Chatham, New York, USA - 1900 - Chatham
The territory comprising the town of Chatham is made up in the western part of a portion of the Kinderhook patent and other smaller grants, and the eastern section belonged to the domains of the Van Rensselaer patent. The Patroon had never caused the boundary lines of his estate to be surveyed until some years after settlement had begun by squatters. As a result, contention arose, not only between the settlers and the Patroon, but also between the legal tenants under both grants, and the squatters, who claimed the lands under sovereign rights, or by right of possession.
Finally, it was decided by the settlers to petition the king for a recognition of their claims, and on May 15 of that year a memorial was prepared, in which it was asked that a committee composed of Elijah Hudson, Joseph Wood, Samuel Wheeler, Barret Dwyer and Isaac Mills be appointed as attorneys for the squatters to confer with royal commissioners in settling the controversy and securing, if possible, the claimants in possession of their lands. To preserve a record of the names of these men, the list of signers to this memorial is here inserted, as follows: Joseph Hall, Sylvanus Hudson, Jacob Brockway, Stephen Finch, Benjamin North, John Roberts, Peter Goose, David Reynolds, Richard Hudson, Solomon Finch, Philip Philips, Seth Tubbs, Nathan Huntley, Joseph Pitts, Gilcox Sharp, V. V. Van Valkenburgh, David Pingley, Daniel Webster, David Root, Lawrence Van Valkenburgh, Jacobie Van Valkenburgh, Caleb Knight, Christopher Peak, Jesse Gould, Joseph English, Jabez Henry, Asahel Salmon, Reuben Burlingame, Joseph Howard, Joel Reynolds, Thomas Brown, Obediah Wilbor, Abram Van Alstyne, Peter J. Vosburgh, David Reynolds, James Brockway, Ezekiel Thomas, John Graves, Martin Smith, and Joseph Knapp.
These people were among the early settlers. The petition reached the crown, but nothing further was heard from it. The fires of the Revolution were then smouldering, and it was an ill time for the colonists to expect any favors from George III, especially so when the suppliants were supposed to be among the disaffected ones. The war of the Revolution put a stop to further efforts in this direction. The passage by the Legislature of what was known as the " Canaan Act," secured to many pioneers clear titles to the lands they had settled, and whose descendants yet live in the town.
The town was erected on March 17, 1795, taking about equal portions from Canaan and Kinderhook. In 1813 portions were set off in forming the towns of Ghent and Austerlitz, still leaving it the largest town in the county, its superficial area being 31,703 acres. It is bounded on the north by Rensselaer county, on the east by New Lebanon and Canaan, on the south by Austerlitz and Ghent, and on the west by Kinderhook.
The surface is an undulating upland, except along the creeks, where, in some places, comparatively broad valleys spread out from the base of the hills. These valleys are extremely fertile, and the farms therein located are noted for their thrifty appearance and general productive. ness. The soil is mostly a loam, intermixed with clay in some parts and gravel in others, nearly every acre being tillable. In the eastern part of the town the hills reach a considerable altitude and here grazing and dairying proves more profitable than raising the cereals.
The principal streams arc the Kinderhook Creek, to which is joined Steeny and Kline Kills, and numerous small brooks. Steeny Kill, coming from the east, partly encircles Chatham village, and having a deep channel with rocky banks and bed, affords a number of fair mill seats. The volume of its flow, however, in past years has decreased, like most small streams, whose sources were at one time in forest lands.
The first settlers of the territory now included in this town were almost exclusively Hollanders. Many who had first taken up their abode in Kinderhook, removed farther east and north, particularly the generation succeeding the first corners sought locations in the fertile valleys and on the hill slopes in Chatham, to establish homes for themselves and their children. They were a sturdy, vigorous people, and from the days of their settlement until now have been noted for their energy, high moral standard and prominence in the civil affairs of the county. Among the first families to thus found homes in this section were the Van Alens, Van Hoesens, Van Burens, Sons, Van Nesses, Van Alstynes, Mesicks, Vosburghs and Van Valkenburghs. There were four brothers of the latter name - James, Bartholomew, Lawrence and Solomon. Descendants of James still live in Chatham. During the Revolution this section was subject to frequent incursions by tories and their bloody assistants the Indians, and rapine and murder marked their course wherever a known patriot lived. Abraham Van Ness, an outspoken friend of the colonists, was murdered at his father's door.
The southern and eastern portions of the town had scarcely any occupants until some years after the western part had become quite thickly settled, But before 1750 a number of Quakers came in, and with immigrants from New England and Dutchess county, laid the foundation for permanent settlement. It is recorded that the Quakers were particularly friendly with the Indians, and that one Wilbor had great influence with them and was often called on by them for advice. Such was their faith in his fairness that they often called upon him to divide among them the presents of goods and whisky which it was the policy of the fur buyers to bestow at frequent intervals, in order to restrain the savages from carrying their furs to Albany and elsewhere.
From 1750 down to just before the Revolution settlement throughout the town became general and more rapid. The rich valley lands and the gentle hills, with valuable timber tracts in some localities, became dotted with primitive homes, and rude mills and shops sprang up along the streams, often within the shadow of the forest. Apart from the list of residents already given as signers of the memorial to the English crown and the other families just mentioned, the history of the several villages and their vicinity, with the early years of the civil list and the church histories will give the reader a reasonably full account of the early denizens of this thrifty town. Many other families are noticed in Volume II of this work. The town records furnish a valuable source of mere names of settlers. In 1795 there were three hundred and eighty voters in the town, which would indicate that settlement had been active and general before that time.
Among the names that have been gathered from different sources of those who were residents of the town before the Revolution and down to the beginning of the century were Peter Van Aistyne, a very prominent man in town affairs, Adam Van Ness, Hosea Bebee, Samuel Wilbor, Stephen Minton, James Brebner, Levi Stone, Theophilus Lockwood, Nicholas Kittle, Matthew Dorr, Samuel Hudson, David Bebee, Michael Durham, Aaron Cady, Abner Beckwith, Abel Eaton, James Savage, Martin Krum, Abraham Hogeboom, James Bartholomew, Gaylord Hawkins, James Palmer, Seth Jenney, Joseph Smith, Stephen Palmer, John Davis, Jeremiah Burgess, Thomas Hulbert, Justus Betts, Simeon and Samuel Doty, Joseph Brewster, Stephen Davis, William Benjamin, Stephen Churchill, Edward Palmer, Judson Parks, David Barnes, Alfred Parsons, John and Nathan Noyes, Alexander Smith, Palmer Cady, Patrick Hamilton, John Stranahan, Gershom Babcock, Eleazer Davis, Silas Pratt, Joseph Kellogg, Amasa Adams, Jonathan Ball, Peter Savage, John Camp, Samuel Anable, Hezekiah Hulbert, Zebulon Douglas, Benjamin Lord, and many others noticed a little further on. A list, given below, of those assessed for highway tax, will add to the above most if not all of the owners of real estate in the town in 1801:
John Son, Abram Macy, Timothy Bunker, Zepheniah Coffin, Amos Serrien, Henry Clark, Isaac Clark, Jared Pratt, E. Mosher, Joseph Pitts, Morris Murphy, Thomas Williams, Abram Johnson, Abram Hogeboom, John Cornelius, Jacob Stevens, Benajah Slack, William Wagner, Sheldon Curtis, Ichabod Lester, Peter Roberts, William Palmer, Ohediah Wilbor, Joseph Phillips, Reuben Moore, Russell Crocker, William Clark, Abel Eaton, Aaron Cade, Elijah Stevens, Abner Beckwith, John I. Miller, John Van Derburgh, Richard Stevens, Jonathan Chapman, Frederick Ham, William Sutherland, widow Krum, Samuel Hunt, Dennis Harder, Joel Champion, James Van Valkenburgh, widow Mills, Israel Phelps, Nicholas Van Hoesen, Nehemiah Reynolds, Nehemiah Finch, Amasa Pitts, Joseph Allen, Anson Pratt, AbrahamVosburgh, Caleb Knight, Samuel Thompson, Samuel Crocker, Reuben Lay, David Wickham, Asa Starkweather, Daniel Bebee, Nathaniel Halsey, Andrew Markus, Andrew Weiderwax, Andrew Calner, B. L. Van Valkenburgh, Jacob L. Schermerhorn, Conrad Rouse, Phineas Knapp, Ebenezer Burger, Mathew Dorr, John Johnson, Robert Macy, David Haight, William Steves, Solomon Van Valkenburgh, Josiah Richmond, James Brebner, Seth Rowland, Gaylord Hawkins, Abel Smith, Benjamin North, David Reynolds, Calvin Eaton, John Darrow, Gershom Babcock, Isaac Webster, Elijah Cade, Samuel Mott, Rowland Gifford, Edward Dorr, Samuel Wilbor, Joel Talmadge, Joseph Smith, James Savage, Philo Bebee, Ebenezer Cade, Ebenezer Lovejoy, Daniel Morris, Jabez Person, Isaac Hammond, John Clark, Frederick Tobias, A. A. Van Alstyne, Tunis Sowers, Peter Van Slyke, Gershom Reed, Isaac Van Ness, Peter Becker, James Hudson, John Roberts, Cornelius Van Ness, Justus Betts, S. Fitch, Oliver Parks, William C. Elmore, E. Hudson, James Lockwood, Daniel Troop, Hosea Bebee, Elisha Hollister, Thomas Wilson, Robert Gamier, Eleazer Davis, Daniel Benjamin, Gilbert Van Allen, A. J. Van Alstyne, Elkanah Briggs, Samuel Drake, James Van Hoesen, Edward Upton, Peter Pulver, John R. Bullis, Robert Simms, John Walker, Timothy Babcock, Uriah Coffin, Nathaniel Gillet.
The act erecting the town of Chatham, passed March 18, 1795, ordered that the first meeting for the organization, and election of town officers, should be held at the house of Ebenezer Crocker. On this occasion the following officers were elected: Supervisor, James Savage; town clerk, James Palmer; assessors, Peter Van Alstyne, Martin Krum, William Gardner, Hosea Bebee; collectors, Ichabod Lester, David Bebee; constables, Noah Westover, James Lockwood; poormaster, Abraham Hogeboom; fenceviewers, William Chamberlain, Seth Rowland, Rowland Gifford, Alexander Webster, Robert Gardner, William Davenport; commissioners of highways, Jason Lester, Daniel Smith, Jared Pratt; census takers, Peter Van Alstyne, William Gardner.
In the town records under date of " June ye 6th, 1801," there occurs the following entry: " Last night a frost remarkable for posterity to read of."
In 1829 a meeting was held to take into consideration the project of forming a new county from the northern towns of Columbia and southern towns of Rensselaer counties. A committee composed of Isaac Mills, Thomas Hoag, Richard S. Peck, Archibald Campbell, George Bain and James Sutherland was appointed to confer with other committees upon the subject, being instructed in favor of the proposal. This matter ended there, as far as relates to this town.
Until about 1810 there were a number of slaves held in the town. The records indicate that it was necessary for slave owners to report for record the increase of their slave property. In 1800 Peter Van Slyck certified to a negro child born of a slave woman belonging to him; and among others making similar reports were John I. Miller, Matthew Dorr, Elsie Fisher, Jacob Van Hoesen, Daniel Troop, Josiah Richmond, Samuel Wilbor (Quaker), Abraham Van Alstyne, and Hosea Bebee. Many of these were the most prominent men in the town. In 1808 Samuel Brockway, Samuel Wilbor and Jesse Stevens recorded certificates of manumission of all their slaves.
The territory of this town has always offered a fair field for the work of the agriculturist. The average evenness of its surface, the diversity and general productiveness of the soil, and the progressive methods of the farming community have combined to contribute to the clearing and successful cultivation of many of the finest farms in the county. As a whole the farmers of the town have directed their efforts to no special or exclusive lines, the general character of mixed farming having been followed. All of the ordinary crops of grain, with potatoes, hay, etc., have received attention and fully rewarded the toil of the energetic land owner. Among the many leading farmers of the town, past and present, may be mentioned the following: James Skinkle, John Skinkle (deceased), George Shufelt, James Bain (deceased), Isaac Bain, Elisha Clark, John W. Blunt, John K. Pierce, William Goodrich, Jonathan R. Powell, Chauncey S. Ashley, Norman Ashley, Willis J. Best, Mrs. Angell (widow of Edwin A.), Charles Beckwith, and L. F. Payne. A prominent industry which is intimately related to agriculture in this town, is the extensive milk bottling business, established about two years ago by Wright & Evans. Their output is shipped mainly to New York city.
During many past years Chatham was noted for the number and magnitude of its manufacturing industries, the busy wheels of which have been turned by the water power of the streams at various points.
At the site of what was long known as the Clark Mills, there was in early years a grist mill, later a carding factory, and still later a wadding factory, operated by H. & E. Backus. These were superseded by a paper mill prior to 1840, about which time the first steam paper dryer used in this vicinity was introduced in the mill, increasing its capacity tenfold. Nothing remains at this point but the old dam. Above this site Plato B. Moore located a mill about 1840, which in course of time became the property of members of the Gilbert family and was widely known by their name. When last in operation this mill contained two machines, one 56 inch and one 36 inch; J. D. Shufelt was then proprietor. Nothing now remains of this property.
On the site of what was known as the old Stewart grist mill, which was one of the very early ones here, was subsequently erected the Payne paper mill, which contained a 68 inch machine and two engines. The product was large, but with changes in the conditions of paper markets, the mill was gradually converted into a board mill; it is now run by the Stony Brook Box Board Company. Above this was the J. H. Garner paper mill, which had two engines and a broad machine, giving it large capacity and turning out an excellent quality of paper. The site is now vacant.
The Mesick Paper Company built an extensive paper mill in the village with a capacity of four tons of heavy paper per day; an extra quality of light paper with waterproof finish was also made. This business was finally abandoned, and the buildings were ultimately occupied by the existing plant for lighting the village by electricity, and owned by the Chatham Electric Light, Heat and Power Company. A little above this site was the old grist mill of Joseph R. Coleman,which later became a distillery; this business was also finally abandoned. What was known as the Davis Paper Mill had a period of fair prosperity; it was situated above the village, while a mile below the village, on the creek, was situated the Columbia mill, which was built by J. W. Smith & Son; here were carried on persistent and costly experiments to produce paper from wood, as now so extensively made, but without success. The business was long ago abandoned. Below this mill stands what was known as the M. M. Tompkins mill, which was established in 1850 by Staats D. Tompkins; its capacity was over 3,000 pounds of straw wrapping paper per day; this mill was later operated for a time by Angell Brothers, from whom it passed to Albert Tompkins. Edwin Angell then took it and sold it to Thompson & Morris. Still farther down the stream was built what was known as the Eagle mill, which was at one period operated by Staats D. Tompkins; Adams & Haner were later proprietors and turned out 5,000 pounds of straw wrapping paper per day. The property finally passed to Edward T. Hughes, who is now engaged in the manufacture of tissue paper.
In this connection it is best to notice the few other paper mills of the town at large. One of these was the Bullis Brothers' mill on the Steeny below Chatham Center, which was built in 1853 by Tompkins, Bullies & Wilson, with a capacity of five tons of heavy paper per day; this mill is now operated by Sanford C. Haner. Paper making began at Malden Bridge in 1845, when the firm of Hanna & Peaslee established a mill. Horace W. Peaslee was a native of New Lebanon where he was born in 1807, his father being Jepthah Peaslee, the pioneer of that name in the county. The son learned the millwright and machinist trade and in partnership with Samuel Hanna established a foundry and machine shop at Valatie, in Kinderhook, which they operated until 1843, when they purchased an old cabinet shop, a grist mill and a saw mill at Malden Bridge. To make room for their new brick paper mill, the old buildings were demolished, and the paper mill erected in 1845-46. The water fall of fourteen feet gave valuable power and the mill produced nine hundred tons of straw wrapping paper per year; card board and other kinds of paper were also made here. This property is now owned by the Rossmans of Stockport and is running on straw paper, with A. W. Rossman manager.
From these brief sketches it will be seen that the manufacture of paper in this town was once a very important industry, and also that it has declined until there is little of it left. Other industries noticed further on have to some extent taken its place. In 1869 S. & J. W. Boright began dealing in lumber and other building materials in Chatham village and the business is still in existence, with J. W. Boright proprietor. The manufacture of gloves was once carried on here by H. D. Simpson, but the industry attained little prominence and was discontinued.
The thriving village of Chatham is situated on the southern bank of the Steene Kill (or Steeny Creek), partly over the town line in Ghent, and contains a population according to the census of 1890 of about 8,000. The early settlers in this immediate vicinity, besides those mentioned on a preceding page, were William Thomas, who originally owned the greater part of the village site and established the first business about 1812; and Capt. Thomas Groat, who settled soon after Thomas, and whose name was attached to the place as Groat's Corners, until the more appropriate title of Chatham Four Corners came into use, to continue until 1869, since which date it has been called Chatham Village. Then came John L. Sharp, an early cabinet maker; Hezekiah Hulburt, a wagon maker; Joseph R. Coleman, the miller; and Jethro Bunker, James Bullis, Edward Hunter, James Tobias, Samuel Van Alstyne, and others, farmers.
William Thomas opened a tavern here on the 1st of January, 1812, in the building that became known as Stanwix Hall, which he erected in the previous year; it is now kept as a hotel. He was succeeded in a few years by George Bain, who was followed previous to 1816 by Peter Groat, who owned a stage line, and after the establishment of the postoffice, which was in existence in 1818, he kept it in the hotel. In 1815 Mr. Thomas built the so called Park House, on the site of the present Hotel Windsor, where Ebenezer Crocker and others served the public, and in 1840 a third tavern was opened by William Raymond, and others followed in later years. William Thomas opened, also, the first store in the place in the Park House, where he was succeeded by Ebenezer Crocker, who sold off the goods and opened a hotel. The second store was started by Joseph R. Coleman and Israel McCord in a small house farther up the turnpike. Solomon Crandell settled in the village in 1829 and began trade, but two years later moved into what was known as the Yellow House at the junction of the two turnpikes; there he continued until 1855, when he moved farther up the street and followed his business during a period in all of about half a century. John H. Mesick opened a store about 1840; among later merchants may be mentioned William Tator, William I. Peak, Jared Best, George L. Morris (now president of bank), Homer Crandell, James E. Traver (formerly J. E. & J. B. Traver), grocers, David L. Starks (deceased), Jacob L. Best, drugs; J. W. & Samuel Boright, F. P. Vincent (philatelist), J. F. Welch, hardware for twenty five years; Charles Hawley, hardware; A. J. Fellows, drugs; H. J. Baringer, J. D. Dardess & Son, A. W. Ball & Son, J. H. Page, H. J. Hayes & Co., R. E. Shuphelt, florist; Hamm Furniture Co. (Hamm & Gifford), Elliott & Thomas, coal and wood, J. L. Pendleton, bakery, Washburn & Seymour, drugs, Halstead & Pierson, wagons, carriages, coal and wood, R. H. Delavan, harness, William Rogowski & Co., dry goods, Joseph Summer, merchant tailor, and others.
The growth of Chatham, was, like that of most similar villages, slow until the opening of the first railroad, when it received an impetus that was greatly strengthened after the opening of the Harlem line, forming a junction with the Boston and Albany road. The construction of what was the Harlem Extension road still further promoted the growth of the village and it became one of the most thriving business communities in the eastern part of the State, more than one hundred trains arriving and departing daily, involving the transfer here of many passengers. At about the time that the village began to show rapid improvement it was visited by a destructive conflagration which burned a long block of wooden buildings. It was in one respect, at least, a blessing to the place, for on the burned district were erected substantial brick structures which still testify to the enterprise of the people.
The town of Chatham as a whole has passed through a long period of extensive and active manufacturing industry in a variety of branches, and especially in the production of paper, which is still carried on to some extent, but not as it was in past years. Water power was found at hand in the creek that flows through the village, as well as elsewhere in the town, and the settlers were prompt to utilize it in turning numerous wheels. The census of 1810 gives the town twelve grist mills (only a few of which are now in active existence), eight saw mills, four fulling mills, and three carding machines. There were also one hundred and thirty eight looms in use in families; these cloth producing interests long ago passed away. In 1860 there were four grist mills, five saw mills, one paper mill, a plaster mill, a furnace and plow factory, a tannery, and a candle factory.
About the first attempt to use the water power of the town was in the southern part, at what has long been known as White Mills, where grist and saw mills were operated in early years by Robert Clark and others; these mills supplied grinding of grain and lumber sawing for the pioneers of a wide section of territory. To that place went also Joseph Watson to begin the manufacture of cotton wadding, which became a successful industry, returning such profits that George Humphrey, who was then operating the grist mill, was induced to convert that into a wadding factory. The business subsequently passed to Francis H. Rathbone, who made further improvements in methods and processes, and later J. W. Smith took the business, conducting it on a large scale and employing both water and steam power. It was absorbed by the Wadding trust, and under its control was closed.
The manufacture of paper in Chatham village began about 1828 by Dickey & Wilder, in a small building on the site of the later Morris & Boice mill; there a grist mill was converted into one of the old hand paper mills. Soon afterward, about 1834, the firm of Wright & Hamilton introduced in this town the first machinery for paper making, and and the industry rapidly increased in magnitude and importance. The mill at this point was ultimately equipped with modern machinery as then used and continued until recent years; it is idle at the present time.
What was known as the Chatham Village Smelting Furnace was built in 1873 by the firm of Beckley & Adams, who operated it one year when it was closed. Its capacity was ten tons of pig iron per day. This establishment is now in operation by the Kelly Mining Company, with J. J. Morehouse, manager.
The old foundry, built by Joel Page in 1837, stood on the site of the present village hall, and was destroyed by the great fire, which had its origin in the foundry building.
The Chatham Village Foundry and Machine Works were established in 1840 and have had a continued existence to the present time, being now operated by George E. Drumm & Co. Large quantities of general castings are produced and agricultural implements made. The list of the usual mechanic shops that have existed in the village for longer or shorter periods is a long one and need not be followed here; many of these have long ago disappeared with the changes of recent years in methods of manufacture in wagons, boots and shoes, tin ware, etc., and the consequent centralization of many industries in great establishments in cities.
A large machine shop business has long been conducted by W. H. Clark, who has a finely equipped establishment, many of his best working machines having been built by himself, including heavy engine lathes, milling machines, etc. He makes a specialty of paper mill rolls and other mill machinery, which is sold over a wide extent of territory.
The building erected a number of years ago for a thermometer factory by Charles Taglibue, of Brooklyn, and vacated, was taken in 1892 by the Chatham Shirt Company, for the manufacture of shirts. The firm now carrying on the business is Woodward & Bailey (W. C. Woodward and M. C. Bailey), who manufacture white and colored shirts to the number of one hundred dozen per day.
Lewis Coon is a contractor and large dealer in lumber, sash, doors, etc. Halstead & Pierson are extensive dealers in coal, wagons and agricultural implements, and James Thomas (the present village president) is also a coal dealer.
The volume of trade and manufactures in Chatham village demanded many years the financial conveniences of a bank and led in 1859 to the establishment of the old Columbia Bank, a State organization with a capital of $100,000. William A. Woodbridge was president of the institution and S. M. Jewell, cashier. In June, 1867, this bank closed its business as a State institution and became a private bank conducted by William A. Trowbridge & Co. It failed in June, 1873.
The present State Bank was organized March 1, 1875, with a cash capital of $50,000, and the following named directors: A. M. Tracy, Daniel Clark, Joseph C. Ford, T. R. Burrows, Isaac Son, George A. Birch, Edmund L. Judson, George L. Morris, John D. Shufelt, A. H. Stark, John M. Bailey, Walter F. Hurcomb, Charles B. Knowles, and Samuel Moffatt. George L, Morris was chosen president and has ever since held the office. The first vice president was Talcott R. Burrows, who was succeeded by W. H. Barnes, and he by John T. Wheeler, the present incumbent. Samuel Moffatt was the first cashier and was followed by Frank P. Salmon, who is still in that position. The handsome brick building occupied by the bank was erected in 1884. The bank has surplus and profits amounting to $23,000.
The postoffice at Chatham was established as Chatham Four Corners at a date prior to 1818, with Ebenezer Crocker, postmaster. Peter Groat occupied the office in 1820, and later Solomon Crandell was the official for a number of years. Other postmasters were John Cadman, W. H. Barnes, and others. The present official is George E. Drumm.
The old Stanwix Hall building, before mentioned, is still occupied as a hotel, and the traveling public is amply accommodated in the village by the Chatham House, kept by J. B. Sinclair; the new Windsor House, which was recently burned and rebuilt by C. H. Mason; the Webster House, Gorman's Hotel, and the Wesley House.
Chatham village has from early times been ably represented in the legal profession, one of the pioneers having been Martin Van Deaden. He was followed by P, W. Bishop, who moved to Troy, and Elijah Payne who removed to Hudson. One of the eminent attorneys and jurists of Columbia county, Hugh W. McClellan, practiced here more than twenty five years. John Cadman, who at one period held the office of county judge, began practice here in 1853. Later attorneys were Alvah D. Roe, Horatio H. Wright (deceased), Charles Baurhyte, W. C. Daley, Nathan Post, Lewis K. Brown, and George K. Daley. The lawyers now in practice in the village are George McClellan (son of Hugh W. McClellan), admitted to the bar in 1880; John C. Dardiss, admitted in 1893; Aaron B. Gardenier, admitted in 1871; Sanford W, Smith, admitted in September, 1890; Charles E. Barrett, admitted in May, 1882; George K. Daley, admitted in May, 1863; and W. B. Daley, admitted in May, 1893.
Dr. Edward Dorr was one of the pioneers here and continued in medical practice many years. Drs. Loftus, Hyatt, Green, Bourn, and Foster came between 1830 and 1840, and Dr. James T. Shufelt began practice in 1839, continuing nearly half a century. Dr. William C. Baley was his contemporary and practiced many years. Drs, W. H. Barnes and John T. Wheeler were prominent physicians many years ago. Dr. Frank C. Maxon has been in practice almost forty years, and other present physicians of the village are Drs. I. C. Washburn, C. L. Mosher, W. R. Starks, and Mary E. Clarke. Dr. A. M. Calkins has practiced dentistry seventeen years, and five prior years in Philmont.
In the several hamlets of the town are Dr. Sherman Van Ness at Chatham Center; Dr. R. H. Morey at Old Chatham; Dr. Frank T. Kunker, at North Chatham; and Dr. G. W. Goodell at East Chatham.
The cause of education in Chatham has received adequate attention from early times. The first available record is under date of September 12, 1795, on which day the School Commissioners in the persons of James Savage, Martin Krum, Hosea Beebe, Abraham Hogeboom, Samuel Wilbor, Peter Van Aistyne, and James Bartholomew, met at the house of Gaylord Hawkins, appointed James Palmer clerk; and adopted the following:
"Resolved, That the clerk write twelve advertisements reciting part of the act for the encouragement of schools, and notify the time of the next meeting."
The second meeting was held at the house of William Vosburgh, but there is no record of its proceedings. The town was divided into districts, but what the original number was is not known. A Miss King is credited with having taught the first school in Chatham village in a small building that stood near the site of the railroad bridge. In 1860 there were twenty districts in the town, and 1,497 children were taught. A few years later the number of districts was reduced to nineteen.
The last report of the superintendent of public instruction gives the number of districts containing school houses as eighteen; the number of teachers, twenty; the value of school buildings and sites, $11,235; the assessed valuation of districts, $2,319,444, and the whole number of children taught in the preceding year, 495. The town forms part of the second district of Columbia county, of which John D. Mickle is school commissioner.
The office of town superintendent of schools was first held in 1844 by Oliver J. Peck, who was followed by Amos J. Boright, Hugh W. McClellan, Isaac M. Pitts, Horatio N. Wright, Nathaniel Mosher, and others. In 1878 there were in the town 1,089 children of school age.
The school history of Chatham village can be followed more in detail. A meeting of District No. 22, Chatham and Ghent, was held in 1850, at which a vote was taken on a resolution to raise money by tax with which to erect a school house on Kinderhook street. The older building was sold, and on land purchased of William H. Shaver the new house was built. This lot was sold eventually to John Cadman for $500 and in 1859 the school lot on School street was purchased. It was then voted to raise by tax $1,250 for building a new school house, to which was to be added the proceeds from the old property.
In 1873 the sum of $2,500 was voted with which to erect a brick addition to the school building in School street. In 1880 Union School District No. 1 was formed. By this time the attendance had largely increased and it became necessary to hire rooms for the overflow. In 1882 the lot on which stands the present school building on Woodbridge avenue was purchased for $2,500, and the building erected thereon. To provide funds for this purpose $20,000 in bonds were issued. The accepted bid for building the house was for V 4,229. In 1894 a second building was erected on the same lot; it is of brick, and cost about $8,500. The first principal in the Union district (1881) was M. J. Michael, whose wife served as assistant. He was succeeded by I. H. Bishop, and one year later Frank H. Wood was employed. He was followed by S. McKee Smith, and he by the present principal, W. H. Lynch, who is a Harvard graduate and a very capable and efficient educator. There are fourteen teachers in all in the employ of the school, which bears the character of a high school, with academic department and teachers' training class.
What was known as Chatham Academy was erected in 1871, at a cost of $3,000; this property passed to possession of John Cadman, J. D. Shufelt, and D. F. Lovejoy, who continued a school as a private enterprise. Abraham Macy was the first principal, and others who occupied the position were L. C. Hitchcock, George F. Cole, Edward Weatherby and Miss E. French. The school was closed many years ago and the building is occupied for a dwelling.
The Chatham School of Telegraphy and Business College is a successful institution in every way. It is conducted by a company, of which D. H. Hoffman is president, H. McClellan Potter, secretary and business manager, and James J. O'Niell, treasurer.
A petition for the incorporation of Chatham village was granted on February 15, 1869. The population was then given as 1,355, who were about equally divided between this town and Ghent. The area of the proposed village was eight hundred and fifty two acres. An election was held on March 18, 1869, to vote on the question of incorporation, at which two hundred and eighty four votes were polled, of which number eighty six only were in opposition to the measure. The corporate name adopted was Chatham Village. The first municipal election was held on April 24, 1869, at which the following officers were chosen: Trustees, William A. Woodbridge, Abram B. Pulley, John Wing, Mark Mealy, and George L. Morris; clerk, Abram Ashley, Br.; assessors, Richard H. Bump, Joseph P. Hogeboom, Samuel Jerkowskie; collector, Enos C. Peak; treasurer, James T. Shufelt; poundmaster, Hiram Allen. William A. Woodbridge was elected the first president of the village and Dr. James T. Shufelt was chosen health officer. William C. Daley was chosen police justice and George C. Burrows and George E. Kenworthy, police constables.
Following is a list of the presidents and clerks of the village from its incorporation to the present time, with the years of their service:
Presidents. - 1869-73, William A, Woodbridge; 1874-75, D. S. Lovejoy; 1876, Elijah M. Thomas; 1877, John D. Shufelt; 1878-79, Aaron Bell; 1880, W. H. Ten Broeck; 1881, George E. Drumm; 1882, James Smith; 1883, E. M. Thomas; 1884, W. H. Barnes; 1885, E. Backus; 1886, John P. Mickle; 1887, John W. Boright; 1888, H. A. Seymour; 1889, J. J. Morehouse; 1890, F. C. Maxon; 1891, Ezra Hawley; 1892 James Elliott; 1893, I. C. Washburn; 1894, A. Marks; 1895, W. C. Daley; 1896, John W. Blunt; 1897, A. J. Fellows; 1898-99, S, R. Hatfield; 1900, James Thomas.
Clerks. - 1869-80, Abram Ashley, jr.; 1881, Nathan S. Post; 1882-85, Cornelius Shufelt; 1886-88, L. C. Callender; 1889-91, F. E. Page; 1892-1900, W. B. Daley.
The fire extinguishing apparatus of Chatham was insignificant previous to 1858, when Ocean Engine and Hose Company No. 1 was organized, with Chauncey H. Peak, foreman; Peter Reasoner, secretary. There were at that time only six members, The company was incorporated the next year and from that time forward was a large and effective organization, having more than fifty members. A Button & Blake engine was purchased in 1859, with adequate hose and other equipment. The fire apparatus has always been kept in the village public building, which was purchased in the first year of the municipal incorporation at a cost $5,500. It is a three story brick structure, centrally located and is surmounted with a tower in which are a bell and a clock. The building contains apartments for public meetings, a firemen's hall, police court, etc.
During many past years the village was without adequate and satisfactory water supply for both domestic uses and for extinguishing fires. To supply this need the Chatham Waterworks Company was organized in April, 1886, with a capital of $100,000. H. W. McClellan was chosen president of the company; George E. Drumm, vice president; Philo B. Blinn, sr., treasurer; Philo B. Blinn, jr., secretary; a later president of the company was John D. Mickle, who still holds the office. H. W. Fables succeeded to the vice presidency, who was followed by Austin E. Cady; Daniel S. Lovejoy was then chosen and now holds the office, The present secretary and treasurer is George McClellan. An ample supply of excellent water is taken from twenty large driven wells and a pure spring, the supply being pumped by the Holly system. About eight miles of pipe are laid and fifty hydrants in use. When this system was completed the steam fire engine which had been purchased by the village to displace the old hand engine, was sold, only hose carts being needed.
Electric lighting was introduced in the village in 1886-90, by private enterprise. The lighting plant is now owned and operated by the General Electrical Company of Schenectady.
Besides Chatham village there are in this town eight other points of settlement where postoffices are maintained and in most of which there are or have been business interests of some kind. Of these what is known as Old Chatham dates farthest back into the past. Here or in the vicinity located in early years Samuel Wilbor, before mentioned, and Harry Van Valkenhurgh, Almon Russell, Roderick Bebee, Thomas Hoag, Allen Davis, Volney Burgess, Rensselaer Hoag, Simeon S. Mickle, John S. Lay, Benjamin Beckwith, Hosea Hudson, Pliny Hudson, Levi M. Butts, Wigton Lester, R. Tabor, and others who contributed their full share to the improvement of that section of the town. The village is situated a little northeast of the center of the town, and was in early years a place of a good deal of business importance, although the water power supplied here is limited. It is a station on the C. & L. V. Railroad, but its business interests have greatly declined with the more rapid growth of Chatham village. One of the first stores opened here was that called the Federal store, which was conducted on the co operative plan; beginning in 1787, this store had a large trade for many years. Stephen Wilbor had another early store in a building that remained the property of members of that family a great many years. Some time after 1810 Thomas Hoag kept a store in a part of the building in which he had also a tavern. Other later merchants were A. Campbell, David Carshorc, Harvey Brown, Benjamin Rider, Seth Daley, C. B. Hudson, and perhaps a few others. The Wait Brothers are at present conducting a hardware store in which they have done business nearly forty years, and a second store is kept by J. W. Redmond, A pioneer grist mill was built here by Stephen Wilbor; it was subsequently owned and operated by Jedediah Brockway, who was followed by others, and was burned in 1875.
An early tavern was opened on the site of the later Locust Tree House by Thomas Hoag, which received large patronage from the many travelers over the turnpike on which it was situated. Several other public houses were opened at different dates, and one hotel is conducted at the present time. The postoffice here was removed from Malden Bridge, but the date is not accessible. Among the physicians who practiced here prior to recent years were Drs. Horace Root, who died in Chatham in 1865, and N. M. Ransom.
The hamlet of Malden Bridge, where were built and operated the Peaslee paper mills before noticed, is situated in the central northern part of the town. Early settlers in this immediate vicinity were James Van Valkenburgh, Josephus Johnson, Jeremiah Van Hoesen, Daniel Haywood, Isaac Van Ness, Amos Irish, John W. and Levi Pitts, Ransom Page, Samuel Crandell, Jason Lister, J. Pratt, and others, On what was known in recent years as the Waterman Lippitt place Roswell Hoidridge conducted a tavern in early years, in which the first postoffice was established about 1810; the office was subsequently removed to Old Chatham, as before stated, but a new office with the name Malden Bridge, as at present, was opened at a later date Leniah Walker kept another pioneer tavern in a building which was continued as a public house many years. A tavern is still kept in the place, and two stores. Merchants of the past were George Cornell, L. Van Valkenburgh, Smith & Vedder, and a few others.
The hamlet of Chatham Center is situated a little west of the center of the town, with a station on the Boston and Albany Railroad. Its situation is favorable for business and in past years it was a place of importance in this respect. Some of the early settlers in this immediate vicinity were Peter Van Aistyne, John Van Slyck, Derrick Sluyter, Gershom Reed, Gaylord Hawkins, Rowland Gifford, Robert Van Alen, Amos Sutherland, Israel Phelps, James Brebner, Peter Pulver, James Van Valkenburgh, Isaac Mills, and Seth Rose.
The first store in this place was opened by Col. Peter Van Alstyne, near the site of the Van Alstyne residence. On the opposite side of the stream James Brebner had a rival store; both of these men were also mill owners and competition between them was sometimes quite exciting. A store is now kept by Andrew Van Alstyne, who is also postmaster. Other early merchants were Timothy Oakley and J. J. Van Valkenburgh; the latter built the store in 1816 that continued long in use and there continued in business until 1835. Gaylord Hawkins opened the first tavern, and public houses have since been kept by numerous landlords. The postoffice was established about 1830, with John Rogers postmaster; among others who have since held the office, beside the present official, were James Sutherland, R. Sleight, W. L. Van Alstyne, R. H. Vedder, Jacob V. Schermerhorn, Abram Wiederwax, and others. The place has always had the usual small mechanic shops.
North Chatham is situated in the northeast corner of the town, on a principal east and west thoroughfare, and in the old days of stage travel, had considerable business interests. Among the early settlers here was Andrew Wiederwax, who opened the first tavern in the lower part of the village, which he conducted until 1825, and was succeeded by various other landlords. Caleb Hill opened another tavern near the center of the place. For some years there was no hotel in the village, but one is now in existence. The first store was kept by Jacob A. Ten Eyck as early as 1800, on the site occupied in later years by H. Wiederwax & Son; the latter firm continued in trade about forty years, and Aaron Traver was a merchant about twenty years. Caleb Hill, Jacob Wilson, and Pardee Carshore also kept stores. The postoffice was originally kept in Caleb Hill's tavern, but when it was established is not now known. A hotel has been kept here in recent years by the late Homer Kingman, which is now occupied by his widow. A. H. Harder has carried on merchandising in late years, and stores are now kept by Aaron Traver and Dudley Walker.
Dr. Richard S. Peck was in medical practice here from early settlement until 1827, and was followed by Drs. Joseph Chadwick, O. J. Peck, F. B. Sutliff, John H. Hoysradt, and others.
In the vicinity of the site of East Chatham, a small village in the extreme eastern part of the town and a station on the Boston and Albany Railroad, settled in very early years Garrett M. Rowe, Joshua Gifford, Noadiah Gillet, M. Vanderpoel, and others. The first store was opened here by Peter Crandell, and later merchants were Baldwin Brothers, Jesse D. Flint, Obediab Palmer, who was in trade nearly forty years, and others. The post office was established about 1840, with J. C. Chapman, postmaster. One of the first to open a public house was Samuel Foot, whose house was on the site of the later Palmer's store. In comparatively recent times there were half a dozen stores of different kinds here; but the volume of trade has fallen off and at the present time there are only two stores, kept by Palmer & Johnson and Charles Clark, a hotel, and a few shops. Jacob Fidler had a store and was postmaster; he died recently.
A short distance south of East Chatham is the hamlet of New Concord. Here and in the immediate vicinity settled the Palmer, Bebee, Eaton, Pratt, Savage, Lovejoy, Doty, Cady, and other families, the members of which have in past years done a great deal for the advancement of this part of the county. Hosea Bebee was one of the early merchants in the lower part of the hamlet, from which he subsequently removed to a more central location. Anson Pratt was another early merchant, and David and Daniel B. Lovejoy, Cady & Vanderburgh, and Charles Lovejoy, were in trade in later years. Public houses were kept in past years by James Brebner, Benjamin Lovejoy, B. Van Valkenburgh, and others. Here and in this vicinity practiced in early years Dr. Joseph Brewster, Dr. Augustine Haven, and Dr. Eleazer Root. The business interests of the place are now confined to a small store, a tavern, and a postoffice.
Rayville is a small settlement in the northeast part of the town, where considerable business was done in long ago years. The Reynolds and Finch families settled here early, as also did Obediah Wilbor, Noah Ashley, the Gardner and Brown families. About the beginning of the century Francis Ray settled here and became a prominent citizen, the settlement taking his name, His son, David Ray, was also a leading citizen during his long life. Horatio Gates Spafford, afterwards the noted author, kept one of the earliest stores here, in the first decade of the century. David Ray began business in 1827 and continued more than half a century. There were many mechanic shops here in early times. The postoffice was formerly known as Green Brook. There are at the present time no business interests here.
Three miles northwest from Rayville is what is known as Rider's Mills settlement. Here were established about the beginning of the century, Mosher's Mills, which are mentioned in the Gazetteer of 1813, where the place is noticed as an active business settlement. The mill property subsequently passed to Jonathan Rider, but was later destroyed and there is now no business interest here.
The present Reformed Church of New Concord had its foundation in a religious body called the "Church of Christ of New Concord," of Congregational, doctrine, the date of whose organization cannot be learned, but probably soon after settlement began. The early records of the society have been lost, and only the roll of the original members is available. This roll embraces the names of Deacon Seth Jenney, Deacon Joseph Smith, Deacon Stephen Palmer, David Barnes, William Benjamin, Justus Betts, Joseph Brewster, Jeremiah Burgess, Stephen Churchill, John Davis, Stephen Davis, Samuel Doty, Simeon Doty, Abel Eaton, Thomas Hulbert, Edward Palmer, Judson Parks and Alfred Parsons. Services were held in a log meeting house, which later, before 1800, was superseded by a frame structure. The Rev. John Waters was at one time pastor. The Presbyterian form of government was adopted in 1815, and Rev. Joel T. Benedict ministered to the people until 1827, and was succeeded by Rev. M. Raymond. Again in 1835 the society assumed Congregational government, and had as pastors Revs. John T. Avery, Nathaniel Pine, Abel Crandell, Theodore S. Brown, and others.
In 1856 the name of the church organization was changed to the "Reformed (Dutch)," and the following consistory was elected: Elders, Hezekiah H. Lovejoy, Joseph D. Clark, Charles W. Lovejoy; deacons, Orlando B. Allen, Andrew M. Clark, and William Doty. The meetinghouse was moved to its present location soon after and thoroughly repaired, and in 1900 underwent remodeling and fitting. The Rev. Henry E. Decker became the first pastor under the reorganization, remaining until 1860; he was followed by Rev. Josiah Jansen, 1861 to 1864; Rev. David A. Jones, 1861-67; Rev. J. H. Bcvier, 1867-73, since which have been as supplies Rev. H. R. Harris, C. S. Mead, A. W. Ashley and others; Rev. A. B. Woolsey came a little more than six years ago and served as a supply until the summer of 1900, when he was succeeded by Rev. Mark A. Denman.
For many years prior to 1900 the life of the church greatly languished, but in the summer of that year, soon after the opening of the ministry of Rev. Mark A. Denman, there was a noteworthy revival of all the interests of the church. The edifice was entirely renovated and greatly improved at a cost of eight hundred dollars. On October 14th the renewed house of worship was formally reopened, at which time Rev. E. A. Collier, D. D., and Rev. C. V. W. Bedford made addresses. About the same time was organized a "Woman's Auxiliary Missionary Society" of some twenty five members, and the church entered upon a new era of prosperity.
The Methodist denomination had its workers in this field soon after 1800. Services were held first in barns, and the first class, it is said, was composed of Mrs. James Van Valkenburgh, Cynthia Lester and another woman whose name cannot be recalled. The labors of itinerants was kept up with some success, and a few years later "Fathers" Chadwick and Jewett, Nathaniel Brockway, Philip Frisbie, Lawrence Van Valkenburgh, and Mrs. Samuel Wilbor were members of the class, and still later were added Philip Hulbert, H. N. Wheeler, Horace Root, Loren M. Davis, Jedediab Brockway, William Mickle and Mrs. Hosea Hudson. In 1812, Timothy Oakley, Ezra Chadwick, Abijah Stever and John Stearns, jr., as trustees for the Methodist society, erected a meeting house in Chatham. This structure was rebuilt in 1866, which at that time, with the parsonage, was valued at $8,000. In 1886 it was again practically rebuilt, a new front with a tower being the chief improvements.
The M. E. church at Malden Bridge has always been connected with the Chatham church and served by its pastors. It was legally organized in 1834, with James B. Van Valkenburgh, Josephus Johnson, Seth Daley, Levi Pius and Waterman Lippitt as trustees. A chapel was built in 1835, which was thoroughly reconstructed in 1870.
The Reformed Church of Chatham Village. - It was in the spring of 1842, that Rev. Richard Sluyter, of Claverack, addressed a communication to the classis of Rensselaer at their spring session, on the subject of establishing a missionary station at Chatham Four Corners. After a full discussion of the matter the classis appointed a committee, of which Mr. Sluyter was chairman, to visit the ground, and report concerning the feasibility of the plan. Having examined into the probabilities of success, the committee reported favorably, and the classis resolved to procure a preacher to occupy the grounds. Mr. E. S. Porter (now Dr. Porter, of Brooklyn), having been recently licensed, was prevailed upon to accept the appointment.
He accordingly came to Chatham Four Corners, and commenced preaching there on the 1st of September, 1842. A district school house was used for the purpose. On the 27th of October, 1842, Mr. Porter was ordained as an evangelist, and continued his labors, although no church was instituted. But it pleased God that his cause should be established there, and a small number of believers were found willing to come forward and be united into a distinct flock.
Accordingly, on the 22d of January, 1843, Rev. John C. Van Dervoort, of Mellenville, as one of the committee of classis appointed for the purpose, came and organized a church by the appointment and ordination of Martin Mesick and Peter Gardenier, elders; and John S. Wilkinson, deacon; and the church was organized under the style and title of the "First Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Chatham." A subscription for building a church, or house for divine worship, was commenced September, 1842, and a contract for building the same was formed on the 12th of March, 1843. In due time the edifice was completed, and on Saturday, the 7th of October, 1843, it was dedicated to the service of the Triune God. The Rev. Mr. Crandell, pastor of the Congregational church at Concord, offered the invocation. Rev. Theodore Wyckoff, of the Second Dutch church of Ghent, read the eighty fourth psalm, Rev. Dr. Gasman, of Hudson, preached the sermon, and Rev. E. L. Porter offered the dedicatory prayer.
The Rev. E. S. Porter, having been presented with a call from the church, and having accepted the same, was installed in the pastoral office on Tuesday the 17th day of October, 1843.
The pastors have been as follows: Revs. E. S. Porter, 1843-19; N. D. Williamson, 1850-51; John W. Schenck, 1851-53; Edwin Holmes, 1853-59; C. S. Mead, 1859-70; James B. Campbell, 1870-73; N. H. Vanarsdale, D. D., 1874-80; Theo. S. Brown, 1880-97; Mark A. Denman, 1897, the present pastor.
During the last twenty five years the original edifice has been renovated and improved at least twice. During the ministry of the Rev. Jas. Campbell the auditorium was improved at a cost of about $1000. Later, in the time of the ministry of the Rev. T. S. Brown, again was the church repaired. During the years of 1897-8, the old parsonage property, contiguous to the Methodist church, was disposed of by sale and a new and commodious manse erected farther down Kinderhook street. At the date of this sketch (1900) the original church edifice, erected in 1843, and improved as above noted, is still in service, but is soon to be replaced by a more modern structure suited to the needs of new environment and enlarged demands.
The M. E. Church at Malden Bridge has always been connected with the Chatham church and served by its pastors. It was legally organized in 1834, with James B. Van Valkenburgh, Josephus Johnson, Seth Daley, Levi Pitts and Waterman Lippitt as trustees. A chapel was built in 1835, which was thoroughly reconstructed in 1870.
The North Chatham Methodist Episcopal Church dates its birth from the year 1832, when Rev. Arnold Schofield, presiding elder, inaugurated measures for building a meeting house, which resulted in the appointment of George L. Rowe, John I. Budd and Timothy Nichols as a committee to carry out the plan. A modest structure, costing about $1,600, was the result of their efforts, built in 1834, and dedicated in January, 1835, by Rev. Buel Goodsell. This was used until the present imposing edifice was ready for occupancy, which is thought to be one of the most attractive in the county. Among the first members of this church were John and John I. Budd, Jesse Stever, John Q. Huyck, George L. Rowe, Timothy Nichols, Heber Palmer, Elijah Budd and their wives. The church is prospering.
In 1849 was incorporated the Chatham Center Methodist Episcopal Church, with Peter B. Van Slyck, Ebenezer Jennison, Daniel Harris, Henry Becker and George C. Clyde its board of trustees. A house of worship was erected the same year the society was incorporated, which was improved in 1875; a neat parsonage belongs to the church. It was for a long time served in connection with other appointments of the circuit.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Chatham village in its initial organization was called the "White Mills" Church, and occupied a small meeting house a short distance west of the "White Mills." The first trustees of the society, chosen June 18, 1835, were George Humphrey, Martin Harder, Stephen Shipman, Cornelius Shufelt, Mark K. Crandell, Jehoiakim H, Blass, James Van Valkenburgh, Theodore Pomeroy, and David Crego. Rev. Jesse Carley was the first minister. About 1849 the society removed its temporal interests to Chatham village, where a frame meeting house was erected for its use. This was destroyed by fire in 1853, and the next summer, under the supervision of Benjamin Rogers, Henry Porter and Peter C. Tompkins, as a building committee, the present edifice was erected. This was demolished and the present brick structure erected in 1887. The membership is three hundred and forty, and the Rev. David McCarthy, D.D., is pastor of the station.
The East Chatham Methodist Episcopal Church is the outgrowth of services held at New Concord about 1810. In 1815 a legal society was formed with Albert Cady, Peter C. Tompkins, Harrison Cady, Ferdinand Mesick and Talcott G. Starks as trustees. A small meeting house was built there, which, in 1856, was removed to East Chatham and dedicated November 13 of that year. The building has since been much improved. This society is now a charge, but prospering in membership and means. A pleasant parsonage is located at East Chatham. The church is served in connection with the society at Red Rock in the town of Canaan.
At East Chatham there was organized a Baptist church in 1813, which is still active. It has a good church building and a good membership. The records of the organization are not obtainable.
At North Chatham a Baptist society existed at one time, which built a meeting house. Services were discontinued many years ago, and the church building was used by the Congregationalists.
Before the close of the Revolution a Friends' Meeting was established at Rayville. The Finch, Reynolds, Wilbor, Mosher, Coffin, Swain, Barnard, Ray, Gardner, Smith and Cornell families constituted a greater portion of the Meeting. About 1800 Palmer Holmes built a meetinghouse, in which semi weekly meetings were held. The society is small.
St. James Roman Catholic church at Chatham village originated in 1855, in missionary work carried on by the church at Hudson. In 1856 a church edifice was erected and under the title of St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Rev. James S. O'Sullivan, the parish was organized. The structure was enlarged in 1868 under the direction of Rev. J. J. Moriarty. In 1873 an out mission was established at Copake, and a house of worship erected. In 1897 the old church building was demolished and the name of the society changed to St. James. Rev. James L. Walsh, the present priest, came to Chatham from the Church of the Immaculate Conception at New Lebanon on January 1, 1892, and has been energetic and persevering in building up the parish. The new church edifice of St. James was begun May 25, 1897, and will cost $300,000, built of brown stone; only the basement is yet completed. After the old church was demolished services were held for a year in the opera house, and when the basement of the new edifice was completed, it was occupied. The congregation comprises one hundred families, and is in a thriving condition.
St. Joseph's Roman Catholic church at Malden Bridge was incorporated October 10, 1871. It is a mission of St. John the Baptist church at Talatie, which see for further details.
A Lutheran church was organized in Chatham in 1874, and during a large part of the succeeding period down to the present time has been connected with the church of the same denomination in Ghent. A chapel was erected soon after the organization of the society, in which services were held until 1898, when the present edifice was erected. The first pastor was the Rev. J. G. Griffith, who was succeeded by the Rev. Chester Traver. Since his pastorate Rev. J. F. Hartman, Rev. J. N. Morris, Rev. M. G. L. Rietz, and Rev. J. W. Lake have served the congregation.
Chatham Village Rural Cemetery is located within the village limits, on an elevation overlooking the surrounding country, and is tastefully laid out with roads and walks and planted with trees and shrubbery. It is controlled by an association organized October 21, 1856. The first trustees were Elijah M. Thomas, Thomas F. Meick, Ebenezer Backus, Peter Reasoner, Horatio N. Wright, Edward G. Robinson, James F. Shufelt, John D. Shufelt, and Swats D. Tompkins.
Chatham Union Cemetery, situated about half way between Chatham and Malden Bridge, contains six acres of land, and is controlled by an association organized December 20, 1858, with the following trustees: P. F. Cady, George Huested, Samuel Wilbor, Waterman Lippitt, Sherman Tan Ness, and Jonathan B. Rider, jr. This cemetery has well improved features and is carefully maintained.
Chatham Center Cemetery is located near the hamlet of that name, and is under the management of an association which was organized January 8, 1859. The first trustees were Jacob Tobias, Daniel Harris, Barton Huested, jr., Elibu Clark, Jesse Crandeil, and William Van Alstyne. It occupies four acres of ground, which has been finely improved and beautified.
The North Chatham Cemetery, the oldest one in the town controlled by an organized association, is situated near the village and contains two acres, attractively improved. The association which controls it was organized on March 6, 1852; the first trustees were Henry Wiederwax, Henry Hiel, Cornelius Coon, George L. Rowe, O. J. Peck, Peter Packman, John Wiley, Henry N. Smith, John Schermerhorn.
The New Concord Cemetery is an improvement of an old burying ground, and contains about two acres. The location on a high plot of ground north of the hamlet is pleasant and well adapted for the purpose. It is under the management of an association organized on October 25, 1866, with C. L. Ford, H. H. Lovejoy, Ira Smith, H. S. Pratt, J. D. Clark, and G. B. Allen, trustees.
One of the oldest burial plots in the town is at White Mills adjoining the Methodist meeting house; and there is another at Rayville, well kept, near the Friend's meeting house.
The population of Chatham, as given in the census reports, has been at the dates shown, as follows: 1825, 3,522; 1830, 3,538; 1835, 3,469; 1840, 3,662; 1845, 3,570; 1850, 3,839; 1855, 4,023; 1860, 4,163; 1865, 4,285; 1870, 4,372; 1875, 4,501; 1880, 4,574; 1890, 4,019; 1892,1810, 3,880.
Following is a list of the supervisors of Chatham from the formation of the town to the present time, with the years of their service:
1796-97. Levi Stone.
1798-1800. P. Van Alstyne.
1801. Matthew Dorr.
1802-03. James Brebner.
1804-08. Matthew Dorr.
1809-12. Timothy Oakley.
1813. Samuel Wilbor.
1814. Mathew Beale.
1815-16. Aug. F. Haydon.
1817. Anson Pratt.
1818-19. Peter Van Alstyne.
1820-22. Isaac Mills.
1823. Winthrop Phelps.
1824-25. Pliny Hudson.
1826. Isaac Mills.
1827. Peter Van Alstyne.
1828-29. James H. Parke.
1830. John W. Pitts.
1831. Peter Van Alstyne.
1832-33. Matthew Dorr, jr.
1834-35. Chas. C. Chadwick.
1836-37. Levi Pitts.
1838-39. Gates Clark.
1840. Waterman Lippitt.
1841-42. John Rogers.
1843. William Kirk,
1844. Jesse Crandall.
1845. John Knight.
1846. Jesse Crandall.
1847. Adam I. Shaver.
1848. John I. Silvernail.
1849-50. William Kirk.
1851-52. Daniel Reed.
1853-54. H. W. McClellan.
1855. Oliver J. Peck.
1856-1858. Waterman Lippitt.
1859. Daniel Reed.
1860. Hiram D. Ford.
1861. Sherman Van Ness.
1862. Perkins F. Cady.
1863. John D. Shufelt.
1864-65. Jonathan B. Rider.
1866. Staats D. Tompkins.
1867-68. Robert A. Bullis.
1869. William H. Goold.
1870. Perkins F. Cady.
1871. Milton M. Tompkins.
1880-83. John J. Wilbor.
1884-86. Jonathan R. Powell.
1887. Robert Hoes.
1872. Charles Housman.
1873-78. Perkins F. Cady.
1879. Samuel N. Hand.
1888-89. John J. Wilbor.
1890. Sanford C. Haner.
1891-98. Perkins F. Cady.
1899-1900. Sanford C. Haner.
The town clerks of Chatham have been as follows:
1796-97. Peter Van Alstyne.
1798. Anson Pratt.
1799-1800. P. B. Van Slyck.
1801-05. Samuel Drake.
1806. James Welch.
1807. Timothy Oakley.
1808 Peter Van Alstyne.
1809-10. Thomas Hoag.
1811. Calvin Pardee.
1812. A. F. Hayden.
1813 John Powers.
1814. Job Northrup.
1815-17. Winthrop Phelps.
1818. Hoze Hulbert.
1819. Winthrop Phelps.
1820. Reuben Van Alen.
1821-22. Winthrop Phelps.
1823-25. John W. Pitts.
1826. John Sutherland.
1827. Winthrop Phelps.
1828-29. John Sutherland.
1830. John Patterson.
1831. Matthew Dorr, jr.
1832. Daniel Ray.
1833-34. John Rogers.
1835. A. P. Van Alstyne.
1836. Robert L. Dorr.
1837. R. P. Sutherland.
1838. William Ray.
1839. Waterman Lippitt.
1840. George C. Clyde.
1841-42. John W. Rider.
1843-44 Jason I,. Gifford.
1845-46. W. L. Van Alstyne.
1847. Edward A. Lynn.
1848. Horatio N. Wright.
1849. H. Van Valkenburgh.
1850. Philand S. Gifford.
1851. Hugh W. McClellan.
1852. Matthew C. Wilbor.
1853. Samuel W. Sutherland.
1854-55. E. D. Daley.
1856-57. Waterman L. Brown.
1858. Edgar L. Rider.
1859-60. W. L. Brown.
1861. Abram Wiederwax.
1862. W. L. Brown.
1863. William H. Gold.
1864-65. Andrew Van Alstyne.
1866. Charles W. Hulbert.
1867-68. Andrew Van Alstyne.
1869-71. J. A. Van Alstyne.
1872-73. John B. Wait.
1874. J. A. Van Alstyne.
1875-76. George W. Lay.
1877-79. George E. Burrows.
1880-81. Theodore Knapp.
1882-84. Calvin D. Hicok.
1885-88. Leroy E. Callender.
1889-91. Frank E. Page.
1892-93. Sanford W. Smith.
1894. C. G. Van Alstyne.
1895. S. W. Smith.
1896-1900, R. W. Seymour.
Columbia County At The End of the Century, Hudson Gazette, Hudson, New York 1900
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