History of Poestenkill, New York


The town of Poestenkill takes its name from the Poesten kill, one of the most important streams in Rensselaer county, from an industrial standpoint. It is located just south of a line running from east to west through the centre of the county, and is bounded on the north by Brunswick and Grafton, on the east by Berlin, on the south by Sand Lake and on the west by North Greenbush. It is one of the smallest towns in Rensselaer county, as well as the youngest. Poestenkill was formed from Sand Lake March 2; 1848, since which time there has been no change in its boundaries.

The western part of the town is hilly and the soil fairly well adapted to agriculture and grazing. The central and eastern portions are rocky and mountainous and not productive, except in a few localities where the husbandman, by years of toil, has succeeded in bringing the naturally sterile land up to a fairly productive state. The most prominent elevation is Snake bill, near the centre of the town. The principal stream is the Poesten kill, which rises in the eastern portion of the town and flows northwesterly through Brunswick, emptying into the Hudson at Troy. There are several ponds in Poestenkill, the most important being Hicks's pond, south of East Poestenkill; Hosford pond, in the northeastern section, and Cooper and Vosburgh ponds, in the western section. These drain nearly all the creeks in the town.

About five years before the War of the Revolution the first settlers moved into Poestenkill from Troy, Lansinghurgh, Greenbush and other portions of the valley of the Hudson. Among the first persons to found homes within the limits of the town were the Whyland, Ives and Lynd families, but it is not known positively that they were the earliest inhabitants. Arch elaus Lynd located near Poestenkill village about 1770 on land leased of the patroon. He had four sons, three of whom, Archelaus, John and Leonard, remained in Poestenkill. About the same time Jacob Whyland located a short distance east of Poestenk ill village Four of his sons, John, Leonard, Jacob and Barnard, settled in the town. Lazarus Ives, who came from Connecticut, settled about a mile north of Poestenkill village as early as 1770. He leased several hundred acres of the patroon and at once engaged in agriculture and stock raising. Christopher and Lazarus, two of his sons, remained in town and became prosperous farmers. The settlements were made in the western 'part of the town first, but as soon as the wilderness had been opened up others pushed their way rapidly into the country to the east. David J. De Freest, S. Barringer, Frederick Barringer, John Barringer, Jacob Fosmire, Gideon Reed, Jacob Moul, Peter Moul, John Polock, John Clint, Vincent Castle, William Plass, Bernard Weatherwax, Jacob Muller, Stephen Muller, Henry W. Koon, Stephen R. Himes, William Cooper, Philip Simmons and Samuel Delamater were early settlers in the northwest part of the town, at or neat Poestenkill village. South of them, in the southwestern portion of the town, were Peter Minnick, Philip Strunk, Peter Link, John N. Liphite, Stephen Liphite, Coonradt Snyder and Thomas Blewer.

John Cottrell, whose descendants, like himself, became influential citizens, came from Roxbury, Mass., and located about 1807 three miles east of Poestenkill village. He was the father of nine children. One of his sons, George Cottrell, remained on the homestead. James Cottrell and William L. Cottrell also located in the town. Elder Alderman Baker was another prominent pioneer of the eastern section of the town. He was a farmer and a local Baptist preacher for many years, the old church at East Poestenkill being known for many years as Elder Baker's church. Other early settlers in the eastern portion of the town were Joseph Amidon, a pioneer tavern keeper at East Poestenkill; Simon Dingman, who came from East Greenbush about 1819; Henry Searles, Solomon Cady, Josiah Hull, John Stevens, David Horton, Samuel Cottrell, Reuben Babcock, Levi Trumbull, Royal Cady, Frederick Cramer, Edmund Wheeler and Coonradt Colehamer.

Poestenkill is not a large town and on account of its location it was not a very important through fare for stage traffic in its early days, consequently the number of taverns was limited. The earliest tavern in town of which there is any record was located at Poestenkill village and was owned by Samuel Delamater. It afterward became known as the Blewer tavern, or Union hail, having passed into the hands of Stephen V. R. Blewer. Among the proprietors before the latter were Jacob Clark, Henry Ensign, Leonard Lynd and Darius Allen. William Barber built an early tavern, and Ebenezer Barringer followed him with the third or fourth in town. Later tavern keepers in town were Eri Streeter, Henry Lance, George Kilmer, Isaac Allen, Wait Winchell, Benjamin Barber, Reuben Babcock and David Horton, jr. Reuben Babcock's tavern was located near Barberville as early as 1810. Twenty years later Reuben Babcock also had a tavern at Ives's Cortiers.

Abram Newman is reported to have been the proprietor of the first store at Poestenkill village, which was doubtless the first in the town. About 1852 Jeremiah L. Becker started a store at Poestenkill. In connection with his tavern Samuel R. Delamater ran a store, which for many years afterward was run by his successors in the tavern. Near East Poestenkill Cyrus Arnidon was one of the earliest storekeepers. Eliphalet Himes engaged in trade there as early as 1847. Other early tradesmen in the town included John Rockenstyre, Gregory & Fonda, Coonradt C. Cooper, George Barber, Dennis Amidon, John King, George Henderson, Miles Clark and others.

Dr. Matthew Moody, who was in practice at Poestenkill village for many years, was probably the earliest physician in the town. At Barberville Dr. Elmer was an early practitioner. Dr. Peter F. Westervelt and Luther H. Barber were other early practitioners who enjoyed an extensive ride. Early lawyers who had a large practice were George Davitt, Eleazer Wooster and his son, Albert E. Wooster, whoP removed to Troy and was elected district attorney of Rensselaer county serving from 1876 to 1879.

The first school in the town was established in 1788 or soon after, in Poestenkill village, the land devoted to the purpose being donated by General Stephen Van Rensselaer March 12, 1788. Later it became the site of the school house in District No. 3. Another early school house was located near the old Poestenkill hotel. About 1840 a more pretentious building was built in the village, and from 1855 to 1865 the Poestenkill academy was maintained by Prof. Martin and others in the building afterward used as the Disciples' church. The common schools in the town at this time have a high standing, and some of the best known educators in the county have been teachers therein.

It was about a month after the incorporation of Poestenkill before the first town meeting was held. It took place at the house of Jeremiah L. Becker April 4, 1848. John Amid on was selected as moderator and David Luce as clerk, and these officers were chosen:

Supervisor, James Henderson, jr.; town clerk, David Luce; superintendent of schools, Eleazer Flint; assessors, John I. Vosburgh, Benjamin B. Randall and Harmon Vanderzee; commissioners of highways, Barney Weatherwax and Stephen Austin; justices of the peace, George Cottrell, George Barker and Benjamin Wilkinson; overseers of the poor, Christian C. Cooper, Samuel Comick; constables, John Barker, Alonzo Whyland, William Cooper, John F. Whyland; collector, John Barker; sealer of weights and measures, James D. Simmons.

The number of inhabitants in Poestenkill at the time of the War of the Revolution was small, nevertheless a fair proportion of the men served their country by carrying muskets during those trying eight years. 4mong them were Archelaus Lynd, Daniel Peck, William Sluyter, Barent Polock and a man named Windsor. Benjamin Cottrell who subsequently removed to Poestenkill, is said to have cafried the first wheelbarrow load of earth for the intrenchrnents at Bunker Hill.

The towns records of the War of 1812 have not been preserved, but it is known that William C. Cooper, Bugbee Feathers, George Horton,. Joel Peck and Thomas Morrison served in that war and joined the Eddy expedition.

The town came promptly to the front with its full quotas of men during the War of the Rebellion. Those who died in the service in this memorable struggle for the preservation of the Union were:

Daniel M. Horton, Philip Amidon, Daniel Morrison, John Wagoner, George Bradt, Dexter Randall, William H. H. Wood, Martin Larabee, Willard Bailey, W. L. Robbins. George Simmons, and William H. Mason.

None of the hamlets in the town of Poestenkill are very populous. The principal one is Poestenkill, which is located on the Poesten kill in the western part of the town. Its settlement has already been described. At the close of the first quarter of the nineteenth century the business of' the hamlet consisted of a saw mill, a store and a hotel. Earlier in its history several small industries were located there, including a tannery operated by John Beals. There were also several large bath houses for the convenience of those desiring to avail themselves of the mineral springs near the hamlet, which many years ago made the place a popular resort by reason of their supposed curative properties. In 1813 or 1814 a flood, following two days' heavy rainfall, destroyed the tannery, bath-houses and several other buildings. About 1835 the post-office was established, with Dr. Luther H. Barber as postmaster.

For several years a cotton batting factory was operated in the rear of the Blewer tavern by William L. Hoag and Nicholas Taylor. The latter also was proprietor of a tannery and flax mill Later on John H. Dater had a small shirt factory there and William L. Hoag made wagons there about 1875. The village'now contains a population varying from 300 to 400, hut the industries are not so important as they once were.

The other hamlets are East Poestenkill, in the eastern portion of the town, formerly known as Columbia; Barberville, about a mile easterly from Poestenkill, and Ives's Corners, a small hamlet near the centre of the town. The principal industry in the vicinity of East Poestenkill for many years was the shirt and collar factory of Joel B. Dingman.

The first regular church organization in Poestenkill was that of the First Baptist church, which was organized in 1814. Elder Alderman Baker was the first pastor, and the church edifice, which was originally a wagon shop standing about a mile west of East Poestenkill, was locally known as "Elder Baker's church." Elder Baker worked his farm six days of the week and conducted the religious services here the seventh. In 1858 or 1859 a new house of worship was erected.

As early as 1820, perhaps a few years prior to that time, a Dutch Reformed society existed at Poestenkill village, the meeting house be ing the one subsequently occupied by the Disciples' church. The Rev. Henry Bellinger was its pastor for many years. The society subsequently became consolidated with that at Wynantskill.

The Franckean Evangelical Lutheran church of Poestenkill was organized August 11, 1833, and was connected with Raymertown and West Sand Lake as a pastoral charge. The first house of worship was dedicated November 13, 1832, and the second on Christmas eve, 1865. The first pastor of the society was, the Rev. J. D. Lawyer. A parsonage was built in 1860, and numerous improvements to the church property have been made since that date.

The First Free Baptist church of Poestenkill was organized in 1834 with Elder Miller as pastor, and a house of worship was built soon afterward on the elevation known as Oak Hill. Several years later another was erected about a mile west of East Poestenkill.

The Church of the Disciples of Christ in Poestenkill village was organized about 1870 and soon after occupied its own house of worship. Its early membership was small, but its development in later years has been marked.

The Methodist Episcopal church at East Poestenkill dates from 1872. In the fall of 1871, through the influence of Reuben Peckham of Troy, George Hudson, a local preacher residing at Castleton, went to Dyking Pond (West Berlin) and preached in a school house. Several of those attending these services, mostly Germans, were converted. Soon after the Troy Praying band began holding services, and during the winter a charge now known as the Columbia charge was formed. March 27, 1872. the Troy Conference accepted the territory as a mission and the Rev. E. A. Blanch ard was appointed pastor. A house of worship was built at once, and October 11, 1872, Rev. Merritt Hulburd of the Hudson Street M. E. church of Albany preached the dedicatory sermon. The edifice cost $6,500, and the parsonage $1,000. A bell costing $350 was placed in the tower of the church at the expense of Mrs. Seth B. Foster and Mrs. Waterman.


1848-1849, J. Henderson; 1850, E. Wooster; 1851, C. Sliter; 1852-1853, 3. I. Vosburgh; 1854-1855, L. Lynd; 1856, J. I. Vosburgh; 1857, L. Lynd; 1858-1859, D. Amidon; 1860-1861, L. Lynd; 1862-1863, G. W. Davitt; 1864, L. J. Barnes; 1865- 1866, G. W. Davitt; 1867, L. Lynd; 1868-1869, George H. Cooper; 1870, L. Lynd; 1871-1872, J. J. Sliter; 1873, L. B. Whyland; 1874-1875, H. Herrington; 1876, George H. Cooper; 1877, Wm. L. Cottrell; 1878, George H. Cooper; 1879-1880. Albert W. Davitt; 1881-1882, L. Lynd; 1883, George H. Cooper; 1884-1885, J. H. Whyland; 1886-1888, Hammond Herrington; 1889-4890, Albert W. Davitt; 1891-1892, George N. Cottrell; 1893- -, Frank R. Dustin.


1848, David Luce; 1850, John J. Place; 1851, Jeremiah L. Becker; 1855, Charles N. Quitterfield; 1856, David B. Clark; 1857, Nicholas Taylor; 1858, Coonradt C. Cooper; 1859, Ives Lynd; 1860, George W. Taylor; 1861, Jacob H. Whyland; 1863, Daniel N. Place; 1864, William 0. Ives; 1865, Charles H. Reed; 1867, Casper Pawley; 1868, Jacob H. Whyland; 1871-1884,. Thomas Nelson; .1885-1886, Arthur Nelson; 1887, Edgar Prediger; 1888-1890, Arthur Nelson; 1891-1895, J. H. Dater; 1896- , Nicholas Pawley.


1848, George Cottrell, George Barber, Benjamin Wilkerson; 1849, Eleazer Wooster, Samuel Carmik; 1850, William H. Snyder, George Cottrell; 1851, George Barber: 1852, Abner Garrison; 1853, William H. Snyder; 1854, George Cottrell; 1855, Solon Bingham, jr., William Slaughter; 1856, Ezra W. Haskins; 1857, Edmund Cole; 1858, James Ives, William Cooper; 1859, William Cooper, David Fonda; 1860, David Fonda; 1861. William H. Snyder; 1862, James Ives; 1863, William Cooper; 1864, George Barber; 1865, William H. Snyder; 1866, James Ives; 1867, Leonard M. Horton; 1868, William Cooper; 1869, William H. Snyder, George Barber; 1870, James Ives; 1871, William A. Snook; 1872, George Barber; 1873, William H. Snyder; 1874, James Ives; 1875, William A. Snook; 1876, George Barber; 1877, William H. Snyder; 1878, William Cooper; 1879, William A. Snook; 1880, George Barber; 1881, William H. Snyder; 1882, James Ives; 1883. William A. Snook; 1884, William Cooper; 1885, Charles H. Read; 1886, James Ives; 1887, William A. Snook; 1888, George Barber; 1889. Charles H. Read; 1890, James Ives; 1891, William A. Snook: 1892, George Barber; 1893, 3. H. Bonesteel; 1894, Albertus Austin; 1895, William A. Snook; 1896, George Barber, jr.

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