham Van Buren.
1797-1801. James L. Van Alen.
1802. Elihu Gridley.
1803. John A. Van Buren.
1804. Elihu Gridley.
1805-06. Francis Pruyn.
1807-08. Barent I. Goes, jr.
1809-10. Benjamin Hilton.
1811-13. John L. Van Alen, Jr.
1814-22. John L. Van Alen,
1823-24. Samuel Hawley.
1825. Andrew Van Dyck.
1826-27. Samuel Hawley.
1828. David Van Schaaclc.
1829. J. I. Pruyn.
1830-31. Barent Hoes.
1832. Henry Flagler.
1833-34. James Sutherland, jr.
1835-36. Augustus Whiting.
1837-39. John Trimper.
1840. John Corning.
1841-42. Leonard B. Flagelar.
1843-45. Peter Huyck.
1846-47. J. W. Stickles,
1848. John R. Beale.
1849. Jacob P. Miller.
1850-51. John W. Stickles.
1852-53. Edwin Hoes.
1854. Howland Van Slyck.
1855. Edwin Hoes.
1856. George Hoxsie
1857. James Miller.
1858. W. I. Merwin.
1859. John A. Van Blamer.
1860. George W. Hoxsie.
1861-62. Peter H. Niver.
1863-65. A. V. D. Whitbeck.
1866-68. Walter Miller.
1869-71. A. De Meyer.
1872. Wilson Miller.
1873. George Reynolds.
1874-75. Wm. S. Hallenbeck.
1876-79. Michael W. Lant.
1880-81. Franklin Risedorph.
1882-84. James Purcell.
1885-87. George H. Brown.
1888. R. E. Lasher.
1889. Dennis Henchey.
1890. Theodore N. McDowell.
1891-92. W. S. Van Hoesen.
1893-94. Thomas Hughes.
1895-98. G. W. Tracey.
1899-1900. Isaac Lamont.
Return to part 1 of the History of Kinderhook, New York.