History of Clarkstown, NY (Part 2)
From: History of Rockland County
By: Frank Bertangue Green, M. D.
Published by: A. S. Barnes & Co., New York 1886


Until the opening of the Erie Railroad in 1841, this village had no existence, and not over a half dozen houses stood between the Turnpike and schoolhouse. The first name of the place was Clarkstown, a name it retained till 1856, when, at the suggestion of James De Clark, the present name, taken from that of an Indian chief, was given. This is one of the few, rare, instances in our County where, in chritening a place, the old Indian names have been used.

The first store in the village, now owned by S. M. Drew, and used as a dwelling house, was built by David De Clark, in 1841. This was also the first railroad station. In 1849, D. P. Demarest built the house, a part of which was and still is, used as the station. In 1852, Dr. M. C. Hasbrouck built the brick store now occupied by William Hutton, Jr., and it was at once occupied by John W. and Henry O. Hutton, who, in combination with their other business, started the first lumber yard in the village. The Hutton Brothers also introduced a department devoted to agricultural implements, and kept on hand both mowing and raking machines. In 1869, the building now used by the firm was erected and opened in 1870.

The first hotel in the village was opened by Peter Demarest, Jr., and was conducted, after his death in 1839, by his son, D. P. Demarest. This hostelry, known as the "Old Red Tavern," stood just south of the present Nanuet schoolhouse, and before the Turnpike was opened, was on the main road from Suffern to Tappan Slote. In the early days of this tavern a grocery store was connected with it, which seems to have passed from existence when the railroad was opened.

In 1867, Abram D. Brower started a foundry in the buildings now used as a dwelling house, and standing south of Samuel Blauvelt's wheelwright shop. Brower continued the business but a short time, and then the place was closed. As early as 1794, Major Cornelius I. Blauvelt owned and conducted a saw mill on Narranshaw, Naurashazink, or Naurashank Brook, a short distance southwest of the present village. About 1810, this property was sold to Abram C. Blauvelt, and since then has been owned by Aurt Van der Wall, Isaac Pye, David Benson, and the present owner, Gustav Boliz. As at present conducted, a considerable business is carried on in ship timber and kindling wood, and recently a turning lathe was added to the industry.

The Nanuet school "can without difficulty be traced back to 1812. At that time, Abram C. Blauvelt * * * was teacher, and was exempt from military duty on that account. The schoolhouse was an old red building, 14 1/2 by 13 1/2 feet on the outside, and it stood south of the Yeury barn, about where the road crosses the swamp, westward, This building is still standing on Henry E. Insley's place." In 1844, that part of the school at present occupied by the primary department, was erected on the lot where it now stands, and in 1869, the part used as the grammar school was built. The first mention of a school library was in 1839.

The Nanuet Fire Engine Company was organized in 1860, with William H. Snyder, Foreman, and J. W. Demarest, Assistant Foreman. In 1862, the company received a charter from the State Legislature. Until the erection of their engine house in 1868, the firemen used to meet in "Mechanics Hall." No severe fires have visited the hamlet.

The Nanuet Debating Society was formed by several of the residents of Nanuet, prominent among whom were C. A. Blauvelt, C. A. DeBaun, Andrew Hopper, A. J. Demarest, David Bogert and Nicholas C. Blauvelt, about 1845, for the purpose of combining with social intercourse a discussion of the important questions of the day. The old school house was purchased by the society and used as their place of meeting. Upon the disorganization of this society the Nanuet Temperance Society occupied the old school building for several years. "Mechanics Hall" was opened to the public by Samuel B. Blauvelt and C. L. Ackerson, in the spring of 1863.

The post office was first established at Nanuet, March 6th, 1846, and David DeClark, was the first post master, the office being kept in his brick store. On February 13th, 1851, David P. Demarest, became post master, and he has been followed by William H. Snider, October 21st, 1862; Edward Hutton, August 3d, 1870; and William Hutton, August 1885.

The Nanuet Cemetery first came into general use at the time the church adjoining was built The stone of Daniel DeClark however bears the date of a year earlier, September 22d, 1825.


In 1812, a cotton factory was built at this place, and was given the above name from the fact, that a majority of the stockholders were descendants of the original Dutch settlers of this section. This factory, which was used exclusively for the manufacture of cotton yarn, was burned in 1824. The property was then sold to John Gerow, who built and carried on a saw mill on the spot. In a short time Gerow sold the mill to J. & L. Van Riper, who took down the saw mill and erected another cotton factory in 1830. Under the Van Riper's management cotton yarn, coarse cotton blankets and candle wicking were manufactured, and the waste was used in making cotton bats. This factory, like the first, was burned in 1858. The Van Riper's then rebuilt on a larger scale, and began the manufacture of mosquito netting and hat buckram. In 1865, a stock company called the Spring Valley Manufacturing Company, was formed and the business was carried on more extensively than ever until the financial depression of 1873, fell disasterously upon the company, and the factory was closed.

From 1873 till 1882, the factory remained idle. Under a judgment against the company the property had been sold, and had been bought in by a Mrs. Ward, of New York City, who could neither use nor dispose of it. In the latter year the factory was bought by Wm. Hyenga, who began, and has since carried on in it, the manufacture of briarwood pipes.

A short distance above the Dutch factory. Cornelius Blauvelt owned and conducted a saw and grist mill in 1812. This property was later purchased by James Eckerson, who carried on the old business for a number of years. In 1853, the firm of A. & I. R. Blauvelt was formed, and this firm bought the mill and used it for the manufacture of stockings and yarn. This business was continued by the firm till 1858, when the term of partnership having expired, Abram sold out to I. R. Blauvelt, who carried on the business till 1865.

Just below the Dutch factory stands a charcoal mill, which is carried on by James Smith. This was originally built for a grist mill by Jacob Serven. Later it came into the possession of Lucas Eckerson, who sold it to Harman Westervelt; then\ it was purchased by John Stilwell, who in time sold it to John V. Smith. Under this last owner it was continued as a grist mill till 1857, when the business was changed to grinding charcoal. This industry was continued by John V. Smith till his death, and since then has been continued by the present proprietor, James Smith.

On the northwest corner of the junction of the turnpike with the road which passes the Dutch factory, J. Mackie formerly owned property, and to locate the neighborhood this place was called "Mackie's Corners. In the northeastern part of the township, at the junction of the Short Clove road with one which passes the residence of Cornelius De Pew, John Stagg erected a brick blacksmith shop in 1852, and this place took the name of "Stagg's Corner's." In recent years, a settlement of no inconsiderable size has sprung up here, and a church edifice of the M. E. Society has been built.


At the junction of the road running from Pye's saw mill to Rockland Lake, with the road between Haverstraw and Nyack, a church was built in 1830, which bore the name among the people of the "Pond" or "Yellow Church." At a later period this junction was called Cedar Grove Corners, from a grove of cedar trees which stood on the opposite side of the road from the church. In 1835, the Central Hotel was built by Abram B. Snedeker just north of the corner. A few years later, by 1845, A. B. Conger began to purchase land in this section, and in the course of time, built a residence not far from the Long Clove, which he named Waldberg. This name gradually spread to the neighborhood, and prior to 1860 had been adopted by the residents of the school district as the name of the locality.


The lack of sufficient depth of water at Haverstraw village led to the establishment at this place of a ship yard and marine railway for the repair of vessels engaged in the brick business. In 1845, the railway was laid down, for Tunis M. and George W. Snedeker, by Joseph Walker, since largely known as the proprietor of Vinegar Bitters. For several years a prosperous business was carried on, and for one or two years the local steamboats made this a landing place. The building of marine railways at Tomkin's Cove and Rockland Lake in 1850, and at Peck's dock in 1851, drew business from this yard, and it was at length abandoned. The dock is rapidly being washed away, and an old house alone marks the site of a once important landing. In the general change of name for this section, the locality became known as Waldberg Landing, and it is so recorded on the charts of the U. S. Coast Survey.

While on the river front, I may perhaps speak of a project which was agitated between 1845-50. This was, the building of a carriage road from the end of Broadway at Upper Nyack, under the mountains along the river to Snedeker's Landing. The citizens of Haverstraw and Nyack joined in the movement, and a sufficient sum of money to build the road was subscribed. The enterprise was stopped by the extravagant price asked for his property by Isaac I. Blauvelt, who owned the river front at Calico Hook, south of Rockland Lake landing.


On the road, running south from Pye's saw mill toward Clarksville and next west of the Hackensack River, is a neighborhood, which has been known by the above name since a period beyond the memory of living men. Many reasons have been given for the appellation, among which the following seems as suitable as any. The increasing settlement of this section gradually led to an increase in the number of saw mills and a reduction in the price of shingles. Advantage was taken of this by the farmers of the County, and shingle roofs replaced the straw thatched barns of an older time. In this neighborhood alone did the residents adhere to the old custom, and from their evident admiration for thatch, the remaining people called them "Strawtowners." In 1854, a store and shoe factory were kept in this locality by Nathaniel Burr.


In 1861, a German, by name John Bardon, settled at this place and opened a distillery, gradually the neighborhood became settled by German immigrants and, when the railroad from Nanuet to New City was built, in 1875, this hamlet was made a station, taking for its name that of Bardon. The first and only store in the hamlet was then built by Bardon and has since been carried on by him and his family.

From the few villages of which I have spoken, it can be realized how thoroughly devoted to agriculture this township is. Shut in by the ridge of trap rock, which forms the Palisades and which has its origin but a short distance from the northwest boundary, on the north and east; and sheltered on the west by the high hills of eastern Ramapo; abundantly irrigated by the head waters of the Hackensack and the many streams which flow into that river, this section is well fitted for farming. The quarry business which at one time formed a profitable source of income, has long been abandoned for all practical purposes. The getting out of peat, which was found in large quantities in the township one bog of 40 acres, 6 feet deep and estimated to contain 40,000 cords, south of the Long Clove, another near Walberg of 40,000 cords, and still another west of Nyack in the Valley of the Hackensack - while at one time in 1838, started as a business venture did not prove lucrative and was abandoned.

Among the industries of Rockland County in past days, mention must be made of the Silver Spoon Factory carried on by Joseph Blauvelt. This business was at first started in a small house south of New City in 1820. As the demand up on Blauvelt increased, more and more room had to be used, and finally he moved east of New City on the road to the brewery.

The material employed in the factory was sent to the County from New York stores, for which the manufactured articles were made. Beside supplying these metropolitan stores, however, Blauvelt did considerable local business and furnished many of the residents with silver ware. Horse power was employed in the business and some dozen people earned a living at the work. The industry was continued for many years and was not absolutely abandoned till 1865.

The building known as the "Rockland Brewery," which stands on the east side of the road from Clarksville to New City, about two miles north of Isaac Pye's corner, was built in 1855, by Huber & Aschenheimer. Previous to the erection of this building, a brewery had been carried on in a frame building, a short distance northeast of the Rockland Brewery. The business had not proved successful and had been discontinued, and the building was later used for the making of wine and vinegar.

When Huber & Aschenheimer first started the Rockland Brewery, the motive power was by horse and hand. After two years, the brewery was sold to Kiser & Maas, who failed, and the property fell into the hands of their creditors. In 1865, J. G. C. Schmersahl purchased it, remodeled the buildings, excavated a pond, put up ice houses, and introduced steam power. Under his management the business was carried on successfully for some time, and then came into the hands of the present proprietors, Schmersahl & Cross, the son and son in law of J. G. C. Schmersahl. Brewing was practically discontinued shortly after, and the place is now used as a hotel and pleasure ground.

The building of the New York, West Shore and Buffalo Railroad through the town in 1883, gave rise to three stations; Nyack Turnpike, Valley Cottage, two and three quarter miles southeast of the Rockland Lake post office, and Conger's, situated a short distance northeast of the Waldberg Church.

On March 20th, 1873, a post. office was established at Valley Cottage, with James A. Green, as postmaster. It seems not to have been a success, and six years later, March 17th, 1879, it was discontinued.

I have already spoken of the burial grounds at New City, Nanuet and Clarksville, and in the history of Nyack have given the history of Oak Hill, which extends into Clarkstown, and the old ground at Upper Nyack. More than in any other township, were interments in Clarks made in private ground. The isolation of the settlers from other settlements, the distance that existed between the early settlements and the few early churches, were greater than elsewhere Hence the number of family burial plots is very large. One of the oldest places of sepulture in the town is probably that which stands south 0f the road leading from New City to Hempstead. It is said that the date of either 1703 or 1708 has been found on one of the tombstones. On the Long Clove road, near Pyre's saw mill, stands a local grave yard, and another about a mile further north, stands just east of the Hackensack. On the road from Waldberg church to Pye's saw mill, some six hundred yards west of the church, is a burial ground, and others are on the property of Onderdonk on both sides of the road from Rockland Lake to Valley Cottage; on the east side of the mountain road, formerly called the Lyon's Hill road, near its junction with the mountain road that leads from Upper Nyack to Valley Cottage; on the south side of the King's highway, between John Storms' old hotel and Valley Cottage; and a negro burial ground stands west of the Hackensack swamp, and north of the Turnpike.


David Pye, 1791-92.
Isaac Blanch, 1793-96, 1801-2.
Claus R. Van Houten, 1797-98-99. 1803-4.
Resolvert Stephens, 1805-7.
Abram Snyder, 1808-11-19.
Richard I. Blanch, 1812, 15, 20-24.
James Stephens, 1816-18.
Abram P. Stephens, 1825-32-37.
Abram Hogenkamp, 1826.
Albert Lydecker, 1831.
Jacob P. Demarest, 1833.
John O'Blenis, 1834.
A. J. Dearest, 1835.
Joseph P. Brower, 1842-48
John E. Hogenkamp, 1845-62-66.


Matthew D. Bogert, 1846.
Jacob J. Eckerson, 1851-52.
E. E. Conklin, 1853.
John T. Blanch, 1854.
Aaron T. Polhemus, 1856-57.
Isaac Tallman, 1858-59.
James L. Conklin, 1860-61.
Peter T. Stephens, 1867-68.
Tunis Blauvelt, 1869, 71-73.
Isaac Van Nostrand, 1872-77-
Nelson Stephens, 1874.
Barre Van Houten, 1879-80.
J. G Demarest, 1881-82.
F. P. Demarest, 1883-84-85.


John J. Wood, 1809-12.
Abram Cole, 1813.
Ebenezer Wood, 1814-20.
Abram Hogenkamp, 1815-19-26.
Jabez Wood, 1822-27-32.
Henry R. Stephens, 1823-25.
John E. Hogenkanip, 1833-35.42
Peter T. Stephens, 1834.
Abram B. Hozenkamp, 1843-44.
John T. Cole, 1845.


Harman Blauvelt, 1846.
Isaac Blanch, 1847-50.
Abram A. Stagg, 1851-55-58, 59.
Abram J. Deaun, 1856-57.
Martin Knapp, 1860.
Thomas L. De Noyelles, 1861,70-75.
Alfred Phillips, 1871-73.
Paul D. Spotte, 1874.
Joseph De Noyelles, 1876-84.

Authorities referred to: History of Clarkstown, by H. P. Fay. N. Y. S. Geological Report, by W. W. Mather. Archives of the Rockland County Historical Society.

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