TOWN OF GOSHEN.
By GEORGE F. GREGG.
NORTHWEST, sixty miles by rail from New York City, sixteen miles in an air line west from the Hudson River,
lies Goshen, the county seat of Orange County, located in the geographical center of that civic subdivision. The
town derives its name from the Goshen of Biblical memory. Almost two centuries ago the first of the settlers came.
The native beauty of the place appealed to the calm and dauntless spirits of these men, who had plunged boldly
into a benighted and unknown country. They stood upon the wooded hills and looked with glad eyes upon the fertile,
fruitful valley. All around about them lay the land of their desire, and they called it Goshen, the "promised
land" of the Scriptures.
The town, which was first known by this name in 1714, was originally much larger than at present. Its boundaries
were defined by law in 1788. A part of Hamptonburgh was taken from it in 1830, and a part of Chester in 1845. Other
changes of boundaries were made at different times, as recited elsewhere in this article. It has a population today
in town and village slightly in excess of 5,000.
The section is known for the great fertility of its soil. It is in the heart of a noted dairying country, and as
long ago as Revolutionary days Goshen butter was widely famed. Butter making has practically ceased now, but the
milk production is large. The town is also noted for the onions and celery raised on its black dirt meadows, as
well as for the grass crops grown on its fertile farms.
The village is located on the main line of the Erie Railroad, and has direct connection with New England cities
by way of the N. Y., N. H. & H. R. R. It is also the terminus of the Montgomery & Erie, the Goshen &
Deckertown, and the Lehigh & New England Railroads. It is handsomely laid out with broad, well kept and well
shaded streets of smooth macadam. It has three public school buildings, and Garr Institute, a parochial school,
conducted under the direction of St. John's Church. It has six churches: The First Presbyterian, organized in 1720;
St. James's Episcopal, dating back to 1796; St. John the Evangelist, Roman Catholic, founded in 1820; the Methodist
Episcopal, organized in 1847; the A. U. M. P. Church, and Olivet Chapel, a Presbyterian colored mission. It has
two national banks and a savings bank, two newspapers, gas and electric lighting companies, a waterworks system,
and first class hotels and clubs. Its fire department is made up of three volunteer companies, Cataract Engine
and Hose, organized in 1843; Dikeman Hose, organized in 1872, and Minisink Hook and Ladder, organized in 1906,
upon the disbanding of Elliott H. and L, which was organized in 1871. Leading to the village from almost every
direction are improved roads, maintained under State supervision.
No mention of the town, past or present, would be complete, without reference to the trotting horse industry. It
began in 1803, when Imp. Messenger, acknowledged head of the trotting family, stood at Goshen. Down through all
the years trotting horses were bred awl raised there, and even in this day and generation the horse interests are
chief among the interests of the town. In the center of the village is located the finest half mile track in the
country and many famous horses are trained there.
Every foot of its ground is historic. In the far gone years red men roamed its landscape and predatory beasts lurked
in the shadows of its primeval timber lands. It was one of the early settlements made on that vast tract to which
Governor Nicolls referred when he wrote in 1664: "The lands which I intend shall be first planted are those
upon the west bank of Hudson's River." Shortly after the first settlement a bounty was placed on wolves and
the Governor recommended its payment to the House of Lords. Chapter 302 of the laws of 1715, was an act for the
destroying of wolves in this section. This act expired July 21, 1717, and on October 29, 1742, the General Assembly
found it necessary to pass a law placing a bounty of a shilling and sixpence on "wolves, whelps and panthers."
Noah Webster, of dictionary renown, taught the first academy in Goshen. Dewitt Clinton attended school there, and
William H. Seward studied law in the office of Judge Duer. The first newspaper of the county, The Goshen Repository,
was published at Goshen in 1788, by David Mandeville.
In the article which follows, the writer has endeavored to furnish a concise history in limited space. As nearly
as possible, events are set down in chronological order. Much of interest concerning the town that is based only
upon tradition is left out and the space devoted to historical facts that can be authenticated and verified by
records, maps, parchments and the writings of earlier and wiser men.
The County of Orange dates its existence by legal enactment from October 1, 1691, in the third year of the reign
of King William and Queen Mary, and in the administration of Henry Sloughter, Esq., Governor. The First Assembly
convened the 9th of April that year. On October it passed an act, Chapter 17, entitled "An Act to divide the
province and dependencies into shires and counties." Section VII of this act provided: "The County of
Orange to begin from the limits or bounds of East and West Jersey, on the west side of Hudson's River, along the
said river to the Murderer's Creek, or bounds of the County of Ulster; and westward into the woods as far as the
Chapter 94, which became a law October 18, 1701, added to the lands embraced in the county those of Wagachemeck
and Great and Little Minisinck."
On November 12, 1709, during the administration of Richard Ingoldsby, Esq., Lieutenant Governor, the Eighth Assembly
passed an act, Chapter, 202, "to determine, settle and ascertain the bounds and limits of the County of Orange."
This act repealed the clause added by Chapter 94, and fixed the bounds as follows: "That the County of Orange
shall extend from the limits and confines of the Province of New Jersey on the west side of Hudson's River, along
the said river to the line of the County of Ulster, and westward so far as the Delaware River."
The county derives its name from the Prince of Orange, who married Mary, and came to the throne in 1689, under
the name of King William.
Goshen is a part of the tract known as the Wawayanda Patent, acquired of the red men by John Bridges & Company,
on March 5, 1703, and confirmed by royal decree of Queen Anne. Twelve Indian sachems conveyed the land. They were
Rapingonick, Wawastawa. Moghopuck, Comelawaw, Nanawitt, Arawinack, Rombout, Claus, Chouckhass, Chingapaw, Oshasquememus
and Ouilapaw. The patent was granted April 29. There were twelve patentees, namely. John Bridges. LL.D., Hendrick
Tenyck, Derrick Vanderburgh John Chotwell, Christopher Denn, Lancaster Syms, Daniel Herran, Philip Rockery, John
Meredith, Benjamin Aske, Peter Matthews, and Christian Christianse. The grant was supposed to contain 6o,000 acres,
but surveys later showed that it contained nearly 160,000. These twelve patentees held the land in common until
1706, when it was divided into twelve parts. Only eight of the original shareholders retained their interests at
that time, Bridges having died in 1704, and others having transferred their holdings.
The tract was unoccupied until 1712, when Christopher Denn made settlement upon it, to be followed shortly by Benjamin
Aske; Daniel Cromline, who became a shareholder in 1704; Christian Snedeker, of Long Island; Samuel Staats, who
came into record as a thirteenth shareholder in 1713; and John Everett and Samuel Cloves, who in 1714, acquired
a tract equal to four of the thirteen shares. The township of Goshen came that year, and the precinct of Goshen,
comprising the outlying settlements came later, and remained until 1788 when the township was expanded to take
In 1712, Christopher Denn, a carpenter by trade and resident of New York City, paid a visit to the patent and determined
to make a settlement upon it. He and his wife, Elizabeth, were childless, but had adopted an orphan girl, Sarah
Denn selected a spot along the Otterkill, as it is now known, about two miles or more from the present village.
He returned to New York, equipped an expedition, which he sent up the Hudson River in charge of his adopted daughter,
accompanied by two white men and some Indians whom he had taken to New York when returning from his first visit.
A raft was used for the voyage and a landing safely made near Cornwall. The journey to the spot selected by Denn
was through a trackless forest, but was made without mishap and a rough cabin was built. After the starting of
the expedition Denn was remorseful because he sent the girl into unknown dangers, and within a short time he started
for the new settlement, with his wife. The journey was made on horseback. They arrived safely and took up permanent
It appears from an old map that Denn's share of the patent was a triangular tract, containing about 2,000 acres.
The presence of this family soon brought other settlers and the woodman's axe resounded far and near. The merciless
push of immigration began and the native red men were driven further into the wilderness. In the course of a few
years Sarah Wells became the wife of William Bull, of Wolverhampton, England, who came to this country and was
employed by Daniel Cromline in 1716 to build the masonry of a dwelling, later known to fame for nearly a century
as the Greycourt House. History records this as the first marriage within the limits of the town of Goshen.
The lands in the vicinity of the present village were settled to some extent soon after Denn's arrival. There were
on record deeds showing the conveyance of lots in the village in 1714. On July 10, 1721, a deed in trust was made
to John Yelverton by John Everett, John Carpenter, John Gale, William Ludlum, Nathaniel Higby, John Carpenter,
Jr., G. McNish, James Sandys, Thomas Watson, Hope Rodes, John Holly, James Jackson, Isaac Finch, Solomon Carpenter,
John Beers, Michael Dunning, Samuel Seely, John Nichols, 'William Jackson, Alexander Moore, John Knapp, Samuel
Webb, John Alsop and Richard Halsted, setting forth that a conveyance had been "lately" made to John
Everett and Samuel Clowes, giving them one sixth part of all the lands for the purpose of laying out a township,
establishing a church and settling a minister.
The Goshen Presbyterian Church was organized in 1720, and Rev. John Bradner, to whom more extended reference is
made later in this article, became its pastor in 1721. Two hundred acres of land were deeded to him on April 17,
1722, and recorded at the request of his widow on April 8, 1742. In 1724 the erection of a house of worship was
begun on the spot where now stands the court house. The first court was cenvened in Goshen in 1727, and on December
16, of that year an act was passed providing for the building of a court house and jail, which were erected and
completed in 1740, on the site of the present Orange Hotel. On October 24, 1754, the General Assembly appropriated
100 pounds for an addition to it, and in 1775 it was demolished and a new one built at a point where now stands
the county clerk's office. The arms of King George III were placed upon its front, but were torn down by indignant
A schoolhouse was built in 1801 on the church plot, the same spot where the public school building on Greenwich
street now stands. Here Noah Webster taught for a time before he published his first dictionary in 1806.
Goshen, after its original settlement, soon became the most important and populous district of the county, and
a census taken in 1738 showed a total of 319 males above the age of ten. These were stirring times for the people
and most of the affairs were of a warlike nature. There was frequent trouble with the Indians. The frontier was
only four miles away. Block houses were built at Dolsontown and Scotchtown, and tradition has it that a block house
once stood back of the present race course on the property known today as the Parkway Farm. In those days the settlers
west of the Wallkill made Goshen their rendezvous when Indian raids were feared.
In the reign of George II, when Hon. George Clinton was Governor, the General Assembly passed an act to enable
the inhabitants of Goshen in the County of Orange to elect two additional constables, This act explained that the
inhabitants of the Precinct of Goshen had liberty to elect only one constable and as the precinct had considerably
increased in numbers of inhabitants and settlements, it was necesssary that an increased number be elected. The
act was passed December 17, 1743, and provided that one of the constables "be elected and chosen from and
out of such of the inhabitants as have habitations in the south part of Goshen, commonly called Wawayanda, and
the other from and out of such of the inhabitants as have habitations northward near the meeting house, commonly
called the Water Side Meeting House.
On September 21, 1744, the General Assembly passed an act to authorize justices of the peace in the counties of
Dutchess and Orange to "direct so many constables and overseers of the highways to be chosen, in the several
precincts as to them shall seem meet." On the same day an act was passed for the relief of the poor in the
counties of Orange and Suffolk.
COVENANT CHAIN TREATY.
During these years the settlers had as allies two tribes of Indians, sometimes known as the Cashigton Indians,
whose principal lodges were located near where now stands the village of Cochecton in Sullivan County. They formed
a part of the Lenni Lenape, or Delaware Confederacy, once powerful, but at that time reduced in numbers. From time
immemorial Western Orange had been their hunting ground, but late in the year 1744 they showed signs of distrust
and retired to their lodges on the upper Delaware. The colonists were loath to lose these faithful allies, for
their withdrawal left the outlying settlements on the frontiers exposed to attack of hostile savages, incited to
rapine and murder by the French.
The attention of the Colonial Government was called to this matter and Colonel DeKay was ordered to take a parity
and visit the Indians in the hope that friendly relations might be restored and the redmen induced to return to
their old hunting grounds. As a result of this visit the Indian Treaty of Orange County was enacted and the ceremony
of the Covenant Chain performed at Goshen. Colonel Thomas DeKay took with him, upon this expedition, Major Swartout,
Ensign Coleman, Adam Weisner. who acted as interpreter, Benjamin Thompson, and two Minisink Indians as guides.
The pilgrimage was made in the depth of winter. The Indians were found and agreed to come back, claiming that they
left because they were afraid of the people of Orange County, who were always under arms. When it was explained
that this was by order of the Governor and for protection against the French and their allies, the Indians rejoiced.
They explained that they were of two tribes, using for totems the signs of Mini, or Wolf, and Uralaclitgo, or Turkey,
and that their sachem had recently died. They were about to choose a new sachem to govern all, and they promised
that when he had been chosen they would send representatives to make a treaty. New Year's Day was fixed upon as
On January 3, 1745, two days late, the Wolves and Turkeys, a dozen of the head men in all, led by the new sachem,
came into the village of Goshen and marched in savage bravery up its main street. Just where the ceremony took
place is unknown, but the old manuscript record says that the weather was severe, and it is probable that the meeting
was held in the rude court house. The Indians by their spokesman explained that they had brought a Belt of Wampum
that friendship and brotherhood might be restored. They asked that some one be appointed to enact with them the
ceremony of the Covenant Chain.
Colonel DeKay informed them that the Governor alone had power to make such an appointment and that as there was
not time to communicate with him, it would be best for the Indians to select a man. They chose the colonel and
he was then chained to them for an hour or more as a token of their being united again in the bonds of friendship.
Speeches were made by the Indians and they solemnly pledged themselves to be true "as long as the sung and
moon endured," and promised to send in runners at once if they learned of any plots against the English. They
also agreed to join in fighting the enemy and asked that aid be given them in case of attacks by the French. This
was freely promised and while the Colonel was still chained to the Indians they gave him the Belt of Wampum to
be sent to the Governor. The Indians, according to the record, "again rejoiced with three huzzas and departed
very much pleased." The Belt of Wampum, so states the books of the Lords of Trade and Plantations in London,
was taken to the Colonial Council in New York by Colonel Dehay a fortnight later and delivered to the Council,
which in turn sent it to the Governor, who recommended that one be given in return to the Indians. This was the
only occasion on record when the ceremony of the Covenant Chain was enacted in Orange County.
On April 18, 1748, an act was passed by the General Assembly providing that "for the time to come, all elections
of representatives of the County of Orange to serve in the present or any future General Assembly shall begin and
be first opened at the court house in Orange Town, or at the court house or some other convenient place in the
town of Goshen."
About this time settlers who had dealings with the sheriff began to find considerable fault with the manner
in which mileage charges were computed. On April 8, 1748, an act was passed providing that for all writs and process
papers served on inhabitants on the north side of the mountain range called the Highlands, mileage should be computed
by the sheriff from the court house in Goshen, and for all papers served on the south side from the court house
in Orange Town. The preamble to this act fully explained the situation. It stated: "Whereas the County of
Orange is very extensive in length, and by reason of a ridge of mountains across the same, and for the better accommodation
of inhabitants, it was found necessary to have two court houses, the one at Goshen on the north, and the other
at Orange Town on the south thereof; yet by the sheriff having his residence sometimes at the one and sometimes
at the other extreme of the said county, the computation of his fees for mileage in the service of writs hath hitherto
been made from the place of the sheriff's abode, which has been found to be very inconvenient and burdensome to
the parties concerned."
When the French and Indian War began in 1756 the men of Goshen were continually under arms. The old Journal
of the Assembly relates the services of Captain George DeKay as express between Goshen and Minisink. It mentions
as his guards Peter Carter, David Benjamin, Philip Reid and Francis Armstrong. It tells also of the payment of
nearly too pounds to Colonel Vincent Mathews for furnishing guides to regulars posted at Goshen from October, 1757,
to February, 1758, and refers to the work of Colonels Clinton and DeKay in laying out block houses for the settlers'
defense. Mention is also made of the payment of 56 pounds to Samuel Gale for provisions furnished troops on the
frontiers near Goshen; and of reimbursing Colonel Benj. Tusten, Captain Daniel Case and Captain J. Bull for money
advanced in building block houses Nos. t and 2 on the western frontier in January, 1757.
In 1763, Lieutenant Governor Cadwallader Golden appealed to the General Assembly for troops to relieve the militia
on the borders of Orange and Ulster which were infested by the enemy. At this time the town of Goshen extended
from the Hudson to New Jersey. In 1764 a bill was passed dividing the precinct of Goshen into two precincts, to
be called Goshen and Cornwall. After this division Cornwall embraced the present towns of Cornwall, Monroe and
Blooming Grove, while Goshen included the present town of Warwick.
During the years prior to the Revolution when the colonists were growing desperate under the exactions of King
George, patriotism and valor were manifested to a marked degree in Goshen. On June 8, 1775, over 360 men signed
the Revolutionary pledge at Goshen and the name of Henry Wisner headed the list. The Reverend Nathan Ker, an ardent
patriot, and the fourth pastor of the Goshen Presbyterian Church, who came to Goshen in the fall of 1766, and remained
until his death, December 14, 1804, on one occasion is said to have dismissed his congregation in the midst of
a Sunday service to prepare food for a troop of horse that had halted on the way to Philadelphia. Once General
George Washington, riding eastward on the Florida road towards his headquarters at Newburgh, stopped with his staff
to chat awhile with the children at the old school house near the stone quarry.
NOTABLE EARLY RESIDENTS.
Many of the old families of Goshen today are descendants of the patriots who fought in the colonial service
and whose names appear on the roster of the Goshen regiment at the battles of Long Island and White Plains, at
the struggle in the Highlands, and the capture of Fort. Montgomery, as well as in the memorable slaughter of Minisink.
The highway between Goshen and Florida, over which Washington rode, is a historic thoroughfare and in Revolutionary
clays was lined with the homes of famous men. Goshen was then the stronghold of the Whigs. In a stone house nearly
opposite the present Sayer homestead, lived Moses Hatfield, a captain, afterwards a major, in the Goshen regiment,
who was taken prisoner at a night assault on what is now Randall's Island, on September 23, 1776, and was kept
a captive until 1778.
A little further along the way lived Henry Wisner, the elder. He and his son of the same name were makers of powder
for the Continental Army at Phillipsburg, between the highway as it now stands and the grist mill near by. Traces
of the old raceway and mill can still be seen. Another on the opposite side of the stream, and one at Craigville,
operated in conjunction with John Carpenter, were also erected by Henry Wisner. The Sons of the Revolution arranged
some years ago to mark the site of the Phillipsburg powder mill by an historical tablet.
Henry Wisner stood foremost among those who advocated the independence of the colonies. He represented Orange County
in the Continental Congress which declared that "these States are; and of right ought to be, free." His
son Gabriel, hardly past his majority, was slain in the slaughter of Minisink. On the 16th of August, 1774, Henry
Wisner was chosen as one of the delegates to represent Orange County in the Continental Congress held in Philadelphia
in September of that year. The election was by the committee of the county held at the house of Stephen Slot and
the purpose was for the delegate to attend at Philadelphia "to consult on proper measures to be taken for
procuring the redress of our grievances."
A question was raised as to the regularity of this election and a meeting of the inhabitants of the precincts of
Goshen and Cornwall was held at Chester on September 3, 1774, at which Henry Wisner was chosen to go to Philadelphia
"in order to meet the rest of the delegates and consult on proper measures to be taken with respect to the
claims made by the British Parliament of taxing America in all cases whatsoever."
William Wickham was a prominent citizen of Goshen, and his attitude was one of extreme loyalty to the crown. With
other adherents of the king he attempted to set aside the election of Wisner. The correspondence, which still exists,
shows that political feeling was very bitter. The scheme came to naught and Wisner took his seat. In Aprils, 776,
he was elected by a convention held at New York City, as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress in which
he took part, leaving it for the purpose of manufacturing powder for Washington's tattered army.
Mr. Wisner's signature may still be found in the list at Carpenter's Hall in Philadelphia. He continued in Congress
until the memorable 2nd of July, 1776, when the "Resolution of Independency" was passed. He was heartily
in favor of the measure and remained for the purpose of casting his vote for its final passage, had the Provincial
Congress of New York given such instructions to its delegates. Tradition affirms that he actually did vote for
the "independency" that day. He was not present to sign the Declaration. He had proposed in Congress
"a method for the manufacture of saltpetre and gunpowder" which had been approved, and in agreement with
which he was requested or appointed to build works and prepare powder for the "Army of the North." To
do this he left Philadelphia on the third of July and applied himself to the making of powder. For three years,
and until his mill was burned and his fortune exhausted, he continued to supply powder to the American forts and
thus beyond any man in the Continental Congress of 1776 contributed to his country's triumph.
On the square at St. James' Place in the village of Goshen stands a monument of native Pochuck granite erected
to the memory of Henry Wisner by his great granddaughter, Mrs. Frances Wisner Murray, widow of Ambrose Spencer
Murray, of Goshen. The monument was dedicated on July 22, 1897, by Dr. John H. Thompson, who presided and Harrison
W. Benny, Esq., who made the dedicatory address.
Adjoining the residence of Henry Wisner, and separated from it by what is now known as Steward's lane, was the
home of John Steward, an ardent patriot. He was one of two brothers, John and Walter Stewart, or Steward, the name
having been spelled both ways, who came from Ireland to New England about 1740. Walter settled in Rhode Island,
where he started a snuff mill and became the father of Gilbert Stuart, the noted portrait painter, whose unfinished
picture of Washington is the likeness that the world knows best today. Gilbert after reaching manhood, wrote his
name Stuart, because by reason of the fact that his ancestry was by tradition connected with the Jacobite cause,
he had a great admiration for "Bonny Prince Charlie."
The tradition was that, at the time of one of the early Jacobite risings, a nurse in charge of two young children
appeared in Belfast, Ireland. They came from Scotland and the Boman immediately on arriving fell ill of small pox
and died refusing to tell anything about the children except that their names were John and Walter Stewart, and
that they were the sons of a man of rank who would soon come for them. She had with her no money but some fine
jewels, no one ever came to claim the children, but as it is recorded in history that some Jacobite families are
known to have been exterminated in their bloody and unfortunate battles, this may have been the fate of the relatives
of these boys, too young to tell anything about themselves. They were brought up by a man, appointed their guardian.
He treated them harshly and as soon as grown they left him and came to try their fortune in a new land. John first
acquired some property in Boston, which he left in his will to his son Nathan, but soon came to Goshen and settled
there, buying in 1744 eighty acres of land, "and the houses thereon" from William Jayne. From this it
appears that the Steward house may have been erected previous to 1744, but "houses thereon" may have
been a mere legal term, and the house was probably built by John Steward. It is certain, however, that it has been
standing since 1744. He bought more land, about 120 acres in all, at a later date. To farming John Steward joined
the occupation of blacksmith, erecting a little to the left of his house a forge, which was in operation as early
as 1758, the family having still in their possession, a deed of sale bearing that date of a slave named Tite, warranted
to be a good blacksmith. Later at this forge, John Steward II, during the Revolutionary war made sabres and bayonets
for the Continental Army.
John Steward I, married Elizabeth Bradner, the daughter of Rev. John Bradner, first settled clergyman in Goshen.
As John Bradner was the father of nine children. viz., Colviet John, Benoni, Gilbert, Susanna, Mary, Sarah, Christian
and Elizabeth, and to him many families in Orange County trace their descent, the following may be thought worthy
of record. When a young divinity student in Edinburgh, Scotland; John Bradner was employed by a gentleman called
Colvill, a Huguenot refugee, as a tutor to his sons. His daughter Christiana shared her brothers' studies and she
and the tutor fell in love with each other, but Colvill thought the tutor no match for his daughter, and told her
if she married him he would never speak to her again. She put love before duty and having married John Bradner
they sailed for America. The voyage occupied six months. Violent storms in which the ship nearly foundered were
encountered. These Mrs. Bradner thought were sent by Heaven to punish her for her disregard of her father's wishes.
Rev. John Bradner received the degree M.A. from the University of Edinburgh, February 23rd, 1712, was licensed
to preach March, 1714, ordained May 6, 1715, pastor of Cold Spring Presbyterian Church, Cape May, N. J., before
being called to the church in Goshen, 1721. He died 1732. His widow. died 1759. She was well educated in the classics
and assisted in preparing her son, Rev. Benoni, for Princeton College. He graduated 1715, was settled in Jamaica,
L. I., 1760, and two years after was called to Church Nine Partners, Dutchess County. There is now in the possession
of Mrs. M. H. C. Gardner, of Middletown, a piece of a quilt brought from Scotland by Mrs. John Bradner. The colors
of the design, birds, fruit and flowers, are as bright as though it was new. John Steward I had eight children
and their mother used to relate with pride that never once during their infancy or childhood was she obliged by
reason of the illness of one of them to strike a light during the night. John Steward I died in 1770, of a fever
then epidemic. In his will he left to his widow, as long as she remained his widow, the use of the best room and
the "salon" room. The small adjoining room, now a store closet, was her prayer closet, where she used
to retire to pray, as was the good custom of those times.
Her eldest son, John Steward II, although holding no commission in the Continental Army was an ardent patriot,
mention being made in Rivington's New York Gazette, the Tory organ, that "rebellion in Orange County was continually
fomented by those two firebrands, Squire Steward and Old Wisner, the latter being Henry Wisner, member of the Continental
Congress and John Steward's friend and neighbor.
John Steward II, who was thirty years younger than Henry Wisner, was a. justice of the peace. and a number of Hessian
prisoners passing southward through Goshen, probably after the battle of Saratoga, were quartered over night at
his house. The common soldiers slept in the barn, buf the officers, of whom there were several. were accommodated
in the house and on leaving the next morning told Mrs. Steward that the coffee made by her black cook was the best
they had tasted since leaving Germany.
In a house that stood about too feet east of the present residence of Campbell Steward, Esq., lived General
Reuben Hopkins, whose son, Hanibat married Elizabeth Steward, daughter of John Steward II. General Hopkins's portrait
and his appointment as attorney at law dated 1771 and signed by Lord Dunmore, now hang on the walls of the Steward
house, which contains other objects of interest, among which may be mentioned an original broadside of the Declaration
of Independence addressed to John Steward, Esq., his commission as Major No. 1 of the regiment of militia in the
County of Orange, signed by Geo. Clinton in 1798, and a bag of old counterfeit silver Spanish dollars. A band of
counterfeiters was arrested in Orange County about the time of the Revolution and they were tried at Goshen, their
judges, among whom was Judge Steward, keeping some of the coins as curiosities. In the house can also be seen a
small stone hammer presented to the wife of John Steward I, as a token of friendship by a member of a band of Indians
who, at the time Steward settled in Goshen and for some years after, lived in a hickory grove at the rear of his
house. His family always made a point of maintaining friendly relations with their savage neighbors, and were never
troubled by them, although once during the French and Indian War on an alarm being given that Indians on the war
path were approaching Goshen, the family fled to the cedar swamp. It is said that on leaving they looked back for
what they feared might be a last look at their house. but the alarm proved a false one. Goshen was spared an Indian
massacre and they returned to find their house still standing. The main body of the house, with some minor alterations,
is the same today as it was in those old Indian days, its cedar shingles, oak beams and large stone chimneys seeming
still sound and strong. The house being too small for modern requirements, two wings have been added at different
times and the chimney tops rebuilt, but care has been taken to preserve as far as possible every antique feature
of the house in its original condition.
During Revolutionary days the inhabitants of Orange County were terrorized by the depredations of Claudius Smith,
a notorious outlaw, and his gang of ruffians, who were known as cowboys. Smith was indicted on three charges, one
of which was the murder of Major Strong. Rewards were offered by Governor Clinton, and Smith was taken captive
at Smithtown, L. I., by Major Brush. He was given into the custody of Colonel Isaac Nichol, sheriff of Orange County,
and on January 22, 1779, was publicly executed at the west corner of church park in Goshen, with two other criminals,
De La Mar, a burglar, and Gordon, a horse thief. On the gallows near the same spot forty years later two others
were publicly put to death for murder.
BATTLE OF MINISINK.
On July 22, 1779, occurred the battle of Minisink, in which the Goshen regiment, under Colonel Tusten, met almost
complete annihilation at the hands of nearly 500 Indians and Tories under Joseph Brant, the half breed chieftain,
who was known as Thayendanegea, the Scourge, and held a colonel's commission from George III. The Goshen regiment
marched against Brant's forces to avenge a raid made by Brant upon the settlers near Minisink on the 20th of the
month. They were joined by a small reinforcement, under Colonel Hathorn, of the Warwick regiment, and the latter
assumed command. While marching along the west bank of the Delaware at nine o'clock on the morning of July 22,
the Indians were discovered about three quarters of a mile away and Colonel Hathorn hastened his command in pursuit.
Brant, taking advantage of intervening woods and hills made a detour which enabled him to gain the rear of the
attacking party, and in the battle which followed the savages completely routed the small force that opposed them.
The colonists had little ammunition and this was soon exhausted. A part of them fled, and more were killed in flight
than in battle. Colonel Tusten, who was a skilful surgeon, dressed the wounds of his men, and refused to abandon
them, staying on the field until he fell. Of the eighty men in the engagement, 44 were killed outright and others
died later of their wounds.
Colonel Benjamin Tusten, who was a physician and surgeon by profession, came originally from Southold, L. I., in
1746, at the age of three years. His parents located on the banks of the Otterkill on the patent granted to Elizabeth
Denn. His father, Benjamin Tusten, was appointed one of the judges of the courts of the county and also a colonel
in the Orange County regiment of militia. The son, Benjamin, was sent to an academy at Jamaica, L. I., and at the
age of nineteen returned to Goshen and studied medicine with Doctor Thomas Wiskham. He afterwards studied in Newark,
N. J., and New York City, returning in 1769 to practice medicine in Goshen, where two other physicians, Doctor
John Gale and Doctor Pierson, had already located. He was very successful and was widely known as a surgeon. He
married Miss Brown, by whom he had two sons and three daughters. In 1777 he was appointed lieutenant colonel of
the Goshen regiment of militia under General Allison, and in 1778 was appointed surrogate of Orange County, which
office he held when he lost his life at Minisink.
Captain John Wood, of Colonel Tusten's regiment, was captured in the battle of Minisink, his life being spared
by Brant, who in the thick of the battle, thought he saw Wood give a masonic sign. Wood was taken captive and transported
to Canada. He left a journal of events following the battle which throws considerable light on the life and character
On July 22, 1822, by the influence of Dr. David R Bernell, of Goshen, a monument was erected in the village to
the memory of the men who fell at Minisink. It was set up over the bones of the patriots which had been gathered
from the battlefield forty three years after the massacre. On July 22. 1862, a more pretentious monument was dedicated
and unveiled, provision for the cost of the same having been made in the will of Dr. Merritt H. Cash, of Minisink.
Goshen village was originally laid out in four lots of eighty acres each. Its original boundaries are not definitely
known, as a disastrous fire in 1843 destroyed the town clerk's office, burning up the map of the town and village
lots, together with deeds dating from 1714. After these records had been destroyed a new charter was granted on
April 18, 1843, fixing the boundaries of the village, which remained under this charter until 1878, when it was
abandoned and the village reorganized under the general act. Goshen was incorporated a town on March 28, 1809.
At one time Orange County embraced nearly all the southern part of New York, bordering on the Hudson River. Courts
were then held at Orange Town, now in Rockland County. In 1827 they were removed to Goshen. In 1839 the board of
supervisors made application to the Legislature to erect a new court house at Goshen. There was considerable opposition
from the southern end of the county, which was anxious to secure increased judicial conveniences. As a result,
the Legislature effected a compromise, making Goshen and Newburgh joint capitals, and in April, 1841, passed an
act authorizing the building of a court house and jail at Goshen and a court house and cells at Newburgh.
IN THE CIVIL WAR.
On July 1, 1862, President Lincoln issued a call for 300,000 volunteers, and Governor Morgan appointed a military
committee for Orange County. Hon. Ambrose S. Murray was the Goshen member. As a result of this call the 124th Regiment,
afterwards famed as the "Orange Blossoms" was organized. During the period of organization it was encamped
at Goshen, where Murray avenue is now located. Enlistments came rapidly and by August 23 it was ready for the field.
The military committee recommended A. Van Horne Ellis, of New Windsor, for colonel of the regiment and he accepted
the commission. Henry S. Murray was made captain of Co. B, which was composed of Goshen men. On August 26, 1862,
the regiment was presented with a stand of colors by the women of Orange County. Hon. Charles H. Winfield made
the presentation speech. Afterwards, on behalf of the women of Wawayanda, Miss Charlotte E. Coulter presented the
regiment with a pair of embroidered silk guidons.
On Friday, September 5, the regiment was mustered in and on the following day departed for the front. It fought
in many engagements from Manassas Gap to Lee's surrender at Appomatox, and was disbanded at Washington's headquarters
in Newburgh, June 16, 1865, leaving a record of 208 service dead and 609 casualties in action.
When the Civil War was at its height and drafts were necessary to supply the depleted ranks of the Union Army,
one interesting incident took place at Goshen. The provost marshal general had ordered a draft for the Eleventh
District, comprising the counties of Orange and Sullivan, calling for 1,932 men, with 50% added, making a total
of 2,898. This draft was to begin at Goshen on Wednesday morning, October 7, 1863. Trouble was feared by certain
of the leading citizens, and they asked that troops be sent to the village to prevent rioting. Accordingly on Tuesday
evening, October 6, the Fifth Wisconsin Volunteers, under Colonel Allen. arrived in town. The regiment, which originally
numbered 1,300, had been reduced by hard service to 450 men. They made their camp on the elevation which is now
Prospect avenue, and during the night, trained. their cannon to cover the points where crowds would gather in case
of rioting. The drawing began on Wednesday and lasted until Saturday and there was no serious disorder. The names
were drawn from the wheel by Gabriel Coleman, an aged blind man of the village. Orange County's quota was 2,131,
and Sullivan's 767. Goshen furnished 62, of whom three were colored men.
A table of military statistics compiled just before the close of the war showed that Goshen had furnished men as
follows at the Government's call: 30 men in 1861; 113 men in 1862; 104 men in 1863; 51 men in 1864.
On Thursday, September 5, 1907, there was dedicated at Goshen a monument to the service dead of the 124th Regiment.
The monument, which weighs nineteen tons, is a bronze figure, "The Standard Bearer," designed by Theo.
Alice Ruggles Kitson, a noted sculptress. The figure, eighteen feet in height, stands upon a pedestal of Stony
Creek granite, fourteen feet high. The monument was presented to the people of Orange County by Hon. Thomas W.
Bradley, of Walden, N. Y., Member of Congress from the Twentieth New York District, in memory of his comrades who
died in the service of their country. Mr. Bradley enlisted as a private in the "Orange Blossoms," was
promoted to captain, and breveted major for meritorious service, and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor
for gallantry at Chancellorsville, May 3, 1863, when he volunteered in response to a call, and alone, in the face
of a heavy fire of musketry and canister, went across the field of battle and procured ammunition for his comrades.
The presentation was made by Colonel Charles H. Weygant, who commanded the regiment after the commander, Colonel
F. M. Cummins, fell wounded. It was accepted for the people by Mr. John J. E. Harrison, chairman of the board of
supervisors, a veteran of Co. B, 56th Regiment, U. S. V., who was wounded at Devon's Neck, S. C., December 7, 1864,
and who rendered before and after that time valiant service in the Union's cause. It was accepted also by Captain
Robert B. Hock, who was the village president, and was then serving his eighteenth consecutive term in that office.
He also had been a soldier with a long and honorable record. He enlisted in the regular army as a bugler, some
years before the war, and was assigned to the Tenth U. S. Infantry, and sent to Fort Snelling, Minn. He took part
in many expeditions against the Mormons, under General Albert Sidney Johnson, afterwards the confederate general
killed at Shiloh. Mr. Hock was later sent to the scene of the Mount Meadow massacre and fought in the battle of
Ash Hollow under General Hardy. In 1860 he was a pony express rider when Denver was only a tented village. After
Fort Sumter was fired on, his old commander General Tracy, asked him to drill recruits at Staten Island. He did
this and later performed the same service at Washington. In 1861 he was commissioned lieutenant of Co. E, 12th
New York Cavalry, and in 1863 was made captain of Co. F. He was on the Burnside expedition, at Ball's Bluff and
in the second battle of Bull Run. On April 17, 1864, he was taken prisoner at Plymouth, N. C., and confined for
three weeks in Andersonville, four months at Macon, one month at Savannah, and one month at Charleston. With six
brother officers he escaped from prison at Columbia, S. C., and was tracked by bloodhounds. All the others were
recaptured, but he, after suffering terribly by privation and exposure, reached the Union lines and was cared for
by the Third Tennessee, until able to report to General Dix in New York. In 1865 in a skirmish with General Bragg's
troops his horse was shot from under him, and he was caught by Bragg's men and sent to Danville, Va. He made a
break for liberty and escaped to the brush, rejoining the Union forces just before Lee's surrender. At Bentonville,
in a cavalry charge, his horse was killed and he was thrown among the rebel infantry and captured. The same night
he escaped, covering himself with dead leaves, and reporting at his company headquarters in the morning. His comrade
in rebel prisons, Lieutenant A. Cooper, dedicated a book of his experiences to Captain Hock.