By Capt. Franklin Ellis236


     Ancram Lead Mines, more commonly called "Hot Ground," lies south of the centre of the town, and is a station on the Poughkeepsie, Hartford and Boston railroad, twenty-nine miles from Poughkeepsie.  The first name conferred on this locality was "Punch Brook," a name which still adheres to the stream that passes through it.  It derived this name from a traditionary incident, in which a man who had been to Hudson on business, and who had imbibed considerably more ardent spirits than he could transport with an undeviating uprightness of carriage, had also, in view of future emergencies procured a half-barrel of liquor, which he was drawing home on a lumber wagon.  As he drove through the bed of the brook the wagon tilted over the stones, and the barrel rolled against and knocked out the end-board, falling on to the stones and knocking in one head, and, before the owner could collect his befuddled senses, the liquor had mingled with the waters of the stream, and ran gurgling on its way to the river.  The name afterwards given it of "Hot Ground" was probably on account of the ore-bed there.  It is a common belief among the ignorant that the ground where metallic ore is found is always warmer than where no ore exists, and the stream or cloud rising from the hill-sides after a shower is thought to indicated the location of hidden mines.  There is an extensive bed of lead ore at this point, and "Hot Ground" probably was first used to indicated this fact.  It is a small village, one church (Presbyterian), one hotel, two stores, one restaurant, a depot, one wagon and blacksmith-shop, and about a dozen dwellings.