TOWN OF NEW WINDSOR.
By DR. C. A. GORSE.
LESS than three centuries ago, to be accurate in 1609, Hendrick Hudson sailed up the beautiful river to which
he gave his name, and anchored in the broad bay above the Highlands to trade with the aboriginal inhabitants, who
then inhabited the primeval forests which lined its banks.
It is probable that he and some portion of his crew were the first men who set foot upon the virgin soil of New
Windsor, but it was not until more than half a century later, in 1685, that a company of Scotch and Irish emigrants
to the number of twenty five families, with their servants, tinder the leadership of Colonel Patrick McGregorie,
accompanied by his sons in law, David Foshack and Captain Evens, settled upon the extreme eastern extremity of
the town, now known as Plum Point, an elevation of 118 feet above the river and consisting of eighty acres at the
mouth of the Moodna Creek.
Here they erected a commodious cabin and established a trading post; this is the earliest recorded settlement in
the county. Colonel McGregorie was appointed muster general of the militia of the province and after his death,
in 1691, in an endeavor to suppress an insurrection by the Leister party, his sons in law and their families continued
to reside here until 1789. The patent which the Colonel obtained to the land passed into the possession of his
son, Patrick McGregorie, Jr.
The town is wedge shaped, its sharp edge of about five miles in extent resting upon the river. There is but a small
extent of comparatively level land along the river bank upon which the village of New Windsor stands, back of which
there rises a steep bluff with a surface of sand and gravel, and a substratum of clay, which is used in the manufacture
of an excellent quality of brick, which at the present time is the principal industry of the place. The township
is bounded on the north by the city and town of Newburgh, from which it is separated by Quassaick Creek, an outlet
of Washington Lake, formerly known as Little Pond, also a portion of the town of Montgomery; on the west by the
towns of Montgomery and Hamptonburg; on the south by Blooming Grove and Cornwall. From the latter town it is separated
by Moodna Creek, near its mouth. On the east it is bounded by the Hudson River.
The soil is of a sandy and gravelly nature, interspersed in some portions by rocks and large stones, of a diversified
surface, being rolling and hilly. After leaving the river the surface gradually ascends for a distance of two or
three miles, interspersed with gentle elevations which have been utilized by retired business men of New York for
sightly country residences, most of which command a magnificent view of the noble Hudson, and the picturesque Highlands
in the distance.
On the northern edge of the town rises Snake Hill, or more recently called Muchattoes Hill, an elevation of 600
feet above the river. It lies north and south and is almost perpendicular on its eastern extremity. but slopes
gradually on the west, from which the surface is again rolling and adapted to agricultural purposes. At the distance
of about five miles from the river the town is crossed north and south by two ridges, rising in amphitheatre form,
from whose summit is obtained a most elegant view of the surrounding country. The Highlands on the south, the Fishkill
Mountains on the east, the Shawangunk Mountains on the north, an I the Sugar Loaf and Schunemunk Mountains on the
The earliest recorded patent was issued to Patrick McGregorie in 1685. Others were as follows: 1,000 acres to
William Chambers and William Southerland September 2, 1709; 4,000 acres (in part) to Charles Ruddy and Philip Brooks,
February 20, 1709; this included subsequently a portion granted to Mary Ingoldsby and her daughter, Mary Pinkhorn.
August 12. 1720; 4,000 acres to John Haskell of the dates of April 9, 1719, and April 24. 1721: 800 acres to Vincent
Matthews, June 17, 1720; 1,000 acres to John Johnson, February 3. 1720; [184 acres to James Henderson. February
12, 1722; 1,000 acres to Vincent Price (in part). July 21, 1721: 2,000 acres to Andrew Johnson, July 19, 1719;
1,000 acres to Louis Morris, July 21, 1721: 2,000 acres to Patrick Hume. November 29, 1721: 3,292 acres to Cornelius
Low & Co. (mainly), March 2o, 1720; 1,000 acres to Richard Van Dam (in part). June 30, 1720: 2,000 acres to
Phineas Mcintosh (mainly), April 9, 1719, and some portions of the patent granted to Cadwallader Bolden, April
9, 1719, some portions of which and the Low & McIntosh patents were cut off in 1830, when the town of Hamptonburg
On the 7th of October, 1734, Dr. John Nicoll, of New York, purchased of John Waldron, Cornelius Van Horn and James
Livingston 7,50o acres.
The Chamber and Southerland patents were divided November 7. 1723, into three equal parts, Chambers occupying the
northern part, Matthews the central part and Southerland the southern part. On the death of the latter in 1738,
his portion passed to his two sons. William and John, on the death of William, without issue. John inherited and
also obtained, in 1753, the water front from the village of New Windsor to Quassaick Creek. He sold this to Nathaniel
Smith, of Kingston in 1738, together with a portion of the Jngoldsby patent, purchased by his father in 1726: also
a portion of the German patent purchased by himself in 1742. Smith sold a portion to Robert Boyd, Jr., and another
to George Clinton, upon which the latter erected a house in 1769, and resided here until electel Governor in 1777,
when he removed to Poughkeepsie. From him was purchased what is known as the Walsh farm on the Quassaick Creek,
recently in the possession of his grandson, E. J. DeWitt Walsh. On this portion of the tract was Admiral William
Chambers, Associate Judge John Chambers. 1751; Governor George Clinton, 1776; Captain Charles Ludlow. U. S. N.
The central portion held by Matthews was purchased by John Aslop, 1724, whose son John Aslop, Jr., was prominent
in the Revolution, and grandfather of Governor John Aslop King, in 1749. He also sold that portion on which the
village of New Windsor stands to the company called the "Proprietors" of New Windsor, September O. 1749.
Their names were Vincent Matthews. Ebenezer Seely. Michael Jackson, Joseph Sackett, David Marvin, Evan Jones and
The Southerlands tract came into the possession of Thomas Ellison in May, 1723, who erected a stone mansion on
the bluff overlooking the river: also a storehouse and dock on the river, and conducted a prosperous business for
over a century. His mansion was the headquarters of General Washington from 1779 until he moved to the Hasbro house
He also purchased the Vincent Matthews patent, adjoining, at Vail's Gate, in May, 1724, upon which his son, Thomas
Ellison, Jr., erected in 1754 the stone mansion and a mill, which subsequently came into the possession of his
son John, and is now known as General Knox headquarters.
The fourth patent was on the Ingoldsby patent in 1726, by John Gate, who sold to Thomas Ellison in 1736. He sold
a portion to James Edmonston in 1727, upon which the latter erected a stone house in 1754, just west of Hail's
Gate, which figured conspicuously in the Revolution.
Dr. John Nicoll came into possession of a considerable tract, from one Peter Post in 1738, which extended from
New Windsor village to the base of Snake Hill; his great grandson now resides upon a portion of it on the river
David Mandeville purchased the Mary Ingoldsby patent May 1st, 1728. and sold to Samuel and Nathaniel Hazard who
erected a mill which is still standing.
A patent was granted to Colonel John Haskell in 1719 of 2,000 acres and another 2,000 acres in 1721 upon which
he settled in 1726. He erected a log cabin on what was known as the Dusenberry farm, upon which the army erected
the Temple when encamped there. Other early settlers upon this tract were: Even Jones, Samuel Brewster, Elizabeth
Stollard, Andrew Crawford and Neil McArthur.
The first settler upon the McIntosh patent was John Davis, July 5th, 1726; others about this time were Robert Boyd
and the Dill families. Through his wife, Sarah McIntosh, Nathan Smith came into possession of a considerable portion
of this tract and erected thereon a grist mill, a fulling mill and a store.
The first settler upon the Andrew Johnson patent upon which Little Britain now stands was John Humphrey, 1724;
Peter Mullinder, 1729; also Mary McClaughry, John Read, Robert Burnett, in the same year; Charles Clinton, Alexander
Denniston, John Young, Andrew McDowell, 1731.
The Mailler family were here prior to 1730, who sold to Robert Carscadden. Among others who settled here with the
Clintons were the Armstrongs, Beatty, Barkly, Brooks, Denniston Davis, Dunlap. Frazer, Gordon, Gray, Hamilton,
Little, Mitchell. McDowell, McClaughry, Oliver, Nicholson. Thompson, Wilson and Young, whose descendants are numerous
in the county.
The Low and Co.'s patent of 3,292 acres was granted to Peter Low, Garret Schuyler and John Schuyler and was divided
among them. The third portion of John Schuyler passed by will to his nephews, Brant and Samuel Schuyler Brant Schuyler
eventually becoming sole possessor. Low and Garret Schuyler sold a considerable portion to Allen Jarrett, April
5th, 1720, Low sold 600 acres to John Vance, September 1st, 1734, and 200 acres to Jarvis Tompkins, May 22, 1738.
Other settlers on this patent were: John Slaughter, 1726; Thomas Shaw, 1729; William Miller, 200 acres, November
12th, t746: Charles Beatty, 200 acres of Brant Schuyler's, August 22nd, 1744, which he sold to James McClaughry,
July t4th, 1749, the latter the colonel of the 3rd Regiment of Militia, who fought at the Highland forts in 1777.
Beatty, the son of a sister of Charles Clinton, became a distinguished clergyman, some of whose descendants still
reside at Salisbury Mills in this county.
James Gambell and John Humphrey purchased of the Hume patent 300 acres. April 6, 1730, and divided it equally between
them. Gambell sold to Patrick Byrne. March 12, 1744, and Humphrey sold to Patrick McCiaughry, February 22, 1769.
The remaining portion of this patent was sold by James Ludlow, a nephew of the patentee, to James Neely, Henry
M. Neely, William Young and Patrick McClaughry. William Young sold to Samuel Sly 233 acres, and Gambell and Humphrey
sold their portion to William Tilford and Samuel Falls.
Cadwallader Colden became the owner of the John Johnson patent of 2,000 acres at the date of its issue. A portion
of the Belknap family settled upon it in 1750.
The Van Dam patent of 5,000 acres passed into the possession of Jessie Woodhull in 1753, also a portion to Peter
Gallatin, John Moffat and the Walling Brothers. This tract is now included in the present town of Blooming Grove.
The small Henderson patent early passed into the possession of John Wandel and David Edmonston.
The Lewis Morris patent of 1,000 acres was owned by Alexander Denniston, Francis Crawford, Thomas Cook and William
Denniston in 1786, purchased from earlier settlers.
We have already mentioned under the head of patents, many of the early settlers. The earliest were those of Colonel
McGregorie at Plum Point in 1685, and the Reverend Richard Charlton, sent out by the London Missionary Society
in 1732, for the parish of New Windsor, which was connected with the Church of England. Among the names of the
owners of the village were: Ebenezer Seeley, Brant Schuyler, Henry Case, Vincent Matthews, Michael Jackson, Daniel
Everet, Even Jones, Hezekiah Howell, Joseph Sackett, Jr., James Tuthill, John Sackett, Jr. Colonel Charles Clinton,
1731; Dr. John Nicoll, 1734; William Ellison, 1732; John Ellison. Captain Jas Jackson, William Jackson, Thomas
Ellison, Isaac Shultz, Messrs. Logan, Bream, Halstead, Denniston and others. At Little Britain, John Humphrey,
1724; Peter Mulliner, 1729. who gave it the name from Windsor Castle in England; Robert Burnett, John Reid, 1729:
Charles Clinton, John and James McClaughry, Alexander Denniston and John Young in 1731. Among those who came from
Ireland were James Edmonston, 1720 the Chintons, Alsop, Chambers, Lawrence, Haskins, etc., 1731, who settled in
the eastern portion of the town, while the Coldens, Matthews, Wileman, McIntosh, Bulls, settled in the more western
The most noted residents of this town were those of the Clinton family. Charles Clinton, the father of James
and George, was a native of Langford, Ireland, of Scotch-English descent. He sailed with a company of relatives
and friends in 1729, to escape persecution. Having espoused the cause of the Stewards at the accession of the House
of Hanover in 16S9, he settled at Little Britain in 1731. He was a highly educated man and gave his sons a good
education. He was a surveyor and a judge of the court of common pleas and fought in the French and Indian Wars,
1759 to 1763, was public spirited, had five sons and two daughters, lived to the ripe old age of eighty three and
died at home, November 19th, 1773.
One son and a daughter died at sea. Two of his oldest sons, Alexander and Charles, were physicians. James and George
figured conspicuously in the early history of the Empire State. James, born in 1756, preferred the army to politics.
He served with his father in the to ing of Fort Frontenac in Canada, also in the invasion by the Indians of Orange
and Ulster Counties, rose to major general in the war of the Revolution, was in charge of the northern department,
led an expedition against the Iroquois, cut a road from the Mohawk to Lake Otsego, dammed the outlet of the lake
and floated the boats over the upper Susquehanna to reach the lower country with his command, was at the seige
of Yorktown, member of the assembly, ratified the Constitution of the Lithe I States, and was a member of the convention
of 1804 to amend the State Constitution; died at his home December nth, 1812. 75 years of age; was buried in the
family burying ground by the side of his father.
George Clinton, while a very young man, sailed in a privateer in the French War, was with his father and brother
at the Beige of Fort Frontenac, studied law under Judge William Smith, was clerk of Ulster County in 1759, member
of the assembly in 1780, elected to the Continental Congress in 1775, brigadier general in 1776, first Governor
of New York in 1777; commanded a brigade at the defense of New York City in 1776. He was in command of the forts
in the Highlands which he nobly defended with 600 raw militia against 5,000 veteran British troops, and was overwhelmed
and obliged to surrender in 1777; was Governor of the State for eighteen years, administering its trying duties
with conspicuous ability; was president of the convention which met at Poughkeepsie in 1788; Vice President of
the United States in 1804; died soon after his re election in 1808; has been designated as the Father of the State.
On the beautiful monument in the old Dutch Churchyard in Kingston, N. Y., is the following: "To the memory
of George Clinton, born in the State of New York, 26th day of July. 1738, died at the City of Washington the 20th
of April, 1812, in the 73rd year of his age. Soldier and Statesman of the Revolution, eminent in council, distinguished
in war, he filled with unexampled usefulness, purity and ability, among other high offices those of Governor of
his native State, and Vice President of the United States. While he lived, his virtue, wisdom and valor were the
pride, the ornament and security of his country, and when he died he left an illustrious instance and example of
a well spent life, worthy of all imitation."
DeWitt Clinton, a son of James, was horn March 2nd, 1769. the exact place, being in dispute. some authorities
claim at Fort DeWitt in Deer Park, while his mother was there on a visit; others claim at the home of his father,
either at Little Britain or while he was residing in the village of New Windsor. Perhaps it doesn't matter so much
where a man is born as what he may make of himself by strenuous efforts, as was the case with the illustrious Lincoln
and the subject of this sketch. After graduation at Columbia College in 1786. he studied law with Samuel Jones:
was admitted to the bar in 1789; became soon after secretary to the Governor, his uncle, and became devoted to
politics; subsequently filled with great ability the following honorable positions: Member of the Assembly, State
Senator, member of the council of appointment, United States Senator, Mayor of the City of New York, many times
member of the council board, Governor of the State for two terms, candidate for President of the United States,
being defeated by Madison, and was invited by Mr. Adams to serve as minister to England, and was the author of
twenty six aots which became incorporated in the laws of the State and nation. The following panegyric was given
by William H. Seward, the political successor to the Clintons in New York State, in 1871.
"Only next after Alexander Hamilton, DeWitt Clinton was the wisest statesman, the greatest public benefactor,
that in all her history the State of New York has produced." This was from the man who ten years after sat
in his chair and persevered in carrying out his policies which established for New York the political leadership
of the land.
Alexander Denniston came over with Charles Clinton and settled at Little Britain in 1731.
Robert Burnett came from Scotland in 1725, and purchased 200 acres at Little Britain in 1729.
Colonel James McClaughry, born in Philadelphia, when nine years old was brought by his uncle. John McClaughry,
to Little Britain, all the way behind his uncle on horseback. He married Kate, a sister of Governor Clinton, received
a colonel's commission at the commencement of the war, commanded a regiment at Fort Montgomery, 1777, where he
was taken prisoner and sent to a hospital in New York, where he would have perished but for the extra care and
comforts provided by his good wife, who ministered also to many others there. He returned to his farm at the close
of the war and lived until 1790. dying at the age of 69.
Martin Dubois, a neighbor of Robert Burnett and General James Clinton, was an assistant quarter master during the
Cadwallader Colden, Jr., of Colden, who married Betsy, a daughter of Thomas Ellison, of New Windsor, was a son
of Cadwallader Colden, Sr. He was lieutenant governor of the State from 1760 to 1770. He was arrested as a Tory
in June, 1776, by the oouncil of safety of the towns of New Windsor and Newburgh, and after due trial was confined
in jail at Kingston, where he remained, for over a year, after which he was liberated on parole. The town of oldenharn
is named after this family.
This town is rich in Revolutionary lore. A portion of the troops of Colonel James Clinton were organized here
in 1775. A battery of fourteen guns were mounted at Plum Point in 1776. The militia were rallied here in 1777,
after the fall of the Highland forts and during the winter of 1779, 1780, 1781, 1782 and 1783, nine brigades under
command of General Heath, were encamped at the foot of the ridge just west of Snake Hill and just south of the
square at Little Britain.
Washington concentrated his forces here in 1779 and made his headquarters at the William Ellison house at New Windsor
village, and remained there until 1782, when he removed to the Hasbrook House in Newburgh and remained there until
the army was disbanded in 1783. Other generals of the army were quartered at John Ellison's. Here were Generals
Knox and Greene. while Gates and St. Claire were at the Edmonston House, Wayne at Newburgh and Baron Stuben at
Fishkill, Lafayette at William Ellison's at the foot of Forge Hill. Other generals were quartered at the old Stone
Hotel just west of Edmonton's. When Washington brought his army from New Jersey in 1779, he probably marched over
the road from Goshen or Chester to New Windsor now known as the Vail's Gate Chester State road, but which at that
time must have been in a very rough and primitive condition, for a hill just west of Vail's Gate derives its name
of Pork Hill from the fact that one of the commissary wagons loaded with salt pork was overturned on this hill,
a conspicuous example how names will stick to places as well as to individuals. When Colonel Morgan marched through
New Windsor with his three thousand riflemen to join Washington at Boston, a man preceeded him who represented
himself as Colonel Morgan to Mr. John Ellison, but when the Colonel himself arrived soon afterwards, the imposter
was detected and was given over to his men for punishment, who gave him an effectual coat of tar and feathers.
At the camp grounds between Vail's Gate and Little Britain, the writer has traced the foundations of many of the
huts in which the army was encamped from 1779 to 1782. The foundations were of stone, surmounted by hewn logs.
A level meadow in front of the barracks was cleared for this purpose and utilized as a parade ground, but was of
so marshy a character that for marching and drilling it required paving with flat stones, many of which are still
in evidence. This must have been a labor of infinite difficulty and shows of what sturdy material these men were
made. At the lower border of this parade ground was also constructed a causeway, to the ridge opposite, upon which
was erected a temple or public building, near which were also the barracks for some of the minor officers, a hospital,
bakery, and a little further east the burying ground. To commemorate the site of this temple the Newburgh Revolutionary
Monument Association has erected a rough stone monument on the farm of the late William L. McGill, now owned an
I occupied by his married daughter, Mrs. Richard Smith. It commands an uninterrupted view of the Hudson Highlands
and the majestic river rolling between, offering exceptional advantages for watching the approach of any vessel
on the river or of any considerable body of men from that direction.
At Plum Point, formerly a portion of the Nicholl estate, still stands the stately mansion of the late Phillips
Verplank. On the river side is the earthwork for the protection of the Chevaux-de-frise, one of five obstructions
placed in the river at various points to prevent the ascent of the British fleet, but which proved ineffectual,
as the ships of the enemy broke them all, and ascended the river to Kingston, which it burned.
Some portion of this boom and chain are now to be seen at Washington's Headquarters at Newburgh. A Scotchman by
the name of McEvers, also located here, built a log cabin or tenement long prior to the Revolution; the excavation
for the cellar, as well as the embankment. are still plainly visible.
The point is approached by a natural causeway from the river road, upon the opposite side Of which stands the old
fashioned homestead of Dr. Nicoll, who purchased 500 acres of Peter Post and settled here in 1730.
On the bluff just south of the village of New Windsor stood the stone house erected and occupied by William Ellison
and also by Washington as his headquarters from 1779 to 1782. This is now replaced by a modern Queen Anne building,
the residence of his grandson, Thomas. Ellison.
Martha Washington is said to have visited the General while here. His entrangement from Hamilton also occurred
here in 1781.
The Brewster House, known as Lafayette's headquarters, is situated just across the Moodna at the foot of Forge
The steep hill which ascends from this point to Vail's Gate derives its name from this circumstance. The iron used
in its construction was transported on the backs of mules or horses from the forests of Dean Mines in Monroe. As
you ascend Forge Hill just at its top you come to the most noted Revolutionary building now in existence in the
town, known as General Knox's headquarters. It was built for Mr. John Ellison in 1735, and was in the possession
of the Morton family for a number of years, who endeavored to change the name of the place to Mortonville, and
for a time the post office was known by this name. But on the death of the major it reverted back to the old name
of Vail's Gate, from the toll gate stationed here, kept by the Vail family, father and son, for many years; this
gate was still in existence in 1872.
Generals Knox and Greene, Colonels Riddle and Wadsworth were quartered here in 1779 to 1781 and General Rochambeau
was also a visitor here to Washington.
The Edmonston building near the short cut crossing on the Erie at Vail's Gate, was built by James Edmonston in
1755. During the encampment of the Continental Army in this vicinity, it was made the headquarters of Generals
Gates and St. Claire, and some of the other officers also the hospital and military stores were kept here. When
Washington arrived here with his army, he consulted with Edmonston as to them best place to locate his camp and
was conducted over a bridle path by his son William to the Square which became their camp.
At the Square, so called from being surrounded by four roads, is the Falls' House, occupied by the Widow Falls
in 1777, when it was the rallying point for the scattered militia by General Clinton after the fall of the Highland
forts. It is a wooden structure just opposite the Silver Stream school house, now occupied by Mr. Charles Merritt.
It was while General Clinton was here that the incident of the silver ball occured. Major Daniel Taylor had been
sent with despatches concealed in a small silver ball by Sir Henry Clinton for Burgoyne. He was captured October
10th, 1777. After he had been conducted to the presence of General George Clinton, instead of Sir Henry, as he
supposed, he swallowed the ball. Dr. Moses Rigby, who was in the neighborhood, administered an emetic and it was
soon disgorged. It contained the following on very thin paper:
"Fort Montgomery, Oct. 8th, 1777.
"Nous-y-voici, and nothing now between us but Gates. I sincerely hope this little success of ours will
facilitate your operations. In answer to your letter of September 28th by C. C., I shall only say, I cannot presume
to order or even advise, for obvious reasons. I heartily wish you success.
Taylor was tried, condemned and executed as a spy.
It was upon what was then known as the Dusenberry farm, formerly a portion of the General Haskins' estate, an
English officer who settled 4,000 acres, during the old French War, that this building was erected under the supervision
of General Heath, for the use of the army and for Masonic meetings.
It was here that General Lafayette was made a Mason by the American Union League, which accompanied the army. It
was built of hewn logs, 80 x 40 ft., with a barrack roof, first known as the Temple of Virtues, but on account
of a carousal of the officers after the departure of Washington, on the night of its dedication, it was afterwards
known simply as the temple.
It was also used for public services on the Sabbath. At the close of the war, a proclamation by Congress of the
cessation of hostilities was read from its door and a celebration on a grand scale was held. Here also was held
the meeting to consider the Newburgh letters, written by a Major Armstrong. to determine, "whether the army
should rise superior to the grievances under which it had long suffered, and precipitate a separation betwen the
military and civil powers." It was a vital crisis in the history of the republic, and a tragic ending prevented
by an address of Washington to the officers at this time, which is a lasting monument to his unselfish patriotism,
profound wisdom, superior ability and marked discretion. The Society of the Cincinnati was founded here in 1783,
"To perpetuate among the officers of the army and their descendants, the memory of their toils, trials, friendships
and triumphs, for succeeding ages." The following were among the signers: Lieutenant Robert Burnett, Brigadier
James Clinton, Lieutenant Alexander Clinton, Lieutenant Daniel Denniston, Lieutenant George J. Denniston, Captain
James Gregg, Captain Jonathan Lawrence, Major Samuel Logan, Ensign Joseph Morrell, Lieutenant William Stranahan,
Lieutenant William Scudder, many of whose descendants are residents of the county.
On the northern side of the monument spoken of as marking the site of the temple, is the following inscription:
"Erected by the Newburg Revolutionary Monument Association, 1891. E. M. Ruttenber, president; James M. Dickey.
vice president; A. A. McLean, treasurer; Russell Headley, secretary."
On the western face is the following: "Amnia reliquit servere rempublicam. On this site the Society of
the Cincinnati was born May Toth, 1783, at the last cantonment occupied by the American Army, and it still lives
to perpetuate the memories of the Revolution. Committee of the New York State Society of the Cincinnati, Fourth
of July, 1892, T. M. L. Christy, chairman, William Simm Deese, John Shayler."
On the southern face: "On this ground was erected the temple or public building by the army of the Revolution,
1782-1783, the birthplace of the republic. This tablet is inscribed by the Masonic Fraternity of Newburgh, and
its Masonic confreres under whose direction and plans the temple was constructed, and in which communications of
the fraternity were held, 1783."
The Clinton homestead was situated about two miles north of Washingtonville, on the road to Little Britain.
New Windsor, in its early history, was the scene of great commercial activity and the outlet by the river for
the produce of the country for miles around and promised to be the site of a flourishing town, but the limited
extent of land between the river and the high bluff, of about 120 feet in height, but a short distance from the
river, precluded the possibility of building any large towns between. This high bluff is composed of clay which
is utilized in the manufacture of a fine quality of brick. Mr. William Lahey, who has two brickyards, is the leading
manufacturer. Mr. Hugh Davidson and the late Mr. Walsh each owned one. The remains of several clocks on the river
front are still in evidence of its former business activity. A ferry to Fishkill was maintained for a number of
years and until Newburgh sprang up and superseded it in commercial life it was a flourishing town. At the present
time there are some thirty houses, stores and saloons, scattered along the river bank, occupied by about two hundred
inhabitants. The first glass factory in this country was also built here.
Moodna, formerly called Orangeville, situated at the mouth of them Moodna Creek, is a small hamlet of perhaps thirty
houses. There are also two factories at this place, a paper mill, formerly that of Townsend, now owned by the Hemmingway
Paper Co., and a cotton mill owned by Mr. John Broadhead, of Firthcliffe, which is now closed. Plum Point, of Revolutionary
fame, juts out into the river just north of the village and is frequently visited by tourists.
Vail's Gate, four and a half miles from Newburgh, contains about thirty five houses, a Methodist Episcopal church,
three hotels, and a general store, where Mr. Thomas Cushing has a new building.
The General Knox headquarters, the Edmonston house, and the old hotel buildings of stone are the most noted Revolutionary
relics. The population is probably about four hundred.
Little Britain, made famous as the home of the Clintons, extends from the Square to the Little Britain creamery.
At the Square are a dozen houses, most prominent among which is the Alexander Falls house. Here General Washington
was a frequent visitor during the encampment of the army just south.
Rocklet, a small hamlet in the extreme western part of town. has a store and postoffice, kept by Mr. Frank Mulliner.
The Ontario and Western railroad intersects the township for a distance of seven miles and is taxed for $85,000;
Erie, six miles, assessed for $42,000; West Shore, five miles. assessed for $22,000.
The schools are, District No. 1, New Windsor; No. 2, Toodna; No. 3, Vail's Gate; No. 4, Mount Aerie; No. 5, Silver
Stream; No. 6, Little Britain; No. 7, Alexander Neighborhood; No. 8. Rocklet.
St. Thomas. - By the will of Thomas Ellison, Jr., fifty six acres of land and the sum of six thousand pounds, English
money, was bequeathed to his brother, William, and nephew Thomas, to be held in trust for the maintenance of a
glebe and minister under the jurisdiction of the Protestant Episcopal Church at New Windsor, the interest of said
lands and sum to be paid yearly to the minister when in active service; when there was no service the interest
therefrom was to be added to the principal. When a religious organization should be effected, the said lands and
sum were to be conveyed to it. Such an organization was established, April 18, 1818, under the title of St. Thomas's
Church, and the Rev. John Brown, then a resident of New Windsor, also serving St. George's Church at Newburgh,
became its rector and continued so up to 1847.
In 1844, the old church having been destroyed by fire, a new one was started in 1847. and the present church completed
in 1849. The old rectory having been burned, a new one was built in 1904. The value of the church property is estimated
at $13,000. Among the prominent members who have been here for a good many years are, Messrs. Aymar Van Buren,
J. Abner Harper, John Harper, F. W. Senff. R. D. Jeffreys. W. C. Gregg. the Misses Morton, Mrs. Leonard F. Nicol
New Windsor Presbyterian. - This church was organized. in 1764. It was associated with Newburgh or Bethlehem churches.
From 1828 to 1834 the Rev. J. H. Thomas, of the Canterbury Presbyterian Church, served also this church, and from
1834 to 1835 he served this church exclusively. The first building was used by the Continentals as a hospital.
This was subsequently destroyed by fire and the present structure was erected in 1807.
M. E. Church at Vail's Gate. - This church celebrated the centennial of its existence in the fall of 1806, the
present building having been erected in 1706, and is the oldest church edifice. Its society originated from a union
class started by John Ellison in 1789, and was conducted in one of his tenements for a quarter of a century.
Little Britain M. E. Church was erected in 1853 and occupied in 1854, and has been associated with other churches
mostly during its existence. Services were held here up to 1885, since which it has remained closed.
Little Britain Presbyterian Church was organized in 1760 as Associated Reformed by Scotch and Irish emigrants.
The first edifice was erected in 1765, and rebuilt in 1826. Its first pastor, Robert Annan, was installed in 1768,
and served until 1783. Rev. Thomas J. Smith was his successor in 1791, who served until 1812, when Rev. James Schringeour,
a Scotch, was installed, and served until his death in 1825.
The two principal cemeteries in this town are "Calvary." at. the junction of Quassaic avenue and the
Walsh road, established within the last decade by the Catholics, and "Woodlawn," a half mile further
west, which contains about thirty acres and has been in existence about twenty five years.
In the ancient burying ground connected with the Presbyterian church at the village of New Windsor, are the graves
of James Williams and wife, Abigal Brewster; John Yelverton, one of the original settlers. who died in 1767 at
the age of 74; Joseph Morrell, one of the heroes of the Revolution. Other early settlers whose names are recorded
on tombstones are the Moores, Waishes, Loans, Brewsters and others. In connection with the M. E. Church at Vail's
Gate is also another old burial ground. Here are the Mormons, the Stills, the Fails and many others of the forefathers
of the hamlet who "rest from their labors and their works do follow them."
James Clinton, the father of De Witt Clinton, was buried in the family burying ground on the Clinton estate. When
the patriotic citizens of Newburgh thought to remove his remains to Woodlawn and erect a monument to his memory,
all that could be found was the coffin plate. The following epitaph to the memory of his father was written by
his son, DeWitt: "He had filled with fidelity and honor several distinguished civil offices. was an officer
of the Revolutionary War, and the war preceding, and at the close of the former was a major general in the army
of the United States. He was a good man and a sincere patriot, performing in a most exemplary manner all the duties
of life, and he died as he lived, without fear and without reproach."