POPULATION, 25,000. - SQUARE ACRES, 22,140.
Poughkeepsie was formed as a town March 7th, 1788. March 27th, 1799, the village of Poughkeepsie was formed
and March 28th, 1854, it became an incorporated city. The town borders upon the Hudson, and contains some fine
farming lands. Its surface is mostly a rolling upland. Wappingers Creek, forming the east boundary, and the Fallkill,
flowing through Poughkeepsie City, each furnish a considerable amount of water power. The soil is clayey in the
west, and a sandy and gravelly loam in the remainiug parts. New Hamburgh, Manchester, Rochdale, and Locust Glen,
are small villages. A portion of the incorporated village of Wappingers Falls lies in this town.
The name Poughkeepsie is from the Indian word Apo-keep, and signifies a safe harbor. The Fallkill was so named
by the Dutch, because of the number of cascades or falls occurring in that stream. The Indians called it the Minnakee.
The bluff north of the bay at the mouth of the Fall Kill was called by the Dutch Slange Klippe, Snake or Adder
Cliff, because of the venemous serpents that abounded there in olden times. The southern cliff bears the name of
Kaal [Call] Rock, that being the place where the settlers called to the captains of sloops when they wished to
take passage with them. With this bay, after whose beautiful Indian appellation the city and town of Poughkeepsie
are named, is associated an Indian legend.
Some Delaware warriors came to this spot with some Pequod captives. Among the latter was a young chief, who was
offered his life and honor if he would renounce his nation, receive the mark of a turtle upon his breast, and become
a Delaware brave. He rejected the proposition with disdain. His captors thereupon bound him to a tree, and prepared
to deal with him according to their customs. A half score of tomahawks were raised to hurl at the unfortunate captive,
when a sudden shriek startled the executioners. A young and beautiful Indian girl leaped before them, and plead
for his life. She was a captive Pequod, and the young chief was her affianced.
The Delawares debated. Suddenly the war cry was sounded, and some fierce Hurons falling upon them made them snatch
their arms for defense. The Indian maiden seized upon this opportunity to sever the thongs that confined her lover;
but during the excitement of the strife they were separated, and the Huron chief carried off the handsome Pequod
maiden as a trophy. Her affianced conceived a bold design for her rescue, and boldly carried it out. A wizard entered
the Huron camp. The maiden was taken suddenly ill, and the wizard was employed to prolong her life, until her capturer
could satisfy his revenge upon Uncas, chief of the Mohegans. The lovers fled at nightfall, and shot out into the
river in a light canoe, followed by blood thirsty pursuers. The Pequod paddled his beloved one to the mouth of
the Minnakee, where he concealed her; and, single handed, fought the Hurons, and finally drove them off. This sheltered
nook was. a "safe harbor" for her.
We append a copy of an ancient deed on file in the County Clerk's office in Poughkeepsie:
THIS INDENTURE made in the city of New York on the Ninth day of September, in the Ninth year of her majesties Reigne
1710, between Myndert Harmense of Duchess County in the Province of New York, planter, and Helena his wife, of
the one part, and Leonard Lewis, of New York, merchant, of the other part, Whereas Col. Peter Schuyler of the city
of Albany by Certain Deed made under his hand and seale bearing Date the Thirtyeth Day of August in the year of
our Lord 1699, did grant, bargaine and Sell unto Robert Sanders and the said Myndert Harmense their heirs and assigns
for ever all that certain tract or parcell of Land scituate Lying and being on the east side of the Hudson River
in Duchess County at a certain place called the Long Reach slanting over against Juffrows Hook at a place called
the Rust Plaats, from thence Eastward into the woods to a creek, Called by the Indians Pictawiikquasick, known
by the christians Jan Casperses Creek, Northward to a Water Fall where the saw mill belonging to Myndert Hermanse
aforesaid stands upon, and so southward alongst the Hudsons River aforesaid to the said Rust Plaats with all and
singular its appurtenances, being part of the Lands granted to the said Peter Schuyler by Coll. Thomas Dongan,
Late Gov. of this Province by patent dated the Second Day of June 1688, * * * and whereas the said Thomas Dongan,
by patent bearing date the twenty fourth day of October 1686 did grant unto the said Robert Sanders and Myndert
Harmse a certain tract of land containing twelve thousand acres to be taken in one entire piece out of the lands
hereafter mentioned, that is to say out of a certain Parcell of Land scituate in Duchess County aforesaid called
Minnesinck on the East side of Hudsons River to the North of the Land of Soveryn Alias called the Bakers with Arable
Lands, Woodlands and Marshes with the creek called Wynagkee with Tree Tones, Range and outdrift for cattle and
the fall of waters called Pendanick Reen, and another marsh lying to the north of the fall of waters called Wareskeehin
as in and by the said Patent relation thereto may fully and at large appear, and whereas the said Robert Sanders
has since deceased, and thereby the said Myndert Harmense as survivor is become solely vested in the premises,
now this Indenture witnesseth that the said Myndert Harmense, by and with the consent of Helena his wife, by these
presents sell unto the said Leonard Lewis for and in ye consideration of £140 lawful money of New York all
those two tracts and Parcells of Land scituate Lying and being in the county aforesaid, and part of the above mentioned
premises, the one begining on the South side of a certain Pond on the Partition Line of Baltus Van Kleeck with
a west Line to the Water side, and so along the water side to the land of John Kips to the Northward of the Creek
having Water Falls and so east along John Kips Land to the Hill unto the Pine Trees, and thence southerly to the
east of the Pond to the place where it began, with the whole creek and all the waterfalls thereof as well without
as within the boundaries aforesaid as also one other tract beginning on the north side of a Piece of meadow that
lyes by the River side and runs easterly along the meadow and marsh to the Sprout called the first Sprout which
makes the bounds on the south side of Peter Viele and Runns along the said Sprout Easterly unto the most Easterly
Part of the first Sprouts Plain, and thence East North East to the Creek Having Waterfalls, and so along the said
Creek Southward to the Land of John Kips, and so by the said Land Westerly to Budsons River, and so along the River
Northerly to the meadow where it began, with privilege of Cutting Wood and Timber in the woods, to make hay in
all the meadows and outdrift for Cattle and Horses in all the Lands not cultivated of the said Myndert Harmense,
and together with all and singular the woods, underwoods, Trees, Timber, Pastures, Feedings, Marshes, Meadows,
Swamps, Stones, Quarries, Mines, Mineralls (Royall Mines Excepted) Pools, Ponds, Springs, Waters, Watercourses,
Rivers, Rivoletts and the only privilege of erecting a Mill or Mills on the Great Creek aforesaid, without stoppage
of stream or water. to Have and to hold the above bargained and hereby to be granted Two Tracts of Land, Creek
and all others the Privileges, Comodities and Appurtenances before mentioned unto him the said Leonard Lewis his
heirs and assigns forever.
____ Co. Rec. Deeds, Book A. p. 251.
Another grant of land is recorded by which the relict of Robert Sanders convey to pieter u ziele of Duchess Co.,
"provided the said pieter u ziele, his heirs or assignees pay yearly and every year halfe a Bushel of good
winter wheat when demanded, to commence from ye fifth day of September 1700 for quitt Rent into the sd Myndert
Harmse and Thomas Sanders or their heirs or assignees. In testimony whereof the said Myndert Harmense and Helena
his wife Elsie Sanders and Thomas Sanders have hereunto sett their hands and seales att pagkeepsing this 8th day
of June 1708.
A true copy recorded and examined, per me, Henry Vanderburgh, Clerk, March the 11th Ano 172 2/3
Poughkeepsie was made the shire town of DUCHESS at an early period, because, as the record says, it was in "the
centre of the county." The settlements were at that time confined to the neighborhood of the river, at Fishkill,
Poughkeepsie, and Rhinebeck, and intermediate points. The first log houses were built upon the site of this city
by two or three Dutch families, in 1690. The first substantial house was built of stone, in 1702. It was erected
by Baltus Van Kleeck, and stood upon Mill street, near the corner of the present Vassar Street. It was one story
in height, and was provided with loop holes for muskets, as a defense against the Indians - a common practice in
early times. The stone lintel bearing the monogram of Van Kleeck, that was over its door, may now be seen in the
outer basement wall of the dwelling of Mathew Vassar, Esq., at the corner of Mill and Vassar Streets.
As observed in another part of this work, the first buildring for a court house was ordered to be built in 1715;
and a deed for the land on which the present court house stands was conveyed in 1718, by Henry Van de Bogart to
Barent Van Kleeck. The house was not completed until 1746. Its construction was authorized by the Provincial Legislature
in 1743, and it was built under the supervision of Commissioners, of whom Henry Livingston was chief; and who was
appointed to receive and disburse the money raised for the purpose.
The first Court of Common Pleas and General Sessions, DUCHESS County, was established at Poughkeepsie, in 1734.
The following is a copy of the order, issued by his excellency, William Burnett, Captain General and Governor in
Chief of the Provinces of New York, New Jersey, and Territories depending thereon in America, and Vice Admiral
of the same, etc.
"In Council, an ordinance for establishing a Court of Common Pleas and a Court of General Sessions of the
Peace in DUCHESS County, in the Province of New York:
"Whereas, in the establishment of the Court of Common Pleas and the General Sessions of the Peace, hitherto
in the County of DUCHESS, over against the County of Ulster, there has been no Courts of Common Pleas or General
Sessions of the Peace erected and established to be holden and kept within the said County, but the inhabitants
of the said County 'have sometime formerly been subjected to the jurisdiction of the Justices of the aforesaid
County of Ulster. For remedy whereof for the future I have thought fit by and with the advice and consent cf his
Majesty's Council for the Province of New York, and by virtue of the power and authority unto me given and granted
under the Great Seal of Great Britain, and do hereby Erect, Establish, and Ordaine. That from henceforward there
shall be held and kept at Poughkeepsie, near the centre of said County, a General Sessions of the Peace on the
third Tuesday in May, and the third Tuesday in October, yearly, and every year forever; which General Sessions
shall not continue for longer than two days, but may finish the business of the Sessions possibly in one day, and
that from henceforward there shall be held and kept at Poughkeepsie near the centre of said County, a Court of
Common Pleas, to begin the next day after the Court of General Sessions terminates, and then only if business requires,
hold and continue for two days following, and no longer, with the like power and jurisdiction as other Courts of
Common Pleas in other Counties within the Province of New York, have used and enjoyed, any former Ordinance, Practice
or Usage to the contrary hereof in any wise notwithstanding.
"Given under my hand and seal at arms in Council, at Fort George, in New York, the sixth day of July, in the
seventh year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France and
Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c.
V. V. BURNETT."
This Colonial Court House was burnt in 1785, and was rebuilt soon after at a cost of about $12,000. This second
Court House was the building in which the Convention of the People of the State met, on the 17th of June, 1788,
to deliberate on the new Constitution. The number of delegates was sixty one, representing twelve counties. DUCHESS
was represented by Zephaniah Platt, Melancthon Smith, Jacobus Swartwout, Jonathan Aiken, Ezra Thompson, Gilbert
Livingston, and John DeWitt. Governor George Clinton was chosen President of the Convention.
In the Convention, says Lossing, the supporters and opponents of the new Constitution were about equal in number.
The subject had been ably and earnestly discussed in print. Governor Clinton and his family were all opposed to
the measure. His brilliant nephew, DeWitt Clinton, then a young lawyer of New York, less than twenty years of age,
had written against it in reply to Hamilton in the Federalist, and he attended the Convention here and reported
its proceedings for the press. In April of that year, he wrote to his father, Gen'l James Clinton:
"If the Constitution is adopted, I am convinced that several people who now warmly advocate its adoption will
exclaim 'From the insolence of great men; from the tyranny of the rich; from the unfeeling rapacity of the exciseman
and tax gatherer; from the misery of despotism; from the expense of supporting standing armies, navies, policemen,
sinecures, federal cities, senators, presidents, and a long train of et ceteras, Good Lord deliver us.' There is
yet no prospect of its being ratified."
The debates in the Convention were long and earnest. The principal speakers were Alexander Hamilton, John Jay,
and Chancellor Livingston, in favor of the Constitution; and John Lansing, William Harper, Robert Yates, and George
Clinton against it. The friends of the Constitution were gratified and strengthened by news that came by express
from Richmond, Virginia, which arrived on the 2nd of July, announcing the ratification of the instrument by that
State, on the 25th of June, by a majority of ten; and when the final vote was taken in the Convention at Poughkeepsie,
on the 26th of July, there was a majority of only one in favor of the Constitution. That single vote in the Court
House at Poughkeepsie decided that the people of this country should have a truly national government, with all
its attendant blessings. Four of the six delegates from DUCHESS voted for it, namely - Platt, Smith, Livingston
and DeWitt. Thompson was not present.
This historic building was destroyed by fire on Thursday night, September 25th, 1808. The flames were discovered
about 10 o'clock; and were attributed to the acts of some of the criminals confined in the jail. None of the public
documents in the Clerk's office were destroyed, and the prisoners were removed to the Farmers' Hotel kept by Amaziah
Blakealee, on Cannon Street, nearly opposite the Duchess County Academy. The latter building then stood on the
present site of St. Mary's Catholic Church. On the 28th day of October, on account of the destruction of the Court
House, the Hon. Smith Thompson, together with David Brooks and Robert Williams, held the October term of the Circuit
Court and the Court of Oyer and Terminer in the Reformed Dutch Church. The present Court House was ordered to be
built the following year tinder the direction of James Tallmadge, John B. Van Wyck, and John Van Benthuysen. It
is of stone, 50X100 feet, and cost about $24,000. Its walls are covered with stucco.
The Van Kleeck House, already referred to, was closely associated with the most trying scenes in our country's
history. In 1774, the City of New York elected James Duane, John jay, Philip Livingston, Isaac Low, and John Alsop,
delegates to the first Continental Congress. The DUCHESS County Committee, whose meetings upon the subject were
held in the Van Kleeck house, adopted these delegates as representatives for their district.
When the state government was organized, in 1777, by the adoption of a Constitution, New York being in possession
of the enemy, the first Session of the Legislature, under the new order of things, was held at Kingston, in July
of the same year. But the invasion of the State at several points - by Burgoyne on the north, by St. Leger and
his Indian and Tory associates at the west, and by Sir Henry Clinton on the south - compelled Governor Clinton
to prorogue that body until the first of September. No quorum was present until the 9th; and before any laws could
be matured, the session was broken up early in October, by the approach. of the enemy up the Hudson. Kingston was
laid in ashes, and all was confusion. As soon as the alarm had subsided, Governor Clinton called a meeting of the
Legislature at Poughkeepsie. It assembled in the Van Kleeck House, (then a tavern,) early in January, 1778. Various
acts to complete the organization of the State Government were passed; provisions were made for strengthening the
civil and military powers of the State, and it was during that session that the state gave its assent to the Articles
This building was the, meeting place of the inhabitants to consult on the public welfare, when the Boston Port
Bill and kindred measures awakened a spirit of resistance throughout the country. There the Committee of Correspondence
of DUCHESS held their meetings; and there the Pledge to sustain the Continental Congress and the Provincial Assembly
was signed by the inhabitants of Poughkeepsie, in June and July, 1775.
Lee, founder of the sect called Shakers, was confined in this house in 1776, charged with complicity with the enemies
of Republicanism. There many members of the State Convention in 1788, who met to consider the Federal Constitution,
found a home during the session.
About half a mile below where Livingston Street intersects Prospect Street, near the river, stands the Livingston
Mansion. It was built by Henry Livingston in 1714, and is a fine specimen of a country mansion of that period.
The situation is delightful, completely embosomed among venerable trees, on a rising knoll near the river, and
far removed from the burry and bustle of the highway. The once secluded beauty and quiet of the place has been
rudely interrupted by the passage of the Hudson River Railroad within a few yards of the house. Its occupants have
endeavored to preserve its ancient appearance; and even the orifice in the side of the house near the door, made
by a cannon ball fired from one of the British ships which conveyed those troops up the river that afterward set
fire to Kingston, is preserved with care, and shown to visitors as a token of the animosity of the British against
This was the residence of Col. Henry A. Livingston, grandson of Philip Livingston, one of the signers of the Declaration
of Independence. He died June 9th, 1849. Although living in retirement, he often consented to serve the public
in important offices, and was never known to be absent a day from his post in the Senate Chamber, or in the Hall
of the Court of Errors. He will long be remembered in Poughkeepsie as one of its best citizens. The accompanying
cut is from a sketch made by the writer in June, 1875, at which time the building was still in a good state of
Another historic building is the Clear Everett House. Everett was at one time Sheriff of the county. He built the
ancient stone house standing on Main Street, a little east of Whitehouse's Factory, and now called the "Washington
Hotel." When the flying New York Legislature left Kingston, and opened a session at the VanKleeck House, Governor
Clinton took up his residence in the Everett Mansion, from time to time, during the war and afterwards. In that
house were seated, at different times, many of the leading men of the Revolution. There LaFayette was entertained
early in 1778, and there Governor Clinton was visited by General Washington, who attended a session of a Masonic
Lodge in Poughkeepsie. In that house Clinton wrote a vast number of letters, and from it he sent forth several
proclamations. Among the earlier of the latter documents is one now in possession of Lossing, which closes thus:
"Given under my hand, and the Privy Seal of New York, at Poughkeepsie, in the county of Dutchess, the 23d
day of February, one thousand seven hundred and seventy eight. God save the people."
'The New York Gazette, for the 4th of July, 1781, thus refers, in not very complimentary terms, to the Legislature
"There is a set of mob legislators met at Poughkeepsie; a little time will show whether they mean to expose
themselves to all the vengeance, of which the majority of the late Assembly and Senate live in constant dread,
many of them changing their lodgings to elude the search of the avengers of the innocent blood they have shed.
Mr. Clinton, the titular Governor, has fortified his but [the fine stone mansion of Clear Everett] against a sudden
surprise, and the rebel slaves of Poughkeepsie guard it every night."
The allusions in this paragraph are explained by a letter written at Poughkeepsie, by Governor Clinton to General
Schuyler, on the 14th of August, congratulating the general because of his narrow escape from abduction by a band
of Tories and Indians. In that letter Clinton wrote he had received a dispatch from General Washington by express;
informing him that a party had been sent out from New York to seize the Governor, and deliver him to the British
authorities there, for which service they were to receive a liberal reward. "I have persons out to watch their
movements," Clinton wrote, "and am not without hope of having some of them, at least in my power. This
is the third party which has been sent out on this business, and of which I have been apprised during the course
of the Spring and Summer, and some of them have met their fate at this place, though for different crimes."
One of these, referred to in the letter, was Huddlestone, the British spy, who was captured at Wild Boar Hill,
in Westchester County, near Yonkers, and was tried, condemned and hung at Poughkeepsie, in April, 1780. The place
of execution was what was afterwards known as Forbus Hill; in the rear of the present Nelson House in Market Street.
Mr. Lossing mentions having heard the venerable Abel Gunn, of Poughkeepsie, who was a drum major in the Continental
army, speak of Huddlestone, and of his execution. He described him as a small man with a large head and thick neck.
He was accompanied to the scaffold by the county officers, and a small guard of militia enrolled for the purpose.
The old stone house on Market Street was erected in 1741, by a Swede named Von Beck, and for a number of years
was occupied by him as a hotel. It afterward passed into the hands of a Mr. Knox, who also used it for hotel purposes.
It was at that time, probably, one of the finest houses of entertainment on the past road between New York and
Albany. The house is of curious construction, the front being of brick, said to have been imported for this purpose
from Holland by Von Beck. The back and end walls are of stone, while the gable ends are of brick. On the rear wall
is a stone bearing the date 1741.
Four miles below the city is an ancient farm house, and a. mill, at the mouth of Spring Brook, at the eastern terminus
of Milton Ferry. Here during the Revolution lived Theophilus Anthony, blacksmith, farmer, miller, and staunch Whig,
who used his forge for making the great chain that stretched across the river at Fort Montgomery. Vaughan, in his
memorable expedition up the Hudson in the Autumn of 1777, laid the rebel blacksmith's mill in ashes, and caused
Anthony to be confined in the Jersey Prison Ship in New York. Three years afterward, Anthony's mill arose from
the ashes of the old one.
The following letter relates to the construction of the chain, above spoken of:
FISHKILL, Sept. 11th, 1776.
SIR:- It is conceived highly necessary that the Iron Chain should be immediately dispatched. If it is finished,
pray send it down to the fort without delay. If it is not finished, let no time be lost, and in the interim give
us the earliest particular account of its present state, and when it will be probably finished. I am sir, your
very humble servant,
WILLIAM YATES, JUN.
To Gilbert Livingston, Esq., Poughkeepsie.
A few years since a cruel instrument of warfare was picked up in the locality of the forge, and is now in possession
of a friend of the writer. The implement of torture was made of iron, with three sharp prongs projecting in such
a. way that one prong would point upwards in whatever position the instrument lay. It was intended to be thrown
in the way of cavalry, to disable the horses.
Toryism prevailed extensively in DUCHESS when the War for Independence broke out. In fact, the inhabitants were
about equally divided into Whigs and Tories. In the summer of 1776 an insurrection broke out in the county against
the authority of the Provincial Congress. The insurgents went about in small numbers and disarmed Whigs, and at
one time the outbreak was so formidable that militia came from Connecticut to aid in putting down the revolters.
Many arrests were made; and the jail at Poughkeepsie being full, some were sent to the jail in the adjoining county
In March of the previous year, a few Whigs met at the house of John Bailey, about three miles east from Poughkeepsie,
and erected a Liberty Pole with a flag on it bearing the words "The King," on one side, and "The
Congress and Liberty" on the other. The Sheriff of DUCHESS County attended by a judge of the inferior court,
and "two of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace and a constable," with some other Tories, cut down the
pole "as a public nuisance." This act no one dared to repeat the next year in Poughkeepsie, for then
the fires of the Revolution were burning brighter and more decided.
When the news of the surrender of Cornwallis sent a thrill of joy throughout the land, it was received with delight
by the patriotic citizens of Duchess County. The news reached Poughkeepsie on the 29th day of October. The Legislature
was then in session here, says Lossing, and both Houses, with the Governor, proceeded to the Reformed Dutch Church,
and there offered thanksgivings to God for the great deliverance. The Rev. John H. Livingston officiated on that
occasion. From the church the members of the Legislature went out to the residence of the Governor to tender their
congratulations. Cannon were fired, bonfires were lighted, and the houses of Whig citizens were illuminated in
At that time there were only two stores in Poughkeepsie, one kept by Beekman Livingston, on the site of the present
Park House, corner of Market and Cannon Streets, and the other by Archibald Stewart, "adjoining the Dutch
Church." Each kept a general assortment of dry goods, groceries, drugs and hardware. On the occasion just
alluded to, Beekman's store was illuminated. Stewart was a Scotchman and Loyalist, and his store was "darkened,"
so to speak, by the light of a single tallow dip.
On the day of rejoicing here, a scouting party returning to a militia camp near the village (the "rebel slaves
of Poughkeepsie") met another party just going out, when a negro belonging to the former called out to one
of the latter, "I say, Cuffee, what all dat firing we hear today?" The other replied, Oh, my dear soul,
nuffin' 'tall, only Burgoyne had a brudder born today!"
As before stated, when the first enumeration of the inhabitants of DUCHESS County was made,  the number was
only 445, of whom 67 were freeholders, and 27 were negro slaves. The most extensive slaveholders in our county
at that time were Baltus Van Kleeck and Dirck Wessels, who owned five slaves each. Poughkeepsie increased slowly
in population; and in 1737, when the county was assessed to build the Colonial Court House, the assessment of Poughkeepsie
was less than $2,500 against $5,000 for Rhinebeck. One hundred years ago it was a hamlet of not more than 150 persons,
yet it made quite a conspicuous figure in the stirring history of that time.
It was selected as one of the places in 1775, where vessels of the Continental Navy were to be built; and her;
in 1776, the frigates Congress and Montgomery were constructed under the surpervision of Captains Lawrence and
Tudor. One or two fire ships with fire arrows were fitted out here by Captain Hazlewood, in the Summer of 1776.
The frigates were not completed and armed before late in the Autumn of 1776; they were wintered at the mouth of
the Rondout Creek. The Continental Navy Yard was on the site of the late Edward Southwick's tannery, near the Lower
Landing. The following papers relate to the building and launching of the frigates:
In Nov., 1776, the shipwrights employed on public works at Poughkeepsie petitioned the Convention of New York for
an increase of wages. Everything was advancing in price, and the wages for journeymen was 8s., and 10s. for the
foreman. The lowest price they agreed to take was 11s. and a half pint of rum per day for the journeymen, and 14s.
and a half pint of rum per day for the foreman.
"Yours came to hand. We advise you by all means to launch the frigates as soon as you can, and then proceed
with the vessels to the place most safe in Rondout Creek, near Esopus Landing. We are sensible of the custom to
give a treat to the workmen after launching, nor do we know that $1.00 for each is too much. We would recommend
that you give it careful consideration, that you may not be blamed of extravagance, nor we of giving sanction thereto."
FROM COMMITTEE OF STATE.
At the close of February, 1776, the navigation of the. Lower Hudson was unimpeded by ice, and vessels sailed freely
between New York and Poughkeepsie the first week in March. Congress having ordered, as before observed, the construction
of two naval vessels at Poughkeepsie, accordingly, on the 7th of March of that year, workmen and materials were
conveyed to that place in a sloop from New York. Before the middle of that month, a sloop came down from Albany
laden with lumber from the mills of General Schuyler at Saratoga, for the shipyard at Poughkeensie, and heavy cannon,
and eight tons of powder and stores arrived at Albany, by a similar conveyance, for the army in Canada. The Upper
Hudson and the lakes were clear of ice early in April - a circumstance that had not occurred in many years.
Seven Tories were at one time committed to the jail at Poughkeepsie, for robbing a number of houses. They were
all painted and dressed like Indian men, but it was found that five of them were women, including a mother and
her two daughters.
Samuel Geake, an emissary of Sir Henry Clinton, enlisted in Captain Swartwout's Company while at Poughkeepsie,
in the character of a recruit; and, insinuating himself into the good graces of the officers of Fort Schuyler,
acquired much valuable information respecting the means, designs and expectations of the Americans. He was suspected,
arrested, tried by court martial as a spy, and condemned to death. He was spared, however, as a witness against
Major Hammell, another recreant American, who accompanied him to Poughkeepsie;. and who was under arrest at that
time. Geake confessed that he was employed for the crime of which he was accused. He said that Major Hammell who
had been taken prisoner by the British, had espoused their cause, and was promised a colonelcy in the British army,
and that he [Geake] was to receive the commission of Lieutenant as soon as he should return to New York from Fort
Samuel Loudon, of Fishkill, was State printer until he found a rival in John Holt, who set up his press in Poughkeepsie.
Holt published the New York Journal, and like Loudon, had fled to a place of safety, first to Kingston, and then
to Poughkeepsie. Three days before Holt's death, in 1784, Loudon petitioned for the State printing, preferring
his claims on the following grounds:
"That your Memorialist's family is numerous and expensive (being twenty in number) and it will take considerable
employment in the profession of a Printer, to yield them a moderate support.
"That your Memorialist has suffered much loss in the course of the War, not only by the depreciation of the
Paper Money, but by the detention of both Public and Private debts, and have now to begin the world, though at
an age considerably advanced.
"That your Memorialist has brought up his oldest son, a native of this [New York] City, after a liberal education,
and has been taught the Printing Business, and is esteemed an accurate compositor, and that your Memorialist has
a number of other good Workmen employed in the Printing Business.
"That your Memorialist printed the Journal of the Legislature of both Houses, while at Fishkill, and at a
time when no other Printer in the State Would do them, as at that time, paper was extremely dear and scarce, they
were printed to the approbation of his employers, and he is now ready to print the Laws or Journals of both Houses
(should it be thought eligable to give him both) on as moderate terms as the price of paper and the wages of workmen
[Continued in History of Poughkeepsie, NY part 2]