TOWN OF CRAWFORD.
By J. ERSKINE WARD.
THIS triangular township, some eighteen or twenty miles west of the Hudson River, is in the northwest corner
of Orange County, bordering upon the counties of Sullivan and Ulster. It carries a point of Orange County land
wells up into old Ulster County and contains the northernmost soil of the county.
It is bounded on the north by Sullivan and Ulster, on the east by Ulster and the town of Montgomery, south by Montgomery
and Wallkill, and on the west by the town of Wallkill and Sullivan County.
The area of the town, as given in the last report of the Orange Supervisors, is 24,769 acres. Upon this land the
Crawford assessors for Igoe placed a valuation of $664,531, and returned personal property of its residents to
the value of $15,300. The total tax raised in the town that year was $8,617.89. This amount was made up as follows:
General fund, $2,668.14; poor fund, $600; town audits, $2,287.12; roads and bridges, $400; railroad purposes, $2.107.50:
temporary relief, $250; sworn off taxes, $185.45; treasurer's credits, $115.33.
The name Crawford came from a numerous and respectable family of Irish descent who were among the first settlers
of the locality. The land was a part of the original John Evans patent referred to in other parts of this work.
When this great tract was set aside the territory of this section was disposed of in many smaller grants to Philip
Schuyler and others. Among the many other tracts mentioned in the Crawford titles were the 8,000 acre tract which
now includes the village of Pine Bush, and the 10,000 acre tract next on the south. The following separate patents
were included in the Crawford township; Thomas Ellison and Lawrence Roomed, November 12, 1750; Frederick Morris
and Samuel Heath, January 24, 1736; Jacobus Bruyn and Henry Wileman, April 25, 1722; Philip Schuyler and others,
8,000 acres, July 7, 1720; part of the patent to Jeremiah Schuyler and others, January 22, 1719; part of Thomas
Noxons patent February 21, 1737.
NATURAL FEATURES OF THE TOWN.
The general altitude of the town is somewhat higher than that of Montgomery. The general surface is a hilly
upland broken by high ridges, which extend northeast and southwest. It is in fact separated from Montgomery by
one of these elevated ridges known as the Collaburgh and Comfort Hills, which at times rise 200 feet above the
valley. While the land is somewhat more difficult to cultivate because of the stony hills and undulating surface,
the soil is very strong and productive, yielding fine crops of grass, grain and fruits and responding well to tillage.
These slopes and elevations have been found particularly well adapted to the growth of fruit of a superior quality.
The proximity of the mountain range is said to have a favorable influence upon the general rainfall of the region.
Showers are frequent in summer and the effects of growth are less severe than in other sections not so favored.
The Shawangunk Kill or river is the principal stream, and it forms the western boundary of the town between it
and Sullivan County, and afterward it also separates the town from Ulster County until the northern limit of the
town is reached. This is a rapid flowing stream and affords much valuable waterpower at different points, which
has been utilized to some extent in a variety of ways. The early settlers were quick to see the value and importance
of these privileges, and they began to make use of them in their primitive manner at once.
Among the numerous tributaries to the Shawangunk in the town is the Paughcaughnaughsinque. The name is of Indian
origin. There are in fact two of these subsidiary streams, the Big and the Little Paughcaughnaughsinque. They flow
northward and afford additional water power at different points.
In the eastern portion of the town is a more important stream known now as the Dwaarskill. This, too, has enjoyed
a great variety of orthographic nomenclature, such as "Dwaarskill," "Dwarf'skill," etc. Of
course the original was bestowed by the Indians, and, it is said, was given in honor of a Chief of a small tribe
which dwelt upon its banks. One of the old settlers in that region is credited with having seen this Indian Chief,
who was called "Dwaase," and who had his wigwam near the old turnpike gate No. 3. Others claim, however,
that the name is clearly Low or Holland Dutch, and signifies perverse or contrary because it flows north. The stream
begins somewhere near the center of the town of Wallkill, not far from the Crawford Railway junction, flows through
the valley parallel to that of the Shawangunlc Kill, and finally leaves the town at the northeast corner.
This town also has its share of swamps, of which the historian Ruttenber says Orange County has over 40,000 acres.
One of these swamps is northwest of the Sinsabaugh neighborhood, and another is southwest of Searsburgh.
EARLY SETTLEMENT AND SETTLERS.
This being among the newer towns of the county, the specific details of its settlement are so blended with the
early history of the old Wallkill precinct and that of the town of Montgomery, from which Crawford was set off,
that it is quite impossible to separate them for this place.
The Weller settlement was partly upon this territory. Johannes Snyder started a small settlement in the vicinity
of Searsville, where the bought a large tract of land on both sides of the Dwaarskill. He built a primitive log
mill there at once, and this is down in the records of 1768 as Snyder's Mill. He seems to have been a man of means
and influence, as he also built a log church soon after settling there, which was known as Snyder's Church. This
Snyder family was Dutch and made the first settlement here in 1740, if not earlier. All the services in this little
church was in the Dutch language, and it is recorded that the church was worn out or outgrown even before the Revolution.
Somewhere about the same time Robert Milliken built a saw mill on the Shawangunk Kill. This is referred to as Milliken's
mill in the records of 1768, and this is the earliest mention of a saw mill on that stream in the records. Other
mills were built there, however, in later years. First was the old flour mill of Pat. Boice, next below the Milliken
mill was the Sear's grist mill, then Abraham Bruyn's flour mill, and finally Cornelius Slott's saw and grist mill
combined. The latter was continued by Arthur Slott after the death of his father. and he soon built a small collection
of houses there for his employees. This Slott ancestry were among the oldest settlers in the State. The family
came from Holland in 1670, as the family record shows. They located first at Hackensack, N. J., and after a few
years there they removed to Rockland County, and soon after that they came to Montgomery and settled on the Tinn
Brook at a point afterward known as Slott Town. Cornelius Slott engaged in farming. In 1777, while serving as an
orderly sergeant with his military company, in the active defense of Fort Montgomery lie was taken prisoner and
confined in the old Sugar House, New York, by the British forces for ten months. In 1785, on regaining his liberty,
he sold his farm and lived in New York for the next five years. Then he bought the mill site in Pine Bush and erected
his saw mill just below the mouth of the Paughcaughnaughsinque stream. The next year he also built a grist mill.
There was no public road leading to his mill at the time, but he soon secured one from Hopewell.
A small early settlement near Graham's Church was made by Abraham Dickerson, an Irishman, John Robinson and Philip
Decker. Philip Decker's ancestors came from Holland. When sixteen years old he drove a team from Ward's Bridge
to Valley Forge with a load of corn for Washington's army. Dickerson built a saw mill on a small stream near there
which was operated successfully for a time and then fell into decay The portion of the Wallkill valley in this
town was the site of the earliest settlement. These old pioneers consisted of Germans, Hollanders and Huguenots.
Many of them came from the older settlements in Ulster County, and others were directly from their native land.
Robert Jordan came here from Ireland in 1771. About 1784 he settled at Buliville in this town. His brother John
seems to have settled there in 1767, haying arrived in this country some years ahead of Robert. Among his neighbors
there about that time or a few years later, were Joseph Elder, James Barclay, Samuel Barclay, John Martin and Daniel
Pull. Thomas Turner was also a land owner in the Bullville settlement to the extent of 300 acres.
In the Sea rsville neighborhood William Snider was among the pioneers. He purchased a large tract of land there
upon which he lived many years before the Revolution. He seems to have been a man of some wealth, for at the outbreak
of hostilities with Great Britain he buried a considerable sum of money in a secret place upon his property, the
location of which was known only to a faithful negro slave. After the war this negro was awarded by hips master
with his personal freedom because of his loyalty and faithfulness.
An old apple orchard planted before the Revolution near Bullville, died out long years since. Nathan Johnson was
the village shoemaker, going around from house to house with his kit of tools strapped upon his back. This occupation
was then known as "whipping the cat" for some reason not very clear at this time. Johnson was an old
shoemaker who had been employed making army shoes during the war. It was the custom at that period for those cobblers
to go about at stated periods and do the family cobbling and shoemaking for the year.
William Jordan, son of Robert, became colonel of the Shawangunk regiment of militia, and he lived under every President
of the United States until his death, having voted the Democratic ticket for 66 years.
Benjamin Sears is mentioned in the records as a remarkable man in many respects among the settlers in that region.
Coupled with rare native talent he had a most remarkable memory of details. Nothing eye: escaped him when once
his mind grasped it. All his accounts were accurately kept in his mind. But his education is said to have been
very limited. He served as constable in the town of Montgomery during his early life, where lie had five brothers
from whom there has been a long line of descendants. He also served as sheriff of Orange County for a time. And
the small hamlet of Searsburgh, near the center of the town, on the Dwaarskill stream, was named for him. He established
a flour and saw mill there at an early dated.
Joseph Elder was of Irish descent and came into this region some years before the Revolution. He lived upon a very
stony farm, and it is recorded of him that being a man of giant frame, robust and vigorous, he would gather up
these stones in a leathern apron girded about his loins and carry them to the place where they were used for fence
walls, instead of carting them in a. wagon. Though also scantily educated, he served some years as magistrate of
his town with much satisfaction, being a man of strong common sense and good judgment. He seems also to have been
a pioneer pedestrian, the original Weston, apparently; for it is recorded that on a certain occasion, missing his
sloop at Newburgh, which was already out of sight above the Danskarnmer Point, running with a fair wind, on the
Hudson, on its way to Albany, young Elder started off at a rattling pace, with his musket and knapsack, to join
his military company at the Capital in time or be denounced as a traitor. It is said he beat the sloop by several
hours, though the precise time made is not given.
Dr. Joseph Whalen, another well known Irish pioneer, was among the early physicians practicing his profession in
this region. He came at the close of the war, settled in this town for a few years, and afterward practiced in
Montgomery for over fifty years. It is worthy of note in this connection that in those days no doctor ever expected
to collect for his services from his patient in person. The doctor's claim was always presented to the executor
or administrator, as the case might be, after the patient's death. There were obvious reasons for this custom then,
as there often are even in these later times, but the reader must be left to draw his own conclusions. This noted
doctor had a most extensive practice, and he was also a famous horseman and equestrian, owning much fine horseflesh.
He even rivaled the celebrated Count Pulaski, the Polish general in the Revolution, who would throw his hat before
him on the road while under full speed on his horse and so far dismount as to take it up. Dr. Whalen could take
a glass of liquid in his hand, mount his horse, ride away a quarter of a mile and return without spilling a drop.
Daniel Bull was another prominent settler of this region. He came some years before the Revolution and settled
upon an extensive tract of newly cleared land which was rough and stony and had been owned by his father, Thomas
Bull, who lived in the old stone house in Hamptonburgh. This land was then valued at $2.50 per acre. In 1780 he
married Miss Miller at Goshen, where the bride and groom were snowbound for two weeks of their honeymoon. They
had thirteen children and the family became one of the most prominent and numerous in the town. Mr. Bull was a
most successful farmer, and he reclaimed a vast acreage of wild land and brought it under good and profitable tillage.
He amassed wealth and became a valued citizen, being long regarded as a patriarch of the town. In 1821, the record
shows, that fifty two grandchildren had been born of this parentage, making a family total of seventy six. All
were then alive except two who died in infancy, and on a certain day in June of that year seventy four members
of this noted family were gathered in the family homestead near Bullville for a grand reunion. The farm is now
owned by Theodore Roberson.
The Crawford family, after which the town was named, were descendants of John Crawford, who settled in New Windsor
in 1737. The names of John, William, James and Samuel are found upon the old military roll of 1738 for the Wallkill.
Robert I. Crawford was a prominent citizen here early in the last century, and he lived near the old Hopewell church.
The Thompson brothers, Alexander, Andrew, and Robert, came from Ireland about 1776. They bought 500 acres of land
on what became afterward known as Thompson's Ridge, and divided the plot equally among themselves. One of these
farms then included the site of the Hopewell church, and all this property has been kept in the Thompson family.
David Rainey was another ante revolutionary settler in this locality, and he established what was afterward known
as the "brick house farm," near Pine Bush. He erected the first brick house between Newburgh and Ellenville.
Although only a boy during the Revolution, he served for a short time in the Continental Army under Clinton. The
ancestor of Jacob Whitten was also among the pioneers there.
Among the early physicians of the town were Dr. Crosby, who lived near the Hopewell church and practiced during
the early part of the last century; Dr. Charles Winfield, who lived near Pine Bush; Dr. Hunter, of Searsville,
who later served as school inspector for that time; Dr Griffith, also of Pine Bush, who died in 1855, and Dr. Durkee,
who lived a mile south of Pine Bush.
The town of Crawford was formed from the town of Montgomery, March 4, 1823. That older town covered such a large
extent of territory that it was found inconvenient and expensive to conduct the public business to advantage. A
convenient and practicable arrangement of boundary lines for a division of the town was found possible whereby
there might he a central point convenient of access for the citizens of each town. The name Crawford was given
in honor of that pioneer family, as before stated, many of its descendants having become so closely identified
with the local interests of the region.
The first town meeting was held at the house of Edward Schoonmaker, April 1, 1823. William W. Crawford was then
chosen the first supervisor; Oliver Mills, town clerk, and a full list of officials was selected. Every man was
authorized to act as his own poundmaster, and every farm was regarded as a pound. A bounty of $25 was voted for
every wolf killed in the town, which shows that these hungry animals were still roaming through the forests at
that time. At a special meeting held later in the month, $460 was voted to be raised for the support of the poor
for that year. There were then thirty nine road districts in that little town, and each district had its accredited
roadmaster. But the records are not clear as to the character or extent of the road work done in that early period.
Of course every male citizen was required to appear for service upon the road at such time or times as the master
of his district would designate, and put in such number of days' work as his property possessions called for under
the prevailing provisions of the State road laws. The roadmaster was the boss, and if he said the roadway must
be highly rounded in the center, a plow was run deeply along each side of the track and the loose mud or dirt was
scraped up into the road with hoes or shovels. Then the wagon wheels would throw out this mud during the rest of
the year when it was not frozen, where the workers of the succeeding year would find it again, waiting to be scraped
back into the roadway. This was the old process of road repair for two hundred years, and there seems to have been
general satisfaction with the curious method as far as the records disclose. In fact the public highways were not
regarded of great importance in those days in spite of the fact that thel were the leading if not the only arteries
of transportation throughout the country before the advent of railways and cheap water line shipment. These observations
are made in this connection because of the recent dawn of a new era in roads and road work, when the great importance
of public roads and their proper repair and maintenance has at last been more nearly recognized. Very soon these
antiquated methods will be among the curious events in history.
When the Middletown and Crawford Railway was projected through this town the sum of $80,000 was raised by the town
authorities in aid of its construction. This was in July, 1868. The interest upon this debt has been paid annually
since that time, but in 1880 no part of this principal sum had yet been paid. This was a severe tax upon the town
which bore rather heavily upon the farmers especially, a class that rarely escapes the lion's share of these burdens
of modern civilization. But the railway has been of great value to every resident as a developing factor of that
entire region and none now regrets its cost.
VILLAGES OF THE TOWN.
Hopewell. - This village is in the western portion of the town, not far from the Shawangunk River. The
name was taken from the old Hopewell church, which was an offshoot from the Goodwill Presbyterian congregation
at Montgomery, where the Congregational section had been squeezed out, as it were. They were thus in need of hope
at the time, and thus the name "Hopewell" was suggested by some of the more thoughtful members, and it
was very promptly adopted for the church name, as it afterward was also for the little village which gathered about
it. It does not appear that any important business or mercantile trade was ever conducted there, however. It is
merely a fertile farm section where the residents have gathered to make their homes. The postal facilities for
these people are at Thomoson's Ridge, a station on the Crawford branch of the Erie Railway.
Bullville. - This is in the southwestern portion of the town near the Wallkill line. It was named in honor
of Thomas Bull, who lived there many years and engaged in various business enterprises, and in fact founded the
place. While the name of the hamlet is not especially felicitous, nor even euphonious, the location is attractive
and pleasing, it being upon high ground with a tine view of the surrounding landscape. A fine commodious Methodist
church was built there many years ago and there is a most attractive cluster of fine dwellings. In 188o a hotel
was conducted. by Silas Dickerson and a general store by Charles Roe. There were also a creamery, two blacksmith
shops, a flour and feed store, a coal yard and even a distillery. The place is seven miles west of Montgomery village.
Searsville. - This was formerly known as Searsburgh. It is another small village, near the center of the
town, on the Dwaarskill. It was named for, and practically founded by, Benjamin Sears, already mentioned at some
length. He built the mills there at an. early date, and his more distant neighbors soon gathered about him and
built their homes there. It was formerly a trading point of some importance, but the advent of the railway brought
other neighboring hamlets into greater prominence and lefts this place somewhat isolated. But in 188o there were
a hotel, two blacksmith and wagon shops, a grist mill and a saw mill still in operation. There is also a post office.
The location being central, the town meetings were usually held there in past years, and the general official business
was transacted there.
Thompson's Ridge. - A short distance west of Searsville, on the Crawford Branch Railway, is this hamlet,
as before stated. In former years it was mainly composed of the Thompson family, for which it was originally named.
Daniel Thompson, the railway superintendent, lived near there. The station is quite an important one both for its
passenger business and the large shipments of milk which are made from it. A small store, the post office, and
the various railway structures make up the business part of the hamlet. It is in the midst of the finest farming
section of Orange County, the farms of the Thompson family and others in that neighborhood being the most productive
in the county.
Collaburg. - This is in the southern section of the town, and the name is now printed "Collabar"
on the modern map of the county. The locality is somewhat thickly settled. It was formerly an important point on
the Newburgh and Cochecton turnpike, with a hotel and many other buildings of a varied character. But the new railway
did not touch the place and travel was soon diverted to other points, which stopped all further development there.
Pine Bush. - This is located near the Shawangunk River, in the northern part of the town, near the Ulster
County line, and it is a thriving business village, the most important in the town. It is the northern terminus
of the Crawford Branch Railway, and its post office serves a large section of, country on both sides of the river
in that region. The village site is generally level and attractive, upon the high bank of the stream at that point,
and the land environment comprises a most fertile farming section. The old grist mill there belongs to the Revolutionary
period, and the Shawangunk Mountains rise in rugged. frowning peaks which overlook the valley and form a background
of rare beauty. The heights of the Hudson River are seen in the distant horizon toward the east and north, and
there is a rare combination of upland, valley, mountain and stream, forest slopes and well tilled farms which charms
the beholder and forms a most attractive and beautiful landscape. Summer visitors are attracted here in large numbers,
and they find much to admire and enjoy.
Among the early tradesmen here was James Thompson, who opened a store in 1824. He was succeeded by Hezekiah Watkins,
Tarbosch Weller, Louis Wisner, Elijah Smith and George Oakley. Dr. Ewan came in 1830, and built a hotel and also
conducted a drug store. Abraham Mould began a tannery plant in 1825, but after a few years he was killed by James
Mitchell in a violent personal quarrel, for which Mitchell was finally acquitted on the ground of self defense.
The old Ellenville and Newburgh plank road, a wicked production of a benighted period, passed through Pine Bush.
This, however, marked the beginning of the modern growth of the place. There were then only three or four dwelling
houses. In 1880 there were in addition to the various railway structures, two hotels, several stores, many shops
of various kinds, a restaurant, grist mill and saw mill, meat market, photograph gallery, livery stable, distillery,
marble works, and a great variety of other business enterprises. The post office was originally known as Crawford,
and Arthur Slott was probably the first postmaster. The name of the village was bestowed on account of the dense
growth of pine trees which formerly covered that entire tract of land. The opening of the railway was of course
a great event for Pine Bush and had much to do with its subsequent development and progress. Mr. A. R. Taylor,
a leading business man, came from Ulsterviile in 1848 and proved a most progressive citizen, opening many new stores
and taking an active part in all village improvements. He was a civil engineer and was credited with having driven
the first stake in Chicago during an engagement in the west many years ago, which if true is a well merited distinction.
SCHOOLS OF THE TOWN.
Oliver Mills, Alexander Thompson and Hieromous Weller were the first school commissioners chosen at the formation
of the town. From 1843 to 1856 the public schools were under the control of town superintendents chosen at each
annual election. There were ten school districts in 1823, and 655 children between the ages of five and fifteen
in the town, small portions of the towns of Wallkill and Montgomery being then included¬ in this enumeration.
The amount of public money received was $264.44. Among the early school teachers of this town were John Hardcastle,
William Brown, Mr. Reed and Mr. Crosby. And they are said to have been firm believers in the free use of the rod
in the inculcation of a thorough knowledge of the three "Rs" and the maintenance of proper discipline.
THE CRAWFORD CHURCHES.
The first effort to build a church in Hopewell was made in 1779 by the Presbyterian association. But they succeeded
only in completing the exterior of the building ands very little was done toward finishing the inside of the structure.
And yet for the next three years those devoted Christian people were content to worship in this unfinished building
with all its discomforts. They went to church faithfully and regularly. In 1792 they united in a corporate body
and selected a full board of trustees, as follows: William Cross, Robert:Milliken, Jonathan Crawford, Daniel Bull,
Andrew Thompson, Nathan Crawford, Abraham Caldwell, Robert Thompson and Robert McCreery. Soon after this they finished
their church and called the Rev. Jonathan Freeman as their pastor, who was installed August 28, 1793. This may
be regarded therefore as the date of the organization of this church, which began with twenty one members. Mr.
Freeman multiplied this number by five during the next five years and then resigned for another field of labor.
The next five years this little pulpit remained vacant. Rev. Isaac Van Doren took up the work there in 1803 and
labored most successfully for 21 years, adding some 152 members to the little flock of worshippers during that
period. Then, after further changes in the pastorate, a new and more commodious church building was built of stone
on another site, which was completed in 1832. Rev. John H. Leggett was then the pastor for the next twenty three
years, when he went to Middletown. His ministerial work in this Hopewell church is highly spoken of in the records,
he being a powerful preacher and a man of great activity and influence.
What was known as Grahams Church, associated Reformed, was established by Robert Graham in 1799. A house of worship
was erected at once and it was opened for use in August of the same year. Mr. Graham died a few weeks later, but
he devised too acres of land to this church organization for its pastor. This church was merely a branch of the
older organization at Neeleytown until 1802. when it became independent. with Samuel Gillespie and Andrew Thompson
as elders. There were then only 28 regular members, and the Rev. John McJimsey still served both this and the Neeleytown
church. He left in 1809 but returned ten years later and remained until his death in 1854. Robert Graham, the founder
of this church, was a staunch Scotch-Irish Presbyterian, and he left a lasting impress for good upon this people.
The Crawford Methodist Church is located at Bullville and it was incorporated April 20, 1859. The trustees named
were Jacob M. Shorter. Robert Hill and Herman S. Shorter. The original church structure was completed in the summer
of 1861 at a cost of $8,000. which was donated by Mrs. Mary Shorter. Rev. John Wardle was the first pastor, being
assigned there in response to a request of Mrs. Shorter.
The Methodist Church of Pine Bush was incorporated November 28, 1870, with the following trustees: William B. Barnes,
John Walker, Samuel Armstrong, William H. Cowley and Francis M. Bodine. But there had been religious services there
many years before this, especially in the school house. The old Reformed Church over the river at Shawangunk, in
Ulster County, had many members in the Pine Bush village, and there was preaching in the little school house nearly
every Sunday, either by the pastor of that church or by the Methodist preacher from Bullville. But the Methodist
people were not satisfied with this arrangement and they finally built a church for themselves, completing it in
the spring of 1871 at a total cost of $8,000, of which only half had been paid. But the balance was pledged at
the dedication ceremonies held on the night of April 24, 1871. This building was repaired and improved some ten
HISTORIC POINTS OF INTEREST.
Near the site of the old Slott grist mill on the bank of the river is an old log but which is said to date back
to the ante Revolutionary period. During that war this but was on the Van Amburg property, and that family was
somewhat closely connected with the noted Annekc Jans, who once owned the ground now covered by the vast estates
of Trinity Church in New York City, in which her myriad heirs, scattered all over America today, still claim an
equitable share, and justly so, perhaps. In this old log structure once lived a stalwart female member of the Van
Amburg family, and the story is that during the Revolution a big reward was offered by the British officers for
her capture. "Shanks Ben," a noted Ulster County Tory, like Claudius Smith of Orange County, being attracted
by this rich reward, planned her capture. He concealed himself in one of the farm hay stacks where he knew she
would come to feed her cattle at a certain time. But when he saw the huge old fashioned hayfork in her hand, he
concluded that discretion was the better part of valor, and was in fact glad to escape with his own life, fearing
she might chance to puncture his brave anatomy in reaching for the required hay fodder. If this somewhat noted
woman was ever captured by the redcoats the records fail to disclose it.
Aside from the pursuit of farming and lumbering, this town has never been able to boast of any very important industries.
Nearly every citizen was engaged in the cultivation of the soil during its early history at least. As already noted,
the town was famed for its production of the choicest grade of Orange County butter. In later years, under the
changed condition of transportation facilities, the manufactured products of the dairy were almost entirely discontinued
and gave way to the natural product of milk, which was shipped to the New York markets in large quantities.
The growth of apples, peaches and other fruits, for which the land is so well adapted, has meanwhile increased
in extent and importance, and many of the Crawford orchards that were properly cultivated and cared for have become
sources of large profit to their owners.
While many of the more ancient grist and saw mills of the town have now disappeared, some have been greatly improved
and modernized and new ones have been built.
On this topic little can be said with reference to the early history of this separate section, as the town came
into existence some time after the close of the wars with foreign nations. All such data is hopelessly buried in
the ancient annals of Wallkill and Montgomery so far as the Crawford chronicler is concerned. There were doubtless
patriots of this section who served in the Continental army of Washington, and others who went out in the military
company during the second outbreak in 1812. But the records contain no separate lists of these and this roll of
honor cannot therefore be presented here. Philip Decker, David Rainey and Joseph Elder, the only names we can positively
identify as being residents of what is now the town of Crawford, who served in the Revolution.
But in the War of the Rebellion the record is more complete. While, like most other towns in nearly every county
in the northern States, there were misguided men in Crawford, partisans, politicians and abject followers of that
class, servile men with little principle and less brains, who opposed the war on political principle, or through
ignorance of the situation, without regard to the safety of the American Union of States, the great majority of
the citizens, here as elsewhere, were loyal Union men. And when the first secession gun belched forth on Fort Sumter
the old spirit of patriotism which had animated their ancestors was fired anew. The town furnished 188 men for
the Union army and navy under the various calls of President Lincoln and the draft. Sixty nine men went forward
at once under Captain Samuel Hunter, who organized a company of volunteers in the town known as Co. H, which was
attached to the 124th Regiment. The sum of $525 was raised by subscription in 1863 for bounties paid to 21 volunteers
who enlisted in the 168th Regiment. and $5o was raised for a like purpose in connection with the regiment first
named. In 1863 $3,000 was raised and $27,610 the following year. Then, under the last call, $16,500 was added to
these cash contributions from this town, making the total sum $47,685. On the final settlement with the State after
the war, $11,700 of this amount was returned to the town for excess of years and bounties. A tax of $30,000 was
authorized in January, 1865, but as is seen above only a portion of this amount was required.
The record contains a detailed list of the men furnished by the town from which it appears that ten enlisted in
the 56th Regiment in 1861, one in the 18th, five in the 19th, and twelve in other regiments during the first year.
Then in 1862, twenty one went out in the 124th, and thirty in the 168th. Twenty nine enlisted in various other
organizations in 1863 and 1864, and twenty nine others were drafted into the service, most of whom furnished substitutes.
As showing who were among the leading farmers in this town in the early part of the 19th century, it will be of
interest perhaps to quote a few items from an old list of agricultural premiums awarded at the county fairs held
in that period. In 1820 Daniel Bull was awarded 820, for the best farm of too acres in the town. He also had the
second best fat oxen. The next year Henry Bull got $10 for the second best farm, and Daniel Bull $15 for the best
working oxen. In 1822 Henry Bull had the best three acres of winter wheat, for which he was awarded a prize of
$,o. Moses Crawford then received a like award for 2,051 pounds of butter from twenty cows. In 1823 Moses Crawford
received a four dollar prize for the third best piece of dressed woolen cloth, also various other prizes for white
flannel, linen, etc. William Gillespie then had a fine exhibit of sewing silk, for which he received a prize. These
items are taken at random from an old record which, strangely enough, does not contain the first awards in many
The population of Crawford, according to the national census of 188o, was 1,951, which was a decrease from that
of 1870 of seventy three.
The Pine Bush Library Association was organized November to, 1899, at a meeting held in Wallace Hall for the purpose
of considering the practicability of establishing a public library in the village. H. J. McKinney, Mrs. Joel Whitten,
J. E. Ward, Mrs. J. L. Acheson, D. T. Bowen, Miss Emma B. Shaper, S. K. Seybolt and Mrs. Nelson Van Keuren were
chosen trustees. H. J. McKinney was elected president, retaining the office until his death, September 24, 1907.
While ably discharging the duties of the position, he was a liberal contributor to the support of the library.
He supervised the construction of the building it now occupies.
The library was incorporated December 21, 1899, receiving from the State University a provisional charter. December
1, 1904, a permanent charter was granted.
Through the kindness of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Pine Bush the library was kept in the rooms of
that organization without cost to the association, until the summer of 1907, when it was removed to its present
home. This was remodeled from a building presented to the Library Association by H. R. Taylor, a resident of the
village, and is a substantial edifice with an attractive interior, admirably arranged for library purposes.
The library, which is free, now numbers more than 2,000 well selected books. The funds for its support are derived
from the membership dues, contributions, lectures or entertainments, and the State appropriation.