By Capt. Franklin Ellis295
This is the largest town in the county, having an area of thirty-one thousand seven hundred and three square acres. It was erected from Canaan and Kinderhook, March 17, 1795, with bounds which have been reduced to the present limits by the formation of Ghent and Austerlitz in 1818. The general shape of the town is rectangular, having its length from north to south. It is bounded on the north by Rensselaer county, and partakes in that part of the characteristics of that county. The surface is considerably elevated and undulating. The eastern part has a mountainous aspect, but westward the country becomes more level, with occasional ridges of slaty rock extending north and south, having broad intervals of surpassing richness and beauty. Nearly the entire surface is tillable, and there is but little waste land in the town.
The soil is a loam, or a mixture of loam and clay, or gravel. Along Kinderhook creek are some alluvial flats which are extremely fertile. All the soils are rich and produce abundantly the cereals especially rye. Grass is a staple crop, and potatoes are extensively cultivated.
The conformation of the surface of the town secures excellent drainage. Kinderhook creek, the principal stream, enters the town from the north, a little east of the centre, and has a southwesterly course, passing into Kinderhook south of the centre of the western line of Chatham. In its course it takes the waters of numerous brooks and Steeny and Kline Kill creeks. The latter forms the southwestern boundary of the town. Steeny creek flows from the east to the south line at Chatham village, thence takes an abrupt northwesterly course. It has a deep channel, with rocky banks and bed, affording many mill-seats, which have been well improved. For its volume it is the best stream in the county. Kinderhook lake, in the northwest, is partly in Chatham. Many springs abound, and in the eastern part, in the neighborhood of New Concord, are several possessing mineral properties.
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