TOWN OF DEER PARK.
LOCATION, AREA AND TITLE.
THIS town is located in the extreme western angle of Orange County. In outline the territory forms nearly a
perfect triangle. It is one of the larger towns in the county, having an area of 37.020 acres, according to the
latest tax tables of the Orange supervisors, being exceeded only in extent by the town of Warwick. It is also next
to the largest in population. having 11,562 inhabitants, according to the State census of 1905. It is also a most
important town in several other respects, as will be seen from the comprehensive outline presented in the succeeding
It contains the point of land where three States intersect New York, New jersey and Pennsylvania. This precise
point is known as the "Tri-States' Rock." This solid rock is at the extreme point of the tongue of land
lying at the mouth of the Neversink River and between that stream and the Delaware River. A copper bolt has been
sunk in this rock to mark the spot which has been agreed upon by the authorities of these States. By standing over
this bolt one is therefore in three different States at the same time.
Whether or not the full legal import of this strategic point of vantage has been well understood by certain classes,
or made use of in critical emergencies, is not definitely known. It is, however, one of the show places of Port
Jervis, and visitors may easily find it by a short walk through Laurel Grove Cemetery.
In 1880 the town assessors reported a total value of taxable property of $2,431,680. upon which a tax of $37,374.27
was levied. These amounts have been increased to $2,509,003, and $41,378.65 respectively, the valuation of the
two banks not included, $379,706, on which their tax is levied.
With the exception of the small tracts known as the Arent Schuyler patent, the Tietsort 400 acre patent, and the
Cuddeback patent, the title to all the land of Deer Park comes from the Minisink patent. This name was originally
spelled "Minnisink." The tribal Indian occupants were first known as the Minquas, and subsequently as
the Minsis, from which the present name seems to have been evolved.
Captain Arent Schuyler visited this region in 1694, during that turbulent period of war with the savages, in order
to determine how far the influence of the French had effected the aborigines.
The town is bounded on the north by Sullivan County, on the southeast by Mount Hope and Cornwall, and on the southwest
by New Terse'-, Pennsylvania, and the County of Sullivan.
The topographical features of Deer Park are peculiarly marked. There is the broad valley of the Neversink on
the east, reaching from northeast to southwest. This soil is exceptionally fertile, and here it was that the early
settlers began to build their cabins and blaze their way into the thick forests.
A short distance from the Neversink stream the old Delaware & Hudson Canal was constructed and operated for
many years, the line being nearly parallel to the river. This great coal artery from the mines to the Hudson was,
however, abandoned in 1898 after seventy years of successful operation, and the new Ellenville & Kingston Railway
took its place.
The Neversink stream has no important tributaries from the east. On the west the Old Dam Kill comes into the main
stream at Huguenot. This drains a large portion of the central territory and gives some valuable water power. Basha's
Kill is the largest branch entering from the east near Cuddebackville.
The Delaware River separates the town from Pennsylvania on the southwest, and the Mongaup branch of the Delaware
divides the town from Sullivan County. Tributaries of this Mongaup stream drain the higher central portions of
the town. Still other tributaries of the Delaware flow through the Honesdale region.
The general surface of the town is a mountainous upland broken by many small streams which often flow through rocky
ravines. There are steep declivities along the Delaware, Mount William and Point Peter being the most attractive
features near Port Jervis. Along Basha's Kill the bottoms are known as the Mamakating valley. Those along the Neversink
constitute the Suckapack valley, until the junction with Basha's Kill is reached, when it is called the Neversink
valley proper, although also known as the Peenpack. This valley extends to the mouth of the Neversink at Carpenter's
Point. If space permitted it would be interesting to trace the origin and significance of these quaint names.
In 1689 the old town of Schenectady in New York State was captured by the Indians after a bloody fight. Among
the residents there who fled from the place was one William Tietsort (now written Titsworth), who came to the land
of Esopus first, but soon afterward went to this Minisink region and settled in these forests. After a residence
there of some years he sought the right to purchase a tract of land there. This was in 1698, and he succeeded in
obtaining the land. His title to this tract, though in dispute for a time, was finally confirmed, and it was excepted
from the Minisink patent. This tract was afterward sold to John Decker, and the location is thought to have been
near Port Jervis. Thus the honor of being the first settler seems to belong to this William Tietsort.
Other pioneer settlers came into the Peenpack valley and also in Mamakating Hollow. Most of these old pioneers
seem to have taken such lands as suited their fancy with very little regard to who the owner might be. Many of
these came in from the famous Esopus region, and these were mostly of that thrifty Dutch stock which made that
ancient region so famous and important in the formative period of the State and national history. Nearly all settled
along the streams where the advantages of fertile soil and level land seemed most attractive and important.
In 1697 Arent Schuyler received his patent, which covered a large tract in the Minisink country called by the natives
Sankhcheneck, otherwise Mayhawaem, also another tract called "Warinsayskmeck. upon the river Mennessincks
before an island called Menagnock, which was near the Maghaghkemek tract and contained 1,000 acres and no more."
About the same time another grant of land containing 1200 acres was given to Jacob Codebeck, Thomas Swartwout,
Anthony Swartwout, Bernardus Swartwont, Tan Tys, Peter Gimar and David Jamison.
Both these patents were in the Peenpack valley, and they were so imperfectly described in the titles that it was
impossible to fix their precise location or boundaries. They were therefore regarded as "floating" patents
or tracts, and the grantees were inclined to take possession of most any unappropriated lands in that valley and
settle where they saw fit. This led to much difficulty in the succeeding years, and when it became necessary to
divide this Minisink patent the commissioners found no end of trouble.
The patentees Codebeck and Gimar were French and came here after a brief sojourn in Maryland. They married into
the Swartwout family, which was a sturdy, vigorous stock, well able to cope with the warlike natives and ferocious
wild animals and dense forests as pioneers.
The seven joint owners of this patent are said to have come into this region in 1690, although there is no authentic
record of any white people there until 1694. The land covered by this patent laid along the Neversink River and
Pasha's Kill. Mamakating Hollow was then the nearest settlement, some twenty five or thirty miles north.
In those days the settlement of a new country was indeed a herculean task with the meager facilities then existing.
And this was preeminently true of this town, which was still slumbering in a dense primeval forest. Plows and all
other implements were of the crudest description. What little grain was grown by these ancient farmers had to be
cut with a knife or rude sickle, and then the grain was separated from the straw by the tramp of horses upon the
threshing floor. It was afterward winnowed from the chaff by hand fans made of willow rods. This was the universal
practice in this region down to 176o. The first fanning mill was brought in here just previous to this by Peter
Gumaer. The wagons were made almost entirely of wood and the harness of flax and tow. During the long winter evenings
while the men were making these things the women were spinning and reeling yarn. Not the yarn of the idle gossiper,
as now, but the fiber and fabric of utility which went into their clothing.
The old Esopus region was some fifty or sixty miles north and the roads were left to the vagaries of Dame Nature.
But these pioneers had to cart their corn and other produce there for sale. Wheat was the staple crop, and Jacob
Codebeck of this town was the first to attempt grinding it in a small mill. One of these millstones, about two
feet in diameter and three inches thick, is still in the Gumaer cellar near where the old mill stood. This was
afterward followed by two other grist mills on the "Old Dam Brook." Then came the DeWitt mill in 1770,
on the Neversink River near Cuddebackville, and others in later years. These ancient mills had no devices for bolting
the flour as now; thus after the grinding process, the whole had to be sifted by hand in order to secure the fine
flour for bread making and other culinary uses.
One of the earliest saw mills was erected in this town soon after 1760.
It should be said in this connection that there is some traditionary evidence of a still earlier settlement in
this Minisink region which takes the date back even to 1630. Most of these claims, however, seem based upon certain
letters written by Samuel Preston of Stockport, Penn., in 1828. In these letters he gave the recollections of John
Lukens, Surveyor General of Pennsylvania, as to this very ancient settlement. His memory extended back to 1730.
On this rather hazy authority it is claimed that the first settlement was prior to 1664, when the region was still
in the possession of the Dutch, and that the settlement was abandoned at the English conquest. But there are no
existing documents to substantiate any such claim, and the entire weight of evidence seems to clearly disprove
The records show that in 1714 the only freeholders in Maghaghkemek were Thomas Swartwout, Harmon Barentsen, Jacob
Cuddeback, Peter Gumaer and Jacobus Swartwout. To these were added, fourteen years later, the names of John Van
Vleit Jr., Samuel Swartwout and Bernardus Swartwout, Jr. This would show a very small increase in 38 years, assuming
that the settlement began in 1690.
This town became important also because of the long dispute over the boundary line between the States of New York
and New Jersey. The variance of this line over which the conflict arose was in this township. The owners of the
Minisink and the 1,200 acre patents were much disturbed for years by the New Jersey State authorities, who claimed
the line ran considerably farther north of the Delaware River than the Deer Park people had established it. The
New Jersey people claimed a large portion of this 1,200 acre patent through which they insisted the line ran, they
procured a colony title to this disputed portion of that patent. The precise location of the line being vague and
uncertain, no action at law could be maintained by either side, but a bitter struggle ensued and lasted for many
years. The trouble seems to have arisen over the meaning of the phrase "the northernmost branch of the Delaware
River," which was the language used in the description of title. There was a big triangular gore of land in
dispute. This conflict lasted nearly seventy five years, and then it was finally settled by an equitable division
of the land in question.
Among the residents on this disputed land was Major Swartwout, and the Jersey claimants planned to oust him from
the property by force. He was prepared for such an attack, but in spite of all his loaded guns it seems that about
1730 the Jerseyites routed him from the house and threw out all his goods. But with the assistance off friends
in Goshen the major was reinstated, and he afterward successfully repelled another attack made about ten years
later. He was, however, captured and imprisoned. together with Johannes Westbrook, another resident of the battleground,
some time between 1764 and 1767, by a strong force of Jerseymen who surrounded his church on the Sabbath, and seized
the two men at the close of the service, after a fierce struggle.
Soon after this a new line was agreed upon and the fight ended by the passage of a royal edict at the Court of
St. James in September, 1773. Commissioners of the two States afterward ran the line in accordance with that agreement.
In 1874, one hundred years later, commissioners representing the two States made a resurvey with the assistance
of the United States Coast Survey officials, which finally settled the great controversy for all time. In 1775,
an old assessment roll of district No. 3. which was the southern portion of Deer Park, comprising the present territory
of Port Jervis and vicinity, contained forty eight names of property holders. The largest of these was Johannes
Decker, who was assessed for 17 pounds 8 shillings and 7 pence. Next in order was Anthony Van Etten, John Wells,
Abraham Van Auken and Johannes Decker, Jr.
The DeWitt family of this town were descendants of Tjerck Claesson DeWitt, who came from Holland and settled in
Wiltwyck, now Kingston, at a very early date. It was a very prominent family here and many of its members achieved
Among other prominent settlers in this region were Peter Gumaer, Jan Tyse, Bernardus Swartwout, Jacob Cuddeback,
Anthony Swartwout, David Jameson, and Hermanus Van Inwegen.
The very earliest physician in this region was Doctor Chattle, and he settled near Carpenter's Point and practiced
there until his death, many years later. He came in at the opening of the nineteenth century.
Just when the civil organization of Deer Park was formed is not definitely known. The Legislative act of October
18, 1701, provided that the "people of Wagachemeck, the Great and Little Minisink, should vote in the County
of Ulster." This would imply that they were outside of that county. This territory covered what is since known
as Cuddehackville and vicinity. Eight years later the boundary between the counties was more definitely fixed by
the Legislature. Soon after this the territory went under the name of Maghaghkeinek, remaining under this jawbreaking
title until 1743, when the precinct of Mamakating was erected, which was at least a slight improvement upon the
This continued until 1798 when the town of Deer Park was organized. The first Mamakating precinct meeting was held
at the house of Samuel Swartwout. This territory then included "all the land to the southward of the town
of Rochester as far as the County of Ulster extends, and to the westward to the precincts of Wallkill and Shawangunk."
While the name Minisink was applied to the territory above named, it has been contended by some writers that there
was in addition a precinct of Minisink, and there are documents which seem to establish this fact even as early
as 1739. But this precinct seems to have been erected along the Delaware River below what afterward became Carpenter's
The territory now in Deer Park south of the old county line comprising Port Jervis and vicinity was a part of the
town of Minisink from 1789 to 1825.
The first supervisor of the Mamakating precinct elected in April, 1774, was Benjamin Dupuy. The first supervisor
of Deer Park elected in April, 1798, was James Finch, and he remained in that office by successive elections until
1810, when Peter E. Gumaer succeeded him. But Mr. Finch was again selected to serve the town in that capacity on
three different occasions.
The earliest assessment roll of the town now preserved in the town clerk's office, which was the first roll of
Deer Park after the division of the territory, is that of 1825. This shows a total valuation of $114,820, and there
were fifteen persons on the list for over $2,000, the highest being Peter E. Gunner at $6,230.
With the exception of Port Jervis the centers of population in the town are small and unimportant. Among them
may be mentioned Westbrookville on the line of the old canal, northeast of Cuddebackville; Port Orange, a short
distance south on the canal line; Cuddebackville, in the northeastern part of the town, named in honor of the pioneer
settler, Jacob Cuddeback; Rose Point, a station on the Monticello Railway; Port Clinton, still further down the
valley; Gurnaers, also on the old canal line, and Huguenot, between this and Port Jervis.) Near this point are
valuable mineral springs, discovered in 186o. In 1880 a pipe line for the transmission of petroleum oil to tide
water was constructed through this section, with stationary engines and a power plant for forcing this oil to market.
Carpenter's Point is a very old locality, named for an early settler, who established a ferry across the Delaware
River there at a very early period. It is near Port Jervis on the south and the famous "Tri-States rock"
is located here at the extreme point. This rock marks the junction of the States of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
There are several stores, an old grist mill, and many dwellings. A bridge here spans the Neversink River which
was built in 1868.
Sparrowbush is another hamlet and post office on the old canal line: Pushkill is in the western part of the town,
and Ouarryhill is a local mining district still farther west. Shin Hollows is a neighborhood on the slope of the
Shawangunk Mountain where the Erie Railway crosses the town line into Mount Hope. Paradise is a small hamlet on
the Sullivan border northeast of Cucldebackville, and Honesville and Bolton are other small hamlets born of the
The Gunaer graveyard is believed to be the oldest burial place in the town. Some of the old stones have inscriptions
which show that burials were made there very early in the eighteenth century.
The old Machackenerck graveyard is in the southern section of the town at Port Jervis. Previous to 1907 this ground
was much neglected, and its condition was anything but creditable to the citizens of that growing village. Interments
were made there long prior to the Revolution.
The Laurel Grove cemetery is situated in the extreme southeastern part of Port Jervis. This was established in
1856 by John Conklin, who owned the site, and it is the modern cemetery now in use. It contains many fine monuments
and the lots and drives are well kept. The name Laurel Grove was most appropriately bestowed because of the thick
natural growth of the American laurel on the ground. In 1857 the Weeping Willow cemetery was begun in Port Jervis.
This is St. John's burial ground next the Reformed church. Among other cemeteries are that of the Reformed church,
started in 1833, the Catholic cemetery, also in Port Jervis, and the Rural Valley cemetery in Cuddebackville, opened
in 1867. In the early eighties the Weeping Willow cemetery was purchased by the village of Port Jervis and converted
into a site for a school building, the bodies being removed to other cemeteries.
At the beginning of the French war of 1775 there were only about thirty families within the present limits of
Deer Park township. It was then divided into upper and lower neighborhoods. In the upper or northern part, near
the old county line. three small forts were built ; one on the eversink, another at the house of Peter Gumaer,
and the third near the home of Peter Swartwout. There were also three forts in the lower neighborhood on the south.
It is believed, however, that most of the Indian occupants of this region had left before the opening of this
French war. But they returned in force when the Revolution began and attacked some of the early settlers in 1777.
These attacks soon became more frequent and alarming, and the Committee of Safety was obliged to resort to very
vigilant methods in repelling the ferocious savages. Three other forts were built in the Peenpack section, and
these were manned by soldiers known as the nine months' men. Many of the women and children were sent out of the
town to more safe quarters. About this time there were some fifty families in the town and they moved into the
forts for protection. But the settlement was attacked by a force of Indians and Tories about that time and afterward,
and many were killed in the conflicts. Many of the houses and barns were burned and much of the crops were destroyed
during these Indian raids.
Many stirring incidents of those days are recorded, but much of this. record is merely traditional and lacks authentic
documentary evidence in its support.
At the close of the war the people were practically in a destitute condition, and it took them a long time, with
the very meager facilities at hand, to reinstate themselves. Even the Continental paper currency had greatly depreciated
in value, and it was necessary to build mills to make material for rebuilding their homes and barns.
At the opening of the Revolution Major John Decker was one of the most prominent citizens in the Minisink valley,
and it is said that one of the objects of these Indian raids was to secure the scalp of Major Decker. They succeeded
in burning his house to the ground and destroyed all his property during his absence from home at night, driving
out his family to sleep on the banks of the Neversink River, but they didn't get the Major's scalp, though he was
wounded while riding his horse homeward, and barely escaped with his life by hiding in a cave.
The Brandt raid of what was known as the lower neighborhood occurred in July, 1779. News of the atrocities perpetrated
by the Mohawk chief and his savage followers was conveyed to Goshen, where a pursuing force of militia was organized
by Colonels Tusten and Hathorn. They overtook Brandt at the ford of the Delaware at Lackawaxen, Pa., and in the
sanguinary struggle which took place on the heights above Lackawaxen on the New York side of the river, the Indians
were completely victorious. The force under Hathorn and Tusten was almost annihilated, but few escaping to tell
the tale of the disaster. Of these men were Captain Abraham Cuddeback of Deer Park, and Daniel Meyers of Minisink,
who is said to have killed more Indians than any other man during the engagement.
The town took its full patriotic share in the struggle to save the Union of States. Dr. John Conklin presided at
the first meeting of citizens, April 18, 1861, and prompt measures were adopted. Nearly $1,000 was raised, and
there were many donations for the soldiers and their families. The Ladies' Aid Society was formed with Mrs. H.
H. Barnum as president, in September, 1862, and this association of patriotic women forwarded supplies to the front
amounting to $843.63. Under the call of President Lincoln for 500,000 men in 1864 a tax of $48,600 was raised by
the town to pay bounties for soldiers of $300 each. An additional tax of $155,300 was afterwards raised for a like
The Deer Park roll of honor in that war numbers 428. Of these some forty five lost their lives in the service of
In the Spanish American war of 1898 eighty two volunteers for service in Cuba were recruited in Port Jervis by
Captain Benham and others under the auspices of Lafayette Post, G. A. R., of the city of New York. Of these, forty
four were attached to Company I of the Second U. S. Infantry; thirty five to the 42d U. S. Infantry, and the remainder
entered the Artillery and Cavalry arms of the service. The recruits for this war came mainly from Port Jervis,
but a few came from surrounding districts.
Under the act of May 4, 1868, the town of Deer Park was bonded for the sum of $200,000 to aid in the construction
of the Monticello and Port Jervis Railroad. These bonds drew 7% and ran thirty years to their maturity. In 1898
they were refunded at 4% and provision made for the gradual payment of the principal. There is now (1908) outstanding
in these bonds $161,000.
THE MONTICELLO R. R.
The Monticello and Port Jervis Railroad Company was incorporated Sept. 3, 1868. It ran between Port Jervis and
Monticello and opened for traffic January 3, 1871. It was sold in foreclosure July 8, 1875, and subsequently reorganized
as the Port Jervis and Monticello Railroad Co. Its history has been a checkered one. It is now operated by the
Ontario & Western Railroad as a part of its system.
THE CITY OF PORT JERVIS.
Port Jervis had its beginning in 1826 when the building of the D. & H. Canal became a certainty. It was
named in honor of John B. Jervis, of Rome, N. Y., a distinguished civil engineer, who superintended the construction
of the canal. As late as 1846 a writer thus describes Port Jervis:
"It is a small village on the canal where it first approaches the Delaware. It is just above Carpenter's Point
(Tri-States) and the junction of the Neversink and Delaware Rivers. It owes its population and its importance to
its position about midway between Honesdale, Pa., and Kingston, N. Y., the two terminals of the D. & H. Canal.
There are five stores in the village ; three taverns in spacious buildings ; one three story grist mill, built
by Dr. Ball, of Brooklyn, N. Y., being a stone building with five run of stone in it; three churches, a Dutch Reformed,
Baptist, and Methodist, and one large school house. Coal and lumber are sold in considerable quantities. A mail
route from Kingston, N. Y., to Milford, Pa., and thence to Philadelphia, passes through the village."
At this time the population of the village was small, and Port Jervis was equalled if not exceeded in importance
by the neighboring hamlet of Carpenter's Point, where the post office was located and courts were held.
The completion of the Erie Railroad to Port Jervis, January 1, 1848, gave a wonderful impetus to its growth. The
directors of the company celebrated the event by an official trip over the road from Piermont on the Hudson River,
its eastern terminus, to Port Jervis, where the entire population of the surrounding country were gathered to celebrate
their arrival. Cannon boomed and flags and bunting floated from every house top. A banquet was served at the hotel
of Samuel Truex on the southwestern corner of Pike and Main streets, during which the president of the road, Benjamin
Loder, made an address congratulating all concerned in the successful completion of the great enterprise as far
as Port Jervis. The subsequent growth of the place was rapid. Its position as the headquarters of the Delaware
division of the road and the terminus of its eastern division and the location here of extensive machine and car
shops gave it a large railroad population, which has been and still is the principal contributing element to its
In 1853 the village was incorporated and the first charter election was held in August following. The total village
expenses for the first year was $1,350. Samuel Fowler was the first president.
Port Jervis became a city by an act of the Legislature of the date of June 26, 1907, and at the first election
under the city charter, held in the ensuing November, the following city officials were elected : Mayor, Dr. H.
B. Swartwout ; aldermen, Joseph Johnson (at large). F. N. Mason, Andrew Hensel, A. F. Brown, P. C. Rutan, C. F.
Van Inwegen, Thomas Mulhearn, James Howell and James I. Delaney. The first five named are republicans, the others
democrats. The following appointments were made by the Common Council: City clerk, A. P. Altemeier ; city engineer,
Irving Righter; commissioner of charters, John M. Snook; superintendent of streets and sewers, Theodore Ludlum;
chief of police, William Wilkin. Supervisors from the four wards were elected as follows: First Ward, S. S. Garriss,
dem.; Second Ward, Henry Barnum, rep.; Third Ward, J. J. Toth, rep.; Fourth Ward, J. P. Gillen, dem.
The population of Port Jervis in 1907, according to the census of the State excise department, taken in that year
for the purpose of furnishing a basis upon which to adjust license rates, was 10,035. But as the senses was not
intended to be exhaustive and practically stopped when the 10,000 limit was reached, leaving certain sections uncounted,
it is fair to presume that the actual population was considerably in excess of the figure named. The assessed valuation
of the city of Port Jervis for the year 1907 was $2,000,000; for the town of Deer Park about $500,000.
The city has eighty two industrial establishments including the car and machine shops of the Erie Railroad, employing
over 1,000 operatives. The principal manufactured commodities are saws, glassware, silk, gloves and mittens, shirt
and ladies' collars. These industries give employment to many skilled operatives who receive good wages. The city
has three hardware stores and two iron foundries.
Among the important industries of Port Jervis is the Deer Park Brewery Co., located on Reservoir avenue. The company
was organized in 1902 with George F. Ott, of Philadelphia, as president. The plant of the insolvent Deer Park Brewery
Co. was purchased and greatly improved and enlarged.
The Port Jervis Electric Street Railway Company was organized in 1895 with Hon. W. C. Richardson, of Goshen,
as the first president. The work of construction began November 15, 1897, and the road went into operation January
15, 1898. The road is now known as the Fort Jervis Electric Railroad Co. It has about 4 1/3 miles of track and
runs three cars.
The oldest off the two banking establishments of this place, the National Bank of Port Jervis, was organized
under the State law as the Bank of Port Jervis, in March, 1853. Business was opened in the Delaware House. The
original capital was $120,000, afterwards increased, to $130,000. Its first president was Thomas King, who served
until his death in 1857, when he was succeeded by H. H. Farnum, who served until his death in 1879. The late Charles
St. John succeeded him and the late Francis Marvin became president in 1892 on the death of Mr. St. John. The present
incumbent of the office is W. L. Cuddeback.
The heavy defalcation of the assistant cashier led to a reorganization of the institution in 1899 with Dr. W.
L. Cuddeback as president. The last annual report, December 5, 1907, showed deposits amounting to $550,738.04.
The present dividend rate is 7 1/2 per cent. per annum.
The First National Bank was organized in 1870 with a capital of $100,000. Jacob Hornbeck was the first president.
The late Martin C. Everett succeeded him. The present head of this prosperous institution is Chas. F. Van Inwegen.
Its last report, on December 3, 1907, showed total deposits of $1,001,621.46. The stock pays 16 per cent. dividends
The Port Jervis Savings Bank, organized under the State law, began business in March, 1870, with Eli Van Inwegen
as president. It discontinued business in the later seventies.
THE POST OFFICE.
The post office was removed from Carpenter's Point to Port Jervis in 1829, and John Slauson was the postmaster.
He was succeeded by Dr. John Conklin in 1833, followed by Dr. Charles Hardenburgh in 1845, who was soon displaced
by Thomas J. Lyon. Then came Dr. Conklin again in 1849, Francis Marvin in 1851, Thomas J. Lyon again in 1853, James
Van Fleet in 1855. George Brodhead in 1857, Augustus B. Goodale in 1861, Charles St. John, Jr., in 1879, Benjamin
Ryall in 1885, Stephen St. John in 1889; George A. Elston in 1893; S. D. Boyce in 1897. Mr. Boyce still (in 1908)
continues in office.
THE FIRE DEPARTMENT.
The Port Jervis fire department was long regarded among the best in the State outside the large cities, and
few destructive fires were ever allowed to gain much headway. The introduction of the water works system gave ample
hydrant pressure to cope with any conflagration, and the old hand engines were long since abandoned. There are
seven different fire companies with a force of considerably over 200 effective fire fighters. The equipment included
a steamer and hook and ladder apparatus. P. C. Rutan is chief engineer of the department.
PORT JERVIS FREE LIBRARY.
In 1892 was organized the Port Jervis Free Library, with W. L. Cuddeback, W. H. Nearpass, Maria B. Van Ellen,
Minnie C. Brox and E. H. Gordon, trustees. This board has continued in charge of the library until the present
time except that, in 1896, Mrs. Brox resigned and was succeeded by Mrs. M. I. Coonrod. In 1901 a gift of $20,000
was received from Mr. Carnegie for the construction of a library building, which was subsequently increased to
$30,000, and with this fund a large, handsome, commodious building was constructed on Pike street hill on a site
given by Peter E. Barnum. The building is constructed of light colored pressed brick with native blue stone trimmings.
It will house 40,000 volumes. The number at present on the shelves is 15,000; added during the year 1907 by purchase,
1,062; the number lent for home use during the current year, 33,706. It is rich in encyclopedias and valuable works
of reference, including the Congressional Record and Globe, and reports of the departments of the Federal and State
governments. The valuable collection of books and documents of the Minisink Valley Historical Society is also housed
in this building, a separate room on the second floor having been set apart for the accommodation thereof. This
building contains two spacious, well equipped reading rooms, in which may be found all the leading reviews, magazines,
and weekly periodicals, with complete files of many of them handsomely bound and ranged about the walls for convenient
The present librarian is Miss Elizabeth G. Thorne; assistants, Miss Charlotte Nearpass and Miss Anna G. Wells.
Port Jervis has an excellent system of public sewers, established in 1891 at a cost of about $85,000, for which
the bonds of the village were issued. The original sewer commissioners were Francis Marvin, L. E. Carr, George
Schoonover, W. A. Drake, M. D. Graham, with Ed. Whritner, clerk. Its establishment has resulted in a lowering of
the death rate and a notable diminution in zymotic diseases within the city limits.
Port Jervis has eight churches, which in the order of their establishment are as follows: The Reformed Church
of Deer Park, founded August 23, 1737, under the name of the Reformed Dutch Church of Machackemech; Drew Methodist
Episcopal Church and the Baptist Church, both founded in 1838; First Presbyterian, incorporated July 15, 1851;
Grace Episcopal Church, incorporated September 3, 1853; the Church of the Immaculate Conception, incorporated January
to, 1860; German Lutheran Protestant, Port Jervis, incorporated January 1, 1861; the Second Reformed Church, whose
house of worship on West Main street (in Germantown), was dedicated November 29. 1896, with Rev. David T. Harris
as pastor; the Church of Sacred Heart (in Germantown), whose handsome church edifice of brick was dedicated in
November, 1899, with Rev. B. J. Duffy, ordained in Rome, as first pastor.
The colored people also have a church organization known as the Wickham A. U. M. P. Church, in honor of the late
Dr. D. T. Wickham, the principal contributor to their church building.
ST. MARY'S HOME.
A religious, educational and charitable institution of great merit and usefulness is St. Mary's Home, founded
in 1871 by the late Rev. Father Nelan, its object being to provide a home for orphan children and to train and
instruct them for a useful place in society. For over twenty years this institution has been in charge of Sister
Theophelia, a woman whose motherly instincts and marked administrative abilities peculiarly fit her for this highly
MINISINK VALLEY HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
An event of great importance to the residents of this town was the organization of the Minisink Valley Historical
Society in 1888. Among the active promoters of this undertaking were Rev. Dr. S. W. Mills, Francis Marvin, Dr.
John Conkling, O. P. Howell, Dr. Sol Van Etten, C. E. and W. L. Cuddeback, W. H. Nearpass and C. F. Van Inwegen.
Its collection of relics and manuscripts is large and of great value to the genealogist and historian. Its library
numbers more than 1,500 volumes of books and pamphlets. Its manuscripts exceed 1,000 in number. With the facilities
offered by its new home in the Carnegie Library building and protection and safety provided by its fireproof vaults,
it will in time become the repository of all valuable documents and manuscripts in this vicinity.
OLD BURYING GROUND RESTORED.
During the summer of 1907 a notable works was accomplished by the Machackemech Chapter of the Daughters of the
American Revolution, of which Mrs. Charles F. Van Tnwegen is the president, in clearing and beautifying the grounds
of the old historic Machackemech cemetery on East Main street next to the Catholic cemetery. Through long neglect
the cemetery had fallen into a condition of utter decay and ruin. The ground was covered with a dense growth of
weeds, briars and underbrush, and the memorial stones, some of them dating back to a period anterior to the Revolution,
were for the most part so weather beaten and mossgrown that their inscription was difficult to decipher, in some
cases were totally illegible. All this has been changed, and now this hallowed ground "Where the rude forefathers
of the hamlet sleep" has been restored to order and beauty and no longer offends by its wild and neglected
A conspicuous ornament to the public square of the city (Orange Square) is the soldiers' monument, erected in
1886 through the liberality and public spirit of Diana Barnum, widow of H. H. Farnum, whose gift of $10,000 defrayed
the cost thereof. It commemorates the valor and patriotism of the soldiers from Deer Park who took part in the
great struggle for the preservation of the Union in 1861-5. It was unveiled to the public on July 4, 1886, in the
presence of a vast multitude of spectators. L. E. Carr, Esq., of Port Jervis, and General Stewart L. Woodford,
of Brooklyn, N. Y.; were the orators of the occasion. The ceremonies were in charge of Carroll Post, G. A. R.,
of Port Jervis.
FLOODS IN PORT JERVIS.
The situation of Port Jervis near the confluence of the Delaware and Neversink Rivers exposes its low lying
parts to occasional overflows of these streams in times of heavy rainfall and more epecially during the break up
of ice at the end of the winter season.
The channel of the Delaware at this place is shallow and obstructed by rapids and islands against which descending
masses of ice become lodged, damming back the water and producing what is known as an ice gorge. Such an event
occurred in the latter part of February, 1875, when the channel of the river for several miles in extent was filled
with a gigantic accumulation of broken ice. For several weeks the village was threatened with inundation and various
unsuccessful expedients were resorted to to start the ice moving. The excitement culminated on March 17, when the
"gorge" gave way, carrying with it the iron railroad bridge across the Delaware above Sparrowbush, which
in descending the stream on top of the moving ice, struck and swept away the Barrett suspension bridge at Port
Jervis. For a short time just before the break up of the "gorge" the lower part of the village as far
as the Erie tracks was flooded with water.
On October 10, 1903, a ten inch rainfall in forty hours caused both rivers to overflow their banks, submerging
the low lying parts of the town. Barrett bridge across the Delaware was again carried away, and five persons who
were on it at the time lost their lives.
On March 8, 1904, a flood caused by an ice gorge destroyed the iron railroad bridge across the Delaware at this
place and the suspension bridge across the Neversink. The lower section of the village was submerged to a depth
of three feet and the portion across the Erie tracks to a depth of from seven to ten feet.
This succession of disasters emphasized the necessity for protective measures of some kind, and the matter was
taken in hand by the village Board of Trade, as a result of whose deliberations a bill was presented and passed
at the ensuing session of the Legislature, appropriating the sum of $35,000 for dyking the Delaware at Port Jervis.
This money was used to excellent purpose and a substantial dyke was built under the direction of the State engineer,
extending from the upper part of Germantown to Barrett bridge. To afford the needed protection, however, this work
should be extended down the river bank to Laurel Grove cemetery. Bills for the necessary appropriation have been
introduced at the sucessive sessions of the Legislature, but for various reasons have failed to pass. A more fortunate
issue is expected from the one introduced by Senator Taylor at the present session. Another State appropriation
of $10,000 was spent in strengthening and clearing the channel of the Clove Brook at Tri-States and a pumping station
has been established at the foot of Wagner Place, by means of which accumulated surface water is drained off in
times of flood. An effort is also being made through Representative Thos. W. Bradley to secure the aid of the Federal
government in clearing and deepening the channel of the Delaware and removing obstructions from Storm Island. about
a mile below the city.
The canal of the Delaware & Hudson Company was abandoned in 1878. Samuel D. Coykendall, of Kingston, purchased
the right of way, and sold it to the Pennsylvania Coal Company, by whom a coal carrying road from the anthracite
field to tide water along the old canal route was projected. The enterprise was defeated by the purchase by the
Erie Railroad Company of the stock of the Pennsylvania Coal Company, which carried with it ownership and control
of the old right of way and blocked threatened competition in the carriage of coal to tide water.
In the spring of 1890 the Erie removed its passenger station from the foot of Pike street to the Brown building
in Jersey avenue, near its junction with Fowler street. This building was remodeled and enlarged and made over
into one of the finest depots along the line of the Erie road. It was destroyed by fire on Christmas night of the
same year and the present handsome structure erected on its site.
On Easter Sunday, 1905, the company transferred the headquarters of the principal Delaware division official from
Port Jervis to Susquehanna. This involved the removal of thirty officials and assistants, including the superintendent,
trainmaster, division engineer, division plumber, and division carpenter.
This section will benefit by the good roads movement lately adopted by the State, and Port Jervis may naturally
expect considerable increase of trade and perhaps of population from the three State roads now in process of construction
which converge in this city. One of these begins in Middletown, passes through Wawayanda and Greenville and comes
out upon the road leading from Tappentown to Tri-States. Another starts from Middletown and passes through Otisville
and Cuddebackville, taking at the last named place the old road pronounced by the State inspector to be one of
the finest in the State. A third leads from the Sullivan County line at Rio on the west to Port Jervis.
The yeas just passed has witnessed the organization of a City Improvement Association composed of ladies, the
object of which is sufficiently indicated by its name. It has an active corps of officers and members animated
by a praiseworthy spirit of civic pride. Mrs. Maria B. Van Etten is the president.
PLACES OF SPECIAL NOTE.
Tri-States Rock, situated at the confluence of the Delaware and Neversink Rivers, at which the boundary lines
of three States - New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey - intersect, is one of the show places of the town. The
rock is at the extreme point of the narrow tongue of land lying between the two rivers and at the mouth of the
Neversink. The geological formation is rocky and will stand the wear of the floods for centuries to come as it
has for centuries past. A small monument now marks the spot.
The site of the old Dutch church on the Van Inwegen land directly opposite the old Machackemech cemetery on Main
street is suggestive of historic memories. Here assembled for worship in the old log "meeting house"
of 1743 the pioneer families of this section. The house was burned by Brandt and his savages in the historic raid
of July, 1779.
The Van Etten schoolhouse, from which the teacher, Jeremiah Van Auken, was taken out and cruelly murdered in the
same raid, was located on the old Levi Van Etten farm, afterwards owned by Mark Van Etten, on the east side of
the Neversink River about one fourth of a mile north of Black Rock cut on the Erie.
The forts mentioned in the early annals gather about themselves most of the traditions of Indian attack. In the
upper neighborhood there was one at the house of Jacob Rutsen DeWitt. This was near Cuddebackville, on the west
side of the Neversink. Another fort was at the Gumaer place, now the Godeffroy estate. The old stone building is
still standing and in excellent preservation.
In the accounts of incidents on ccurring during the old French War, it is stated that on one occasion the Indians
lay in ambush "to take the lower fort at Mr. Westfall's." This was probably the old stone house at Germantown.
A local writer says: "The present structure, rebuilt in 1793, occupied the site of a fort or blockhouse built
anterior to the Revolution and occupied as a dwelling and trading post by a family of the name of Baynes, who carried
on a thriving trade with the Indians for many years. Captain Westfall, who married one of Mr. Haynes's daughters,
lived in the house during the Brandt invasion of 1779. He was away on a scouting expedition at the time, and a
trusty negro buried the valuables and assisted the escape of the captain's wife to the high hills of the Jersey
shore near Carpenter's point.
It is said that Brandt's expedition first attacked "the fort at Major Decker's." This was on the old
George Cuddeback place on the east side of the Neversink River. about three miles from Port Jervis. Another fort
was near the residence of the late James D. Swartwout. Still another is mentioned by Peter E. Gunner "at the
home of Peter Coykendall, in the present village of Port Jervis."