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

In 1871, the Haverstraw Bank was organized as a State institution, with a capital of $100,000. The first board of directors were:
Isaac Odell, President.
Ira M. Hedges, Vice President. George S. Smith, Cashier.
George S. Allison,
George S. Wood,
Richard A. Ver Valen,
John I. Cole,
John W. Gillies.

The bank opened its doors for business on Main street, April 15th, 1871. The institution continued a State bank till February 27th, 1875, when it was changed into a National Bank, with a capital of $50,000. The first board of directors under the change were:

Ira M. Hedges,
Jacob Odell,
R. Redfield,
Theodore Fredericks,
George S. Wood,
Richard Ver Valen,
John I. Cole.
George S. Allison,
John W. Gillies,

The institution has been well conducted, and, though two periods of great business depressions have occurred since its start and institutions of trust have been swept down around it, its reputation stands well for carefulness and wise management.

The Haverstraw Savings Bank opened its doors for business in 1871, with the following officers and trustees, who composed the various committees:

A. E. Suffern, President.
William Govan, First Vice President.
Richard A. VerValen, Second Vice President.
Garret O. House, Secretary and Treasurer.
G. G. Allison,
E. W. Christie,
Jno. Turnbull,
Wm. Call, Jr.,
Robert Smith,
John Taylor,
Chas. Kreuder,
Thos. Burke,
D. R. Lake,
Geo. R. Weiant,
Frederick Tomkins,

Levi Knapp,
Theo. Gardiner,
Jno. Connley,
Denton Fowler,
Amos Briggs,
Wm. E. King,
Theo. Frederick,
Peter E. Lee,
J. M. Nelson,
Louis Hohn,
Wm. H. Wiles,
Jas. A. Barnes,
John Keenan,
Belding Barnes.

The institution paid five per cent. interest on deposits and seemed in a prosperous condition till 1879, when it failed. The depositors in the defunct institution were paid 65 cents on the dollar.

Projecting well out in the river, with a bay on each side, is Pullen's Point, more generally known as "Peck's dock." The original name of this point is said to have been derived from one William Pullen, who was Sheriff of the County from 173o to 1731, and who, it seems, by his liberal views on religious topics excited the ire of John Allison and Thomas Hughs, for in 1731, these men entered complaint against him for saying, "that the Pope of Rome was a good Christian." When Mr. Peck started the works at Samsondale, this point was the most convenient place on the river for the shipment of his productions. At it he built a dock and to it extended a railroad from his works. Here was built the only marine railway in Haverstraw, in 1851, by Henry Garner. It was at first carried on by Mr. Wiltsea, then by G. W. Snedeker, and at present by Henry Rodermond & Son. And here, owing to the depth of water and ease of access from the channel, the early Albany day boats, Armenia and Daniel Drew, landed for several years on their trips up and down the Hudson. The decadence of the industries at Samsondale, and the opening of railroads, changed the tide of travel. Pullen's Point is too difficult of access from the village to make it the regular landing, and now this once famous dock is relegated to the shipment of bricks, and to the ship yard artisans.

This village has been visited on several occasions by storms of extraordinary violence which have caused great damage. On July 9th, 1853, a storm of tornado character struck the place. During its continuance, an old frame building, formerly used as the weaving shop of Higgin's carpet factory, and after the cessation of that business, turned into a tenement house, was blown down. It was occupied by the families of brick yard laborers, who worked for Peck, Rutherford & Knapp. In this accident six people were killed and many wounded. Besides this house, many other buildings were damaged, and great injury was done to the brick yards along shore. In October, 1846, another storm visited Haverstraw, and among other injuries blew down the unfinished walls of the Central Presbyterian Church.

On March 27th, 1870, a terrible easterly gale swept along the Atlantic coast doing great injury. The exposed position of Haverstraw rendered the effects of the storm here exceedingly damaging. Seventeen vessels were either sunk at their anchorage or driven ashore, one at Grassy Point was driven up into the streets; five brick yards were washed away; two lumber yards were destroyed and a coal yard passed from existence. The total loss was estimated at $200,000.

We have seen that before the building of the Hudson River Railroad, the inhabitants of Haverstraw, who wished to reach New York City in winter, were compelled to ride to Piermont, and that to accommodate these travellers, Charles P. Snedeker, ran a stage between the two places. I have also mentioned the number of ferry charters which were granted after the Hudson River road was built.

While these ferry boats were of value in open weather, they were useless after ice had formed; and the residents of the village were then as distant from the Metropolis' as ever, unless the river was solidly frozen. 1857, was one of the many severe winters that closed the Hudson River firmly, and during that season, Silas G. Mackey, ran a regular line of stages to Cruger's Landing on the ice.

Stony Point Lodge, No. 313, F. & A. M., was established in the village June 17th, 1853. The first meeting was held in the old tavern kept by A. Van Tassel. The first officers were: Henry Christie, W. M.; John Hunting, S. W.; Samson Marks, J. W.; A. H. Richmond, T.; Edward Payson, S.

Iona Lodge, No. 128, K. of P., was organized December 7th, 1874, with the following charter members: Alonzo Bedell, Louis Echstein, Edward Bedell, Cyrillus Myers, J. R. Smith, M. Washburn, John Gordon, George S. Myers, Charles Sears, M. Richmond and E. M. Newman.

The Ancient order of Hibernians, was established April 5th, 1882, with the following officers. Nicholas Murphy, County Delegate; Wm. P. Bannigan, President; Thos. Finnegan, Vice President; Edw. Ryan, Recording Secretary; Thos. Sweeny, Financial Secretary; James McLaughlin, Treasurer.


In the latter half of the past century, a Dane, named Jacob Thiell, arrived at Haverstraw, and following the Minisceongo till he reached the location which now bears his name, he bought some 3,000 acres of land and settled. In a short time, Thiell utilized the water power which the creek afforded, and started, in this secluded spot, a forge upon his property.

Little can be learned of this industry, except that it is reported to have been in operation during the Revolutionary War. Jacob Thiell died before the beginning of this century.

The spot on which he had settled slowly grew. In 1793, a grist mill was started further down the creek by Thiell, and carried on in conjunction with the forge. In 1862, a mill or factory, which stood some half mile east of Thiell's by the highway, was used by William McGeorge as a tannery and candle factory, and carried on till 1866. The increased population led, as we have seen, to the building of a Methodist church at this place, and further life was given to the hamlet by the advent of the N. J. and N. Y. Railroad, in 1874. It was made a postoffice village in 1874, with Levi Knapp as first postmaster; he was succeeded by Sylvester Knapp.

In 1850, Henry Essex, who eight years before had occupied part of the Samsondale works, leased the site of the old forge, and carried on the manufacture of needles. This occupation he abandoned in 1880, and the works are now dismantled. In his busiest years, Essex employed seven hands in this industry.


About four and three quarter miles west of Haverstraw on the road to Ramapo, formerly stood the residence of W. F. Gurnee. At this place a road, known as the King's road, runs south to Hempstead and Spring Valley. Not far from the Corner is the house, formerly owned by John Hewitt and his wife - Anna Gurnee - in which Hon. A. S. Hewitt was born. Like many other places in the County called "Corners" with the prefix of the nearest resident property Owner to designate the locality, this spot calls for no special mention. On the opening of the N. J. and N. Y. R. R., it was made a station and called Mount Ivy.

Not far west of Gurnee's Corners, John Anderson started a file factory and continued work for some years. The plant was then bought out by its present proprietor, John H. Secor, and is still continued, furnishing employment for four or five men.


As early as 1760, Cornelius Osborn erected a grist mill on the bank of the Minisceongo, where the Calico Works now stand. From the time of this mill till 1828, no further attempt seems to have been made to use the water power at that spot. Further up the creek, however, near the bridge, over which the road to Mead's Corner passes, a rolling mill and a nail factory were established early in the present century by John I. and George Suffern.

Previous to the building of these works, a grist mill occupied their site and at a later period the buildings were used in the manufacture of various products, their last use being that of a paper mill. This industry was carried on by John I. Suffern from 1850 to 1858, for the manufacture of coarse wrapping paper.

In 1828, John Glass, a Scot by birth, bought 45 acres of land on the south side of the Minisceongo, at the present village of Garnerville, and began the erection of buildings for calico printing, a business he had been engaged in in his native land. By the spring of 1831, the industry had obtained a firm start and gave every prospect of future success. On June 7th of that year, Glass took the first load of his goods to the dock at Grassy Point for shipment to the city. Violent opposition existed at this time between the owners of the steamboats Waterwitch and General Jackson. The first named boat had scarcely left the landing, and the goods were rapidly being loaded on the Jackson when her boiler exploded, killing fourteen people among whom was John Glass.

Until 1835, little was done at these works. Then they were purchased by William Cowdrey and held by him till May 1st 1838, when James Garner, Thomas Garner and Charles Wells bought the property. Under this new management, the print works rapidly grew. From time to time, as the business extended, additions were made to the buildings, and a village sprang up about the factory which was given the name of Garnerville. In 1853, the Rockland Print Works Company was incorporated, with a capital of $100,000, for the purpose of "Printing, and Dyeing Woolen, Cotton, or Linen goods."

The growth of calico printing led Resolve Waldron and Charles Benson to start a steam chemical factory on the south side of the Haverstraw and Monroe Turnpike, just east of the old toll gate, in 184o. The object of this factory was the manufacture of Pyroligneous acid, which was much used in calico printing. This industry was abandoned in 1843, but a year later it was re-begun by William Knight, in a factory near Cedar Pond.

The post office at Garnerville was established in June, 1875, with John D. Norris as post master, a position which he retains at the present time.


In 1830, Elisha Peck, head of the firm of Peck & Phelps, returned from England, where he had been in the interest of the firm's business for many years, bringing with him the machinery for a rolling mill. Land on the Minisceongo creek had already been purchased by Anson Phelps, and on this land the firm established a rolling mill, wire, and other works. To the village which sprang up around these works, and which was founded almost entirely by the necessities of the employees and their families, Peck gave the name of Samsondale, in honor of the ship Samson, on which he had returned from abroad.

At the time these works were erected, the road which is still known as the "Ramapo Road," ran as at present. From it, at the corner just southeast of the old factories, a road turned northwest, passed through the hollow by the works, and then turned to the north, to reach Grassy Point. The road, which now passes on by the Presbyterian church up to the West Shore Railroad depot, was not then in existence, and the traveller who desired to reach the section now known as Stony Point village, had to ride up to Mead's Corners, and then round through the present Garnerville to Benson's Corners, or else, drive down to Grassy Point, and from thence to his destination. The present road was opened by Mr. Peck, and beside it were erected a number of small houses for his employees. Some of these buildings, doorless, windowless, desolate looking, still stand on the west of the highway on the level of its old grade.

The industry started at Samsondale was continued for some time, under Peck & Phelps. Then the latter partner left the business, which was carried on by Peck alone, till, in 1842, a change in the tariff laws rendered it unprofitable, and the works were closed. Previous to this, a chemical factory and screw works had been added to the industries of the hamlet.

Upon the withdrawal of Mr. Peck from business, the mill was hired by Henry Essex, who carried on the manufacture of needles in it till 1844, when it was leased by Higgins & Co. for a carpet factory. Under this firm one hundred looms were employed, and some 250 people obtained a livelihood. In 1850, Higgins & Co. closed the works here, and removed to West 43d street, New York City. The screw factory and wire works were at first leased by Day, Newell & Day, after Mr. Peck closed up, and turned into a lock factory. At a later period they were occupied by Hicks & Payson, who carried on the manufacture of percussion caps.

Since that time, the buildings have been leased by various parties, for different manufacturing purposes. On the morning of July 21st, 1885, one of the buildings, which was then used as a cracker factory and feed mill, caught fire and was entirely consumed.

While Elisha Peck was still engaged in business, he built a tramway from his factory to the dock at Pullen's Point, for the transportation of his material; this road is still in use, being now employed for the shipping of brick.

Previous to February 10th, 1883, a survey and census was taken of an area of 1, 24-100 miles, comprised in the present bounds of West Haverstraw. The resident population within this area was found to be 1,602. A call was then issued for an election to be held at George Taylor's hall, on March 29th, 1883, to determine the question whether or not the territory should be incorporated as a village by the name of West Haverstraw. The total vote cast at this election was 202, of which only 13 were in the negative.

The boundaries of the village are: South, by the village of Haverstraw, and the Ramapo road to its junction with a road that leads south to John Springsteen's; West, by a line running from this junction to the Stony Point line, near the N. J. and N. Y. Railroad; on the North, from the Stony Point boundary eastwardly to the road leading north from Benson's Corner, and by a line which continues the course of the said boundary to a point on the Minisceongo Creek, north of the Farley house, on the lands of the Haverstraw Clay and Brick Company; and on the East, by a line running southerly from the above point to the north line of Haverstraw. The first officers were:

Adam Lilburn, President.
John Taylor,
Theodore G. Peck,
James G. Scott.
Henry M. Peck, Treasurer.
Charles W. Gordon, Clerk.


In the closing years of the last century, several brothers named Johnson, who were employed by a ship building firm, came into this mountainous section to get out ship timber. At this time, the mountains were heavily wooded, and the supply apparently inexhaustible, and, with the prospect of a long residence before them, the Johnson brothers settled on the site of the present hamlet. At this spot, others, who were engaged in one way or another among the mountains, gradually settled. A store was started to supply the wants not only of these settlers, but also of those who were occupied as charcoal burners, or in the making of wooden ware, and who dwelt in the surrounding territory, and the settlement was called Johnsontown.

At the entrance of the Methodists into the County, this hamlet was visited by them and a mission established, which, in the course of time, grew strong enough to warrant the building of a church for that worship. The hamlet has gradually increased in population, and at present, three stores, that of John Secor, of Burton & Matthews, and of Johnson, are kept open. A sulphur spring of reputed medicinal value has been found in this neighborhood.

On March 10th, 1824, a Legislative Act was passed for the incorporation of the Monroe and Haverstraw Turnpike. In the petition praying for this Act it was set forth, that Roger Parmele and others had opened this road through the wilderness from the Orange Turnpike near Parmele's slitting mill to the creek landing at Haverstraw at their own expense. Few inhabitants resided upon it, and the burden of keeping it in order fell entirely upon the projectors. With an idea of making it partly, if not absolutely self supporting, the following residents in both Orange and Rockland counties signed the petition: Roger Parmele, Joseph Blackwell, Hudson McFarlan, George Kyle, Robert Parkinson, Samson Marks, Abr. Gurnee, Abram Goetchius, George Weyant, Matthew Benson, Walter Brewster, Samuel Brewster, Samuel Goetchius, Samuel Smith, John Suffern, Edward De Noyelles, Lawrence De Noyelles, John F. Smith, Abram Dater, Jacob Marks, Elias Gurnee, John B. Secor, John Rose, Harman Felter and Jacob Odell.

The first Board of Directors were: Roger Parmele, Hudson McFarlan, Resolvert Waldron and George Kyle. A toll gate was erected near the "Sandfield," and continued in operation till the repeal of the Act incorporating the Company. This occurred April 28th, 1870, and by the provisions of the Act for repeal Abram Weiant was appointed to settle up the affairs of the road.

Perhaps one of the most unlikely events in this township was the start of a communistic settlement within its boundaries. Utopian ideas have influenced a few people in every generation. A belief that the whole human race would live together in a common brotherhood, with a common interest from common toil, and thus avoid the competition, the successes, the failures of life as now presented to us; has been taught in theory since history has been recorded. Often too, the principle has been put in practice and has ended many times in failure and sorrow.

The Haverstraw community, like its predecessors began with every prospect of success. In 1826, a body of citizens, composed of artisans from almost every industry, to the estimated number of eighty, settled upon land previously purchased from John I. Suffern, at a spot now marked by the station of the N. J. & N. Y. Railroad west of Garnerville. The habits and characters of the members of this community are recorded as good. They were industrious. They are said to have displayed more than ordinary intelligence.

Upon the land which they had bought were dwelling houses, out buildings and a saw and rolling and slitting mill. A church was established in which lectures on ethical or industrial subjects were given. Everything seemed bright before the nascent colony. Then, at the expiration of a few months - five it is stated - the Haverstraw Community, like most of its predecessors, collapsed and disappeared from the face of the earth.

The founders of the experiment were Jacob Peterson, George Houston, Robert L. Jennings, and a Mr. Fay. The price asked for the land they bought, some 13o acres, was $18,000 and of this, one third was in cash, the remainder being left on mortgage. At the crash of the enterprise, the mortgage which was held by John I. Suffern, threw the property back into his possession.


Cornelius Haring, 1723-24.
Jacobus Swartwout, 1725-27-1730-34.
Cornelius Kuyper, 1728-29-1740.
Gabriel Ludlow, 1735-1728-1739.
Garret Snedeker, 1736-37.
Adrian Onderdonk, 1741-43
Guisbert Kuyper, 1744-52-1780-81.
John Coe, 1753-63.
John De Noyelles, 1764-71.
Edward W. Kiers, 1772-79.
Tunis Kuyper, 1782-85.
David Pye, 1786-91.
Benjamin Coe, 1792-1801.
Samuel Smith, 1802-5.
Nathaniel Dubois, 1806-7.
Andrew Suffern, 1808-9.
Abraham DeCamp, 1810-11.
David DeBaun, 1812.
Samuel Goetchius, 1813-14-1821.
Halstead Gurnee. 1815-17.

James Taylor, 1818-20.
John I. Suffern, 1822-23.
Matthew Gurnee, 1824-25-1828-29.
Charles Smith, 1826-27.
Lawrence DeNoyelles, 1830-31-1834-1839-41.
James De La Montagne, 1832-33-1837-38.
Jacob Hauptman, 1835.
Henry Christie, 1836.
John W. Felter, Sr., 1842-46-1853-54.
George E. DeNoyelles, 1847-52.
Andrew Debaun, 1855-56.
Wesley J. Weyant, 1857.
Wm. R. Knapp, 1858-59.
John Lawrence DeNoyelles, 1860.
Prince W. Nickerson, 1861-64.
John I. Cole, 1865,-67.
Samuel C. Blauvelt, 1868-74
Henry Christie, 1875.
John W. Felter, 1876-79.
Josiah Felter, 1880.

Authorities referred to: Documents relating to Colonial History S. N. Y. U. S. and N. Y. State Census Reports Magazine of American History, Vol. xiii. "History of Haverstraw" by A. S. Freeman, D. D., and W. S. Pelletreau. Lectures "Thirty Years in Haverstraw" and "Thirty Years in Rockland County," by A. S. Freeman, D. D. Files of the Rockland County Messenger. Session Laws, S. N. Y. I am indebted also to William Govan, M. D., John Lawrence De Noyelles and Alonzo Wheeler, for information.

[Return to History of Haverstraw Part 1]

Return to [ NY History ] [ History at Rays Place ] [ Rays Place ]

NY Counties - Albany - Allegany - Broome - Cayuga - Chatauqua - Chenango - Clinton - Columbia - Cortland - Dutchess - Erie - Essex - Franklin - Fulton - Genesee - Herkimer - Jefferson - Lewis - Livingston - Madison - Montgomery - Niagara - Oneida - Onondaga - Ontario - Orange - Orleans - Oswego - Putnam - Queens - Rensselaer - Richmond - Rockland - St. Lawrence - Saratoga - Schenectady - Steuben - Suffolk - Tioga - Tompkins - Tryone - Ulster - Washington - Wayne - Yates

All pages copyright 2003-2012. All items on this site are copyrighted by their author(s). These pages may be linked to but not used on another web site. Anyone may copy and use the information provided here freely for personal use only. Privacy Policy