In 1788, while Israel Inman was on one of his hunting excursions, he came upon the broad and beautiful flats, as they seemed to him, of the east branch of the Delaware river, near its headwaters, and about two miles above the present village of Roxbury. The valley and hillsides were covered with the forests. To him this was just the place to pitch his tent, and he commenced a settlement, doing but very little clearing, for agriculture was not his "hobby," as he was born and bred a hunter. John More had settled over east of the Grand Gorge, six miles east, some two years previous, but west of the gorge Inman was the pioneer, as far as Roxbury is concerned.
In 1789 a party of "land lookers," consisting of some twenty families, came into Delaware county from Fairfield county, Conn., to explore and fix upon a favorable place for a permanent settlement. The party came by way of Catskill, over roads of a primitive sort, with a blaze upon a tree here and there for a guide, and with streams unbridged. After passing several small settlements, they arrived at Benjamin Barlow's, in Stamford, some distance below the mouth of Rose brook, on the Delaware. As the "barn room" for horses was rather scarce, the horses were turned into the woods to browse. On the third day they were missing, and a searching party, composed of Abram Gould, George Squires and Josiah Patchin, was sent out with three days' provisions to find them. Following the trail of the horses, the searchers were led up Rose brook, and at noon were at the top of the mountain, nearly where the road now crosses. They soon discovered the hunter Inman, who was a stranger to them. He had the day before taken up the horses, and was following up the trail to discover, if possible, the owners. The hunter immediately conducted the three strangers to his hospitable mansion in the valley, and with all the well known hospitality of a pioneer, treated them to a repast of venison steak. Ascertaining that they were in search of a good location for a permanent settlement, he volunteered his assistance, as he knew every inch of the ground. They went up what is now West Settlement brook, and decided upon that valley as the place of their future abode, and returned again to the rest of the party with the missing horses. They prevailed upon two others of the party to accompany them, namely, Nehemiah Hayes and David Squires. In moving into their new settlement they went by way of what is now Stamford and Moresville, thence along an Indian trail through the gorge, down the Delaware to the little clearing of Inman. Their journey was a laborious one. Their goods were left at Inman's until they could prepare a place of their own, which was but a few days.
The land was measured off with a piece of rope. In "drawing cuts" the middle lot fell to George Squires, and on his lot they erected a rude cabin of crotches and poles, covered with elm bark. Their bedding was the boughs of trees, their chairs were blocks of wood, and their dishes large chips. The cooking was done in a large kettle suspended over a fire beside a huge maple log in front of the door. In this mansion in the forest they passed the remainder of the summer. In this primitive way commenced the settlement of the present flourishing village of Roxbury.
The oldest graveyard in this part of the town is on the farm now owned by Irving Tyler, near the railroad crossing, on the Hardscrabble road.
The oldest school-house in this town is the one above Robinson's grist-mill, up the Hardscrabble road. It was built in 1813, of stone, and is in as good condition as when built. Since the consolidation of the districts around the village with the village district, it has been used by the "Christians" as a place of worship, but at present there is no organization of the kind in the town.
About 1810 there was a distillery above Roxbury village, in Montgomery hollow, built and operated by a Mr. Martin. There was also a saw-mill on the site now occupied by the furnace and machine shop.
Below the village, near where Jacob C. Keator lives, there was in 1805 a place known as Shackville. Most of the business of the town was done there. There were a gristmill, saw- mill, hat factory, etc. Afterward the current of trade changed and went up to Hubbell's Corners, above the village, and finally settled down at Roxbury village.
The first store in all the town was at Hardenbergh's, near the Greene county line.
The town attained its greatest population thirty-five years ago, as will appear from the following census returns: 1835, 2,856; 1840, 3,013; 1845, 3,121; 1850, 2,853; 1855, 2,533; 1860, 2,558; 1865, 2,335; 1870, 2,188; 1875, 2,211.
Butter is the principal product of the town, and large quantities are shipped daily through the season of butter making. The dairymen of this town have greatly improved the breed of the butter producing stock, until "Roxbury butter" is sought for in the markets, and for it fancy prices are paid.
EARLY OFFICERS AND OFFICIAL ACTS
This town was formed from Stamford March 23rd, 1799. Unfortunately the leaf containing the proceedings of the first town meeting is missing from the clerk's record-book. On a later page we have it recorded that "the subscribers, finding it necessary to lay out a road from Mantana kill [adopt] a westerly course, beginning at a heap of stones and running near the dwelling house of William Varmilya, and from thence by a line of marked trees to the dwelling house of Thomas Austin, to a beech tree marked H; the same being four rods wide.
"Done by us, John T. More, David Robinson, Commissioners of Highways."
This entry is endorsed as a "true copy, per me, John T. More, Town Clerk, Roxbury, County of Delaware, July 6th, 1799."
We have also "a road laid out, beginning at the Stamford line, in the notch of the mountain that lies between Roxbury and Little Delaware, at a birch tree blazed all round a heap of stones and marked with the letters R. B. & J. O.; from thence running an easterly course along a new cut road to the dwelling house of Milo Oakeley, and from thence continuing the same course as the road now runs to the dwelling of widow Meeker; from thence running along a line of marked trees to a beech tree marked H, with a heap of stones; then following the road that leads from Roxbury to Middletown; the same being laid four rods wide. "Done by us, John T. More, Samuel Merrell, Commissioners of Highways."
July 12th, 1799, it was recorded, in the clerk's own orthography, that "the road that leads from Benjamin Frisby's acrost the rige to the mill road, that leads from Person's mill to the West settlement, is aulterrd. Beginning at a Walnut tree and a heap of stones, from thance a road is now cut to the corner of Jotham Scudder's [#] lot; then continewing on the line between Scudder's and widew Ginkons and between Sanders and Henry Voorhis, to a cruched beach tree and a stake; from thence along a line of Mark trees to a bech tree marked H, with a heap of stones, standing on said road, the same being laid two rods wide."
The following is dated "Roxbury, May 12th day of 1799:" "This is to sertify that a publick highway is laid out, beginning at Stephen Robinson's house and running easterly to Issacher Robinson's; from thance acrost Nathan Ginkins land; from thance acrost the mountain along the line of marked trees towards Schohary kill, till it strikes the town line; the same was laid out four roods wide."
At the town meeting held at the house of Zachariah Snyder on the first Tuesday of April, 1800, the following board of officers was elected: Isaac Hardenbergh, supervisor; John T. More, town clerk; Peter Bradley and Abraham Gould overseers of the poor; Edward Vermilya, Nehemiah Hayes and Charles Daniels, assessors; Joseph Stratton, jr., Justus Adams and Henry Demoney, assessors; Eliab Ford, Sullivan Walker, David Bouton, jr., Nathan Osborn and Benjamin Howell, constables; Nehemiah Hayes and Thomas Harley, constables and collectors; Justus Adams, Zachariah Snyder and Isaac Moffat, fence viewers and damage appraisers: Benjamin Frisby, pound keeper; Nehemiah Hayes, Philip Walker, Justus Adams and Isaac Hardenbergh, commissioners of schools; John Odell, Rogers Bouton, Joshua Wight, Solomon Persons, Jonas Larawa, Jonas More, Stephen Mervin, Joseph Mors, David Squire, Calvin Follet, Thomas Harley, Abram Van Loon, Charles Daniels and Jonathan Scudder, overseers of highways.
It was voted that the town meeting for the next year should be held at the house of Zachariah Snyder. At that meeting it was voted "that a certain sum of money now in the hands of Judge Lamb will be put out on interest till the next anniversary town meeting. Voted that David Robinson, Esq., shall have the abovesaid money on interest."
In 1804 it was "voted that there shall be a bridge built at the town's expense over the east branch of the Delaware, near the dwelling house of Thomas Austin; and said bridge is to be built by Enoch Inman, who shall render an account of the costs of the said bridge, when built, to the commissioners of highways of this town, who are hereby appointed a committee to examine the said bridge, and audit the said Inman's account for doing the same bridge."
March 5th, 1805, it was "voted to remonstrate against the petition of Dr. Benton for a turnpike road from Catskill into Delaware county, thinking it injurious to our town and the publick at large."
The notes of the survey of the town line between Roxbury and Stamford, and extent of the line between Roxbury and Windham, were found by J. E. Newkirk among the old papers of the town clerk, and not recorded on the Roxbury town book. At the ends of different courses we have "the the Delhi corner," "the peak of a mountain at the head of Rose's brook," "the peak of another mountain, to a maple tree, cornered," " the peak of another mountain, to a beach tree, cornered," "a hard maple tree, cornered," "an iron wood sappling," "a beach sapling," "the Stamford road," and "the county line, making 13 miles, 62 chains and 66 links. Extent of line along the bounds of Windham is 12 miles and 13 chains."
THE TOWN CIVIL LIST
The following is a complete list of supervisors and town clerks of the town, together with a list of the justices of the peace elected from 1830 to 1879, inclusive:
Supervisors- 1799, 1806, Isaac Hardenbergh; 1807, 1808, Joshua Ferris; 1809-25, 1832, 1838, John T. More; 1826, 1827,1830, David P. Mapes; 1828, 1829, Lewis Hardenbergh; 1831, 1833, 1834, 1842, Jonas More; 1835, Alexander Daniels; 1836, Daniel Rowland; 1837, 1843, 1844, 1846, 1847, Thomas Keator; 1839, 1853, 1854, 1857, 1864-66, E. I. Burhans; 1840, 1841, Harvey Keator; 1845, John S. More; 1848, Sherman S. Street; 1849, 1860, Ira Hicks; 1850, Martin Kelly; 1851, 1852, 1855, 1863, Alexander H. Burhans; 1856, Jonas M. Smith; 1858, 1872, 1873, Edward Burhans; 1859, Benjamin Scudder; 1860, Charles Harley; 1862, Alexander More; 1867, Jacob Newkirk; 1868, Hiram Meeker; 1869, Abram Van Dyke; 1870, 1871, George W. Lauren; 1874, Andrew J. Corbin; 1875, 1876, Henry C. Soop; 1877, John E. Newkirk; 1878, 1879, O. A. Meeker.
Town Clerks - 1799, 1806, John T. More; 1807, 1808, 1812-25, John E. Burhans; 1809, Otis Preston; 1810, 1811, Thomas Montgomery; December 20th, 1825, Jonathan B. Cowles was elected to fill vacancy; 1826, John Frisbee; 1827, Novatus Blish; 1823-33, Dubois Burhans; 1834-37, 1845, 1858, Ezekiel Preston; 1838-40, E. Follett; 1841, 1842, Thomas Keator; 1843, 1846, 1847, Truman C. Bidwell; 1844, John P. Burhans; 1848, A. C. Cowles; 1849, A. H. Tyler; 1850, Alexander H. Burhans; 1851, Samuel B. Follett; 1852, Hiram Meeker; 1853-55, 1857, Daniel W. McGarry; 1856, Silas S. Cartright; 1859, Orrin A. Meeker; 1860, Richard W. Van Dyke; 1861, John C. Van Dyke; 1862, 1864-66, 1872-75, John E. Newkirk; 1863, Fred. J. Youngman; 1867, 1876-78, 1879, William W. Noble; 1868-71, Henry C. Soop.
Justices of the Peace - 1830, Alexander Daniels; 1831 Harvey Keator; 1832, Daniel Rowland, Henry T. Becker, Timothy Cartright; 1833, Daniel Rowland and Edward I. Burhans; 1834, Daniel Rowland: 1835, Harvey Keator; 1836, Samuel More; 1837, Edward I. Burhans and Alexander Daniels; 1838, Daniel Rowland; 1839, Harvey Keator; 1840, 1841, Edward I. Burhans; 1842, Samuel Scudder; 1843, Eli Wright; 1844, Cyrus Graves and Daniel Rowland; 1845, David M. Smith; 1846, Daniel Rowland for full term, and Benjamin H. Akin to fill vacancy; 1847, Benjamin H. Akin; 1848, Alexander Daniels; 1849, A. C. Cowles; 1850, Lewis Stratton; 1851, Erastus Mead; 1852, Solomon P. Moffatt for full term, and Nelson K. Dart to fill vacancy; 1853, Hiram Meeker for full term, and Albert R. Terwilager to fill vacancy; 1854, Nelson K. Dart; 1855, Erastus Mead for full term, and George A. Dart to fill vacancy; 1856, George A. Dent; 1857, Robert B. Smith for full term, and George A. Dent to fill vacancy; 1858, Nelson K. Dart; 1859, Almarin Cartright; 1860, George A. Dent; 1861, Alanson C. Cowles for full term, and John T. Grant to fill vacancy; 1862, Jacob K. Benjamin; 1863, Erastus Mead; 1864, John T. Grant; 1865, Alanson C. Cowles; 1866, Jacob K. Benjamin; 1867, Ezra Mead for full term, and William D. Powell to fill vacancy; 1868, John T. Grant; 1869, Samuel B. Shout; 1870, Jacob K. Benjamin; 1871, Ezra Mead; 1872, Hiram N. Wicks for full term, and Nelson K. Dart to fill vacancy; 1873, Lewis R. Baker for full term, and Daniel D. Andrews to fill vacancy; 1874, Nelson K. Dart; 1875, Ezra Mead for full term, and Jacob K. Benjamin to fill vacancy; 1876, I. T. Rice for full term, and Ezra Mead to fill vacancy; 1877, Jacob K. Benjamin; 1878, Nelson K. Dart; 1879, Ezra Mead for full term, and Lewis R. Baker to fill vacancy.
ORIGINAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS
It appears from the early records that this town was divided into school districts in 1813, as follows:
District No. 1, "beginning at the Bear kill, east of Frederick W. McKean's, and running from thence westerly to the house of James Parsons, on the Beaverdam road, including all the inhabitants as far south as Joshua Ferris; and from thence continuing northwesterly far as John A. Hubbell's, including all the inhabitants above Alexander T. More's to Archibald Craig's; thence easterly to the town line: thence along said town southerly, so far till it comes opposite said Beaver kill at said McKean's; thence to the said Bear kill.
District No. 2, "bounded on the north by the Ball mountain, on the east by the height of land east of the Beaverdam, and continuing so far south on the height of land as to run westerly to include David Truesdale, until it comes to the height of land west of the Beaverdam, and continuing on the height of land north, including John Brookbout, until it comes to the Stamford line; thence along Stamford line to the aforesaid Ball Mountain ."
District No. 3, "bounded on the north by district No.2, on the east by the height of land east of the Beaverdam, and continuing east on the height of land to a mountain called the Follett mountain; thence westerly to the Beaverdam, where the division line of Doctor Keator's farm and Edward Burhans's strikes said Beaverdam; and thence westerly to the height of land at William Boroughs's , so as to include widow Bartrum; thence northerly on the height of land to the Stamford line; thence continuing northerly along Stamford line to said district No. 2."
District No.4, "bounded on the north by district No 3. on the east by the height of land east of the Beaverdam, and continuing south on the height of land so far as to run with a straight line to the Beaverdam, where Stratton's mill brook empties into the Beaverdam; thence up and along said mill brook to the main road; thence northerly on the height of land to the south line of district No. 3."
District No. 5, "bounded on the north by Stamford line, on the east by districts No. 3 and No. 4; and continuing south on the west line so far as to run westerly to the height of land between West Settlement and Meeker's Hollow, so as to include David Stratton's; thence northerly on the height of land between said settlements to Stamford line."
District No.6, "bounded on the east by district No.5, and on the north and west by the town line, and running south so far as to include Peter Lant and Anna Meeker."
District No.7, all the remaining part of the town west of the Batavia kill settlement, "bounded on the north and west by districts No. 4, 5 and 6, and on the south by Middletown, and on the east by district No. 9."
District No. 8, "all that part of the Batavia kill settlement lying northeasterly of a line running from Mr. David Bouton, Jr., to John Marks, including them both."
District No.9, "all the remaining part of our town in that settlement down to the Middletown line."
SECOND (OLD SCHOOL) BAPTIST CHURCH
The second Baptist church of Roxbury was formed from the first church May 1st, 1816. Its first officers were Jothan W. Scudder, deacon; and J. Root, clerk. It had fifty-three members.
They held their meetings in the Scudder school house.
In 1833 they built a church near Stratton's Falls, which is their present place of worship.
In December, 1816, William Warren was chosen pastor, and served until 1821. Elder Platt was chosen in 1822, and continued two years. David Mead then served until 1845.
In 1840 Isaac Hewitt was ordained, and served in the absence of its pastor. After the death of Elder Mead Elder Hewitt was accepted as the pastor, which position he has filled from that time to the present.
The membership has been increased to 101. John D. Hubbell has been ordained and serves in the absence of the regular pastor.
As early as 1800 Roxbury village was begun, not so early as some other settlements in the town.
The pioneer tavern was opened in the building still occupied as a hotel. In its early history it was kept by Benjamin Frisbee, David Mapes and John E. Burhans.
Zachariah Snyder located at the head of the street, where Stratton now lives. At that time the main road ran along near the creek instead of where Main street is now laid.
The first grist-mill was built by John Persons, on the site now occupied by Robinson's grist-mill, above the village, up the "Hardscrabble road."
The first store was opened by David P. Mapes in a part of the tavern building. A Mr. Blish afterward kept store in the same place. A Mr. Barlow was also one of the early storekeepers. His store was near where the M. E. church now stands. Dubois Burhans also kept a store between Barlow's and Mapes's. At the time the stores were opened in Roxbury the roads between this and Catskill, then the great trading point on the Hudson river, were almost impassable for loaded vehicles, and the pioneer merchants would club together, hire two or three yoke of oxen, hitch them ahead of one wagon, and start for Catskill after a load of new spring or early fall goods. One week was allowed for the trip. Now they can telegraph in the morning and at noon of the same day have a car load of goods delivered in their stores.
The pioneer carding-mill was built and operated by Eliakim Benham at the upper end of the village, on the place now owned by Otis P. More.
The first tannery at this point was built by David M. Smith, between the lower bridge and where the depot now stands. The land is now owned by Sniffen Ganung.
The pioneer village blacksmith was Stephen Murrin. He occupied a lot now owned by E. I. Burhans, Esq.
At present the village of Roxbury is the seat of a flourishing business, and is one of the chief shipping points on the Ulster and Delaware Railroad for butter and cheese. There are in the village three religious societies and two church edifices. The Methodists and Presbyterians have each a church. The New School Baptists are yet without a church building. There is but one hotel, which stands upon the same site of the "pioneer tavern," and is kept by William A. House. The two hardware stores are kept by J. E. Newkirk and J. H. Aikman. Messrs. Burhans and Lauren are dealers in dry goods, groceries and agricultural implements; J. T. Bouton & Son and O. A. Meeker in dry goods and groceries. The medical profession is represented by Jacob Newkirk, S. S. Cartright and J. J. Keator; dentistry by E. C. Hutchinson; marble works are carried on by Noble & Richtmyre. There are two grist-mills, one run by steam and standing near the depot, and the other run by water; both are owned by Robinson & Son. The saw-mill near the grist-mill, up the "Hardscrabble" road, is also owned by Robinson & Son. George Rose owns the turning-lathe and water-wheel manufactory. There are also at this place two wagon-makers' shops, two blacksmith shops, a harness shop, a drug store, two coopers' shops, a sash and blind factory, a jewelry store, an academy, a cabinet shop, a boot and shoe store, two shoe shops, two markets and millinery and dressmakers' shops. Just above the village in Montgomery Hollow, is the furnace and machine shop.
CHURCHES OF ROXBURY VILLAGE
Methodist Episcopal Church - This society was formed at Roxbury as early as 1800, at Alanson Bouton's, in the vicinity of what is known as West Settlement. George Frisbee was the first class leader, and also the first local preacher who became a resident of Roxbury, and it was to his zeal and untiring energy that the people of the town, at that early day in its history, were indebted for the first Methodist Episcopal church. At that time Phineas Rice, known throughout this region as the "eccentric preacher," was presiding elder, and through his eccentricities large crowds were gathered. Although preaching was not had oftener than once in two weeks, and most of the time only once in four weeks, the people would come from far and near to hear the quaint old itinerant proclaim a free salvation to all who would accept. Among the early preachers were found such men as Rice, Buck, Howe, Collins, and others. Alanson Bouton's was the "Methodist tavern," as it was called in those days on account of his always furnishing accommodations for the "circuit rider," and as many more of the brethren as could make themselves comfortable at his home on "quarterly occasions." James Bouton was also one of the pioneer Methodists. He was the father of Sanford Bouton, who was also one of the early preachers in Roxbury.
The old Methodist church is now used as a carpenter shop. The present church was built in 1858, and dedicated in February, 1859, Revs. Lucius H. King and James Burch officiating on the occasion. Rev. Mr. Beach was presiding elder at that time. The cost of the church was $4,201.31, complete.
The preacher in charge at that time was Rev. William Hall. The succeeding preachers have been: 1861, James M. Burger; 1862, John E. Gorse, now the presiding elder; 1863, A. C. Morehouse; 1866, Charles Palmer; 1867, J. G. Slater; 1868-70, T. W. Chadwick; 1871, W. H. Mickel; 1872, 1873, H. W. Ackerley; 1874-76, O. P. Dales; 1877 to 1880, George W. Ferris.
In 1869 the society built the present commodious parsonage on the lot adjoining the church, on Main street, in the village of Roxbury. The present value of the church property is $6,000. The membership is 150.
The Sunday school connected with this church was organized in 1829, with George Frisbee as superintendent, and forty scholars. The present superintendent is Edward Van Dyke. The average attendance is sixty-five scholars.
The Reformed Church of Roxbury, an organization of the Reformed Church in America (formerly "The Reformed Protestant Dutch Church"), was founded in 1802. It was reorganized in 1825. Joshua Boyd was missionary to it during 1826 and 1827, and its regularly ordained and installed pastors have been Rev. Messrs. Asahel Bronson, 1835, 1836; R. W. Knight, 1839-41; William E. Turner, 1849-62; J. K. Rhinehart 1862-73; J. W. Hammond, 1873-75, and B. C. Miller, the present pastor.
East Branch Baptist Church of Roxbury, - On the 25th of April, 1878, the persons named below met in the town hall, for the purpose of organizing themselves into a regular Baptist church.
After reading the Scriptures, and prayer, articles of faith and a church covenant were adopted. The following were the subscribing members: J. B. Van Housen, L. J. Van Housen, Richard More, A. C. Van Dyke, H. H. Lawrence, W. P. Simmons, J. M. Deyoe, E. A. Easton, A. G. Cargan, William Freer and E. J. Cargan. The following ladies also became members by subscribing their names to the resolutions: Mrs. J. B. Van Housen, M. E. McDonald, D. A. Deyoe, E. N. Van Dyke, K. A. Simmons, J. Easton, M. E. Mead, Angeline Preston, Sarah M. Morrison and Mary Cargan.
At a business meeting of the society held May 11th, 1878, Richard More was elected deacon, W. P. Simmons church clerk, and H. H. Lawrence church treasurer.
Pursuant to the request of the East Branch Church of Roxbury, as it had named itself, a council convened at the hall of E. I. Burhans, June 19th, and the society was recognized as a regular Baptist church. The next day, at the Reformed church, recognition services were held. The regular services of the church are held in the town hall.
July 6th, 1878, a call was extended to Rev. J. B. Van Housen to become the pastor, who accepted, and is still pastor of the church.
At a meeting of the church, held June 7th, 1879, the following persons were elected trustees of the church: David Van Dyke, for one year; Daniel D. Andrews, for two years; Edward A. Easton, for three years.
This church is connected with the Rensselaerville Baptist Association. There is at present a membership of twenty-five. H. H. Lawrence is the present church clerk.
In the early part of 1825 Roxbury Eagle Lodge, No. 408, F. and A. M. was instituted in the village of Roxbury. In 1826 labor therein was suspended, and so continued for nearly forty years. In 1865 the craft was called to labor, when Coeur De Leon Lodge, No. 571, was formed U. D. February 11th, 1865, with the following officers and members: W. H. Steele, W. M.; J. W. Stratton, S. W.; Patrick Egan, J. W.; George Lauren, treasurer; J. M. Preston, secretary; O. R. Bouton, S. D.; S. W. Older, J. D.; R. Jenkins, tyler, and A. Cartright. The lodge was chartered July 1st, 1865, by Robert D. Holmes, G. M.; Stephen W. Johnson. D. G. M.; James Gibson, S. G. W.; John R. Anderson, J. G W., and James M. Austin, G. S. The first officers of the lodge under the charter were: W. H. Steele, W. M.; O. R. Bouton, S. W.; J. M. Corbin, J. W.; George W. Lauren, treasurer; J. M. Preston, secretary: O. A. Meeker. S. D.; A. Cartright, J.D.; C. M. Reed, S. M. C.; E. B. More, J. M. C.; E. W. Kendall and R. Jenkins, stewards; A. J. Van Dyke, O.; F. K. Youngman, tyler. There were seventeen members at that time. The above officers were installed August 2nd, 1865, by R. W. Robert Parker, D. D. G. M. The regular communications of the lodge are held in Masonic Hall, Main street, on Tuesday evening of each week. The present officers of the lodge are: Dr. J. J. Keator, W. M.; R. B. Robinson, S. W.; S. W. Thompson, J. W.; George W. Lauren, treasurer; Patrick Egan, secretary; O. V. B. Taylor, S. D.; T. Young, J. D.; John A. Newkirk, S. M. C.; John C. Dart, J. M. C.; D. D. Andrews and A. Scudder, stewards; A. J. Croft, M.; Charles Thorington, chaplain; O. A. Meeker, H. Montgomery and D. D. Andrus, trustees.
MORESVILLE, OR GRAND GORGE
The land upon which this village is situated was included in a purchase made by John More, who settled here in 1786, and after whom the village is named. The first night he spent in what is now the village he "camped out," as there was no house here, on the lot now occupied as a burying ground, adjoining the Methodist Episcopal church. The railroad station and latterly the post-office have taken the name Grand Gorge, from the mountain gorge or pass. This station is the nearest one to Gilboa, Windham and Prattsville. Stages for these places connect with all trains. At present there are in the village two churches, Methodist Episcopal and Presbyterian; one hotel, kept by G. L. Schaffer; two stores, one by Charles Harley and the other by Mrs. W. P. More; two blacksmith shops, by A. A. Hannah and N. Squires; two wagon shops, by John Mattice and Hiram Wicks; two shoe shops, by William S. Wood and J. Dudley; one harness shop, by R. Palmer; two physicians, J. N. W. Wright and M. W. Follett; one sash and blind shop, by C. A. Stannard, and a saw and planing-mill, by R. H. Gleason. L. R. Baker, Esq., is the village justice. The name of the post-office was changed in 1875 from Moresville to Grand Gorge.
For a number of years "More's settlement" was more in name than in numbers. Fortunately, he had located on the line of what in after years became one of the great thoroughfares from the Hudson river to southern New York. Being the first settler, having felled the first tree, built the first log mansion, ten by thirteen feet square, he very naturally became the head center of the settlement, and became in time one of the prominent men of this part of the county. He lived to a good old age, and died respected and beloved by all, leaving a large property to be divided among his numerous relatives.
Miss Rebecca Wicks, who came here in 1812, at the age of twenty-four, has lived here ever since. She has watched the growth of this place almost from its birth, and is the only person living, except her sister, who lived here at that time. The first saw-mill was built by Gleason & Daniel, in 1808. Mr. Wicks, father of Owen Wicks, who lives on the old homestead, built a saw-mill in 1811, on the creek just below the house. John More built the first frame house at this place in 1808.
The first tavern was kept by Edward More.
The pioneer shoemaker was Henry Demoney, who was one of the old-fashioned eccentricities who "whipped the cat," or, in other words, traveled from house to house, making up and mending shoes as was required. He lived down the creek from the settlement, about a mile and a half.
The first person that took in weaving was a Mr. Judson. He lived on what is known as Ferris hill, nearly south from the village.
The first postmaster was Jonas L. More. He kept the office in his store, as he was the pioneer merchant. The land upon which his store stood is now owned by Captain Hannah. The office was afterward kept in Nelson Gleason's store. Previous to a store being opened at More's, there was one three miles down the creek, at Hardenbergh's, kept by Isaac Hardenbergh.
The pioneer tannery was built by Daniel Le Fever, in 1805, about two miles down the Bear kill. In 1820 a tannery was built just about where the bridge now is, south of the village.
The pioneer blacksmith here was Harry Helm. His shop stood a litte northeast of the tavern.
The first grist-mill was down at Lewis Hardenbergh's, three miles below More' settlement. It has gone to decay.
The pioneer log school-house was built in 1812, and stood near where Charles Harley's house now stands; a man by the name of Newell was the first teacher. The only surviving pupil who attended the school is Owen Wicks, who still lives on the old homestead, just south of the village, on the turnpike. When John More was not otherwise employed he would teach school, not for the pecuniary profits arising from it, but that the children might be educated.
The first resident physician at Moresville was Dr. Samuel Howell. He lived near where the Presbyterian church now stands. He was succeeded by Orrin Howell. The place is now owned by Mr. Dayo, of Lexington. Previous to the Howells Dr. Smith, who lived up the Bear kill about five miles, was the physician for all this section of country.
The pioneer preacher was Elder Mack. He was a Baptist, and used to preach in the school-house, and in barns and dwellings. He lived on the turnpike, near the head of the Delaware. The next preacher was a Methodist named Wood.
The house where Owen Wicks now lives was built in 1808, by Mr. Sturgess.
The pioneer stone house in this town was built by Lewis Hardenbergh, some time previous to 1812.
Among the early settlers on Ferris hill were Joshua Ferris, --- Judson, Aaron B. Sturgess, --- Tappan, --- Daniels, --- Craig and Thomas Harley.
CHURCHES OF MORESVILLE
Methodist Episcopal.- A society of Methodists was organized at this place previous to 1800. Among the early members are remembered Z. Fenton and wife, Harris and wife, Sol. Fenton, Joshua Ferris, Joseph H. More, John Ferris, Alexander T. More, Mrs. Samuel Weir, Archibald Craig, Mrs. Gleason, and Pamelia Sines, who recently died, aged eighty-four years, and who had been a member of this society for over seventy-five years.
Among the early preachers may be mentioned David Buck, John Bangs, Aaron Rogers and Heman Bangs. The society met in barns, school-houses, log dwellings and groves for worship, until, in 1852, it was strong enough to build a church. The present edifice was built in 1852, at a cost of $2,252.60. The lot is the identical spot upon which John More, the founder of Moresville, encamped the first night he spent in this place. It was here the first tree was cut, for this was at that time a dense wilderness. The deed for the church lot was given by Joseph H. More and Maria his wife, August 17th, 1853, to Edward H. More, Joseph H. More and Jason G. Powell, trustees. The lot, in the center of the village, is lot 51 of the Hardenbergh patent, and contains twenty-five rods of land, bounded as follows: "Beginning at the center of the Windham turnpike, on a parallel line with the east side of the Methodist Episcopal church, now built on said lot, and ten feet distant from the east side of said church, following said parallel line ten feet from the east side of said church, to the land owned by William P. More; thence north 68_ 45' west to the center of the hill road; thence northerly along the center of the hill road to the center of the Windham turnpike; thence along the center of the Windham turnpike to the place of beginning." The consideration for the deed was one dollar. In September, 1869, the church building was repaired at a cost of $1,200. Besides the early ministers who so faithfully served this church, there have been the following since and including 1853: William C. Smith, who was pastor at the time of the rededication of the church; Egbert Burch,--- Hall,--- Whitaker, A. C. Morehouse, I. Vandewater, O. P. Dales, J. P. Burger, S. Merchant and Henry W. Ackerly, the present pastor.
The present membership is 57; present value of church property, $2,500.
The Sabbath-school connected with this church was organized in 1825. The present superintendent is G. G. Houck, and the average attendance 40 scholars.
Presbyterian - Rev. Abner Benedict was the first Presbyterian preacher, and his is the first tombstone in the graveyard at Moresville. The Presbyterian church was built in 1832. Among the early members were; `Squire John More and wife, J. T. More and wife, F. Gleason and wife, N. Moffatt and wife, --- Wiltsie and wife, J. S. More and wife, Mrs. Jane Wicks, William Gleason and wife, Mrs. J. Ferris, Mrs. Edward Cronk, and David Peck and wife.
BATAVIA KILL SETTLEMENT
The first settlement in the valley of the Batavia kill was made by John C. and Joseph Keator, who were descendants of immigrants who first located in Massachusetts more than one hundred and seventy-five years ago. The father of these two brothers purchased a farm on lot 38 of the Hardenbergh patent, in what is now school district No. 9. The original purchase was two hundred acres, upon which the two sons, John C. and Joseph, were located. The right of soil was given as an inducement for the selection of this place, also that others might be induced to locate upon this part of the patent. The Keators were for a number of years the only settlers in the valley above Dean's Corners, ten miles distant. The farm has descended to D. T. Keator, a grandson of John C., and has increased in acreage from two hundred to nearly seven hundred acres. The Keators were the first settlers in what is now the town of Roxbury. From this small beginning, the Batavia kill valley has developed into the best and most wealthy farming section of the town. From the kill to the mountain tops the land has been cleared and brought into a state of cultivation second to none in this section of country.
In a few years the Keators were followed by others anxious to find an earthly resting place, where, under their own "vine and fig tree," they could follow, unmolested, the avocation for which they thought themselves best suited. The next to settle was Peleg Ballard, who located on the place now owned by J. T. Ballard, further up the kill. Among the next settlers immediately succeeding Ballard was David Mead, who afterward became pastor of the Baptist church. He located at the head waters of the kill. The place is now occupied by the Mead family. Among the settlers of a very early date may be mentioned the names of Whipple, Travis, Adams, Jobn Genung, Allen, Buckley, John, Mark and Matthew Ferris, all of whom settled around the head waters of the Batavia kill. These settlers were followed in a few years, or about the year 1800, by David K. Earl, who located on the farm now occupied by Ira Slawson. Mr. Paine and Caleb Vickery located on places now owned by Jonathan Ballard, and one Burcham located where Robert D. Sloat now lives, while a Mr. Robinson settled near where the sawmill now stands, near Sloat's. Where James Sherwood now lives was settled by Elder William Warren, who was the minister that assisted in the formation of and preached several years for the first Baptist church in the town. This place was a little east of Caleb Slawson's. Smith Slawson located on the place next east of R. D. Sloat's. Benajah Ballard was also one of the early settlers in the upper end of the valley.
The pioneer store was kept by the pioneer preacher, Elder William Warren, in 1800, where James Sherwood now lives; at the upper end of the valley.
Another store was soon opened by Benjamin H. Aiken, where R. P. Craft now lives, near the Baptist church.
The next store, opened about the same time, was down the valley at the Keator settlement, and kept by Joel Keator in 1825. The store stood on the flats below Roberts's corner. The building was moved over the creek in a few years, and the store kept by Matthew H. Kevel. The building is now occupied as a dwelling.
In 1835 H. and T. Keator opened a store in the old stone building on the corner opposite the residence of Wells Roberts, in the Keator settlement, which was ten miles above Dean's.
The pioneer blacksmiths were Nathaniel and James Hawley. They also operated a foundry, for the manufacture of small castings. They also made the first cast iron plows used in this part of the country. The shop and foundry went to decay many years ago. J. T. Ballard now owns the land upon which they stood.
The first grist-mill in the valley was built in 1800, by the Adams brothers, near where Nathaniel Mead lives.
The first tannery was built and operated by Jonathan Hammond about 1870, on the place now owned by James Hammond.
The first saw-mill in the valley was built in 1805, on the old Ferris farm, now owned by S. Slawson, at the head of the valley.
Another mill was soon built by Samuel Jenkins, between the Travis and Whipple places. Captain Gilbert Foster was the "boss" sawyer.
Another mill was built in 1848, by R. D. Sloat, near his present residence, which, like its predecessors, has gone to decay. The only saw-mill remaining in the upper valley is the one on the J. T. Ballard place. It originally stood on the opposite side of the creek from where it now stands.
The first postmaster in the Batavia kill valley was M. H. Kevel, in the Keator settlement. He kept the office in his store, on the southwest side of the creek.
There are several places of burial in the Batavia kill valley, the oldest of which is on the knoll in the rear of Wells Roberts's house, on the lot located by Mr. Robinson, on the north side of the lots located by the Keator brothers. For several years the grounds have not been used for burial purposes, as they are unprotected by fences, and are at the mercy of the flocks and herds that roam over them. The graves, or many of them, are marked by ordinary flat field stones, set up edgewise in the ground.
All along the valley one can find in a good state of preservation old-fashioned wagon wheels, boxes, cast wheels, spinning wheels, and the identical looms in which was woven the cloth for the "kersey" frock, and the "tow" pants for the lassies and lads of a century ago. These may be found in the upper valley, among the Keators, the Meads, the Cartrights, the Ballards and the Slawsons. Robert D. Sloat has in his possession an old wrought iron point for a wooden mould board plow of that period, and in as good condition as when that useful article of husbandry was "shelved," to make room for that sickly looking bantam the iron plow, which, according to all calculations, was not going to stand the test of the first furrow.
BATAVIA KILL CHURCHES
Methodist Episcopal - The first Methodist preaching in this valley was as early as 1775, when Delaware, Greene, Ulster and Schoharie counties were in one circuit. The first class was formed as early as 1800, and probably before. Nathan P. Earl was the first leader. Its meetings were held at the cabins of the settlers, alternately, as was the preaching service every four weeks, when the "circuit rider" came round. William Warren (not Elder William Warren), Nathaniel F. Mead, Samuel Cartright, Horace DeWitt and Robert D. Sloat were among the earlier members. Until 1844 the preaching was all along the valley, but the present church was built during that year, at a cost of $700. April 24th, 1844, the following trustees were elected: Samuel Cartright for one year, Samuel Jenkins for two years and Robert D. Sloat for three years. The society continued to flourish, and in a few years the church building was modernized, at a cost of a few hundred dollars, and when circuits were whittled down to charges the Batavia kill society was put in a charge with the Roxbury village society. It is at present supplied with preaching once a week.
There was a Sunday school organized about 1825, with William Warren as superintendent. The school has since been kept up. Richard P. Craft is the present superintendent, with a flourishing Sabbath school. The church property is valued at $1,000.
First (Old School) Baptist Church of Roxbury - This church is located in the beautiful valley of the Batavia kill. The society was constituted May 27th, 1796, by Elder William Warren, Shubal Dimmick, David Robinson, Elizabeth Robinson, Abner Bangs, Isaac Hodgkins, Samuel Mosher and John Avery. It worshiped in barns, private dwellings, school houses and wherever opportunity offered, or where ever people would assemble to hear the ministers of the denomination known as Old School or close communion Baptists. The society finally succeeded in building a meeting house upon or near the site of the present one, which, as one good old sister expressed it, "was worn out by the awful hard doctrines, and we had to build a new one." The present church edifice was built in 1866, at a cost of $2,000, which is the present value of the church property.
Elder William Warren was pastor from 1796 to February 28th, 1811, when Elder James Mead was ordained. He was succeeded January 6th, 1813, by Elder John Warren, and he by Orlando Mack December 10th, 1813. Elder David Mead was ordained September 24th, 1823, and remained until the ordination of Elder Isaac Hewitt, which took place January 29th, 1845. He remained with this church for quite a number of years, when he resigned the pastorate, since which no pastor has been ordained for this church.
BURR BARLOW is a native of Stamford, N.Y., born In 1811. He came to Roxbury in 1842, where he had married Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Ryder, who died January 20th, 1837[*], aged twenty years and eleven months, the mother of an infant child, who died five months later. Mr. Barlow married Esther, daughter of Reuben Kelly, who died May 11th, 1862, aged fifty-four yeas. His present wife was Cynthia, daughter of Daniel H. Jaques; they were married October 11th, 1863. Mr. Barlow has a farm of one hundred and twenty-three acres, and a dairy of eleven cows.
JOHN BURROUGHS, the well known and much admired writer on rural topics, was born in Roxbury April 3rd, 1837, coming from English stock on his father's side, and inheriting a strong dash of Irish blood on his mother's. At seventeen he left the paternal roof, and taught a school in Olive, Ulster county. He married before he was twenty-one. From 1863 he served ten years in the treasury department at Washington. He has since been receiver of a broken down bank at Middletown, Orange county. In 1871, with two other treasury clerks, he went to Europe in charge of $15,000,000 of U. S. bonds to be delivered to the syndicate.
S. B. CARL born in Roxbury in 1829, was married in 1853 to Elsie, daughter of Ethel Travis, and has four children. He is a dairy farmer, owning four hundred and twenty-eight acres, and keeping a dairy of forty cows.
DAVID DART, born in Roxbury in 1816, was married in 1837 to Mary, daughter of William Montgomery. They have four sons. Mr. Dart is a dairy farmer, owning a farm of three hundred acres, and thirty cows.
ISAAC HARDENBURGH is a son of Lewis Hardenburgh and grandson of Isaac Hardenburgh, the original owner of the patent known by his name. The grandfather was married to Rachael Graham in 1783, and settled in Roxbury in 1790. Mr. Isaac Hardenburgh owns the portions of the patent still remaining unsold. He was born in 1822; is unmarried.
EDWARD HINKLEY, a native of Middletown, this county, was born in 1830, and married in 1855 to Sharah C. Pullings. They have four sons. Mr. Hinkley is a dairy farmer, owning a farm of two hundred acres, a dairy of twenty-five Alderney cows and stock of twenty-five young Alderney cattle.
WASHINGTON M. IVES - was born in Windham, Greene county, N. Y., and married Harriet Meeker, of Roxbury. They have five children. Mr. Ives served as a captain of militia for many years in the 87th regiment N. G. S. N.Y. He is a dairy farmer.
NELSON MEAD, a native of this town, was born in 1838. He was married in 1885 to Mary E., daughter of Robert Sloate, and they have three children. Mr. Mead has a farm of two hundred and twenty-eight acres and a dairy thirty cows.
REV. B. C. MILLER, present pastor of the Reformed church of Roxbury was born near Lima, La Grange county, Ind., in January, 1850; prepared for the ministry at Rutgers College and the Reformed Church Seminary at New Brunswick, N.J., and entered upon his duties at Roxbury in November, 1875.
CLARENCE A. NOBLE, senior member of the firm of Noble & Richtmyer, granite and marble dealers, Roxbury, was born in this town December 26th, 1851. He was formerly a carriage trimmer.
GEORGE E. ROSE, a native of Ulster county, N.Y., was born in 1844; married Melissa Haynes, of Shandaken, N.Y., and has three children. He is an architect and machinist, and the inventor and manufacturer of Rose's turbine water-wheel.
S. R. SHOUT was born in Roxbury in 1818 and married in 1859 to Phoebe J., daughter of Enos Hill. They have two children, a son and daughter. Mr. Shout has a farm of one hundred and thirty acres.
NATHAN TRAVIS, born in Roxbury in 1820, was married in 1848 to Angeline Crosby. They have four children, three boys and one girl. Mr. Travis owns a farm of two hundred and seventy acres and keeps a dairy of thirty cows.
DANIEL T. UNDERWOOD was born in Roxbury in 1819. He has one child. He owns and manages a farm of two hundred acres, and a dairy of twenty cows.
SAMUEL VAN DYKE is a son of Richard Van Dyke, of Schoharie county. His mother's name was Burhans. He married Harriet Montgomery, of Roxbury. They have two children - Hamilton B. and John. Mr. Van Dyke has served his town as overseer of the poor. His occupation is dairy farming.
EDWARD EVERETT VAN DYKE was born in Roxbury April 17th, 1841, and married Martha J. Brownell, of Stamford. He read law in the office of A. J. Cowles, and later with F. R. Gilbert, of Stamford, and attended the Albany law school, but subsequently went into the dry goods trade at Stamford with his brother, J. C. Van Dyke. After continuing there about six years he was in charge of B. C. More's store at Red Falls, Greene county, about three years, since which time he has been engaged in farming.
HENRY WHITCOMB is a native of Middletown, Delaware county. He married Matilda Akerly, and they have three children. Mr. Whitcomb is a dairy farmer.
[*] The text looks like 1887 but since this was written in 1880 that cannot be. Because of the young age of death of the wife and the 1811 birth year of the husband and the similarity of an "8" to a "3" I deduce the correct year to be 1837.
[#] With regard to J. Scudder I have seen in this document Jonathan, Jotham and Jothan. I believe them all to be the same person. Jonathan seems the likely selection.