Civil Government


Columbia County,

New York

By Capt. Franklin Ellis343


     The northeastern part of the county formerly constituted King's district, and was formed "by virtue of an Act made and passed by his Excellency the Governor, the Council, and the General Assembly of the Province of New York, bearing date March 24, 1772, and entitled an Act to Divide the Counties of Albany and Tryon into Districts.As originally erected, King's district embraced all of the present towns of Canaan, New Lebanon, the east three-fourths of Chatham, and Austerlitz in part.  The inhabitants were principally natives of New England, and were noted for their public spirit and the method which characterized their civil affairs.

     The first annual meeting of the district was held at the house of Grixson Frisbie, May 5, 1772, and was organized by choosing Daniel Buck, moderator, and Martin Bebee, clerk for the district.  The election then proceeded, with the following effect:  Supervisor, Wm. B. Whiting; Collector, Daniel Buck; Constables, Martin Hawley, William Jarvis, and Philip Frisbie; Poormasters, Daniel Lovejoy, first, and Jarvis Mudge, second; Fence-viewers, Aaron Kellogg, first and Eleazer Phinney, second; Poundmasters, Ebenezer Cady, first, and Elijah Gifford, second; Tithing-Men,* Jarvis Mudge and Elnathan Griffith, for New Lebanon; Samuel Wheeler and Joseph Wood, for New Britain; David Wright, Jr., and William Warner, for New Canaan; John Bebee and Ebenezer Cady, for New Concord; Nathaniel Culver, for Philipstown; John Blair, for the southeast of King's district.

     "Voted, That Ebenezer Cady's yard be the pound for the south end of the district, and Elijah Gifford's for the north end of the district.

     "Voted, that the next meeting be held at the house of Grixson Frisbie."


     Other early district and town-meetings were held at the houses of Solomon Demon and Jonathan Warner.


*These officers were charged with a general oversight of the conduct of the inhabitants, in a manner similar to the committees of safety which were afterwards appointed.