Columbia County,

New York

By Captain Franklin Ellis25



Page 241

   Hollowville is a large hamlet, near the centre of the town, on one of the affluents of Claverack creek, which here affords limited power.  It is on the Columbia turnpike, in a vale surrounded by hills rising to a considerable height.  It was formerly known as Smoky Hollow, and being on one of the principal routes to eastern points, it was, before the railroads were built, of more importance than at present.

    At an early day Wm. Z. Holsapple opened a tavern at the lower part of the hamlet, in a house which yet remains, and has always been used for this purpose.  On the hill another public-house was opened, in which David Blunt, Dr. Sharp, John M. Smith, and others were among the early landlords.  In 1844 this house was kept by Jonas and Simeon Miller, and was the scene of the Rifenburgh tragedy, on the 18th of December of that year.  The anti-renters came from the direction of Churchtown, disguised as Indians, and rendezvoused in an upper room of this house.  A large crowed congregated in front, among them the boy Rifenburgh, to see th "Indians" dismount.  In the hurry of the moment a pistol was accidentally discharged, killing the young man.  "Big Thunder" afterwards made a speech in front of the tavern, and then, having laid aside his disguise, was arrested in one of the rooms of the house.  This building is still used as a tavern.  A third tavern was built by Wm. P. Snyder, which has been changed into a private house.

    Adam VandeBoe was one of the first to engage in merchandising, and was followed some time after by John Freeland, who opened another store.  Among those who have here been in trade were Ezra Averill, David Carshore Levi Miller, David Rose, John W. Van Hoesen, Mathia Michael, and since 1866, David C. Neefus.

    Wool-carding and fulling machines were early operated at this place by Sela Hill, and afterwards by Martin Bailey.  Edward & Christopher Gernon manufactured satinets and flannels.  Their place was changed into a hosiery-mill by Christopher Gernon, and employed a dozen hands.  On the 4th of October, 1869, it was destroyed by a freshet.  A saw-mill now occupies the site.  Farther up the stream a grist-mill was built about 1838 by Matthew N. Burdick, which is at present operated by J. H. Rowe.  A trip-hammer was formerly worked by Wm. P. Snyder, and guns were manufactured by Peter Snyder.  In addition to the general mechanic shops, there is at present a cradle-factory by Peter I. Anderson and Jacob A. Shaver.

    A short distance east from Hollowville is the widely known "overshot mill," which was erected about the present century by Jacob Hoffman.  It is now operated by William Smith.  The saw and plaster-mills have been discontinued.

    West from Hollowville is a small cluster of houses, known locally as "Buttermilk Falls."  On the small brook at this point were, in early times, woolen-mills and a distillery, by J. Rutsen Van Rensselaer.  All these interests have long since disappeared.