History of Hyde Park, NY
From: General History of Dutchess County
From 1609 to 1876, Inclusive.
By Philip H. Smith
Published by the author 1877


HYDE PARK.
POPULATION, 2,800. - SQUARE ACRES, 22,501.

HYDE PARK was named in compliment to Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury, who was governor of the State at the beginning of the last century. It was formed from Clinton January loth, 1821. The lower part of the town embraces most of the tract of land known as the "Nine Water Lots," while its extreme north part includes a portion of what is locally distinguished as the "manor land," being a part of that granted to Cot Henry Beekman. A portion of the Nine Partners tract is likewise included. Hog and Lloyd's Hills, in the north part, are the highest points, being each about five hundred feet above the river. Crom Elbow Creek and the Fallkill, tributaries of the Hudson; are the principal streams. Its surface is principally a rolling and hilly upland. The following are from the early Town Records:

The first General Annual Election in Hyde Park commenced by opening the Poll at the House of Garrett P. Lansing in said town, on the last Tuesday in April 24, 1821, and continued next day at Russell's Tavern and closed the third day at P. Bogardus' Hotel, in the village of Hyde Park, in same town, conducted under the inspection of

JAMES DUANE LIVINGSTON, Supervisor.
REUBEN SPENCER, Town Clerk.
TOBIAS L. STOUTENBURGH, Assessor.
PETER A. SCHRYVER, Assessors.
CHRISTOPHER HUGHES, Assessor.


In pursuance of an "Act entitled an Act to provide for taking a census and for other purposes," the Supervisor, Town Clerk, and Assessors of the town of Hyde Park, in the county of Duchess, convened on the 19th day of May, 1821, at the house of Philip Bogardus in the said town, and passed the following resolutions, to wit:- Resolved, That owing to the reduced size and compactness of the town, it is inexpedient to appoint more than one person to take the census of the said town of Hyde Park. Also that Charles A. Shaw is in our opinion a discreet and proper person for that purpose, and that he be, and is hereby appointed by us to take the census, etc., agreeable to the Act above mentioned in all things.

Dated Hyde Park, May 19, 1821.


Hyde Park Village is an ancient settlement, lying in a beautiful and picturesque region on the banks of the Hudson. Fronting the river at this point are abrupt bluffs, 150 to 200 feet high, from the summits of which a broad level plateau extends back into the country, losing itself among the hills and nestling valleys. Scattered over this wide domain are elegant residences, with grounds laid out in the finest style of English landscape gardening. The residences are for the most part situated upon the elevations overlooking the river; sometimes in full view of the main road, and at other times completely hidden by embowering trees. Carriage roads, leading fro the highway, bordered by venerable shade trees and crossing rustic bridges, traverse the broad undulating lawns. Now and then a quaint lodge peeps out from the trees and shrubbery, while at intervals are broad stretches of primitive forests, side by side with cultivated fields and verdant meadows, in which the herds are quietly grazing. It needs but little exertion of fancy to imagine one's self in the midst of an English country scene, with the manorial estates of English noblemen stretched out before the view. In the upper part of the town, bordering the river, are the seats of several wealthy land proprietors, branches of the ancient Livingston family.

The earliest settler in the town of Hyde Park is believed to have been Jacobus Stoutenburgh, who came from Holland about the time of the division between the Protestants and Catholics at the beginning of the 18th century. He was a Protestant, and was forced to flee the country. He was the oldest son, and therefore inherited the entire paternal estate, worth seven millions of dollars This he made over to his brothers and sisters, for them to hold during their natural lives; at their death it was to revert to him or his heirs. This property was sufficient to afford them all a comfortable livelihood; and when the last one died, and no one appearing to claim the estate, it was advertised according to law. After the period required by the statute had elapsed, and no claimant appearing, it was sold, and the money placed at interest in a Holland bank. Here it draws seven per cent. yearly. Three per cent. is added to the principal each year; the remaining four per cent. goes to the education of poor children. It is now nearly seventy years since the property was advertised; and the principal, with compound interest added, now foots up to more than $5o,000,000. This princely estate properly belongs to the numerous heirs of Jacobus Stoutenburgh now residing in this country.

Jacobus Stoutenburgh moved to Hyde Park about the year 1792. He was merchant in Westchester for awhile. He was proprietor of one of the Nine Water Lots, besides owning large tracts of land in other parts of the County. These tracts he had acquired by trade and purchase of the original proprietors. He gave to his son Luke 350 acres, located about Hyde Park Landing; 1600 acres to his son Peter, including the slate quarry in the town of Clinton; to his daughter Margaret, some 1400 acres, east of the latter, on which the old mill at Bull's Head was built and afterwards burned; together with other vast domains to others of his heirs. Jacobus owned considerable land property lying between Rhinebeck and Poughkeepsie; it is said that there are recorded, in the County Clerk's Office, quit claim deeds of no less than seventy five farms, lying in the County north of Poughkeepsie, the title to which comes direct from Jacobus Stoutenburgh.

The early settlers built log houses for temporary shelter until such time as they could erect more substantial dwellings. Jacobus built three stone houses near Hyde Park Village. The first one built is yet standing, in a good state of preservation, on the east side of the road, south of the village. This house is noted, not only as being the first substantial stone house built in Hyde Park, but also as having been occupied two or three weeks by Gen. Washington during the War of the Revolution. A few years since a gentleman conceived the idea of spending a night in the apartment occupied by Washington. He procured a bed from the hotel, and took up his quarters, his only companions being a colony of squirrels which somewhat interrupted his repose. He afterwards wrote an interesting account of his adventures that night in the old mansion.

The second house was built near the Lower or Old Landing, likewise of stone. The brick for the chimney was brought over from Holland; with glazed tiles for the broad fireplace, on which were imprinted scenes in Bible history. On tearing down the building a few years since, after it had stood nearly a century and a half, the chimney was left standing. The mortar was of such a quality that it was harder than the brick, and it was therefore found to be impracticable to tear the chimney down, so it was pushed over, the fall breaking it into two pieces only.

When Vaughan returned down the river, after having burned Kingston, he cannonaded the house. One ball passed directly through the hall, entering at the front door and out at the rear one, both of which were open, without even touching the building. Another ball struck the house without doing much damage. Both these balls are preserved by the inhabitants of the vicinity as mementoes of past barbarism. The cut given of this house is copied from an old drawing now in possession of Tobias L. Stoutenburgh, of Poughkeepsie.

The third house built by Jacobus Stoutenburgh was situated west of the post road below the village of Hyde Park. The ruins are yet visible, surrounded with small trees and shrubbery.

Another antiquated mansion stands at East Park, formerly Union Corners, built by William Stoutenburgh, a son of Jacobus. It is provided with a basement, nicely finished in panel work. This was, in the days of slavery in this state, set apart for the use of the slaves. The house is now occupied by Mr. Van Wagener.

It is said that a member of the Stoutenburgh family, when a very old man, built a stone wall near this house which stood upwards of a hundred years. He built it of small flat stones, and owing to bodily infirmities was obliged to sit in his chair while doing the work. The wail could be shaken almost its entire length by a person standing at one end.

At the time of Vaughan's visit to Hyde Park, already referred to, a British force was sent ashore to plunder as usual, and to castigate such of the Whigs as had incurred the displeasure of Great Britain. A small body of Americans lay just over the point, with the evident intention of disputing their landing. A few shots were exchanged; but as the enemy passed further down the stream, they got into a position that enabled their guns to rake the valley in which the Americans were stationed. A portion of the latter took refuge behind the stone house already spoken of, but were finally driven back to the plain on which the village stands. The enemy did not care to follow, so after burning the landing, a shop and storehouse, the property of Luke Stoutenburgh, they departed, to pursue their work of desolation at other points. This skirmish was the nearest approximation to a battle that ever occurred within the limits of DUCHESS County, that has come to the knowledge of the writer.

It is said that the British were piloted by three Tories named Dhupp. These renegadoes, from their intimate knowledge of the country, would point out the houses of the Whigs along the river, which the enemy's gunners would make a target of their skill. For their services they were promised a large section of land north of Hyde Park, in case the British arms were successful.

East of Hyde Park, on the lower road leading to East Park, at the foot of a hill, is a lonely spot known as Obey's Folly. This locality is pointed out as the scene of a bloody encounter in Revolutionary times, in which one of the Dhupps met a deserved fate. At the time spoken of Luke. Stoutenburgh, a son of Jacobus, was riding along this road. Each side was bordered by a forest, with a dense growth of underbrush, creeping close up to the roadside. The general insecurity of the time led every traveler to arm himself for self defence, for personal encounters and deadly strifes were then common occurrences. In addition to his other weapons, Luke carried a riding whip, with a short lash, on the end of which was an ounce ball.

It was growing dark as our traveler reached this lonely part of his road. The wood abounded in coverts and hiding places among the rocks, and Tories and robbers were known to make their haunts in the vicinity. Just as he reached the foot of the hill, three robbers sprang out of the bushes, the foremost one catching his horse by the bridle. Luke, by a dexterous movement, sank the ball on his whip deep into the robber's temple; as the latter released his hold of the bridle and fell to the earth, he put spurs to his horse and escaped, closely followed by several shots, sent after him by the robbers. The next day word came that a dead Dhupp was found lying in the road near Obey's Folly. He was brought into the village, and people came from far and near to look at the remains of a man who had been such a terror to the neighborhood. Notwithstanding his misdeeds, he was accorded a Christian burial. Luke Stoutenburgh was present at the funeral; and it is said that he pressed the bandage back from the robber's head so as to display the wound on the temple, as if to satisfy himself of the identity of the body before him. Another Dhupp was said to have been killed between Fishkill Village and the Landing; while a third died some time afterward in the alms house near Poughkeepsie. Such was the end of this notorious robber family.

Staatsburgh is a small village and station on the Hudson River Railroad, some six miles north of Hyde Park. A hundred years ago the whole tract of country north of Crom Elbow Creek was known as Staatsburgh, or Stoutsburgh, as written in old records, and is undoubtedly a corruption or abbreviation of Stoutenburgh. Near Staatsburgh are the residences of the Hoyt; the Lowndes, and the Livingstons. descendants of the old Livingston stock.

The first mill built in this town was at the lower landing, and which was burned down some thirty years ago. There is an old mill near East Park, built by the Delamaters, probably the oldest now standing in the town.

East of Hyde Park, near the east border of the town, is a Quaker church, known as the "Crom Elbow Meeting House." This edifice was erected about the year 1730. It has been several times repaired, and somewhat remodeled, and has, therefore, lost much of that antiquated appearance generally noticeable in very old buildings. Our informant, who, though past the three score and ten years allotted to man, was still vigorous in mind and body, related some reminiscences of Elias Hicks, founder of the Hicksite order of Friends.

He frequently saw Hicks, and heard him preach in the Crom Elbow Church. He spoke of him as a tall, spare man, and a powerful speaker. He was present at a meeting in this church, in which Hicks and the English Friends who opposed him took part in the controversy which caused the division in. that Society known as the Separation.

Attached to this church is an ancient graveyard, where lies the buried dead of a century and a quarter. Many of the Rounds have no stone to tell the name of the one whose dust lies beneath; whose history is forgotten, never to be brought to remembrance until the resurrection. Other graves are marked with rough slabs taken from the field, a few with rude initials chiseled into them, but more of them unlettered. Many of the lettered stones are moss grown, weather worn, and hardly decipherable. On these ancient slabs are the names of the Waeters, the Moshers, the Briggs, Bakers, Marshalls, Halsteds, Willets, Albertsons, and others, family names of the old settlers in this smiling valley.

A Union Church was built at an early date, in the village of Hyde Park, and used harmoniously by the Episcopal and Dutch Reformed societies. It was known as the Red Church and stood a little south of the present Reformed Church edifice. The Episcopal Society afterward built a large and elegant house of worship a short distance north of the village. They also have erected a chapel within the village for public worship. The following statistics of the Dutch Reformed Society of this place have been kindly furnished by the present pastor, Rev. Henry Dater:

"The records of the early history of this church are imperfect, and for a part of the time I find no records. It was organized, or divine service was first held, in 1793. I do not know when the first church was erected; but it was rebuilt in 1826. Rev. Cornelius Brower was pastor of the churches of Poughkeepsie and "Stoutsburgh" from 1794 to 1812, and supplied the church of Stoutsburgh from 1812 to 1815. This church was called the Church of Stoutsburgh until 1817, when it was called the Reformed Dutch Church of Hyde Park. The following is the succession of pastors over the church:- P. S. Wynkoop, 1817-22; F. H. Vanderveer, 1823-29; Cahoone, 1829-33; S. V. Westfall, 1834-37; J. C. Cruikshank, 1837-43; A. Eimendorf, 1843-48; Ten Eyck, 1848-53 Henry Dater in 1853, and is the present pastor."

At Staatsburgh is an Episcopal house of worship; northeast of that is a Catholic Church. In Hyde Park village, in addition to the church edifice already mentioned, there is a Roman Catholic, a Baptist, and a M. E. Church.

We have previously had occasion to remark that Jacobus Stoutenburgh was a large landholder. A further mention of him and his descendants will not be out of place, as he figured conspicuously in the early history of this county, quite as much so, perhaps, as some others who have been accorded a fuller historic mention. Some years since, so the writer was informed, as a member of the Stoutenburgh family was traveling in the town of Clinton, he was addressed by a very old man, who made particular mention of a certain tract of land known as the "Gore," situated in the north part of the county, the deed covering which was given by Jacobus Stoutenburgh to his eight children. The old gentleman asserted that the deed was at that time in existence somewhere near Rhinebeck, and which if found might eventually make trouble. He said his father was a "squatter" on this tract, and never received any title from the original owner.

This circumstance caused a search to be instituted, which was rewarded by the finding of the identical instrument in question. It proved to be a full warrantee deed, covering a gore shaped section, having its point at the Hudson River, and its base, some miles in length, adjoining the west Oblong line, comprising an area of thousands of acres. It was recorded at Albany, and the title is said to be yet good. The deed mentions all the children of Jacobus by name; and as neither they nor their heirs have ever disposed of any of their rights under the instrument, those holding the land included in this tract have very doubtful title. Much of it is improved, and is now very valuable, with buildings erected thereon. All the deeds given covering farms on the section in question are quit claims. Whether the heirs of this land will ever undertake to get possession, remains to be seen.

In addition to this the Stoutenburgh family are heirs to the Trinity church property. Jacobus married Margaret Teller, a direct descendant of Anneke fans. The marriage took place in New York city, soon after his arrival in this country.

Some years since as some of the family were searching the county records, they found quit claim deeds of no less than seventy seven farms lying between Rhinebeck and Poughkeepsie, the titles of which are derived from Jacobus Stoutenburgh. He is also spoken of as one of the first Judges of DUCHESS County.

The following is an extract from Lossing's "Hudson, from its Source to the Sea:" "Placentia, a delightful country seat about a mile north of Hyde Park, was the residence of the lamented James Kirk Paulding. With it is connected no history of special interest. It is consecrated in the memory as the residence of a novelist and poet - the friend and associate, of Washington Irving in his literary career. Paulding and Irving were intimate friends for more than fifty years. Paulding lived in elegant retirement for many years at his country seat, enjoying books, pictures. and the society of friends. He passed away at the beginning of 1860, at the advanced age of more than four score years.

"Hyde Park is situated upon a pleasant plain, high above the river, and about half a mile from it. The village received its name from Paul Faulconier, private secretary to Edward Hyde, (afterward Lord Cornbury,) Governor of the Province of New York at the beginning of the last century. Faulconier purchased a large tract at this place, and named it in honor of the Governor.

"At Hyde Park the river makes a sudden bend between rocky bluffs, and in a narrow channel. On account of this the Dutch called the place Krom Elleboge, crooked elbow. The present name is a compound of Dutch and English - Crom Elbow."


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