TOWN OF BLOOMING GROVE
BY BENJAMIN C. SEARS.
THIS is one of the older towns of Orange County, lying somewhat northwest of the geographical center. The towns
of Hamptonburgh and New Windsor are on the north, Cornwall on the east, Monroe and Woodbury on the south and Goshen
and Chester on the west. It covers an area of 21,739 acres.
The title to all the territory of this town conveyed by the various original patents, upon which rests the deed
of every property holder today has been carefully preserved. The names and dates of the first settlers are also
pretty fully recorded.
The oldest grant of land seems to be the Mompesson Patent, which is dated March 4, 1709, and confirmed May 31,
1712. This covered 1,000 acres. The next grant in order of time is that known as the Rip Van Dam patent, which
is dated March 23, 1907 and covered some 3,000 acres. This was granted to Rip Van Dam, Adolph Phillips, David Provost,
Jr., Lancaster Symes and Thomas Jones, each having an equal share in the tract. This is described as "beginning
at a station bearing west 24 degrees north, and 83 chains from the wigwam of the Indian Maringamus, which was on
the southwest bank of Murderer's Creek just across the railroad track from the Catholic Church of St. Mary. The
present village of Salisbury Mills is on the east end of this patent so far as the village lies in the town. In
the northeast corner of the town on the old county line is the 1.000 acre tract of Roger Van Dam which is dated
June 30, 1720, although a portion of this tract extends over into the present town of New Windsor. The next patent
was granted to Ann Hoagland, May 24, 1723, and it contained 2,000 acres in the western part of the town. In the
southeastern part of the town, adjoining the Rip Van Dam patent. and west of the Schunemunk Mountains was the 2,000
acre grant of Edward Blagg and Johannes Hey, dated March 28, 1726. This valley has been known ever since as Blagg's
Clove. West of this was the irregular tract of 2,440 acres granted to Nathaniel Hazzard January 11, 1727. This
was south of Washingtonville. Still further west was the Joseph Sackett 2,000 acre tract, to which 222 acres were
afterward added on the south. This patent was dated July 7, 1736, and the tract adjoins the present village of
Oxford. Sackett got another grant of 149 acres September 1, 1737, on the west.
On August 10, 1723 a patent covering 2,600 acres was granted to Richard Gerard and William Bull.
The surface of this town is varied by the long range of Schunemunk Mountains, forming the eastern boundary,
with its level ridges reaching to the height of about 1,600 feet, and the beautiful foothills of Woodcock, Round
Hill, Mosquito, Raynor and Peddler. The last two have deposits of magnetic iron ore, which mixed with the ores
from other parts of the county was used in making the Parott guns during the War of the Rebellion. The cultivated
land is also broken and rolling, some upon quite high hills, whose sides were not cultivated, and are covered with
luxuriant blue grass pastures, and along the streams and the lower lands are beautiful natural meadows, which bring
their annual tribute of hay into the barns, and add very much to the beauty of the scenery.
The Greycourt or Cromeline Creek runs from Walton Lake by the base of Goose Pond Mountain, through the Greycourt
meadows and the picturesque falls at Craigville, through Farmingdale and Hulsetown, and is joined near the Hamptonburgh
line by the Otterkill; near Washingtonville by the Tappan or Schunemunk Creek, flowing from Satterly's Mills; also
by the Silver stream draining a portion of Blagg's Clove, and furnishing at the old Coleman Mills, the excellent
water supply of Washingtonville. The united stream is called Murdner's or Murderer's Creek, to which N. P. Willis
gave the more poetical name of "Moodna," where it entered the Hudson near Idlewild. These streams have
along their bank beautiful natural meadows dotted with fine old trees, and the hill tops are covered in places
with sugar maple and chestnut trees, making in the early spring time a beautiful picture of varied green, and in
the autumn a glorious variety of colors, which, together with the fine apple orchards crowning the hillsides, justifies
the name of Blooming Grove.
Vincent Mathews seems to have been the first settler according to the record. He bought the Rip Van Dam Patent,
August 22, 1721, and built a grist mill at the place since known as Salisbury. He named this estate "Mathewsfield."
Thomas Goldsmith came next, about ten years later, and he took the Mompesson Patent. He built a house on the north
bank of the Otterkill, now known as the "Walnut Grove Farm," near the present Washingtonville. Edward
Blagg also settled upon this tract, known as "Blagg's Clove" about this time Mathews sold his mill to
John J. Carpenter, which was turned into a powder mill under a State contract in 1776, when under the kindling
fires of patriotism the demand for powder became very active.
In 1753 Jesse Woodhull settled in Blagg's Clove, although he seems to have purchased the Richard Van Dam Patent
upon which the Moffatt family afterward settled. Mr. Mathews, the original settler, was an attorney, and took an
active part in the early history of the town. He sold 1,500 of his acres to Louis DuBois, of New Paltz, who built
a tavern upon it which was kept by Zachariah DuBois in Revolutionary times.
Prior to 1764 the territory of this town was a part of the Goshen precinct. From that time to 1799 it formed a
part of the town of Cornwall. The other prominent settlers of the town are believed to be included in the following
John Brewster, Edward, Francis, Isaac, Jesse and Nathan Brewster, Daniel Brewster, George Duryea, Richard Goldsmith,
Benjamin Gregory, John Hudson, Henry Hudson, William Hudson, Archibald Little, Timothy, James and Solomon Little;
James Mapes, and his sons Wines, Jesse, Robert, James, Barney, David, William and Thomas; Elihu Marvin, a member
of the Committee of Safety in 1775, also judge of the county in 1778; Seth, Nathan, James, Jesse and John Marvin,
Samuel Moffatt; James and Fletcher Mathews, sons of Vincent Mathews, who was a colonel in the Revolution and a
leading citizen; Thomas Moffatt, member of the Committee of Safety from 1778 to 1794; Josiah, Samuel, Jacob, Stephen
and Peter Reeder; Israel, Thaddeus, John, Jesse, Josiah and Samuel Seely, Bezaliel Seeley, Selah Strong, the first
supervisor of the town; Major Samuel and Captain Nathan Strong; Nathaniel Satterly, member of Committee of Safety
in 1775, and proprietor of Satterly's Mills in 1765; John and Selah Satterly; James, Nathaniel and John Sayer;
Nathaniel Strong, member of Committee of Safety, who was shot at his door by Claudius Smith, October 6, 1778; Captain
Jesse Woodhull, delegate to the first Provincial Convention, and member of the State Convention that revised the
federal constitution in 1778; Abner Woodhull, George and Benjamin Whittaker; Silas, Reuben and Birdseye Young;
Stephen Mathews, Gilbert, Zachariah and John DuBois; Hezekiah, Isaiah, Stephen, Isaac, Paul, Zepheniah, Charles,
Aaron, Silas and Jeremiah Howell; Benjamin and Thomas Goldsmith; David Coleman, Caleb, Joab, Asahel, Micah, Silas,
Richard and Jeremiah Coleman; Thomas, John, Francis and Richard Drake; Nathaniel Coleman. Daniel Curtis, John Chandler,
Henry and Oliver Davenport.
Among other family names recorded are those of Carpenter, Moffatt, Owens, Gregg and Wooley. It is said of the Woodhull
family that its ancestry is distinctly traced to the individual who came to England from Normandy with William
the Conqueror in 1066.
The town of Blooming Grove was organized March 23, 1799, the territory being taken from the more ancient Cornwall
township. The name Blooming Grove had long been in use for this part of Cornwall, being the name of the old village
which was given to distinguish it from Hunting Grove, a locality then in New Windsor.
The first town meeting was held at the house of John Chandler, the first Tuesday of April, 1799. Selah Strong
was then elected supervisor and Daniel Brewster town clerk. Two hundred dollars were raised for the support of
the poor that year, and a $to bounty was voted for each wolf killed within the town. Mr. Brewster served as town
clerk for thirty seven years without intermission. There was little personal politics in those times, and public
office was probably regarded as a public trust.
In April, 1830, a part of the town was taken off in the formation of Hamptonburgh. In March, 1843, another small
portion was set off to the town of Chester.
Charles W. Hull has been town clerk since 1874, and has just been reelected, so that his term will be nearly as
long as John Brewster's.
The house of John Brewster, at which the town meetings were held, 1765 to 1799, was kept as a hotel and was said
to be the homestead of the Cooper family, upon which is now situated the Blooming Grove station and post office.
When the present town of Blooming Grove was formed, the principal center was at Blooming Grove, where the old church
was erected, 1759. The first town meeting was held in the spring of 1759, at the house of John Chandler, who kept
a general country store here several years previous to this, also at Edenville, near Warwick, taking in wheat and
other grain which was carted to New Windsor, ground at the old mill on Quassaic Creek, and shipped to the West
Indies and exchanged for sugar, molasses and other products of the tropics, which were brought back to Orange County
by the Hudson River to New Windsor, and exchanged again for grain and other farm products. John Chandler purchased
in 1793 a small farm, upon which his great grandson, B. C. Sears, now resides. He was president of the Newburgh
and New Windsor Turnpike Co., and of the Blooming Grove and Greycourt Turnpike Co., built by his son in law, Hector
Craig. He was an elder in the Blooming Grove Church and a large land owner in this part of the county.
The village of Blooming Grove then consisted of the old church and the old Blooming Grove academy, built about.
1810, to which many of the students came from the neighboring towns, boarding with the neighbors about. A part
of it was used as a district school until 1857, when the present building was built upon the old academy site.
A blacksmith shop, kept later by Pierson Genung, a drug store, a cooper shop, the old toll gate, the country store,
and the hotel kept by Benjamin Thompson, where were held the town meetings, general trainings, etc., and the public
were entertained, were on this the main thoroughfare from Warwick to New Windsor and later Newburgh. This property
was conveyed to Samuel Moffatt, Jr., merchant, by the executors of Rev. Benoni Bradner, and by him to Seth Marvin
in 1810, who built a store house on a lot purchased of Charles Howell, 1810. Blooming Grove now consists only of
the old church, the parsonage and the schoolhouse, and half a mile away the station, store and post office, kept
by C. C. Gerow, and the creamery owned by the Sheffield, Slawson, Decker Co.
In 1810, Samuel Moffatt, Jr. having sold his place in Blooming Grove, moved to a new settlement at Washingtonville,
building the old corner store, now owned by George A. Owen. Across the highway Moses Ely, the father of the late
Dr. Ely, of Newburgh, had a tannery, and John Jaques, then a young man, opened here a shoe shop. The old corner
store, built in the woods almost, there being only two other dwellings, (a log house owned by James Giles and the
private school of Jane Sweezey), was carried on by Samuel Moffatt and his son David, either alone or as members
of the firm, from 1812 to 1832; then John S. Bull, 1832-1839; Walter Halsey.and Apollis Halsey, 1839-1850; and
the Warners and Williams Howell, 1850 to 1890, and George A. Owen, 1890, to this date. This store has always been,
and is still, a prominent landmark in Washingtonville. In 1813, Jeclediah Breed came to Washingtonville from Dutchess
County, and built a harness shop adjoining the dwelling house now owned by his grandson, George A. Owen, and which
has been occupied as a harness shop for nearly too years. Here Henry F. Breed kept the Blooming Grove post office
for forty years, nearly continuously; after his death the post office was removed to the building of Alexander
Moore. where, in 1872, the name was changed from Blooming Grove to Washingtonviile.
Alexander Moore and his brother in law, Albert G. Owen, the father of George A. Owen, carried on a furniture and
paint business here from 1830 to 1850, Moore being the postmaster and Owen, supervisor and justice for many years,
and a member of the Assembly, 1849-1850. This village soon grew to be important, and is now one of the finest villages
of its size in Orange County, having a beautiful shaded avenue of maples and many handsome residences. There are
the Presbyterian and Methodist churches, Catholic Church of St. Mary, and the beautiful Moffatt Library, given
to the village by David H. Moffatt, of Denver, and erected under the careful supervision of John Newton Moffatt,
having a fine collection of books and a beautiful hall which is the convenient center for much social enjoyment;
the large feed mill, originally built by David H. Moffatt, the father of David H., and now carried on by the Thomas
Fulton Co., together with a large coal and lumber business; a similar establishment carried on by Hector Moffatt
& Son, and the very large wine vaults of the Brotherhood Wine Ca., successors to the Jaques Brothers' Vineyard
established in 1838. The Bordens also have here a large' creamery. and there his also the Farmers' Creamery, now
operated by the Mutual Milk. and Cream Co., making this the most important station 'upon the Newburgh Branch of
the Erie Railroad. It is surrounded by beautiful homes and thrifty farms. Within the corporation line are the home
and farm of William H. Hallock, who owns several of the old ancestral homes throughout the town, which he has improved,
and still runs with great business ability; also the ancestral homes of the Brooks family, descendants of Fletcher
Mathews, one of the original settlers, and also the old Nicoll homestead, now occupied by Charles Nicoll.
Northwest of Washingtonville is the old Joseph Moffatt homestead, now held by his grandsons, C. R. Shons and
S. L. Moffatt, who have beautiful orchards, which, with that of Jesse Hulse, crown the beautiful hilltop and have
made "Blooming Grove apples" famous both at home and abroad; also the Walnut Grove farm, upon which the
first Goldsmiths settled, and made famous by Alden Goldsmith and his sons, James and John A., now in the hands
of the widow of John A. and her husband, Mr. O. B. Stillman; also the home of the late Captain Thomas N. Hulse,
so long and so favorably known years ago to all travelers upon the Hudson River, now the home of his niece, Mrs.
James A. Knapp, daughter of Benjamin Moffatt. Two and a half miles east of the village of Washingtonville is the
village of Salisbury Mills, the oldest settlement of the town, where, on the falls of Murderer's Creek, Vincent
Mathews built his mill, which later was owned by Captain Richard Caldwell, by Peter Van Allen, by Isaac Oakly,
and is now the Arlington paper mills, owned and operated on a very large scale by Henry Ramsdell. Here in 1803
came John Caldwell, and with him his three sons, John, Andrew J. and Richard. Richard, then a mere lad, had been
at the head of a company in the Emmet Rebellion, and through the clemency of Lord Cornwallis his sentence of death
was commuted to banishment for himself and his father's family. He came to Salisbury with his father, and in 1808
married a daughter of John Chandler. He had the mill and a store at Salisbury. When the war with England in 1812
became a certainty, Richard Caldwell raised the 25th Co. Infantry of soldiers, was elected their captain, and led
them. toward Canada, crossing Lake Champlain in open boats, in a severe storm. He divided his extra clothing with
his soldiers, and contracted a severe cold, resulting in pneumonia, and he died December 11, 1812, and is buried
at Champlain, near Plattsburg. His name is perpetuated by the beautiful monument erected in Salisbury Mills by
his nephew, Richard Caldwell, to his memory and the memory of those who perished with him in that ill advised and
ill equipped expedition; also to the memory of Captain Isaac Nicoll and those who died with him, in the War of
the Rebellion. Captain Richard Caldwell left two children, John R. Caldwell, long well known as a prominent citizen
of New Windsor, and Mary, the wife of Marcus Sears, M.D. The old house erected by John Caldwell in 1803 is still
standing, long known as the home of Andrew J. Caldwell and his son, Richard Caldwell, both of whom stood firm for
righteousness and temperance. In a part of the same grounds was the home of a sister, Mrs. Chambers, now occupied
by the widow of Richard Caldwell, and from which still emanates a powerful influence for good to the whole village.
Also the old home of the oldest son, John Caldwell, who was a merchant in New York, and on retiring came to live
with his kindred in Salisbury, was the first president of the Orange County Agricultural Society, and was much
interested in keeping silk worms and actually produced silk from the mulberry trees growing on his grounds in Salisbury.
Near the village stands a part of the old stone house, the home of Major DuBois, who was a prominent man in the
War of the Revolution, as major in Colonel Woodhull's regiment, who was a prisoner for ten months in the hands
of the British, and who lost his extensive lands by the depreciation of the Colonial money and his enforced absence
from home; also the beautiful home of the family of Hon. Robert Denniston. The ancestor of the Denniston family
was Alexander Denniston, the brother in law of Charles Clinton, who with many of his friends and neighbors, all
being Scotch Presbyterians, and tired of the exactions and demands of the crown, emigrated from the town of Edgeworth,
county of Longford, Ireland, in the early summer of 1729. After a long, tedious voyage of nearly five months, they
landed on Cape Cod; thence two years later they came to Little Britain. A family legend is, that these pioneers
stood upon a hilltop about two miles northeast of Washingtonville and called the land in sight to the north, Little
Britain, and there they settled. Alexander had six sons, James, George, Alexander, William, John, Charles, and
four daughters. They were all stern patriots devoted to their country. The father was a member of Colonel Ellison's
New Windsor regiment in 1738, and on frontier service in 1755. The six sons were all members of the Third Ulster
County regiment, which was called out many times during the dark days of the Revolution. Two were members of the
Committee of Safety and one served in the line during the whole war. Of these sons James was the only one that
settled in the town of Blooming Grove, the others settling elsewhere, New Windsor, Cornwall, etc. He purchased,
in 1790, the farm one mile east of Washingtonville, which still remains in the family. He had three sons, James,
Alexander, Abraham, and two daughters. He died in 1805, leaving the homestead to his son James. The latter had
one son, Robert, and four daughters, Dying in 1825, the homestead was inherited by his son Robert. The latter served
as an officer of the militia, was justice of the peace in his native town, judge of the Court of Common Pleas in
Orange County, was elected member of the New York State Assembly in 1835, and again in 1839 and 1840, and was State
senator from 1841-1847 and State comptroller in 1860 and 1861. He was very active and energetic in his endeavors
to maintain the Union during the War of the Rebellion, and was chairman of the military commission in the Orange
and Sullivan Counties district. He had five sons, William Scott, James Otis, Robert, Henry Martyn, Augustus, and
six daughters. These sons, like their ancestors, were all interested in the war for the preservation of the Union,
and served either in the army or navy. William Scott was a surgeon in the volunteer army and died of fever, July,
1862. James Otis was first lieutenant and captain, Company G, 124th N. Y. State Volunteers, July 2, 1862, to September
3, 1863, when, on account of wounds, he was mustered out. He afterwards studied theology and retired from active
church work in 1905. Augustus was first lieutenant and quartermaster in the same regiment from July 15, 1862, to
February 3, 1863, resigning on account of physical debility: Henry Martyn entered the pay corps of the U. S. Navy
in September, 1861, and after serving over forty years, on reaching the age of sixty two years was placed on the
retired list with the rank of rear admiral. Robert served as his assistant from March, 1863, to October, 1863,
resigning on account of ill health, and died August, 1864. Augustus was a member of the New York State Assembly
in 1874-1875, and president of Orange County Agricultural Society, 1879, to date; also president of Highland National"
Bank, and resides on the old homestead, which he owns.
West of Blooming Grove about two miles is located the village of Craigville, upon the falls of the Greycourt Creek,
which formerly allowed three dams, all now gone, the combined power of which, together with the fact that the stream
may be replenished from Walton Lake, or Long Pond, will at some future date be of value, as it was in the past.
On the upper fall was located in the early days a forge, and some of the old slag is still in evidence. In later
years a saw mill and grist mill were erected by Hector Craig, used afterward as the first manufactory of Hornby's
Oats H. O. The machinery has been removed since to Buffalo. The second fall was utilized by James Craig and his
son, Hector Craig, for a paper mill in 1790.
After the death of Hector Craig, Barrett Ames, a son in law of Hector Craig, who had been a cotton merchant in
Mobile, and his son in law, E. Peet, erected here a cotton factory, which was operated successfully for a number
of years, but after the death of Mr. Ames. the property passed into other hands, and the cotton factory was burned
down. Later the high (lam was swept away and nothing remains but the ruins and the old house, which was once surrounded
by beautiful gardens and was the scene of much social life when the home of Hector Craig, Barrett Ames and Irving
Van Wart, who was a son in law of Mr. Ames. At this home Washington Irving, an uncle of Irving Van Wart, made one
of his last visits, if not his last visit, far away from Sunnyside. To this old home came James Craig, in 1790,
from Paisley, Scotland, bringing with him his family. His son, Hector Craig, born in Scotland, 1775, married a
daughter of John Chandler, 1796. He was a member of Congress, 1823-1825 and 1829-1830. He was a strong supporter
of Andrew Jackson, is said to have cast the first vote in Congress for Andrew Jackson for President, and was by
him appointed surveyor of the port in 1830, and U. S. commissioner of bankruptcy in 1832. Hector Craig carried
on the paper mill during his life, and also for a time the manufacture of hemp from the Chester meadows, which
had been drained by act of Legislature in 1790. The old storehouse built by him is still carried on by Edwin Duryea,
and the old hotel is still standing, a part of the Hornby property. The third fall, much lower, turned the mill
of Uncle Silas Seaman and his son, Valentine Seaman, but is now out of use, and the property of H. S. Ramsdell.
Just beyond the terminus of the Blooming Grove and Greycourt turnpike is the old Greycourt Cemetery, the burial
place of many, respected citizens of this and adjoining towns.
Two miles south of Craigville is situated Oxford Depot, on the Erie Railroad, with a general country store, kept
formerly by Peter B. Taylor, but for many years the store and post office have been in charge of S. C. Van Vliet,
who has also served the town as supervisor, justice, etc. Here is also a creamery run by the Alexander Campbell
Co. The old settlement of Satterly's Mills and the adjacent Campbell Tillotson property are now the beautiful country
residence of William Crawford, a well known New York merchant, who is doing much to improve that part of the town.
Near Oxford Depot is the beautiful home of Judge Charles R. Bull, supervisor from 1899 to 1903, and associate judge
of County Court, and a lineal descendant of Sarah Wells. The old time homes of the Seelys and Marvins and the Fletcher
Woodhull families, for a long time famous for their well tilled farms, and in the old times well finished fat cattle,
have passed from their hands, with the single exception of that of Courtland Marvin, still in the hands of his
grand daughter, Fannie Marvin, regent of Blooming Grove Chapter, D. A. R., and granddaughter of Fannie Woodhull
Marvin, mentioned by Eager in his sketch of Claudius Smith as being used by her mother, wife of Captain Woodhull,
in saving the family silver. The stone house built under the supervision of William S. Woodhull is still the property
of the widow of his son, Jesse Woodhull, who was a daughter of Marcus Sears and Mary Caldwell. And the Youngs homesteads
are still held by their descendants, Joseph W. Young, Mrs. Durland and the family of William B. Hunter. The Bulls
in the southern part of the town near Monroe, still dwell upon the old homestead. John Brewster, the town clerk
of Cornwall, 1765-1799, lived near Blooming Grove, and a part of his old homestead remains in the hands of his
descendants, Thomas C. and Walter H. Brewster, who have both been supervisors of the town, and whose beautiful
homes are beside the Tappan. on Satterly's Creek, and near the ancestral home of Selah E. Strong, supervisor of
Blooming Grove, 1875-1882, and sheriff of Orange County, 1888-1889-1890, and is now the home of his widow and their
son, Sherwood Strong. This fine, old home was built by his grandfather, Selah Strong, the first supervisor of the
new town of Blooming Grove, having been justice of the peace for the town of Cornwall. for ten years. His father,
Major Nathaniel Strong, came to this farm with the Howells and Woodhulls from Long Island, and married Hannah,
daughter of Major Nathaniel Woodhull. He was a prominent citizen, a major in the Continental Army, and was murdered
in his home on his farm, by the notorious Claudius Smith, October 6, 1778. This homestead adjoins that of the Strong
family, now occupied by Charles F. Bull, from which came Major Samuel Strong and Captain Nathan Strong, who was
at Valley Forge with the Continental Army. The descendants of Samuel Strong now live in Blooming Grove on the Benjamin
Strong farm, near the Blooming Grove church, and Charles Strong in Blagg's Clove. This homestead adjoins that of
Colonel Jesse Woodhull, who settled here on 500 acres of land in 1753, aged eighteen years, a part of which still
remains in the family of N. D. Woodhull. The Woodhull family were descendants from Richard Woodhull, born in North
Hampton, England, 1620. Zealous for English liberty during the Protectorate, he sought freedom here. His grandson,
Nathaniel, married into the Smith family, who were large proprietors of St. George's Manor, L. I. His daughter,
Hannah, married Major Nathaniel Strong. His son, General Nathaniel Woodhull, remained upon the old homestead at
Mastic, Long Island, and took an active part in opposing British oppression, and was killed by a British officer,
September 2, 1776, tradition says because he would not say, "God save the King." Jesse settled in Blagg's
Clove, and his son Richard married Hannah, daughter of Judge William Smith, of Long Island, and was the father
of William Smith and Nathaniel DuBois. William Smith was the father of William Henry Howell and Jesse Woodhull,
and Nathaniel was the father of Richard and Francis Mandeville and grandfather of Nathaniel D. Woodhull, well known
in Orange County as a leader of the New York milk business. Adjoining the Woodhull tract is the old Howell homestead
to which Hezekiah Howell came from Long Island about 1730, and tradition says that as they came over Schunemunk
Mountain they were obliged to stand by their horses to prevent the wild turkeys from eating up their oats. He with
Sylvanus White and others took up the patent of 2,000 acres called Blagg's Clove, and he married a daughter of
Job Sayre in 1735. His son, Hezekiah 2d, was born here, 1741, and married Juliana, daughter of Nathaniel Woodhull,
of Mastic, L. I. His son, Charles Howell, was born in 1752, married a daughter of Major Nathaniel Strong, and after
her death, Elizabeth, daughter of Charles Board, and settled near the Blooming Grove church, upon a farm of 150
acres, which still remains in the hands of the family of his son, Edmund S. Howell. He served in the Independent
Corps under General George Clinton in building Fort Putnam, and was on guard after the burning of Kingston. Hezekiah
Howell was the first supervisor of the old town of Cornwall, and was sheriff of Orange County during the Revolution.
His son, Hezekiah 3d, married Frances, daughter of Major Tuthill, of Orange County. His grandson, Nathaniel W.,
graduated from Williams in the year 1853, was supervisor of Blooming Grove, 1871 and 1872, and a member of Assembly,
1863-1864. He has lived upon the old Howell homestead, and also inherited his father's farm, and has just conveyed
the whole Howell tract of 700 acres to C. T. Purdy, who is as closely connected with Sheriff Howell as Nathaniel
W. Sylvanus White, Jr., was born on Long Island, Southampton, and was son of Sylvanus and Phoebe Howell. They came
with the Howells and Woodhull and Strongs and Moffatts, to Blagg's Clove, and settled upon 30o acres of land. His
daughter married Inseam Helme, and the family still retain the old Helme homestead, near Coleman's Mills. His son,
Nathan H. White, was born in 1770, entered Columbia College at the age of eighteen, and graduated in 1781 in the
same class as John Randolph of Roanoke. He taught a classical school in Montgomery for six years, and was principal
of the Newburgh Academy two years. Returning to the old home in 1802, he married Frances, daughter of Hezekiah
and Juliana Woodhull Howell and added 200 acres to the old homestead. He was elected first judge of Orange County,
and was the friend and associate of Judges Kent, Van Ness, Platt and others; in 1802 was commissioned by Governor
Morgan Lewis, captain of an Orange County Company of Militia. His son, Albert S. White, went to Indiana about 1825,
was a member of Congress from Indiana two terms, and U. S. Senator contemporary with Clay, Calhoun and Webster.
One daughter married Harvey Denniston, and after his death, John Nicoll, of Washingtonville, and the old White
homestead is still held by her son, Charles Nicoll; and from this union of the Woodhulls with the Strongs and the
Howells and from the Woodhull family came the numerous descendants who, together with the Seelys, Tuthills and
Moffatts. Hulses, Hudsons, Duryeas, etc., have combined to make the old town well known, both at home and in very
many distant States, as one after another has left his ancestral acres to seek a home, if not a fortune, in other
parts of our native land. Those who remained at home have kept the ancestral acres up to the standard of productiveness
set by their fathers, have been the supporters of the old church and of the schools, and have erected beautiful
Instead of the droves of fatted cattle which slowly wended their way through the Ramapo Valley to the Christmas
market in the city, and the county butter, now the Erie Railroad carries its daily freight of milk, and the accustomed
leisure, the good old fashioned all day visits, and early teas, have given way to the daily rush to the trains,
or creameries, and the more elaborate, though no more enjoyable festal occasions, with formal, invitations and
Who shall succeed these old families who have so loyally supported the Church, the State and the School? Shall
their fine residences, which now crown the hilltops, with their beautiful views, and the valleys with their peaceful
streams, attract the residents of the nearby cities, as the neighboring town of Monroe is doing? Or will these
homes pass into the hands of those who have to labor for their daily bread, day by day, and neither the one nor
the other caring for the traditions of the past, caring not for the old churches, the old burial grounds, nor anything
of the past.
This question comes home to many of us, as we see the changes going on about us, and we cannot answer.
CHURCHES AND PASTORS.
The first house of worship was erected in Blooming Grove, 1759. The old church stood until 1823, when the present
building was erected. The first pastor was Rev Enos Ayres, who stood first on the roll of the first class graduated
at Princeton College. He died in 1762 and was buried in the old burial ground, a part of which, including his grave
and the graves of Rev. Samuel Parkhurst and Rev. Benoni Bradner, was covered by the new church building. In 1764
he was succeeded by Rev. Abner Reeve, father of the celebrated Judge Reeve, who founded the law school at Litchfield,
Conn. Rev. Abner Reeve resigned about 1786. In 1786, Rev. Samuel Parkhurst came as a supply and soon died here,
and his grave is also under the present church. Then followed, in 1770, Rev. Anasiah Lewis, Rev. Case, Rev. Green
and Rev. Silas Constant, as stated supplies for a time. Rev. Benoni Bradner filled the pulpit from 1786 until 1802,
dying in 1804. He was buried here, his stone still standing erect under the church. After his retirement Rev. Joel
T. Benedict preached a few months. Rev. Noah Crane, 18o3 to 1811. He was succeeded by Rev. William Rafferty, who
married a daughter of John Chandler and resigned in 1815, to become president of St. John's College, Annapolis,
Maryland. Returning on a visit in 1830, he died here, and is buried in the old Chandler family burial ground on
the old homestead now occupied by B. C. Sears. August 7, 1816, Rev. Luther Halsey was installed as pastor. The
church was admitted under the care of the Presbytery, with the reservation of its form of government, and remained
in the Presbytery of Hudson until 1833, but has always been in fact Congregational. Rev. Luther Halsey served the
church with great acceptance. Great revivals blessed his ministry, at one time nearly one hundred being added to
the church. The present church building was erected under his ministry, and frequently filled. He resigned in 1824
to accept a professorship in Nassau Hall; later became professor of theology in Alleghany, in Auburn, and in Union
Seminaries. He died in Pittsburgh on November 2, 1880, aged eighty seven years. He was succeeded at Blooming Grove
by James Arbuckle, then pastor of the Eighth Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, who was pastor of the church
until his death, July, 1847. In 1847, Rev. Ebenezer Mason, son of the celebrated John M. Mason, D.D., of New York
City, became pastor, who died here the next year. After his death the pulpit was supplied until April, 1851, when
Rev. Austin Craig was called, and served this church for fourteen years, when he resigned to accept the presidency
of Antioch College, Ohio, and later was president of the Biblical School at Stanfordville, Dutchess County, N.
Y., where he died, but is still held in loving remembrance by many of the congregation and in the town. He was
succeeded in April, 1866, by Rev. Warren Hathaway, D.D., who still occupies the pulpit. Although he has had frequent
calls to what seems to have been more attractive fields of labor, he still remains loyal to his old congregation
and they to him. Both Eager and Ruttenber, to whom we are indebted for part of the facts herein stated, excuse
a lengthy report of this old church, because of its being one of the landmarks of the town, and it still stands
for righteousness, temperance, and charity toward all those laboring for the good of their fellow men, but the
congregation is greatly changed. In the place of the Marvins, and Seelys, Moffatts and Roes, who came in large
loads containing the whole families, come very few of those still left of the Woodhulls and Marvins. Although the
Tuthills and the Shons, who represent the old Moffatt family, the Hulses and Hudsons, Gerows and Sears, and Howells
and Brewsters, still contribute their quotas toward the congregation, there are many vacant pews, and very many
who trooped up the long aisles, and listened attentively to the instructive and eloquent sermons, and visited upon
the old door stones, are seen there no more. In place of the tall form of David H. Moffatt, Jr., who used to lead
the choir in the old gallery, stands the handsome pipe organ erected to his father's memory by David H. Moffatt,
of Deaver. And the church has a fund in memory of David Wright, given by his daughter Susan Wright.
In 1830, an effort was made to start an Episcopal church in Washingtonville, but met with no success. August 21,
1851, under the leadership of Rev. Henry Belden, a Congregational church was organized, and a building erected,
which was afterward sold to the Methodist congregation, incorporated 18J5. The First Presbyterian Church of Washingtonville
was organized 1841. Connected with the Hudson Presbytery under the charge of Rev. Henry Belden the church grew
to a membership of 121, when Rev. Henry Belden was succeeded by Rev. Phineas Robinson. A church building was erected
in 1847, and Rev. Luther Halsey was called to succeed him and occupied the pulpit until October, 1856. Rev. Daniel
Higbee served the church from August, 1858, until his death, October, 1867. He was succeeded by John Griswold,
who served until April, 1871, when he was succeeded by Rev. James B. Beaumont, 1871 to 1881, George W. Morrill
from 1882 to 1884; when an effort to unite the congregations of the First and Second Churches was made, but failed.
In 1886, Rev. Joseph Greenleaf was called, and died in 1888. William M. Yeoman was pastor from 1898 to October,
1902. John A. McCallum, installed 1903, resigned June 20, 1907, leaving the church without a pastor at this date.
Their church property has been increased by a new parsonage, 1872. and a handsome chapel and Sunday schoolroom,
to the memory of Mary Scott Denniston, the widow of Hon. Robert Denniston, erected by her children.
In 1855, Dr. Luther Halsey, having a matter of difference with the New School Assembly, did not feel he could any
longer remain under its care, and many of his congregation joining with him, they formed the Old School Presbyterian.
Church of Washingtonville. The church was organized in 1857, a house of worship built in 1858, and a parsonage
added in 1871. Dr. Luther Halsey occupied the pulpit until April, 1862, when Rev. Arthur Harlow was called and
ordained and installed, September, 1863; resigned in October, 1871, and died June 19, 1883. In 1872, B. G. Benedict
became stated supply until 1875, when on account of ill health he resigned and was succeeded by Rev'd. N. M. Sherwood,
who served the church ten years, resigning in 1885 in order that his occupying the pulpit might not embarrass the
effort to unite the two Presbyterian churches. This effort failing, Rev. Eugene L. Mapes was called, April, 1886;
installed 1887, and resigned a year later, having received a call to the Presbyterian church of Carlisle, Pa. The
church was then supplied for some time, and then sold its property, and divided the proceeds between the Foreign
and Home Mission Boards of the Presbyterian Church, part of the congregation giving to the First Presbyterian Church
and part to the old Blooming Grove Church, and part to Bethlehem and Little Britain.
The Blooming Grove Methodist Episcopal Church was incorporated December 3, 1855. This is now the Washingtonville
Methodist Church. It was for a long time on the circuit of Monroe, Oxford, Craigville and Highland Mills, but now
is associated with the church at Salisbury Mills, has a fine church property, kept in very good repair, and has
recently installed electric lights in connection with other improvements.
The Catholic Church of St. Mary is near Washingtonville on the State road, the first building erected in 1872,
has been of late much enlarged and beautified under the direction and by the effort of Rev. Father Tetrau, and
now has a fine property consisting of the enlarged church and rectory.
The Methodist Church of Salisbury Mills was incorporated in 1854, was connected with the New Windsor circuit until
1898, when it was connected with Washingtonville. It has a convenient and finely located building.
In Salisbury, largely through the efforts of Richard Caldwell and his wife, Sarah Beattie Caldwell, the Hope Chapel,
connected with the Bethlehem Presbyterian Congregation, was built, and has been an active organization ever since,
and its Sunday school, supported by its founders, is large and active, and Sunday evening and other services well
The Satterly Town Methodist Church was organized in 1855, a house built and services held for some time, but its
supporters, withdrawing or moving from the neighborhood, the building was removed. Also about 1850 a church was
erected at Craigville, for the use of that village and neighborhood, which soon passed into the hands of the Methodist
organization, and was on the circuit with Washingtonville for many years, but service has for a long time been
discontinued, though the building still stands in fair repair and is beautifully situated. Still another Methodist
church was built about one mile south of Oxford Depot and used for the purpose of worship, but now has been turned
to secular use; also near this was the Friends meeting house, now used as a dwelling.