History of Ulster County, NY
FROM: Gazetteer and Business Directory
Of Ulster County, N. Y. For 1872-2.
Compiled and Published By Hamilton Child, Syracuse, NY 1871


ULSTER COUNTY

THIS COUNTY was formed November 1, 1683, and included the country between the Hudson and Delaware Rivers, bounded on the south by a line running east and west through Murder's Creek, and on the north by a similar line running through the mouth of Sawyer's Creek. In its charter is it said to “contain the towns of Kingston, Hurley and Marbletown, Foxhall and New Paltz and all villages, neighborhoods and Christian habitations on the west side of the Hudson River, from the Murderer's Creek near the Highlands to the Sawyer's Creek.” It was named from the Irish title of the Duke of York. A part of Delaware County was taken off in 1797, a part of Greene in 1800, and Sullivan in 1809. A part was set off to Orange in 1798, and the town of Catskill was annexed from Albany County the same year. It lies on the west bank of the Hudson, is centrally distant 68 miles from Albany and contains 1,204 square miles.

The surface generally is a hilly and mountainous upland. The Catskill Mountains occupy the north-west part, and the Shawangunk Mountains extend from the south-west nearly through the County, in a north-east direction. The mountain region is a spur of the Alleghany Range, and consists of irregular ridges and isolated peaks, with rocky sides and summits, too steep and rough for cultivation. The summits are from 1,500 to 2,000 feet above the Hudson. The remaining parts of the County are generally broken and hilly. Esopus Creek flows in a tortuous course through the north part, and discharges its waters into the Hudson at Saugerties, receiving in its course several tributaries, among which Plattekill and Sawkill are the principal, from the north. Roundout Creek enters the southwest part of the County and flows north-easterly along the west declivity of the Shawangunk Mountains, and enters the Hudson at Roundout. Its principal tributary is the Wallkill, which flows along the eastern base of the Shawangunk Mountains and enters the Roundout a few miles from its mouth. The remaining streams are small brooks and creeks.

The rocks of the County are composed of the Portage Chemung shales in the east part, and the Sahwangunk grit or Oneida conglomerate in the west part. Drift deposits are found in nearly every part. In the section occupied by the Portage Group of rocks are found extensive outcrops of a thin bedded sandstone, with a slaty texture, which, under the name of Blue Stone, is extensively quarried and affords a fine quality of flagstones. It may be split into slabs of any size that can be conveniently handled, and from one to four inches in thickness. Hundreds of men are employed in the various quarries and in hauling the stone to Wilbur, the chief shipping point, whence it is carried to New York and other cities. Water limestone, or cement rock, is extensively quarried and manufactured at Roundout, Rosendale and other places. This rock outcrops in a belt running north-east and south-west, first appearing on the Hudson a few miles north of Kingston Point, and extending to Rochester, a distance of twenty to twenty-five miles, though it is lost from view at the surface in several places between these points. The cement manufactured from these quarries is of the best quality and is extensively used throughout the United States, in fortifications and other works requiring solidity. The Newark Lime and Cement Company have extensive quarries and manufactories at Roundout. The first cement made in the County was about the time the Delaware and Hudson Canal was commenced; it now gives employment to several thousand men in the County. Lead is found in small quantities. At an early period the Esopus grit was largely quarried and manufactured into millstones which were said to exceed those imported from Colen, in Europe, at the cost of £80 a pair, while the Esopus stones cost less than one-fourth of that sum.

The soil is generally a good quality of sandy and gravelly loam, interspersed with clay in some places. Most of the valleys are covered with a rich deep alluvium. The land generally is better adapted to grazing than tillage. Dairying is extensively pursued, and spring grain is raised to some extent. Fruit growing is becoming an important branch of business. Leather and lumber are manufactured, though not to as great an extent as formerly. Brick are manufactured extensively at various points on the river.

The commerce carried on by the river is very extensive, the tonnage of Roundout being greater than that of any other town on the river above New York.

The Delaware and Hudson Canal, extending through the County along the valley of Roundout Creek, and connecting the Delaware River with the Hudson at Roundout, was for a long time the only public work of importance in the County. This Company was incorporated April 23, 1823, with a capital of $1,500,000, with the right to use $50,000 in banking until 1844. The credit of the State was loaned for $800,000 in stock bearing interest at four and a half or five per cent. The Canal was begun in July 1825, and opened for use in October 1828. The original cost of the New York section of the Canal was $1,424,924, and of the Pennsylvania section $612,123. The Canal was originally constructed to afford a depth of four feet, and navigable for boats of thirty tons. In 1848 it was enlarged to accommodate boats of forty tons, and in 1851 it was further enlarged to accommodate boats of 120 tons. The amount of coal shipped on this Canal during the season of 1870, was 1,287,000 tons.

The Roundout and Oswego Railroad extends from Roundout, through the towns of Kingston, Hurley, Olive and Shandaken. About forty miles are in operation. The Wallkill Valley Railroad is a branch of the Erie, and extends through the towns of Shawangunk, Gardiner, New Paltz and Rosendale, to Kingston, where it connects with the Roundout and Oswego Railroad. The road has for some months been in operation to New Paltz, while the track is already laid for several miles beyond, and the grading is nearly completed to Kingston. A branch of the New York and Oswego Midland Railroad, extending from Middletown, is already in operation to Ellenville. A continuation of the Ellenville Branch to Kingston is in comtemplation. A continuation of the Wallkill Valley Road to Albany will accomplish a long desired public improvement and be in reality, to a considerable extent, a “west shore” road from New York to Albany.

The County Seat is located in Kingston. The Court House is a fine stone edifice, situated on Wall Street; the Jail is a stone building in the rear of the court House, and is well adapted to the uses of the County. The Clerk's Office is a one-story fire-proof building on the corner of main and Fair Streets. A Court House and Jail were erected soon after the incorporation of the County, and an appropriation was made for their repair July 21, 1715. These buildings were inadequate, and an act of the Legislature, passed October 14, 1732, allowed them and the lot to be sold and new buildings to be erected. Repairs were authorized in 1745, 1750, 1763 and 1772, and in 1775 a further sum was granted to complete them. These buildings were burned by the British Oct. 16, 1777, and a lottery was granted six months after to raise £2,000 to rebuild them. In March 1778, an act was passed directing the Sheriff to compute mileage from the house of Mrs. Ann Dubois, an inn-keeper in New Paltz. The first court was organized in 1661, and Robeloff Swartwout was appointed Sheriff. The first county officers under the State Government were Levi Pawling, First Judge; Egbert Drummond, Sheriff; Joseph Gasherie, Surrogate.

The Poor House is located on a farm of 140 acres in the south part of the town of New Paltz. The expense of supporting the poor during the last year was about $12,000. The main building is 120 feet in length and 25 in width. The apartments are clean, neat and well ventilated. Much of the labor about the house is performed by the inmates, the males finding agreeable work upon the farm. The insane are assigned to another building where they have all the liberty consistent with a proper regard to their health and comfort. A school is taught during the time required by law. The number of paupers at the Poor House at the date of the last report to the Supervisors was 120; the cost of supporting them during the year, exclusive of the products fo the farm, was $38.69 each. The property upon the premises is valued at $7,000.

The Newspapers of the County consist of one Daily and eleven Weekly papers, most of the latter of large size and well sustained. The first newspaper published in the County was The New York Journal and Advertiser, published by John Hold. It was removed from New York to Poughkeepsie in 1776, in consequence of the occupation of that city by the British. It was published at Kingston from July to October 1777.

The New Farmer's Register was commenced at Kingston in 1792, by Nicholas Power and William Copp.

The Rising Sun was commenced at Kingston in 1792, by Wm. Copp and Samuel Freer.

The Ulster Gazette was commenced at Kingston in 1798, by Samuel S. and A. Freer.

The Plebeian was commenced at Kingston in November 1801, by Jesse Buell, who continued as editor until 1813. In 1827 the name was changed to

The Plebeian and Ulster County Advertiser. In 1833 the name was changed to

The Ulster Republican, and the paper was published by Alonzo L. Stewart until 1837, when it passed into the hands of Rodney A. Chipp. In 1849 it passed into the hands of Solomon S. Hommell, and was subsequently published for a short time by Hommell & Lounsbery, and then by Hommell, until his death, its name having previously been changed to

THE ARGUS. It was published by the estate of Mr. Hommell until 1864, when it was purchased by Mr. Henry G. Crouch, the present proprietor.

The Ulster Sentinel was published at Kingston from about 1826 to 1840, by Charles G. Dewitt.

The National Pioneer was published at Milton in 1830, by Daniel S. Tuthill.

The Ulster Star was commenced at Saugerties in Jan. 1833, by William Cully.

The Ulster County Whig was commenced at Roundout in 1835, by Wallace & Brown.

The Political Reformer was started at Kingston in 1837, by W.H. Romeyn. In 1839 or 1840 the name was changed to

The Kingston Democratic Journal. It is now published as

THE KINGSTON JOURNAL, by W.H. Romeyn & Son.

The Ulster Huguenot was commenced at Kingston in 1843, by J. Cully and T.F. Baldwin.

The Hickory Democrat was issued as a campaign paper in 1844.

The Ulster Palladium and Anti-Masonic Journal was commenced at Saugerties in 1828, by Paul J. Fish and Calvin Frary. It was removed to Kingston in 1829 and the name changed to

The Ulster Palladium. It was discontinued in 1833.

The Ulster Democrat was commenced at Kingston in 1846, by A.A. Bensall. It subsequently passed into the hands of Parr Harlow. On the 12th of December 1870 it was combined with

THE ULSTER DAILY GAZETTE, published by John S. Baker. It was published by Baker & Harlow until Feb. 4, 1871, when Mr. Baker retired from the firm, leaving Parr Harlow the sole proprietor. The weekly edition of the paper since the union of the two is known as

THE ULSTER WEEKLY GAZETTE AND DEMOCRAT.

The Kingston Daily Chronicle was published in 1839.

The Ulster Telegraph was commenced at Saugerties in 1846, by Solomon S. Hommell. Its name was subsequently changed to

THE SAUGERTIES TELEGRAPH, and was published by R.B. Taylor for some time. The present publisher is G.W. Elting.

The Roundout Freeman was published by Bradbury & Wells in 1845.

THE ROUNDOUT COURIER was commenced in 1848. It subsequently passed into the hands of J.P. Hageman, by whom it was published until April 1, 1868, when it passed into the hands of W.H. & J.C. Romeyn, the present proprietors.

THE ROUNDOUT FREEMAN was commenced in 1858 by Wm. Van Keuren. It was subsequently published by Van Keuren & Gildersleeve, and by Gildersleeve alone until 1865 when it passed into the hand of Horatio Fowks, the present publisher.

The People's Press was commenced in Kingston in 1853, by Daniel Bradbury. In 1861 the name was changed to

THE KINGSTON PRESE, under which title it is still issued by the original proprietor.

THE ELLENVILLE JOURNAL was commenced June 29, 1949, by Robert Denton. At the close of the first year, Mr. R.B. Taylor purchased a half interest and the paper was published by Denton & Taylor for about a year, when Mr. Taylor became sole proprietor and continued its publication until the spring of 1857, when it passed into the hands of S. M. Taylor, one of the present proprietors. In 1859 Oliver A. Campbell became the publisher, and so continued until January 1861, when the establishment was repurchased by S. M. Taylor. In June 1868, Mr. A.V. Haight became a partner, and the business is now conducted by Taylor & Haight.

THE SOUTH ULSTER PRESS was commenced at Ellenville, Sept 2d, 1870, by T.E. Benedict & Brother, the present proprietors.

THE NEW PALTZ INDEPENDENT was started in September 1868 by the New Paltz Independent Association. The paper is 28 by 43 inches in size and has a circulation of 1,100. Ralph LeFevre is the present editor and proprietor.

THE NEW PALTZ TIMES was established in 1860 by Chas. J. Ackert, the present proprietor. In 1862-3 Mr. A. was in the army, the name of his wife appearing as publisher, and his own as editor.

The first settlement of this County was made in 1614 by the Dutch, who erected a small block house, called the “Ronduit,” on the present site of Rondout, but no settlers took up land in the vicinity until 1652 and 1653. The first settlers were originally residents of Rensselaerwyck, and came here to be free from the feudal pretensions of Patroons. This region was called by the Indians Atkankarten, but was commonly know to the settlers as Esopus. In 1655 the place was abandoned through fear of the Indians. The farmers soon returned to their new homes but were not exempt from attacks of savages, excited by strong drink which they had received from the white traders. In 1658, says O'Callaghan, “The white population consisted of between sixty and seventy Christians, the progress of whose tillage may be calculated from the fact that they had nearly a thousand schepels of grain in the ground when this outbreak occurred.” Alarmed at the hostility of the Indians, the settlers wrote to the Director-general, imploring his to send forty or fifty soldiers to the seat of the disturbance. He invited the sachems of the neighborhood to meet him at the house of Jacob Jansen Stol. He advised the settlers to form a village which could be easily fortified, and afford protection against the barbarians. Though objections were made to this, they finally consented. A proposition was made to the Indians to purchase the Esopus lands, that the settlers might be undisturbed by their savage foes. After due deliberation the Indians returned reply to the General that they had come to ask him to accept as a free gift the land chosen for a settlement. They gave it “to grease his feet as he had undertaken so long and painful a journey to visit them.” They declared that they had thrown away all malice and that hereafter none among them would injure a Dutchman. The Dutch reciprocated the like assurance. They commenced immediately to remove their houses to the site selected by Stuyvesant for their village, the present site of Kingston, erected a guard house sixteen feet by twenty-three, in the north-east corner of the village, built a bridge across the creek and erected temporary quarters for the soldiers. The Director-general then returned to the Manhattans, leaving as a guard twenty-four soldiers. The distrust between the Dutch and Indians still continued.

On one occasion a party of drunken Indians had disturbed the settlers, upon which Jansel Stol, with half a dozen associates, left the Fort and made an attack upon them while huddled together in sleep. A volley of musketry was discharged among them, several were wounded and one taken prisoner, Ensign Smith, in command of the Fort, commenced an investigation, but finding he had lost all control of the people, announced his determination to return with his soldiers to the Manhattans. This caused additional excitement, and the next day the Ensign found his retreat cut off by the settlers, who had chartered all the boats lying at the shore and upon which he and his mend intended to embark. Nothing therefore remained but to send an express to Fort Amsterdam to announce to the Director-general the actual state of affairs. With this view an armed party set out for the shore to forward the dispatches. On their return they fell into an ambuscade of Indians, and thirteen of their number were taken prisoners without firing a shot or offering any resistance. The Indians then openly declared war, burnt all the houses, barns and corn stacks within reach, and made a vigorous attack upon the Fort. The siege continued for nearly three weeks with but trifling interruption, though but little impression was made upon it. Failing to accomplish their object, they turned their attention to their prisoners and put several of them to death in the most barbarous manner. When the news of the outbreak reached the Manhattans, the greatest excitement prevailed and efforts were made to raise a force to relieve the settlers at Esopus. For this purpose a draft was ordered, and on the following Sunday, with a force of one hundred drafted men, forty volunteers and about twenty-five Englishmen, General Stuyvesant set said for Esopus, and on arriving learned that the Indians had raised the siege about thirty-six hours previous. As heavy rainse had inundated the country, rendering pursuit inexpedient, he embarked soon after for his return. A renewal of the strife occurred in the spring of 1660, when the Indians were so severely punished that a treaty of peace was entered into. Said the Esopus chief, “The hatchet have we permitted to be taken from our hands and to be trodden on the ground. We will never take it up again.” One article of the treaty declares that,

“Whereas, The last war owes its origin to drinking, no savage shall be permitted to drink brandy or any spirituous liquors in or near any Dutch plantations, houses or concentrations, but shall do it in their county or deep in the woods at a great distance.”

The treaty was concluded “near the concentration of Esopus, under the blue sky of heaven, in presence of the Hon. Martin Krygier, Burgomaster of the City of Amsterdam in New Netherlands; Oloff Stevenson van Cortland, old Burgomaster, Arent van Curler, Commissary of the Colonie of Rensselaerwyck and all the inhabitants of Esopus, both Christians and Savages, on the 15th of july 1660.” Stuyvessant retained the Indian prisoners and sent eleven to the unhealthy island of Curacoa, as slaves, thus sowing the seeds of another war, for the red men never forgot their banished brethren.

Efforts were soon after made to obtain a local court of justice and a settled ministry for Esopus; accordingly on the 16th day of May 1661, a charter was conferred upon the place under the name of Wiltwyck, in commemoration of the fact that the land was a free gift from the Indians. The following is the first entry in the Wiltwyck record.

“May 16, 1661. Director-general Petrus Stuyvesant, delegated and authorized in all matters of government relating to the public welfare of the country of New Netherland, by power and commission from the Noble Lords Directors of the Privileged West India Company. Wherefore the aforesaid Honorable Director-general Petrus Stuyvesant, observing the situation and condition of a place called the Esopus, now inhabited and settled since six or seven years, hat in consideration of the state and population thereof erected our locality into a village (tot een Dorp) and gives it the name of Wiltwyck whereby it shall be called from now and henceforward.”

From this time until June 1663 the settlement increased, Wiltwyck became too confined, and a new village was laid out to accommodate the increasing population. This rapid increase of the settlers boded no good to the Indians, who began to threaten vengeance on the intruders. To avert the storm already approaching, the Director-general instructed the magistrates to announce to the Sachems his intention to visit them in a few days. They replied that if the renewal of peace was his object, they would meet him and his unarmed attendants outside the gate, in the open air, according to their custom. This friendly reply threw the settlers entirely off their guard. The male portion of the population left the village to pursue their field labors on the 7th of June, when between eleven and twelve o'clock, large numbers of savages sauntered carelessly into the place and were soon scattered through the village, some offering for sale a little maize or a few beans. Soon after several horsemen came riding “through the millgate” and announced that the Indians had burnt the new village. This was the signal for a general assault. The fearful warwhoop was raised, shots were fire, and tomahawks and battleaxes gleamed in the sunlight. Neither age nor sex was exempt. The houses were plundered, then set on fire, but a change in the wind saved a part of the village. The villages rallied and after a desperate struggle succeeded in routing their savage foe. The description of the scene is too horrid for repetition. The total number of missing was seventy, forty-five of whom, mostly women and children, were taken into captivity. Twelve dwellings in Wiltwyck were destroyed, and not a house was left standing in the new village except the mill. The most intense excitement prevailed throughout the county from New Amsterdam to Beverwyck) New york to Albany) A force was immediately raised and the Indians pursued to their retreats among the mountains; some of the prisoners were recaptured, and the Indians nearly exterminated. During this expedition the valley of the Wallkill was discovered, and soon after settled by a colony of Huguenots.

In 1664 the country came under the jurisdiction of the English, and a treaty was entered into between Col. Richard Nicolls, the Governor of New York, and the “Sachems and People called the Sopes Indyans,” by which the latter granted a tract of land lying within the present limits of Rochester and Wawarsing. After defining the boundaries of the territory the treaty says:

”In token of the aforesaid agreement the aforesaid Sachems do deliver two Small Sticks, and in confirmation thereof do deliver two more Small Sticks to the said Richard Nicolls, and in the name of the Indyans their subjects and of the subjects do deliver two other round Small Sticks in token of the assent tothe said Agreement, and the said Richard Nicolls does deliver (as a present) to the Sachems three laced Redd Coates.”

The Sachems further agreed to come every year and bring some of their young people to acknowledge the agreement, to the end that it might be kept in perpetual memory.

“In consideration of the premises, the said Richard Nicolls doth further give and pay to the said Sachems and their subjects forty Blankets, Twenty Pounds of Power, Twenty Knives, Six Kettles, Twelve Bards of Lead, which payment wee acknowledge to have received in full satisfaccon for the premises, And do binde ourselves, our heires and Successors foreve rto performe every part of the Agreement without any fraud or reservason of minde. And further that we will maintaine and gustifiethe said Richard Nicolls or his assigns in the full peaceable Possession of the said Tract of Land, Royaltyes and Priviledges for ever against any nation of Indyans whatsoever, pretending right to the same. In testimony whereof we have Sett our marks to two severall writings, the one to remaine in the hands of the Sopes Sachems, the other upon Record of New Yorke, this 7th day of October 1665.”

This treaty was renewed at various times until 1681.

In 1690 Liet. Governor Jacob Leisler issued a proclamation setting for the danger that threatened Albany and calling for aid from Ulster Co. The concluding part of the proclamation is as follows:

“These are therefore in his Majesties' name to will and require you and every one of you forthwith upon receipt hereof to select out of the County of Ulster 100 good or 80 at least, good able men complete in arms, which shall be transported to Albany for his Majesty's service upon the 1st day of January next and that at all times, upon notice of the Commissioners of Albany, of the enemies approaching, you and the said number of men or as many as can be obtained without delay, or you will answer contrary at your instant peril.
“To Major Chambers and the rest of the military officers under his direction in the county of Ulster.”

Then follows an order to Capt. Barent Lewis, Mr. Schermerhorne and their assistnas, to press 20 men with arms and 30 skeppels peas, 25 skeppels Indian corn within the County of Ulster, for the expedition to Albany.

The English made township grants of Kingston, New Paltz, Marbletown, Rochester, Hurley, Shawangunk and Marlborough, besides the Manorial grant of Fox Hall to Thomas Chambers, and the settlement had gradually spread out along the valleys of the Roundout, Esopus and Wallkill Creeks, and their tributaries, previous to the Revolution. During this war the frontier settlements were exposed to the hostilities of the Indians and the river towns to the scarcely less destructive attacks of the British.

The “Convention of the Representatives of the State of New York” to conform a Constitution, met at Kingston on the 19th of February, 1777, and remained in session until the 13th of May, having in the mean time adopted a State Constitution which remains in force until 1823. It was adopted by the Convention April 20th, and proclaimed from the Court House on the 23d. The Convention adjourned sine die on the 13th of May, leaving the control of affairs in the hands of a Council of Safety. The election under the Constitution was held as directed, the places in Ulster County being at the “Court House, in the town of Kingston; at the house of Ann DuBois in New Paltz; at the house of Sarah Hill in Hanover precinct; at the house of Martin Wygant in the precinct of Newburgh.” The election resulted in the choice of George Clinton, for Governor, and the following proclamation was made and published at the Court House in Kingston at six o'clock, P.M., July 30th:

“In Council of Safety. For the State of New York, July 30, 1777.
A PROCLAMATION
”Whereas his Excellency, George Clinton Esq. has been duly elected Governor of the State of New York and hath this day qualified himself for the execution of the Constitution of his office by taking in thei Council the oaths required by the Constitution of this State, to enable him to exercise his said office; this Council doth therefore hereby in the Name and by the Authority of the good People of this State, Proclaim and Declare the said George Clinton, Esq. Governor, General and Commander-in-chief of all the Militia, and Admiral of the Navy of this State, to whom the good People of this State are to pay all due Obedience according to the Laws and Constitution thereof.

“By order of the Council of Safety.”
“Pierre Van Cortland, President.
God Save the People.”


The ceremony was performed in due form in presence of the Council and of the militia companies of Captain Evert Bogardus and Captain John Elmendorph, and thus was inaugurated the first republican government of the “Empire State”.

The newly chosen Legislature met at Kingston, the Senate organizing on the 9th of September, and the Assembly on the following day. Col. Levi Pawling, of Marbletown, was the Senator from Ulster, and John Cantine, Johannes G. Hardenbergh, Mathew Rea, Cornelius C. Schoonmaker, Col. Johannes Snyder and Henry Wisner, Jr., were the members of Assembly from this County. The Senate held its sessions at the house of Abraham Van Bassback, a stone building on the west side of East Front Street, near its junction with North Front. The Assembly met at Captain Bogardus' inn, the Supreme Court being in session at the Court House. The Governor resided at the home of his brother-in-law, Christopher Tappen, Esq., corner of Wall and North Front Streets. The Legislature remained in session until October 7th, when hearing of the success of the British at Fort Montgomery, they adjourned. A new Council of Safety was appointed and every effort made to secure and conceal all property before the attack of the British. The public records were boxed and ready for removal at a moment's notice, cattle and other property were taken to the interior towns. The Council passed the following resolution:

“Resolved, That Colonels Pawling and Snyder be requested to issue the necessary orders to have all the male inhabitants in the districts of their respective regiments of 16 years and upwards, capable of bearing arms, immediately equipped and provided with arms and ammunition and to appoint proper alarm posts and places of rendezvous for the respective companies to repair to in case of the approach of the enemy.”

Governor Clinton's Headquarters were near New Windsor, where he had a force of about a thousand men, who were immediately ordered to march through Shawangunk and down the west side of the Wallkill, crossing Roundout Creek where the Rosendale bridge now stands. Though they made forced marches they were too late to save Kingston from the torch of the British under Gen. Vaughan. The enemy remained at anchor near Esopus Island on the night of October 15th, and on the morning of the 16th sailed up to the mouth of Rondout Creek and opened a vigorous cannonade upon the batteries on the high ground above Ponckhockie, and the galley, Lady Washington, lying in the creek. Five light pieces of artillery were in position in the works and a 32-pounder on the galley, but their fire did little damage to the British ships. About one o'clock the British landed, the militia spiked their guns and slowly retreated, the galley was taken up the creed and scuttled just below Eddyville. Only three houses were then on the present site of Rondout; these were burnt and the enemy proceeded to Kingston, where they burnt every building in the village except one then belonging to Tobias Van Steenburg. The work of destruction was rapid, and in about three hours from the time they landed, the re-embarked with their booty, having destroyed a defenseless village of three or four thousand people. The people fled at the approach of the enemy, taking such property as they could carry, but most was left to be destroyed or carried away by the invaders. Among the accounts of this affair published at the time, is the following, giving some idea of the lost: “There were destroyed three hundred and twenty-six houses, with a barn to almost every one of them, filled with flour, besides grain of all kinds, much valuable furniture and effects, which the Royal army disdained to take with them. Twelve thousand barrels of flour were burnt, and they took at the town four pieces of cannon, with ten more upon the river, with 1,150 stand of arms. A large quantity of powder was blown up. The whole service was effected and the troops re-embarked in three hours.”

The following is Vaughan's account

“On Board of the Friendship, off Esopus
Friday October 17, 10 o'clock, Morning

“Sir,
“I have the Honor to inform you that on the evening of the 13th Instant I arrived off Esopus; finding that the Rebels had thrown upon Works and had made every Disposition to annoy us, and cur off our Communication, I judged it necessary to attack them, the Wind being at that time so much against us that we could make no Way. I accordingly landed the Troops, attacked their Batteries, drove them from their works, spiked and destroyed their Guns. Esopus being a Nursery for almost every Villain in the Country, I judged it necessary to proceed to that Town. On our Approach they were drawn up with Cannon which we took and drove them out of the place. On our entering the Town, they fired from their Houses which induced me to reduce the Place to Ashes, which I accordingly did, and leaving a House. We found a considerable Quantity of Stores of all kinds, which shared the same Fate. Sir James Wallace has destroyed all the Shipping except an armed Galley which run up the Creek with everything belonging to the Vessels in Store.

“Our loss is so inconsiderable that it is not at present worth 'while to mention.

“I am & c,

“John Vaughan”


The first session of the Court of Common Please of Ulster County, after the fire, commenced at the house of Johannes Tack, in Marbletown, May 5th, 1778, Levi Pawling, Dirck Wynkoop, Jr. Judges; Johannes Sleght, Nathan Smith and Patrick Barber, Assistant Justices.

The Council of Safety, dispersed at the burning of Kingston, met on the 19th of October at the house of Andrew Oliver, in Marbletown. The sessions were continued until November 18th, when they adjourned to Hurley, meeting at the home of Captain Jan VanDeusen until December 17th, when they adjourned to Poughkeepsie.

At the first meeting after the burning of Kingston, the following preamble and resolution were passed:

“Whereas, The late destruction of the town of Kinston and a vast number of dwelling houses, improvements, grain and fodder on each side of Hudson River by a cruel, inhuman an merciless enemy, has deprived many persons and families, the good subjects of this State, of Shelter and subsistence for themselves and their cattle, calamities which by the blessing of God on the fruits of this land, those who have not shared in so uncommon a misfortune are enabled in a great measure to relieve.

“Resolved therefore, That it be and it is hereby most earnestly recommended to the several and respective general and district committees of the counties of Ulster, Dutchess, Orange and Westchester to make or cause to be made a proper and proportionate distribution of the aforesaid distresses persons and families and their cattle, to the end that they may all be provided for as the circumstances of the country will permit; and it is hereby most strenuously urged on all those who may not have shared with them in their afflictions, to receive the aforesaid persons, families and cattle, and furnish them with shelter and subsistence at a moderate rate.”

The following is a list of field offices of the Ulster County Militia, commissions dated October 25th 1773: co. Johannes Hardenburgh, Lieut. Col. Abraham Hasbrouck, Major Johannes Snyder, Major Jonathan Elmendorf, Adjutant Petrus I. Elmendorf, Quarter Master Abraham A. Hasbrouck. Col. James Clinton, Lieut. Col. James Claughry, Jamor Jacob Newkirk, Majore Moses Phillips, Adjutant George Denniston, quarter Master Alexander Trimble. Col. Levi Pawling, Lieut. Col. Jacob Hornbeck, Major Johannes Cantine, Major Joseph Hasbrouck, Adjutant David Bevier, Quarter master Jacobus Bruyn, Jr. Col. Jonathan Hasbrouck, Lieut. Col. Johannes Hardenburgh, Jr., Major Johannes Johnson, Jr., Major Lewis DuBois, Adjutant Abraham Schoonmaker, Quarter master Isaac Belknap.

With the return of peace came prosperity to the County; her resources were gradually developed and her population and wealth increased. The construction of the Delaware and Hudson Canal opened a new avenue of commerce, and the discovery of valuable mines of water limestone or cement has been the means of developing immense wealth in the County. This valuable stone ws first discovered at what is now called Bruceville. The stone was quarried and burnt by John Littlejohn, carried to High Falls and ground in the mill of Simeon Depuy. In this manner the cement used in the construction of the Canal was manufactured by Mr. Littlejohn. It was not barreled, but transported from the mill to the place of use in tight boxes and stored in bulk in sheds build for the purpose until it was required. Hugh White commenced the manufacture of cement at what is no Whiteport, to supply the demand for building the Croton Aqueduct. He erected two mills near the Greenkill gristmill, the ruins of which are yet to be seen, and one at Whiteport. The manufacture was continued by the Hoffmans, who made such a reputation for the Rosendale Cement. Mr. Watson E. Lawrence began the manufacture of cement near Rosendale, in what is now known as Lawrenceville, and has continued with a short interval until the present time. The Newark Lime and Cement Co. commence the manufacture of cement in Rondout in 1851, though they had for some years been manufacturing in Newark, N.J., from stone quarried at Rondout. A more particular notice of the various manufactories will be found under the head of the town in which the manufactory is located.

Ice forms a very important article of export from the County. The berry and small fruit trade of the county is immense. It is safe to say that millions of dollars are received every season for these important products.

The fall of Fort Sumter and the call of the President for 75,000 men to defend the honor of the Flag, in April 1861, was nobly responded to by Ulster County. One regiment already had an organization and was known as the Ulster Guard. “An immense impromptu mass meeting was held at the court House and amid the ringing of church bells, the firing of cannon, and the general suspension of business, the citizens pledged their efforts to the preservation of the Government. At a meeting of the officers of the Ulster Guard, their services were tendered to the Governor, and propositions to recruit and equip the Regiment to a war footing were at once put in motion. The amount of money needed for this work was large; but all working together with spirit and enthusiasm developed rapidly the sinews of war. The banks, with a true patriotic spirit came up to their duty in the crisis, and issued promptly to Col. Pratt the following:

“Kingston, N.Y., 20th April 1861.


“Col. George W. Pratt:

“Dar Sir:-At a meeting of Officers of the Ranks in this town, held this day, on the representation that the sum of eight thousand Dollars is needed to prepare your Regiment for the field, it was unanimously,

“Resolved, That the Banks here represented viz: Ulster County Bank, Kingston Bank, Bank of Rondout, and State of New York Bank will each honor the Drafts of the Paymaster of the 10th Regiment for the sum of Two Thousand Dollars.

“Yours &c

“A. Bruyn Hasbrouck, Chairman.


“H.H. Reynolds, Secretary”

The banks of Saugerties also contributed $2,000. Funds to feed the troops were rapidly gathered by subscription. Recruits from the different towns, arouse by the fervid appeals of prominent citizens, poured rapidly into Kingston and enrolled themselves under the command of Colonel Pratt. In a week the Regiment numbered eight hundred men, mostly uniformed and equipped, and had received orders from the Governor to report to President Lincoln at Washington.” --- Ulster Hist. Coll.

The Regiment took it departure on Sunday, April 29th. An immense crowd gathered in the streets and upon the housetops to give them a parting cheer as they left the wharf at Rondout on the steamer Manhattan. The Regiment remained in New York City until May 7th, when it was ordered for the defense of Washington. It number 815 with the following Field Officers: Col. G.W. Pratt, Lt. Col. Hiram Schoonmaker, Major Theodore B. Gates. It was assigned to the duty of guarding the railroad from Annapolis Junction to Washington. Here it remained until ordered to Baltimore, where it did duty until ordered home, where it arrived August 1st. The Regiment immediately reorganized and went into camp at Kingston, Sept. 5th, 1861, and left Kingston October 25th, and went into camp at Upton's Hill, Va. It formed part of McClellan's force when the advance was made upon Centerville, March 10, 1862; participated in the second Bull Run battle, where Col. Pratt was killed, and the loss of the Regiment in killed, wounded and prisoners was 323.

“At the end of 1862 the regiment had marched, irrespective of the distance traveled in battles, skirmishes and picket duty, over 800 miles, most of it without tents or blankets, often without food and frequently with but four hours rest out of twenty-four, and then in the middle of the road and on the bare ground; had fought nine pitched battles, many skirmishes, and had dwindled from a regiment of the maximum strength to a mere handful of men” - Adjt. Gen. Report. 1868

On the morning of July 1st, 1863, on the field of Gettysburg, the Regiment number 28 officers and 269 muskets; July 4th, the number was 8 officers and 46 men, the rest being killed, wounded or prisoners. The Regiment continued in the service until Jan. 28, 1866 when it was mustered out and returned home. On the 22d of February the Regiment paraded to receive a flag procured by the citizens of Kingston. It was of silk and contained the following Regimental record:

“Washington, April 1861; Beverly Ford, August 21, 1862; Warrenton Springs, August 27, 1862; Gainesville, August 28, 1862; Grovton, Aug. 29, 1862; Second Bull Run, August 30, 1862; Chantilly, September 1, 1862; South Mountain, September 14, 1862; Antietem, September 17, 1862; Fredericksburg, December 12 to 15, 1862; Gettysburg, July 1 to 4, 1863; Petersburg, April 1 to 3, 1865.”

The 120th Regiment was mustered into the United States service August 22, 1862. The Field Officers were Col. George H. Sharpe, Lieut. Col. C.D. Westbrook, Major J.R. Tappen. Seven companies were from this County. Co. A. Capt. A.L. Lockwood, 1st Lieut. J.H. Lockwood, 2d Lieut. E.H. Ketchum, 99 men. Co. B was principally from Kingston; Capt. S.S. Westbrook, 1st Lieut. R.B. Newkirk, 2d Lieut. D. Elmendorf. 99 men. Co. C., Capt. J.L. Snyder, 1st Lieut., J.B. Krom, 2d Lieut. Wm. A. Norton, 92 men. Co. E. Capt. Daniel Gillet, 1st Lieut. O.B. Gray, 2d Lieut. Frederick Freilehwab, 80 men. Co. G., Capt. Walter F. Scott, 1st Lieut. EmM.C. Russell, 2d Lieut. J.A. Hyde, 90 men. Co. H was mostly from Rondout; Capt. C.H. McEntee, 1st Lieut. J.K. Holmes, 2d Lieut. M.E. Creighton, 90 men. Co. I was chiefly from Kingston; Capt. F.W. Reynolds, 1st Lieut. Alex. Austin, 2d Lieut J. R. Burhans, 94 men.

The 156th Regiment was mustered into the United States service Nov. 17, 1862. Seven companies were from this County. Field Officers, Col. Erastus Cooke, Lieut. Col. Jacob Sharpe, Major Louis Shaffner. Staff, Adjutant Howard Cooke, Quarter Master Samuel D. Coykendall, Surg. E.R. Perry, Co. A., Capt. Ferdinand Griggs, 1st Lieut.Peter A. LeFevre, 2d Lieut. Peter Elting, 99 men. Co. B, Capt. Thomas Fowler, 1st Lieut. E.L. Berry, 2d Lieut, J.D. Hasbrouck, 77 men. Co., C., Capt. Wm Wagenen, 1st Lieut. E.J. Bailey, 2d Lieut Alex. Elting, 85 men. Co. D., Capt. Alfred Neafie, 2st Lieut. John T. Ereer, 2d Lieut. Wm. Steadmand 88 men. Co. E, Capt. M.S. Ewen, 1st Lieut. A. Cooley, 2d Lieut. Johannes LeFevre, 88 men. Co. F, Capt. C.M. Baxter, 2st Lieut. I.L. Ligner, 2d Lieut. M. Benedict, 111 men. Co. G, Capt. J. Donaldson, 1st Lieut. E. Zany, 2d Lieut. Wm. J. Purdy, 85 men.

These regiments were filled from time to time as their ranks became depleted in the service. Many individuals and some whole companies were raised in this County for other regiments, but we have no means at hand for determining the full number who served their country in the army during the Rebellion. Enough is known to show that the present generation are not unworthy representatives of their Revolutionary sires.

The Ulster County Agricultural Society was organized about thirty years ago. Their Fair Ground embraces eleven and a half acres in the north-east part of the village of Kingston, it is surrounded by a substantial fence and contains several buildings for society purposes. The buildings costs about $6,000, on which rests a debt of $800. The value of the property is $9,000. Lewis N. Hermance, Pret; Wm. Lounsebery, Sec; Charles P. Ridenour, Treas.

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