The History of Dutchess County, New York
The year of the tercentennial celebration of the discovery of the Hudson River seems an eminently fit time for the publication of a history of one of the most important counties whose shores are washed by its waters.
The early establishment of trading posts, at its mouth, Manhattan (New York), at the head of navigation, Fort Orange (Albany), and at the mouth of the Rondout, half way between these two places, Esopus (Kingston), determined the first locations along the river's banks for permanent settlements, but as immigrants came in larger numbers it was not long before they were attracted by the water powers of the Fishkill, Wappingers, Caspers Kill, Fallkill, Crum Elbow, Landsman's Kill and Roeliff Jansen's Kill, and the fine farm- ing lands in the valleys of these streams, to seek new homes and begin the settlement of our county.
Along the river, naturally, the predominant race of the original settlers was Dutch, with a sprinkling of French Huguenots, while later a considerable number of Palatines were settled in the northern part of the county.
The early settlement of the eastern part of the county through the length of the Harlem Valley was made by people from the New England Colonies, aU that part of New York State being originally claimed as belonging to and embraced within the New England grants of land.
The Quakers, forming a large element in the settlement of the eastern and northeastern bounds of the county, were among those who came from New England, seeking to escape the intolerance of their narrow minded neighbors, and to secure freedom for religious opinion and expression and practice, insistence upon which has been a noted characteristic of the Dutch people for centuries.
It win be seen also from the pages of this history that there was an infusion of the Irish Catholic element into the county long before the time of the great Irish famine, to which period, to be sure, most of the Irish Catholic immigration must be assigned, for it appears that there were many Irish Catholic soldiers in the armies of the Revolution quartered in this vicinity, some of whom, with their families, settled here at the end of the war.
It will appear from the Church history, which has been most carefully compiled for this work, that in early times there were even more creeds and denominations in the county than there were different nationalities; and it will be quite apparent to the thoughtful student that while certain settlements along the river, as particularly Poughkeepsie, at the earliest dates, were somewhat homogeneous in race and religion, and might have been truly designated as Dutch settlements, the county as a whole, started as a cosmopolitan community.
Dutchess County does not present a virgin field for the historian. It has already been cultivated to a considerable extent.
In 1877 Philip H. Smith, of Pawling, N.Y., published a "General History of Dutchess County from 1609 to 1876 inclusive." His book, which is now somewhat rare, shows an immense amount of work of investigation, a great fund of general information and tradition gathered by its author, and it has preserved many valuable facts and documents relating to the history of the county.
Frequent use has been made in the preparation of the present work of the material gathered by Mr. Smith in his history, and due recognition is made to him for the same.
Mr. Smith has also written several of the chapters on the different towns, and no one in the community is as well qualified as he to do the work that he has contributed to this volume.
In 1882 there was published by D. Mason & Company, of Syracuse, a "History of Dutchess County, New York, with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers," by James H. Smith; and in 1897 there was published by JH. Beers & Company, of Chicago (no author) a "Commemorative Biographical Record of Dutchess County, N.Y., containing Biographical Sketches of prominent and representative citizens and of many of the early settled families." The latter was merely a compilation of sketches, mostly autobiographical. The historical matter of James H. Smith's book was taken mostly from Philip H. Smith's history.
Table of Contents
Exploration of Hudson's River 17
The Aboriginal People 24
Topography and Geology 28
Indian Deeds. Land Patents 33
Pioneer Settlements and Early Inhabitants 44
Civil Organizations and Divisions 57
Dutchess County Civil List 67
Colonial Military Organizations 80
The Revolutionary War 93
The Revolutionary War. Continental Line 120
The Revolutionary War. Muster Rolls 136
The Revolutionary War. Local Events 171
De Chastellux's Travels Through Dutchess County 181
Dutchess County in the Rebellion 193
Town and City of Poughkeepsie, By Edmund Piatt 199
The Town of Amenia By S.R. Free 258
The Town Of Beekman 267
The Town of Clinton 272
The Town of Dover By Richard F. Maher 278
The Town of East Fishkill 293
The Town of Fishkill By William E. Verplanek 299
The Town of Hyde Park By Rev. Amos T. Ashton, D.D. 353
The Town of La Grange 363
The Town of Milan 369
The Town of Northeast By Philip H. Smith 374
The Town of Pawling By Philip H. Smith 389
The Town of Pine Plains By Philip H. Smith 405
The Town of Pleasant Valley 419
The Town of Red Hook 426
The town of Rhinebeck 437
The Town of Stanford By Philip H. Smith 451
The Town of Union Vale By Philip H. Smith 460
The Town of Wappinger By Clinton W. Clapp 465
The Town of Washington By Rev. John Edward Lyall 476
The Bench and Bar of Dutchess County By Frank B. Lown 498
The Medical Profession By Guy Carleton Bayley 528
The Masonic Fraternity 597
The Catholic Church 608
Friends' Meetings in Dutchess County By John Cox, Jr 661
Biographical and Genealogical 681
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The territory of the Wappingers, a tribal division of the Mohicans, covered the major portion of Dutchess County. Their government scarcely differed from that of the Mohicans and other branches of the Delawares. Each tribe had its sachem and counsellors, who made their own laws, treaties, etc. These, says Loskiel, "were either experienced warriors or aged and respectable fathers of families." Likewise each had its specific device or totem denoting original con- sanguinity. Although the prevailing totem of all the Hudson River cantons was the Wolf, borne alike by Minsis, Wappingers and Mohicans, the particular symbol of the Wappingers was the opossum, tatooed on the person of the Indian, and often rudely painted on the gable-end of his cabin.