Civil Government


Columbia County,

New York

By Capt. Franklin Ellis362


     The town of Ghent was erected in compliance with an act of the Senate and Assembly, passed April 3, 1818, which provided "that from and after the passing of this act, such parts of the towns of Claverack, Kinderhook, and Chatham as are contained in the following bounds--beginning at the northwest corner of the town of Hillsdale, and running from thence southerly along the division line between Claverack and Hillsdale to the road opposite the cooper-shop of Solomon Strong; thence westerly, in a straight line, to Claverack creek, at a place 11 chains and 50 links to the south of the bridge over said creek, near where the house of the late Peter Van Rensselaer stood; thence down the creek to where the same intersects the Kinderhook creek; thence up said creak 28 chains, above the great falls, commonly called Major Abram's falls; thence easterly to the Kline Kill creek, near the house of William Waggoner; thence along the north end of the house of the said Waggoner, south 75 degrees and 21 minutes east until it intersects a line running from the  northwest corner of Hillsdale, north 14 1/4 degrees east, to the place of beginning--shall be and remain a separate town by the name of Ghent; and the first town-meeting is said town of Ghent shall be held at the dwelling-house of Seth Mins, at the usual time of holding annual meetings in said county; and all the remaining parts of the said towns of Chatham, Claverack, and Kinderhook shall be and remain separate towns."

     Provision was also made for an equitable division of the poor funds, debts, and road moneys, and the adjustment of the road districts on boundary lines.  Officers elected in other towns were to serve until the expiration of the terms for which they were elected in their towns, before the division.

   The first election, held April 7, 1818, resulted as follows:  Supervisor, Tobias L. Hogeboom; Town Clerk, Henry Van Slyck; Assessors, Peter Ostrander, George Risedorf, Cornelius Van Alstyne, Edward Holmes, George T. Snyder; Collector, David Weager; Constables, Jacob Hogeboom, Joseph M. Krum, Gilbert L. Vincent; Commissioners of Highways, Teunis G. Snyder, Nathan Collins, Jacob Moul; Poormasters, Barent Van Buren, Martin H. Hoffman; Commissioners of Common Schools, John Kittle, Abraham Staats, Samuel Crandell; Inspectors, Martin H. Hoffman, Tobias L. Hogeboom, John Fowler, Jehoiakim Schinkle, Peter P. Philip.

     From the town books the following interesting excerpts have been taken:

     1818--$600 was voted for the support of the poor, and larger amounts thereafter.

     1820--"If any person shall suffer any Canada thistles to go to seed on his land or premises, he shall subject himself to a penalty of ten dollars.

     The assessment-roll this year shows the names of several hundred tax-payers.  Below are the names of those possessing $2000 or more of real and personal property:  Peter Andrews, Nathan Collins, Samuel Coleman, Philip Denspaugh, Richard Deyse, Philip Diedrich, Martin Garner, William Groat, Cornelius Goes, Henry Groat, Palmer Holmes, widow Henry Holsapple, John J. Holsapple, Martin H. Hoffman, John E. Hogeboom, Tobias L. Hogeboom, Stephen J. Hogeboom, Bartholomew Hogeboom, widow Jacob Harder, the Emerick heirs, Adam J. Herriatt, Harder & Duel, Nicholas, William, and Michael Harder, Edward Hunting, John Jacobi, John J. Kittle, John Henry Kittle, William Link, Wilhelmus Link, Legget & Staats, John Lane, William Link, Jr., John Leggett, Jacob Moul, John Moul, John Macy, Anthony Melius & Son, Thomas H. Mesick, Jacob J. Miller, Jacob New, Wilhelmus Ostrander, Jeremiah Pulver, Philip W. Pulver, Edward B. Pugsley, Daniel Pultz, Peter Philip,  Henry Poucher, George Risdorph, Peter Rody, Henry Schinkle, Philip P. Shufelt, widow Martin Stupplebeem, David Southard, Jacob H. Snyder, Henry Snyder, John H. Snyder, William H. Snyder, Henry Shufelt, Jonah Schinkle & Son, Wm. P. Smith, Jacob Stupplebeem, Leonard Smith, George T. Snyder, Jacob and John Simmons, Sagendorph, on the Heermance place, George Tator, John G. Tator, Jonathan Traver, Jacob Tipple, Oliver Teal, James Utter, Thomas Van Alstyne, John L. Vosburgh, M. L. Vosburgh, Benjamin Vredenburgh, Barent Van Buren, Sally Watermeyer, David Wager, Jacob Wager, William Waggoner, John Whitbeck, Jacob Waltermire, and W. Yager.

     This year, 1820, William Link manumitted his slave woman Diannah, and the next year Barent Van Buren freed his negro man Cato, who was under forty years of age, and able to provide for himself.  In the years following other citizens endowed their servants with liberty.  Most of these negroes remained in town, and many of their descendants may yet be found within its bounds.