POPULATION, 2,279. - SQUARE ACRES, 26,669.
DOVER was formed from Pawling, Feb. 20, 1807. The east and west borders are occupied by hills and mountains,
and the center by a deep, wide valley. The valley is about 400 feet above tide, and the summits of the hills are
300 to 500 feet higher. Ten Mile River enters the north part of the town, flows to near the south boundary, thence
turns east and discharges its waters into the Housatonic. From the south it receives Swamp River, a stream that
is bordered by swamps the greater part of its course.
A ridge of limestone extends north and south through the principal valley. The principal quarries are between South
Dover and Dover Plains. Iron ore is also found in abundance. The Foss Ore Bed has been extensively worked. The
Dover Iron Works formerly did an extensive business, but have been closed several years.
The small streams flowing from the western hills have worn deep ravines, and in several places have formed beautiful
cascades. About a mile southwest of the village of Dover Plains, a small stream flows down the mountain in a succession
of rapids three to twelve feet in height; and at the foot of each fall, smooth, rounded holes, called The Wells,
have been worn in the rocks to a considerable depth. The holes occupy the whole width of the bottom of the ravine,
and the rocks on each side are shelving and slippery, rendering a near approach both difficult and dangerous. One
or two fatal accidents are mentioned as having occurred here. Above these is situated the
DOVER STONE CHURCH.
A small stream of clear water,* after leaving a pond at the foot of the southwestern slope of Plymouth Hill,
glides in murmuring rapids nearly every foot of the way, until it reaches a point in the mountains west of Dover
Plains village, whence it descends in sparkling cascades to the level fields below. This small stream, in its passage
down this declivity for ages, has worn for itself a remarkable channel through the rocks; and at a point toward
the foot of the mountain it has wrought a considerable cavern, the entrance to it at the outlet of the stream being
in the form of a Gothic arch. This cavern, from the form of its entrance, like that of some old cathedral, bears
the name of The Stone Church - " Dover Stone Church." It is a very interesting natural curiosity, with
romantic and picturesque surroundings, and has attracted thousands of visitors, and will attract thousands more.
* A portion of this sketch of the Stone Church is from the pen of Mr. Lossing, and was published in the Amenia
Times. The views are from sketches, also by Mr. Lossing, and have been kindly furnished for this work by Messrs.
DeLacey & Walsh, proprietors of the Times.
The " Church" is in a wooded gorge of the mountain and is reached from the main street of the village
by a pleasant lane that crosses the stream and expands into a grassy acre or two, well shaded, especially in the
afternoon, and affording an admirable place for pic-nics. From this plat a short and easy pathway, cut at the foot
of a rocky declivity and along the margin of the brook, leads to the door of the Church. At a tittle distance the
interior of the Church appears black, but is found to be illuminated by a sky light formed by a fissure in the
rocks above. This light is pleasantly reflected upon the rocky sides of the Church from a pool formed by the brook
on the floor, and reveals a fallen mass of rock which the imaginative observer calls the "pulpit." Out
of the arched door that brook - the patient architect of the church - flows gently, and then leaps in cascades
and rapids to the plains below. The sketches were made many years ago, when the rocks which formed the roof approached
so near each other that the branches of shrubbery on each side entertwined. From the apex of this roof, many feet
above the floor, the cavern gradually widens, until at the base the span of the arch is about twenty five feet.
The narrow opening at the top admitted:sufficient light to show the form of the interior and give it the appearance
of rays passing through a glass dome.
The Church has two apartments: the inner one was the larger, being about seventy feet in length. The mass of rock
called the "pulpit," which seems to have fallen from the roof, separated them. At the farther extremity
of the inner apartment was a beautiful waterfall, over which a staircase led to extensive ledges of rocks at a
height of thirty feet, forming commodious galleries overlooking the body of the Church. The floods and frosts have
somewhat modified the aspects of this structure.
"The Great Preacher continues the same old service within its shadowed recesses that was ccmmenced ages ago,
and which proceed with the same solemn stateliness whether men hear or forbear. Day and night, without ceasing,
vespers, midnight mass and matins proceed. The deep toned organ peals as if it were the wind, and the chant of
the choir mingles its silvery tones as musical as the falling of water - trumpet and cymbal and harp peal and fade
and echo, and through them tremble tones like the far off voices of young men and maidens singing. At sunrise,
through all the long Summer day, at twilight, at evening, and louder as the night deepens, the eternal service
proceeds, unwearied and unbroken by the watches of the day, by the changes of season, by the lapse of the years,
or by the procession of centuries. Individuals families, generations, and races come and go, the Church and its
solemn monotonies stand; and within its dark portals the same sweep of that awful and mysterious monody is still
there. The Indian hushed, and heard it; the white frontiersman heard it; and it mingles just the same with silence,
or with the shriek of the locomotive as it passes the door. There: it will be when these have finished their work
and passed away.
The Dover Stone Church, like many other wierd places in' our country, has its traditionary legend. History tells
us that Sassacus, the haughty sachem of the Pequods and emperor over so many tribes between the Thames and Housatonic
Rivers, when, more than two hundred years ago that nation made war upon the whites and dusky people of Connecticut
(the latter, the Mohegans, who had rebelled against his authority), was compelled, by the destruction of his army,
to fly for his life. Captain Mason, with New England soldiers and allies from Rhode Island and its vicinity, had
suddenly invaded the dominions of Sassacus. At early dawn in June they fell. upon a Pequod fort and village, and
before sunrise more than six hundred men, women and children of the Indians perished: by fire and sword. The proud
Sassacus was seated upon a hilt overlooking the site of New London, when news of the terrible disaster reached
him. He and the warriors surrounding him seeing no chance for success in a battle with the invaders, fled across
the Thames and westward, hotly pursued by the English and their allies, and took refuge in Sasco Swamp, near Fairfield.
The beautiful Pequod country stretching along the shores of Long Island Sound, was desolated. Wigwams and gardens
disappeared before the despoiling English, and women and children were not spared. Sassacus made a stand at the
swamp, but at the close of a sharp battle nearly all of his followers became captive. He escaped with less than
a dozen followers, and continued his flight westward. His nation had perished in a day. Only the small captive
remnant survived to transmit to their posterity the traditions of their national woes. Sassacus and his handful
of followers fled over the mountains into the beautiful valley of the Housatonic, to Kent Plains, from which they
were speedily driven by pursuers, and climbing the great hills westward of that region, descended into the lovely
valley of the Weebutook, or Ten Mile River. There, on the site of Dover Plains village, tradition tells us, they
encountered a strong band of Mohegan hunters, who were also trained warriors, from whom Sassacus and his men barely
escaped destruction after a fierce conflict, and took refuge in the watery cavern now known as the Dover Stone
Church, a cool and safe retreat at that mid summer time. when the stream was low and the cavern was mostly dry.
The Mohegan hunters did not discover their retreat; and a week afterwards when the latter had left the valley,
Sassacus and his young braves, who had been joined by a few other fugitives, followed the Weebutook northward,
subsisting on the fish with which it abounded, and the berries that grew on the plains. They made their way to
the land of the Mohawks, near Albany, craving the hospitality of that nation. That hospitality was denied. The
sequel is told by Governor Winthrop in his "Journal," in which, under the date of August 5th, 1637 (two
months after the destruction of the army of Sassacus) he wrote:- "Mr. Ludlow, Mr. Pincheon and about twelve
more, came by land from Connecticut, and brought with them a part of the skin and lock of hair of Sassacus and
his brother, and five other Pequod sachems who, having fled to the Mohawks for shelter, with their wampum (being
to the value of £500) were by them surprised and slain, with twenty of their best men."
Beside the Wells, and the Stone Church, there is a roomy cave in the mountain side, the roof of which is formed
by a large rock jutting out a long distance. To this is attached a historic interest. In Revolutionary times there
were about twenty five Tories living in and about the village. They were obliged suddenly to leave; but instead
of fleeing to distant parts, they took to the mountain west of the village, and concealed themselves in this cave.
Here they were to live by pillage; but their camp fire was discovered by the sharp eye of an old hunter, who was
ascending another mountain on the east side of the valley. The villagers were aroused, a large party started on
the war path, and the offenders were banished for good.
There is good evidence for the belief that the Schaghticoke tribe of Indians, a remnant of which is now living
on the banks of the Housatonic River, in the town of Kent, Conn., once lived near the Ten Mile River, in Dover.
Some forty:years since, Indian graves were visible on the flat by the highway north of "Apple Sauce Hill,"
which would make it appear to be the place where this tribe deposited their dead. They were mostly Pequods, who,
after King Philips's war, were driven by the Connecticut troops out of that State, and who took refuge from their
pursuers in the thickets of an island, near the Swamp River in the town of Dover. Tradition asserts that they imigrated
by way of Danbury; thence westerly until they crossed the swamp lands through which the Harlem Railroad passes;
from thence directing their course along the west side of the lands, through the present towns of Patterson and
Pawling. Their chief was Gideon Mauwee.
"About a century and a half since, there stood on an eminence overlooking the Housatonic, an Indian, solitary
and alone, with his eyes fixed on the scenes below. Far beneath him rolled the river; before him were spread natural
meadows, in which the wild deer were quietly feeding; heavily wooded mountains on either side promised an abundance
of animals of the chase, and the sparkling streams bespoke multitudes of fish, in short, it was almost a foretaste
of the happy hunting grounds which constitute the idea of the Indian's heaven. Long he stood upon the crag, and
blessed the Good Spirit which had led him hither. Then shaking the spell from him he sprang nimbly into the depths
of the forest." That Indian was Gideon Mauwee, that eminence Preston Mountain, and the lovely meadows were
in the Housatonic Valley, into which Gideon and his followers afterward migrated. Still they were wont to frequent
the vicinity of their former home. They visited the swamps to get material for their baskets, and the streams and
ponds for fish. An old resident mentions seeing them about Allis' Pond, where they were catching frogs and turtles
and cooking them. The small speckled turtles, so numerous about the swamp in early spring, basking in the sun,
were held by them in great esteem. Though, with one or two exceptions, the Indians were entirely harmless, yet
the children of the early residents used to hold them in mortal fear the appearance of an Indian causing them to
scamper for dear life.
Each year the overseer of the tribe would furnish the women with blankets, then called " squaw blankets."
When they traveled, the pappooses were tied up and carried on the backs of the squaws. Tabe Elihu, John Wampee,
Rachel, and Elihu Mauwee were noted personages among them years ago.
The first settler upon the Oblong tract in this town, was Martin Preston. He located on Preston Mountain; the cellar
wall and part of the chimney of the house he built are yet to be seen. When he first came the valley in which the
village of Dover is located was nothing but a scrub oak plain. The land was worth 6d per acre, and on Preston Mountain
it brought 1 shilling per acre; but the old settlers prefered the mountain land even at the increased price. Martin
was a mighty hunter; sometimes on his hunting expeditions he would go as far as the Catskill Mountains. There are
many now living who remember him. He died at a very advanced age. He was a great bee keeper and used to make quantities
of "metheglin" of the honey. Uncle Martin's metheglin was noted for miles around.
The Hufcuts were early settlers on Preston Mountain. Hans Hufcut, great grandfather of Horace, bought lands of
Peter Coons, and located there. Gideon Dutcher located on the farm now occupied by Patrick Whalen. Silas Belden
purchased 1000 acres at the foot of Plymouth Hill; his farm comprised lands in Dover, Amenia, and Washington.
Mrs. Dorcas Belden, one of the first settlers, was riding alone on horseback a short distance above Dover Plains,
when three wolves darted out from the thick woods which skirted the road, and sprang at her. She put whip to her
horse and succeeded in escaping from them. Wild turkies at this time were abundant. and a few deer. Bears and catamounts
were not so frequently met with.
The Gillets were from Rhode Island, and emigrated here about 1742. The Bensons came in soon after. B. Dutcher and
Christopher Dutcher came from Holland. David Rose came at an early date, as did the Tabers and Schermerhorns. The
Wheelers, Knickerbackers, Osterhouts, Delamaters and Van Duzens are also mentioned as among the early settlers
It is said of Epraim Wheeler that he built a house for the Methodist parsonage near where William Ketcham lives.
Ephraim Wheeler, Jun., died at the age of rot years.
The village of Dover, as it was seventy five years ago, is thus described:- A small house near where the Shunpike
now runs; then Mr. Cornelius Dutcher's house; a house where Perry's school is; one where Dr. Berry now lives; a
small red house on the corner; a small house on the right side of highway, built by Major Livingston; an old store
below the corner, another small house occupied by Jonathan Mabbett; then the residence of James Ketcham, grandfather
of John H. Ketcham; next the school house and church south of the bridge and near the cemetery.
Mrs. Joseph Belden saw Burgoyne's captive army as it passed through the town enroute for Fishkill. They encamped'
on the plain, and she remembered how the tents looked that wire pitched there.
It is said that Gideon Osterhout and Derick Dutcher bet their farms upon the result of the war of the Revolution.
Dutcher lost and gave up his farm.
A tribe of Indians lived on the plains, probably a remnant of the Schaghticokes. On the farm of William Taber there
was an Indian orchard, and another near Luther Holley's.
Horse racing was indulged in here to a great extent, the straight, level roads being well adapted to that kind
of sport. An extensive tannery was located at Dover, near the cemetery grounds.
Capt. Miller bought lands in Butt's Hollow, paying $10 per acre, when land on the Plains was worth only $3 per
Thomas and Alice Casey came from Rhode Island about the middle of the last century. They settled on Chestnut Ridge,
where they purchased a tract of one thousand acres. Their daughter. grandmother of the wife of Mr. Lossing, came
on horseback, in company with thirteen others, including six blacks, the whole distance from Long Island. Their
goods were brought by way of Poughkeepsie.
The first white child born in DUCHESS County was a girl named Emigh. Her parents resided in Fishkill. She married
a Lossing, from whom is descended the family of Lossings of which the historian of that name is an honored representative.
That gentleman has in his possession an Indian deed, granted to some of his ancestors, for a large tract of land
extending from the Hudson River to the Connecticut line, being the same territory afterwards covered by the Rombout
and Beekman Patents.
On the farm of Mr. Lossing is a barn built in 1783, still sound and staunch, though ancient in appearance.
Dr. Konkiput, a Scaghticoke Indian, educated by the Moravians, used frequently to encamp on the Ridge. He possessed
quite a reputation as a physician, and many people now living recollect going to him for medicines.
Jacob Van Camp and Derick Dutcher were living in the north part of Dover previous to 1731. An old map shows their
houses near Plymouth Hill.
The old house north of Philip Hoag's was built in 1751, as shown by date on chimney, by Hendrick Dutcher. It is
said to be the oldest house in town and has been tenanted till within a year or so. The house is 32 x 24 feet,
and formerly had a chimney in it the base of which measured 14 x 12 feet - just half the width of the house, and
nearly half the length. Its appearance has been somewhat modified in later years by the addition of some windows.
When Washington evacuated Boston, he passed with a portion of his command, so tradition says, by the road leading
west from Wings Station. His troops encamped for the night on the hill across the brook west from Philip Hoag's
on both sides of the road. Washington took up his quarters in the old house just mentioned, which though located
on another road, stood in full view of the encampment. The chamber window shown in the cut opened into the room
occupied by the Commander in chief, through which he could easily observe the movements of his soldiers.
Elder Waldo, a Baptist preacher, lived at that time where the Misses Hoag now reside. He carried all the milk produced
by several cows into camp, together with other provisions, and distributed the articles among the soldiers; told
them where he lived, and invited them to come to his house and get whatever they wanted to eat. Many of them did
so, and partook of his generosity; and to their credit be it said, nothing about the premises was in the least
disturbed by them.
A family named Elliott lived on the place now occupied by Mr. Philip Hoag. They were less free with their provisions
than Waldo, and went to the officers with the request that the soldiers be entirely kept off their grounds. The
result was that not a chicken or scarcely any other eatable was left about the premises, the troops making a clean
sweep of everything the Elliots possessed; and, notwithstanding their earnest entreaties, the officers paid no
heed to their complaints. An old resident says that Luther Sheldon, who was seven years old at the time mentioned,
often related to him the incidents of the occasion. The next day was rainy, and they remained there until the following
morning. The fields bordering the road at the place of encampment were, at that time, covered with timber, nearly
all of which was cut down by the troops, and used for their campfires.
It is related of Elder Waldo that on one occasion he went to the store, where he saw some coffee beans - an article
then but little known. The Elder enquired what they were, and concluded to try a quart or so. He took them home,
put the whole quantity into the pot, and proceeded to cook them as one would field beans; but after boiling several
hours, he found they were as hard as ever. Finally, his patience became exhausted, and he took them back to the
store in disgust, saying that they were worthless - he could never boil them soft.
About one half mile east of Wing Station, on the Harlem Railroad, stands the famous "Morehouse Tavern"
of the Revolutionary period. It is located upon the then chief highway from Hartford to Fishkill, over which military
officers, troops, and other travelers passed. Under its roof many of the general officers of the Continental army
have slept. There Washington, Gates, Putnam, Arnold, Heath, Parsons, Lafayette and other distinguished leaders
have been entertained and there Rochambeau and his officers have lodged.
In a rare work entitled "Travels in North America in the years 1780, 1781, and 1782." by the Marquis
De Chastellux, a French general officer under Rochambeau. who travelled extensively in this country, is a journal,
written by that officer in his wanderings. which was printed on board of the French fleet before it left American
waters. Only twenty copies were printed, for the use of his friends. One of them fell into the hands of an English
traveler in America, who translated the book and published it in London in 1787. In it the Marquis describes two
of his visits at Morehouse's Tavern. His first visit was in December, 1780, when he was on his journey from Rhode
Island. where the French troops had debarked, to Fishkill, to visit Washington at his headquarters at New Windsor.
on the Hudson.
De Chastellux says he crossed the Housatonic River at Bull's Iron Works," (now Bull's Bridge). "We soon
met with another, called Ten Mile River. which falls into this, and which we followed for two or three miles, and
then came in sight of several handsome houses, forming a part of the district called The Oblong. The inn I was
going to is in the Oblong, but two miles further on. It is kept by Colonel Morehouse; for nothing is more common
in America than to see an inn keeper a Colonel; they are. in general, Militia Colonels. chosen by the militia themselves,
who seldom fail to entrust the command to the most esteemed and most creditable citizens." He said he pressed
forward his horses to get the start of a traveler who had joined him on the road. that he might secure lodgings.
when, to his great satisfaction, his companion did not stop. He found the tavern wholly occupied. however, by some
New Hampshire farmers, who were driving some two hundred and fifty oxen from their State to the army. "The
farmers, their horses, and their dogs," he said, "had possession of the inn." They occupied all
the rooms and all the beds; and he was in great distress, when a "tall, fat man, the principal person amongst
them, being informed who I was, came to me and assured me that neither he nor his companions would ever suffer
a French general officer to want a bed, and that they would rather sleep on the floor." The result was that
Chastellux and his aides-de-camp had a double bedded room.
The Marquis passed over the high hills the next morning, into The Clove, and going through Beekman, where were
"several pretty farms and some mills," and Hopewell, "inhabited chiefly by Dutch people," he
reached Fishkill at four o'clock.
The second visit of De Chastellux to Morehouse's Tavern, was in December, two years later, whilst he was again
on his way from Rhode Island to the headquarters of Washington, then at Newburgh. The war had ceased; the preliminaries
of peace had been arranged between the United States, Great Britain and France, and the French allies were about
to depart from America. The Marquis had taken his usual route from Hartford, through Litchfield, down the Housatonic
to Bull's Bridge, and so along the Ten Mile River to Morehouse's. "On this occasion," says De Chastellux,
"I had not much reason to boast of the tavern. Colonel Morehouse, after whom it was named, no longer kept
it, but had resigned it to his son, who was absent, so there were none but women in the house. Mr. Dillon [a traveling
companion], who had gone on a little before, had the greatest difficulty in the world to persuade them to kill
some chickens; our supper was but indifferent; and when it was over, and we got near the fire, we saw these women,
to the number of four, take our place at the table, and eat the remainder of it, with an American dragoon, who
was stationed there. This gave us some uneasiness for our servants, to whom they left, in fact, a very trifling
portion. On asking one of them, a girl of sixteen, and tolerably handsome, some questions the next morning. I learned
that she, as well as her sister, who was something older. did not belong to the family; but that having been driven
from the neighborhood of Wyoming, where they lived, they had taken refuge in this part of the country where they
worked for a livelihood; and that being intimate with Mrs. Morehouse, they took pleasure in helping her when there
were many travelers, for this road is at present much frequented."
The settlers in Wyoming Valley, in Pennsylvania, whence these girls had come, were chiefly families from Connecticut.
That beautiful valley was desolated with fire. gun and tomahawk, in the summer 1777, by Tories and Indians under
Colonel John Butler. They burned the dwellings, murdered many of the inhabitants and carried away women and children
as captives. The survivors fled eastward over the Pocono Mountains, suffering dreadful hardships in the wilderness.
Men, women and children made their way back to Connecticut on foot. A large portion of them crossed the Hudson
at Poughkeepsie, and through Holt's New York journal, then published there, their tale of horror. with all the
exaggerations which fear and suffering and excited imagination gave it, the story was given to the world.
De Chastellux says that, observing the poor girl's eyes filling with tears as she spoke of her misfortunes, be
became more interested, and desired more particulars. She told him that her brother was murdered almost before
her eyes, and that she had barely time to save herself by running as fast as she could; that she and her sister
traveled in this manner fifty miles, with their feet covered with blood, before they found a house. They experienced
kindness everywhere on the way, and now wanted nothing except clothing.
"Lodgings and nourishment are never wanting in this country," the Marquis wrote. "Clothing is more
difficult to procure, from the dearness of all sorts of stuffs; but for this they strive to find a substitute in
their own labor. I gave them a Louis [about four dollars and a half] to buy some articles of dress with; my aides-de-camp.
to whom I communicated the story, made them a present likewise; and this little act of munificence being soon known
to the mistress of the house, obtained her esteem, and she appeared very penitent about having shown so much repugnance
to kill her chickens "
The Marquis and his companion set out from Morehouse's in the morning at nine o'clock, and reached Fishkill Village
at half past two. having ridden twenty four miles without stopping. They alighted at Boerum's Tavern, (formerly
kept by Mrs. Egremont,) where they supped. and crossed the Hudson at twilight. There at the headquarters (the old
Hasbrouck house) they found General Washington and wife, Colonel Tilghman, Colonel Humphreys, and Colonel Walker.
The writer describes the famous room with seven doors and one window. Washington used it as a dining room. "The
chimney," says De Chastellux, "or rather the chimney back, is against the wall, so that there is. in
fact. but one vent for the smoke, and the fire is in the room itself."
The Marquis makes the following observations on the subject of agriculture in DUCHESS, which he obtained from the
landlord: "The land is very fertile in DUCHESS County, of which Poughkensie (Poughkeepsie) is the capital,
as well as in the State of New York, but it is commonly left fallow one year out of two or three, less from necessity
than from there being more land than the farmers can cultivate. A bushel of wheat. at most, is sown upon an acre.
which renders twenty and five-and-twenty for one. Some farmers sow oats on the land that has borne wheat the preceding
year, but this grain in general is reserved for lands newly turned up. Flax is also a considerable object for cultivation.
The land is plowed with horses. two or three to a plow. sometimes even a greater number when on new land, or that
which has long lain fallow." (The Marquis spelled DUCHESS without the superfluous t.)
De Chastellux passed through Poughkeepsie on his way from Fishkill Landing to Albany, He speaks of the beauty of
the scenery at Wappingers Falls. "There I halted a few minutes," he wrote, "to consider. under different
points of view, the charming landscape formed by the river, as well as from its cascade, which is roaring and picturesque,
as from the groups of trees and rocks, which, combined with a number of saw mills and furnaces, compose the most
capricious and romantic prospect. It was only half past three when I got to Poughkensie, where I intended sleeping,
but finding that the sessions [of the county court] were then holding, and that all the taverns were full, I took
advantage of the little remaining day to reach a tavern I was told of at three miles distance."
After mentioning incidents on the way to Staatsburgh, Rhinebeck, Livingston's Manor and Claverack, he tells us
that he arrived at the Dutch settlement of Kinderhook. where he had the choice of three or four taverns. He chose
Van Buren's. "The preference for this, however, does no honor to the others," he says. "It is a
very small house. kept by two young people of a Dutch family; they are civil and attentive, and you are not badly
off with them, provided you are not difficult to please. It would have ill become me now to have been so. for I
had nothing but snow, hail, and frost during the whole day, and a fireside was an agreeable asylum for me."
The "young people" here spoken of were the parents of Martin Van Buren. President of the United States.
He was at the time of the visit of the Marquis only twenty days old.
Late in 1757, Elder William M. Marsh, of Lyons Farms, N. J., met by request a number of Baptists at a place spoken
of in the old church records as "Batemans Precinct," who were by him constituted into a church. This
society has continued up to the present time, and is now known as the First Baptist Church of Dover. In January
following, Samuel Waldo was licensed to preach for them, and was subsequently chosen Elder; in May of that year
he was ordained by letter.
In September they resolved on building a house of worship, thirty feet by forty. This was known as the Red Meeting
House, and stood near the old cemetery grounds. on the brow of the hill nearly east from the present church edifice.
The road has been changed since the first church was built, and then ran close to it. The Red Meeting House was
for a number of years the only place of worship in what is now the town of Dover; all contributed to its erection,
irrespective of church or creed; and it was, in effect a union church, as will appear from the following, taken
from the records: "Voted, that we are free for any improvement of public gifts among us, let their denomination
be what it will, provided they are under suitable recommendation."
In 1761 this church records "eighteen baptized, fifty one members, four hundred hearers." At that time
it belonged to the Philadelphia Baptist Association, composed of twenty nine churches. and was the fourth church,
in the order of their size, of all that number. A few years afterward the question arose as to the obligation of
members of the church to conduct family worship, a question that caused a serious division of sentiment for several
years. In 1774, the church settled the matter by a vote, which was to the effect that vocal prayer in families
was binding upon all members thereof.
Waldo is spoken of as a powerful preacher, and an influential man. In 1784. he was moderator of the Association.
He was about twenty six years of age when he commenced his ministry at Dover; he continued his labors with great
success with that church until his death a period of more than thirty five years. His ashes and those of his beloved
companion, Hannah, repose in the old cemetery ground. near the site of the Red Meeting House, wherein so much of
his ministerial labor was performed.
August 2, 1759 - "Voted to commune with the church (Northeast Baptist Church.) of which Simon Dakin is pastor."
September 6, 1764, the brethren living in the "upper end of the Oblong" formed a separate church, which
soon became extinct. In 1794, still another society was constituted by members of this church, which is now known
as the Second Baptist Church of Dover. Sept. 13, 1800, Elder Detherick became pastor. In 1812, Elisha Booth was
ordained pastor at the Red Meeting House. In the following year, Elders Booth and Job Foss were called to preach
on alternate Sabbaths. Elder Foss was disowned in 1817. He was then a large landholder in the vicinity of what
is now called the Foss Ore Bed.
The following are statistics of the First Dover Church: - The present house of worship the third since the society
was organized - was built in 1855, at a cost of $4,564. Present membership about ninety. Rev. I. N. Hill, pastor.
As before stated, the Second Dover Baptist Church was organized in 1794, on the 3d of August. Elder Samuel Waldo,
then stationed at First Dover, was probably the first Baptist minister that preached there. Elder Seth Higby was
their first pastor, continuing with them six years. A few months after its organization the church voted to become
a corporate body, agreeably to the law then just enacted. Timothy Babcock, Samuel Stevens. and Caleb Sheldon were
the first trustees. January 21, 1796, Eliab Wilcox was chosen in place of Timothy Babcock. The Duchess Baptist
Association was organized with this church in July, 1835, at whose request, urged by its pastor, Elder Roberts,
the convention was called. Perkins. Roberts, Hopkins, Hall, and others have been connected at different times with
this church as pastors.
In 1840. a protracted meeting was held with this congregation, at which Elder D. T. Hill assisted, preaching three
times a day. Much interest was manifested in the community at this time and many conversions resulted. Julia A.
Lathrop, a member of this church. embarked for Birmah about the year 1843, to engage in teaching.
Previous to the Revolution, a Dutch Reformed church was commenced on the present cemetery grounds, which was not
completed. Pratt was the builder. In this house the Baptists first held their meetings. Here Elders Waldo, Detherick,
Foss, Perkins, and a host of others expounded the Divine Word to their followers. In 1844 the building was remodeled
and used as a Union church. It was afterwards removed, and is yet standing in the village of Dover. doing duty
as a blacksmith's shop. The present house of worship was built in 1833, at a cost of $6,000. It was dedicated in
the Autumn of that year, Elder Perkins preaching the dedicatory sermon.
There are three Methodist Episcopal churches in the town One at South Dover, built about twenty one years ago;
another at Dover Plains, and a third on Chestnut Ridge. These societies were not of so ancient origin as those
of the Baptist denomination in this town.
It is to be regretted that our mention of the M. E. Churches of this county is so meagre, compared with the importance
of that denomination. both as regards number and influence of its membership. This must not be attributed to any
lack of effort in gathering and compiling the materials; but it is owing to the fact that the society as a rule,
have neglected to make: any permanent record of the early local history of the churches, as has been done by other
A Friends' church, known as the Branch Preparative Meeting, was organized here in 1774, by the Monthly Meeting
at Oblong - now Quaker Hill. The meeting house was built about that time. and is yet standing. A piece of land
was attached to it. into which the early worshipers turned their horses for pasturage. during services. Most of
them came on horseback. The venerable Augustus Straight, of South Kent, Conn., is the only male member living.
Much, if not all, of the membership of this church is composed of persons who are upwards of eighty years old.
The ancient edifice is still in tolerable repair. It is surrounded by a cluster of majestic trees whose moss covered
trunks are in unison with the old house they. surround; and is provided with a row of sheds. whose green turfed
floor shows the spot to be sadly neglected.
At stated intervals these aged pilgrims meet together for prayer and exhortation. Some have belonged to this society
more than half a century. In childhood, and in maturer years they together have listened to the preached Word;
and, as they pass down the steep of old age, hand in hand they go, mutually consoling and congratulating one another
as they tremble on the brink of eternity.
Another Friends' meeting house was located on Pleasant Ridge, of whose early history we have not any record at
VALLEY VIEW CEMETERY ASSOCIATION.
This association was organized May 27th, 1871, at Dover Plains, by the following persons: John H. Ketcham, George
T. Belding, James K. Mabbett, George M. Allerton, Egbert Dutcher, Thomas Hammond, Jr., Joseph Belden, and Horace
D. Hufcut. The association purchased sixteen and one half acres of land of James Ketcham. It consisted of a beautiful,
undulating meadow, adjoining the old burying ground, a short distance south of the village. "The ancient hills
and mountains stand sentinels around it, hence the appropriateness of its name - Valley View." At the northern
border a stream of pure water runs gently over a gravelly bed, seeking its burial in the Ten Mile Creek. a short
distance away. Its contiguity to the old burying ground - where lie The buried dead of several generations of the
Dover Valley - contributed in some degree to the selection of the ground, and in September following the organization
of the association, the inhabitants interested in the old ground caused the same to be transferred to the Association
for cemetery purposes - the old and new grounds together making one cemetery of twenty acres in extent. The grounds
were laid out by Mr. J. I. Wanzer; and on the 7th day of October, 1871, the cemetery was formally dedicated, Hon.
Allard Anthony delivering the address. The old grounds, mentioned above, was a parcel of land, of about five acres
in extent, granted May 16, 1818, by John R. Livingston, to the inhabitants of a surrounding tract of about four
miles square. for educational and religious purposes. Part of this was connected with the parsonage, and was sold
some twenty five years ago.
The mill now known as Preston's Mill was kept in former times by Elihu Russell, and had a wide reputation, being
one of the first in this part of the country. The present structure was built nearly a century since, a former
one, on the same site, having been carried away in a freshet some time previous. A fulling mill was early established
here. It is related that a man named Wilcox once went with a grist to Russell's Mill, and was told that he must
wait till the next day as there were other customers before him. He concluded he would not go home without it at
all events. Dinner time came, and he was invited in to dine with the family.
Now Wilcox was a man of large frame, and withal a huge feeder; and his bashfulness was not so great as to prevent
his partaking of the good things with a heartiness that filled the heart of poor Russell with dismay. Slipping
out unobserved he hastened to the mill, poured out the contents of Mr. Wilcox's sack into the hopper, and when
the latter finally emerged from the dining room, Russell met him with the information that his grist was ready.
Wilcox took his departure, happy in the thought that he had secured his grist so early, and had made a good substantial
dinner out of his friend the miller into the bargain; while the latter was no less rejoiced that he had got rid
of a customer that was like to have exhausted his stock of provisions.
John Preston opened a tavern about the year 1810. The house is still standing, as is also the barn opposite, on
which are painted figures of cattle. It became a favorite resort particularly for drovers; and Preston's Tavern
and its hospitable but somewhat eccentric landlord, were in days gone by well known throughout the State.
Preston once collected the seeds of a noxious weed, put them carefully in little paper packages labeled with a
high sounding botanical name, and distributed them among his guests,:representing the plant as bearing flowers
of rare beauty. Those who accepted the seeds, and planted them as directed, had cause to remember the landlord
of Preston's Tavern to their dying day.
He was once questioned as to his manner of fattening cattle.
My plan," said he, "is to plow a furrow or two around that grove of trees, and plant gourd seeds; the
vines run up among the branches, and the cows climb the trees and fatten on the gourds."
Jackson Wing opened a tavern at an early date in the large brick house now occupied by his son, Ebenezer Wing.
This was at one time a noted resort for drovers passing through this section of country. Here the town meetings
wire held before the erection of Dover into a separate town.
The "Old Forge," by which name the locality is still known, was located on Ten Mile River, near the State
line. Old John Griffin used to work in it. An old resident says the hammer made a great noise, and could be heard
a long distance off. At this place an old saw mill is located, connected with which is a traditional story:
During the Revolution, a man having in his possession a quantity of silver money, buried it at the foot of a tree
on "Weaver Mountain," drove a spike into the tree to mark the spot, and ran away to escape conscription.
After an absence of several years he returned for his treasure, but the bark had grown over and concealed the spike,
and he was unable to find it. Years afterward the timber on the mountain was cut off, and the logs drawn to the
mill. One day the saw came in contact with an obstruction in a large log, and was shivered to pieces. On examination
a spike was found imbedded in the wood. This called to mind the circumstances of the buried money, and efforts
were made to find the stump from which the log was cut, but without avail; and the treasure, if tradition speaks
truly, is still lying there.
In the western part of the town, in the days gone by, when men believed in ghosts. there stood what was known as
the "Haunted House." Many were the stories connected with this building which were rehearsed around the
Winter fireside; people were afraid to live in it, and it remained untenanted for a number of years; and the bravest
among them would cast uneasy glances toward it when they were obliged to pass in its vicinity after nightfall.
It was said the furniture was offered to any one who would go and remove it, but it was found impossible to do
so. as unseen hands would snatch away the articles before they could be carried out. Strange noises were frequently
heard within it, usually on very dark and stormy nights; and strange, unnatural lights could at times be seen flitting
about the different apartments. But ghosts are now out of fashion, and if they ever lived, they have gone to more
congenial climes; and though the house yet stands, nothing is now heard about its being haunted.
David Allis was an old resident, and lived in the house yet standing in a dilapidated condition, near the Jewett
schoolhouse. He used to preach in the Branch Meeting House. He was the man that bored holes in the south side of
his apple trees, into which he poured molasses. to make, as he said, the apples on that side of the tree sweet.
At the close of the Revolution a "barbecue" was held at Dover Plains. A man named Grant gave the ox,
which was spitted and roasted whole. Speeches were delivered, and a great concourse of people came together. Although
the cooking was none of the best and the flesh was either raw or burned to a crisp, the patriotism of the people
led them to pronounce it excellent.
Preston Mountain has long been the dwelling place of hermits. Robert Brownell long ago lived in the rocks there;
Curtis was another, who kept a cobbler's shop in a cave, to which the inhabitants of the neighborhood repaired
when their shoes needed mending; and it is said that there is still another now living a solitary life on the north
part of the mountain. There is an old burying ground near the site of Martin Preston's house, where lie the bones
of the first inhabitants.
Ebenezer Preston, better known as "Captain" Preston, was a brother of Martin Preston's, and was one of
the earliest settlers in the town. He located in the valley of the Ten Mile stream, and put up three grist mills.
Two mills are now standing on the sites of these old ones; a third was located at "The Forge." Thomas
Wing was another early emigrant. He came from Rhode Island. and settled near where Thomas Wheeler, Esq., now lives.
William Chapman kept a hotel on the Old Forge road, about half a mile east of Preston's Mill, before the hotel
at the latter place was opened.
Mistake Turnpike lies partly in this town. It leads over the mountain, west of Wing's Station. The name is said
to have been given it from this circumstance:- When the road was being built, a large boulder was rolled down the
mountain side with the view that it should form a part of the wall of an embankment. Its momentum was so great
as to carry it beyond the place intended, out of reach, where it remains to this day.
Allis Pond and Sharparoon Pond are the principal bodies of water. Some peat beds have been opened near the line.
of the Harlem Railroad. Both the white and clouded varieties of marble are found; Preston's and Ketcham's quarries
are the principal openings that have been made. Two blast furnaces were built in This town, both of which are in