By J. H. French

R. P. Smith, Publisher

Syracuse, New York




Page 243

     The surface is broken and hilly.  In the e. part the hills range in a n. and s. direction, but elsewhere they are irregular.  Roeliff Jansens Kil1 crosses the town in a s. w. direction.  A narrow intervale, bordered by steep, irregular hills, extends along its course.  The soil is a gravelly loam intermixed with clay.  Iron ore has been obtained at different places from the hills upon the e. border of the town,2 and lead ore is mined at Hot Ground.3  Ancram,4 (p.v.) situated on Roeliff Jansens Kil, in the w. part of the town, contains 2 churches, a paper mill, a sawmill, and about 30 houses.  Hot Ground, (Ancram Leadmines p. o.) and Boston Corner, (p.o.,) a station on the Harlem R. R., are hamlets.  The town was first settled by the Dutch in the neighborhood of Ancram Village.  There are 3 churches in town.5

AUSTERLITZ--was formed from Canaan, Chatham, and Hillsdale, March 28, 1818.  It lies on the e. border of the co., n. of the center.  The e. and central parts are broken by irregular ranges of hills, and the w. part is undulating.  The principal streams are Green River in the e. and Punsit Creek in the w.  The soil is a gravelly loam intermixed in some parts with slate and clay.  The hills are mostly arable to their summits.  Spencertown, (p.v.,) on Punsit Creek, in the w. part of the town, contains 2 churches, and academy,6 and 2 gristmills.  Pop. 225.  Austerlitz, (p.v.,) in the valley of Green River, contains 2 churches and 150 inhabitants.  Upper Green River is a hamlet in the s. e. part of the town.  The first settlements were made about 1845 to 1750, by squatters from Conn.7  Disputes concerning the ownership of lands thus appropriated arose; and on the 31st of May, 1757, the settlers appointed a committee to adjust the difficulties.  About 1774, Nathaniel Culver and Jas. Savage were sent to England to secure a grant of these lands to the settlers; but, owing to the trouble existing between the mother country and the colonies, they were unsuccessful.  The land titles were finally settled by the act of March 22, 1791.  The first church (Cong.) was organized in 1750, and Rev. James Clark was the first pastor.8

CANAAN--was formed as "Kings District," March 24, 1772, and its name was changed March 7, 1788.  A part of Chatham was taken off in 1795, and New Lebanon and a part of Austerlitz in 1818.  It is situated on the e. boarder of the co., between Austerlitz and New Lebanon.  A range of mountains or hills separates it from Massachusetts.  The surface is broken and hilly.  Whitings Pond, in the e. part of the town, is about 2 mi. in circumference.  Its outlet is tributary to Kinderhook Creek and affords several valuable mill sites.  The soil is a gravelly or slaty loam and clay.  The hills are mostly arable to their summits.  Near the center of the town is a slate quarry.9  Canaan Four Corners, (p.v.,) a station of the A. & W. S. R. R., contains 1 church and 32 dwellings; Flat Brook, (p.v.,) a station on the same R. R., contains 1 church and 15 dwellings.  Canaan (p.o.) and Canaan Center (p.o.) are hamlets.  Queechy, on the outlet of Whitings Pond, contains 1 church, 2 paper mills, a sawmill, a gristmill, and 21 dwellings; and Red Rock,10 in the s. w. corner of the town, contains 3 churches, a sawmill, a gristmill, and 30 dwellings.  Two families of Shakers, consisting of about 75 persons, reside in the n. e. part of the town.  They are chiefly engaged in farming, and their estate consists of over 1400 acres.  They raise garden seeds to a limited extent, and manufacture brooms, mop sticks, and other similar articles.  The settlement of the town was commenced about 1756.11  At a meeting of the citizens of "Kings District," (June 24, 1776,) held for the purpose of choosing delegates to the Provincial


1 Called "Ancram Creek" in this town.


2  These mines have been worked many years.  Considerable quantities of ore are obtained on the land of A. McArthur and sent to Millerstown (Dutchess co.) on the Harlem R. R.   An ore bed n. of this, owned by the Empire Co., is connected with the R. R. by a track 1 mi. long.


3 This mine was discovered on land leased by the keeper of the Livingston Manor.  Robt. R. Livingston purchased the lease, and sold it to a N. Y. Co., by whom the mine was worked until within a few years.  A shaft has been sunk 100 feet, and galleries opened in different directions.  The mine is on land now owned by H. McIntyre.


4  This place was formerly celebrated for its iron works.  These were erected as early as 1756.  The ore was obtained form Salisbury, Conn., and from mines in the e. part of this town, and pig and bar iron of a superior quality was made.


5 Evang. Luth., M. E., and Presb.


6 The Spencertown Academy was established mainly through the exertions of Rev. Dr. T. Woodbridge.


7 Among the early settlers were John Dean, John Williams, Seth and Truman Powell, James Sexton, Ephraim Kidder, and families by the names of Osborne, Lawrence, Spencer, and Whitmore.


8 The census reports 4 churches in town; Christian, Cong., M. E., and Presb.


9This quarry is on the land of L. D. Ford.  The slate is of a dark blue color, and plates of any required size or thickness may be obtained.


10 So named from a large rock by the roadside, painted red, and surmounted by a wooden column about 10 feet high, bearing the date "Jan. 1825."


11 Among the early settlers were families named Douglass, Warner, Whiting, Alesworth, Baldwin, and Hawley.  The first mill was built by Wm. B. Whiting, about 1775.  This mill, stored with grain belonging to the government, was burned by tories during the war.  In the first book of records is a memorandum, without date of signature, stating that "the town records were kept on loose paper previous to 1772, but not probably but a few years.  The deed from the Indians of 6 mi. sq. was executed in 1758.  The compensation was 250, that being paid for the 6 mi. sq."  The record is continuous since May 5, 1772.




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