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


About the year 1824, Luke Osborn started a blacksmith shop, Theunis and Henry Crum opened a silver plating factory, Henry Shuart erected a wheelwright shop, and Cornelius and Matthew Demarest began a tannery, on the road leading from the present Forshay's Corners to New Hempstead, and on account of these industries, the wife of Dominie Demarest suggested Mechanicsville as the name of the hamlet. The place grew with such rapidity, that at the town meeting called in 1828, to select a name for the township, a plurality of those present decided on Mechanicstown.

In 1866, John H. Goetchius built and opened the store still managed by him. On April 3d, 1882, a post office was established at this hamlet, by the name of Viola, a name selected by J. H. Hopper, the relevancy of which, it is difficult to discover. John H. Goetchius was appointed post master.


In 1851, W. S. Forshay built a small shop for the manufacture of segars, about a mile north of Viola. The business proved profitable, and in 186o, more room having become necessary, the present factory was erected. The industry now employs twelve hands and turns out 600,000 segars annually.

Two and a half miles from Sufferns, on the road to Haverstraw, a road leaves the Haverstraw highway and runs east, through Viola and New Hempstead to New City. This was the military road of the Revolution. From the long residence of members of the Forshay family at this spot, the junction has taken its name. During the early days of the century, Joseph Conklin conducted a distillery here. A short distance east of the Haverstraw road, on this road to New City, stands a grist and cider mill, which was built about 1808 by a man named Pullish. In 1814, Theunis Cooper bought this structure and used it as a grist and saw mill. It is now conducted by Abbot Cooper.

A mile east of Viola is Cassady's Corners. I have used the name of Ackerman's Corners also, because at one time the place was so called from D. D. Ackerman, who lived at the junction; priority, however, undoubtedly entitles Cassidy to the name. At this place Archibald Cassady dwelt before the beginning of this century, and at his house town meetings were held for seven and twenty years.


In the year 1842, a meeting of the farmers of this neighborhood took place, to petition the Erie Railroad Company for a railway station. In reply, the company assented to stop their freight trains, if the residents would build a house. A plot of ground was obtained, the necessary money and material subscribed, and under the superintendence of Samuel C. Springsteel and Jacob Straut, a platform, with a wooden building 10 by 12 feet upon it, was erected. Henry Iserman at once occupied the station house, and established in it the first store in the village, an act which, as he had not thought it necessary to obtain the consent of the builders, caused no little annoyance.

At the meeting to decide upon a name for the nascent village, Samuel Coe Springsteel suggested that of Spring Valley, and after some discussion that name was adopted. Previous to the adoption of this name, the railroad people had called the place Pascack, while to another station, built a little further southeast, the name Laurel Hill was given; both of these names were eventually dropped.

Following Iserman, Jacob T. Eckerson opened a small store, and was succeeded by Isaac Conklin, who later built the brick store, now occupied by Smith & Burr. The Fairview House was begun in 1868 by Jacob A. Van Riper, and opened to the public in the following year. In 1884, Spring Valley contained 29 stores, 3 restaurants, 2 hotels, 2 livery stables, &c., and had a population of some 900 people. At the present time its inhabitants are discussing the advisability of becoming incorporated.

The post office at Spring Valley was established June 5th, 1848, with Aaron Johnson as the first postmaster. Previous to that year, Monsey had been the post office village for that neighborhood, and Johnson the postmaster at Monsey. He remained at the head of the Spring Valley office but eleven days, and was succeeded by Levi Carman, June 16th, 1848. In June, 1849, Richard W. Coe was appointed postmaster, and held the office till December of that year, when he was succeeded by Gerritt DeBaun, who filled the position till 1851. At that time, Erastus Van Zandt became postmaster till 1858; John A. Johnson, from March loth till October 2d, 1858; Andrew Smith, from October 2d, 1858 till 1860; Stephen H. Burr, till 1873, Egbert B. Johnson, from 1873 till 1879, Jacob E. Haring, from 1879 till 1882; Stephen H. Burr, in 1882, and John D. Blauvelt in August, 1885.

Columbian Fire Engine Company, No. 1, was organized June 24th, 1861, with Andrew Smith, Foreman; John G. Cooper, Assistant Foreman. The company was named after Columbian Hook & Ladder Company, No. 14, of New York City. The first machine was paid for by subscription.


This hamlet is five miles east of Suffern, on the railway between that place and Sparkill. In 184o, Eleazar Lord, then President of the Erie Railroad, bought 8 1/2 acres of land at this place, upon which a station platform was built. Kakiat was cut upon this platform, as the name of the to be village, but when the road began operations, the station, at the suggestion of Judge Sarven, was called Monsey, after an Indian chief by that name.

In a short time Angus McLaughlin built a twelve foot square shanty at this place, which he opened as a restaurant. The following year, 1843, Dr. Lord sold the property he had bought here to Aaron Johnson, who built and opened the first store in the village. The place has now six stores, two blacksmith shops, one carpenter shop, a lumber and coal yard, a steam feed mill, and a hotel.

The post office was first established here February 13th, 1846, with Aaron Johnson first postmaster. In June, 1848, as we have seen, it was moved to Spring Valley. On July loth, 1848, the office was re-established at Monsey, with Aaron Johnson as postmaster. In 1855, John H. Wigton was appointed to the office and held it till 1859, when he was succeeded by Levi Sherwood, who remained in charge till 186z, when Samuel G. Ellsworth became postmaster. On September loth, 1885, Levi Sherwood was again appointed.

Brewer Fire Engine Company, No. 1, was organized April 22d, 1879, with H. E. Sherwood, Foreman, S. H. Secor, Assistant Foreman. The first apparatus was a Babcock Chemical Engine, which was retained till the present Hook and Ladder Truck was obtained. A fire bell was presented to the firemen in 1885.

The Monsey Division of the Sons of Temperance was organized December 27th, 1883, with the following officers: Levi Sherwood, W. P.; Mrs. M. Brady, W. A.; E. C. Brady, R. S.; D. B. Smith, A. R. S.; W. Van Houten, F. S.; Rev. P. D. Day, Chaplain; Edwin Dicks, Conductor; Cassie Palmer, Assistant Conductor; Julia Rhinesmith, I. S.; Edward Ketchum, O. S.


This place, three miles east of Suffern, takes its name from Tunis I. Tallman, who settled here in 1856, and opened a store and tavern. The first station was built in r844 by Tallman, but was soon after abandoned. In 1856, Henry T. Tallman built a second station at Tallmans, which stood till 1868, when the present house was erected by the neighbors. The first store in the village, built in 1860 by H. T. Tallman, is now occupied by T. R. Montrose. The first blacksmith shop was started in 1860 by Henry Van Orden, and the first wheelwright shop was opened in 1867 by Stephen Van Orden. The village now contains a church, three stores, two grist mills and twenty houses.

The post office was established here June 1st, 1860, with Henry T. Tallman first post master. He retained the office till 1878, when Garret Wortendyke was appointed. Thomas R. Montrose became postmaster in 1879.

At the opening of the New Jersey and New York Railroad in 1875, six stations were located in the town Spring Valley, Union, New Hempstead, Summit Park, Alexis, Pomona. Any one who is familiar with our County's history, will doubtless recognize the pertinence of these names at once. Only one station calls for notice - Pomona - where a post office was established June 21st, 1876, with John Brockway as postmaster. In 1880, Isaac L. Secor became postmaster, and was followed, in 1883, by George E. Potts.

In the southeast corner of Ramapo township, a mile and a half south of Spring Valley, on the old post road, is the neighborhood known as Scotland, from the nationality of the first settlers. On Pascack Brook, south of Scotland, and on the stream, which runs parallel with and on the west side of the old road, many branches of industry were formerly conducted. On the latter brook there was a feed, a saw and a grist mill, and Carson & May's slitting mill. On the former, beside three saw and grist mills, George and Benjamin Hill had a foundry and machine shop.

A high hill in this neighborhood still bears the name of Scotland Hill, and here also is located the Scotland graveyard, long since abandoned.

On December 29th, 1827, a post office was established at Scotland, with Peter D. Tallman as postmaster. On June 5th, 1848, this office was discontinued.

About a mile southwest of Tallman, is the hamlet called Masonicus Indian name. Here, from 1800 to 1820, Cornelius Wannamaker kept the Masonicus.store and tavern, and here, in 1855, the Masonicus Church was built. Between Scotland and Masonicus is Saddle River, on which are located one grist and one saw mill, and a stream on the east side of Cherry Lane, on which are situated a grist and saw mill, and two mills which combine both these industries. At the junction of the Saddle River road with the Nyack turnpike, John Yeury formerly kept a tavern. This property later passed into the hands of Peter P. Jessey, who kept a store here for many years.

I have tried to tell in another part of this work how the early inhabitants found amusement. As new "settlers arrived in the County, the old customs disappeared. The community of feeling, the tie of friendship brought about by long association in suffering and success, could not well have been extended to and would not have been appreciated by these new comers. Hence, the barn dances and corn huskings of an older time gradually gave way to the new order of things. But the axiom, that human nature is the same through all the world, was ever true. Young people desire relaxation and pleasure, and when these were no longer afforded at home, they sought them abroad. To meet this demand a new form of business was started - taverns.

A generation of people still living requires no explanation of what a tavern was, but there is a generation just entering the struggle of life, and there are generations yet to come to whom this name, as used in days gone by, might be an enigma. It seems wise, therefore, to pause a moment and look at these places. The old wayside inn of the Revolution, was a house where man and beast could obtain refreshment and comfort on their journey, and the focus for all the gossip from the city and country. The modern hotel is a place where the traveller can obtain board and lodging.

The tavern combined the uses of the ancient inn and the modern hotel, but to them added a third, a most important use, that of a public dancing hall. It was seldom that the taverns were used by casual travellers. At the most flourishing time of their existence, communication between business centres had found other channels beside the highways. They were used by the residents of this and neighboring counties, who found it necessary to pass by them, as a place for lunch and a spot where their horses could be fed.

The taverns were usually built upon the public highways, midway between two villages. Somewhere down stairs were a bar and dining room. On the first floor above was the ball room, running the length of the building. The remainder of the house was used for family purposes. This was the usual arrangement subject always to the changes necessitated by the architecture of the building. At a short distance from the house was a barn, and attached to it was a long shed fitted up with horse troughs for the accommodation of such travellers as carried the food for their animals with them.

These taverns were the resort for all the young people for miles around. In winter a dance would be held almost nightly in the ball room, the participants being couples, who had started out for a sleigh ride, and on stopping at the tavern and finding others present had organized a set. At times, generally the eve of some holiday, the proprietor would give a ball, but this in little wise differed from the usual dance save perhaps in the greater number of people present. These taverns were also the scenes of brawls. Any public resort where ugly dispositioned people meet and drink is liable to such disturbances, but the conflict, if it passed to blows, ended without serious injury to either party. The revolver was yet unknown.

The mention of the "Red Tavern," "76 House," "Stephen's Tavern " in this County, of "The Jug," "Jim Bogert's " and "Nagle's " taverns, in northern New Jersey; will call back to the older reader, recollections of many happy hours. But above all and far beyond all, in the memory of people three score years of age and upwards, natives of Rockland; stands the tavern known as "Aunt Kate's." So widely popular was this hostelry of Mrs. Catherine Tallman's, that I have considered it more appropriate to speak of the customs of this era in social life, in the chapter devoted to the town in which she lived and reigned, than to place it elsewhere.

The days of inns passed away in this County upon the influx of strangers, and when the immigration had grown sufficiently large, taverns also ceased to be popular. The increase of population, the introduction of outside labor, the acquisition of wealth, led to the formation of classes in society and each now finds its amusement in its own way.

Between New Hempstead and the "Brick Church " is Summit Park Cemetery incorporated in 1882, with Andrew Johnson, President; Wm. H. Parsons, Secretary; Aaron D. Johnson, Treasurer; and John F. Hauptman, W. P. Hope, Peter S. Van Orden, John Haring, J. E. Jersey, and Wm. R. Pitt, Trustees, The grounds of this place of sepulcher consist of an acre and a half, principally deeded by Erastus Johnson. At the Brick Church graveyard, the oldest dates found are on the stones marking the resting places of William Smith, September 23d, 1794 and Hannes Smith, January 8th, 1794.

About three quarters of a mile northeast of Ladentown, on the road from Sufferns to Haverstraw, and on the extreme bounds of the township, is the place called Camp Hill, from the fact that during the Revolution, the American Army was in camp there.

Returning once more to the Ramapo Valley. From the Orange Turnpike west to the apex of the triangle in which our County ends, is a succesion of mountains, still retaining much of their primeval solitude. In these hills, two and three quarter miles from the store at Sloatsburg, is a sheet of water called by the Indians, Pothat or Potake, by early surveyors, Van Duser's Pond, known to residents of the County as Negro Pond, and found on old maps of Rockland under the spelling of Niggar Pond. West of this, and forming part of the boundary line between this State and New Jersey, is another pond, called Shepherd's.

In the field notes of a survey made October 27th, 1774, occurs the following: "Begun at the 17 miles end and continued our range N. 54 deg. 15 m. West; at 44 Chains, square Northward, about 12 or 15 Chains, a high, steep, rocky mountain,; at 6o Chains in a swamp; at 68 Chains, the West edge of said swamp; at 8o Chains, set up a chestnut stake with No. XVIII. in negro Guy's improvement, and put stones round it, Northeasterly of his house."

Tradition has it, that a "good Mr. Rutherford," who owned large tracts of land, allowed people to settle on it where they chose. Many of that unfortunate race, whose ancestors were torn from their native land, and survived the horrors of the "middle passage," to become the bond men of a Christian people, seem to have settled in these mountain wilds at an early day; to have made homes among these forbidding rocks, and to have cultivated the sterile land, till even now, it is said, the cleared field and orchard of one of these fore time negro settlers can be seen on the west of Negro Pond.

As has been said in speaking of Ladentown, the abandonment of manufactures and the development of machinery in the production of woodenware have withdrawn employment from many of the dwellers in these mountains, still, a large industry is carried on in getting out hoop poles and cord wood, and Sloatsburg, which is the depot for this business, has much of this material shipped yearly.

We must turn again to the general history of the township, and learn the history of the Orange Turnpike. Early in the settlement of the County, a road was forced through this Clove to permit the passage of settlers on their journeys to and from the settlements along the Delaware. As those settlements grew, as the section north of the mountains became populated, this, the only real pass between the Hudson and the Delaware into the interior of the State, came into constant use. The Revolution still further demonstrated the need of an excellent highway through the Clove, and finally the industries, which sprang up along the Ramapo River in the closing years of the last century, necessitated a better means of communication. To accomplish this, the Orange Turnpike Company was incorporated by an act of Legislature, April 4th, 1800, at the request of the following people:

Wm. Wickham,

David M. Westcott,

John Steward,

Antony Dobbin,

James Everitt,

Jonathan Sweezy,

James Carpenter,

John Wood,

Thomas Waters,

Solomon Smith,

James W. Wilkin,

John Gale, Jr.,

William Wickham, George D. Bradner, John Webb, Daniel Marvin, and Seth Strong Selah were appointed Commissioners. Two hundred and fifty shares of stock at $25 per share, were issued and taken up by 67 people among whom were Aaron Burr, Peter Townsend, Seth Marvin, J. G. Pierson & Brothers, John Suffern, &c.

At the time of the organization of this company, the old "Albany Road," bending to the north shortly after entering the State, ran in front of the present Episcopal Church at Suffern to what is now the Nyack Turnpike, where it turned to the left, following the course of the present Nyack Turnpike to a point between the Catholic and Methodist Churches, then striking directly across to the Eureka House, it proceeded westward along the Ramapo. The Turnpike Company opened the road parallel to the present railroad from the New Jersey line to the present Hilburn works and then lifted it from the valley to the side of the mountain. On May 3d, 1869, the Legislature authorized the Company to abandon the western half of the road. The Turnpike Company today own but ten miles of road, reaching from the New Jersey line, and on this there is only the toll gate at Sloatsburg.

From Nyack and Haverstraw stages were run to Piermont during the winter season ere the railroads were extended to those villages; but at the best of times this means of communication was but temporary, only while the river was closed, and the vehicles used were the outgrowth of expediency. Already a generation has risen to whom these stage lines are unknown. If this be true of the eastern section of our County, with what interest must it be noted that, within the memory of men still living the Ramapo Valley was the passage way for stages running from New York via Paterson to Goshen, Newburgh, Albany and the West.

In 1798, the fare by the Goshen stages for a seat from Ramapo to New York was 11s. 4d., and 2s. for a trunk. In 1810, the time schedule can perhaps best be given by a copy of the mail arrivals at Ramapo.








Jan. 1st




Jan. 17th


7:15 A. M.

Jan. 2nd

9:05 P. M.



Jan. 18th

9:00 A. M.


Jan. 3d


2:45 A. M.


Jan. 19th


9:50 A,M.

Jan. 4th




Jan. 20th



Jan. 5th


2:45 A.M


Jan. 21st


2:45 P. M.

Jan. 6th




Jan. 22d

8:00 A. M.


Jan. 7th


6:50 A. M.


Jan. 23d

9"40 A.M/


Jan. 8th

11:50 A. M.



Jan. 24th



Jan. 9th

9:10 A. M.



Jan. 25th

11:30 P. M.


Jan. 10th


10:34 A. M.


Jan. 26th


4:40 A. M.

Jan. 11th

10:41 A. M.



Jan. 27th



Jan. 12th




Jan. 28th


7:40 A. M.

Jan. 13th


8:20 A. M.


Jan. 29th

4:10 A. M.


Jan. 14th

10:50 P. M.

3:40 A. M.


Jan. 30th

10:50 P.M.


Jan. 15th




Jan. 31st


8:20 A. M.

Jan. 16th

10:30 P.M/






In 1812-13, Henry I. Traphagen and William Southerland were running the stage with four horses. They were succeeded in 1814-16 by Levi and William Alger. In 1817, Joseph French ran an extra stage from Newburgh to New York four times a week with four horses. In 1819-20, Garret Bampa ran "through the Franklin Turnpike gate," and Abram Clearwater carried the stage on "through the Orange Turnpike gate." In 1821, Sturgis began running the stage. In 1823, Stephen Sloat had charge of it. In 1824-25, Dr. T. G. Evans In 1826, Stephen Sloat & Co.; 1827-29, H. H. Zabriskie & Co. (daily) - 1830, Stephen Sloat & Co. (daily.) It was in those days that the Sloat mansion, at Sloatsburg, served as a tavern on the post road.

How strange this sounds in these days of lightning expresses, drawing room cars and electric appliances, which have annihilated space and time. It seems wise that we should review the period for a better realization of what our country and County were, and for a better appreciation of what those silent giants - inventors - have accomplished for this western continent.


Gilbert Cooper, 1791-1798.
James Onderdonlc, 1798-1801, 1802-4.
William Dusenbery, 1801.
Gilbert T. Cooper, 1805-6.
Peter S. Van Orden, 1807-1811-1819.
David De Baun, 1811-1814.
Garret Sarven, 1814.
Abraham Gurnee, 1815-1818
James Taylor, 1818-1820.
John J. Gurnee, 1821.
Peter R. Van Houten, 1822-1830-31.
Nicholas L. Haring, 1826.
John Haring, 1839.
James Yourey, 1840.
John A. Haring, 1837, 1843 -1844.
John J. Coe, 1841.
Cornelius Demarest, 1842.

John Demarest, 1845-47.
William Forshee, 1848.
John B. Gurnee, 1849-51, 1861.
Frederick Van Orden, 1852-64
Nicholas C. Blauvelt, 1855-56.
Peter P. Jersey, 1857.
John Crum, 1858-9.
Henry R. Sloat, 1860.
John D. Christie, 1862.
Erastus Johnson, 1863-4.
Andrew Smith, 1865.
James Suffern, 1866-70.
Dwight B. Baker, 1872-3.
Peter L. Van Orden, 1874-5 .
Jacob Snider, 1876.
George W. Suffern, 1870-71, 1877-1883.
Peter Tallman, 1883-84.
A. D. Blauvelt.

Gilbert Cooper, 1791-2, 1804-8.
John Conklin, Jr., 1793-4.
Arch. Cassady, 1795-7, 1799-1802, 1837-1843, 1847-1853.
Gilbert T. Cooper, 1798.
Andrew Onderdonk, 1892-3
Garret Sarven, 1809-1814, 1815-1818, 1820.
John Knap, 1814.
Theunis Cooper, 1821.
James Taylor, 1822-26.
Isaac Finch, 1830-31.
Theunis J. Cooper, 1844.
Peter Tallman, 1880.
Tunis Cooper, 1845-6.
John G. Serven, 1854-1859.
D. D. Ackerman, 1859-61, 1863-71.
Thomas Reed, 1862.
William H. Gray, 1872.
Wm. H. Parsons, 1873-79.
Esler Sherwood, 1881.

From 1791 till 1802, town meetings were held at the house of Theunis Cuyper, just southeast of the "Brick Church;" from 1802 till 1863, at Cassady's Corners; and from 1863 till the present time, at Monsey.

Authorities referred to: History of Ramapo, by Rev. Eben B. Cobb, assisted by E. Frank Pierson. New York State Session Laws New York State Civil List. Archives of the Rockland County Historical Society.


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