History of Columbia County, New York

By Captain Franklin Ellis

Published by Everts & Ensign

Philadelphia, PA

1878

 

 

CHAPTER XIII

Pages 120 to 126

EDUCATIONAL AND RELIGIOUS.

    [Page 120]  Prior to the Revolution no general system of education was established.  All schools in existence previously were private schools, or were fostered by special legislation.  The necessity and importance of common schools had not been recognized, and education was confined to the wealthier classes.  At the first meeting of the State Legislature, in the year 1787, Governor Clinton called the attention of that body to the subject of education, and a law was passed providing for the appointment of regents of the university.  In 1789 an apportionment of public lands was made for gospel and school purposes.  In 1793 the regents were authorized to report a general system of common schools, and in 1795 Governor Clinton strongly recommended the same, and urged it adoption by the Legislature.  On April 9 of that year a law was passed "for the purpose of [page 121] encouraging and maintaining schools in the several cities and towns in the State, in which the children of the inhabitants of the State shall be instructed in the English language, or be taught English grammar, arithmetic, mathematics, and such other branches of knowledge as are most useful and necessary to complete a good English education."  By this act the sum of 20,000 pounds (New York currency), or $50,000, was appropriated annually for five years for the support of schools.  Under the law of 1795, counties were required to raise at least half as much as was received from the State, and the public money was to be divided according to the number of days of school taught.  In 1798 there were 1352 schools organized, and 59,660 children taught in them.  No further legislation was had, except for additions to the school fund, until 1811, when five commissioners were appointed to report a complete system for the organization and establishment of common schools.  The commissioners reported a bill, which became a law in 1812, by which the sum of $50,000 was to be distributed annually among the counties, the boards of supervisors being required to raise an equal amount, the whole to be distributed among the towns and districts.  Three commissioners in each town were provided for to superintend schools and examine teachers, and three inspectors in each district were to engage teachers and otherwise provide for the local necessities of the schools, the whole system to be place under a State superintendent.  Gideon Hawley was the first superintendent, and held the position until 1821, when the office was abolished, and the secretary of state charged with the performance of the duties pertaining to it.  Mr. Hawley, by his efforts, contributed largely to the advancement of the school system.  After the abolition of the office of superintendent, the duties of the office could not be properly or promptly performed by the secretary of state, owing to the press of his other duties, and governors every succeeding year urged upon the Legislature the necessity of a better system of schools, and of laws to correct obvious defects in existing laws.  In 1835 departments of teachers were established in eight academies, one in each senatorial district.  In 1838 the district library system was established by law, by a tax levy of twenty dollars on the taxable property in the district, and ten dollars annually thereafter, which law was modified in 1851, making it discretionary with the supervisor of the town to levy the tax.  In 1838 $55,000 was appropriated by the State for libraries, and counties and towns were required to raise an equal amount for the same purpose.

    In 1841 the office of deputy superintendent of schools for counties was created.  In 1843 the board of town inspectors and commissioners of schools was abolished and the office of town superintendent substituted.  On May 7, 1844, the State normal school was provided for, and opened at Albany in December following.  Nov. 13, 1847, the Legislature abolished the office of county superintendent, against the earnest protest of many of the best friends of education in the State.  During this session teachers' institutes, which had existed for several years as voluntary associations, were legally established.  March 26, 1849, free schools were established throughout the State, rate-bills abolished, and a tax on property for the entire expense of the schools provided.  This was submitted to the people, and ratified by a vote of three to one.  But the taxes levied under the law being unequal, the law became distasteful, and remonstrances poured into the next Legislature against its continuance, and in in 1850 it was again submitted to the people and again sustained, though by a decreased majority.  In 1851 the free-school act was repealed, and the rate-bill again substituted.  At the time of the repeal the sum of $800,000 was provided for annual distribution by a State tax, which in many districts practically made free schools.  Afterwards this sum was replaced by an annual tax of three-fourths of a mill on all property in the State, making an increase in the aggregate and increasing with the wealth of the State.  In 1853 the act for union free schools was passed, and in 1854 the office of superintendent of public instruction* was created.  On April 13, 1855, a law was passed providing for the designation by the regents of the university of certain academics wherein teachers' classes might be instructed free, the State allowing ten dollars for each pupil, not exceeding twenty in each academy.  April 12, 1856, the office of school commissioner for counties was created, and that of town superintendent abolished.

    In 1867 the rate-bill was gain abolished and the schools supported entirely by a tax on property, the doors of the school-houses being thrown wide open to all, of every shade of color, political or religious opinion, and of every condition of life

    The permanent school fund of the State was derived chiefly as follows:

1799.--- Seven-eighths of four lotteries of $100,000, aggregate. . . . . . . . . $ 87,500
1801.--- One-half of lotteries for $10,000. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   50,000
1805.--- Proceeds of 500,000 acres of land sold; stock subscribed in Merchants' Bank, and increased in 1807 and 1808.  
1816.--- One-half proceeds of Crumhorn mountain tract of 6944 acres, amount to. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    5,208
1819.--- One-half of arrears of quit-rent. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   26,690
  An exchange of securities between general and common school fund, by which the school fund gained. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161,641
1822.--- By constitution, all public lands amounting to 991,659 acres were given to the school fund  
1827.--- Balance of loan of 1786. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   33.616
  Bank stock owned by the State. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100,000
  Canal stock owned by the State . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150.000
1838.--- From the revenue of the United States deposit fund annually. . . 110.000
  And an additional sum from same fund for libraries . . . . . . . . . .   55,000

    The sum of $25,000 from the revenue of the United States deposit fund is annually added to the common-school fund, and the capital of this fund is declared by the constitution to be inviolate.

SCHOOLS IN COLUMBIA COUNTY.

    In the ancient documents, which contain most of the obtainable colonial history of the territory now comprised in Columbia county, the earliest reference to schools or educational matters is found in a declaration concerning some church affairs, signed by four residents of Kinderhook, and dated Nov. 30, 1702, in which they allude to a man named Paulus Van Vleck, who "was accepted as precentor and [page 122] schoolmaster of our church," and also mentioning Joghem Lammersen and Hendrick Abelsen as having been his predecessors in those offices.  This seems to establish the fact that among the Dutch pioneers, who settled the north-western and central parts of the county, the school was but an adjunct of the church, and the probability that in their communities the two institutions were coeval.  And it is also probable that, beyond the mysteries of the alphabet and spelling-book, the instruction imparted by the church "schoolmaster" was chiefly religious in its nature, corresponding to the "catechising" system which was in use for more than two centuries among the New England Puritans and their descendants.

    In the southern part of the county, among the Palatine settlers, schools were also established at a very early date.  There, however, we find no mention of the separate office of "precentor and schoolmaster," but the schools appear to have been under the sole charge of the minister.  The first school opened, and school-house built, in that settlement is supposed to have been in the year 1711; the supposition being confirmed by an old receipt, still in existence among the colonial documents in the office of the secretary of state, of which the following is a copy:

"Jan. 18, 1711.

    "I acknowledge to have received of Robert Livingston 40 Boards for ye school-house in palateyn town, called Queensbury and desire said Livingston to send for ye s'd use 30 Boards no to Compleat ye school-house.

"John Fr. Haeger, Min."

 

    At a later date, a certain tract of land was set apart for the use of "the Palatine minister," but upon the condition that "he shall likewise teach a school."  At Linlithgo, in the manor of Livingston, a school of some sort was taught, under the encouragement of the lord of the manor, as early as 1722.  The above general facts comprehend about all that is now known of the schools of this section during the century that succeeded its first settlement.

    On the 27th of March, 1791, a special act was passed authorizing "the building of a school-house and the maintaining of a schoolmaster" in the town of Clermont, out of "the monies arising from excise and other sources, in the hands of the overseers of the poor, but not needed for support of the poor," and Robert R. Livingston, Samuel Ten Broeck, John Cooper, William Wilson, Marks Blatner, and George Best were authorized to carry out the provisions of the act.

    The first public school moneys were distributed to the towns of Columbia in 1795, under the act of April 9 of that year, and amounted to 1372 12s. 6d. ($3431.56).  The first school tax was raised that year, the amount being that required by the aforesaid act, viz., one-half the amount received from the State, $1715.78.  In 1798, the amount to be raised was an amount equal to that received from the State, being $1412.12.  In 1830, a committee of the board of supervisors recommended the payment of twenty-five cents to school inspectors for each examination of teachers, and fifty cents per visit to the schools, and thought that a liberal compensation, and that no more than two visits per day should be paid for.

    From 1795 to the present time there has been received from the State for distribution to the several towns for the support of schools the sum of $465,700, and during the same period there has been raised by taxes on the property in the county, for the same purpose, the sum of $584,500.

    At the present time, all of the county, excepting the city of Hudson, is divided for school purposes into two districts, each under charge of a school commissioner.  These are known as commissioner districts, numbers one and two, and are composed as follows:

    District No. 1 embraces the towns of Ancram, Claverack, Clermont, Copake, Gallatin, Germantown, Greenport, Livingston, and Taghkanic.

    District No. 2 includes the towns of Austerlitz, Canaan, Chatham, Ghent, Hillsdale, Kinderhook, New Lebanon, Stuyvesant, and Stockport.

    The city of Hudson forms a third subdivision, and the commissioners of each of the three report independently.  From the latest (June 30, 1877) reports of these commissioners are taken the following statistics relative to the schools of the count, viz.:

 

The whole number of school districts in the county was. . . . . . 180
Of which the number of union free-school districts was. . . . 3
The whole number of school-houses was, frame, 164; brick, 13; stone, 8; total. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
Whole number of licensed teachers employed at the same time for a period of twenty-eight weeks or more during the preceding year. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 216
Whole number of children of school age. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16,013
Total average daily attendance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4883,219
Total amount of public school money apportioned to districts in the county for preceding year. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  $31,783.09
Total raised by tax for schools for same time. . . . . . . . . . . . $54,021.71
Total amount paid for teachers' wages in same time. . . . . . $83,821.02
Total number volumes in district libraries. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8965
Total value of same. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $3390
Total value school-houses and sites. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $142,488.00

    There were at the same time within the county twenty-one private schools (not including incorporated seminaries), having a total attendance of about two hundred and sixty pupils.

    Seminaries and private schools have from early times been numerous, generally excellent, and well supported in Columbia county.  The first of these institutions was the Washington Academy, established at Claverack in 1777, by Rev. Dr. Gebhard, pastor of the Reformed church.  This and others of its kind are mentioned more in detail in the histories of the respective towns and city in which they are or have been located.

    Earnest religious feeling was a marked characteristic of the early Dutch immigrants.  With them settlement and religious organization were usually almost simultaneous.  Wherever they made their homes in the new western land [page 123] there they hastened to set up God's alter, and made His service their first duty and chief delight.

    That the sober Hollanders who first settled this portion of Albany county were different in this respect from the other Dutch settlers of the valley of the Hudson, there is no reason to believe; though we find that in the year 1677 the Dutch church at the town of Albany felt called upon to denounce "the shameful violation of the Sabbath, especially that committed by the inhabitants of Kinderhook," and to petition the council that measures might at once be taken to bring the offenders to speedy and severe punishment.  What action, if any, was taken by the council in the matter does not appear.

    For lack of any further evidence of record concerning the religious condition of the people of Kinderhook or its vicicnity during the succeeding quarter of a century, we pass to certain entries in the minutes of the colonial council, as follows:

"ORDER IN COUNCILL, NOV. 12, 1702.

    "His Excellency in Councill being informed that one Paulus Van Vleck hath lately wandered about the country preaching, notwithstanding he hat been formerly forbid by his Excellency to do the same, and is lately called by some of the Inhabitants of Kinderhook to be their Clark without any License from his Excellency for so doing, It is hereby ordered that the high Sheriff of the county of Albany do take care to send the s'd Van Vleck down by the first opportunity to answer for his contempt before this board."

 

    This order brought out the following declaration, made by certain people of Kinderhook in Van Vleck's favor:

 

"KINDERHOOK, the 30th Novemb., Anno Domine 1702.

    In the first year of the Reign of her Majesty ANNE, Queen of England, Scotland, Ireland, and France, Defender of the Faith, We, the undersigned inhabitants of Kinderhook paten, acknowledge and Decalre that Paulus van Vleg during the whole of the time that he hath resided her, and since he was accepted as Precentor and school-master of our Church, hath truly comported himself to the Great content of our congregation, and that in all the time he was forbid to preach he hath never preached in house or barn or in any place in Kinderhook, but that he performed the office of Precentor as one Henrick Abelsen before his death hath done in Kinderhook; We have received said Paulus Van Vleg because one Joghem Lamersen (who was our Precentor here) hath resigned the precentorship, and frequently complained that he could not perform its duties any longer.  We further declare that the above-named Paulus van Vleg never took away the key of our church, but that we brought it to him in his house.

 

"YOHANNES VAN ALEN.

"COENRAET BORGHGRDT.

"ABRAM VAN ALSTYN.

"LAMMERT VAN YANSAN."

 

    For their impertinence the above signers were summoned to appear and answer before the governor and council in New York.  Whereupon one of them, Coenraet Boghghrdt, addressed a petition to the governor humbly begging

    "Your Escell'y favor to Refer the Case till the Spring of the year by Reason of the Could Winter and Ilconveniencys to my Great Damage of my family; or If Your Excell. Would be Pleased to Referr the Case to be Decided by any Justice or Justices of the Peace In Our County whom your Lordship shall Please to apoint, which favour the Knowledge of y'r Excellency's honour and Justice gives me no Reason to Doubt of, and your Petitioner as in Duty bound shall always Pray."

 

    This petition was "Read in Councill and Rejected," 28th January, 1703, and upon a second and peremptory summons, the guilty four were, notwithstanding, "the Could Winter and the Great Damage," compelled to journey to New York, where, as we learn from the minutes of the council, March 11, 1702, "John van Alen, Coenraedt Borghghrdt, Abramham van Alstyn, and Lammert Jansen appeared before this Board this day in obedience to an order of Councill, and they acknowledging their error and submitting themselves thereon, were discharged with a caution to be more carefull for the future; and there is little doubt that they gave need to the official admonition.

    From the above it appears evident that in those days of the colony of New York, church and state were united,---at least to such extent as made the fiat of the governor as supreme in religious, as in secular matters.  It also appears probable, almost to a certainty, that in the year 1677 there was no religious organization at Kinderhook; but it is shown conclusively that in 1702 there was both a church and a church edifice there, and that it had had at least two precentors before the proscribed Van Vleck took the office.  It can therefore be said with confidence that the first religious organization in what is now Columbia county was that of the Reformed Dutch church at Kinderhook, and that this was formed between the years 1677 and 1700.

    For the date of the establishment of the Reformed church at Claverack we depend entirely on tradition, which tells us that it was formed but little later than that at Kinderhook; but, as we know that for a number of years their only dependence for preaching was upon the occasional services of the minister of the church of Albany, it seems most likely that upon the occasions of his visits the people of both Kinderhook and Claverack worshiped together at the former place (the distance from Claverack not being great), and that they continued to do for a considerable time after the first organization.  The Revs. Van Driessen, Lydius, and Dellius were ministers of the Albany church who preached the word to the people here in the days when they were poor and feeble.

    The Reformed church at Linlithgo, in Livingston manor, was formed abut 1721, through the efforts of Robert Livingston, who built the church edifice from his own means.  The first services in it were held by Dominie Petrus Van Driessen, of the Albany church, probably on one of his visiting tours to the preaching stations at Kinderhook and Claverack.

    The formation of the Dutch church at Germantown, or East Camp, took place in 1728, under Rev. Johannes Van Driessen, who assumed its pastoral duties in connection with those of the churches at Claverack, Kinderhook, and Linlithgo.  The four church formations above mentioned were the beginnings of Reformed worship (the oldest of the denominations) in the county.

    Next after the Reformed came the Lutheran form of worship, which was held among the Palatines at the East Camp immediately after their arrival there.  This, however, could hardly be termed a regular church organization.  It did not prove permanent, and there was probably no church building ever erected for its worshipers.  Their minister in 1711 appears to have been John Frederick Haeger, as there are documents still in existence at Albany bearing that date, and his signature as minister at the East [page 124] Camp.  What does not appear quite intelligible, however, is the fact that this same clergyman is found a few years later heading a petition for the building of a house to be used for worship according to the forms of the Church of England.

    A Lutheran church was established at Churchtown (in Claverack) before 1750, one on Livingston manor in 1764, and one in Ghent before the Revolution.  The church at Kinderhook was formed about 1825.

    The disagreements between the Reformed and Lutheran churches were very bitter in the town of Albany; but it does not appear that they ever extended to this part of the county.

    On the 31st of October, 1817, there was held at Churchtown, Claverack, a "Celebration of the Centurial Day of the Reformation," at which there was a vast concourse of people, embracing clergymen of all the denominations in the county, who vied with each other in exhibitions and expressions of kindly and fraternal feeling.  Of this the Northern Whig of November 11 said, "The clergy, in their own example, manifested to a large company, composed of gentlemen from the city of Hudson and the neighboring towns, who dined with them, that religious tolerance and the absence of prejudice which ought to characterize the society of good men, inasmuch as they are all heirs of the same kingdom of the common Father in Heaven."

    The Church of England was first established in the colony of New York in 1686, Bishop Compton being at that time authorized "to exercise all ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the Plantations" including the licensing of schoolmasters coming hither from England; and the bishop's power was expressly declared in colonial instructions.  The earliest reference to Episcopalian worship within the territory now Columbia county is found in one of the Palatine documents.  It is "The humble petition of John Frederick Haeger, clerk, John Cast, and Godfrey De Wolven, on behalf of themselves and upwards of sixty families of Palatines in Dutchess county," and dated Oct. 8, 1715.  After reciting that they had always attended divine service as decently as possible, but with great difficulty, for lack of a convenient place to shelter them from the inclemency of the weather, that they held themselves bound to continue on the Palatine tract, and that nothing could contribute so much to render that settlement comfortable to the petitioners as a place of pubic worship, they proceeded as follows:

    "Your petitioners humbly Pray that yo'r Excellency will grant them Your License for building a church in Kingsberry, of sixty feet in length and forty feet in width, to perform Divine Service according to the Liturgy and Rites of the Church of England, as by Law Established, and also to grant your Petitioners the Liberty to Crave the favor and Charity of well-disposed People for such aid and assistance as may enable them to Erect such a Place for Divine Service in the manner aforesaid, which will remain a Monument of yo'r Piety, and where yo'r Petitioners will in their joint Publick as in their Private Prayers as in Duty bound ever Pray for yo'r Excellency's prosperity.

(Signed)          "John Fr. Haeger."

 

    The petition, which was made on behalf of the remaining remnant of the Palatines, after the main body of them had migrated to the "Schoharie country," leads to the belief that, after their departure, these had abandoned their original Lutheran worship and (for some unknown cause) adopted that of the Established church; and it is also noticeable that Mr. Haeger, who had been their minister in 1711, was still their leader under the new form of worship which they had adopted.

    Beyond the fact that the prayer of the petitioners was granted there is nothing to show what was its result, whether or not the church building was erected, how regularly and successfully they sustained that form of worship, or how long it continued to be observed by them.

    During a period of eighty years from that time there appears to have been no other Episcopalian organization here, the next being the church which was formed at Hudson in 1795, and which for many years was the only one of the denomination in the county.  This, as well as those of subsequent organization, are elsewhere noticed.

    Presbyterian-Congregational worship was regularly established before the Revolution, its principal seat being in those eastern towns of the county which were largely settled by people from Massachusetts and other New England States.  A Congregational church (now the "Church in Christ) was formed at New Concord not far from 1770; a Presbyterian church at Spencertown about 1761.  A Congregational and Presbyterian church commenced worship in a log building in New Lebanon about 1772, and one in Chatham about the same time.  A Congregational church was formed in Austerlitz about 1792.  The Presbyterian church at Hudson was organized about 1790; that in Canaan commenced in 1829; that at Hillsdale about 1830; and one was organized at Valatie in 1833.

    There were Baptist organizations both in New Lebanon and Canaan as early as 1776.  That in New Lebanon was ministered to by the Rev. Joseph Meacham, who was perhaps the earliest preacher of the persuasion who labored within the present limits of the county.  The Canaan church met at Flat Brook, but its duration was not long.  Another organization was effected in the same town in 1793, and has continued until the present time.  A Baptist organization was had at Hillsdale about 1787.  The West Hillsdale Baptist church was organized at Craryville in 1803, and ten years later regular services by this denomination were commenced in East Chatham.

      It is not easy to say at what date meetings for worship were first held in this county by the Methodists.  The Rev. Freeborn Garretson, who married a daughter of Judge Livingston, of Clermont, commenced as an itinerant Methodist preacher in 1775, and was, in 1788, appointed presiding elder of all circuits from New Rochelle to Lake Champlain; and, as his residence was at Rhinebeck, almost upon the boarder of this county, there can be little doubt that as early as the years of the Revolutionary war he performed missionary work here, as there were certainly [page 125] Methodist people in several of the eastern towns of the county from the time of their first settlement.  The first Methodist church organization in the county was at Hudson, in 1790.  Other churches of the denomination were formed in Chatham and at Red Rock in Canaan in the year 1800, a second in Canaan was organized in 1804, and one in Hillsdale in 1807, by Rev. William Swayze.  From those days the church within the county has increased to its present prosperous and flourishing condition.

    The first Friends' meeting in the county was formed at Rayville, about the year 1777, and soon after numbered about forty members.  The meeting at Hudson was established immediately upon the arrival of the New England settlers there, in 1784.  In Ghent, the Friends were organized through the efforts of Thomas Scattergood, of Philadelphia, who first held open-air meetings there in 1793.  The sect is now much less numerous in the county than in former years.

    The Universalist society in Hudson was formed in 1817.  It is large and prosperous, but is the only one of the denomination in the county.

    A society of the "Christian Church" was organized in Canaan in 1829, and a second at Clermont in 1833.  That which is located in Austerlitz was organized about 1851.

    Roman Catholic worship was commenced in Chatham in or about the year 1855.  There are now seven other churches of this religion in the county, but all of a recent date of organization.

    In the above brief mention of the different religious denominations we have aimed at but little more than to give the dates of their respective beginnings within the limits of Columbia county.  The different churches of each denomination will be found specially mentioned in the histories of the towns in which they are located, and an extended account of the Shaker community is given in the history of the town of New Lebanon.

    The following statistics of the different churches in Columbia county are taken from the New York State census of 1875.  Their absolute accuracy cannot be vouched for, though they are undoubtedly very nearly correct.

DENOMINATIONS No. of Organizations & Edifices. Sittings Membership Value Church Edifices & Lots Value of other Real Estate Annual Amount of Salaries paid Clergy
African M. E. Zion 2 1050 64 $11,200 ------- $600
Baptist 7 1975 613 44,500 $3,100 4,250
Christian 3 650 175 5,500 ------ 1,000
Congregational 2 550 101 6.000 ------ 850
Ev. Lutheran 12 4000 1500 101,100 16,800 7,860
Friends 2 430 94 3.200 2,000 ------
Friends (Hicksite) 1 200 ------ 1.500 ------ ------
Friends (Orthodox) 1 75 ------ 1,000 ------ ------
Jewish 1 75 ------ 7,000 ------- ------
Methodist Episcopal 28 9755 2903 157,000 26,600 17,700
Presbyterian 7 2875 799 83,000 13,300 6,950
Protestant Episcopal 9 2070 631 101,800 13,800 4,750
Reformed 16 7200 2390 165,000 ------ ------
Roman Catholic 7 2775 4525 60,000 21,000 4,500
Shakers 1 1000 271 15,000 ------ ------
Universalist 1 450 83 40,000 7,000 2,400

   

COLUMBIA COUNTY SUNDAY-SCHOOL ASSOCIATION.

    This is an association composed of nearly all the Sabbath-schools in the county, working, auxiliary to the New York State Sunday-school Association; and to its aid come the town Sunday-school Associations, although these town associations are not in as perfect working order as they should be.  The results of the work will show more favorably as the town organizations become more perfect.  After a few years of suspension of work this association again sprang into life in the spring of 1869, when a convention was held at Hudson, presided over by Rev. G. W. Warner, of Canaan, an earnest Sabbath-school worker, whose heart was then and is now in the work.  Since that time conventions have been held regularly annually, and some years semi-annually with no lack of interest, but continually increasing earnestness.

    The following table shows the list of conventions which have been held sine 1869, also giving the names of the officers:

When Held. Place. President of Convention. County Secretary
Spring, 1869 Hudson Rev. G. W. Warner Rev. A. Mattice
October, 1869 Claverack Rev. A. Flack. ditto
May, 1870 Chatham Village Rev. A. Coons ditto
October, 1870 Germantown ditto ditto
May, 1871 Valatie Dr. A. Abbott ditto
November, 1871 Canaan Four Corners A. I. Bristol ditto
May, 1872 Churchtown H. K. Smith ditto
October, 1872 Ghent ditto ditto
May, 1873 Chatham Village J. Wesley Jones ditto
November, 1873 Valatie ditto Rev. J. B. Drury
May, 1874 Claverack ditto Rev. N. H. Van Arsdale
May, 1875 Chatham Village Re. J. G. Griffith F. H. Webb
May, 1876 Hillsdale A. I. Bristol Rev. G. W. Warner
October, 1876 Churchtown ditto ditto
June, 1877 Ghent ditto J. Spencer Hosford
May, 1878 Kinderhook Rev. II. A. Starks ditto

    Statistics showing the condition of the work are gathered each year by the county secretary, with the assistance of the town secretaries, from each Sabbath-school, thus giving a basis for future work, and helping to show the condition of the work in the whole State.

    The work of the association is to thoroughly organize Sabbath-school work in the county by the gathering in of all the children, and also by encouraging the study of the Bible to a greater extent.  The importance of the work has been gradually growing in the minds of the people and still continues to grow.

    The officers of the association for the year beginning May, 1878 are:  President, Rev. Henry A. Starks, Chatham; Vice-Presidents, Abel I. Bristol, Henry L. Warner, Levi Coons; Secretary and Treasurer, J. Spencer Hosford, Kinderhook; Town Secretaries, Ancram:  A. A. Vosburgh, Copake; Austerlitz:  L. S. Griswold, Spencertown; Canaan:  Ralph Hall, Canaan Four Corners; Chatham:  William B. Howland, Chatham Village; Clermont:  Martin Williams; Claverack:  W. A. Harder, Jr., Philmont: Copake:  ------; Gallatin:  Rev. D. B. Wyckoff, Mount Ross; Greenport:  Rev. J. S. Himrod, Hudson; Germantown:  Rev. James Wyckoff; Ghent:  Rev. S. A. Weikert; Hillsdale:  A. F. Park; Hudson:  A. S. Peet; Kinderhook:  Rev. W. Ingalls; Livingston:  James Ham; New Lebanon:  C. W. Bacon, New Lebanon; Stockport:  Alfred Ostrom, Stuyvesant Falls; Stuyvesant:  Edw. Van Alstyne, Kinderhook; Taghkanic:  George Best, Churchtown.

    The following is the statistical table for 1877; four school did not make any report, and are estimated:

 

STATISTICAL TABLE, 1877.

Town. Number of Schools. Officers and Teachers. Scholars. Adult Scholars. Total Average Attendance Conv. Amount Expended. Town Secretaries.
Ancram 6 69 253 109 431 233 21 $31.00 A. A. Vosburgh
Austerlitz 4 49 208 67 324 205 1 50.00 L. S. Griswold
Canaan 6 66 300 1067 472 240 6 115.09 Ralph Hall
Chatham 13 166 828 307 1,301 795 20 505.42 William B. Howland
Clermont 3 30 150 ------ 180 100 ----- --------- Nelson Coons
Claverack 10 111 602 205 918 607 8 168.47 W. A. Harder, Jr.
Copake 3 39 169 67 275 140 30 49.75 James E. Strever
Gallatin 4 41 133 45 219 158 6 32.70 Rev. D. B. Wyckoff
Greenport 2 29 122 47 198 127 ------ 294.25 Rev. J. S. Himrod
Germantown 3 50 258 105 413 205 3 8.56 Rev. James Wyckoff
Ghent 7 85 324 126 535 295 4 208.13 Rev. S. A. Weikert
Hillsdale 8 108 335 202 645 318 2 118.70 Levi Coons
Hudson 14 292 2138 173 2,603 1869 76 2058.09 A. S. Peet
Kinderhook 9 121 653 112 886 572 11 725.79 A. Abbott
Livingston 5 65 262 69 396 229 24 85.50 Robert Hood
New Lebanon 4 56 183 65 304 188 4 52.24 C. W. Bacon
Stockport 3 62 364 15 441 285 15 99.60 Gustavus Rodine
Stuyvesant 4 42 220 12 274 182 22 81.00 Alfred Ostrom
Taghkanic 1 11 49 19 79 35 8 37.57 George Best
Schools not reporting, estimated. 4 48 280 64 392 200 12 50.00  
TOTAL 113 1540 7831 1915 11,286 6983 273 $4771.86  

    At the international Sunday-school convention, held in Atlanta, Ga., in April of this year (1878), this State was one of the seven "banner States" which could report every county organized.

MORAL SOCIETIES,

having for their object "to oppose and reform the prevailing disregard of the Sabbath," were formed here about the year 1814.  On the 10th of January, in that year, the "Columbia Moral Society" was formed at Hudson, a sermon by the Rev. Azariah Clark being preached on the occasion.  The rolls of the society bore a great number of names of the best and most influential people of the county.

    Auxiliaries to the county society were formed in Claverack, Kinderhook, Livingston, and other towns immediately after, and the example set here was soon followed in the adjoining county of Berkshire, Mass.  We have been unable to ascertain much of the later operations of these societies.

 

 

* Michigan had the first office of this name in the United States.

Dominie Schaets, who became the minister at Rensselaerswyck, at a salary of 800 guilders, was, by the terms of his agreement, not only to attend to his regular pastoral duties, but "to teach also the Catechism there, and instruct the people in the Holy Scriptures, and to pay attention to the office of schoolmaster for old and young."  Whether he performed these offices at Kinderhook and Claverack is not known, though it is quite certain that the Albany ministers preached at stated intervals to both those churches for a considerable time after their formation.

These figures are approximate only, and are under the real amount probably, the exact amounts in some years not being obtainable.

Among the old documents at Albany is a pass or order made by Governor Andros, dated Nov. 6, 1674, which reads as follows:  "Permitt and Suffer the Bearer hereof, Domine Bernardus Arsenius, to Passe from hence [N.Y.] to Albany, with his Necessrys, in the Slope whereof Claes Tysen is master, and to Officiate there as Pastor of the Augustine or Lutheran congregation as formerly under the English Gvt., without any manner of Lett, hindrance, or molestacion whatsoever."

East Camp was then a part of Dutchess, not being ceded to Albany county until 1717.

The statistics of the Reformed church in this county are not given in the census of 1875.  We have therefore collected the above figures with care from other sources, and believe them to be correct.  The item of value of church edifices and sites is intended to cover the value of all other real estate owned by the Reformed church.

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