By Capt. Franklin Ellis293
On the post-road, twelve miles south from Hudson, and six east from Germantown, is the only village in the town. It is located on a rich and beautiful tract of land, and was formerly a place of greater importance than at present, the railroads having diverted the trade it enjoyed to other points. It now contains three stores, and Episcopal church, four or five good mechanic shops, a large hotel, and has about two hundred inhabitants. Before the Revolution, Derick Jansen lived at this place, near the residence of Wm. H. Wilson, and kept a store in one of the two houses then standing there. Jansen remained in the place, but became much reduced in his circumstances. A Major Grier and Patrick Collins were afterwards engaged in trade in the same locality. About 1800, Dr. Wm. Wilson erected the store-house at present in use in this part of the village, in which Elisha Miner opened a store. Having gone to New York to purchase goods he contracted yellow fever, from which he died. Cyrus Capron succeeded as a merchant, and was followed by Bonesteel & Broadhead, A. Wackerhagen, and later by Levi Le Roy, who remained about twenty years. George D. Foland is at present here in trade. In the central part of the village Edward P. Livingston, at that time the proprietor of Clermont, erected a store-house, which has had numerous occupants. For the past twenty-two years Martin Williams has here been in trade. The co-operative store, on the opposite corner, was opened in the spring of 1878.
On the Wilson corner was an old-time inn, built in the long rambling way peculiar to the taverns of that day,--before the Revolution,--in which Ira Gale was a keeper after 1808. The house stood until after 1825; but its usefulness had been superseded by another tavern, erected farther down the street, by Cyrus Capron, who kept a store in part of the building. Other landlords were Peter and Elias Smith, Charles King, and Wm. McGill. The old house was removed in 1852, and the present spacious hotel erected by Captain Eliakim Littell, a native of the south, who was accustomed to spend several months a year in this place. Alexander Coon was the first landlord, and kept a famous house. Wm. Hurd, Abram Potts, Joseph Shirtts, Horatio Plank, and Reuben Van De Bogart have since kept this house, the latter since 1871. A Masonic hall is in one of the upper stories of the hotel.
In 1800, Samuel Ten Broeck, M. Livingston, and Wm. Wilson were excise commissioners of the town, and granted licenses to keep public-houses to George J. Best, Ira Gale, Jacob Salspaugh, Bernard Creamer, Maria Whitman, John Cooper, John Moore, and Philip D. Rockefeller, living in different parts of Clermont. Near the last stand--a farm-house now occupied by Allen Coon--J. W. Coon opened a store and tavern in 1854, which has been carried on since 1859 by W. L. Fraleigh.
The Clermont post-office is one of the three first established in the county,--July 31, 1792,--and had Wm. Wilson for its first postmaster. He was succeeded, in 1820, by Wm. H. Wilson, who held the appointment until 1852. Since then the postmasters have been Levi Le Roy, Horatio Plank, Joseph Shirtts, and Martin Williams since 1862. The office has a daily mail from Hudson.
It is said that a Dr. Thompson was the first physician in town, living here at an early day. In 1784, Dr. Wm. Wilson located here permanently, and remained in active practice many years. He died in 1828. Before 1790, Dr. Thomas Broadhead was also a resident physician, and was one of the ablest practitioners in the county. A short time before his death, in 1830, his son, John, also a very able physician, was associated with him, and shortly after Dr. Peter Van Buren followed in this practice, he having been a son-in-law of Dr. Broadhead. A Dr. Robert Clough, in practice at Clermont, met with an accidental death from the use of poison. Dr. Philip H. Knickerbocker is well remembered as a worthy physician, as well as his successor, Dr. Thomas Broadhead, a grandson of old Dr. Thomas Broadhead. For many years Dr. Rensselaer Platner has ably represented the profession in Clermont.
As an attorney, Cornelius P. Van Ness was here a short time, and Elisha Holley at a later period. Wesley R. Gallup was the last resident lawyer in the village, and Erastus Coon in the eastern part of the town, the law having at present no representative in Clermont.
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