History of Hurley, NY
FROM: Gazetteer and Business Directory
Of Ulster County, N. Y. For 1872-2.
Compiled and Published By Hamilton Child, Syracuse, NY 1871
HURLEY, named in honor of the Barons Hurley, in Ireland, was granted by patent, October 19, 1708. A part of the Hardenburgh Patent was released by Margaret Livingston, and was annexed March 3, 1789; and a part of New Paltz was taken off in 1809, a part of Esopus in 1818, a part of Olive in 1823, a part of Rosendale in 1844, and a part of Woodstock in 1853. It is an interior town, lying north-east of the center of the County. The surface is a rolling and moderately hilly upland, the highest summits being about 700 feet above tide.
Esopus Creek flows north-east through the south part. Along its course are extensive fertile flats, bordered by high hills. The soil is a sandy loam. Stone quarrying is largely carried on, the stone being used for building and flagging purposes. Several hundred men are engaged in the business, and more than 200,000 tons are shipped annually. About one-third of the town is forest.
Hurley, (p.v.) situated on Esopus Creek, contains a Reformed church, two hotels, a store, a school-house, two wagon shops, two blacksmith shops, a shoe shop and about thirty dwellings. The dwellings are chiefly of stone, many of them very old, and a few were built before the Revolution. The walls are still of the most substantial character and appear to be good for another century. A wire suspension bridge, 160 feet long, crosses the creek at this place.
West Hurley, (p.v.) in the north part, is a station on the Rondout and Oswego R.R., and contains three churches, viz., Reformed, Roman Catholic and Methodist, two hotels, four stores; a hardware, a drug and a feed store, three wagon shops, three blacksmith shops, a shoe shop, two meat markets, two paint shops, a saloon, a harness shop, three carpenter shops, a livery stable and a steam saw-mill. Stages connect this place with Woodstock and the Overlook Mountain. The village is flourishing and is destined to become an important point.
The first settlements were made at a very early day, by the Dutch. The following from J.W. Hasbrouck's manuscript History of Ulster Co., will throw some light on the early settlement:
“When Wiltwyck was sacked by the savages, 'a horseman cam riding into town at the Mill gate, crying the new village is burned.' This proves it was beyond the site of the old town and that it was higher up the Kill, for the Mill gate was in the present North Front street, near the old brewery. In the years 1662, 3 and 4, Thos. Hall, Nicholas Varlett, Mattys Blanshan, Anthony Crispel, Lambert Huyberts, Roeloff Swartwout, John Thommassen, Petrus Schuyler, Jan Volckert, Lewis Dubois, Gosen Gerrets, Albert Heymanse Roosa and Lambert Kool, all obtained patents in the 'Nieuw Dorp.' The country soon after changed hands, when an order was issued by Governor Nicolls, commanding all the deeds confirmed, under pain of forfeiture. This was in 1666. Those that were immediately confirmed were again described as in the new Dorp, but many neglected it, depending on their right of possession. In the meantime Sir Francis Lovelace was sent over as Governor, who commissioned his brother Dudley Lovelace, to go to the Esopus with several others to settle the troubles between the burghers and soldiers-advance the works of the third village, then about to be settled by the English troops, and to name the several towns. Accordingly on the 18th of September, 1669, he visited the furthermost Dorp, christened it Marbletown and returned to the second village where he wrote, 'The place formerly called the new Dorp was named Hurley, after the paternal estate of the Governor.'”
In 1719 the following persons held the office of Trustees of the Corporation: Cornelius Kool, Adrien Garretsie, Jacob DuBois, Barnabas Swartwout, Jacob Rutse, Nocolaes Roosa and Charles Wyle.
A grist mill was built soon after the commencement of the settlement, and a hotel was kept at the village by Charles DeWitt about 1760. When Kingston was burnt, in 1777, the people of this town fled to Hurley for refuge.
Tradition says that Daniel Taylor, a spy, was hanged on an apple tree, near Hurley village, after the burning of Kingston. He was arrested on the 10th of October, in the neighborhood of Little Britain, Orange Co., by a picket guard under Lieut. Howe. He appears to have been deceived by the uniform of the party, they being clothed in red coats recently captured from the British. On asking his captor who his commanding general was, and being told General Clinton, he wished to be conducted into his presence, and was greatly surprised to find George Clinton, Governor of New York, instead of Sir Henry Clinton, the Royal Commander. A letter from Gen. Clinton to the Council of Safety, gives an account of the interview:
“The letter from Clinton to Burgoyne, taken from Daniel Taylor, was enclosed in a small silver ball of an oval form, about the size of a fusee bullet, and shut with a screw in the middle. When he was taken and brought before me he swallowed it. I mistrusted this to be the case, from information I received, and administered to him a very strong emetic calculated to act either way. This had the desired effect; it brought it from him; but though close watched he had the art to conceal it a second time. I made him believe I had taken one Captain Campbell, another messenger who was out on the same business; that I learned from him all I wanted to know, and demanded the ball on pain of being hung up instantly and being cut open to search for it. This brought it forth.”
He was tried by Court Martial, Oct. 14, 1777, of which Col. Lewis Dubois was president, and convicted. Then the army moved down the Wallkill to save Kingston, Taylor was taken along. The following General Order needs no explanation:
“Headquarters at Marbletown}
16th October, 1777” }
“The sentence of the General Court Martial whereof Col. Dubois was President, against the within named Daniel Taylor is approved and ordered to be carried into execution, when the troops are paraded and before they march tomorrow morning.”
“Geo. Clinton, B. Genl.
The following items from the morning report of the Main Guard of Gov. Clinton's Army, dated Oct. 18, 1777, gives us a view of the offences committed by the prisoners:
“Jonathan Van Waggoner, confined for going over to Long Island to the enemy and returning to Ulster County”
“Wm. Mohany, confined for saying the Rebels were retreating before Genl. Burgoyne and that he hoped the Rebels would be beat.”
“James Henter, Molato confined for going into New York with Wood & coming out again & being found with Tories.”
“Thomas Porter for speaking disrespectfully of our General and Under Officers that commanded at Fort Montgomery and for saying that if it had been commanded by British Officers it would not have been given up.”
Report of the “Officer of the Day” of the army of Hurley:
“Hurley Town October 20, 1777” }
Head Quarters }
“A Morning Report of the Officer of the day, who visited the Guards & Pickets.”
“Coll. Webbs Pickquets, Coll, Dubois and Coll. Sutherland all sufficient, Coll Hasbourcks and Ellison's Deficient of Arms and Ammunition.”
“By Report of Officer of the Main Guard Countersign, N.York. The Centinels being frequently visited, found alert on their Posts and the Guard consisting of [number and rank inserted in tabular form]. The number of Prisoners confined in the Main Guard 27 with the crimes given and 9 without crimes.
“Given under my hand”
“Johs Hardnebergh Co.”
“P.S. The Guard at Kingston deficient of Light Horse & Guides.”
In 1806 an act was passed “to divide the common lands in the town of Hurley in the County of Ulster.”
“Whereas King George the First did by letters patent grant unto Cornelius Cole and others, as trustees of the freeholders and inhabitants of that part of the town described and bounded in their charter of incorporation, a certain tract of land, situate in said town and commonly called Hurley Commons.”
“And whereas another certain tract of land of about three hundred acres situate in the town of Marbletown, has since been purchased by the successors in office of said trustees, for the common use and benefit of the freeholders and inhabitants of the said corporation.”
“And whereas the said freeholders and inhabitants have be petition prayed that they may be authorized to make partition and division of their said common lands,”
“Therefore Be it enacted &c.”
This Act appointed two commissioners, John A. DeWitt and Levi Jansen, who, with Andrew Snyder, elected by the freeholders of Hurley, were authorized to divide the common lands among the freeholders of the town. Every freeholder who held a freehold of the value of $300, and who resided in the town at the time of the passage of the Act, was to have one certain tract; and every freeholder whose freehold was valued less than three hundred dollars was to have a proportionate part of one certain tract. The land was surveyed and divided into 168 lots. The original Map and Field Book, with the number of each lot and the name of the person to whom it was given, are now in the office of the Town Clerk of Hurley.
As already stated, the village of Hurley was settled at a very early day, some of the houses now standing being more than one hundred years old. One of the stone houses was occupied by a commissary of the American army during the Revolution. The one occupied by James P. TenEyck was built by his father previous to 1787, though the exact time is not known. The walls are as perfect as if built within the last ten years. The parsonage of the Reformed Church was erected by the grandfather of Dr. A. Crispell, of Rondout. A few miles from the village is the residence of W.C. Cole, the sixth generation from the first occupant. Many other residences are still in the possession of the desendants of the first proprietors.
There are six churches in the town. The first organized was:
The Reformed Church of Hurley Village, in 1800. The first house of worship was erected in 1801. The first pastor was Rev. Thomas D. Smith. The present pastor is Rev. John F. Harris. The present house of worship was erected in 1853; its value is $6,000; the parsonage is valued at $3,000.
The M.E. Church, West Hurley, was organized in 1843 with 20 members. The first pastor was Rev. John Daviess. The first house of worship was erected in 1853; the present house in 1868. It value is $4,500, and it seats 300. The parsonage is valued at $2,500. The present membership is 137; the present pastor, H.C. Earl. The first trustees were Edward Van Steenburgh, John R. Lewis and Alexander Carneright.
The Reformed Church, West Hurley, was organized in 1848 by Rev. Alexander Gulick, the first pastor, and consisted of 25 members. The first house of worship was erected in 1854. It was removed to the village and enlarged in 1870, and will seat 250. The present value is $4,000; the parsonage, $1,500. The present membership is 119, and the present pastor, Rev. Cornelius Blauvelt.
St. John's Roman Catholic Church, West Hurley, was organized about 1857, by Rev. S. Mackin, the present pastor. The first house of worship was erected the same year; the present house in 1869 at a cost of $10,000. It will seat 500 and, with adjacent buildings, is worth $14,000. Present membership 600.
Olive Branch M.E. Church has a membership of 37. Their first house of worship was erected in 1866 and is valued at $2,500. Rev. John Ketchum is the present pastor.
Greenwood Centenary M.E. Church has a membership of 38. Their house of worship was erected in 1865 and is valued at $2,600. Rev. H.C. Earl is the present pastor.
The population of the town in 1870 was 2,994; its area, 20,494 acres, with an assessed value of $296,985.
There are nine school districts in the town, employing the same number of teachers. The number of children of school age is 1,144; the average attendance, 300.